We simply cannot defend the ANC at the expense of the Communist Party and the Working Class
By Molaodi Wa Sekake
“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Manon, Ballerina
As human beings we more often than not ignore certain things at our peril. Exactly eight years back at Batcentre in Durban, still mesmerized by a sizzling poetry show, one old poet who - was a member of the Communist Party - attended the show, apparently quoting Hegel, observed:
‘What human beings learn from history is that they do not learn from history’.
This quotation especially the salience and perceptiveness of its words quickly came back to my mind when some Alliance partners, or some people in the ANC if not the ANC itself - wants to act in a way that confirms the Hegelian quote invoked by the old man, that ‘what human learn from history is that we do not learn anything’.
The alliance between the SACP and the ANC came into existence not out of convenience, but out of a historical necessity to unite all anti-colonial and anti-apartheid forces, and build a broad front of liberation towards a free and humane society. It is the alliance build in the theatre of the revolution not on rosy palaces and balconies of privilege and decadence.
While they were and are still independent formations in alliance, more often than not, political relations between the two formations would go to a point of nearly blurring the line between the Party and the ANC as far as revolutionary tasks were concerned. This was the basis of the theory of the revolution as far as the Party is concerned, The South African Road to Freedom, or the National Democratic Revolution as it known the MDM structures.
Many members of the Party led the ANC and sacrificed a lot. Resource mobilization, politico-military training, tasks in trenches and detachments, missions abroad, and operations inside the country, coupled with possibility for banishment, were in the main collective affairs of a revolutionary alliance in pursuit of freedom, not of formations programmatically apart at seams, and hermetically sealed in their own ideological enclaves oblivious to the necessity for unity.
What maintained this alliance was neither blind loyalty to one another, nor the fear to raise critical matters even in the midst of the possibility of being attacked by reactionary forces, it was rather the very courage to raise critical matters and the capacity of the revolutionary alliance and the liberation movement to confront and resolve them, because it was known that such a politically candid approach was the basis upon which many problems could be surmounted. In actual fact, what distinguished MK soldiers -composed of the ANC and the SACP - from many African liberation armies was the political and ideological stamina they possessed, based on the combination of sharp analytical skills, dialogical debates, and the very utilization of any military hardware for the liberation of the oppressed.
Why now some people in the ANC find it uncomfortable when critical issues of our revolution are raised by the Party? Why jettison a tradition of critical engagements that has safe-guarded the liberation movement and the revolutionary alliance over the years? What is it that is at stake, and cannot afford to be ruffled by frank, honest and critical discussions in the alliance?
When the Communist Party raised the GUPTA matter it was neither a judgemental statement nor a personal attack to anyone, it was a continuation of itstradition of critical appraisal of any system or reality that buttress class contradictions - whether capitalist, colonial, post-colonial or neo-colonial, or neo-liberal. In this case, the incapacity of the state to transform the economy fundamentally yet is quick to pander at the whims of sections of capital. Could it be that the post-colonial/neo-colonial elite in its inability to transform the economy for the benefit of the majority has found its role: to work as intermediaries between different international capital, albeit with a relatively solid national footing, and the majority of the oppressed black working class?
When state institutions like the hawks and SARS are used to settle political scores, what would it BE for the Communist Party to keep quite? Should it sheepishly cower under the bludgeon of dominant factions in the ANC? I as the member of the YCLSA believe not, the Party must continue raising critical matters in the alliance and if spaces continue to be closed the working class is clamouring for a quickened road to socialism let it not hesitate to be with the masses even at the expense of historical allies who have swollen into arrogance. Why subject a political matter of the GUPTAs raised by an alliance partner to a technical process, and eventually rubbish it off as a non-matter to the revolution?
We simply cannot afford to defend the ANC at the expense of the Communist Party; but most importantly, we cannot affordto defend it at the expense of the vast majority of the socially and economically disenfranchised working class. We dare fail to learn from history, otherwise what we would have learned from history is that we do not learn from it. We cannot afford to keep quite when the shenanigans of the post-colonial political elite, in cahoots sections of capital [the economic elite], further pauperise and petrify the working class, nor are we interested in joining the battles of warring political factions. In actual fact, we have no scores to settle but the status quo to unsettle.
Socialism is the future, build it now.
YCLSA National Committee member
Media Committee member
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