The Young Red’s flying the Red Flag high in Cuba
By Mluleki Dlelanga
The 22 December 2015 is the historic day in the calendar of the Young Communist League of South Africa. It is a historic day on two fronts:Firstly, that since the YCLSA establishment in 1922 and its re-establishment in 2003, it is for the first time we establish structures outside South Africa and Secondly,to establish an international branch in a socialist country Cuba. The fourth National Congress mandated the 4th National Congress National Committee to intensify youth mobilization for socialism and to further strengthen our historic and political relations with other progressive youth formations across the globe.
On 22 December 2015 a YCLSA branch in Cuba at the Medical University was launched by our National Secretary and received inducted from Cde Solly Mapaila, the 2nd Deputy General of the SACP. The members of this branch are South African student doctors who are studying in Cuba.
Our approach and our message on them was that “We save human life “ours is a political approach and theirs is a medical approach. We are a vanguard youth; we strive to be association of the best as we are the factory for future communists. In our factory we need doctors , we need accountants , we need nurses , we need teachers , we need police , we need soldiers , we need farm workers , we need clerks , we need intellectuals and we need both unemployed and employed youth to join us in the struggle for socialism as we intensify our slogan “ Socialism in Our Life time”.
We emphasized that as part of saving human life, their complete commitment, absolute dedication to the advancement of mankind represents the highest and noblest attainment that we can achieve. The vanguard guard youth is therefore inviting them in helping to shape the aspirations and goals of our generation on whom hope of many South Africans and of the world rests. Their contribution and active participation on struggling and solving the crucial problems facing humanity is sacrosanct.
We further emphasized that now they in a Cuba. Like many previous generations, the young people who led the Cuban Revolution saw the poverty, the hunger, the abysmal conditions of life, the oppression, making hell of their country. They also saw how senseless this was and how modern industry and science could change it from top to bottom. Like previous generations they found the contrast between what is and what could be absolutely intolerable.
Like many who had preceded them, they saw that, in the view of the role of the oligarchy and its imperialist backers, revolution offered the only possible way of ending the insufferable present and opening up a new perspective.
They all said “We want to be YCLSA members, we want a Socialist South Africa, and we have seen how to leave in a Socialist Country”. After they met all the organizational requirements on how to be an YCLSA member, we launched a branch at Medical University Cde Fezile Sarili as a Branch Secretary and Cde Mlungisi Mtshali as a Branch Chairperson and we further having inducted them mandated them to further go to organize and recruit on other campuses for the YCLSA. We told them this work requiresa high dose of discipline.
What is the international branch of YCLSA and what shout it be? The Young Communist League of South Africa is an international organization. There is no difference between a branch in South Africa and a branch in Cuba, the only difference is the location or the country where our branch is located and operating. Whether a branch is in South Africa or outside South Africa, it is guided by our constitution,policies, code of conduct, our aims and objectives, our character, our organizational structure and our organizational discipline. A branch of YCLSA is our nucleus or our basic unit. The base of the YCLSA is a branch. AnYCLSA character shall be and YCLSA basic administrative procedure:
The YCLSA shall:
(a) Be an independent and voluntary youth formation of young people from the age of 14 (fourteen) to the age of 35 (thirty-five) that derives its organizational existence from and functions as an autonomous youth wing of the SACP. (b) Be a Marxist-Leninist youth formation that derives political and ideological guidance from the SACP, and shall take its own decisions and shape its own policies and programmes which shall not be in conflict with the major policies and programmes of the SACP. (c) Be a non-racial and non-sexist youth formation. (d) Subscribe to the political and ideological discipline and organizational principle of democratic centralism. democratic centralism are as follows.(I) Democratic centralism involves freedom of discussion, unity of action, and it is a combination of democracy under centralized guidance and centralism on the basis of democracy under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism in terms of which the whole organization constantly strives to achieve unity in thinking and in action.(ii) The YCLSA respects the principal position of its members, and constantly seeks to fully expand intra-organizationaldemocracy, safeguard the democratic rights of its members and give play to the initiative and creativity of its structures at all levels as well as its members.
(iii) YCLSA members are free to express their views in proper platforms and appropriate structures of the organization in terms of the principle of freedom of discussion in an orderly manner, and once decisions are made the principle of unity of action applies, the decisions taken shall be binding on all individual members, the decisions made by higher structures shall be binding on all lower structures, all members and structures shall be required to implement, advance and defend everywhere the decisions taken, and shall do so in an orderly manner in line with the principle of collective leadership and individual responsibility based on division of work, duties and responsibilities within the organization.
(iv) The YCLSA is a unitary formation, the National Congress and the National Committee elected by it is its leading body. The leading bodies of the YCLSA at lower levels are congresses and the committees elected by them. YCLSA councils at all levels, and branch general meetings in terms of branches, have the same powers and functions as the congresses at their respective levels except for the limitations made in the YCLSA Constitution and Code of Conduct.
(v) The leading committees of the YCLSA function under the principle of accountability and control, are responsible and report on their work to congresses and councils at their respective levels as well as branch general meetings in terms of branches, and should increase transparency in the affairs of the organization to keep members better informed. Higher and lower structures should exchange information and support and oversee each other. (vi)The YCLSA forbids all forms of factions, factionalism, and personality cult. Individual members are subordinate to the organization, its structures and committees. The minority, i.e. individual or collective members in structures or committees, their fractions based on any matter under consideration at any given instance, whether agreeing or disagreeing, is subordinate to the majority, and only the YCLSA is the majority. Lower structures and committees are subordinate to higher structures and committees. All structures, committees and members are subordinate to YCLSA Constitution, Code of Conduct, programme, policies, principles, resolutions, and decisions.
(vii) Higher structures and leading committees shall pay constant attention to the views of lower structures, leading committees and members, and timeously solve the problems they raise. The basic mechanism to facilitate the exercise of this function is the inclusion of ex-officio members from lower leading committees in the compositions of immediate higher leading committees where it is relevant, as well as the frequent branch general meetings, congresses and councils at all levels which compositions are mainly made up by the rank-and-file members and delegates from lower leading committees in good standingrespectively. Similarly, lower structures and leading committees shall seek guidance from, be responsible and report on their work to immediate higher structures and leading committees and to any higher structure or committee as and when it is required; at the same time, they shall handle and in a responsible manner, matters within their jurisdiction.
Basic administrative procedure
- Any South African from the age of 14 (fourteen) to the age of 35 (thirty-five) who accepts the Constitution, Policies and Programmes of the YCLSA and iswilling to work actively in the organization and carry out its decisions mayapply for membership.
- An application shall be considered by a Branch Committee where such existsor a district if no Branch Committee exists or such interim structures as put inplace by the YCLSA. The Branch Committee must receive a comprehensivelycompleted membership application form and applicable dues. The applicationforms and the dues or their proof of payment into a recognized YCLSA bankaccount must be handed over to the District Committee. The DistrictCommittee shall hand over the same to the Provincial Committee and the Provincial Committee to the National Committee, each committee must keepits own duplicates for reference.
- A new YCLSA member shall sign the following declaration: It is my voluntarywill to join the Young Communist League of South Africa, uphold the YCLSA programme, observe the provisions of the YCLSA constitution, fulfill a YCLSAintiality, be loyal to theYCLSA, work hard, fight for socialism, be ready at all times to sacrifice for the YCLSA, and never betray the YCLSA.
- All new members must undergo induction.
- The National Committee may delegate responsibility to lower structures todecide on applications, which may accept or refuse membership. Suchacceptance or refusal shall be subject to review by higher leading committeesor structures of the YCLSA.
- Any member who joins the YCLSA will be subject to a membership fee and any levies that may be decided upon by the National Committee.
- A member who fails to renew membership within three months after lapsingceases to be a member, and in the event that s/he holds a position ofleadership s/he shall relinquish the position concerned.
- The National Congress may bestow honorary or associate membership onany person not meeting the membership requirements, such a member maynot be required to pay subscriptions and will not be entitled to vote or standfor election in the organisation.
- Every YCLSA member, irrespective of position, must be organised into a Branch, cell or other specific unit of the YCLSA, and must participate in regular activities of the YCLSA and accept supervision by relevant structures and leading committees.
- A member is free to withdraw from the YCLSA, and such withdrawal must firstbe communicated at the branch of the member, then to higher structures andleading committees of the organization.
What a Young Communist should be?
We believe that a first thing that must characterize a Young Communist is the honor he/she feels in being a Young Communist , an honor that moves him/her to let the world know he/she is a Young Communist. It does not make him go underground, nor does he/she reduce it to formulas. She/he expresses that honor at all times, so that from the bottom of his/her soul and he/she want to show it because it is his/her greatest pride. She/he should have a great sense of duty, a sense of duty toward the society we are building, towards human beings and toward people around the world. That is something that must characterize the Young Communist and along that with deep sensitivity to all problems , sensitivity to injustice , a spirit that rebels against every wrong , whomever commits it, questioning anything not understood, discussing and asking for clarification on whatever is not clear and always being open to new experiences in order to apply the many years of experience of humanity’s advance along the struggle for socialism in our country as well as realities that exist in our country. Each and every one of us must think about to change reality, how to make it better.
The Young Communist must always strive to be best on everything , struggle to be the best , feel upset when he /she is not and fight to improve to be the best. Of course , we cannot all be the best as the membership that joins YCLSA are not already made communists but we can be amongst the best as we strive to be an association of the best , as we are an advanced detachment of the South African working class youth. We can be living examples, a model for those comrades and youth in general who do not belong to the Young Communist League of South Africa, be an example for an older women and men who have lost some of that youthful enthusiasm, who have lost a certain faith in life, and who always respond well to example. That is how a Young Communist should be.
Each and every member of the YCLSA should know that being a Young Communist , belonging to the Young Communist League of South Africa , is not a favor someone has done for you, nor is it a favor you are doing for the Young Communist league of South Africa . Membership in the Young Communist league of South Africa should be the highest honor for a young person in the struggle for socialism, a highest honor that you must fight for at all times. The honor of remaining in and keeping a high level standing in the YCLSA should be an ongoing effort. In that way we will advance even faster, as we become used to thinking collectively and acting on the initiatives of the people and of our leaders. At the same time, in everything we do as individuals, we should always be making sure our actions will not tarnish our own name of the organization to which we belong.
As I penned this article I vividly have the words of the General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Cde Blade Nzimande , addressing our re-establishing congress at 2003 “ The youth communists have a home that they must build and nature”. YCLSA is a home for young people , this is a welcoming home , the home is warm , the home is filled with comfort , the home is filled with history , the home is filled with beautiful young reds and this home we are building and nurturing is a home of ideas and content.
We are a generation that has to pay the price of glory with sacrifice. We have to sacrifice ourselves day by day to build tomorrow with our efforts. Our obligation extends beyond the South African borders. The obligation to spread the ideological frame of revolution through South Africa, through the world where our voice is heard. That’s the bottom line , coz the YCLSA says so!
Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the YCLSANational Secretary.
Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of the YCLSA.