Cosatu, SACP close ranks against 'pseudo-left'
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Jun 24 2011 15:18
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) will close ranks against the "right-wing demagogic populist mobilisation" apparent in South Africa, the pair said on Friday.
"Periods of capitalist crisis are also typically characterised by various forms of right-wing demagogic populist mobilisation acting on behalf of various capitalist strata in crisis, but often masked behind a pseudo-left rhetoric," said Cosatu's Patrick Craven and Malesela Maleka of the SACP in a joint statement.
The two prongs of the ruling alliance with the ANC were speaking after a bilateral meeting which took place in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Craven said the federation and the party were referring to a "tendency", caused by the capitalist system, and which some observers took as referring to the ANC Youth League. Julius Malema, the league's president, has reportedly accused the left of failing to lead workers.
"We believe that the same phenomenon is apparent in South Africa, finding a potential mass base among tens of thousands of unemployed and alienated youth in particular.
"However, behind this populism are often well-resourced business-people and politicians seeking to plunder public resources.
"We resolved as the SACP and Cosatu to close ranks and to expose the true agenda of these tendencies and their connections to corruption and predatory behaviour in the state."
Craven said it was clear that when a group emerged claiming the "mantle of the left" it was only natural for the "real left" to close ranks and defend itself.
At the same time, it was crucial that unemployment, poverty and inequality be addressed as they gave rise to this "phenomenon".
The SACP and Cosatu have been at loggerheads of late over the role of SACP general secretary and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.
Cosatu believed that SACP office bearers should remain exlusively in their party positions to strengthen the party and not hold government posts.
The SACP disagrees.
The pair discussed the matter "frankly and in a comradely spirit".
"In regard to the deployment of SACP leaders, the party reaffirmed that this was a collective decision of the party based on the party's commitment to building working class hegemony in all sites of power, both within and outside of government.
"Cosatu did not disagree with this position in principle but believed that the two formations should continue to assess how best to achieve an effective balance between the SACP's mass mobilisational and state-related responsibilities."
Craven said this meant that the matter was in "review" and that Cosatu and the SACP "agreed to disagree" at this stage.
The SACP and Cosatu would meet again after the conclusion of the latter's central committee meeting next week to discuss a "more concrete programme of action".
The talks would include the fight against corruption, the living wage campaign, land reform and rural development, housing, national health insurance, education and public transport.
"The two formations reaffirmed their conviction that the unity in action of the SACP and Cosatu constituted the bed-rock for advancing, consolidating and defending the national democratic revolution -- itself the most direct path to a socialist SA based on meeting social needs and not private profits." -- Sapa