Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do It For Chris Hani: Intensify Communist Electoral Work Towards An Overwhelming ANC Victory

Red Alert

Do it for Chris Hani: Intensify communist electoral work towards an overwhelming ANC victory

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Since the assassination of our late General Secretary, Cde Martin Thembisile 'Chris' Hani on 10 April 1993, the SACP declared April the 'Chris Hani Month' in honour and memory of this gallant son of the soil and a communist till the end. But this 16th anniversary is of particular significance.

We are commemorating the 16th anniversary of this dastardly act during the year in which we will be holding our fourth democratic elections since the historic 1994 democratic breakthrough. This is significant in that it was in the wake of his assassination that the stalemate in the negotiations was broken and the hand of the regime was forced to agree to set 27 April 1994 as the date of the first democratic elections. So it is even more appropriate that we dedicate the movement's electoral effort to the memory of this hero.

The 16th anniversary of the assassination of Cde Chris also coincides with the 40th anniversary of that historic ANC Conference, the Morogoro Conference, held in Tanzania in 1969. There are a number of significant aspects about this conference. It was the first ANC conference held in exile after the banning of the ANC in 1960. The conference also came in the wake of the very first serious experiences of attempted infiltration of Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK) guerillas into South Africa, through the Wankie-Sipolilo campaign in 1967.

If there is one individual who has been prominently associated with the events that immediately led to the convening of the Morogoro Conference, it was cde Chris Hani. Vladimir Shubin, in his book 'ANC: A View from Moscow' (the 2008 second revised edition), cites from excerpts (below) of a memorandum signed by cde Chris Hani and seven other commanders and commissars of MK sent to the leadership of the ANC. This memorandum, amongst others, spoke about the state of the movement as cde Chris and others saw it, including 'the frightening depth reached by the rot in the ANC and disintegration of MK accompanying this rot'.

The Memorandum also demanded of leadership to be 'committed to the resolution and programme of going home to lead the struggle there. (A) Leadership vacuum in South Africa could result in a situation where our people will be deceived by the opportunists of all shades'. It also called upon those leaders frequenting international conferences and 'other globe trotting activities' to reduce these 'to a reasonable few' so that 'the remainder should work round (the) clock… at the home front'.

Significantly, Shubin, citing from the memorandum, also refers to the complaints against differential treatment of cadres in exile, some being allowed to attend universities, having cars and salaries, whilst others were expected to be in the camps in the bush. The memorandum further complained about what Chris and the other signatories described as the building of a stratum of a middle class within the ANC.

Though Chris Hani was to pay hard for this, until cde Oliver Tambo intervened, including being excluded from attending the Morogoro conference, this memorandum is regarded in some of the ranks of the movement as the precursor to Morogoro. It is a testimony to cde Chris' bravery, forthrightly raising tough issues within the organization, and also perhaps a warning about the dangers of the bourgeoisification of the ANC; the dangers of the emergence of a 'class project', at odds with the mass and revolutionary character and overall objectives of the ANC.

A further significant aspect about this conference is that it undertook a thorough review of the state of our movement at the time, prospects and strategies for the armed struggle, strengths and weaknesses of the ANC, in exile and inside the country, as well as re-positioned the ANC to respond effectively to the workers and mass uprisings and struggles of the 1970s. Much more significant about the Morogoro Conference is that it decisively defined and located the ANC as a 'disciplined force of the left' and a critical component of the world-wide radical anti-imperialist movements.

The 40th anniversary comes in the wake of the Polokwane Conference which some of our comrades have dubbed 'Morogoro II' because of its decisive intervention in changing the course and direction of our movement post-1994. Never in the history of our Alliance post-1994 have we found ourselves more united in purpose as an Alliance than after the Polokwane Conference. For this we must honour the memory of Cde Chris as a living link between Morogoro and Polokwane.

The 16th anniversary of the assassination of our late General Secretary also coincides with that historic SACP document which contributed immensely in shaping the direction of the national liberation and class struggles in our country, the 'Native Republic Thesis'. The Native Republic Thesis was adopted by the 7th Annual Conference of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), predecessor to the SACP, held from 29 December 1928 to 2nd January 1929.

Though this thesis was adopted by the Communist International in September 1928, the 7th Conference of the CPSA, after a heated debate, officially adopted it on 1 January 1929, as part of its Programme. To this end, that Party Programme said:
"Moreover, as a weapon in the overthrow of Imperialism, i.e. world capitalism in its last phase, and in its principal strongholds, the colonies, the Party devotes special attention to the national cause of the native people as such, not indeed in the sense of a campaign 'to drive the white man into the sea', but in the Leninist sense of underlining the prime importance of supporting movements for complete national liberation of colonial peoples, removing all the political and social disabilities which make up their enslavement….."

This programme continued to pose and answer the following question:

"Is this a departure from the strict class outlook? By no means. 'Labour solidarity' cannot mean ignoring race discrimination or subjection. Moreover modern capitalism typically treats colonial races, at any rate in Africa, as constituting, en bloc, reservoirs of labour. South African imperialism helotises the whole of the native people as a race as providing a national labour breeding and recruiting ground. Again unity postulates equality. If we are to achieve real labour unity we must first remove the greatest obstacle to it, viz, the unequal, subjected, enslaved status of the native workers and people. Hence race emancipation and class emancipation tend to coincide. Hence too the conception and realization of native rule merges into that of the Workers' and Peasants' Republic, non-imperialist, non-capitalist, non-racialist, classless and in effect Socialist".

Though the adoption of this thesis caused a lot of controversy within the Party then, leading to serious internal factionalist battles in the early 1930s, it was nevertheless a profound resolution and set the foundation for the Alliance as we have come to know it today. It is indeed this Alliance that the struggle of Cde Chris Hani embodied, and he lived and died as a cadre and leader of both the SACP and the ANC. As we celebrate his life, we are also celebrating the vision contained in the 'Native Republic Thesis'.

As we reflected in our last edition, we are in the middle of our election campaign in support of the ANC, and our people are positively responding in their millions to the message of the ANC as contained in the Manifesto. SACP cadres are also out in their numbers engaging our people in the townships, in the rural areas, in the informal settlements and in their various workplaces.

Cde Chris would have been very proud of the key commitments made in the ANC Manifesto. These are in line with some of the SACP mass campaigns he led in the early 1990s, notably our popular 'Triple H' campaign to fight hunger, homelessness and the struggle for health for all. The themes of rural development, land and agrarian reform, quality jobs, prioritization of health for all as contained in the ANC Manifesto are all integrally linked and an advancement of the 'Triple H' campaign.

From now onwards, during this month of April, we will deepen our electoral work in honour and in memory of Cde Chris, guided by our commitment - of which he was a prime example -that, 'Communists are the first to enter the battlefield, and the last to leave'!

The SACP wishes to thank and salute the Chris Hani family for always consenting and co-operating with us during this month of the commemoration of their father, husband and brother. The SACP is also happy about the fact that the Pretoria High Court recently denied convicted murderer Clive Derby-Lewis his latest attempt to be pardoned for his cowardly action. Let Walus and Derby-Lewis rot in jail, until they fully disclose all the circumstances under which Cde Hani was murdered!

We dare not fail the memory and the sacrifices of this gallant fighter. Communist cadres to the front, for an overwhelming ANC electoral victory, during this, the Chris Hani Month!


No comments: