SACP is not in a museum: Ukuqala kobulumko kukubiza izinto ngamagama azo!
On the 11th - 15th July 2012, SACP will convene its 13th National Congress in KZN, University of Zululand. This moment provides left forces a unique opportunity to renew the Party and its programme and resolve on how going forward to deepen the crisis of capitalism while consolidating NDR as direct route to socialism. It is this gathering which affords left forces a platform to craft a sound practical and sustainable alternative as hope to three billion lives, worldwide that remain trapped in systematic poverty. To come closer home, in real terms more than 30% of population is unemployed; pre - Party Congress discussions should be occupied on resolving the interrelated crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The strength the Party will be taking into this Congress is its unity and coherence which is by far compared to any formation of Congress movement days before its ELECTIVE congress. This then means delegates of this congress and all left forces do not have an excuse of being defocused by who must be elected.
SACP has released its Draft Political Program 2012 - 2017 which is an elaboration of South African Road to Socialism (SARS) as anchored in the SACP mid - term vision (MTV) to facilitate discussions. The document makes numerous scientific observations which in essence affirm that capitalism as system of production has spectacularly failed to respond to basic needs and aspiration of humankind i.e. water, electricity, food, healthcare, education, etc. It notes that the current crises of capitalism are not just due to bad management but the problem is structural and cynical in that capitalism as a system inherently results in a situation wherein some die because they eat too much while others die because they eat too less.
As we know today, even capitalist have come to the realisation that capitalism is crisis ridden hence resolve to have permanent crisis fund to bail out capitalism from its permanent crisis, in which even developing countries such as South Africa has to commit money it cannot afford. Because of our economy dependence on Europe market; this means whether we like it or not, as things stand owing to structure of our economy, whatever happens there indirectly affects South Africa and performance of its economy.
As things stands South Africa cannot wish away what is happening in Europe because structure of our economy is so venerable to the west (Europe as a bloc remain largest trading partner of SA), owing to our historical legacy and policy choices such as GEAR has meant our economy remain semi - colonial in character, overly dependent on mineral, energy, finance capital complex and export driven in orientation.
The quagmire of this system of production is further understated by the fact that in South Africa we confronted with high level of unemployment, poverty and inequality, meaning the case for radical change to the left is more telling. South Africa`s unemployment is alarming regardless of the fact we were told that our fiscus discipline will cushion South Africa; however an estimated 900 000 jobs were lost from 2008 when reliance on unproductive finance capital consumption economy (simply put casino economy) went kaput.
While we were further told that this is just a phase, it now appears that it's a transition that would characterise the down-slope of the economy for some protracted period unless significant shift is done. Statistics make mention of the fact that the official unemployment rate has risen to 24.3%.
This percentage does not include those who are discouraged to look for jobs; if they are included the figure rises to 31.1%. More often than not statistics turn to make people percentages and not reflect the graveness of the situation, in this instance if these percentages are translated to numbers it means that 5.9 million that South Africans unemployed.
Statistics further show that, more than two million of youth is loitering on the streets not in school, work or in any form of training. Of unemployment reserve labour force 62% of the unemployed have less than secondary school education and 33% have only completed secondary education. In short, 95% of the unemployed do not have college, FET nor university qualification (a point we will return to in subsequent paragraphs).
But while capitalism stagnate it will not plunge on its own; in the past it has recurrently proven that it has capacity to re-adapt more ruthless and exploiting and the fact that South Africans are embedded in structural poverty. The ruling capitalist class will not bow off stage gracefully, already DA is daring in suggesting that there is problem of unemployment not because of structure of economy but because of COSATU and its inelastic labour laws.
While not a focus of this brief intervention, the SACP in its draft program confront these issues on how best to break away from the semi colonial character of economy into investing on productive sectors of economy. While every Jack and Jill seem to finally accept the state must play a role in the economy; Party interrogates the state of the State and whether in its form and character it has capacity to transform and respond to aspirations of the working class. It further ponders on how in the real sense South Africans become masters of their destiny and what participatory democracy is rather than just being consumers of democracy. The Party invites a discussion on how to dent and overhaul the property relations in this country which remain in hands of few capital monopolies.
It considers how to increase the tempo on contesting state power, with clear articulation that working class influence must be found in any process of decision making. The policy choices we have chosen as a country are not spared on how they have failed the majority of this country. But above all this it stresses on the need to have an organisation that is agile and resilient which is an assurance to a class; an organisation which inspire the confidence of a class to its vanguard.
While the structures of Party have been engaged on discussing the draft program, there has been consistent over-compensating of one point from some quarters, which appears to rob them opportunity to have meaningful discussions on draft program.
There has been hammering of a point that SACP General Secretary must be 'full time' in office, as panacea to working class struggles.
It would appear that it does not matter that SACP has repeatedly mentioned in its program as an independent organisation instructed by its Congress resolves to contest presence and occupation in any strategic sectors of power, and identified state as highest concentration of power which Party of power must consistently increase tempo of contesting.
It seem it does not matter that SACP GS must in fact be given more responsibilities, in realising the aspiration of a class than being responsible for a sector.
It seems as if it does not matter that exist no other class forces to do working class a favours, therefore working class must do it on its own.
It would appear that it does not matter; SACP is an independent organisation with a right to take its own decision and expect them to be respected.
It would appear that it does not matter that communists are not trapped in capitalist phenomenon that full time means predetermined time of clocking in and out at place of work. Skilling the unemployed population composed of two million young people without accredited skills or qualification does not constitute full time work according to these cynics. It is as if skilling this population is a part time work and not what should be full time focus of communists. No communist can afford to be part time in a revolution.
It would appear that it does not matter that SACP has grown qualitatively and qualitatively almost doubling its size and in the same time growing qualitatively with its influence having increased within and outside state. Today we have the National Credit Act, National Health Insurance, Industrial Plan, PCC with about 60 billion rands on infrastructure, IPAP 2 & 3, New Growth Path etc
But there seems to be an insistence that the Party must remain as it was; it must temper with its constitution as if this Party is the prisoner of its constitution or Party is for the constitution than constitution being a living document to allow the Party to pursue its interest. We are told do not to change the constitution; do not temper with institutional arrangements of this Party.
We know that it is of outmost imperative that if the Party is to remain relevant and a force to be reckoned with, while it intensifies the tempo on contesting the ruling capitalist class it has to be practical, agile, innovative, flexible and for ever renew itself.
SACP is not in a museum where it must be placed without tempering with its being for interest of reference by future generations that this is how the Party of Kotane, Mabhida, Slovo, Hani looked as a heritage monument.
Karl Marx writings amplifies this point "Everything which exists, exist of necessity. But equally everything which exists is doomed to perish, to be transformed into something else. Thus what is "necessary" in one time or place becomes "unnecessary" in another. Everything begets its opposite which is destined to overcome and negate it."
Therefore one is under no illusion that all this is known, but bankruptcy of this call demonstrate that this calls has nothing to do with strengthening the Party, enriching the draft program of the Party, uniting the left forces, consolidating socialist path as alternative to failure of capitalism or increasing the tempo of contesting ruling capitalist elite.
But it has everything to defocus the Congress, find a reason of dividing the left forces as an excuse to justify their baseless attacks of the program and unity of the Party, to project a picture that they are not wanted.
This has long passed from constructive critic but borders on question the very legitimacy of the Party, in that it must constantly seek to clarify why it exists in a form it function than real question which confront the class and taking the battle to door step of primary enemy, which monopoly capital.
What may have begun as genuine call, in some quarters it has long degenerated into factional divisive call which cannot find any other fault with the Party or its leadership, in its attempt to liquidate the Party and reduce it to a sculpture in the museum of history.
In the 13th National Congress of the Party, delegates will do good to desist this factional side show and continue to focus Congress on the Program of the Party 2012 - 2017, as better life for all nor economic freedom impossible under capitalist system of production.
And that can only be possible if and only if Party remain as it has demonstrated in its 90 years, an organisation (dialectical relationship between theory and action) that is adaptive, agile, flexible, renewed and rooted in Marxism Leninism.
Socialism is the future, build it now!!!
National Deputy Chair of YCLSA