Speech by Cde Mluleki Dlelanga YCLSA National Secretary at the 43rd Festival of KNE-Odigits
22 September 2017, Athens
Let me for and on behalf of our 4th National Congress National Committee and their entire membership of the YCLSA conveys warmly revolutionary greetings to central Committee of KNE, the Communist Youth of Greece and to all communist youth organizations that are participants to the 43rd Festival of KNE-Odigits.
We greet you comrades as YCLSA fully aware that we more than friends but we are comrades in the struggle for a new world order i.e. socialism and ultimately communism. We further conscious that your class struggle is our struggle, your setbacks are our setbacks and your victories are our victories.
In the invitation to us for this 43rd Festival of the KNE-Odigits, always at the end the was a simple and short sentence, Hope to see you in Athens! We must say we are happy to be in Athens as part of attending and participating in the 43rd Festival of KNE-Odigits .We want to say thank you for inviting the YCLSA. We value your invitation, we value our relations and we value you comrades. Comrades we want to give a revolutionary assurance that in good and bad times in the struggle we are with you and we will be with you till victory.
To us this 2017 43rd Festival of the KNE-Odigits is very significant as this coincide with the very important year in the calendar of all communists and workers parties in the world, the year of the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and World ¬†Festival of Youth and Students which will be convened in Sochi, Russia.
It is not easy to establish a particular date that marks the birth of an idea. Ideas usually take shape through a process that may not be obvious and which may involve theoretical reflection, social practice and gradual conceptualisation, definition and seizing the moment. But, if one day, or a moment, in the history of the struggle for socialism- communism thought over 100 years had to be chosen to show particular clarity the concepts that capture the essence of the communists experiences across the globe will be the Great October Socialist Revolution 1917.
Comrades, we are class brothers, sisters and comrades. And our revolution is a revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble. When the first democratic President of Mozambique Samora Machel speaks eloquently about international solidairy is not an act of charity: It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective. The foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible.
A communique was sent to us informing us about the topic and what is required from us, the topic is quite interesting and tempting that one can talk about the whole day but in the interest of time and doing just to other speakers allow me to hare in line with the topic: Exchange of experience from the struggles of the youth in our countries. "Communists all over the world we are taking our measures so that we conquer the future, socialism-communism"
Allow me to briefly outlines the historical involvement of youth in all the struggles and what we are these measures we are engaged on as part as we conquer for the future, socialism-communism. Youth with specific reference to South African youth in all epochs of evolutions have always been in the cutting edge of revolution and thus youth in this country have earned its rightful reference as 'Ufasimba', this bravery, dynamism, foresight, impatience, fortitude, courage, and hope can be traced in every epoch right from wars of resistance, formation of peoples organs, revolutionizing of these organs, arm struggle, international struggles, mass struggles and the like.
That is why in the tradition of communist parties across the world and our Party is not different, a strategic importance is placed on youth because young people have been considered as "a white sheet of paper" on which anything could be printed. In view of catastrophic failures of capitalist system of production, this paper argues that the only sustainable solution is to mobilize the youth as primarily organized by YCLSA to fight for socialist order.¬†¬†
This youth must be molded and persuaded towards construction of socialist project in that better future for all is sustainable under socialism. Failure to rise to this task because youth does not necessarily have its own ideology, other class forces or strata can as well capture this youth and with great determination it can be molded to oppose and derail socialist project unless living YCLSA and all left axis seize the youth, mobilize, educate and awaken them in order to help them find the revolutionary truth and strive for this truth, which is socialism.
It is without doubt that what we do with our youth and its organs today will define whether revolution aborts or intensifies. If this country is to grow or stagnate largely depends on the young people. The path our revolution is to take is in construction and depends largely on the force of youth, and on the educating and training of young generations. The matter of youth is a matter of life and death for the nation. It is also one of the decisive factors for the success or failure of the revolution. From a general contextual perspective, there is evidence to suggest that the young population makes a statistically significant proportion in a majority of societies and that they can exert quite a large influence on political organization, mobilization and transformation.¬† Observing with a close scrutiny the population bounded by parameters of this research (paper) the former Secretary of State for Education and Employment in the United Kingdom's Government, Mr. David Blunkett (in National Youth Agency, 2001:02) stated with lived experience and approval that "youth work changes lives". At the most normative level, he implies that society becomes in the final analysis, what the youth make of it. From a qualitative analytical procedure, his statement validates growth of a widespread global admission and recognition about the role and significance of the youth folk in transformational trajectory.
As part of conquering for the future, we have always characterized what is the problem, what is the nature of the problem and what must be done as follows: South Africa's history of Colonialism, Apartheid and Segregation has led to institutionalized and systemic poverty, inequality, unemployment and underdevelopment requiring a decisive state-led response to redress the imbalances of the past. The brutal and fascist, white monopoly Apartheid regime, systemically dehumanized and underdeveloped black South Africans as part of ensuring a conveyor belt of future labour for the extraction of surplus value with the ultimate objective of ensuring the economy remains solely owned and controlled by white monopoly capital.
Youth constitute a significant, growing and distinct group in society. Much can be said about how society views youth. The way in which society views youth is critical to shaping perceptions by the adult population and how youths view themselves. There are three contending social perspectives on youth; youth as consumers in society, youth as problems to society and youth as assets to society.
The legacies of colonialism, apartheid and segregation have produced and reproduced the challenges of youth unemployment, poor quality education, lack of skills, high levels of HIV/AIDS, and low levels of entrepreneurship amongst the youth. It is no wonder that despite significant strides since the advent of democracy in 1994, the majority of young South Africans remain doubtful of a better life endowed with education, skills, jobs and opportunities for social and economic progress.
We have further agreed that as the current generation of the YCLSA, we find ourselves in the middle of a memory of the struggle against apartheid on the one hand, and the hope and vision for a better future-society on the other hand. We also continued to characterize and made the following observation about youth in our country that "In our country, millions of young people are unemployed, and suffer from class inequalities, exploitation and poverty. This reflects a toxic interaction between the endemic crises of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism and the persisting legacy of colonial and apartheid capitalism despite progress achieved since the 1994 democratic breakthrough. Many young people have no access to skills development opportunities, such as apprenticeship, learner ships, internships and experiential training, because our economy is dominated by private enterprises which have a single motive, Profit making"
The question that we always asked ourselves as we are aware that ours is not only to characterize but also to respond on the famous question by Lenin on what must be done. As the YCLSA, we have tried to respond on this famous question as part of the struggle for the youth that YCLSA must continue to champion the needs, interests and aspiration of all young people in our country. History is on our side, history speaks for itself for us. In our consultative conference, we resolved in the Ten Youth Demands for 2015:
- Decent jobs and a living wage for all workers including young workers and learners.
- Free education for all from pre-school to tertiary education
- Basic services for all
- The provision of good quality treatment , care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS
- An end to the abuse of women and children
- Lowering the pension age to 55 for all women and men in order to create work opportunities to young people
- Extension of child support grants to cover young people up to the age of 16
- The extension of the school feeding scheme to high schools
- Nationalization of all land for productive economic use by landless communities targeting jobless young people
- Public ownership of all mineral wealth
On our youth month rally in 2016, we launched a youth manifesto with the Ten Youth Fronts:
- Creating jobs for youth
- National youth service
- Improving access and success in education
- Social cohesion and nation building
- Youth enterprises and cooperatives development
- Health and well-being
- Youth and the environment
- Infrastructure and ICT for youth
- Sport and recreation
Comrades, allow us to briefly share also the role played by other communists leaders in the African revolution. As part of conquering for the future, there were communists interventions by individual leaders and countries as part of fighting US Imperialism, its dominance and its hegemony in Africa. Let us be selective and explain for now only the role played by Che and Cuba as a country in the African Revolution. First and foremost as the YCLSA we value and consciously pride ourselves as young communists in South Africa about the role played as such we will continue to appreciate and always explain as nothing else a international solidarity move that helped not only Congo but South Africa and other African countries to attain their independence or freedom. In a letter by Che to his mother, written from Mexico in October of 1956, the young Ernesto Guevara declared that he had decided " to deal with the main things first, to pit myself against the order of things, shield on my arm , the whole fantasy, and then , if the windmills don't break open my head, I'll write" These lines announce the definitive consummation of a change in the young Argentine and point to the future course of his life in which action and reflection, understanding the world and transforming it, would be united in perfect harmony.
Comrades, the struggle in Africa like elsewhere has its own defeat and victories but victory is a great source of positive experiences, but so is defeat, especially in light of the extraordinary circumstances that surrounded these events. The protagonists and source of information were foreigners who went to risk their lives in an unknown land, where people spoke a different language, and where they were bound only by ties of proletarian internationalism, thereby initiating a new feature in modern wars of liberation .During their stay in Africa especially in Congo, they also had a chance to rub shoulders with many leaders of the various liberation movements. They didn't also rub shoulders with leaders also with combatants, soldiers and ordinary people of Africa.
According to Che in the Congo Diary: Episodes of the Revolutionary War in the Congo. Che considered his participation in the Congolese guerilla war resulted in the reinitiating of a revolutionary cycle and was the expression of an internationalism consistent with his theses on the liberation of the Third World. As he explains , they were "part of an idea of struggle that was completely organized in my mind" " It is a reaffirmation , now in maturity, of that confluence of thought and action that came together ever more tightly throughout his life, culminating in Bolivia , creating and giving special force and meaning to his example.
Comrades, nothing illustrates the duration and intensity of the Cuban presence in Africa better than the fact that Che Guevara himself, at the prime of his life and the height of his fame, went off to fight in the guerilla war in the Congo. He left Cuba on April 25, 1965, the very same day on which he submitted his farewell letter to Fidel Castro, giving up his rank of commander and everything else that legally tied him to the government.
On his stay and revolutionary journey in Africa, Che sow a seed that no one will destroy. Some of his men went on to Brazzaville, to train guerilla units for the PAIGC (African Party of the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, then led by Amilcar Cabral and especially for the MPLA.
We want to conclude by saying, at the moment our main responsibility is to work and create awareness among the people of all latitudes of the problems they face and to carry this message to political figures, thinkers and mobilise public opinion that in all the problems the people face the only solution is socialism-communism. We must do so fully confident of our views and fully committed to our convictions that the importance of ideas is growing, the possibilities for spreading the truth are multiplying and no one's voice is weak if they are determined to be heard.
As the Young Communist league of South Africa, we looking forward to participate in this 43rd Festival of the KNE-Odigits, to learn from other comrades, to share our experiences, to advise where possible and in the main to strengthen our friendship and comradeship as part of the measures to conquer for the future, socialism-communism.
Viva internationalist Solidarity, Viva!
Down with capitalism, down!
Forward with the struggle for a new world order forward
Forward with socialism- communism, forward!