Conference for a Democratic Left (South Africa)

Mazibuko Jara looks at the African National Congress’s (ANC) prospects of holding onto power after 30 years in office, and how some of the new right and left forces are likely to fare.

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].

A call to the 1st national Conference of the Democratic Left

November 17 video made by Workers' World Media, Cape Town.

The following call was issued by the Conference of the Democratic Left, a left unity project in South Africa. It first appeared at the Conference of the Democratic Left web site.

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A call to a national people’s conference against capitalism and for democratic left politics

A Call for united anti-capitalist action …

This is a call to come together in unity in a Conference Against Capitalism and for Democratic Left Politics.

1.   The world is in crisis

Global capitalism threatens our world with disaster. If it is left to plunder the natural resources of our planet and pollute the atmosphere, the oceans and the soil, life itself will be under grave threat.

Mazibuko Jara.

By Mazibuko K. Jara

October 30, 2009 -- Our country is in crisis. There is deepening inequality, many people live in permanent poverty and millions are unemployed for most of their adult lives. Women continue to suffer from social oppression, violence and poverty. The very ecological and biophysical conditions for our human existence are under threat.

Retrogressive ideologies in our society are gaining ground: we are going back to ethnic identity, we have retrogressive notions of womanhood, we have seen the rise in the power of undemocratic rule of unelected chiefs. The state is dysfunctional, corrupt and fraudulent. The state seems unwilling to confront the economic system that produces all these crises. Together, none of these socioeconomic problems can be addressed by a South Africa that reproduces capitalism. These problems require solutions that go beyond capitalist accumulation.

Is it correct to regard the Jacob Zuma-led African National Congress (ANC) as left? Whilst the Zuma-led ANC is much friendlier to the left than Thabo Mbeki's, neoliberal capitalism survives in South Africa.