YCLSA’s 96th Years Of Struggle For Socialism
By Mluleki Dlelanga
The 25 May 2018, is not just an ordinary day for the YCLSA.This is a very important day in the political calendar of the Young Communist League of South Africa and the struggle for socialism. This is the 96th Anniversary of the Young Communist League of South Africa. It is important to note and acknowledge that it is not easy to establish a particular date that marks the birth of an idea. Amongst young and old communists, a debate might arise about the actual date of the establishment of the YCLSA or even the SACP itself.
Ideas usually take shape through a process that may not be obvious and which may involve theoretical reflection, social practice, definition and seizing the moment. But , if any one day or a moment , in the history of the struggle for socialism through over 96 years had to be chosen to show particular clarity the concept that capture the essence of the communists experience across the globe will be and always be the establishment of the YCLSA on 25 May 1922.
History teaches us to understand the present. History shows us how things came to be what they are. We ourselves are part of history by virtue of being 96 years in existence and being today part of the YCLSA 96th Anniversary celebration.
History shows us that change is always happening and we ourselves should expect change. Things tomorrow certainly won’t be the same as they are today and hence we say yesterday is too late, tomorrow is too late and we want socialism in our life-time.
As we celebrate our 96th Anniversary on 25 May 2018, we are encouraged and guided by what the communist leader of Chinese revolution Cde Mao Zedong said addressing the Youth Union in China “study on one hand and recreation, rest and sleep on the other should both receive adequate attention. Therefore the youth must study, sleep, work and play”
If we look at what Chairman Mao, political guidance to the youth and the conditions of the youth in our country the conclusion is that this political guidance is not possible. It is not possible as young people are ravaged by unemployment, poverty and inequality.
WHO ARE WE?
Comrades, it is paramount important as we celebrate our 96th Anniversary, we remind comrades about the obvious as the obvious might not be obvious. Allow me to remind you comrades, who are we.
We are a youth organization that was formed 25 May in1922. We are the youth-wing of the South African Communist Party. We are a vehicle for mobilizing young people along socialist/communist line. We are a factory for future communists.
We are a Marxist-Leninist youth organization which stand for : non racism, freedom, equality and the socialization of the ownership and control of the means of production .In line with the constitution, we are tasked to recruit young people from all cultural and racial backgrounds between the ages of 14 and 35. YCLSA members are organized from a branch level. Our membership is voluntary, with members expected to play an active role in confronting the challenges of the time.
We are an organization of young people whose main objective is to fight for socialism and advance the political and organizational programme of the SACP; whilst in the immediate agitating for a society that meets the basic demands of education, health, work, land, and housing and protect the environment.
We are a communist youth organization, which distinguishes us from all other youth formations in terms of ideological stance and vision of society we seek to build. Therefore, our members, although not communist in the onset, are expected to learn over time and understand the medium and long term vision of the SACP. We are therefore the preparatory school of the SACP. We must recruit, train and prepare membership for the SACP.
We are an integral part of the working class movement, which is struggling for socialism in which the development of human beings as opposed to profit will be the basis for production and organizing society. It is in this society, which is linked to communism, where working class power in all spheres of living will be utilized to achieve human development based on democracy.
We are the son and daughters of the communist heroes both sung and unsung who held the first and second batons as generation of the yclsa. These heroes include the likes of Mike Feldman, Norman and Leon Levy, Louis and Sadie Forman, Esther Barsel, Paul Joseph, Duma Nokwe, Barney Fauler, Eric Launter, Harold Wolpe, Thomas Mbeki, JN Sigh, Willie Kulk, Stanley Silwana, Sara Sable (the first National secretary of YCLSA), Eddie Rough, Moses Mabhida, Joe Slovo, Ruth First (the second National Secretary), Chris Hani, Moses Kotane, whom we continue to pay homage and remember as we continue with the baton that they have left to those who came before us.
These are the comrades that have laid foundation for us and had worked with some of us, whom their contribution on building this organization is immeasurable regardless of challenges they experienced as the collective. They have been labelled, insulted and scorned but they remained through to our convictions.
When the SACP 11th Congress took a decision to re-establish the YCLSA, and when that resolution was realised in the 2003 re-establishment congress at Vaal University, prophets of doom had declared that we will be just be another failing project of an ideology that has failed. Others, both inside and outside the progressive movement, had written us off even before we had started.
We have a daunting task of breathing fresh air into organizational building, political education and cadre development. We must inspire, excite, and innovate young people. We must build active, exciting and campaigning organization.
We are the sons and daughters of taxi drivers, truck drivers, of garden boys and kitchen girls, of farm workers, hawkers and poor people who are subjected to poverty, unemployment and inequality by the brutal and inhumane capitalist system.
Young Communist League of South Africa is not unhistorical, we know where we come from, where we are and we know that we are the future.
Companeros, as we celebrate our 94th re-establishment anniversary we must continue to be relevant by taking up issues affecting the young people.
If we were to lose touch it will be hard to mobilize young people under the banner of the YCLSA. We owe our existence primarily to our members and young people in general. Therefore, it is important that we understand the organizational, political and the strategic tasks facing the Young communist League of South Africa.
Ours is a struggle for socialism. That is our primary tasks both organizational and political. As part of our struggle for socialism our organizational, political and strategic tasks moving forward continues:
- Struggling for socialism.
- Defending and deepening the national democratic revolution.
- Raising class consciousness of the youth
- Strengthening the organization.
- Building Alliances.
We won't get on details on these organizational and political tasks we face as the organization. But our ultimate goal is to draw a mass of young people from working class communities and the other sympathetic youth into our folds. We should draw our strength from the unity and the organization our members. We should continue with the elements of an organization building project which entails mass recruitment, building branches, campaigns on issues affecting the youth, political education and ideological training, resource mobilization, cultural programmes and international solidarity work.
MARXISM-LENINISM: OUR PHILOSOPHY AND OUR GUIDE AS YCLSA
The most valuable and influential asset that Marx and Lenin left with us is Marxism-Leninism, which illuminated the path of humanity’s exploration of the law of history and humanity’s search for their own liberation. Marxism-Leninism is the theory of the people, aimed at building a system based on ideology to strive for liberation of humanity. Marxism-Leninism is also a practical theory, which guides people’s action to change the world. It is a continuously developing open system as well, which has always stood at the forefront of the times.
Marxism-Leninism’s profound exploration of the world may have been based on the existing systems and conditions during Marx’s and Lenin’s times, but it goes beyond their times in terms of spirit and philosophy. It is the essence of the spirit of those times as well as all the times, including the present and the future. Therefore Marxism-Leninism is trans-generational universal truth, but it has to be developed so that it can be applied to the reality of modern times.
The Young Communist League of South Africa has followed and applied Marxism-Leninism since its establishment and has been developing the philosophy in both theory and practice. So as we deepen youth mobilization for socialism, we are guided both in theory and practice by Marxism-Leninism, as such we continue to inherit the scientific essence of Marxism-Leninism. Based on the scientific understanding of the general rules of human society according to Marxism-Leninism, especially historical materialism, the YCLSA has carried a number of programmes, activities and campaigns as part of the struggle for socialism.
Marxism-Leninism is the people-centric philosophy; it regards people’s happiness as its essential mission, sticks to the fundamental purpose of serving the people, establishes deeper connection with the people and continuously strides forward to help people to achieve common prosperity. It further advances to build a community of shared future for human kind.
Marxism-Leninism is about theory and practice, practice is the distinctive feature of it. It is developed by people’s practices. It cannot be delinked to practice. It must always be linked with practice.
Marxism-Leninism cannot grow and be strong in the absence of Marxist-Leninist organization. It is paramount to always at all material times remind comrades that the strength of the Marxist-Leninist theory is that it gives the organization the ability in any situation to understand the inner connections of the events around it, to see the course events will take, and recognize not only how and in which direction events are going but also how and which direction they must develop in the future.
Ours is a struggle for socialism. Our strategic enemy is capitalism. As we fight capitalism and struggling for socialism we do so with the sole intention to seize power, expropriate the exploiters, establishment our revolutionary dictatorship and create a state of a new type Socialist South Africa (which should show that socialism is a superior or social order).
Marxism is not only the theory of socialism; it is an integral world outlook, a philosophical system, from which Marx's proletarian socialism logically follows. This philosophical system is called dialectical materialism. Hence, to expound Marxism means to expound also dialectical materialism. Why this system is called dialectical materialism? Because its method is dialectical, and its theory is materialistic.
What is the dialectical method: It is said that social life is in continual motion and development. And that is true: life must not be regarded as something immutable and static; it never remains at one level, it is in eternal motion, in an eternal process of destruction and creation. Therefore, life always contains the new and the old, the growing and the dying, the revolutionary and the counter-revolutionary.
The dialectical method tells us that we must regard life as it actually is. We have seen that life is in continual motion; consequently, we must regard life in its motion and ask: Where is life going? We have seen that life presents a picture of constant destruction and creation; consequently, we must examine life in its process of destruction and creation and ask: What is being destroyed and what is being created in life?
That which in life is born and grows day by day is invincible; its progress cannot be checked. That is to say, if, for example, in life the proletariat as a class is born and grows day by day, no matter how weak and small in numbers it may be today, in the long run it must triumph. Why? Because it is growing, gaining strength and marching forward. On the other hand, that which in life is growing old and advancing to its grave must inevitably suffer defeat, even if today it represents a titanic force. That is to say, if, for example, the bourgeoisie is gradually losing ground and is slipping farther and farther back every day, then, no matter how strong and numerous it may be today, it must, in the long run, suffer defeat. Why? Because as a class it is decaying, growing feeble, growing old, and becoming a burden to life.
Hence arose the well-known dialectical proposition: all that which really exists, i.e., all that which grows day by day is rational, and all that which decays day by day is irrational and, consequently, cannot avoid defeat.
The working class is the only class which is steadily growing and gaining strength, which is pushing social life forward and rallying all the revolutionary elements around it, our duty is to regard it as the main force in the present-day movement, join its ranks and make its progressive strivings our strivings.
That is how the dialectical method looks upon the development of life. But there is movement and movement. Clearly, movement assumes different forms and so the dialectical method says that movement has two forms: the evolutionary and the revolutionary form.
Movement is evolutionary when the progressive elements spontaneously continue their daily activities and introduce minor, quantitative changes into the old order.
Movement is revolutionary when the same elements combine, become imbued with a single idea and sweep down upon the enemy camp with the object of uprooting the old order and of introducing qualitative changes in life, of establishing a new order.
Evolution prepares for revolution and creates the ground for it; revolution consummates the process of evolution and facilitates its further activity.
Similar processes take place in nature. The history of science shows that the dialectical method is a truly scientific method: from astronomy to sociology, in every field we find confirmation of the idea that nothing is eternal in the universe, everything changes, everything develops.
Consequently, everything in nature must be regarded from the point of view of movement, development. And this means that the spirit of dialectics permeates the whole of present-day science.
As we celebrate our 96th Anniversary, as Marxist-Leninists youth organization we must continue to recruit, train and educate ideological young communists that will:
- Have faith on the organizations founding principles.
- Who will value to be a member of the YCLSA.
- Prepared for all to sacrifice for the revolution.
- Incorruptible members and leaders.
- Put practice into action guided by our philosophy Marxism-Leninism.
As we recruit, train and educate them ideologically, these young communists should learn that:
- Not join organization for positions.
- Serve the people and organization wholeheartedly.
- Be prepared to sacrifice all including death in defense of the people, love for the people and service to the people.
- Fight factionalism, gate-keeping, corruption, love for the money and meme-sm.
As we celebrate our 96th Anniversary, we want to say: we are the YCLSA of the SACP. We reject any liquidationist’s attempt that seeks to project us not the YCLSA of the SACP, whilst misbehaving and being captured by forces who are anti-SACP and its leadership.
All we can say as we celebrate our 96th Anniversary we say: YCLSA is alive, YCLSA leads, YCLSA sharpen contradictions and YCLSA gives direction.
Happy 96th Anniversary YCLSA, Happy 96th Anniversary!
* Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of the Young Communist League of South Africa