No less than our revolution is at stake in Polokwane
Published:Dec 16, 2007
In 2003, an SACP delegation visited Zimbabwe and asked senior members of Zanu-PF’s leadership why sections of the former liberation movement — such as workers, the intelligentsia, and significant sections of civil society — were alienated from the ruling party. Unfortunately we never got a satisfactory answer, other than the standard refrain that all those not supporting Zanu-PF were “agents” of imperialism.
The question is one that we must ask not only of Zanu-PF , but of ourselves: how come the leadership core in the ANC seems so alienated from key components constituting the movement as we have come to know it — workers, communists, women, youth, many former Umkhonto combatants, and, given the recent provincial nominations, the majority of ANC branches?
Afro-pessimists, racists and other detractors constantly remind us that there is an inevitability about the direction of all African liberation struggles; that is, once the oppressors and colonialists are vanquished, these heroic struggles degenerate into dictatorships or undemocratic regimes. Of course degeneration is not inevitable, and we must dismiss this view — but this must not blind us to the very real danger of progressive revolutions degenerating, or even liquidating internally.
Such degenerations have in many cases happened not because of imperialist or reactionary interventions, real and permanent as these have been; in a number of cases such degeneration has been characterised by the sidelining of key progressive allies after attaining state power, with unions and communists usually the first casualties.
Therefore, the question of who gets elected in Polokwane is as important as the issue of the kind of ANC we need in the current period. The ANC delegates will have to take a hard, self- critical look at the organisation. This must include looking at the threat posed by the buying of votes in the run-up to the conference, and the abuse of state institutions and offices in an attempt to sway votes.
There also seems to be a creeping culture of entitlement from sections of our movement, including the self-righteous attitude that only certain leaders are capable of leading the ANC, and any change of leadership can only be a disaster . Of serious concern to many of us in the movement is the vulgarisation of some of our dearest values and struggles, such as the struggle for women’s emancipation and gender equality.
The use of the women’s struggle as a tool to support a particular set of leaders can only destroy the very women’s struggles in which millions of our people participated. Perhaps the vulgarisation of women and gender struggles was inevitable, given the extent to which these struggles have been stripped of their class dimension.
As a result, it has largely been the advancement of elite women that occupies centre stage , with minimal attention to the struggles of casual female workers, rural women eking out a living on white-owned farms, and female informal traders on the fringes of the mainstream capitalist economy. In the context of a capitalist media concerned with big, sensationalist stories, the struggles of ordinary women, as [Young Communist League national secretary] Buti Manamela puts it, “are not being televised”. It is this dominant, elitist approach to women’s struggles that has set the tone for the vulgarisation of women’s struggles .
We do not want gender “entrepreneurs”, but combatants in the interests of poor and working-class women! Polokwane faces an enormous challenge: to reflect on these threats to our revolution, and come up with a concrete programme of action to overcome them . The SACP has characterised the current period as one in which “a revolution is on trial”.
This calls for a dynamic, campaigning ANC.
If the conference fails to deal with these matters effectively, history will judge us very harshly for having presided over the degeneration of this glorious movement of ours. The destiny of our movement and our country rests with the delegates at Polokwane. It is up to them to reclaim the ANC in the mould of its traditions.
Nzimande is SACP general secretary and a member of the ANC National Executive Committee.
1. THE VIDEO OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK CUTTING UP HIS CLERICAL COLLAR HAS BEEN MOVED TO www.zimcrisis.blogspot.com 2. "HOW TO DO THE FINAL PUSH WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE SHOT" HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH PART TWO. PLEASE CLICK HERE!!! 3. VIDEO OF LISBON ANTI-MUGABE DEMO POSTED AT www.zimfinalpush8.blogspot.com
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