Let us build a strong vanguard party of the working class in honour of Cde Joe Slovo


The Congress of South African Trade Unions joins millions of South Africans and progressives around the world to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the passing away of the former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Comrade Joe Slovo. 

On this day, twenty-seven years ago departed one of our country’s foremost revolutionary thinkers, who had led from the front in the fight to dismantle the evil apartheid regime.  

It was Cde Slovo’s steady and reliable leadership and exemplary that conduct made him the cherished and appreciated revolutionary that he still is. He still has a lot to offer us as we grapple with the current state of our nation and trying to formulate a response to the current challenges. 

He was a true soldier and a theoretician who never succumbed to the trappings of his position. He never shied away from acknowledging and confronting the failings and inadequacies of either the revolution or revolutionaries. He did more than most in helping to lay a foundation for a socialist future in South Africa with his insightful political analysis and revolutionary conduct. 

This commemoration arrives at a time when the country is amid a deep-seated and multiple crises of capitalism that has seen the nation languishing in the longest ever economic slump that began in 2009. 

While COVID-19 has exacerbated this crisis, we need to acknowledge that this is a structural crisis that affects all dimensions of life. With its manifestations in the economy, energy, climate, food, water, finance, it is the utmost demonstration of the historic failure of the capitalist mode of production. 

The capitalist system has not just created record unemployment, but it drives an accumulation strategy that has led to attacks on the working class, including massive cuts in wages to increase profits. 

The state has responded to this depressing situation and gloomy economic reality by carrying out social downsizing and austerity attacks that have included generalised cuts in social budgets including in health and education. 

In our country like anywhere else in the world, the crisis and the offensive of capital has intensified the exploitation of women. Millions of women live below the poverty threshold. Capital has coerced women into low paying jobs and vulnerable economic sectors, into casualised, contractual and feminised jobs.  

It is clear for all to see with the unemployment numbers, widening inequality, and poverty level that this system cannot be mitigated by neoliberal shock therapies consisting of bailouts, tax subsidies and other incentives. 

On this occasion where we remember Cde Joe Slovo, the working class needs to do an honest introspection on what has gone wrong and what needs to happen to fix and improve this dire situation for the working class. 

As we work to develop a comprehensive program for 2022, a very busy political year, we need to focus on two twin priorities that will make it easier for the working class to survive this epoch and ultimately prevail.  

Workers need to work to build a strong vanguard party of the working class and pay close attention to the theory of Marxism-Leninism to rebuild class consciousness. The Federation has committed itself to ensuring that the working relationship between itself and the SACP is strengthened. 

The SACP of Joe Slovo both independently and through its hegemonic role in influencing mass formations and the ANC itself, has undeniably earned itself the mantle of a vanguard party of the working class in South Africa. 

Our role as workers is to ensure that we work to build an SACP that is organisationally positioned to carry out the tasks of the moment. An organisationally strong SACP should be rooted amongst working class communities as primary sites of building working class power to lead a popular movement for socialism – in concrete terrains of struggles. 

 Let’s honour Cde Joe Slovo by lifting and imitating his honest personal qualities and building a strong vanguard party of the working-class that he will be proud of.  

Issued by COSATU  

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson) 

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794