28 February 2010

SACP Central Committee Statement

SACP Press Statement 28 February 2010

Central Committee Statement

The South African Communist Party Central Committee held its first regular meeting for 2010 over the weekend of 26th – 27th February.

The CC agreed that the SACP’s call to our membership, to our alliance partners, and to South Africans in general is straight-forward: Let us all remain focused on the key problems confronting our country – unemployment, poverty and inequality. Let us close ranks and unite around addressing these key challenges. Let us make a clear distinction between: 
  • differences and debates based on bona fide policy challenges, on the one hand; and
  • battles requiring an absolutely uncompromising stance on the other. 

The State


The State

In “Bourgeois and Proletarians”, the first section of the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx wrote: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” In other words: The State is the executive committee of the ruling bourgeois class, of which there is, and cannot be, any other such ruling executive committee or totalising authority.

26 February 2010




We have looked at Trade Unionism (mass organisations of the working class, Constitutions (enabling democracy) and Negotiation (which is what unions do vis-a-vis employers). All of these things are essential means of organisation, which every cadre needs to know in order to fulfill the duty of educating, organising, and mobilising.

Another of these essential components, is a good knowledge of the rules of procedure of meetings and debate. There is no single authority for these rules, which are used in legislatures, companies, churches and all kinds of organisations. Below is a short version of a good communist book on the subject. [The picture is of the late, great Rusty Bernstein, who is supposed to have said of the CPSA/SACP, that it did not teach the ANC politics, but it did teach the ANC how to organise].

23 February 2010




To supplement “Value, Price and Profit”, here is a shortened (by removing one part) version of Chapter 1 of Karl Marx’s greatest work, “Capital”, Volume 1. This is a text that has been the material for many a political school. It begins with this great definition of commodities:

22 February 2010

Value, Price and Profit


Value, Price and Profit

By 1865 Karl Marx (pictured) had solved the theoretical problems of his work, “Capital”, on Surplus Value, and in that year he gave the well-known address to a gathering of workers that afterwards became a popular publication under the name “Value, Price and Profit”, also sometimes called “Wages, Price and Profit”. The first volume of “Capital” was published two years later.

21 February 2010

SADTU Eight Political Schools

Foundation for eight political schools for Trade Unionists

SADTU and the SACP are preparing a series of eight political schools.

A provisional study programme for these schools is given below. There is no guarantee that the eight political schools will follow this scheme closely, or at all, but a provisional plan is better than no plan.

Texts have been selected so as to assist participants to do some systematic preparatory reading. Links are given to downloadable files, and to web pages.

18 February 2010

Rob Davies' IPAP2 Statement to National Assembly


National Assembly Statement on IPAP2 by Dr Rob Davies,

Minister of Trade and Industry: February 18 2010


Members of the Cabinet,

Honourable Members of this House

Today we are tabling before Parliament and also making public, the 2010/11 - 2012/13 Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). [see link below]

IPAP2, as it has become known, builds on the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) and the 2007/8 IPAP. It represents a significant step forward in scaling up our efforts to promote long term industrialisation and industrial diversification beyond our current reliance on traditional commodities and non-tradable services. Its purpose is to expand production in value-added sectors with high employment and growth multipliers that compete in export markets as well as compete in the domestic market against imports. In so doing, the Action Plan also places emphasis on more labour absorbing production and services sectors, the increased participation of historically disadvantaged people and regions in our economy and will facilitate, in the medium term, SA's contribution to industrial development in the African region.

Global Fight for NHI (= "Single Payer")


The Corporate Hijacking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Russell Mokhiber, Counterpunch, 17 February 2010

Barack Obama we knew about.

If you are disappointed in Obama, shame on you.

He was right up front.

He told us from the beginning he was the corporations’ man.

During the campaign, he promised opposition to single payer health care for all.

Promise fulfilled.

17 February 2010

Revolutionary legacy of Nelson Mandela


Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 4, 17 February 2010

In this Issue:

  • Celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela: Intensify the class struggles on all fronts!

Red Alert

Celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela: Intensify the class struggles on all fronts!

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Over the last two weeks, South Africa, especially the progressive forces, celebrated two very important events. On 2nd 2010 February we celebrated 20 years of the unbanning of the ANC, SACP and other components of the national liberation movement, and on the 11th February the release of Nelson Mandela from the apartheid prisons. The celebration of the unbanning of our organizations and Nelson Mandela was not a tribute to the 'generosity' of the apartheid regime, but honouring the massive sacrifices of millions of South Africans in their selfless struggles against the apartheid regime. The release of Mandela marked a high point in the determined struggles of our people dislodge the apartheid regime as an important step towards the creation of a democratic South Africa.

15 February 2010




We proceed from an understanding of the vanguard relationship between the communists, and the mass of the working class, who are organised in trade unions for self-defence, and not for revolutionary purposes.

We included the Rules of Debate that are applied within those and other mass organisations. We now come to the practical means by which trade unions do their business: Negotiation.

12 February 2010

School cook takes home E500 after "firewood" deduction


Makhungutsha cook gets ‘raw’ deal

Njabulo Dlamini, Swazi Observer, 12 February 2010

A cook at Makhungutsha Primary School in the Manzini Region is being paid E300 less every month for ‘firewood collection’ as she cannot go into the forest.

She ends up taking home E500 after the firewood collection deduction of E300.

In terms of the gazette, school cooks ought to be paid E925 per month.

11 February 2010

SONA mentions SADTU


SONA mentions SADTU


As you are aware, we are committed to five priorities: education, health, rural development and land reform, creating decent work, and fighting crime.

In addition, we will work to improve the effectiveness of local government, infrastructure development and human settlements.

We will undertake a number of key activities towards the achievement of these outcomes.

We have placed education and skills development at the centre of this government’s policies.

Pre-colonial polygamy myths


The president and precolonial polygamy myths

Jacob Dlamini, Business Day, Johannesburg, 11 February 2010

IN 2004, Peter Delius and Clive Glaser, historians at the University of the Witwatersrand, wrote an essay titled The Myths of Polygamy: A History of Extramarital and Multipartnership Sex in South Africa. Delius and Glaser used the article, published in the South African Historical Journal, to challenge claims that there was a connection between polygamy and contemporary male promiscuity in SA.

The historians said these claims were favoured by many people, from researchers, social workers to Christian activists.

09 February 2010

Lenin against Syndicalism


Lenin against Syndicalism

"Demagogues are the worst enemies of the working class" - Lenin

This channel of communication is the combined SADTU Political Education Blog and Forum. It carries a planned programme of political education texts, as well as occasional current articles from the press and the Internet.

The programme of political education texts is presently following the “Basics” course, which is the first of eight “Generic Courses” that are all accessible from this group’s home page.

08 February 2010

Business Report picks on SADTU


A disgrace: New figures show how teachers failed

Strikes hit school children hard

Lucky Biyase, Business Report, Johannesburg, 8 February 2010

School children have been the major casualties of industrial action over the past five years, according to data in the Tokiso Review, released on Friday. The review is a study of the state of labour dispute resolution in South Africa.

07 February 2010




In politics, the word “vanguard” means the professional force, human framework or “cadre”, which can lead the mass movement of the people on a revolutionary path.

The relationship of the revolutionary vanguard to the mass organisations of the people is similar to the relationship of a doctor to the people, or of accountants and lawyers to businesses, or of an architect or an engineer to builders and their clients. The vanguard is made up of professional revolutionaries.

The revolutionary vanguard is a servant, and not a master. The vanguard party of the working class serves the working class, and does not boss it.

The working-class vanguard party, which is the communist party, is not separate from the mass movement. It is intimately involved with the mass movement at all times and at all levels. To be a vanguard at all, it must study the workings of the mass movement.

The vanguard party educates, organises and mobilises. As a vanguard, it must have expert knowledge how mass movements in general, and especially about how the primary mass organisations of the working class which are the trade unions, work.

To deal with this crucial matter (how trade unions work) here is a text from the Marxists Internet Archive’s Encyclopaedia of Marxism, written by Brian Basgen and Andy Blunden, two comrades who clearly have vast experience of what they are writing about.

This text is empirical and experiential and there is nothing wrong with that, because experiential is exactly what trade unions and other mass organisations are. Trade unions arise out of the existing consciousness of workers as they are found under capitalism. In many ways workers emulate capitalist forms of organisation. Their initial purpose is to get a better money deal in exchange for their labour-power in the capitalist labour-market.

Trade unions are in the first place reformist, not revolutionary. Nor can trade unions become revolutionary without the assistance of professional revolutionaries, organised separately as a communist party. Lenin dealt with this relationship in “What is to be Done?” (download linked below).

Trade unionists who think that they can dispense with the assistance of a communist party are on a road to ruin.

Rules of Debate

Crucial to the democracy of mass organisations are the Rules of Debate and Procedure of Meetings. These are a bit like language, or political education, or the Internet, in the sense of being communistic. They are not given as authority. They are not imposed by a “state”. There is no institutional enforcer of these rules.

For example, the South African Communist Party has no given Rules of Debate or Standing Orders. Unfortunately this does not prevent people from claiming “Points of Order”! The nature of the notional “rules” is such that they are only effective to the extent that they are understood in common by the members of any particular gathering.

Wal Hannington [1896-1966, pictured] was well known as a communist leader of the unemployed workers’ movement in Britain in the 1930s. Our summary of his 1950 booklet “Mr Chairman” is included with this item on Trade Unions because communists involved in trade unions need this knowledge.

Hannington wrote: "The Chairman is there to guide the meeting, not to boss it." This is the most valuable message in his book. The Rules of Debate and the Procedures of Meetings are only justified to the extent that they liberate the people present. They become useless when they are felt as a burden or an obstruction.

The point is not for the Chairperson to “keep order”, or for individuals to be bullied down with “points of order”. The Chairperson serves the meeting, and the meeting needs to know how to guide the Chairperson. Everything works best when everyone knows the generic Rules of Debate.


Further (optional) reading:

05 February 2010

Developing a new generation of leaders


Developing a new generation of leaders through a quality, accessible and transformed post-school system

Dr Blade Nzimande, ANC Today, 5 February 2010

Twenty years ago this week, the destiny of our country changed forever as years of revolutionary and selfless struggle gave rise to a free, open and democratic society. The freedoms we now enjoy came as a result of battles fought on many fronts to topple the apartheid regime and undo the legacy of institutionalised racism and discrimination.

One of these frontiers of struggle was the education system. While the apartheid government used an inferior education system to suppress the black population, the revolutionary movement used that very education system as a platform for rebellion and mobilisation.

04 February 2010

Strategy and Tactics


Strategy and Tactics

“The art of revolutionary leadership consists in providing leadership to the masses and not just to its most advanced elements…”

The above line from the ANC’s Morogoro Strategy and Tactics of 1969 (linked below) can be taken as the idea of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) in a nutshell. Politics is in the subjective realm – it is about the ultimate subjectivity, freedom – but politics can only have an existence within the limits of objective realities.

03 February 2010

Education central to modern societies


A Jag in the garage while the lawn needs cutting

Education central to modern societies

Neva Makgetla, Business Day, Johannesburg, 3 February 2010

ECONOMISTS overuse the family as a metaphor for the economy, but sometimes the parallels are irresistible. As in: What would you think if your neighbours bought a Jaguar, attached a fully fitted gym and spa to their roof and set up a helicopter pad, complete with helicopter, in the garden — and then couldn’t afford their rates and school fees, or to keep the lawn trimmed?

A similar philosophy seems to be driving South African government officials when they develop economic strategies. All too often we seem to define “development” as creating conditions for the rich and powerful to pretend they live in Europe, through megabucks projects such as the Gautrain, the pebble bed nuclear reactor, the Fifa World Cup and the arms deal, among others. In short, flashy regularly wins out over the hard slow work of systemic improvement.

Umsebenzi Online, 3 February 2010


Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 3, 3 February 2010

In this Issue: 
  • Let's debate, but let's debate in a way that unifies our movement and strengthens practical programmes of action
Red Alert

Let's debate, but let's debate in a way that unifies our movement and strengthens practical programmes of action

The SACP Political Bureau held its first meeting for 2010 last Friday. The meeting took place at Liliesleaf in Rivonia, the historic site from which the secret High Command of Umkhonto We Sizwe operated until its arrest at this venue in 1963. It was this location that gave the name "Rivonia" to the famous trial that ensued. The property is now being turned into a museum and conference centre with the support of, amongst others, UNESCO.

Liliesleaf has a particular symbolic significance for the SACP - not only was it the site at which legendary names in our Party's history operated, but it was the clandestine SACP that purchased the former small-holding in the early 1960s. Unfortunately for the SACP, not only are we now too late to put in a restitution claim, but it seems that the clandestine SACP-run trust that originally bought the property sold it in the 1960s to a private buyer!

Assessing the SACP's December 2009 Special National Congress

At last Friday's PB, we used the occasion to evaluate, amongst others things, the Party's Special National Congress in Polokwane in December last year. We noted that the Congress was characterised by a very high degree of inner-Party unity. The divisions within the Party, which some of the media had been predicting and, in some cases, promoting, completely failed to materialise.

Congress of the People, Freedom Charter


Congress of the People, Freedom Charter

In our “Basics” course, this document is given as an alternative discussion document to the SACP constitution, because what we are looking for here is a discussion around alliance. The SACP’s Rule 6.4 makes a good basis for such alliances, and the attitude and principle that it exemplifies has been reciprocated over the decades, but most conspicuously in the 1955 Congress of the People and the Freedom Charter that was adopted there.

The Freedom Charter was much more than a list of demands. It was an integral part of a kind of conscious nation-building which had real revolutionary content and which demonstrated real democracy in action.

02 February 2010

Utopia vs. Science


Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

The linked text below is “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific”, by Frederick Engels.

By Utopian, Engels meant imaginary, or ideal, and typical of the early socialists such as Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Fran├žois Fourier (who was the historical inventor of the word “feminism”, among other things).

01 February 2010

Cuba's role in our struggle


Cuba and the South African anti-apartheid struggle

Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, South Africa, on February 11, 1990. That historic victory was the product of the long and courageous struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa. It was also a victory for the international movement against apartheid. Revolutionary Cuba played a vital role in the international movement against white minority rule in South Africa, as the following article describes. (See also "Cuito Cuanavale: How Cuba fought for Africa’s freedom".)

* * *

January 21, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Cuba's relations with African liberation movements began as early as the 1960s, and shortly after the triumph of the struggle against the Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Members of the Cuban leadership travelled to Algiers to build formal relations with the Algerian National Liberation Front (Gleijeses, 1996a). Che Guevara's trip around the African continent in 1963 was a significant turning point in strengthening Cuba's relationship with liberation movements around the continent.