One hundred and sixty-six years ago, in 1848, Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto that “A spectre is haunting Europe. It is the spectre of communism”.
During the last century communism brought economic devastation and totalitarian dictatorship wherever it was implemented and resulted in the deaths of over 50 million people.
Never in the history of mankind has any political system failed so dismally and brought such suffering to so many people in such a relatively short time.
And yet, unbelievably, the spectre of communism has returned to haunt us here in South Africa.
In 1928 Comintern – the international branch of Soviet Communism – instructed the SA Communist Party “to transform the ANC into a fighting nationalist organisation” and to develop “systematically the leadership of the workers and the Communist Party in the organisation.”
The SACP has faithfully carried out this instruction. The leadership role that it has developed within the ANC has enabled it to play a central role in all the organisation’s major ideological initiatives:
- In 1956 leading members of the SACP drafted the ANC’s core mobilisation document The Freedom Charter.
- The SACP once again took the lead in 1961 when it persuaded the ANC to embark on its armed struggle – against the wishes of the then President of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli.
- The armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was throughout its existence under the effective control of the SACP.
- In 1962 the SACP developed the concept of ‘colonialism of special type’ – which presented a Marxist analysis of the political situation in South Africa. The CST analysis – even after 1994 – continues to regard white minority colonialism/capitalism as the cause of persistent black underdevelopment.
- Throughout the 1970s and 1980s virtually all the members of the ANC’s National Executive Committee were also members of the SACP.
- At the ANC’s Morogoro Conference in 1969 the SACP once again took the lead by further developing the ideology of National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
- In 2007, together with COSATU, the SACP helped anti-Mbeki elements to seize control of the ANC; to appoint Jacob Zuma as President of the ANC and subsequently to ‘recall’ President Mbeki.
- Together with COSATU, it took the lead in dispensing with President Mbeki’s successful GEAR economic policies.
- In 2012, the SACP played a leading role in formulating and introducing the “second radical phase of the NDR.”
The NDR has become the ANC’s guiding ideology and is the fountainhead of government policy. Incredibly, its central element is an ongoing struggle by the ANC-controlled state against white South Africans on the basis of their race.
- The central task of the NDR is “the resolution of the antagonistic contradictions between the oppressed majority and their oppressors; as well as the resolution of the national grievance arising from the colonial relations.”
- This involves “the elimination of apartheid property relations” through the redistribution of wealth, land and jobs from whites to blacks by means of affirmative action, BBBEE and land reform.
- The final goal of the NDR is the establishment of the ‘National Democratic Society’ that will be characterised by demographic representivity throughout government, society and the private sector in terms of ownership, management and employment.
A core element of NDR – from which the SACP derives its vanguard role – is its identification of workers as the main motive force of the ANC. Because the SACP claims to be the political leader of the workers it believes that it is endowed with a vanguard role in determining the direction and pace of the NDR. It is also important to note that COSATU – the other representative of the workers – gives its primary loyalty to the SACP – and not to the ANC.
In June 2011, COSATU President Sidumo Dlamini declared that
“We are a Marxist-Leninist formation not in words but through our commitment to the struggle for socialism and in that context we encourage our members to fill the front ranks of the SACP and we subject ourselves to the discipline of communists.”
This is despite the fact that a recent survey indicated that only 6% of COSATU members were also active members of the SACP.