Speech by Cde Mluleki Dlelanga YCLSA National Secretary at Limpopo Congress
29 October 2016
"We, the Young Communist League of South Africa founded in 1922, banned in 1950 and re-established in 2003, are a voluntary mass organization of the youth in South Africa.
We are devoted to the interests of all young people and dedicated to the revolutionary cause of the working class of our country and the globe.
We are committed to and struggle for the transformation of South Africa from a capitalist society to a socialist society in which there is no exploitation of one person or group by another.
The YCLSA recognizes the South African Communist Party (SACP) as the political party of socialism in our country and enjoys political and ideological guidance from the SACP.
Young Communists promote the unity of progressive young people of our country with the progressive peoples and youth of all countries"
Leadership of the SACP as led by its Provincial Secretary and the collective present here, Leadership of the ANCYL, Leadership of SASCO, Leadership of NUM Youth, Our Deputy National Chairperson and esteemed National Committee Members present in this 5th Provincial Congress, Our Provincial Secretary and the entire collective and delegates from our branches who are the representative of the total membership in this province, the owners of the organization. Receive our special profound revolutionary greetings from the 4th National Congress National Committee on this 5th Provincial Congress of the Limpopo Province.
Your Province is amongst the provinces we know as the National Committee that if it is vibrant and alive the Young Communists League is alive. This province is amongst our biggest in terms of membership as well as active in terms of programmes. This is what the province is known off and this culture need to be preserved.
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 mobilising 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 socialisation 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 mobilise 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 are:
- To struggle for socialism
- Defending and deepening the national democratic revolution.
- Raising class consciousness of the youth
- Strengthening the organization.
- Building Alliances.
Companeros, 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.
The Relationship between the YCL and the SACP! Independence and Autonomy!
The YCL was formed as a result of a resolution of the SACP in a National Congress. This subject the YCL to the political vision and ideological articulation of the SACP. Members of the YCL above 18 are members of the SACP and are bound by the decisions of the SACP, but also, the YCL itself has a task of ensuring that the SACP, in its articulate policies and principles, represent the needs and interest of youth. The YCL is not, therefore, a political organization, but serves and advance the interest of the SACP.
The YCL has a daunting task of ensuring that it contributes to the building of the SACP by an intensified mass mobilization of youth and focused political education. However, the YCL, in its founding constitution and policies, proclaim itself as an independent and autonomous organization. What does this mean? The YCL is independent as it relates to the political administration and execution of its duties. It has its own leadership and organizational authority. And the YCL should use this in order to ensure that it influences the outlook and character of the SACP. The YCL is no equal to the SACP. Period!
There is a growing tendency that some comrades or leaders in the YCLSA, when they lose debates in the yclsa they use their positions and proximity to the party leadership and mislead the party so as to save their personal ambition.
This is the tendency that as the yclsa we must expose and this is also need vigilance from the party not to quickly welcome what is said without critical analysing it. When the are problems in the YCLSA, we don't expect the Party not to intervene and work with YCLSA to solve the matter. The Party in that process should not be seen taking side but it should be seen as unifying us.
Our Understanding National Democratic Revolution and the struggle for socialism
One critical issue that has emerged as a significant area of difference within our Alliance in the debates, since the release of the SACP Central Committee released a statement and some of our comrades when they address speaks of NDR in crisis. Our understanding of the concept of the national democratic revolution (NDR), the motive forces and 'policy package' of such revolution in contemporary South African, and the manner in which the various class forces have positioned themselves in the national democratic revolution, especially since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
Comrades delegates, allow me to briefly surface and pose some questions around the critical issues that need to be explored as this debate unfolds, as part of a contribution towards deepening our understanding of the challenges of the NDR in contemporary South Africa. This debate is also important in providing the context within which to take forward the work of the communists as we been saying NDR is the direct route to Socialism.
It might as well be that what is fundamental in Lenin's observation should be a reminder to the working class that 'transitions' to democracy, welcome and important as they are in the struggle for socialism, are however characterized by a combination of both old and new class antagonisms and this requires vigilance on the part of the working class and its formations.
In one of the SACP messages to the COSATU Congress, the party argued I quote "that the main content of the class struggles underway in society, as manifested in contemporary debates both inside and outside of our movement, is the direction that our democratic revolution should take, capitalist or a socialist orientation. We argued at this congress, as we had always done, that a national democratic revolution with a capitalist orientation ceases to be an NDR." This assertion by the South African Communist Party reinforce our position we resolved in our Second National Congress in Moses Mabhida Province, Mangosuthu University of Technology in 2006, that we want a socialist-oriented
National Democratic Revolution.
Some anti-communists who some behave as if they are members of the Party, are blackmailing us when we say NDR is in crisis and they simply say all Alliance partners are on crisis. They claim that even the Party and COSATU are experiencing the same challenges that the ANC is experiencing. These comrades are confused in such a way they can differentiate between what is in crisis and what is not in crisis. The Party is relatively strong and united and they unit of the party is ideological. Even out of these recent Local Government Election the Party came out of it very strong.
It is indeed possible that the emergence of the question of the SACP's relation to SACP, state and popular power including considerations of contesting elections in our own right, emanates from concerns within our ranks about the content and direction of the national democratic revolution since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
The character, content and direction of the NDR are of fundamental importance to the Alliance, since the deepening and consolidating the national democratic revolution is the glue that holds our Alliance together. It is therefore of utmost importance that we continue to debate these matters.
From the Marxist-Leninist perspective, especially since the adoption of the Native Republic Thesis of 1928 ('A struggle for a native republic as a stage towards a socialist South Africa'), we had always understood the national democratic revolution as the most direct route to socialism. The latter perspective was fully elaborated in our 1962 programme, 'The Road to South African Freedom'.
The concept of a 'national democratic revolution' emerged from within Marxism-Leninism in its analysis of the unfolding national liberation struggles in the 20th century. The NDR has historically been understood as a revolution led by progressive motive forces (mainly oppressed and exploited) to defeat repressive and colonial regimes and build people's democracies, as both an objective in itself, but in circumstances also where, due to domestic or global balance of forces, such a revolution is unable to immediately proceed to socialism. This could be because the motive forces are either not strong or conscious enough to drive the revolution towards socialism or other objective factors pose a limitation to a transition to socialism.
The above was indeed the SACP understanding of the NDR which was nevertheless shared by many inside the ANC itself. This however did not mean that the SACP had conceived the NDR merely as a stepping stone or an 'instrument' towards socialism. The SACP has always understood and accepted that the very immediate objectives of the NDR - the liberation of blacks in general and Africans in particular, and the building of a non-racial and non-sexist society - were important objectives in themselves. It is for this reason that, contrary to the arguments of our left and right detractors, the Alliance is still important, since the main objectives of the NDR have not been achieved, despite progress made since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
The immediate threats to NDR:
- Some people don't love our organizations but love organization things.
- What is in for me?
- Deployment issue of life and death.
- Leadership position equals to wealth.
- People who are inducted on factions than being inducted on organizational principles
- Corruption of the organizational processes
- Revolution led by celebrities
- Treatment of some organizational members as enemy
- Isolation of the left axis
- Factionalism and money.
Cde Provincial secretary and comrade delegates, we feel that it is important having analyzed the NDR that we speak on African national Congress succession debate so as to give guidance and the perspective of the National Committee so when it is opened by the ANC NEC which is in session as we address this congress. As the YCLSA, we respect the SACP's position not to pronounce on names for ANC leadership. We will leave this matter to ANC members including communists in their own right as ANC members in terms of ANC principles and processes. However, we remember without expressing a view that President Jacob Zuma and the President is fully aware about this that he was elected with ANC structures like the ANCYL saying it was an established ANC principle that the Deputy President succeeds the President.
It is therefore important for the President as the leader of the ANC to provide leadership on this matter rather than allow his name to be dropped or used faction ally to divide the ANC and impact negatively on the Alliance because of the spilling effect of divisions in the ANC.
Having said that, it is important as the YCLSA to state that our interest in who leads the ANC is on the matter of principle. Top amongst the principles is a leadership that will unite the ANC and the Alliance and ensure that the masses regain confidence in the movement. Such leadership that is decisive in dealing with corruption, factionalism, corporate capture and places the interests of the people especially the majority of the workers and the poor.
Comrades we are the leadership of this organization, an advanced detachment of the working class youth. We can't be leadership and call our organization as an advanced detachment of the working class by declaration. Our actions, our deeds and our convictions should speak to that; we must match our words and our deeds. To be a leader or leadership is not walking on the park, it is not a picnic, it is not a celebrity, it is not a status, it is not eating food or fruit, it is not about lying, it is not about creating splits and divisions in the organization, it is not about boasting about the position, it is not about chasing tenders, it is not about sitting in the office and give directives, it is not about gossiping, it is not about corrupting organizations, it is not about marginalizing comrades that disagrees with you, it is not about creating confusion and setting comrades against each other, it is not about writing Facebook status. Leadership is earned and leadership is a revolutionary duty granted by the owners of the organization on the basis of trust. Leadership is about being responsible to the organization and be the servant of the organization and sacrifice all for the revolution. The first responsibility of leadership is to unite the organization .As leadership discharge its responsibility to the organization it is duty bound to do so in the interest of the organization, the youth, the people and struggle for socialism.
Let's not close eyes and ears the revolution is on. The old agenda of marginalizing not only SACP leaders but the other organizational components of the working class within our Alliance, along with the whole Alliance itself, seems to be bouncing back. The YCLSA cannot afford people who see only the part of the picture hence application of our philosophy is a matter of must, we must use our tools of analysis to understand the current realities. We cannot afford to have a confused young communist. We must continue to engage on the conscious process of self-education as the road is long and full of difficulties. At times we lose our way and must turn back. At other times we go too fast and separate ourselves from the people. Sometimes we go too slow and feel the hot breath of those treading at our heels. In our zeal as revolutionaries we try to move ahead as fast as possible, clearing the way. We must have a shared understanding of the current political dynamics in our country, we must appreciate the time, space and condition as our revolution unfold or stagnating. We must not be found wanting and sleeping on the same bed with the enemy whilst the enemy agenda to us is on the offensive. We must never allow the sectarian comfort of where we are located blind us in such away we close the eyes and ears whilst the revolution is on. Let us be the young communists that are intolerant of injustice, of anti-communists and any confusion that is being caused to our people whether by some amongst us, or by some leaders in the congress movement. We must rise in defense of the struggle for socialism, we must rise to the occasion in defense of the people, we must rise in defense of the national Democratic revolution, we must rise in defense of the African national Congress, we must rise in defense of the future of the people of our country, we must rise in defense of the Alliance, we must rise in the interest of future generations to come and we must rise in defense of the revolution, as we rise we must hold high the Red Flag . We must unite all the progressive forces as part of strengthening the peoples camp as strengthening of the people s camp is in the interest of the revolution and we must isolate the enemy as the isolation of the enemy is the isolation of the enemy camp.
It is common cause that Lenin summarised the tasks of the youth in the following generalisation: "learn", "learn" and "learn". In the Transitional Program, Trotsky wrote: "The movement is revitalized by the youth who are free of responsibility for the past. The youth pays particular attention to the young generation of the proletariat. All of its policies strive to inspire the youth with belief in its own strength and in the future. Only the fresh enthusiasm and aggressive spirit of the youth can guarantee the preliminary successes in the struggle; only these successes can return the best elements of the older generation to the road of revolution." As the current generation it's up us whether we a being pride, ignorant and arrogant. We must appreciate the conditions we find our organizations at. We must begin to engage each other on how to defend the revolution.
We must refuse to allow history to judge us as the generation that betrayed the revolution.
History will be on the side of those who speak out when our organizations are experiencing difficulties. History will be on the side of those who speak and provide solutions during difficult moments.
As well history will judge harshly those when organization experience difficult moments, they insult and threaten those who raise their voice and propose way forward when an organization experience difficult moments.
Let's continue to build our organization, political and ideological orientation so that we can continue with the revolution. That revolution is the struggle for socialism, hence our strategic slogan "Socialism in our life time.
On behalf of our National Committee and my personal deep appreciation and say we want to thank the outgoing leadership and also those who decided not to stand, we said to you comrades you have fulfilled your responsibilities and you remained as YCLSA members till the end as such what each member signed when he/she joined the organization has been fulfilled. Allow me Cde Provincial Secretary Cde Bashin Magoma and our Provincial Chairperson Cde Mankati and the entire collective as part of our appreciation of the sacrifice you showed in building a strong, exciting and effective YCLSA to remind the esteem delegates to this 5th Provincial Congress what is written on the form you signed when you joined organization individually " It is my will to join the Young Communist League of South Africa, uphold the YCLSA programme, observe the provisions of the YCLSA constitution, fulfill a YCLSA member's duties,carry out the YCLSA's decisions, strictly observe the YCLSA's disciplinary code, guard YCLSA's confidentiality, be loyal to YCLSA, work hard, fight for socialism, be ready at all times to sacrifice for the YCLSA and never betray the YCLSA.
We thank you once again for joining the YCLSA, we thank you for upholding YCLSA programme, we thank you for observing the provisions of the YCLSA constitution, we thank you for fulfilling YCLSA member's duties and leading the YCLSA, we thank you for carrying out YCLSA's decisions, we thank you for strictly observing the YCLSA's disciplinary code, we thank you for guarding YCLSA's confidentiality, we thank you for your unquestionable loyalty to the YCLSA, we thank you for working hard to build a strong YCLSA in Limpopo, and we thank you for always being ready at all times to sacrifice for the YCLSA and we thank you that you are handing over the baton without betraying the YCLSA.
We wish you a very revolutionary and resounding 5th Provincial Congress.
Forward to Socialism Forward!