YCLSA (Edited) Message of Support at the occasion of the commemoration of the life and times of Comrade Joe Slovo
6 January 2012, Avalon Cemetery, Soweto
Presented by Alex Mashilo
SACP General Secretary and Minister of Higher Education and Training Comrade Dr Blade Nzimande; Central Committee Members present; Provincial Secretary Comrade Jacob Mamabolo, PEC, DEC and BEC members present; YCLSA National Committee, PEC, DEC and BEC members present; leaders and members of the revolutionary and progressive youth alliances present; rank and file of our organisations with no exception; family members present; friends; and distinguished guests:
On behalf of the Young Communist League I would like to thank this opportunity which in many ways marks the centenary celebration of the ANC. It is an honour and indeed a privilege for one to deliver the Young Communists message of support to the SACP, to which we are by the way an inseparable part, in the very important occasion to commemorate the life and times of one of the greatest leaders of our National Liberation Movement (NLM) was led by the African National Congress (ANC), and a communist cadre to the front, Comrade Joe Slovo.
Today marks exactly seventeen years since the departure of Comrade Slovo on 6 January 1995 after serving as Minister of Housing in our first ever democratically elected government, from the 1994 breakthrough. When we look at Comrade Slovo`s life and times as Young Communists we find one of the ever shining examples and greatest inspirations to our course: Socialism in our lifetime!
Comrade Slovo helped build the Young Communist League. He was involved in the construction of what we can call ‘congress movement standard`, what others refer to as congress movement traditions. Active under Marxism-Leninism from which he derived guidance in his contribution and dedication to the congress movement and our people in general, Comrade Slovo was a Communist cadre to the front, a calibre that the Communist Party inclusive of the Young Communist League and indeed the whole of our NLM, more than ever before needs in the presently unfolding historical conditions.
A strategist and tactician, Comrade Slovo served in National Consultative Committee of the Congress Alliance, leading up to the genuine Congress of the People in 1955. It is at that genuine Congress of the People where the Freedom Charter, which he made a contribution in drafting, was adopted. Unfortunately Comrade Slovo could not attend but observed from a distance because of the brutality and barbarism that were imposed, by the apartheid regime, under the ‘Suppression of Communism Act` in the context of a colonialism of special type with its imperialist links.
A communist cadre to the front, Comrade Slovo helped to write and eloquently articulate the Morogoro ‘Strategy and Tactics` which in many ways became a shared document between the ANC and the Communist Party, and indeed our entire NLM.
Comrade Slovo was active in the life of and helped build the Communist Party in different, including extremely difficult, conditions of illegality, underground and exile. As Young Communists we are inspired by his devotion and loyalty to our people in general, the Communist Party and the ANC.
We remember Comrade Slovo through his involvement in the founding and active participation in the operations of Umkhondo weSizwe (MK) which was in fact not only the ANC`s, but also the Communist Party`s formation of our NLM`s armed wing, and which he served as Chief of Staff.
We are encouraged by the outstanding role Comrade Slovo played in our national liberation struggle and the struggle for socialism whose dialectical interconnection he clearly understood and helped articulate. We remember Comrade Slovo through his writings, amongst others ‘The South African working class and the National Democratic Revolution` in which he succinctly elaborates the dialectical interconnection between and the importance of appreciating the class content of the national struggle and the national content of the class struggle, and ‘Has socialism failed?` in which he presents to us one of the clearest analyses of the dissolution and internal contradictions of the Soviet Union and gives us a lecture about the importance and impact, both negative and positive, of concepts in the task of advancing a theoretical struggle, of developing and clarifying the tasks of a revolution.
Comrade Slovo`s capacity in our NLM did not fall from the sky. Neither was it an individual`s question. His involvement in the struggles of national liberation and socialism, as part of the congress and working class movements inclusive of the Communist Party, contributed significantly in shaping his theoretical outlook and developing his skills. He therefore is a product of the struggles for national liberation and socialism.
A member of the Revolutionary Council from 1969 until it was dissolved in the early 1980s, ANC NEC and NWC, SACP Central Committee and its former General Secretary and National Chairperson, comrade Slovo shall serve as one of our invaluable inspirations when we, amongst others, rigorously take forward the following tasks.
Advancing the implementation of the key priorities that define our programme in the present period of our alliance: health, education, employment creation and decent work, rural development and fighting crime and corruption including that which is committed by certain elements in our own broad movement of who some by the way, to the contrary, like posing as the real fighters of corruption;
Advancing and deepening our SACP`s Medium Term Vision (MTV) as encapsulated in the party programme the ‘South African Road to Socialism`;
Head-on tackling tenderpreneuring, the new tendency, its vanguard rightwing demagogy and associations such as populism;
Defending our leaderships of the ANC and the Communist Party and both the political formations of our revolutionary alliance;
Advancing and deepening the NDR and the struggle for socialism; and
Confronting the opposition in whatever its manifestation, liberals, and so on.
We shall carryout these tasks, in this period of capitalist crisis with its high levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty. These challenges, which we shall dedicate our energies in ensuring they are addressed and resolved while taking heed of the objective conditions and prevailing limitations, are by the way used opportunistically by all sorts of forces and actors for their own ends, against our government, the leaderships of the ANC and the Communist Party. In the context there is a tendency by some who take everything from the repeated lots of noise that they make as representing the best and ever only solution to the problems and challenges facing our people inclusive of the youth. This tendency is also used as part of an agenda to attack our leaderships of the ANC and the Communist Party.
As we remember Comrade Slovo who dedicated his lifetime to the unity of our NLM and the alliance, we shall confront such tendencies for what they are: destructive, divisive, populist, ill-discipline, and expose the corrupt agendas that they actually represent and harbour.
In carrying out the tasks that we have mentioned, we shall leave no stone unturned against a tendency by some who enjoy convening and working with the all liberal and hostile media forces in the bandwagon to cast aspersions over our ANC and Communist Party and their leaderships.
Long live the spirit of comrade Joe Slovo long live!
Viva YCLSA viva!
Viva SACP viva!
Viva revolutionary alliance viva!
Viva Progressive Youth Alliance viva!
Thank you very much!