31 May 2014

The Movement: ANC, Leagues, SANCO, Women

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Induction, Part 7a


The Movement:

ANC, Leagues, SANCO, Women

In “The State and Revolution”, Lenin wrote that democracy, and only democracy, could train people to think together, take decisions together, and act collectively. In the same work, he also wrote that democracy is not freedom. Democracy imposes the will of the majority on the minority and that is not freedom, said Lenin. Democracy is part of the road to freedom, but it is not the last part of that road.

In the South African democratic dispensation there are many more-or-less-democratic institutions. In this and the next two parts of this Induction course, we are going to consider both the autonomous Mass Democratic Movement, including COSATU and the ANC, and also the state’s democracy, national, provincial and local, and including Ward Committees, School Governing Bodies, Community-Police Forums, and other such statutory entities.

In this item, we briefly define, for Induction purposes, the ANC, its Leagues, and SANCO.


The ANC is an individual-membership mass organisation. At its 100th anniversary on January 8th 2012 it had one million members. By the beginning of 2013 it had 1.2 members. Since the 52nd National Congress (Polokwane, 2007) it has approximately doubled in membership.

The African National Congress is the liberation movement that incorporates the class alliance between all of the oppressed classes, including the working class. The African National Congress exists to carry out the National Democratic Revolution. The ANC is also in practice a party within the South African constitution, and it has been the ruling party since the first universal-franchise election in 1994.

The ANC has allies, but it is not a federation. Nor is it part of a federation.


The ANC Women’s League was founded in 1948, five years after the admission of women into the ANC in 1943. The ANCWL is an ANC section for women and not a women’s movement for all women.


The ANC Youth League was in difficulty and is now under a National Task Team. The ANC Youth League is part of the ANC and does not have a life apart from the ANC. The Youth League normally has a fully developed structure from branch level up to national.

ANC Veteran’s League

The ANC Veteran’s League is for people with 40 years of unbroken membership in the ANC. It does not organise old people.


SANCO is the National Civic Organisation. A Civic Association is a type of mass organisation that arose organically from South African history. The Civics belong to their members, in the localities, and they are therefore the natural home of the local petty-bourgeoisie, whose environment is always local. SANCO is a full member of the National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance.

The Women’s Movement

There is no mass-membership national democratic Women’s Organisation in South Africa that individual women can belong to, simply as women. The Progressive Women’s Movement is, according to its own documents, “not a formal structure”. In practice this means that it is not democratic. It has no democratic constitution.

The mass-membership national democratic Women’s Organisation remains the missing fifth Alliance partner. It is the necessary component of the NDR that has been completely neglected.

Please read the attached statement of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC). It can serve as an example of how the leadership of the movement views the organic structure and relationship between the many parts of the movement.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: ANC NEC Statement following meeting held on the 17 May 2013.

30 May 2014

Once More on the Mass and the Vanguard

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Induction, Part 7

The Late Cde Hugo Chavez facing the Masses

Once More on the Mass and the Vanguard

The political field of South Africa, within which we live and act, can be divided like this:

·        Political Parties and voluntary mass organisations
·        Local State: Councils, Ward Committees, Community-Police Forums, School Governing Bodies
·        The National State and Provinces: Elected Government, Ministries and Departments
·        Big companies and parastatals
·        Small companies and Co-ops
·        Trade Unions
·        Religious organisations and NGOs

Political Parties and voluntary mass organisations include both Mass and Vanguard, and are in turn separate from the State’s ways and means of organising the masses.

We have earlier said that the main work of the communists has to be done outside of the confines of the Party, among people who are not communists. The vanguard Party does not define itself outside of the revolution. We have said that the Party itself has mass. The Party has internal democracy, as well as centralism, and the Party’s Constitution is a good one. In the discussion of the Mass and the Vanguard, the Party and the Class, we are therefore not talking of two separate entities. We are not attempting to define one, and then the other, and then join the two together. Instead, we are talking of a relation.

We can further repeat what the General Secretary of the SACP has said on more than one occasion: That we as the SACP accept responsibility for this revolution.

The State organises the masses via national, provincial and local demarcations, in elections, and in “Local State” structures. We can see this in Venezuela, where the direct patronage of the state in the organisation of the masses is, or is intended to be, pervasive (i.e. everywhere in the country), touching everybody and including everybody. In South Africa we have a local state, and we also have benefits to individuals and families that are paid out by the state. But we also have voluntary mass democratic organisations on a big scale.

To begin the discussion about mass organisations and the local state, in our attached reading for discussion, we look at Venezuela via George Ciccariello-Maher’s interview with Venezuela’s Minister of Communes, Reinaldo Iturriza (attached). Reinaldo Iturriza is among other things complaining about what he calls “vanguardism”, including in his own Party (the PSUV), but also in the Communist Party of Venezuela.

Iturriza sees the way forward, not through organs of people’s power, soviets, or dual power, but in the practice of mass elections. Iturriza seems to believe that the Venezuelan masses will always be “Chavist” and will always vote accordingly. He does not dwell long upon the fact that in the recent election, the overall margin of victory was only 1.5%.

It is possible that the neo-liberals will win once and then strip the public wealth of Venezuela in record time, leaving no material basis for a resurrection of Chavism. Venezuela will then be like Libya, which as the late Colonel Gaddafi predicted, was turned into “Somalia” in record time; and what Ruth First wrote about Libya may apply as well to Venezuela, i.e. that its ideology is that of class-formation of a petty-bourgeoisie.




Here is some of what we have been able to find out about Venezuela from Internet research:

Reinaldo Iturriza is a former journalist and/or sociologist who is now, since the election of Nicol├ís Maduro to the Presidency in April 2013, the Venezuelan Minister of the People's Power for the Communes and Social Protection. (All Ministers in Venezuela are currently called “Minister of the People's Power for...”)

In our South African terms, the closest equivalent to Iturriza’s ministry would be the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, while most of its business appears to be having to do with what we would call development projects, such as housing. The funding for such projects comes from central government.

Venezuelan Communal Councils approximately correspond in size to a South African Voting District. Communes, in which at least 10 Communal Councils are joined, form units that would be the size of several electoral wards in South Africa. How these Communal Councils and Communes relate to the Venezuelan voting demarcations is not known by the CU at this time. If you know, please tell us.

The Communal Councils were first formed following the introduction of the Law of Communal Councils in April 2006. By 2009 “30,179 had been created and a further 5000 were in formation”. The process of forming Communes began later, in 2010. (see here)

In Iturriza’s Ministry there are other “Social Missions” and projects with various social purposes. These seem to resemble nationalised non-profit organisations, funded by direct grants from central government.



The South African way of institutionalising People’s Power, practised now for over 100 years, is to develop free-standing mass democratic organisations. These are the ones we will look at in the subsequent items within this 7th part of our course.

In South Africa, if the ANC loses an election, the people’s voluntary mass-democratic structures will still be in place, as they are today in the Western Cape Province, for example, under the DA provincial government.

This is the reason why the reactionaries are trying so hard to destroy the ANC, the trade unions, and the Party, and conversely it is why we are determined to defend and to grow these mass institutions.

But also in South Africa, on the other hand, we have “Ward Committees”. These have spring from the same kind of patronising thinking that has created the Venezuelan Communal Councils. Both were conceived by, are regulated by, and are paid for by, central government. Instead of being the voice of the people, as they pretend, they are the voice of government.

Mass democratic organisations have the potential to become autonomous organs of people’s power during a dual-power revolutionary transition of power from one class to another. Ward committees and the like, including the Venezuelan “Communes”, have no such potential.

The living realities of revolutionary Venezuela and of revolutionary South Africa invite objective and subjective comparisons, including in the concept of “delivery” and “beneficiaries”, which infest both of these societies and bring with them the temptation towards “clientelism”, paternalism and filialism.

Our challenge is to bring on something like a Revolutionary Subject of History to have its moment, and then to move off-stage, leaving after all not democracy, but freedom. Lenin’s question, “What Is To Be Done” is really about that, and Lenin’s book of that title, which we have quoted in the previous part of this course, is itself an Induction into the relation of the Party to the Class, and of the Vanguard to the Mass.



The next (second) item in this part will have to do with the ANC and its Leagues, and SANCO, while noting the mass-democratic women’s movement that could exist, but which has never taken off in South Africa. The third item will deal with the trade unions, including but not limited to our liberation-movement ally COSATU and its affiliates. The fourth and last item in this part will deal with the Young Communist League of South Africa.


·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Reinaldo Iturriza, Representation of the People in Venezuela, 2013.

29 May 2014

Revolutionary Events

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Induction, Part 6c


Storming the Winter Palace

Revolutionary Events

The proposal below is given by Cde Tebello Radebe, Provincial Organizer of the SACP in Gauteng Province.

The attached document is an “Event Management Plan Toolkit”, supplied by Cde Tebello, was written for Australian conditions, to cover all kinds of large events, but modeled on what they call “festivals”.


Communist University Input

This item is very welcome as part of this course. In the spirit of the preceding three items in this part, it is included under “fundraising”, or, we can say, “Fundraising and Events”.

Clearly, for the Party, there are hardly any events that can be funded from any prior general fund that the Party possesses. There are simply no available funds of that kind, even at National level.

Even worse, in fact potentially catastrophic for the Party, is the idea of holding an event and then raising funds to pay for it, afterwards. This is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Therefore, any event of any kind has to be conceived of as self-funding. The good part about this is that if we can in fact make a practice of self-contained and self-funding events, then the Party can do any number of things, and it can hope to generate surpluses, of greater amounts as time goes on and as we become more experienced.

We are not likely to start at the scale of the events described in the document, but this does not mean that the document is not suitable. Smaller events will have to cover all of the matters that are written larger and in more detail in the plans of large events. We can study at the big scale and scale down for our first attempts.


Proposed Event Execution  Framework Plan and Check List


Introduction

Clearly there cannot be any debate around the fact that every event has to be run such that, at the bare minimum it meets, and or at best, surpasses all its intended objectives to be considered as a success. At the same time, it also goes without saying that it is for these reasons that all events have to be executed on the basis of a carefully planned, programmatic, systematic and scientific fashion which should at all times undermine any foreseeable unintended outcomes or mishaps.

It is in the context of all of the above that the following Event Execution Framework Plan and Checklist is proposed. This EEFPC cannot by any chance be considered to be a blueprint or complete manual for every event. It should be used mainly as a guideline to be informed and or adjusted to the “dictates of the prevailing material conditions on the ground “.

1. Planning

1.1 Gauteng has to designate ranks or levels which indicate the resources and organisation necessary for specific events:  for instance –
    
     1.1.2  Events to be ranked Level 1 should be assigned to events of a National as well
      International significance in which HQ and National speakers HAVE to take part.
      Examples : The Chris Hani Commemoration, National events allocated to the
      Province by the CC – A National Congress ; A National SACP Anniversary etc

     1.1.3  Events to be ranked  Level 2  should be assigned to Provincial events in which
      HQ may be invited to play a role – such as to provide speakers and or resources.
      Examples : The Joe Slovo Commemoration ( NB this event and or similar others   
       May in time grow to  Level 1 Status) ; Provincial SACP Anniversaries; All    
     Provincial Rallies or marches eg. Release The Cuban 5 etc.

     1.1.3 Events to be ranked Level 3 should be assigned to District events in which both    
      Province and or HQ may be invited to play a role and or resources.
      Examples : The Yusuf Dadoo Commemoration ; All District Rallies ( inclusive of 
     Any campaign rallies or marches. Noting that any of these events may also in time be     
     Elevated to Levels 2 or 1).

     1.1.4  Events to be ranked Level 4 should be assigned to Sub -District events in where    
      Both the District and or Province may be invited to play a role and or resources.
     
      1.1.5  Events to be ranked Level 5 should be assigned to Branches in which     
      District, Province and or HQ may be invited to play a role and or resources.

1.2.1 Key planning for any event should start at the level of the branch as informed by the decisions of the upper structures with regard to the dates and venues. It goes without sayinh that the main Chris Hani and Joe Slovo events do not need reminders to anyone as  dates and venues are Gauteng.

1.2.3        The Branches should indicate to the sub-district or district the names and  phone numbers of  members who may be available to attend an event showing the signatures of such members. There should be a list for a weekday event and a weekend event. These list should be compared to the final list of  bus passengers on the day of the event to inform different assessments as well as  success rates or otherwise.
1.2.4        The Sub-Districts and Districts should compile consolidated indications of  possible attendance and to forward such to the Province. This step is ULTRA CRITICAL As it should set the parameters for all resources that may be required as well as to indicate the basis of what is doable, feasible or not and so on.

2. The Mobilisation Team  ( To assume the role of the Organising Committee )

2.1.1   To be ideally chaired by an elected executive member at both the District and
         Provincial Level.
2.1.2        An Operations Centre with full office infrastructure such as phones, email, 
copiers etc be established and controlled by an Operations Officer who may be
The same person as in 2.1.1 above or anyone else  to assume the same responsibility in the absence of the 2.1.1 person. All of the 2.1.3 role players below to report to and take instructions from the Operations Officer.
 
2.1.3        To be made up of all key role players who each contributes to and are accountable
To specific tasks – as far as possible preferably to submit written reports or plans:
Examples :  Fundraising ; Liaison with Authorities (Where legal – Emergency Provisions – Traffic etc  permissions  are necessary ) Media Liaison (Including Postering Teams); Transport Co-ordination ( including bus co-ordinators ); Marshalling Teams and their leaders or leader ; Branding ; Catering; Programme / Speakers etc. Above all effective and efficient Administration by an administrator or administration team – to ensure all bookings, orders and payments and records of payments are done in time. Any other additional tasks and roles may be added to the above if so identified.

3. Time Frames
3.1 As far as possible small Mobilisation Standing Teams be set up the annually to meet every three months to assess the state of readiness of all the forces necessary to run any event especially Levels 1 and  2 events.
3.2  The frequency of meetings of the bigger teams be decided from  3 months before the event and then accelerated accordingly as the event draws nearer.
3.3  “Debriefing” or assessment meetings be held soon after each event – to review every aspect of the event.                                                     

Tebello Radebe, 16 / 04 / 2013



28 May 2014

Cash-or-kind

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Induction, Part 6b


Cash-or-kind

To repeat: The Party must live off the land, raising its means as it goes along.

In this item, we will look at who the people are in the community who have money.

Let us presume that the working class is organised, in trade unions, in the Party, and in other mass organisations. We have dealings with them through their mass organisations, as described earlier in this part. We ask them for support and we do get support from the Mass Democratic Movement. To the extent that they have structures at local level, we can do the same.

The other people who have money in the community, at local level, are the local business people. These are the petty-bourgoisie, and the locality is their home and the place where they are nurtured and reproduced.

A mature local communist party will be in touch with the petty-bourgeoisie, will know them personally, and will be known by them in a frank and friendly relationship.

The petty bourgeoisie is not the main class we represent, but nor is it the main class that we oppose. The communists have to be the leaders of the whole society. In the process of building socialism now, we have to be able to form alliances with other classes.

In the past, and in the liberation struggle in particular, some shopkeepers and small business producers did support the liberation movement. They have their own reasons for wanting to do so, which the communists should learn to understand. If we are not getting at least a small amount of support from them, we are probably not doing everything right.

Therefore the communists should not rule out approaching the local business for assistance. They should make a point of doing so, in order to learn what is possible in the relationship between themselves and this class that has its full field of operations in the locality.

We should begin to make it a habit, even if the beginnings of this relationship are slow and difficult. In the process we should listen carefully, so as to find out what this class of people, potential allies, think they can get from us. This may be advocacy, even a campaign, but it may also have an intellectual, or ideological nature. We should be ready to respond.

·        A suitable reading-text text has not yet been found.

23 May 2014

Fundraising

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Induction, Part 6a


Fundraising

The function of the Treasurer is crucial to fundraising, but it is not fundraising.

The Treasurer provides a safe place to conserve the funds that have been raised. This is a pre-requisite for successful fundraising. Without it, the funds will disappear.

Therefore it becomes a rule that all funds raised are passed to the Treasurer, and it is the duty of all concerned to be sure that a record has been created, in the form of a Voucher.

Expenditure of the funds raised must take place by decision of the collective, and must be recorded properly as such, and in all detail.

The Levy

The Party requires all its members to pay a levy, in an amount calculated in relation to the member’s income. It is what is otherwise called, in religious organisations, a tithe.

What happens to the levy money?

The levy money goes to the centre, and is spent by the centre. Some of the money is used to pay the salaries of full-time Party workers at the Provincial level, at the discretion of the Party centre.

No part of the levy money is likely to return to the levels below Province (District, Sub-District, Branch and Unit).

This goes to reinforce the necessity of fundraising as part of any function or activity. One good example is literature. Literature for the Party has a political meaning, first. But, literature should not be an expense for the branch. It should generate a surplus.

Literature

The circulation of literature is a revolutionary priority, one that Lenin in particular wrote about.

In some other communist parties, a position of Literature Secretary is maintained as a branch office-bearer ranking with the Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer.

In modern circumstances, where media of communications are changing, this function needs constant thought and re-thinking.

Literature – text – has to be sourced and/or written, and transmitted, and this movement of text needs to be reciprocated by a movement of resources in the opposite direction, so as to cover costs.

The Internet, with practically zero marginal cost of use (meaning the next use costs next to nothing), gives the impression of being altogether cost-free. But in fact, content production is fully labour-intensive. It increases only in proportion to the direct input of human labour.

The tools of the trade are not cost-free, and they have to be replaced on a 3-year cycle.

At the same time, this production can be quite localised, as well as being part of absolutely global networking.

The prizes go to those who can aggregate inputting capacity, which is labour-intensive. Co-operation is the key, and money collection is crucial to the cohesion of any collaboration of this kind.

Lenin on organisation of the Party

Lenin faced similar concerns to those that we are faced with today in South Africa in 2013. Of course, there was no Internet. But there was a strongly-expressed relation between the local and the national, and Lenin asked, during the controversies that followed the Second Congress off the RSDLP that has split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, but which resulted in the loss to Lenin of his magazine Iskra.

In the attached document, (Part B from Chapter 5 of Lenin’s 1902 work, “What Is To Be Done?” Lenin puts the matter like this:

“Unless we train strong political organisations in the localities, even an excellently organised all-Russia newspaper will be of no avail. This is incontrovertible. But the whole point is that there is no other way of training strong political organisations except through the medium of an all-Russia newspaper.”

This course is intended as an Induction into the world of the SACP. In this world, there are two poles, the local and the national. In between, there are Districts and Provinces but the crucial parts are the Branches, and the National centre. This much is as it was in Lenin’s days.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Can A Newspaper Be A Collective Organiser?, Lenin, 1902.

22 May 2014

The Party is not an NGO

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Induction, Part 6



The Party is not an NGO

The Party’s Production

What the Party produces is communication.

The Party researches, discusses and prepares, formats, lays out, prints, and distributes words, pictures and “text” of all kinds. All of its processes go one way – towards communication.

Communication has costs. Communication costs are our main costs. And communication is labour-intensive.

This is the background to this part of our Induction course, which covers Fundraising and Events.

No Funders, No Donors, and No Sponsors

The Communist Party is not an NGO, and so there are, as a rule, no funders for the Communist Party of the kind that fund the usual NGOs. Such funders give for their own reasons, and to pursue their own agenda, which generally is not our agenda.

The working class must, as a rule, pay for its politics, and the closer the working class comes to its revolutionary objectives, the more this will be true; so we must get used to it.

Therefore we begin with the presumption that there is no ready-made source of disinterested or charitable funding. We have to get used to managing without such imaginary sources. We have to look for sources of funding who are interested: partisan.

These may be our own members, and individuals who are, as the saying goes, “close to the Party”. They may include Trade Union structures at various levels. Or, they may include class forces that are not working-class, but who see their interests coinciding with those of the Party.

Managing without, and living off the land

The Party must manage without funds coming from above it. There is no “Manna from Heaven” for the Party.

The Party must to a large extent “live off the land”, and pay as it goes. At local level especially, it cannot spend money without raising money.

Party members meet with each other, and they meet with other structures. While doing so they pay their own way, treating party business as part of their lives. This is one part of “living off the land”.

To the extent that the Party needs to go further than this basic level of activity, of individual party members communicating using their own resources, then it must gather the means close at hand.

This means that the Party is, and must be, supported by the close community where it exists.

Close in time

The local Party will not usually be able to hold substantial funds over time. The idea of raising funds separately in time from the expenditure that the funds are raised for, is not the best model upon which which fundraising should conceived.

Rather, the fundraising effort and the activity upon which funds are going to be spent, should as far as possible be one and the same thing.

This principle can be taken one step further and made routine. We can then make it a rule that all activities of the Party should be fund-raising activities.

Accounting should be central, and it should be normal that there will be a surplus on all activities undertaken, which will be conserved by the Treasurer. In this way, the Treasurer’s function becomes crucial to the fund-raising effort. But the Treasurer is not a fundraiser.

Actually, the Treasurer should be the last person to be involved in fundraising, as such. The Treasurer is the keeper, and not the raiser of funds.

Let us look at this in practice, remembering that we have already said, above, that what the Party produces is communication. Let us look at some different kinds of communication.

Branch

At all Branch and Committee meetings (BGM, BEC and Sub-Committee Meetings), money should be collected and passed to the Treasurer of the Branch, without exception. It should be normal that these collections generate a surplus over expenses. Vouchers should be generated, records kept and reports made, in the manner indicated elsewhere in this part.

Literature and Merchandise

World-wide, the Communist Parties have a tradition of being book-sellers and hard-copy news-and-opinion outlets, for its own members and for its community. The SACP needs to reverse the priority from money-making to propaganda; but having done so, then to make more money than before from these activities.

The same applies to merchandise. The Party should not try to sell general clothing, but should sell for the occasion. The occasion should drive the sales. Sell for wearing on the day, and not for taking home.

Solidarity speech

You are invited to attend a meeting, and make an input. You ask for a contribution to the Party. Why not? The Party can only exist if it is supported by the working class. We do not have to apologise for that fact. Asking for funds for the party should be normal.

Local Public Meeting

Likewise, if the party holds a Public Meeting, it should call for contributions, at the door, by collection in the crowd with buckets, and by direct request from the platform.

How to do a collection

One way to do a collection from the platform of a meeting or a rally is to use good-humoured and popular person, and have that person call for large notes. “Who is going to give R200? Come on all you government officials. Come on all you senior managers” And so forth. Even if you only get one public sight of a R200 note, it sets the example for the next round, which is the call for R100 notes. Then the shouter gets so many of those, and waves them around. There can be jokes. There could be a song. Then the next round calls for R50s. Time is taken. A good atmosphere4 is cultivated. Then the R20s. Then the R10s. People can give twice. There is no rule that says because you gave R100, you cannot give R20. And so it goes until the fundraiser asks for all the metal cash money in the house.

The fundraiser needs helpers with buckets.

This method of fund-raising from an audience works well and it makes people feel good.

The money must go straight to the Treasurer, and here can also be seen, again, the reason why the Treasurer is not a fundraiser.

·        A suitable reading-text text has not yet been found.

17 May 2014

Spreadsheets

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Induction, Part 5c


Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are the same as “tables”, “tabulations” and “schedules”. They are arrangements in rows and columns. This way of arranging data (on paper) has been used for hundreds of years.

Such tables are everywhere around us. Common examples are calendars and year-planners; bus and train timetables; team lists; television schedules; collection sheets; wage slips; price lists; restaurant menus; parts lists, cutting lists and bills of quantities.

Understanding of spreadsheets is for practical purposes “intuitive”. These arrangements are so familiar as to appear “natural” and “obvious”, and this is part of their intention.

Spreadsheets can concentrate a lot of data on a single page. They can be used to sort (i.e. “analyse”) data and to summarise it down to totals and a single grand total. They tend to create some sort of “mind map”, in the sense of presenting the parts and the whole, in one go.

This item is intended to introduce and to objectify the broad idea of spreadsheets. The next stage will be for more comrades to begin to use this form of working.

Some simple rules will make your spreadsheets better. Try to keep them on a page, both horizontally and vertically. Use as few columns as possible. Use the biggest font possible. If you use colours, use very pale ones.

This item completes our fifth part on office processes. There could be much more to say about these and other ones, including more about computer software. But the main point here is that numbers of us, if not all of us, must learn, and must continue to learn how to do such basic operations. The common aim should be to build up an internal collective bank of expertise, so that when required, action proceeds efficiently and smoothly.

Office processes have been perfected under the bourgeois dictatorship, mainly as instruments of power over the working class and other classes. To overthrow the bourgeois ruling class will require that the proletariat masters these common processes.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Spreadsheets, Tweedie, 2013.

16 May 2014

Report-writing, Correspondence and Filing

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Induction, Part 5b


Report-writing, Correspondence and Filing

This item is here by request. People wanted an item on report-writing.

As we have pointed out in the previous item, preparation is the key to the composition of any text. The difficulty of writing arises from lack of preparation. Somebody who is well-prepared and who has researched and organised material will find it hard not to write.

Please therefore read the text together with the previous one.

“Report-writing” leads naturally into the matters of correspondence in general and of filing, so the text touches on those.

Then, this item is used to mention several more “necessary capacities” and open them for discussion. These are Computers; Layout; Venue; and Timetable.

All these items are related in the sense that they are matters of conscious design. Comrades need to be conscious of them, and be able to discuss them and make decisions about them, and not just take them for granted or regard them as difficult or impossible to improve or change.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Report Writing, Correspondence, Filing and other skills, Tweedie, 2013.

15 May 2014

Note-taking

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Induction, Part 5a


Note-taking

The above illustration is a “Mind Map” made by Tony Buzan.

Buzan makes his living out of spreading study techniques, and we recommend them. Another of his techniques is “The Buzan Organic Study Method”.

Buzan’s web site is at: http://www.tonybuzan.com/

The attached document is a review of Buzan’s 1974 book, “Use Your Head”.

Note-taking

The argument for note-taking is that comrades who are required to write, or to prepare any kind of material, need to be able to order their thoughts. Implied in this is the idea of research. Comrades must be able to find out what they need to know for any particular project, and hold that knowledge in a form such that when they need to use it, they can readily find it again.

We will return to the matter of report-writing in the next item of this part. For this part, let us try to take up in a concrete way, Tony Buzan’s conception of the whole complex of learning, fast reading, remembering, and noting, and by implication what follows, which is composing and writing.

The problems of writing are best solved before the writing is commenced. The ordering of the material in a rational, organic way, prior to writing, leaves the writer with relatively little to do, other than to mechanically put the marks on the paper.

Please read the attached. It will help you.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Tony Buzan, Use Your Head, 1974 (Conspectus by D Tweedie).

14 May 2014

Double Entry Book-keeping

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Induction, Part 5


Double Entry Book-keeping

In the introduction to this course we noted that:

Double-entry book-keeping was developed during the Italian Renaissance, in Florence and in Genoa, and was for the first time described as a system by Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan Friar and friend of Leonardo da Vinci’s, in Milan.”

Historically, double-entry book-keeping coincided with the rise of the bourgeois class over the last 500 years. It is one of the better products of bourgeois development.

Double-entry book-keeping enables individuals and corporations to maintain a constant, detailed record of all their claims and obligations, the consequences of all of the transactions that they perform.

The beneficial owner of any business possesses the assets, minus the liabilities. Taking the owner into account, all of the balances on the books, positive and negative, should in the aggregate, cancel out.

Put in another way, if all the “debits” are added up, they should total the same as all of the “credits”. The “mobile sculpture” in the image above illustrates this idea quite well.

Cash Book

Small businesses, and entities such as political parties and their branches, do not usually maintain a full “ledger” of accounts all the time, but they record their transactions in a “Cash Book”.

A Cash Book is the minimum form of continuous record that can be sufficient to reconstruct a full record or “ledger”, expressed as a Balance Sheet and an Income and Expenditure (or Profit and Loss) Account.

A Cash Book can be summarised as a Receipts and Payments Account, for reporting purposes.

Branches, as well as all higher structures of the SACP, ANC and trade unions, must be able to account for funds given to them, kept by them, and used by them.

At the very least, each structure must keep a Cash Book.

·        The above is to introduce an original reading-text: Keeping a Cash Book and other accounts, Tweedie, 2004.