Young Communist League message delivered at 13th South African Communist Party Congress by the National Secretary Comrade Buti Manamela on the 12th July 2012
13 July 2012
The Young Communist League welcomes this opportunity to speak to the delegates at the 13th National Congress of the SACP. We are fortunate that as young people, just as this leadership has taken the baton from Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Ruth First, Moses Mabhida, Moses Kotane, Elias Motsoaledi, Dora Tamana, Ahmed Kathrada and Josie Mpama; the future of the SACP lies in the many young communists who tirelessly contributes into the building of structures of both the YCLSA and the SACP.
We mention all of these people, but want to single out Comrade Chris Hani and Joe Slovo for the dedication, commitment and bravery showed and as the communists we as the young one`s know and can relate to. We want to be like Chris Hani. We want to be like Joe Slovo.
Those who accused the YCL of being the conveyor belts of the SACP and its leadership should know that we unashamedly plead guilty to that.
We are the YCLSA of the SACP. We are formed as a result of the constitution of the SACP. The dynamism of the relationship between the SACP and the YCL, its dialectic, constitutional, political and programmatic nature is what has made the YCL what it is, and similarly had an impact on the current and future nature of the SACP.
If we are not close to the leadership and structures of the SACP, who should we be close to? Helen Zille? Robert Mugabe? We have a platform to engage with our leadership. In fact, the average age of the membership of the SACP is youth. We will never define ourselves outside of the SACP because we are the SACP and its future. If we oppose the SACP in order to prove our autonomy, which we have as an integral part of the SACP, we will end up veering towards the oppositionists just because people claim that we are not independent.
Comrade General Secretary, young people in the YCL understands that we will do what Lenin instructed us to do. Learn! Learn and Learn! We do not suffer from the a political and ideological learning deficiency to the extent that to prove that we have learnt, therefore reduce our role being to fight with the SACP infont of a conflict hungry media.
We understand that that this factory called the YCL, this university of beautiful young reds, this training ground for a future and socialist South Africa, just like all factories it will have its own factory faults, just like all universities it will have its own drop-outs, but we do our best at all times to produce the best proof cadres to take the baton from this leadership collective into the future.
Many young people are gradually finding hope in both the SACP and YCL`s slogans of "Socialism is the future: Build it Now" and "Socialism in our Lifetime". As more and more young people find themselves locked in a future without jobs, education, quality public healthcare; they realise that the nightmare of capitalism has to be brought to an end and that the future of socialism is inevitable.
The uprisings throughout the world, as much as they were directed against government systems, were also a clear message to global capitalism that the end is near. The global economic crisis has presented an opportunity for the left, the SACP and communist parties globally to push for a better and alternative society. This Congress of the SACP is that platform, for all of us, to reaffirm the role of the SACP as the chief proponent of socialism. As much as the SACP is part of the alliance that seeks to advance and deepen the National Democratic Revolution, there is no other political party or national liberation movement that shoulders the responsibility and burden for a socialist future.
On a daily basis, young people are subjected to an ideological onslaught through the media and social networks that encourages a culture of consumerism, selfishness, greed and political inactivity. In many instances, doctors, nurses, policemen and honest public servants are no longer seen as role models for our youth.
Those who accumulate wealth through the state or private business deals have imposed a new culture that is parallel to new money. The eating of sushi on naked young women, the culture of bling, the praise of expensive clothing labels and the consumption of the most expensive alcohol is unfortunately defining urban youth.
What used to be progressive music and drama has turned the world upside down into the praise of drugs, alcohol and sexual symbols. There is everything wrong with a society that holds high a school dropout and present him or her as a role model, whilst progressive and revolutionary practices are looked down and opposed.
A lot of people, for instance, opposed the suggestion that the Department of Sports will be bringing Beyonce for the sports awards just on the basis of how much she costs. Our opposition is ideological. We must fight against the Americanisation of our culture and the co-option of young people into fantasies of American way of life, when they are locked into poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
The YCL wants to see this Congress, at the end, being clear about the land question. We support the call by the SACP for Land Summit II. We believe that there must be an audit of land, especially arable land, and that unused land must be expropriated as per the constitution and such land be part of the redistribution and restitution programme.
We also will be persuading Congress to resolve that land restitution and redistribution must be before 1913. Our land was taken in 1652, and therefore, must be brought back from that period. We know some will mourn in their little isolated corners and say that we have stolen their status (and ideas), however, the demand for the land hungry is the demand that must be supported by all of us.
As the YCL, we have been leading the campaign to "Make Education Fashionable". There must be access to both FET and Universities. We must put an immediate end to learners learning under trees. We need comprehensive schools with libraries and sporting facilities, and with textbooks delivered on time.
Young people cannot be donated to the life of a tender when they complete their formal schooling. Some youth strengthen their political ties, and concentrate on brushing boots and disrupting meetings just so that they get one more tender. Others are co-opted with champagne and whiskey instead of being sponsored with bursaries and other education opportunities. This must come to an end.
Comrade General Secretary, we need thousands of plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, welders, mining engineers and many other skills which will enable young people to become economically active. With the government infrastructure spent, and two reliable communists leading the department of public works, the state must be the employer of choice by young people.
In the next month, there will be public discussions in parliament on the future of labour brokers. Labour brokers should not worry, their future in the dustbin of history is guaranteed. The YCL will be whipping them from the centre. We are concerned that there are some who shout the loudest against labour brokers, and yet, some of them depends on profits made through labour broking. With time, these too, shall be exposed.
As the YCL, we are firmly opposed to and call for this Congress to support our call for the banning of tenders. We cannot, as the GS puts it, have a Tender State were everyone wants a stake. If we start the banning of tenders in government prioritised areas, then we will have textbooks in time in Limpopo, we will have quality houses, we will have better health infrastructure and services, we will have less costly government offices, then our people`s confidence in the government will be restored.
We are also worried about what the Premier of KZN referred to as the confluence between business and politics. At worst, this relationship has led to, in some instances, corruption, the buying of leaders and structures, the disruption of our meetings, and even the assassination of our comrades. What happened to Bomber Ntshangase, Moss Phakoe, Wandile Mkhize and many cadres can suspiciously be attributed to this confluence.
In the same vein, we must deal with corruption as a cancer that has affected our society. This is not even a moral fight, it is an ideological fight that requires all our energies. A fight against corruption is a fight against capitalism, and therefore, a fight against capitalism is a fight for socialism. We must tell NGO`s and other institutions like Corruption Watch, that you cannot fight corruption and defend capitalism.
As the YCL we will be persuading Congress to review the BEE system as it is at the heart of the failure of economic empowerment. As the YCL, we believe that, as Fanon said, the petit bourgeoisie and the BEE beneficiaries post liberation are good for nothing and have failed to translate their personal economic empowerment into a general economic empowerment. How do we justify the buying of a Buffalo for R40 million? How do we justify the buying of ten to 20 cars for one person? How do we justify the possession of more than 10 houses for one individual? How do we justify a wedding in Mauritius, or a R60 million wedding? All of these things, no matter who does them, are wrong and must be opposed as the sick nature of capitalism.
As the YCLSA, we have been deeply disturbed by some in the leadership of NUMSA`s consistent attack of the SACP and its resolutions on the deployment of SACP cadres in government. This is a government of the alliance. To suggest that any cadre deployed in government has sold out, is as good as suggesting that this is a DA or NNP government. The party resolution on a reconfigured alliance has been implemented by alliance structures. If some in the leadership of NUMSA`s intention is to catch headlines instead of constructively engaging and strengthening the SACP, then they should know that many who walked the anti-SACP and anti-communist path, have found themselves in the cold. That ids the path less travelled, and a path of no return.
The YCL will be dedicating its energies in the building of the PYA and all its structures. We will be moving from the premise that as youth, we are vibrant, militant and radical. We are impatient with slow progress of change. Sometimes we want to see urgency in transforming the lives of our people. We despair easily, if the challenges of post-Apartheid democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society overwhelm our movement and our people.
In the course of being radical, militant and vibrant, we also understand that this comes with responsibility not to be nakedly rude, disrespectful and ill-discipline. The culture of wanting to shout the loudest without content, of hurling insults without political ideas and alternative suggestions, of intimidation and lazy politicking without contributing to the success of our organisations and society is coming to an end. Making education fashionable includes making political education fashionable. We have to empower young people to distinguish between ill-discipline and militancy; radicalism and being rude; vibrancy and the disruption of meetings.
The so-called Asijiki mentality that represents itself as an alternative ANCYL must be condemned. The Friends of the ANCYL is nothing but a new political party that is hell-bent on dividing the ANC and the Alliance. It is a platform for members of members. It is as bad as COPE, PAC and UDM-another peeled off tendency that must be dealt with. No member of the YCL will be part of this undialectical concept of Asijiki. We will be engaging the ANCYL on all of this just after this Congress.,
We wish you a successful 13th National Congress
Issued by the YCLSA
Mangaliso Stalin Khonza
Media Liaison Officer