Take note that these commy-buggers are still into their so-called "struggle" involved:
Lecture by the YCL national secretary, June 30 2010I. The Context, Harry Gwala the Man
1. This is the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of "The Lion of the Midlands". A communist, an educator, a warrior, Isithwalandwe, a Young Communist, a freedom fighter and a Robben Islander. This is a man whose history we should never take for granted.
2. As to why it took 20 solid years and four heads of state to ultimately bestow upon him the highest orders in the country, we may never know, but what we know is that Gwala would have cared less whether there are honours and praises heaped upon him. There are many cadres who died in exile, who languished in jail, who were killed in the country whose names remain unknown and their role simply forgotten. Yes, let us celebrate Nelson Mandela, but the struggle not only lied on his shoulders but in those of many combatants who pursued a collective struggle. Let us, in the quest of celebrating this freedom, remember not some but all those who died for this freedom
3. Gwala was Labelled a "warlord" by the international media and the IFP, hated by some within the Alliance for his frankness and readiness to speak truth to power, suspended for six months from the SACP Central Committee on disciplinary issues, dubbed a populist when all he sought to do was communicate to the people the basic truths around violence by the IFP and the third-force, or what the prospects of negotiations between the NLM and the apartheid government were, or any other issue he deemed of interest to the liberation of our people; he was adored by many for his command of the youth in the Midlands and KZN in their own defence. This is a man whose history we should never take for granted.
4. Let us celebrate our history and the man and women who made not for nostalgic purposes, but merely so that we do not repeat the mistakes they committed and learn from the victories they attained. Harry Gwala was part of that history, and we will continuously, especially as part of the legacy of those who revived the YCLSA in the 1940, claim him as one of our own... a communist and fighter who was separated from this mission by ill-health or stroke, but by death.
II. Leadership Lessons from Harry Gwala
5. Through my engagements with numerous comrades who lived with and from his writing, I believe as the youth we have a lot to learn from the political leadership Comrade Harry Gwala displayed. Some of the stories, of course, as is the case with many of our revolutionaries, may just be legends, but some are from what he said or wrote in person and I believe this is the political largesse he has left for us.
6. The first lesson is that the role of our political education should be to emphasise the culture of "Each One Teach One"; "Learn, Learn and Learn". It should be to build an all round cadre not only gifted in quoting voluminous writing of Marx or Lenin without putting these into action; and a cadre who is disciplined and succumbs to organisational democracy, puts the working class struggles first and tirelessly work towards building socialism. As the YCL we are more challenged to ensure that our political education is relevant for our membership, and a guide to action.
In this era, where youth politics seems to have taken the slant of sloganeering and is devoid of a strong theoretical basis, it becomes more urgent for the YCL to intensify our political education especially amongst the youth. For a distinction to be made between what is revolutionary and what is reactionary and for the youth to decide what is populist and what is a genuine political programme for the working class; the weapon of theory can never be overemphasised. If comrade Harry Gwala could teach Marxism through the Bible, it also tells us that there is more we can learn even from books declared anti-communist. For us to crush the capitalist system, we have to study and understand how it operates, that was one of the things Karl Marx dedicated himself to, and so should we.
7. Secondly, we learn from Comrade Harry Gwala that once you are convinced about an idea, a theoretical conception, and has proved its worth in action, defend it to life, no matter how unpopular. However, never display unwillingness or arrogance to learn from your mistakes or of others, and be open to engagement. We learn this from Gwala, who in his life, twice incarcerated in Robben Island and various other prisons, banished into house arrests, banned from speaking in public, suffered and was almost incapacitated, and could not even be quoted; yet he remained a defiant organiser, a fighter and a teacher to the end because he knew that no matter the might and strength of the enemy, it will never defeat his will and the collective majority of the oppressed people of our country.
Retreat and Surrender as a tactic, never as a Strategy; and always go back to the drawing board with the aim of fighting back until that which you aim for is attained. As is now, the ideals of socialism are re-emerging all over the world as an alternative to the current crises of capitalism, even decades after the capitalist propaganda machinery spewed bile as a means to discredit it as a failed state. We have to soldier on, for the ideal is always near.
8. Thirdly, speak to the people in a language they better understand, communicate the message in the simplest of terms, illustrate their application in practical terms and then they will defend to death the ideals with which we are communicating.
9. Fourthly, command from the front, and through that, you will inspire your forces to courageous victory. Show that you are not only asking young people to dedicate their life to the struggle for socialism, but that you have already dedicated yourself to such a struggle. The slogan: Socialism of Death should resonate as we, the youth leaders, lead from the front.
10. Fifthly, Once an Organiser, always an Organiser; the best cadres are not tested in the comfort of theory but in action. Marx, Lenin, Gwala, Govan Mbeki and many others are an example. In as much as most of us know their theoretical work, they were ardent organisers who started trade unions, International Workers Parties, Armies and entire organisations of countries from scratch. Tony Cliff says that even if Marx did not participate in the formation of the First International, he would have still been Marx, but if Lenin did not lead the revolution against the Bolsheviks, we would not have known of Lenin. The point herein is not to regurgitate Marx; the point is to bring him and his ideas to modern day life. Marx himself has said "philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point, however, is to change it" and this requires action.
11. The Sixth leadership lesson is for us to be an all-round cadre who is willing to be led and commanded, the best leaders are those who have learnt how to be led and be commanded. Leaders are there to be respected, not worshipped. Not only is it bad for the leader to be worshipped, but also for the revolution as we may like sheep follow the shepherd into the slaughter house. The best form of respect to a leader is to engage them when we believe they are wrong. Comrade Gwala displayed democracy in the most simplest of terms, by doing the unexpected and availing himself to contest for Deputy President of the ANC against Walter Sisulu at the ANC Conference in Bloemfontein. He had retorted to comrades that the younger once should learn that there are no untouchables in the struggle.
12. The seventh lesson of leadership meet war with war, it is the only way to arrive at peace. Put differently, war is politics by other means. The danger of confronting war with peaceful means lies in the annihilation of the seekers of peace and the victory of the warlord. However, it is important to make clear the objectives of our response to war as a means of the people to defend themselves. Not every war, as we are made to believe, is evil (and I am not talking here of Jihad). When the working class comes out in their numbers into action, on the streets, it is in defence of their right to fair working conditions.
13. The eighth lesson from uMntu' oMdala is that in order to attain freedom, the unity of the oppressed forces is one of the single-most important determining factors. Every revolutionary should strive for the unity of the oppressed forces. However, unity should never be negotiated at the expense of principles, but should at all times be for the advancement of such principles. We can never overlook the principal aims of the working class revolution at the expense of expedience. In this regard, unity and all other determining factors of the victory of our revolution should succumb to the strategy and tactics of the party of the working class at all times, which should be assessed at all times.
The Alliance in SA is the organisational form of unity in the attainment of socialism, through the building of a national and democratic society, institutions and way of life. The significance of the Alliance should be continuously emphasised especially now when there are deflection strategies to try not only to isolate the Party and Cosatu, but also the historical mandate of the Alliance. In quoting Harry Gwala, he said of John Ngubane who was then President of the ANC in the Natal Midlands, whom he was deputising:
"Things were as bad as all that. In Natal, my executive was led by Ngubane, who was not just negative but hostile to the Party, and incidentally to the Indian people. I remember the quarrel we had during the 1949 riots when they were making anti-Indian pronouncements. One meeting, in fact, I even decided to walk out of because I could not stomach the racist approach. But they were not the Youth League, so one could not walk away from the organisation"
14. The ninth lesson I deduced is that Irrespective of the conditions that one finds themselves in, never appeal to the temptation of a wayward buck or a scrumptious rabbit, keep your eyes on the ball, know what your primary task and objective is and remain pursuant to that.
"The primary task of the Party"...said Comrade Gwala "has always been that of overthrowing capitalism and proceeding to socialism, but there is no straight path to that. You have got to pass through, in other countries, a number of phases."
But irrespective of the number of phases one has to go through, we have to maintain focus on the overthrow of capitalism and then proceed towards socialism. The ability of Harry Gwala to remain one of the leading figures in the struggle for national emancipation never deterred him from pursuing the struggle for socialism. He constantly understood, as we have showed earlier, that the foundation for socialism lies in the dismantling of the apartheid state as the dominant feature of the struggle of the time.
Importantly, the tasks of the party also require constant vigilance on issues of non-racism, and uniting, in particular, the working class irrespective of their race, class and gender. He popularly remarked that "...despite the fact that there was white domination, the Party never tired to say "we must go to the white people and try and get them over to the struggle. Its a working class party -we must have white workers".
The YCL is a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic organisation, it must endeavour to bring within its fold young people from all racial groups and unite them under the banner of class struggle. There will be temporary issues such as affirmative action or BEE on the one hand, those we must expose as the divisive nature of modern post-apartheid capitalism and that ours is for the betterment of the livelihoods for all.
15. The last, and very important one, is to be determined in the fight against capitalism in all its forms, including its remnants and its features, but most importantly expose those elements within the working class organisations or national liberation movement who sees communist bashing as their festival. We have to emphasise that anyone who is anti-communist is equally anti-working class. You cannot on the one hand ridicule the leadership of the Party of workers, or seek to isolate them, whilst on the other purport to represent the working class. Insulting the priest is sometimes as equal as insulting the congregation and therefore the religion. The first salvo in weakening the working class is the deliberate weakening of its party and its leadership as the face of the struggle for socialism. We cannot excuse this and say "But they are not insulting the Party, they are only insulting Nzimande".
Mphephethwa tells of a story wherein, he retorts
"...one day, one woman who was working in an office was telling me that "you are sorry now that you are a Communist". I said to her "many people will be sorry for what they are". And she said, talking to other girls there at the office "yes, I think he's right".
"We are facing a monster, and a monster doesn't end by gobbling a few people, a monster gobbles everybody. So that now, we were entering a new era, an era of fascism, at the beginning of the SOs."
In this, Gwala was clearly sending a message that today it will be communists on the basis either of their beliefs or the capitalist toes they trample on and the extent of the irritation they cause, but tomorrow it will be you and I. This was during the time of the introduction of the Suppression of Communism Act, and later, the ANC, PAC and everybody "was gobbled by the monster of apartheid".
III. Remembering Harry Gwala: In Defence of the Revolution
16. In remembering Harry Gwala, we have to intensify the struggle against corruption, greed and consumerism. It seems even worse; we have to defend ourselves from those who are hell-bent to make corruption the order of the day. As Toussant remarks in his piece in the African Communist about the lessons for the South African left, there is a clear and intrinsic link between capitalism and corruption on the one hand, and the fight against corruption and socialism on the other. When we stand on the pulpit to fight against corruption, we must know that we may be pointing at some within our ranks, but that is where we must be more determined to deal with the cancer of corruption. If we deal with those who are guilty of corruption within our ranks, we will definitely close the flood gates for those who are joining our ranks for corrupt purposes, and even better, for those who think our organisations are FOR SALE.
17. Speak truth to power even in the face of rebuke, risking unpopularity or even worse; in the face of unjustified disciplinary action. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. " - Edmund Burke.
18. Intensify the struggle for job creation. The youth of our country are mainly affected by the crises of unemployment and are on a daily basis getting frustrated by this. The YCL "Jobs for Youth Charter" and the Coalition remain a critical platform to intensify the campaign for decent jobs for young people.
19. Defend the SACP and the Alliance to death for as long as the struggle for national democracy remains. The Alliance is the organ for to attain the immediate objectives, whilst the Party is the organ for the struggle for socialism.
Issued by the YCL, June 30 2010
POST SENT BY: KVB 21126 (EASTERN CAPE)