The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) sends warm greetings and to the revolutionary vanguard of the South African working class the SACP on the occasion of its 98th Anniversary. The SACP has been a permanent feature of this country’s political life for 98 years and in the intervening period; it has played a very important role in liberating the poor from both the shackles of political oppression and socio-economic exploitation. COSATU regards the SACP as the most reliable ally and we wish it unity, cohesion and many more years of revolutionary leadership in our society.
This occasion arrives at a time when our national democratic revolution has entered the most dangerous and difficult period and as a component of the working class, we are looking to the South African Communist Party (SACP) to provide strategic and tactical guidance to help the working class chart the way out of this current disturbing political situation.
The persisting capitalist crisis is destroying people’s livelihoods. Unemployed levels have shot up to 29%, wages have been severely depressed, and working families’ livings standards have been reduced. The capitalist bosses are increasing the employment of new production technology and reducing the number of employed workers. Those who remain employed face intensified work conditions and ever-deepening exploitation. In our country, employment does not mean an exit from the vice grip of poverty, since millions of workers are the working poor, while capitalist bosses are accumulating wealth and taking it out of the country.
So, as the Vanguard savours this important moment in its history, we also hope that it will deeply reflect and use this occasion to provide some answers to questions thrown up by the current challenges facing our revolution.
We need the SACP to lead in the quest to building up the socialist foundations of our economy and rescue the working class from this life of brute survival and helplessness. We are reminded of the words by the SACP General Secretary, Comrade Blade Nzimande who warned of what could become of our revolution at the COSATU 8th National Congress.
On that occasion he said; “Unless, the working class leads, working programmatically and in action with the widest range of the mass of the urban and rural poor unless this is done, the promise of 1994 will collapse into agendas of narrow self-enrichment, and general confusion. The SACP is prepared to work with all potentially patriotic and progressive forces – but one thing is clear, the bourgeoisie, and the emergent bourgeoisie, separately and together are incapable of charting a way out of our persisting crisis of underdevelopment. The working class must lead”.
This period of narrow self-enrichment and the abandonment of progressive policies by the successive governments have left our revolution vulnerable to defeat. Only the working class leadership can help us chart the way out of this gloomy situation. We are now challenged more than ever to unite a range of popular and patriotic forces to push back against poverty, inequality, unemployment, corporate capture of the state and naked populism.
As one of the recent discussion documents for the 14th SACP National Congress notes: “Across the ANC and our broader Alliance, there is a growing determination not to be bullied by those who conceal their personal self-enrichment agendas behind lofty appeals to “black economic empowerment”. We must continue to expose these fraudulent agendas. But we must also give substantive content in theory and practice to real alternatives. Let us advance a genuine second radical phase of the national democratic revolution”.
The ANC-headed alliance remains unstable floundering and divisions in our broader movement have intensified. The absence of democratic, consensus-seeking consultation on the direction of our shared national democratic revolution has created a gulf of leadership affecting both the alliance and society as a whole. This has plunged the revolution into unchartered waters, an unacceptable situation of uncertainty and all manner of factional opportunism seeking to fill the void.
The nation is dangerously reliant on courts for relief and leadership in the midst of glaring political leadership failures. This moment cries for an inspiring leadership that has the capacity to tackle the current challenges head-on and remind the people that the courts are not a substitute of revolutionary organisation.
The SACP has been a torch-bearer in the fight against State Capture and Corruption and we expect it to provide the same level of leadership against this deepening economic crisis and the search for the way forward for a second more radical phase of our revolution.
Happy 98th Anniversary to the SACP!
Long Live the SACP!
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794