By Jeremy Cronin
July 31, 2011 -- Amandla! -- Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the liquidation of his own communist party, is not generally well regarded in communist circles. There is, however, at least one pertinent observation in his book, Perestroika. There he writes that he realised there was need for change in the former Soviet Union when the program of the party was increasingly determined by the march of the calendar, by a ritualistic commemoration of historical dates.
This weekend [July 31] the South African Communist Party (SACP) marks its 90th anniversary. But it would be a mistake for us to celebrate the occasion as mere ritual.
As a young operative I was proud of being recruited into a party that, from its outset in the early 1920s, had pioneered non-racialism -- not just in principle, but shoulder to shoulder in active struggle. It was the party that started night schools and literacy classes [for blacks].