When Super Structure ignores base the results are disastrous
By Mluleki Dlelanga
"Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word , every act and every policy must conform to the people’s interests , and if mistakes occur , they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means" Mao Tse Tung
The 03 August 2016 Local Government Election in our country has been a watershed election. It is the election ever since the 1994 breakthrough the people have voiced their dissatisfaction to the movement and there is a sizeable decline on the vote for the African National Congress. Let me try to explain what do I mean this is the decline on the vote for the ANC. As a communists having gave myself a time to analyses the results, I came to conclusion that indeed when super structure ignores the base the results can be disastrous. As communists also I came to my mind that we must never separate ourselves from the majority of the people or neglect them by leading only few progressive contingents in an isolated and rash advance, but we must take care to forge close links between the progressive elements and the broad masses. This is what thinking in terms of the majority means.
Let me try to explain what we mean when we say these Local Government Elections since 1994 breakthrough is the decline in the vote for the African National Congress: As an organization, we have lost some of the key municipalities in these local government elections. Qualitatively the aggregate outcomes politically point that what I term as the strategic loss of key municipality. This is attributed by three types of voters; First, those who voted for the African National Congress, Secondly those who abstained to vote but if voted were going to vote for African National Congress and Thirdly, those who voted for the opposition to portray their dissatisfaction to the African National Congress. My explanation is also trying to say generally, we have been winning but declining in terms of percentage but these elections results for us showed a sharp decline. But overall, we won elections at no point we must succumb to what the public image portrays as if we lost the elections as the result of Metros that is not through, what is through is that we won elections but we are declining. This decline is a global crisis of representation, it’s whether you look at US, Venezuela, Italy and Greece, and generally there has been a decline in elections and crisis of representation.
The Freedom Charter speaks about what we as the people of South Africa we would like South Africa to be in various areas. Freedom Charter is a guide to leadership on how we must strive as we build South Africa and also being responsible to the people at all materialism times. This means as leadership we cannot attain Freedom Charter objectives without the people being with us and leadership being not responsible to the people. Being responsible to the people means that our point of departure as said by Mao "is to serve people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one’s self-interest or from the interests of a small group, and to identify our responsibility to the leading organs of the Party" Chairman Mao further that "Our duty is to be hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people’s interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means"
A too loud message by the people has been communicated to us, a quite clear message as articulated by the SACP PB Meeting that people are saying to us "Don’t take us for granted. Don’t assume that your struggle credentials will forever act as an excuse for arrogance and predatory behavior in the present. Don’t marginalize us while being preoccupied with your own internal factional battles, your list process, your personality and money driven rivalries. Don’t impose unpopular and discredited candidates on us, based on factional calculations about next year’s ANC elective conference" There is no leader of the movement who can say I have not heard the voice of the people out of the Local Government Elections, because the message is too loud not to be heard. Any leader who claim not have heard the message from our people does not deserve to lead the people’s organization, the organization that implements or strive to implement the people of South Africa needs, aspirations and motives as documented in the Freedom Charter.
Both as the leadership, supporters and membership of the movement there are political lessons that have been learnt out of these Local Government Elections. Surely we are not bad students in the movement and as part of our constructive criticism we will concede in some of the lessons. It depends on each individual analogy to arrive to the conclusion of the lessons learn and also the angle and the tools used to arrive to that analogy. This means these lessons are not the end itself but there might other lessons to here that other comrades have learnt, but I guess too many comrades and the people agree with me on some of the following are the lessons that we share that we learnt:
- People are not fools and must not be taken for granted.
- Yes imperialism is the enemy but also we are playing on its hands.
- The process to involve community to select candidates is superior but it has been abused.
- Corruption is the cancer that needs to be rooted.
- Our campaigning strategy is outdated
- A revolution cannot be led by celebrities.
- We gave a lot of space to the oppositions( our problems and our mistakes)
- Voter turn-out was very low as opposed to the opposition.
- Our people don’t understand the power of X
- Opposition goes out on numbers to vote.
- Liberal media was very offensive to us; as such the liberal media didn’t cover us properly.
- Our voters are not happy about how we address the triple challenges facing our people.
- DA is the factor on our communities; it is making inroads on our traditional base.
Arguably, we did not lose some of the municipalities due to poor service delivery, but as even outlined by the research unit of the African National Congress, corruption was cited strong by the people. Also factionalism and social distance is amongst the reasons that contributed. For instance in Tshwane, two factional groups emerged and fought bitterly as the expense of the movement. This fight is what can be characterized as the demon of capitalism. Also social distance between leadership and the masses contributed, for instance, key leaders who had previously been influential and leading community struggles through deployment are residing in urban areas where their influence is not felt. This leaves our traditional base being led by a new crop of leadership.
Having raised these areas fully aware that the people of South Africa know the good track record by the African National Congress. The people knows that it is the African National Congress government that has built millions and millions of RDP house , that has built a number of tarred and gravel road both in urban areas and in communities , that has provided running water even in villages , that that provided electricity even in villages , that has almost 80 % of no fee schools , that provide grants to the children and the elderly, that has a clear programme and entities for youth empowerment and youth development , that provide NFSAS and bursaries to deserving students , that is committed to improve the people’s lives, that strive to improve public health facilities and so on.
Our philosophy Marxism-Leninism teaches us that when superstructure ignores the base the results are disastrous. The question that might arise have we reached the disastrous situation, the answer is big no , but there are red flash lights that indicate that we are not far from that depending on the conduct of both leadership and membership moving forward. Amongst what might define our conduct or key to our conduct is the revolutionary discipline, where all is for the revolution and nothing against it.
If one has to take the example the dramatic collapse of communist party organizations in Eastern Europe, Joe Slovo said in his famous writing Has Socialism failed? "Socialism in undoubtedly in the crisis greater than at any time since 1917. The last half of 1989 saw the dramatic collapse of most of the communist party governments of Eastern Europe. Their downfall was brought about through massive upsurges which had the support not only of the majority of the working class but also a large slice of the membership of the ruling parties themselves. These were popular revolts against unpopular regimes, if socialists are unable to come to terms with this reality, the future of socialism is indeed bleak". Our own mistakes and own goals, the liberal media distortions and offensive against the movement, the dissatisfaction by our people, the growing levels of corruption, factionalism in the movement, the anti-communists tendency and the blatant lies by oppositions, If not attended will continue to feed doubts to our supporters and people in general that we no longer stand for what we stand for. Indeed we must expect that many of our people will be diluted and be easy targets of imperialists agenda and those who are hell bent to recolonize us. These elections must be a wakeup call for us and as such a call for unity, a call for us to collective work together to take out DA and EFF out of power and save the movement is sacrosanct. This call depends whether as the leadership we concede about negative things said about us, what then becomes our conduct towards the people and the organization. There is no revolutionary who is sober that can question the need and the relevance of unity of the Alliance to save the revolution and improve people’s lives. That the bottom line, Coz YCLSA says so!
Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of YCLSA