[Marxism] South African Communist Party 12th congress

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 16 20:34:44 MDT 2007

(The full report is a good deal longer than this and takes up, among
other things, a number of the SACP's internal problems and alleged
scandals, and other problems which were addressed, in one way or
another, at this very large SACP congress. There are substantial 
political tensions and differences of opinion. However, there's no
indication in this report that there's any imminent prospect for a
break-up between the SACP and the ANC in the tripartite coalition
government in South Africa. The SACP is clearly the largest and most
influential left-wing organization on the South African left today.

(By contrast, the former editor of the Christian Science Monitor, an
extreme rightist and former State Department Spokesman during Reagan's
presidency, sees everything as just fine in South Africa. He did not
attend the congress of the SACP, presumably:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0817/p09s03-coop.htm )

South African Communist Party 12th congress
Mon 13 Aug 2007
Author: John Haylett

JOHN HAYLETT gives an insight into a South African Communist Party congress
that defied the right-wing media pundits' gloom. 

THE local billionaire-owned media was agreed that nothing good could come
from it. 

The newspapers implied that it would be a cross between a preordained
motorway pile-up and a family funeral punch-up that would sever relations
for the foreseeable future. 

As last month's 12th congress of the South African Communist Party drew
near, the headlines accentuated the mood of crisis. 

"A party under pressure," "SACP: the cracks widen" and "Dexter: SACP is
quasi-Stalinist" - the latter based on a document issued widely by national
treasurer Phil Dexter, for which his party membership was suspended for 12
months for breaching internal discussion procedures. 

There was also media publicity, bordering on incitement, given to a proposal
from the Gauteng provincial organisation to commit the party leadership to
contest the 2009 general election separately from the African National
Congress, ending the time-tested revolutionary alliance of the ANC, SACP and
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). 

But those who expected a besieged, divided and despondent congress would
have been disabused of these illusions at the onset of the first session. 

Nearly 1,800 delegates, plus up to 500 guests and visitors, packed out the
sports hall of Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. 

The delegates were a sea of red, wearing specially produced T-shirts,
fleeces, woolly hats, baseball hats and raincoats and bursting regularly
into revolutionary songs. 

Delegations often entered the hall in full song, toyi-toying their way
through the seats in a show of enthusiasm that is unlikely ever to become
the norm at British labour movement gatherings. 

The naturally raised decibel level meant that calls for order from the chair
were substituted by a roar of "Amandla" (The power), which requires a
response of "Ngawethu" (is ours), effectively truncating the singing and
dancing and returning everyone to congress mode. 

Nor was the enthusiasm dimmed by general secretary Blade Nzimande's
announcement that party membership had risen from 19,385 at the 11th
congress in 2002 to 51,874 in May. 

He pointed out that many provinces had had stunning recruitment results,
with the proportion of women comrades increased from 10 per cent to 25 per

Plenary sessions were largely dedicated to set-piece presentations from
party leaders, delegates' questions, contributions from the Chinese and
Cuban communist parties and solidarity speeches from ANC fraternal
representatives, secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe and deputy president
Jacob Zuma.


More information about the Marxism mailing list