Sharpening analytical tools
We struggle as metalworkers in an ever-changing global environment in conditions not of our own choosing but thrust upon us by historical developments. To deal with this environment requires a metalworker with sharpened tools of analysis. This Bulletin tries to sharpen your analytical tools so you can provide leadership and guidance to members and the broader working class. We provide you with information to understand the world around you – yours is to change it.
In the recent Numsa Central Committee and arising out of a political discussion on the Palestinian question, the re-emergence of right-wing, neo-fascist movements in Europe, the launch of the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), delegates once again expressed a need to deepen our ideological understanding on the issues for us to be able to engage. What was particularly emphasised in the Central Committee was that important as political workshops may be in capacitating us on these issues, constitutional meetings have an organisational obligation at all levels in their own right as centres of power and decision making to discuss and provide leadership on political issues.
It was also noted that a worrying trend is developing where RECs, RCs focus on administrative, collective bargaining matters, to the exclusion of the world around. Whereas some trade unions in Europe and in Nordic countries remain relatively strong, part of what contributed to their weakness was a neglect of theoretical work. This is another important area of our work as a revolutionary trade union that many fail to acknowledge its centrality in defence of our character and our continued existence.
When ideology becomes secondary in our organisational analysis, common sense and other things that have nothing to do with who we are as a class, then immediately creep into the organisation.
The Central Committee adopted the proposals on the Organisational Renewal project. As we enter into the second phase of implementation, we must ensure that a mass of our shopstewards and members become active participants in the renewal programme of our union.
I challenge organisers, administrators, leaders at all levels to take up this process as an important project for the survival of our organisation. The success or failure of this Project will depend on how much each of us contributes to making Numsa an 'organisation of the member' and a trade union for 'members today and tomorrow'.
What this project has also provided the union with, incomplete as it may be, is what Amilcar Cabral alluded to as:…. "the struggle against our weaknesses."
He noted that experience has shown that in the general framework of daily struggle this battle against ourselves – no matter what difficulties the enemy may create – is the most difficult of all, whether for the present or the future of our peoples.
A process of change in any organisation is a difficult and painful exercise. We must manage it in such a way that it brings on board the broadest sections of the organisation. We must also anticipate resistance to change from past practices. We must not let this derail the movement forward but instead use patience and persuasion to take everyone forward. Let's work collectively towards political solutions to these problems.
This is not going to be a smooth-sailing exercise. It requires a change in mindset, creative thinking and ideas about new things and ways of doing things that we might not have thought of or considered in the past. For example, the organisation has identified eight projects that must be undertaken to renew the organisation. A challenge is the identification of the requisite skill and expertise in the Union to lead these Projects.
We observed at the beginninq of this Project that we were turning a corner on the corner of Bree and Becker Streets and- we are now closer to arriving at our destination.
Watch this space for what emerges from the Implementation workshop in the middle of July 2002 to take this Project forward. We are determined not to fail.
The struggle continues! Aluta continua
Silumko Nondwangu General Secretary