The SACP remarks at the 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP)
100th Anniversary of the founding of the Communist International
The Fight for Peace and Socialism continues
The South African Communist Party (SACP) is indeed grateful to be part of this auspicious event to mark the convening of the 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP) - a consequence and off-shoot of the Communist International (ComIntern) of 1919.
Over the last period we have been observing important milestones of the communist movement and the struggle for an alternative to the rapacious system of capitalism and imperialism across the world. These occasions should provide both a basis for reflection and celebration, in order for us to better create conditions and material basis for higher levels of intense class struggles for ultimate victory or socialism - communism.
The legacy of the Communist International (ComIntern) is crucial for all of us to build on its positive legacy. This year marks the centenary anniversary of the birth of the Third International - the Communist International (Comintern), the organization of revolutionary socialist parties around the world.
Indeed, we agree the Comintern represented the hope of millions, that the example of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia could be spread globally to rid the world of the horrors of imperialism and capitalism.
What is the positive example of the ComIntern?
First, the continuation of the 'ComIntern tradition' - in the form of these successive International Meetings of the Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP), is welcomed and appreciated. In this regard we want to express our appreciation to the those to took the leadership to convene these meetings at a time when it was difficult and almost impossible in many ways to talk about communism and organise meetings of communist and workers parties, and today we are convening for the 21st meeting.
Secondly, we believe an important legacy of the ComIntern - which we are marking its centenary this year, is (we want to argue): the 'relationship between communism and the struggle for national liberation', which is a crucial question for the revolutionary movement given the world correlation of forces today. There are some who have continued to argue, that like the erstwhile Soviet Union (USSR), the ComIntern failed dismally. But we beg to differ and can attest to the enormous contribution of the ComIntern in respect of our struggle for national liberation and socialism, and its confidence inspiring example on the continent and the peoples of the South. The Soviet Union and its people played a crucial part in taking forward the struggles of many on the continent and together others played a crucial role dispensing with military machine of imperialism and opened the door for the realisation of national independence. Indeed, the Soviet Union and its people contributed towards halting fascism and the defeat Nazism and thus creating conditions for nominal peace in some regions.
Classical Marxism provided an analysis of the contradictions of capitalist society and indicated the means by which its revolutionary overthrow might be accomplished. It was only peripherally concerned with colonial world; indeed what Marx and Engels had to say on this subject was sometimes contradictory, and often - in its references to British imperial overlordship as the 'unconscious tool of history' - distinctly ambivalent.
It fell to Lenin to develop the classical Marxist heritage on the national and colonial question - and, in particular, to specify the nature of the connection between revolutions in advanced capitalist society and those in the colonial and semi-colonial countries. He summed up the tasks now facing socialists in the words, "Proletarians of all countries and oppressed people, unite!".
International class solidarity was impossible, whilst there was inequality between nations; as Lenin wrote:‘to insist upon, to advocate, and to recognise this right (of self-determination) is to insist on the equality of nations, to refuse to recognise compulsory ties, to oppose all state privileges for any nation whatsoever, and to cultivate a spirit of complete class solidarity in the workers of different nations.'
It is in regard that the South African Communist Party (SACP) has over the years, since its founding developed (theoretical-ideological and practical) in the manner in which it has - with all its errors and achievements, sought to advance the struggle for national liberation and socialism in the conditions of colonialism of a special-type (CST) in South Africa. In the 28 years before its banning, the Communist Party had played a pioneering role in rooting the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism in South African soil and building a tradition of progressive trade unionism.
In the South African conditions this meant, above all, playing a leading role in building the national liberation movement and progressive trade union movement. We have understood that national liberation movements do not emerge one fine day out of the mind of some superman or at the instigation of some foreign power. They are born-out of popular national discontent. They emerge over long periods to combat oppressive conditions and express aspirations for a different kind of society. In this context and supported by Marxist elaborations of the relationship between class and national liberation, we have worked and continue to pay attention to the progressive African National Congress (ANC) and Alliance in South Africa. It is not a luxury nor burden, but an ideological and political imperative placed on us by our material conditions to work in the progressive national liberation movement and trade union.
The SACP continues to pay attention to the important pillar of struggle - internationalism and will continue to do so into the future. We know too well the importance of internationalist struggles and fraternity of the like-minded, which contributed in no small measure towards the realisation of the 1994-democratic breakthrough.
The crisis and collapse of the Soviet bloc of countries has had massive implications for global political realities. While some socialists countries still remain, there is no longer a fully-fledged second bloc capable of providing an alternative in terms of international trade, aid, or military and political assistance. In one sense, then, the post-Cold War world is unipolar, particularly in politico-military terms. Unipolarity coexists with multi-polarity, structured around groups of core countries in regional trading blocs.
Socialism is the future, Build it Now
We have adopted the slogan "Socialism is the future, Build it Now" to assert the following;
In South Africa we are in the phase of advancing, deepening and defending the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). But, there's no 'Chinese Wall' between this phase and the consolidation of socialism. In our conditions, the two are deeply interconnected.
The NDR is not a detour but the most direct route to socialism.
As the SACP we are struggling, here and now, for transformations that are both feasible and reasonable, which have their own inherent value, and which lay the basis for future socialist transformation. Our strategic perspectives and the manner in which we struggle in the present also distinguish the SACP from those formations and tendencies that are characterized by economism and narrow reformism. These tendencies that, while occasionally invoking 'socialism', are so immersed in the here and now that the goals of broader structural transformation, of revolutionary socialist change are forgotten.
Neither national liberation nor socialism are events that are delivered to the people. They are, rather ongoing processes of popular and working class self-emancipation.
In the decisive period ahead, the SACP has a crucial role to play in mobilizing, organizing and ideological development of all contingent forces of our revolutionary struggle, and in particular the South African working class. The struggle for national liberation - which is ongoing, the destruction of colonialism of a special type and the transition to socialism in South Africa require a vanguard Marxist-Leninist party capable of providing a highly disciplined organization and the guiding light of scientific socialist outlook grounded in South African realities.
Communism stands for peace, freedom, democracy, national independence and social progress.
We must struggle against anti-communism.
We struggle against and defeat warmongering and unilateralism and capitalist hegemonism!
Socialism is the future, Build it Now!