Address by YCLSA National Secretary Cde Mluleki Dlelanga at YCLSA Gauteng Provincial Council
22 April 2017
Leadership of the SACP as led by its Provincial Secretary Cde Jacob Mamabolo 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.
Let me for and on behalf of the 4th National Congress National Committee conveys a warm salute and comradely greetings on this important Provincial Council. This is very important in many ways as the Province since its Provincial Congress has not been able to convene Provincial Council to first assess and engage on the congress resolutions , to collectively reinforce the resolutions and have a clear programme with shared understanding and perspectives amongst the branch leaders as well as the rank and file membership on the programme of action that the Province will be engaged with .Your Province is amongst the provinces we know as the National Committee that we feel it is punching above its weight . Historically this Province used to be a campaigning Province with programmes that has an impact of the conditions of the youth both provincial and nationally.
Dear Comrades, the timing of your Provincial Council is very crucial as this year we honor the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia that left its mark on every corner of the planet for many decades. The Great October Socialist revolution demonstrated the working class's potential and capacity to implement its historical mission as the only truly revolutionary class, to lead the first attempt to construct socialism-communism. At the same time, the Great October Socialist Revolution showed the irreplaceable role of the guiding force of the socialist revolution, the communist party, the enormous strength of proletarian internationalism.
As we are the Marxist-Leninist youth organization it is important that this Provincial Council coincide with Lenin's birthday as Lenin was born on 22 April 1870.
Therefore, this Provincial Council must be used to find strategies on how best we reclaim the old glory days of the Gauteng Province and position the YCLSA for class battles ahead. Our pre-occupation in this Provincial Council should be on how do we build a campaigning , vibrant, discipline , militant, agile , visibly and exciting Young Communists League of South Africa. As we build the YCLSA we should avoid at all cost to confuse militancy with ill- discipline.
As the National Committee we expect more from this Province, this is the province of contradictions, the base of the monopoly capital and the home of the working class exploitation. All the current socio-economic - political challenges facing the congress movement and the humanity are best witnessed in this province. Therefore having a YCLSA that lives , YCLSA that leads, YCLSA that is energetic , YCLSA that sharpens contradictions and YCLSA that provide direction is not a matter of choice, it is the matter of must. We raise these issues because there is a strong contestation of the direction pf the revolution as well as the capturing of youth minds as to destroy the revolution in the name of the revolution. We find a situation where young people simply go for their meal in whatever tune they are told to do.
The province is convening this Provincial Council when our revolution is in the state of stagnation. We raise the challenges facing our revolution not driven by populism but informed by the analysis of the current realities facing our revolution. Amongst the key features facing our revolution are: Investment strike by the monopoly capital, key institutions of the state are being plundered by patronage parasitic networks, factionalism in the movement, personality cult, and denials syndrome, manipulation of organizational processes and capturing of the youth minds.
Having outlined these key features of the challenges facing our revolution. For these challenges to be confronted and defeated, we need a renewed youth energy to rescue the revolution and take the revolution forward. The youth energy that will take a radical stance to save the revolution in the interest of the class and the struggle for socialism. If all these shenanigans are allowed to delay our revolution the struggle for socialism is delayed and ultimately our strategic slogan: Socialism in our lifetime will be a pipe dream.
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.
Comrade delegates, 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.
We are the youth wing of the South African Communist Party, we have witnessed some attempts by professional liars and doubters that we have deviated from that revolutionary principle. Let us remind the doubters that ours is a struggle for socialism. We understand correctly what we mean by Socialism. Firstly, we mean the end to the ownership of the world of the country by a few monopoly capitalists, and for the key sectors of the economy to be in the hands of the actual producers, the workers. Secondly, by socialism we mean the end to the exploitation of the working class by a minority capitalist class. Any suggestion about our deviation is nothing else a liquidations strategy that seeks to erode the confidence of the SACP and YCLSA in the public and on other progressive organizations as forces of corruption , forces of corporate capture and the Gupta stooges will use whatever ways to discredit the SACP . Amongst the chief tasks as we struggle for socialism is to defeat these forces.
The Relationship between the YCLSA and the SACP! Independence and Autonomy!
The YCLSA was formed as a result of a resolution of the SACP in a National Congress. This subject the YCLSA to the political vision and ideological articulation of the SACP. Members of the YCLSA above 18 are members of the SACP and are bound by the decisions of the SACP, but also, the YCLSA itself has a task of ensuring that the SACP, in its articulate policies and principles, represent the needs and interest of youth. The YCLSA is not, therefore, a political organization, but serves and advance the interest of the SACP.
The YCLSA 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 YCLSA, in its founding constitution and policies, proclaim itself as an independent and autonomous organization. What does this mean? The YCLSA is independent as it relates to the political administration and execution of its duties. It has its own leadership and organizational authority. And the YCLSA should use this in order to ensure that it influences the outlook and character of the SACP. The YCLSA 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 there 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.
Comrade's 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.
EVOLUTION OF DISCUSSIONS ON RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
In the debates leading towards the national policy conference and the 53rd national conference of the ANC in Mangaung, a discussion started in the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance and the broader Mass Democratic Movement about how to characterize the next phase of our revolution. The robust debates centered around what should be the main character and content of our next phase of National Democratic Revolution. In the debates, there was a collective appreciation that our society continues to be characterized by three dominant contradictions of race, class and gender.
The entire national liberation movement felt a sense of growing restlessness and impatience amongst the masses of our people who after two decades of democracy and freedom, are still ravaged by poverty, inequality and unemployment. A consensus emerged in the debates that something urgent and radical had to be done to deepen and consolidate the thorough-going national democratic revolution. All components of the Alliance, independently and collectively, agreed that our revolution is entering a second phase of radical socio-economic transformation.
The ANC 53rd National Conference, specifically the Organizational Renewal Commission, thus resolved that, "…the second phase in our transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society will be characterized by more radical policies and decisive action to effect thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation."
How does the ANC define Radical Economic Transformation?
The ANC NEC Meeting and NEC Lekgotla held from the 25th to the 27th January 2017 identified the following key priorities of the ANC for the year 2017: Economic growth, accelerated radical socio-economic transformation, Land reform and redistribution, the funding of higher education, fighting crime and corruption as well as building the capacity of the state.
The NEC went further to outline what constitutes radical socio-economic transformation, which it said, "refers to a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female. Our main objective remains the liberation of Blacks in general and Africans in particular. Its components include the creation of jobs, accelerating shared and inclusive growth, transforming the structure of production and ownership of means of production and enabling the talents and productive potential of our people to flourish. At the heart of radical socio-economic transformation is an effective state that is decisive in its pursuit of structural change."
What constitutes "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation"?
The 53rd National Conference resolutions and resolutions of the 2017 ANC NEC meeting and the Lekgotla are very instructive in what constitutes radical economic transformation. The 53rd National Conference resolution defines it more expansively as "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation".
The key elements of this programme as outlined above from the ANC NEC statement can be enlisted as follows for elucidation:
1. Fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female;
2. Creation of jobs,
3. Accelerating shared and inclusive growth,
4. Transforming the structure of production and ownership of means of production,
5. Enabling the talents and productive potential of our people to flourish,
6. An effective state that is decisive in its pursuit of structural change.
These six elements are noble objectives of radical economic transformation. They represent in effect, the historic mission of the struggle for freedom and liberation in South Africa. They are also in broad alignment with the socialist programme that the SACP has put forward to deepen the NDR as a direct route to Socialism, as well as COSATU programme. There can therefore be no dispute that these six elements are an imperative for the second phase of NDR.
How then should we characterize and articulate radical economic transformation?
The brief historical exposition above clearly show that the coining of radical economic transformation does not happen in ideological and historical vacuum. It is not new in its intents, but is an expression of the urgency of the tasks of national struggle in current phase of NDR. The strategic objective of that struggle remains the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. Also, the main motive forces of this struggle continue to be Blacks in general and Africans in particular.
When understood, and articulated from this historic perspective, the agenda of radical economic transformation therefore is a practical articulation of the current phase of our thorough-going National Democratic Revolution. That NDR has historically been articulated by the national liberation movement as comprising of the following three major components:
N = National
Our struggle for liberation and emancipation is national in character. It seeks to mobilize a broad range of progressive forces behind the banner of the ANC-led national liberation movement. It is non-racial and non-sexist in outlook, with the main motive forces being the blacks in general and Africans in particular,
D = Democratic
Our struggle seeks a replacement and transformation of repressive institutions and laws of apartheid colonialism with institutions and laws that espouse and promote democratic values and the respect of human rights. Our struggle seeks to give effect to the Freedom Charter maxim, "The people shall govern!"
R = Revolution
Ours is a struggle for radical and fundamental social change. It is not a reformist agenda, nor it is a social democratic programme that seeks to tinker with the margins but retain the fundamental structure of social relations. It is rather a complete rupture of the old, replacing it with new egalitarian social relations.
Karl Marx (1852) once said, "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."
This historical materialist conception of the notion of radical economic transformation gives it proper context and meaning. It ensures that the concept is rescued from potential misappropriation by reactionary parasitic elements.
These reactionary elements seek to use the noble objective of radical economic transformation to justify a continuation of looting of state resources and patronage that has beset the national liberation movement.
The ideology of a revolutionary organization is an asset of the revolution. If it can be corrupted, the whole revolution will be corrupted and finally aborted; history is replete with such failed revolutions. We must therefore act decisively in the defense of our historic values, our political ideology and the programme for "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation". We dare not fail!
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 defence of the struggle for socialism, we must rise to the occasion in defence of the people, we must rise in defence of the national Democratic revolution, we must rise in defence of the African national Congress, we must rise in defence of the future of the people of our country, we must rise in defence of the Alliance, we must rise in the interest of future generations to come and we must rise in defence 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.
Let's guard against opportunism. It may seem paradoxical to say that the principal psychological feature of opportunism is its inability to wait. But that is undoubtedly true. In periods when friendly and hostile social forces, by virtue of their antagonism and their interaction, create a total political standstill; when the molecular process of economic growth, by intensifying the contradictions, not only fails to disturb the political balance but actually strengthens it and, as it were, makes it permanent - in such periods opportunism, devoured by impatience, looks around for "new" ways and means of putting into effect what history is not yet ready for in practice. Tired of its own inadequacy and unreliability, it goes in search of "allies." It hurls itself avidly upon the dung-heap of liberalism. It implores it, it appeals to it, and it invents special formulae for how it could act. In reply, liberalism merely contaminates it with its own political putrefaction. Opportunism then begins to pick out isolated pearls of democracy from the dung-heap. It needs allies. It rushes from place to place, grabbing possible allies by their coattails. It harangues its own adherents, admonishing them to be considerate towards all potential allies.
Opportunism builds on relations which are not yet ripe. It wants immediate "success. Opportunism does not know how to wait. And that is precisely why great events always catch it unawares. They knock it off its feet, whiz it around like a chip of wood in a whirlpool and sweep it forward, knocking its head now against one bank, now against the other. It tries to resist, but in vain. Then it submits to its fate, pretends to be happy, waves its arms to show that it is swimming, and shouts louder than anyone else. And when the hurricane has passed, it creeps ashore, shakes itself, complains of headache and painful limbs and, in the wretched hangover following its euphoria, spares no harsh words for revolutionary "dreamers."
We want to remind you comrade delegates that being a member of YCLSA means: joining the YCLSA, upholding YCLSA programme, observing the provisions of the YCLSA constitution, fulfilling YCLSA member's duties as outlined in the constitution ,carrying out YCLSA's decisions, strictly observing the YCLSA's disciplinary code, guarding YCLSA's confidentiality, unquestionable loyalty to the YCLSA, working hard to build a strong YCLSA in Gauteng , always being ready at all times to sacrifice for the YCLSA and never betray the YCLSA.
As part of carrying out YCLSA's decision, we appreciate and commend the Provincial Committee on implementing the decision of the 7th Plenary Session of the 4th National Congress Nation Committee that within two months Gauteng Province must convene the Provincial Council. It was very bad that since your Provincial Congress the Province never convene the Provincial Council.
We wish you a very revolutionary and resounding 5th Provincial Congress.
Long live YCLSA Long Live
Viva YCLSA Gauteng Viva!
Forward to Socialism Forward!