31 January 2010

No sectarianism


No sectarianism

We have said, while discussing Machiavelli, that communism does not break with the past, but grows out of it.

This week the main item is Lenin’s “Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism. This piece of writing, though extremely short, manages to embrace the whole of philosophy, politics and economics. For these reasons it is highly popular with teachers and students.

29 January 2010

Haitian disaster in context


Haitian Disaster put in historical context

Andile Lungisa, Deputy President, ANC Youth League

A devastating earthquake, the worst in 200 years, struck Port-au-Prince on the 12th of January 0, laying waste to the city and killed many thousands of people. The quake detonated more than 30 aftershocks throughout the night to the following morning.

It toppled houses, hotels, hospitals and even the capital city's main political buildings, including the presidential palace. The collapse of so many structures sent a giant cloud into the sky, which hovered over the city, raining dust down onto the wasteland below. Estimated 200,000 people have died, in a metropolis of 2 million people and those that survived are living in the streets, afraid to return inside any building that remains standing.

For Paul Verryn, Against Xenophobia


SAMWU Press Statement, 29 January 2010

Supporting Paul Verryn and Struggle Against Xenophobia

SAMWU has carefully noted the suspension of Paul Verryn, until recently a Methodist Bishop and the manager of the Methodist Community Centre in Johannesburg. It also notes the charges that have been laid against him by some of his seniors in the Methodist Church.

We wholeheartedly condemn the scurrilous way the mass media has allowed itself to repeat old and discredited slurs from the past in an attempt to further besmirch the name and actions of this man of the cloth. Early reports of the involvement of the security services in this episode are very alarming, and must be investigated.

28 January 2010

Hands off Bishop Paul Verryn!


Numsa Statement On Bishop Paul Verryn!

28 January 2010

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) notes with serious concern the personal and venomous offensive targeted and directed towards Bishop Paul Verryn.

We are suspicious that this offensive is being lurched against Bishop Verryn forms part of the broader agenda to discredit his person and social standing in society. The bourgeois media has been co-opted consciously or unconsciously to prosecute Bishop Verryn through public opinion.

SACP Constitution and Rule 6.4


SACP Constitution

The jewel of the SACP constitution is Rule 6.4, which says: 
  • “Members active in fraternal organisations or in any sector of the mass movement have a duty to set an example of loyalty, hard work and zeal in the performance of their duties and shall be bound by the discipline and decisions of such organisations and movement.
  • They shall not create or participate in SACP caucuses within such organisations and movements designed to influence either elections or policies.
  • The advocacy of SACP policy on any question relating to the internal affairs of any such organisations or movements shall be by open public statements or at joint meetings between representatives of the SACP and such organisations or movements.” 

26 January 2010

Proletarians and Communists


Proletarians and Communists

We only need one text for one discussion, but we have alternatives, which can also be used for supplementary reading. Yesterday we took the first part of the Communist Manifesto. Here is the second part, called Proletarians and Communists. As with the first part of this highly-concentrated piece of writing, the simplest way to present it is with selected quotes. Here are some:

The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.

25 January 2010

Bourgeois & Proletarians


Bourgeois and Proletarians

This is the first of the three main parts of the Communist Manifesto, written in London by Karl Marx, at the age of 29, with the help of his then 27-year-old friend Frederick Engels, and published in January, 1848.

Also included is the final page of the Manifesto, called “Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties.”

22 January 2010

What is a Strategic Political Centre? - Ramatlhodi


What constitutes the strategic Political Centre?

Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Viewpoint, ANC Today, 22 January 2010

We do not need to know that we exist in order to exist. However, we need to exist first before we can know that we exist. In other words, the objective reality is out there whether we are aware of it or not. This objective world shapes the subjective reality that it authors in the first instance. On the other hand, the subjective reality is capable of influencing, and indeed does in fact influence the objective reality, albeit within the limitations imposed by objective reality.

In political terms, the objective reality of South Africa is that of a country ruled under conditions of colonialism of a special type, otherwise known as apartheid. Colonialism of a special type occurs when the ruler and the ruled occupy the same territory, as opposed to classical colonialism where a colony is administered by a designated authority on behalf of a foreign power. Before 1910 South Africa was a classical colony of Great Britain. Britain created colonialism of a special type when political power was transferred to the white minority settlers, to the exclusion of the black majority.

The most glaring characteristic feature of this colonial rule is the total exclusion of blacks in general and, the African majority in particular, from political power. Accordingly, the strategic objective of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is the liberation of black people in general and Africans in particular, regardless of their class affiliations. As a national group standing to gain most from a victorious NDR, blacks constitute the principal motive force for the national democratic revolution. They have nothing to loose and everything to gain from the defeat of colonialism and apartheid rule.

21 January 2010

Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

The main text for this week is made up of extracts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince.

In support, as an alternative or supplementary text for study circles to use in dialogue, we yesterday posted Chapter 32 of Karl Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1. It is a typically sweeping Marxian overview of history, placed at the end of a long book as a summary.

The ancients, especially the Greeks and Romans that both Marx and Machiavelli were so familiar with, tended to write in just such broad terms.

Today, and once again in support of the kind of historical view that Machiavelli brought back into modern historiography, and into literature, we have Chapter 9 of Frederick Engels’ “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”.

20 January 2010

Umsebenzi Online: Two SNC Resolutions


Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 2, 20 January 2010

In this Issue:

  • SACP Special National Congress Draft Resolutions: Draft Report of the Commission dealing with Economic Transformation and Rural Development
  • Resolution on Local Government and Cooperative Governance
Editorial Note

We release today for public engagement, a first of the series of the draft resolutions adopted at our 2nd Special National Congress last year December. This are resolutions as presented to plenary and do not include additional comments made from the floor as they will be processed by the Central Committee.

We hope these resolutions will contribute towards focusing the national debate on contemporary challenges facing our country and ways of resolving them to liberate the majority of our people from the bondage of Capitalism.

Together let’s fight capitalist greed and corruption and defeat tenderprenuers!! Together, let’s build Socialism!!

Socialist regards!


Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation


Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1, Chapter 32

Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation

During this week we are running the second of the ten parts of the Generic Course called “Basics”. The main text is the one with extracts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, that was posted yesterday and which is linked again, below.

[Concerning procedure, please don’t overlook the note concerning the SADTU Political Education Blog, at the bottom of this message.]

19 January 2010

The Prince

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The Prince

On this SADTU Political Education Blog and Forum, you are receiving links to a series of main political education discussion texts with a short commentary. Today's, which is from Machiavelli's "The Prince", is the second in the "Basics" series of ten. For a quick overview of the entire series, please click here, and scroll down. In addition to these once-a-week main texts, there will be supplementary classic texts, and also educational items of a more current nature, such as selected newspaper articles.

In this “Basic” series, we can at this stage begin to stretch our historical perspective with with Machiavelli. Like the communists of today, he cultivated “long experience in contemporary affairs and a continual study of antiquity”, as he says at the beginning.

18 January 2010

Statement of the ANC NEC Lekgotla

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Statement of the ANC NEC Lekgotla

18 January 2010

The ANC NEC met on Friday, 15 January 2010 and was followed by NEC Lekgotla from Saturday until Sunday, 16-17 January 2010 at Esselen Park in Ekurhuleni.

The primary purpose of the NEC Lekgotla was to chart the way forward and develop a programme of action for 2010, informed by the NEC January 8 Statement and the 2009 Election Manifesto.

The Lekgotla was attended by NEC members as well as the deployed cadres and senior public servants whose task is to ensure the effective implementation of our 2009 elections manifesto and mandate.

17 January 2010

Revised version of NPC green paper

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Revised version of Manuel's green paper removes NPC's executive powers

Caiphus Kgosana, Sunday Independent, Johannesburg, 17 January 2010

Cosatu and the leftists scored a major victory after Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel toned down the green paper on the contentious National Planning Commission.

The revised green paper strips the planning commission of its executive functions, which Cosatu strongly objected to and claimed would effectively turn Manuel into a prime minister.

NPC online nominations process launched

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Online nominations process launched for scaled-back planning body

Terence Creamer, Engineering News, Johannesburg, 15 January 2010

The Presidency of South Africa launched a Web-based nomination process on Friday for the 20 commissioners it was seeking to appoint to serve on government's National Planning Commission (NPC) - the appointment process was initiated following the release of a revised green paper, outlining the nascent body's more narrowly defined role, functions and powers.

Minister in The Presidency Responsible for the NPC Trevor Manuel said that the application process would close on February 10, 2010, a day before President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to open Parliament, and that the selection of the part-time commissioners should be completed by the end of March.

16 January 2010

National Planning Commission: nominations needed without delay

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On-line Nominations to the National Planning Commission

The above is a facsimile of the Presidency’s National Planning Commission nomination form. Click here, or on the image, to go direct to the form online.

The Revised Green Paper on the National Planning Commission was published on 15 January 2010. It includes an invitation to nominate for the members of the Commission (before 10 February 2010). Click here to read the Green Paper in HTML, or here to download the original PDF version from the Presidency web site.

15 January 2010

National Planning Commission, Revised Green Paper

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Revised Green Paper: National Planning Commission
Published 15 January 2010


“The Revised Green Paper: National Planning Commission is thus now published in the Gazette, proclaiming the establishment of the Commission and inviting nominations.

14 January 2010

Freire the Brazilian

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Paulo Freire the Brazilian

This is the last of the supplementary or optional material given to accompany Chapter 2 of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (linked below). It is Chapter 1 of the same book, also linked below.

In the first sentence of the book”, Freire “problematises” humanization, immediately placing Freire side-by-side with Karl Marx, where Marx in the whole of “Capital” wanted to restore humanity to itself.

Freire is often described as a “Christian Marxist”, and Freire’s methods were widely adopted by the Christian advocates of the “Liberation Theology” that arose in South America from the 1960s onwards. Paulo Freire (1921-1927) was Brazilian.

Struggle for unity in action

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Test of reality for ‘united, joint action’

Karima Brown, Business Day, Johannesburg, 14 January 2010

THE slapdown by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) of the ruling party’s January 8 statement is the latest example of how vexed the relationship between the African National Congress (ANC) and its leftist allies has become since President Jacob Zuma ’s inauguration, less than a year ago.

The ANC statement suggested municipal employees should not hold positions in political parties. 

Yesterday’s warning by Samwu, that it would resist the ANC’s efforts to “de-politicise” the union, is part of a cacophony of alliance- related strife plaguing the Zuma administration.

Education as the joint responsibility of society

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Return to basics

Editorial, Business Day, Johannesburg, 14 January 2010

THE new school year has just kicked off. To ensure we do not fail the class of 2010, it is important that we reflect critically on what needs to change in our underperforming education system.

We must stop acting surprised when poor matric results are released. The obvious truth is that a school career spans at least 12 years. We know, for example, that our primary school pupils consistently score worse than our international competitors — including other African countries — on comparative test scores for core subjects such as maths and science. 

13 January 2010

Pedagogy according to Tony Buzan

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Pedagogy according to Tony Buzan

Not everything about learning is consciously communist, or even “left wing”, or “progressive”.

Tony Buzan’s original book called “Use Your Head” has helped a lot of people in the 36 years since it was written to accompany a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) series. 

Like so much of the BBC’s output, it is carefully “non-political”. But it is useful. 

12 January 2010

Pedagogy According to Liu Shaoqi

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Pedagogy According to Liu Shaoqi

For the purpose of this set of studies called Basics, designed for study circles without a lecturer, we continue to pursue a simple theory of learning and teaching: a theory of “pedagogy”.

Just as a reminder: this e-mail, which begins as a blog post (here), is generally a brief introduction to an original text, which is linked to it as a download. Today, the text is Chapter 1 of Liu Shaoqi’s “How to be a Good Communist”. 

11 January 2010

Pedagogy According to Paulo Freire

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Pedagogy According to Paulo Freire

For the purpose of this set of studies called Basics, designed for study circles without a lecturer, it helps to have an overt theory of “pedagogy” - a simple theory of learning and teaching - as a starting point.

The great 20th-century theoretician of liberation pedagogy was Paolo Freire. It was Freire who gave us the word “conscientise”. It was Paulo Freire, more than any other, who showed how the bourgeois education system, with its “banking” theory of pedagogy (see today’s text, linked at the bottom of this document), is not well designed to educate, in the fullest sense, but rather tends to reproduce the class relations that suit the bourgeoisie. Education, which should by nature liberate the student, is made by the bourgeoisie into a means of repression, said Freire. 

Karima Brown on ANC 98th Anniversary Rally

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No red faces, but rifts remain

Karima Brown, Business Day, Johannesburg, 11 January 2009

EVEN crafty political play by the South African Communist Party (SACP) at the weekend’s African National Congress (ANC) anniversary celebrations could not hide the bitter rivalry within the ruling party, and divisions between the party’s youth league and the SACP.

Both parties came to the ANC’s 98th birthday celebrations in Kimberley prepared to battle it out in public amid reported plans to embarrass SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande. Sources in the alliance said the bid to embarrass Nzimande, apparently led by ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, was meant to avenge similar treatment Malema and other senior ANC leaders got at the SACP congress in Polokwane last year.

10 January 2010

The programme begins

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Whilst I appreciate documents posted, however I believe it will be of great assistance to look at documents that were mostly used in the 80's like the ABC of Social and Political Knowledge: What is the Party?, What is Marxism-Leninism, What is Capitalism. These documents are important in order to understand what we purport to be.
- Comment on the SADTU Political Education Blog, 27 December 2009

Reply to the above:
There is a programme, and now that the working year has begun, the programme can start at the beginning. Please click here to find links to all of the “Generic Course” material, accessible at any time. We will begin our programme with “Basics”. During this week (11-15 January 2009) today’s general introduction will be followed the next day by the main text of the week, and then by supplementary (or alternative) texts. Each week we will distribute one part of the course.

To comment, you may reply to e-mail, or you may use the Comments facility on the Blog

09 January 2010

ANC 98th Anniversary Statement

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Statement of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the ANC

January 8th, 2010, Galeshewe

Comrades and Compatriots

It is now 98 years since the founding of our movement - the African National Congress. It has been 98 years of principled struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

07 January 2010

Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

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The 51st Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution was celebrated on 1 January, 2010

Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

William Blum, Anti-Empire Report, USA, 6 January 2009

More than 50 years now it is. The propaganda and hypocrisy of the American mainstream media seems endless and unwavering. They can not accept the fact that Cuban leaders are humane or rational. Here's the Washington Post of December 13 writing about an American arrested in Cuba:

"The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists. ... Under Cuban law ... a Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be arrested for nearly anything under the claim of 'dangerousness'."

That sounds just awful, doesn't it? Imagine being subject to arrest for whatever someone may choose to label "dangerousness". But the exact same thing has happened repeatedly in the United States since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. We don't use the word "dangerousness". We speak of "national security". Or, more recently, "terrorism". Or "providing material support to terrorism".

06 January 2010

Mathews Phosa, Slovo Memorial Lecture, Kimberley

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Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture, 6 January 2010

Mayibuye Centre, Galeshewe- Kimberley

ANC Treasurer-General, Cde Mathew Phosa

Joe Slovo was a great South African and one of the key co-architects of the “New South Africa”.  Slovo was an active and creative participant in the negotiations between the ANC, the NP and other parties that led to the first democratic elections in 1994.

He was also a member of the first Mandela cabinet with the responsibility for Housing.  Like many other South Africans, he gave up promising and lucrative alternatives to establish a democratic order in South Africa.

As a white person, he set an example that leadership and participation in charge has no race, nor culture or preferred language.

It simply takes guts, good ideas and hard work to create a better life for all.

Blade Nzimande, Commemorating Joe Slovo

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Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 1, 6 January 2010

In this Issue:
·         Ours was never a struggle about replacing the white with a black elite!

Red Alert:

Ours was never a struggle about replacing the white with a black elite!

SACP message on the 15th anniversary commemoration of the passing away of Cde Joe Slovo

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Cde Joe Slovo passed away on this day 6 January, exactly 15 years ago in 1995. This is the first mass activity of the SACP for 2010. There could have been no better way to start this important year for our country, than through the commemoration and celebration of the life, struggles and sacrifices of one of the greatest heroes of our South African revolution, our former General Secretary and National Chairperson, a former member of the ANC NEC and NWC, Cde Joe Slovo. Cde Slovo embodied some of the best qualities that came to characterise our revolution - selflessness, solidarity and complete dedication to the liberation of the overwhelming majority of our people.

In recognition of his contribution to the national liberation struggle and his role as a member and later leader of the ANC, he was given the highest award by the ANC, Isithwalandwe, at the ANC's national conference in 1994 in Mangaung, just under a month before he passed away. This was, amongst others, also recognition of the role and contribution of communists as members and leaders of the ANC in their own right.