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COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA MARXIST - LENINIST CPSA (M-L) HISTORICAL OUTLINE

1. Communist Organization of South Africa (Marxist – Leninist) briefly called COSA (M-L) IS FORMED : 1980 DECEMBER 2. COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA (M-L) - CPSA (M-L) IS ESTABLISHED IN 1988 DECEMBER 16 3. THE HISTORY OF THE CPSA (M-L) IS INTEGRAL TO THE HISTORY OF COSA (M-L) - IT IS A HISTORY OF STRUGGLES 4. CONCLUSION PUBLISHED BY THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA CPSA (M-L) THE EARTH SHALL RISE ON NEW FOUNDATIONS ! ! ! 16 AUGUST 2000

COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA (MARXIST – LENINIST) - AN HISTORICAL OUTLINE

  1. COSA (M-L) IS FOUNDED: 1980 DECEMBER

Out of the struggles of the youth and students in the early and mid- seventies including June 16, came forth elements who contributed towards the eventual establishment of the CPSA (M-L).In December (16 to 18 ) of 1980 revolutionary activists from the city townships, rural areas and from exile held inaugural congress of the Communist Organisation of South Africa (m-l). This was done in a secret house in Dube, Soweto.

Why a Communist organisation, why a Marxist – Leninist organisation? Why not just a communist party? Better still, why not just join the SACP?

Firstly, it can be categorically stated that at the time of the founding of COSA (M-L) there was no communist party in South Africa even though the whole march of the revolution since June 16 1976 had shown that the party had become necessary in the situation of the New Democratic Struggle in South Africa. The so-called SACP existed only in name and more practically in London and Moscow.What was necessary was a communist party in the democratic mass movement and at the head of the working class movement. A vanguard party in South Africa, in the revolution, making revolution together with the masses. There was no such party!Secondly, even though the necessity of such a party made itself felt during and after June 16, during the 1980 winter strikes involving workers and students, it is not and it was not possible for revolutionary activists, even with a reasonable grasp of Marxism, to merely establish the party without preparing the organisational, ideological, theoretical and tactical grounds for the existence of the party of the working class and its activities.COSA (M-L) was therefore established to prepare such grounds. At the 1980 Conference COSA (M-L) adopted important documents towards the organisational (Leninist), theoretical and tactical preparation for the activities of communists and towards the founding of the party. There were The Rules, Political Report and an outline of a programme.For the next 8 years up to 1988, these basic documents served to guide the activities of the party building organisation in the working class struggles (in the factories, mines and trade unions), in the mass organisations such as civic associations, Makhotla, UDF formations as well as some work in the countryside, in the student and youth organisations.From the beginning, the party adopted amongst others 3 important founding documents: Programme of The Communist Party of South Africa (M-L), Constitution and Rules as well Report of the COSA (M-L) Central Committee to the CPSA (M-L) Inaugural Congress.

  1. THE PARTY PROGRAMME

The party programme adopted at this congress began with an outline of the history of South Africa and in particular the working class.It highlighted for the first time in South African literature that modern South Africa was established through 3 major developments viz; the discovery of the minerals, (economic) the Anglo Boer War (political military) and the founding of the Union of South Africa (constitutional).The party programme demonstrated how the productive forces and relations based on them developed under colonialism brought slave society to the Cape Colony, semi – feudalism in all 4 Union of South Africa provinces and then capitalism within the system of neo-colonialism. Significantly it showed how the development of private property based on land in the Cape tribes began the long term disintegration of primitive communism and tribal society with it.The party programme pointed out that the establishment of South Africa as a country was also the beginning of the bourgeois – democratic revolutionary process. The CPSA (M-L) therefore would fight for new democracy and national liberation, the twin processes within the bourgeois – democratic revolution.But the party would use the bourgeois- democratic revolution to achieve New Democracy as an uninterrupted stage towards Socialism and eventually communism. The programme detailed bourgeois democratic demands including a section on the agrarian demands.

THE CONSTITUTION AND RULES

This was adopted as the organisational framework of the CPSA (M-L) at this congress. Paragraph I of the “Rules” answered the question: who is a party member? It said it would be one who belong to one or other organisations of the party, accepted and propagated the minimum and maximum party programme and gave financial assistance to the party.Other important provision in the rules were about party discipline and the secret code of the underground party.

  1. COSA (M-L) CENTRAL COMMITTEE REPORT

  2. The COSA (M-L) C.C Report to the CPSA (M-L) inaugural congress was adopted as the tactical guideline for the work of the party. It summarised the experiences of the party building organisation in the trade union movement since the COSA (M-L) 1980 Conference, work in the civic organisations, work in the countryside, party building NDPISA – New Dawn amongst others as well as a summary of internal and international political economic developments.Copies of all these 3 documents and resolutions taken at the inaugural congress of the party are available on request.

  1. THE HISTORY OF THE CPSA (M-L) IS INTEGRAL TO THE HISTORY OF COSA (M-L) IT IS A HISTORY OF STRUGGLES.

  1. In the new union movement

  2. The conditions of the birth of COSA (M-L) were those of the rebirth of the democratic trade union movement and the ousting of the traditional apartheid reactionary white unions and the so-called parallel or yellow unions from the centre stage of the working class movement.

  3. The party`s tactics emphasized work in the trade union movement and by extension within factory, stores and mine workers. Party cadres and members participated alongside other activists in establishing new non – racial democratic unions. The other task here was to struggle for the party`s tactics to lead the new union movement. In this the party entered into heated battles against nationalist factionalism, liberal – cum – revisionist tactics as well as against reformist and other types of opportunism.

The struggle of the party in the union movement can be divided into those for “one industry one union, one country one federation” before 1985 and those for the united front of trade unions and federations” after the two major factions of South Africa nationalism had headquartered themselves within the new democratic trade union movement thereby splitting the movement into the liberal – nationalist Charterist faction and the petty bourgeois black consciousness and Pan-Africanist factions.As is well known, the combined forces of the bourgeois – liberal nationalism, of opportunists of all types including English University bourgeois academics, periodicals and the entire spectrum of the so-called formal media all of these factors including local big bourgeois and imperialist moneys combined to defeat the party`s efforts towards “one union, one federation” and to defeat at every juncture the party`s “united front of trade unions and federations”.

The party`s struggles in these regards are adequately documented in speeches and pamphlets presented at Fosatu, Cosatu and affiliates in both periods.The party`s policies and stand on all issues appeared in New Dawn and Bolshevik numerous national publications of the Central Committees of COSA (M-L) and later CPSA (M-L). Locally, the party published Target until the mid-eighties.

  1. In the General Democratic Movement

  2. Because of nationalist factionalism, the general democratic movement was itself divided between liberal nationalism which was at the head of the UDF and the Black Consciousness Pan-Africanism which led the National Forum Committee organisations. The party here too raised the banner of United Front from the beginnings of this split in 1983.Work in the civic movement has received attention in the COSA (M-L) Central Committee Report referred to above. And efforts at the armed struggle and rural work, amongst students and youth including the establishment of the Student Youth and Intellectuals Socialist League (SYISL) form part of the party `s rich literary history in the past 20 years or so. Especially documented is the history of SYISL until its disbandment in its journal New Democrat and its various papers presented at seminars and workshops mainly in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and the then Transvaal.

  1. International Relations

  2. The CPSA (M-L) is part of the International Conference of Marxist – Leninist Parties and Organisations (ICMLPO). That means it is part of the world – wide communist movement led by more than 30 communist parties and party - building organisations in all 5 continents.

  1. CONCLUSION.

The CPSA (M-L) fights for the betterment of the livelihood of the people, for genuine freedom and national liberation from imperialism, for genuine peace and progress; it fights against the puppet policies of the Neo – Apartheid government which not only serve the local ruling classes better than the racialist minority regime ever did but has worsened the plight of the workers and other labouring people by selling the country piecemeal to the imperialists.In New Democracy, instead of parliament, organs of people`s power rule. These shall be the Supreme People’s Revolutionary Council and relevant provincial, municipal and local councils comprising elected deputies all of them without exception subject to recall.New Democracy places the wealth of the country firmly in the people’s hands through expropriation of all capitalist enterprises which control the livelihoods of many people including the banks and other financial institutions.New Democracy is the dictatorship of the people led by the working class and the party as opposed to neo – colonialists or imperialist dictatorship.Both the internal and foreign policy of the People`s Democratic Dictatorship ( New Democratic Republic) shall serve the interests of the South African working class and other labouring masses and NOT imperialist interests and goals as is the case in Neo – Apartheid.

Join the CPSA (M-L) It alone is the party of the working class and of urban and rural poor!

The CPSA (M-L) is the party of New Democracy, Socialism and Communism

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