Moses Kotane (1905-1978), former Secretary-General of the South African Communist Party (SACP), is the subject of a biography written by the recently passed Brian Bunting (1920-2008)., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SACP: Statement by Malesela Maleka, South African Communist Party spokesperson, on the commemoration of its 90th anniversary
The South African Communist Party (SACP) will this weekend be celebrating 90 years since its formation on 31 July 1921 in Cape Town. The major activity for the celebrations includes the holding of the Anniversary Rally at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, in Clermont, eThekwini, KwaZulu Natal Province, preceded by the anniversary dinner on Saturday 30 July. The official programme of the rally will commence at 10H00 on the 31st July 2011.
The rally will be addressed by our international allies from the Communist Party of Cuba and the Communist Party of China, the National Chairperson of the MKMVA Cde Kebby Maphatsoe, the National Secretary of the Young Communist League Cde Buti Manamela, the President of SANCO Cde Ruth Bengu, the General Secretary of COSATU Cde Zwelinzima Vavi and ANC President, Cde Jacob Zuma. The SACP General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimande will deliver the keynote address at the rally.
The 90th anniversary is a moment to celebrate the enormous role that the SACP has played in the national liberation of our country, and also its conrribution towards the reconstruction of our country since the democratic breakthrough of 1994. Ours is a party that is committed to the destruction of the capitalist system in our country and the building of a more humane alternative, a socialist South Africa. In achieving this objective we are guided by our medium term vision, that of seeking to build working class influence in all key sites of power, both inside and outside the state.
We are also celebrating the many contributions the SACP has made in the struggle for liberation in our country. Our Party was the first non-racial political party and also through this helped pioneer non-racialism in the politics of our country, and in society in general. It was the Communist Party that not only theoretically pioneered this but was in the forefront of organising African workers and white workers hand in hand in pursuit of the common enemy, capitalism. It is this which was later to influence what Cde Joe Slovo was to coin as an understanding of the “national character of the class question and the class character of the national question”. We celebrate a party of national liberation. It was the SACP that led in this country the call for black majority rule, with its call from way back in 1929.
We celebrate a party that has been a dependable ally of the progressive forces and the Mass Democractic Movement led by the ANC in the struggle against apartheid. We celebrate a leading role of communists in the operations of the people’s army, uMkhonto we Sizwe. The SACP has also contributed immensely towards the building of the African National Congress as the leading formation of the national liberation movement, much as it has also, over the years, learnt a lot from the ANC.
We honour heroes and heroines of our revolution included amongst others Johannes Nkosi, Basil February, Ruth First, the heroic leadership and activism of communists in the Wankie and Sipolilo campaign, the leadership role of women like Dora Tamana in the Federation of South African Women and the ANC Women’s League and the ANC, and the brilliant organisational skills of trade unionists like Elizabeth Mafikeng, John Beaver Marks and many unsung heroes and heroines of our revolution.
The SACP can also rightly claim that no other political organisation has played and contributed to the building of the progressive trade unions like it has done. The SACP also pioneered progressive media in our country that has promoted the interests of the workers and the poor in country, a far cry from the role that is being played by mainstream media, whose obsession today is unbridled support for capitalism and an opposition to all that the ANC-led alliance and its government is trying to build.
It is for all the above reasons and history that since 1999 we have taken forward the decision of building a vanguard party with a mass character and immersed our organisation in taking up campaigns that touch at the heart of the daily struggles of the South African people through our Red October Campaign. Since 1999 the SACP has led the following campaigns:
a. For land and agrarian reform
b. A campaign for the protection of vulnerable workers
c. A campaign for food security for the poor, lower food prices and redistribution of land for food production
d. A campaign to transform the financial sector to serve the majority of our people including a credit amnesty and campaigning against reckless credit lending – it is this campaign by the way which partly insulated our finance institutions during the capitalist crisis of 2008
e. A campaign for safe, affordable and accessible public transport system
f. A campaign for Quality Healthcare For All which called for amongst others the introduction of the National Health Insurance
g. A campaign for the financing of development
h. A campaign against corruption
i. A campaign to build street committees and people’s power for a revolutionary state
j. A campaign to deepen and strengthen participatory democracy
These are the campaigns that have left an indelible mark in the minds and heart of ordinary South Africans about the relevance of the SACP in radically transforming their lives. It is because of these campaigns, amongst others, that today we can talk about a Communist Party whose paid up membership is just over 130 000. We are in fact the largest political formations after the ANC.
The communist party today is faced with the challenge of attaining the required balance of its tasks and role in governance and continuing its leadership role in mass struggle as an independent organisation.
As we celebrate our 90th anniversary the SACP further commits itself, in the struggle for the total liberation of our country, to fight all forms of corruption, both inside and outside the ranks of our Alliance and the state. We will do this without fear or favour and irrespective of who is involved or implicated.
The SACP will also intensify its ideological offensive against both liberalism and neo-liberalism, as well as attempts to try and destroy the image of our movement by these liberals. Today there is a huge offensive by liberals and conservatives, who have consistently lost elections since 1994, to try and abuse our institutions of democracy to try and project our movement and organisations as inherently corrupt. With the support of mainstream, bourgeois media, these liberal forces, are trying to rule from the grave – losing elections but attempting to co-opt our institutions of democracy to pursue an anti-ANC and anti-government agenda.
We further commit ourselves to consistently fight against all forms of populist demagoguery and factionalism, whose aim is to try and steal our organisations in order to further narrow accumulation agendas.
In doing all this we will continue to mobilise the mass of the workers and the poor of our country, and seek to meaningfully participate in government as part of our overall objectives to build a better South Africa for millions of South Africans.