#Fees must fall against Anarchism
By Mluleki Dlelanga
"It is not he who makes no mistakes that is intelligent. There are no such men, nor can there be. It is he whose errors are not very grave and who is able to rectify them easily and quickly that is intelligent" Lenin
South Africans must look at the destruction of university infrastructure and disruptions of academic programmes afresh. We must distinguish between the genuine concerns and peaceful protest on the one hand, on the other hand the destruction of public property and disruptions of academic programmes coupled with violations of the rights of other students.
The destruction of Universities and disruption of education, which is the public service, do not serve the vision of free education for students from poor and workers families. It is an act of sheer destabilization, using education as a political issue. We can only ignore it at our own peril.
Possibilities might as well exist, that the aim by those who are pushing destabilization involves sustaining and then expanding it to disrupt other public services until the county becomes ungovernable.
Progressive students from the congress movement should be vigilant and guard such fringe elements, and whoever is hijacking the course of the struggle for free education for the poor and workers. In particular, it is important, in a developing democratic society, for truly progressive or revolutionary students and youth to win the majority to their side by democratic means. Everyone has constitutional rights. No one should propagate their demands by violating the constitutional rights of others.
This brings us to a very important issue we have been consistently raising as Young Communists. First, As the YCLSA we support the call for free education at higher education and support the pronouncement by the Minister. Secondly, we strongly believe that our country can afford free education; all what is need is to unravel on how we do priorities and come up with new budgeting approach. We must think outside of what is being presented. Thirdly, the continuing failure of the authorities responsible for state security, public safety and policing to protect the rights of other students, members of the public and public property is gravitating plays into the hands of the forces of destabilization. If not stopped, it will reach a point where the legitimacy of democratic developmental state that we seek to build will be discredited with far reaching consequences.
The ANC the main mass political organization at the head of our Alliance and government to look at this more seriously. We are looking forward to the ANC in giving clarity and providing proper leadership on this issue. Unity and cohesion are important for the ANC and more so as the leading component of the tripartite alliance inclusive of our mother body, the SACP. The SACP, COSATU and SANCO should also assist its ally the ANC on dealing with this issue. We further call South Africans to go beneath the surface and find out what else is happening so that we can best work together to address it openly , without fear or favor.
What we should not do:
As members of the Progressive Youth Alliance and the congress movement family, during these students' protests, our protest for free education, we should not do the following:
- Find ourselves in destruction of infrastructure.
- Not allow universities and Councillors to get away with the exorbitant cost of education.
- Not allow money to build five stars in the name of universities
What we should do:
- We should not relent on the call for free education.
- Raise issue of transformation highly.
- Think outside of what is being presented.
- Struggle for equity in all universities.
- Consistently challenge the notion of institutional autonomy.
- Struggle for overall transformation of our education system.
Let look closely what does the pronouncement by Minister of Higher Education and Training means for the working class. From a working class perspective, it means a lot. It is one step forward towards the realization of free education in our country. This is not a neutral war for education. It does not mean that if we are in the same classroom or chairing the same classrooms that we come from the same class background. Even our class position and our class interests are not the same. We know that there is no class neutrality in a class struggle and the benefit of being class is that whatever move you take one of the class benefits. Even Lenin eloquently taught us that "To expect class neutrality in a class divided society is as foolish naïve as to expect the capitalist to reduce profit to increase wages".
Let's be realistic, let's address from a class perspective the question of free education under capitalist production relations. Indeed, we as the young reds call for a free, compulsory and quality education. But let's analyze it around privately owned property under capitalism. For instance a son or daughter of Manyawuza versus a son and daughter of Oppenheimer, there is no equality and there can be no equality in an unequal situation. Therefore, free education must first focus from the Manyawuza's son or daughter and in the process capitalists and private sector must also contribute on making this possible.
The call for free education , which by the way is the long standing resolution of the Young Communist league of South Africa , which has been calling and campaigning through its annual Joe Slovo Right to Learn Campaign that Free , Compulsory and Quality Education , an education system that is socialist oriented and ultimately a socialist education system.
We all know that if you have young people on your side, you can build or destroy the revolution. There can be no revolution in South Africa and anywhere in the world without the involvement of the fresh blood which embodies the future of its nation, of an organization and that will carry the load for the elders, becoming the engine of organization, for the realisation of organisation's aspirations and its founding mission. The youth are the pride, drivers of the nations. Without the participation and involvement of the youth in the struggle and advancement of the revolution, we are bound to fail in our endeavours to liberate SA from the hands of white European capitalists who still exploit our natural and human resources for the benefit of global world. As young people, we must reflect on the progress made so far on the struggle for free education. We must look both at the pronouncement by Minister and the strides done by President on addressing the matter and reflect what their impact on this noble struggle is. In areas where we feel we committed strategic errors we must find ways to correct those areas and chat a progressive way forward as we take forward the struggle.
We call for vigilance to all the progressive students that are engaging on the call for free education not to allow anarchists to hijack this noble call as part of keeping the status quo so that the children of the workers and the poor will ultimately suffer and the struggle for free education is delayed.
In the present situation in our country, the main task of the PYA is of rallying and leading of the youth, of supporting SASCO, of organising youth, of politically educating youth through raising class or political clarity. That is more imperative than ever. We must refuse as young people to be used or factionalise the struggle for free education.
The YCLSA fully support the call for free, compulsory and quality education, in particular for the poor and workers students' background. We say so as we believe that as class contradictions deepen the struggle for free education for all will emerge out of the struggle for free education for the poor. We continue to make this clarion call: Do not burn University property, it belongs to you. Guard your future, protest without reversing your gains and no burning of property and vandalism, that's the bottom line coz YCLSA, says so!
* Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of the YCLSA