Friday, February 6, 2009


from Umsebenzi Online
Red Alert
Communist cadres to the front…. For an overwhelming ANC victory and the defense of our revolution

Blade Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin

The year 2009 is indeed upon us. Like the years since 1994, our revolution is faced with a contradictory reality of seeking to advance, deepen and consolidate a radical national democratic revolution on a terrain of the dominance of the capitalist system, globally and domestically. Capitalist domination, by its very nature poses a serious obstacle to the attainment of the many goals of our democracy, especially the struggle to overcome class, gender and racial inequalities.

However the major difference between the early- to mid-1990s period and 2009 is that in the former period capitalism was on a triumphalist path after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialist states, but we enter 2009 with a capitalist system that is in severe crisis. As the SACP has correctly pointed out, deep as this crisis is, it does not herald the imminent collapse of the capitalist system. Instead, and ironically, both the triumphalist dominance and the current crisis of the capitalist system still pose serious challenges for a developing country like ours.

Nevertheless, we need to fully explore opportunities that maybe presented by the current global capitalist crises to, amongst other things, deepen progressive international solidarity and build an interventionist, developmental state in our country; and transform the current colonial capitalist trajectory. Capitalist ideologues, the likes of Iraj Abedian,[ South African economist, university professor and Board Member Development Bank of Southern Africa, formerly with the IMF--tr] are conveniently using the current crisis to try and (ideologically) blackmail the Left into passive submission to the current logic of capitalist accumulation. Yet the fundamental challenge we face is how, without underestimating the very serious dangers posed by the current capitalist system, we use this crisis to challenge the colonial capitalist trajectory underway in our country.

For instance, the high food prices require that we intensify land reform, reverse the 'willing seller, willing buyer' model, and release more land for food production, especially for the poor; regulate and redirect moneys in the hands of the financial sector towards productive investement; etc. Yet, the likes of Abedian tell us not tto [ rock the boat, but continue with a market driven land reform and a highly monopolized, white owned financial capitalist sector. We need to ensure that it is progressive policy debates that dominate our own internal political debates and also seek to consistently put these in the public discourse. Unfortunately, South African mainstream media, as we will further point out below, is hopelessly incapable of assisting us to properly understand the current global economic crises and debate the possible threats, options and opportunities for our country in the wake of the global capitalist crises.

One of the key tasks of the SACP this year and beyond, and indeed that of the Alliance as a whole, is to try and focus our structures on some of these key policy questions and debates, and seek also to place these in the broader public arena, not only just through the media, but also through closer ideological and policy engagements with the mass of the people of our country. Fortunately the ANC's Election Manifesto provides just such an opportunity to engage both our structures and broader society in intensive policy discussions and debates. The ANC NEC 2009 January 8th Statement, as delivered by the ANC President, Cde Jacob Zuma in East London on 10 January 2009, poignantly emphasizes the same challenge:
"We have to acknowledge that the ANC has not been doing sufficient political education in the recent past. Branches must make political education part of the process of campaigning for the elections. The most important task of the beginning of the year is to ensure that the ANC returns a decisive elections victory. Members must be knowledgeable about our Manifesto and programmes, and be an active part of the campaigning process"

This should not only be task of the ANC and its structures, but communists must make sure that they take an active part in ensuring thorough engagement of our structures and the working class on the many important policy issues as contained in the ANC's Election Manifesto. It is therefore important that as part of our elections effort in support of the ANC, we also ensure that communists properly understand the contradictory global and domestic realities facing our revolution, and the challenges they pose for policy development in our country.

That is why we say, Communist cadres to the front, to deepen ideological and policy engagements with the working class and broader South African society!

[Edited and abridged for space reasons by Thomas Riggins]