'To think the SACP, Cosatu cannot exercise leadership is wrong'

ABSOLUTE RULER': Former president Thabo Mbeki. Pic. Elizabeth Sejake. 23/09/2009. © ST
Thabo Mbeki lectureat Wits .ELIZABETH SEJAKE 23/09/2009
ABSOLUTE RULER': Former president Thabo Mbeki. Pic. Elizabeth Sejake. 23/09/2009. © ST Thabo Mbeki lectureat Wits .ELIZABETH SEJAKE 23/09/2009

OF ALL the unfounded accusations and outcries that the SACP and Cosatu want to hijack the ANC to socialism, ANC MP Ngoako Ramatlhodi's intervention is constructive, otherwise diplomatic and somehow sophisticated.

OF ALL the unfounded accusations and outcries that the SACP and Cosatu want to hijack the ANC to socialism, ANC MP Ngoako Ramatlhodi's intervention is constructive, otherwise diplomatic and somehow sophisticated.

I searched for dissimilarities between former president Thabo Mbeki's address to the last pre-Polokwane ANC national policy conference and Ramatlhodi's intervention, only to find overwhelming similarities notwithstanding the language used.

Mbeki attributed the national democratic revolution to the ANC, to which he solely allocated the leadership role. He postponed the purpose of the SACP to a distant, future socialist revolution (SR).

In the ultimate analysis Ramatlhodi does the same. He, in fact, adds that the SACP is an appendage of the ANC, responsible, as its task of the day, for political education about a distant, future SR.

If Ramatlhodi's analysis that the ANC qualifies to be a strategic centre because of its multi-class character is to pass a test, dialectically there is no reason in principle to believe that the alliance will fail such a test.

This is because, as Ramatlhodi is himself fully aware, the alliance too is multi-class in character.

To be outright, each one of the formations that constitute our alliance represents a strategic centre of power in its own independent structural location and historic mission. The ANC alone, both quantitatively and qualitatively, does not equal the alliance. Instead, it is part of, and a partner in, the alliance.

Had Ramatlhodi paid adequate attention to the alliance he would have realised the objective and not just the subjective factors why and the extent to which, the ANC needs the alliance inasmuch as other alliance partners do.

Dialectically, there's no contradiction between each one of the alliance partners constituting a strategic centre of power in its own independent structural location and historic mission. It is because of this that the alliance is capable of bringing together its independent partners to collectively pursue the national democratic revolution.

Again, the leadership of the national democratic revolution always stands to be misunderstood if conceptualised mechanically.

To think and perpetuate the idea that Cosatu and the SACP, both individually and collectively, do not have and cannot exercise leadership role in the national democratic revolution is to grossly overemphasise the subjective.

Such thinking is wrong in the extreme, particularly when the national democratic revolution is understood to be a process of a struggle that has to and is taking place in the many different milieus of human activity that exist in our society. Were Ramatlhodi to recall the origins of the concept of the national democratic revolution he would appreciate the leadership role, for example, of the Communist Party to the national democratic revolution.

It is interesting. Ramatlhodi tells us that not all workers support socialism. He also tells us that all workers do not want economic exploitation and that collectively they form a class in its own and for itself, against the very economic exploitation. Good. Unfortunately he does not go further.

Accordingly, in the ultimate analysis all workers want economic exploitation that is inseparable from capitalism to end. Workers understand that without this, their real or complete liberation as human beings is impossible.

Unless proven to the contrary, that's probably why Ramatlhodi, contrary to the ANC strategy and tactics, does not see the working class as the main motive force of the national democratic revolution. He is consequently silent about the leadership role of the working class.

Ramatlhodi also commits an oversight on the national democratic revolution and gender emancipation. Had he looked at gender emancipation he would have realised that women too have a leadership role in the national democratic revolution.

As far as I was taught from the ANC strategy and tactics, the national democratic revolution is intended not only to liberate Africans in particular and black people in general, but it is also about the emancipation of women from patriarchy.

Thus the national liberation of Africans in particular and black people in general does not automatically stand to emancipate women from patriarchy.

Neither does it stand to emancipate the black working class from economic exploitation unique to Colonialism of Special Type and apartheid social relations.

Moreover, I have been taught from the ANC Strategy and Tactics that thenational democratic revolution is also about liberating the oppressor.

The NDR does not leave out class emancipation. It is, according to the ANC strategy and tactics, also about eliminating class exploitation unique to colonialism of special Type and apartheid social relations.

The national democratic revolution seeks to liberate all. It is only a question of emphasis on the approach. This is determined from analysing the rungs of historical injustice as a ladder, without abandoning work in other areas of the liberation task. So says the ANC strategy and tactics if read properly.

One last issue which is related to this discussion, the national democratic revolution has never been about struggling for any single individual to govern alone.

This is definitely tantamount to dictatorship. Actually, Polokwane was about eliminating such a claim. The unwarranted outcry that any single individual regardless of position shall govern alone is liberal, and incompatible with the national democratic revolution.

The national democratic revolution is revolutionary, hence the R. Neither has the national democratic revolution been about any single organisation governing alone. Therefore it is equally unnecessary really, to have a declaration that the ANC shall not co-govern with any other organisation but shall govern alone.

In fact, what the national democratic revolution has been and is about is stipulated in no uncertain terms in the Freedom Charter: "The people shall govern." That's what we all must strive for, and constantly - at all times.

lThe writer is Gauteng YCL provincial secretary. He writes in his personal capacity

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