Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The YCL to drop Zuma
The latest in a number of calls to drop Jacob Zuma into the political wilderness comes in an editorial in the M&G by Young Communist League deputy national secretary Mazibuko Jara, in which he questions his institution's support for Zuma. In it he writes:
"According to the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Jacob Zuma (JZ) is subject to a political agenda that seeks to marginalise left and working-class forces to promote the interests of a small elite capitalist faction within the African National Congress.

However, it is questionable whether a political defence of JZ represents the best strategy through which to conduct a political and class struggle against such a project. That today JZ may quote communist texts must not stop the communist party from a proper class analysis of the class project he represents."


"The usual argument is that the political forces attacking JZ are the capitalists referred to here. Thus JZ is anti-capitalist and pro-working class. This paper does not agree with this formulation. We need a deeper and more strategic analysis of the ANC, the state, the role and interests of the capitalist class in the ANC, and the JZ project itself."


"But proletarian anger and support for JZ has not been critical of JZ’s class position and interests. It has also shown the dangers of appeals to ethnic identity, mass blindness and a cult of personality. We are not providing strategic and ideological leadership and harnessing this anger into a strategic offensive against capitalist interests, forces and policies."

and finally

"For a significant period, the communist party had begun to provide a moral reference point for workers, poor people, sections of the intelligentsia, the middle class and even some sections of capital uncertain about the future. This organisational renewal has led to increased activism, a positive public profile and the moderately successful campaigns on land, banks and access to basic services, which have not yet mounted a serious challenge to South African capitalism. These developments still have their own problems and weaknesses but overall they have been positive.

But now our conduct on the JZ saga has already reversed the potential of all these achievements. What signals are we sending to the public about our positions on corruption, the rule of law and public confidence in state institutions? What is the level of strategic confusion in our activist and mass base on all these issues?

There is also something wrong when the left in the alliance finds itself uncritically on the same side as emerging capitalist Don Mkhwanazi, corrupt businessman Schabir Shaik, and an ANC Youth League suckled on the largesse of the late Brett Kebble. What can possibly unite us with these elements? Some are also known for pushing the line that fighting corruption requires a political process: a euphemism for diffusing and deflecting a principled struggle against corruption, which is far from what a communist approach should be.

What is to be done?

Firstly, serious and objective introspection must take place on the whole JZ saga. Secondly party introspection also requires serious consideration of whether there is a case for the political defence of JZ.

Finally, the communist party has an opportunity to use its political and organisational preparations for its 12th congress in 2007 to revisit all key issues of strategy, programme and tactics including the debate on what must be done to increase the voice, power, resources and influences of poor and working people over all aspects of South African society including the contestation of elections by a working-class socialist party, hopefully the SACP."