Editorial: Consolidating a decade of Democracy for working class emancipation

In 1989, the SACP in its programme, the Path to Power, had this to say;

“It must be one of the policies and aims of the National democratic state to raise the living standards of the people and in particular eradicate the Centuries – old injustices , perpetuated against the black majority. This applies to wages and job opportunities, education, housing, health and other amenities. “In order to satisfy the needs of the people and ensure balanced and rapid development of the economy, it will be necessary to ensure popular control over vital sectors of the economy. This will entail the continual strengthening of the state sector in the mining, heavy industry, banks and other monopoly industries. “The national democratic state will define the general parameters of economic activity. In addition, it must ensure that workers in particular and other people in general play an important role in running enterprises and that the necessary cadres are trained and deployed to serve the national interest. “To fully eliminate the system of colonial domination, it will be necessary to ensure democratic ownership and control over decisive aspects of the economy. At the same time, the state will protect the interests of private business where these are not incompatible with the public interest. “This applies equally to land distribution: there is an imperative need to restore land to the people. This will take a variety of forms, including state ownership of large–scale farms, distribution of land among the land-hungry masses and state assistance to them, the setting up of co-operative farms and the guaranteeing of freedom of movement and settlement. It will also entail the task of overcoming economic underdevelopment of many rural regions”. In these words, the party programme, Path to Power, acknowledged the daunting tasks of the National Liberation Movement. Primarily, to eradicate the centuries-old injustices perpetuated against the black majority, and on ascendancy to power, accelerate the process of transformation to eliminate the system of colonial domination in all forms and wherever it exists. This extract from Path to Power and the subsequent policy pronouncements of the broad National Liberation Movement (NLM) provides a contextual framework in which as a component of the NLM, we should measure our performance in this decade of democracy, in a struggle to “eradicate centuries-old injustices perpetuated against the black majority”. As we engage in the celebrations for a decade of democracy, and campaign for a decisive ANC victory in the April 14 Elections, particularly in the KZN and Western Cape , we must pose the following questions;

Are we building and strengthening the NLM and the ANC in particular, as a movement that organises and leads the people in the task of social transformation?
What have we done in this decade;
To deepen our democracy and culture of human rights and mobilise our people to take an active part in changing their lives for the better;
To strengthen the hold of the democratic movement on state power and transform the state machinery to serve the cause of social change;
To pursue economic growth, development and redistribution in such a way as to improve the people’s quality of life, and to work with progressive forces throughout the world to promote and defend our transformation, and;
To advance Africa ‘s renaissance and build a new world order.

In this edition of the Numsa Bulletin, we provide you as cadres of our movement with the tools to review the gains and setbacks in this decade of democratic rule, and to celebrate achievements in style, and as our September National Congress theme suggests: “Consolidate a decade of democracy for working class emancipation”. In your forthcoming Regional Congresses, we expect you to enrich this historic milestone as a build-up towards our National Congress, and to lay a firm basis for a decisive ANC victory in the April Elections. It is not going to be an easy task to convince ordinary members to cast their vote next to the logo of the ANC, because of a range of socio-economic problems that have not been adequately addressed in this decade. It is our revolutionary responsibility for the sake of our generation and generations to come, to consolidate and advance the achievements of this decade. Our detractors ranging from those on the extreme right to the far-left will converge around one factor – their opposition to an increased majority for the ANC. As we have done in the past and as we do now, we must engage them on the real and concrete issues that the ANC–led Alliance has achieved in the past 10 years, and what we as part of this movement for change will do to ensure that we accelerate transformation in our country, and our contribution in the continent and the world at large. As part of our contribution in this noble cause for an ANC victory, we must ensure where this has not happened in the regions and locals – that we release in big numbers shopstewards and organisers to do campaign work in the factories and townships. This is an important component of our work to once again re-connect with the mass of our membership and listen to their issues as part of the “Ear to the Ground” campaign.

Other business

The Numsa Central Committee in November 2003 identified the following as key focus areas of our work in 2003;

Ensuring that we complete shopstewards’ elections as a build-up to LOBs and ROBs elections;
To make a meaningful contribution towards a decisive ANC victory in the elections, particularly in the KZN and the Western Cape .
Create space in our work for an organisational momentum towards the “Workers’ Parliament” – the Numsa National Congress in September.

We have no doubt as the NOBs that Metalworkers, when called upon for a noble cause, will ensure;

that we mobilise the 173 000 Metalworkers to vote for the ANC on April 14 th 2004 .
that the forthcoming Regional Congresses build on the foundation laid in the previous Congress, for a united, revolutionary metalworkers’ union.

We must work together to eradicate centuries-old injustices perpetuated against the black majority.

We will not fail!

Aluta Continua!