26 March 2012

Introduction to “Basics”

Basics, Part 0

Introduction to “Basics”
SADTU Political Education Forum will be serialising the ten-week “Basics” course during the second quarter of 2012. This course was designed to satisfy those who are impatient to acquire the political fundamentals as quickly as possible.

At the same time, it is designed to open doors to further studies, including, but not limited to, the other 11 courses of the Communist University (find them as PDF downloads here, or here, in the links below the top).

Each post will have, attached, at least one PDF file of the original text, formatted for printing as a booklet. Each post will consist of an opening to a discussion of that text. Please join in the dialogue around these posts by e-mail. Serialising the courses in parts is what allows the possibility of such e-mail dialogue.

By contributing to dialogue, you will multiply the value of this course for yourself, and for others.


The course begins with reflections on the theory of teaching and learning. This is so that we can know what we are doing, how we will do it, and why. In general, the theory that underlies the pedagogical approach of the Communist University is that of Paulo Freire, author of “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”. Not only is it crucial to ourselves as we proceed, but it is also given as a political method, and as the actual substance of political practice. Education is politics, and politics is education. Education takes place in dialogue.

The rest of the course

The second part leads with Machiavelli, backed up with texts on Capital and The State by Marx and Engels respectively. The third part is the Communist Manifesto of 1848, followed by summarising works by Lenin and Engels on the fourth part. By this stage we should have made out a good general outline of the material history of the world, and of its constant class struggles.

In the fifth part we come back to South Africa to look at the SACP’s short constitution, and to other crucial South African documents: the 1955 Freedom Charter and the 1969 Morogoro “Strategy and Tactics” document of the ANC.

In the sixth and seventh parts we deal with the relation of the vanguard party to the mass organisations of the working class, in particular trade unions and their work of collective bargaining with the capitalist employers. Then we go straight to Karl Marx’s classic lecture on this topic, “Value, Price and Profit”, backed up by the great Chapter One of Marx’s Capital, volume 1, on Commodities.

In part nine we return to a closer examination of the state, starting with Lenin’s lecture on the state, an then using the great classics, Engels’ “Origin of the Family, Private Property and The State”, and Lenin’s “The State and Revolution”.

The tenth part is dedicated to the on-going struggle against Imperialism, using several short texts as well as Joe Slovo’s great “The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution”.

The whole course can be downloaded in the form of PDF files (printable as booklets) from:

If all goes to plan, during this course we should be able to announce the creation of a web page, effectively within the SADTU web site, that will allow you to order these booklets in “hard copy”, in various ways, and at a good price.

The first week’s postings of this new course will commence next Thursday, 29 March 2012.