NDR never about private individual interests - Blade Nzimande

SACP GS says basic wealth and resources of our country must serve the needs of the people as a whole

South African Communist Party

SACP Red October Campaign 2016-2017 launching statement

Delivered by Comrade Blade Nzimande, Party General Secretary at the launching rally Inchanga, eThekwini, 9 October 2016

Without revolutionary organisation there can be no revolution.

Last year our Red October Campaign focused on advancing our ongoing campaigns for transformation of the financial sector and the media. Despite the foundations we have laid for progress through these campaigns and some of the incremental advances we have made, it is very clear that there is still a lot of work to be done. The SACP will deepen and drive both the campaigns until their goals are fully secured.

The SACP has convened the launch of this year’s Red October Campaign here in the community of Inchanga, because we want to restore peace. We want an end to political killings and assassinations in this community. We shall return to this, but at the end of the day, we want principled and programmatic unity of our whole movement to advance a second radical phase of the national democratic revolution.

Our Red October Campaign 2016-2017 s focusing on strengthening our revolutionary activist organisation to take forward the demands of the working class and poor, the very issues we have been raising as the SACP. Our immediate aim is to reclaim our townships and villages, and intensify our ongoing mobilisation of the motive forces of our revolution trough transformative mass work.

Our goal remains that of building popular mass power and strengthening our revolutionary democratic people’s liberation front as a whole, to drive the second radical phase of our national democratic revolution. As the SACP, we believe that this will, and must, produce a solid foundation for the indispensible advance to socialism.

Our branches must be oriented on work in the community to take forward community struggles – be they economic, political, social and cultural. In this regard, as the SACP, we also seek to build our Party as a larger vanguard party present everywhere it matters and capable of leading working class struggles.

But we also need a strong a militant workers’ federation. We have committed ourselves, working together with Cosatu, to rebuild a strong trade union organisation in industrial sectors and strengthen the federation to take capitalist exploiters head-on 

Similarly, we need a strong and united ANC and that is why we must contribute in building it. By building a strong and united ANC, we will be strengthening our main mass political organisation and our alliance, its leadership and capacity to lead the revolution as one united revolutionary force.

We must return to the social base of our alliance and movement as a whole to build strong organisation and reclaim lost ground.

This brings us to theme of the issues that the SACP has been raising, for which we need strong organisation on the ground and presence in every key site of struggle and significant centre of power: 

Advance public property rights; defend our state-owned enterprises; fight corruption, rent-seeking and corporate capture!

This self-explanatory theme succinctly describes some of the major challenges facing our revolution at the current moment. But the theme does not end there. At the same time, it aptly summarises the strategic objectives and tasks that the Campaign must achieve, in order to contribute toward the national imperative to overcome the challenges faced by our communities and nation. 

The importance of vigorously developing and expanding vibrant public property and deliver high quality public goods and services cannot be over-emphasised!

The importance to resolutely defend state enterprises and the public service, to ensure that both function effectively and optimally, and that good governance prevails, cannot, similarly, be over-emphasised!

The importance to combat maladministration, corruption, rent-seeking, corporate capture and incompetence, as well as clamp down on appointments of individuals without merit cannot, too, be over-emphasised!

Our process of transformation is a national democratic revolution. It must produce radical and fundamental social change in the best interests of our people – especially the majority workers and poor, township and rural masses who are exploited and marginalised by capitalists. We cannot afford the revolution to be destroyed from within, to be either aborted or have its success postponed for a long time to come. A failure of the revolution will result in devastating consequences for the masses of our people. We cannot afford to give such a failure any quarter or an inch.

Millions of our people are on the receiving end of class and other social inequalities, unemployment and poverty.  We cannot afford the ongoing widespread situation to prevail, where corporate interests are preying on public enterprises owned by the state on behalf of the people as a whole and thus privately accumulate wealth and enrich themselves.

It is absolute gibberish that such greed is Black Economic Empowerment. The wealth such individuals amass does not belong to historically disadvantaged people as whole. It is their private and not public property, and is held in their private accounts or other self-centred endeavours. It does not belong either to the public or Black people as a whole, and is not used to meet the material and cultural needs of the people. It belongs to the pockets only of those expropriators, who privately empower themselves by disempowering the whole of the nation. In addition, they are shamelessly doing so, using the name of all Black people, who they exploit over and above disempowering as the majority of the nation.

The national democratic revolution was never forged as a tool to be used to create and facilitate political or business connections. It was never about private individual interests. In contradiction, our struggle and revolution were always and are about the people as whole, not some parasites; not the parasitic bourgeoisie; not their lackeys in decision-making positions in state enterprises, the public service or anywhere in the state, as well in our own movement.

These are some of the reasons why the SACP has been driving our ongoing campaign to combat corporate capture, and linked with it, to combat corruption and rent-seeking. The Red October Campaign that we are launching today is meant to strengthen revolutionary organisation in our communities and intensify the struggle, in defence of, among others public property.

Our aim is to ensure that the basic wealth and resources of our country serve the needs of the people as a whole. Our goal is exactly to ensure the advancement and expansion of common ownership of the means of production to serve national development and democratic social transformation imperatives.

In this regard, public property rights, as opposed to the private personal interests of the exploiters and the looters, are not delinked from human rights. Public property rights and human rights are inextricably linked, if not inseparable. It is not through the private interests of the looters of public resources; it is not through the exploiters of the workers and appropriators of workers’ labour; it is not through the expropriators of the masses by individuals who are greedy; in contradiction, it is through public property rights, common, collective and democratic control of the means of production that we will fully deliver on human rights!       

By the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution that occurred in Russia in 1917, that is by October 2017 the Red October Campaign that we are launching today must have gone a long way in dislodging corporate capturers and their political collaborators, corruption and rent-seeking. If we do not achieve this urgent objective, our revolution and people will suffer. If we do not dislodge corporate capturers and their collaborators, our main mass political organisation that is at the head of our alliance electoral strategy, the ANC will suffer a further decline in its electoral support.

That can only lead to the loss of political power by the ANC. The ANC is not just a leader only of its own members. It is a leading component of our alliance and leader of our society. Such loss will therefore lead to the overall dislodgement of the alliance, altogether with the national democratic revolution, by a counter-revolution. This abortion of the national democratic revolution, or its postponement for a long time to come, MUST be prevented. No single comrade who is a revolutionary can justify and behave in a manner that plays into the hands of such a calamity.

Let us together fight factionalism and associated destructive politics, combat political and ideological degeneration, defend the unity of our movement and safeguard the success of our revolution!    

This is why we must combine, the fight against corporate capture, corruption and rent-seeking, with the very urgent necessity to intensify our ongoing struggle against our weaknesses as a movement!

We must fight against political and ideological degeneration in the ranks of our movement. This must be a democratic struggle against factionalism, gate-keeping, distortion of internal democracy, buying of membership and votes and manipulation of membership records to influence elective outcomes.

We never did and still cannot afford to lose the life of a comrade to a political killing, such as the political killings we have suffered in Inchanga, in the Province of Moses Mabhida and in other areas preceding and after this year’s local government elections. The SACP expresses its message of sincere solidarity with the families of our comrades, whose lives were stolen by the murderers and whoever their handlers are – if ever there is. No one must find it easy to kill anyone of our comrades and then get away with murder. There must always be lawful consequences whenever such political barbarity occurs. In fact it must just not be allowed to happen anymore.  

In addition, we do not need to be returned back to the pre-2007 ANC Polokwane Conference shenanigans involving manipulation of state power and public resources to advance narrow party-political interests or factionalism. Invasive surveillance of the SACP is nothing but a declaration of aggression.

We are warning, as the SACP, that we will not tolerate the return to this “Suppression of Communism Act” type offensive on our Party. We are in a developing democracy and we fought for it. There must be respect for the rule of democratic law.      

By the time of the centenary of the Great October Russian Socialist Revolution – Comrades, let us repeat this – by October 2017: We must have gone a long way toward victory against the entire body of a destructive politics. There is no other alternative if we want to rescue the ANC, at the head of our alliance and its electoral strategy, in the 2019 general election.

Let us also reiterate, the very fundamental principle of the SACP in regard to the alliance:

Decisive leadership, principled and programmatic unity!

We are not going to be in an alliance with factions. We are not going to be in an alliance with the parasitic bourgeoisie or their collaborators. If the ANC gets captured, we will be left with no other option, but to build a new people’s national democratic revolutionary front and proceed with the objective of advancing the second radical phase of our democratic transition. But as far as we are concerned, the reality at present is that it is impossible for the whole of the ANC to be captured. There are still many progressive comrades and revolutionaries who are not necessarily communists, but as well as communists in their own right all as ANC members. 

Let us therefore take this opportunity to congratulate the ANC for the leadership it is reasserting in Parliament. The ANC this week made our people proud by means of the posture it adopted in Parliament, a decisive advance to sort out corporate capture and persistent governance decay at the SABC. Two members of the SABC board had to resign on Wednesday, 5 October before Parliament, as a result of the ongoing decisive leadership intervention by the ANC. This is what the ANC needs to do in its own organisational and leadership ranks, as well as in the ANC-led government as a whole and throughout the state.

By so doing the ANC is restoring the trust and will re-earn the confidence of the people that it had lost. This has to be consistent, and must intensify from now on. It must deepen as a principle of revolutionary leadership and the lifeblood not only of the ANC but the ANC-led alliance in the run up to the 2019 general election and beyond.

Defend public infrastructure from destruction, secure continued expansion of access to quality public services!

This Red October Campaign we are launching today is about building strong organisation to take forward the issues we have been advancing, including the very need to rigorously advance and defend public property rights. In this same revolutionary spirit, the SACP reiterates its position, that the destruction, such as the one that has been carried out in a number of our public universities is counter-productive to the vision of free education for the poor, working class and lower sections of the middle class who cannot afford student fees or fee increases.

Let us recall, for a second, that, very recently in one area, Vuwani in Limpopo Province, over 20 schools were torched just in a few days in protest over new municipal boundaries. Other public infrastructure, in different areas across the country, has been destroyed in “service delivery protests”. By the way this increased in the run up to the 3 August local government elections.       

The destruction of the very same public infrastructure that is required to deliver the social services that our people need, directly contradicts the very progressive spirit to expand the delivery of those services and improve on quality. The destruction of schools and universities, similarly, acts against the genuine concern of the necessity to accelerate our progressive rollout of free education for the classes and strata who cannot afford.

Related to this, it is just and reasonable that the rich and well-off who can afford student fees must pay. This will also contribute toward reducing inequality both in education and society at large.

Accordingly, the SACP also reiterates its position, that the rich and the wealthy must be taxed to finance not only accelerated progressive rollout of free education for students from poor and working class households who cannot afford student fees. The rich and the wealthy must be taxed to redistribute proceeds of production and exchange and generate revenue to support other social redistributive programmes, such as a comprehensive social security, quality healthcare, etc.

Some voice has come out from within our own ANC-led movement and, in a very factional manner contradicting the ANC’s own policy pronouncements including its last National Executive Committee meeting resolution on higher education fees. By the way, the Higher Education and Training Department will require an additional allocation of finance, if it were to exceed, or expand, its recent progressive intervention.

According to the intervention, the government will pay both fees and fee increases for students who qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFA). Let us also recall that, for the first time since our democratic breakthrough in 1994, the intervention introduced a new measure: The government will pay fee increases (all capped at eight percent) for 2017 for students from households with a family income of up to R600 000 per annum.

Issued by the SACP, Inchanga, eThekwini in the Province of Moses Mbhida, 9 October 2016