17 IMCWP, Contribution of South African CP [En]
The South African Communist Party (SACP) expresses its profound greetings and solidarity with the comrades and parties gathered here at occasion of the 17th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP), in Istanbul, Turkey and hosted by the Communist Party, Turkey.
We express our thanks to the Communist Party, Turkey for its work in organizing this meeting. On behalf of the South African Communist Party (SACP), we want to congratulate the Communist Party, Turkey for making excellent arrangements for hosting the 17th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP), particularly in these difficult and testing times in Turkey, the region and the world. At the outset, we want to pay homage to the people who lost their lives in a recent brutal bomb attack in Ankara and other places. We salute the steadfast and fighting people who are not cowed and are bracing such attacks, but also defying them to express and register their protest against the anti-people policies of Erdogan's AKP government.
We salute the working class and popular strata of Turkey and toiling sections for resisting repression and pledge our solidarity with their struggles, and wish the Communist Part, Turkey well in the upcoming elections on Sunday, 1 November.
The tasks of the communist and workers' parties in the current conjuncture
This International Meeting of Communists and Workers Parties takes place under the theme: "The Tasks of Communists and Workers Parties to strengthen the struggle of the working class against capitalist exploitation, imperialist wars and fascism, for workers and peoples' emancipation, for socialism". We believe this theme correctly captures the essence of working class and popular strata struggles in the current period. Indeed, we must continue to develop appropriate responses to the crisis and provide alternatives for the masses of people reeling from the consequences of the effects of capitalism. The working people and popular strata depend on us to struggle for a better quality of life and the overthrow of capitalism and for the construction of socialism.
The SACP is conscious of the enormity of the tasks that confront the working class, it's formations and the popular strata in the struggles for an alternatives in South Africa, the region and the world. This, we want to believe requires even greater unity between and amongst the progressive and popular forces to enhance its mobilisation, campaigning capacities and overall tactics.
In fact we require a deep debate and discussion in the ICWP movement to outline perspectives and appreciation for those exploring the difficult tasks of evolving a trajectory for change - an alternative to capitalist development within conditions and circumstances not of their own making.
We require deeper analysis of the ongoing processes in Latin America in particular, to app irate the efforts of leftward shifts occurring there and the huge challenges they confront in articulating an alternative trajectory for the countries and peoples' away from ''there's no alternative' (TINA) notion of the doomsayers.
The SACP which is an active participant in the Tripartite Alliance led by the African National Congress (ANC), also understand the challenges that confront the progressive alliance in country and has continued work on that front, but has also scored major victories in the past. We take responsibility for the revolution - both the victories and setbacks! Huge advances have been made to reverse the legacy of apartheid colonialism through a myriad of policies in the last 20-odd years. Though a lot needs to done to ensure fundamental transformation occurs. It is for this reason that we have supported the ANC's more radical second phase of transformation so as to ensure that the process becomes reversible and materially alters the conditions of the majority of our people, who are the working class and the poor, women and youth.
Recently, the country witnessed the mass protests of university students marching and demanding for lower fees at universities for 2016. The SACP and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) - which includes the progressive South African Students Congress (SASCO), the ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL-SA) supported this struggle and expanded the demands to explore 'free education for the poor' in South Africa and the fundamental transformation of higher education in the country. Former white universities which have positioned themselves as bastions of neoliberalism and capitalism have deliberately excluded poor and working class students from accessing university education through a myriad of measures, including through financial exclusion and making university education more expensive and therefore out of reach for the majority.
Though these universities are state-funded, they have relied on the notion of institutional autonomy and academic freedom to entrench anti-people programmes and furthering a neoliberal agenda. They receive per capita higher private sector investment in comparison to non-white university, which remain marginal and 'bush' universities in a post-apartheid South Africa.
The demand for free education for the poor and fundamental transformation of higher education will provide the basis for the decommodification of basic services such as education, health and housing.
We are confident that the demands and struggle for free education, are attainable within the context of creating alternatives. The Minister for Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande - who is the General-Secretary of the SACP has argued that in order to finance the no-fees and free education for the poor, taxing the rich more and/or through corporate tax and windfall taxes will be the avenues which will be explored.
The 5th November will mark the 10th anniversary of the defeat of Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) with introduction of ALBA - the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. In its own terms the ALBA is a “political, economic, and social alliance in defense of independence, self-determination and the identity of peoples comprising it”, which now includes eleven member states from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Efe Can Gürcan and Onur Bakıner describe counter-hegemonic practice in action in Latin America, arguing that ‘post-neoliberal regional integration has emerged as a political, economic, and cultural alternative to neoliberal hegemony’ in the South American continent, particularly through such regional organizations as ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
We believe it is important to support the developments in Latin America about regional integration as efforts towards building people-centered and genuine alternatives to North American imperialism and hegemony. The integration models that have been developed in Latin America on the basis of mutually beneficial and fraternal solidarist methodology, which bear important lessons for progressives and communists across the world.
It is in this context that as the SACP we think engaging the rationale of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc and its implications as a form of ongoing struggle against imperialism and capitalist hegemony, should be explored and further evolved. To this end, we will convene an international seminar on BRICS, which will bring together communist parties from the countries making up BRICS and others to further debate the relevance of BRICS in the contemporary politics. This endeavour is aimed at exploring efficacy of this a model for integration outside the sphere of influence of North American and European imperialism.
We also believe 'The Belt and Road' initiative of the Peoples' Republic of China hold mutually beneficial issues for the linkages outlined. The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as “The Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, is a project that developed by the Chinese government with the purpose of economic integration among countries from Asia, Europe and Africa along five routes.
It aims: to link China to Europe through Central Asia and Russia; to connect China with the Persian Gulf through Central Asia; to bring together China and Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, the initiative intends to use coastal ports to link China with Europe through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean; and to connect China with the South Pacific Ocean through the South China Sea.
Hamas visits South Africa
Recently, the ANC led Alliance invited to South Africa, HAMAS for a series of exchanges and honest engagements. HAMAS which was led by its leader Khaled Mish'al was welcomed in the country enthusiastically and had numerous exchanges with various roleplayers including an important exchange with the leadership of the SACP.
The SACP committed itself to continue putting pressure of apartheid Israel and work towards realizing the goals of self-determination of the Palestinian people. We encourage and share in the struggles and campaigns of such platforms as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) - which are active in the country to expand and even deepen its impact. Palestinians have suffered for generations in camps and apartheid Israel prisons, facing torture and death, and Israeli bombings of schools and homes.
Capitalism is in crisis
While it is imperative to develop short term interventions to save jobs, to address crisis levels of household indebtedness and much more, we must never lose sight of the deeply embedded structural features of the current capitalist crisis both in South Africa and globally. Since 2008 the epicenter of global capitalist crisis has shifted from Wall Street to Iceland, from Portugal, to Greece and Puerto Rico, to the Chinese stock markets. One 'solution' after another simply results in further knock-on crises elsewhere.
Everywhere the rural poor, the working class and the vast stretches of the middle strata globally are suffering, while a 'one percent' rentier class becomes ever more filthy rich. The scandalous death of tens of thousands of desperate refugees in the Mediterranean and in Europe - fleeing poverty and imperialist inspired destabilization in Syria, Libya and elsewhere - is another manifestation of the deepening crisis of capitalism.
Capitalism is in crisis - our task is not to save capitalism from it crisis, but to save humanity and the planet from capitalism!
Socialism is the future! Build it now!