Delivered by the National Chairperson – Mabuse Mpe
Firstly, due to the times that we live in and the pandemic that the world faces today, the YCLSA would like to pay tribute to all workers across the world as they are all playing different roles in ensuring that we survive this era, and to all those who lost their lives as a result of this virus; these includes amongst others Ntate Tshepo Tshola, Comrade Jackson Mthembu and of late Shona Ferguson.
We also take this opportunity to wish the South African Olympics team all the best as they represent our country with pride.
Today, we celebrate the centenary of our party, the South African Communist Party – the only vanguard party of the working class in South Africa and the first in the African continent. We celebrate the 100 fighting years of revolution and solidarity characterized by active campaigning, armed struggle, a fight against post 1994 neo-liberal policies, anti-state capture campaigns that today resulted in many of the beneficiaries launching a fight back on our party.
We are here to pay tribute, on behalf of the children of mineworkers, domestic workers, security guards, municipal workers, the health workers, teachers – the entire working class in our South Africa. Being workers ourselves, being the unemployed youth and youth in education; we find it our duty to honour this event of our party that has over the years fought selflessly in the best interest of our struggles.
We are here to celebrate Chris Hani, Moses Mabhida, Albert Nzula, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, SP Bunting, Moses Kotane, Josie Mpama and many other great revolutionaries. We are here to pay tribute to the Communist International that played a critical role in the formation and building of this organization.
The Communist Party of South Africa CPSA, now the South African Communist Party (SACP) following the banning of the CPSA through the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 by the racist apartheid regime of 1950. Our Party established in 1921 which has been formed by the union of the former International Socialist League (S. A.), Social Democratic Federation of Capetown, Communist Party of Capetown, Jewish Socialist Society of Capetown, Jewish Socialist Society of Johannesburg, Marxian Club of Durban, and other Socialist bodies and individuals is officially more than a hundred years old.
Due to time and the nature of the times in which we exist, we will not be able to express ourselves fully, however, we find courage in that the centenary of the Party is not a one-day event.
We have expressed ourselves on many issues before of which we have no intentions of repeating ourselves here. We are raising this because there are many issues that we still expect the Party to pay critical attention to.
Just to highlight a few, during the 99th celebration of the Party last year we raised a concern that, a deliberate mistake that occurred during the Polokwane moment continues to haunt the Progressive Youth Alliance until this day – the integration of PYA components into ANC factions and the tradition of tenderpreneurship to loot state resources. Young people within the movement obey this tradition hence the dilemma of a youth generation within the congress movement that continues to defend wrong things because they are beneficiaries of these wrong tendencies.
Equally, we also said that today the Party is faced with both the re-emergence of both the struggles that led to Polokwane and Nasrec. On the one hand the re-emergence of the hegemony of the 1996 class project within the state – a leadership that seeks to be more powerful in the state than the movement and against the culture, policy perspectives and traditions of the movement. On the other hand, a parasitic alliance of forces in the movement that are hellbent on looting the state through illegitimate tender processes using a pseudo left rhetoric to defend wrong things.
Therefore, we are not going to dwell much on these issues even though we consider them as urgent and important.
We would like to apologize in advance for any inconvenience that we might cause as a result of our message here today. It is because of our nature as young communists does not allow us to defy honesty and the truth but to always be objective in expressing our honest nature and the truth in its original form.
We have decided to formulate our message around two documents – one being a very important document of which its progress should be reviewed here today – the founding Manifesto of the Communist Party of South Africa; the other being the Communist manifesto of which we subscribe to as a guiding manuscript and a critical tool of analysis.
The Communist Manifesto asserts that “the need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere”. It is in this spirit that we should understand the need for a global socialist struggle based on solidarity amongst the class.
Observing the recent struggles in Swaziland, of which we openly support without any conditions, it clear that the monarch in collaboration with certain multinationals, many operating here in South Africa, especially in the telecommunications sector, has mastered the art of monopolization of the resources of the Swazi people and the economic suppression of the working class in that country.
One of the companies was positively involved in funding the initiative of the African Union in the fight against covid-19 but it is also negatively involved in the suppression of the working class in Swaziland.
We want to express here that we see nothing wrong with the mass action conducted by the working class in Swaziland for their freedom and we see the struggle for democracy in Swaziland as urgent and extremely necessary.
The Communist Manifesto teaches us that the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange. Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. This means that the unity of the working class and the active role of the vanguard party, in our case the SACP, in giving direction and clarity to the class struggle is the most important tool that we have at our disposal.
It is for this fact that we will always state openly and without fear that our Party is not for sale, neither is it a stepchild of any organization in the Alliance.
“The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.” Our duty is therefore to disturb this process and establish a way forward in which socialization of the means of production will be the order of the day.
We are simply saying that the Party should urgently respond to the overrated notion of the so-called 4th industrial revolution in defence of the class. The capitalist class has once again developed a new scarecrow to try an eliminate the working class as the primary forces of production, and therefore a new way of monopolizing and expanding the class divide. All of this in a South Africa faced by almost 75% youth unemployment.
The founding manifesto of the Communist Party of South Africa is clear that under the form of society dictated by modern capitalist production, the means of life are concentrated in the hands of a small privileged class, which exploits the propertyless working masses, appropriates all the product of their labour reduces them to the lowest and most servile level of existence that will permit them to continue working and reproducing their kind, and in addition obtains, by virtue of that economic supremacy, control of the entire State Power.
It is in this spirit that we commend the ANC government for rejecting the liberal ideas of the Democratic Alliance and friends and standing firm that vaccines will be centralized in the state and offered free to our people.
However, we cannot shy away from the way the National Treasury, and certain elements in the ANC, are a total anti-thesis of what we stand for. Tito Mboweni and friends are forcefully advancing a policy agenda that will ensure that the economy is concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged class, which exploits the propertyless working masses, appropriates all the product of their labour reduces them to the lowest and most servile level of existence that will permit them to continue working and reproducing their kind, and in addition obtains, by virtue of that economic supremacy, control of the entire State Power.
As the manifesto of the Party in 1921 clearly states, this policy agenda is trying to build a regime of contradiction between ‘social production’ and ‘individual appropriation’, of irreconcilable antagonism between masters and man, employers and employed, property owners and proletarians – the class struggle of today – has brought mankind into unprecedented conflict, misery and chaos – a veritable abomination of desolation and terror.
We should remember our commitment to this manifesto which instruct us to advance a “battle with the capitalist Goliath, confident that if we play our part unfalteringly, we shall in our lifetime see the robber and butcher class brought low and the workers’ ‘Soviets’ in power.”
The manifesto itself is clear that “propaganda “is not enough” in these days of rapid change and action, and the party will be alert to turn to the advantage of the Labour Movement wherever possible any phase of discontent or disaffection, any opposition to imperialism, any indignation at the accepted ‘skiet skiet’ native policy, any genuine revolt of the masses against tyranny; striving always to hasten, sharpen and shorten the inevitable conflict, to guide and inspire the struggling workers in times of stress and trial like the present, and generally to act as the revolutionary vanguard of the Labour army of South Africa.”
We should also remember what the Communist Manifesto teaches us that “the lower strata of the middle class – the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants – all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production.”
The time to organize the class for the class has arrived. We cannot negotiate these manifestos, and if the ANC advances elements into that state that seeks to enforce a reactionary agenda against our historical mission, we should then do to the ANC what we did to apartheid.
With that said, and in the interest of time, we wish the Party a successful centenary rally.