[Marxism] South African Communist Party 12th congress

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 16 22:14:40 MDT 2007

Yes, Norm. It seems then, that we are in general agreement as to
the FACTS. There are no programmatic, ideological or political
issues dividing the three participants in the coalition there.
The only issues which divide them are issues on the level of
who's to hold which governmental position, and so on, right?
In other words, spoils of office, charges of corruption and
the assignment of blame, but nothing else, up to this point.

This confirms, therefore that there's no falling out among the
participants in the tripartite government at this time. We can
also agree, I think, that there has been, AS YET, no break on
the electoral level to the left of the Tripartite government.

It seems that neither COSATU nor the SACP is, so far, willing or
interested in running candidates against the ANC in South Africa.

Over time, such tensions will inevitably grow as the black public
wants and fights for more than the government can deliver, and 
the advantages of incumbency can only protect the government for
so long. (The ANC even swallowed up the National Party as a way
of removing a challenge to its right.) This can only last for 
so long, but it does appear to be holding for the time being.

Let's keep in mind here that the South African government is a
CAPITALIT government, and has never claimed to be anything else.
They came into office by a negotiated arrangement with the old
apartheid forces.

They did not defeat apartheid by force of arms, though they had
every right to try to do that. But what, in fact, was the OPENLY
STATED GOAL of the ANC? It was to make South Africa ungovernable
and to thereby force them to negotiate with the ANC. Which is 
just exactly what took place. Not military victory, but a deal.

In fact, as is well-known, Botha went to Robben Island to meet
with Mandela. It almost seemed as if Botha was in prison while
Mandela had the key. Read Mandela's letter to Both, written
from prison, in which he proposed negotiations to them:

South Africa's workers want a lot more than they have gained.
They are organizing, fighting, marching and striking, and this
includes COSATU, which is conducting marches and strike which
are opposed to the very government in which COSATU is sitting!
My impression is that this is something new historically for
trade unions to be formally part of the government. In other
places, Communist and Social Democratic, and even Trotskyist
parties have been part of capitalist governments (at least
once for the Trotskyists: in Ceylon in 1974). But this is a
first for unions themselves to be taking government posts.

Considering the terrible portrait being posted of life in
South Africa today one must wonder why the ANC continues to 
receive a commanding majority vote in the elections (up to 
2006. We'll see soon enough how they do in 2007? Isn't this
something to be curious about? I certainly am curious.

Are the elections rigged? Are the ballot boxes stuffed?
We haven't heard that. My guess is they're no more rigged
than any capitalist election always is, where the bourgeois
forces have the overwhelming amount of money money money.

Let's keep talking. Perhaps this will bring about some kind
of clarity. 

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

The unfortunate but predictable result has been that the politics and
practical work of the SACP and COSATU have become, over the last few
years, tied directly to what is going on inside the ANC-Alliance in
direct proportionate relation to intensifying personal and positional
power struggles. This is the logical outcome of such an
approach/politics and it has effectively paralysed the SACP/COSATU’s
ability to organise and mobilise on a genuinely practical, working
class/poor – centred pole, where their programmes, struggles and
critiques are actually put to the test in real struggles happening on
the ground and in the arena of democratic contestation for societal
power. http://www.amandla.org.za/Site/McKinley.htm

(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.


Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
writer - photographer - activist

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