Numsa News Editorial We live in interesting times!
In a lecture I presented at the Ikwezi Institute for Research and Development towards the end of last year, I quoted a 2002 SACP Document titled: â€˜The Strategy and Tactics of the SACP in the National Democratic Revolution.â€™
I cited this paragraph: â€œThe ANC (like the SACP) is not a federation of factions or tendencies, it is a single movement.
But what this means is that, at the end of democratic processes, the ANC (like the SACP) adopts policy positions, programmes of actions, etc. and all members are bound by these decisions.
It further asserts:â€œIt does not mean that the decisions are not the result, or that diversity and difference have simply evaporated.
More importantly, decisions taken by the ANC (or SACP) while they may sometimes represent one view (a majority perspective) at the expense of other views, very often represent a management of differences.
The SACP proceeds elsewhere in the same document to define currents in the ANC. It says;â€œIt must be emphasized that these are not factions, but strands of thinking found within the movement.
They have emerged out of older traditions and legacies. These three currents are certainly not water-tight compartments.
They continuously cross-fertilise and influence each other, and they characteristically (and usually correctly) present themselves in hybrid forms.
Nor do they neatly begin and end at the organizational borders of the three component parts of the Tripartite Alliance. These currents are:
An Africanist current; A modernizing, progressive, pragmatic current, and A socialist current
As a progressive formation of workers and a component part of the working class, this characterization by the SACP was relevant then, and remains relevant today in the conjuncture of the National Democratic Revolution.
What the Party sought to explain to its members and its allied formations was these currents in the ANC would also exist in the trade union, albeit in different forms.
They are an expression in the trade union movement of the unions that came together to form Cosatu in 1985. They are also an expression in Numsa of the unions from different cultures and traditions that also came together to launch our union in 1987.
The SACP says, â€œIt must be emphasized that these are not factions, but strands of thinking found within the movement.â€
Our union, Numsa, and our Federation must do everything in its power to ensure that the space for airing different views, to differ with others without fear of victimization and marginalization, is broadened and defended.
We participated in the democratic processes of the ANC in Polokwane in our respective capacities as ANC members and as well as invited guests by our ally, the ANC.
The Conference elected leadership, it also resolved on policy questions. We have a duty as members of the ANC and as a component of the working alliance, that these decisions taken are implemented.
In Numsa, we held a two day workshop of the NEC to reflect on the outcomes of the Conference and this workshop resolved that Polokwane was not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
In the words of one NEC member, â€œwe have not attained working class freedom, the struggle continues.â€
In paying tribute to the late Numsa leader and former Cosatu President, cde John Gomomo, I said:
Gomomo has left behind a legacy of commitment to the cause of the working class and the liberation of his people, and to nothing else.
This is one of the best qualities that the current leadership in Volkswagen, in our union, Numsa, and the rest of the Cosatu affiliates, must emulate.
"He did not crudely impose worker control and democracy, but ensured through persuasion and debate, that workers were at the forefront of decision-making in their trade unions.
These are values and traditions that had shaped Gomomo, his union, Numsa and the Federation. We should defend them at all cost, even if it means that others may call us names, in his words:"ngumbutho wabasebenzi lo," if we do not; we do so at our own peril.
We live in interesting times!
The struggle continues!Aluta Continua!
On the Cosatu Central Executive Committee (CEC) decision to discipline the Numsa general secretary
The Cosatu CEC held from 25-27 February 2008 decided as follows:
"COSATU must defend its cohesion and coherence. Ill-discipline will no longer be tolerated. Decisions taken by the majority after following due democratic processes must be respected by all comrades who are in the leadership, without exceptions.
For far too long Cosatu has tolerated the situation where leaders form part of democratic structures that debate issues but then outside they act against these very decisions they were part of.
A disciplinary committee is going to be established to enforce the code of conduct that the November 2007 CEC adopted. The Numsa General Secretary and the former President of Cosatu will be subjected to disciplinary action for ill discipline.
The chairperson of the Gauteng Province in particular and the Gauteng POBs in general were warned that if in future they show any sign of disrespect for collective decisions they will be subjected to discipline in line with the code of conduct."
A special Numsa NEC was called for February 29 2008 to discuss this decision of the Cosatu CEC to discipline the Numsa general secretary. The NEC decided as follows:"The Cosatu CEC deliberated on a sensitive matter.
The Numsa NEC believes that the matter should have been handled differently. The manner in which this decision was made strikes at the integrity of the Numsa general secretary and the organisation itself.
"The NEC therefore agreed that henceforth the National Office Bearers must engage the Cosatu National Office Bearers on this matter with the objective of finding an amicable solution.
"From time to time, when the need arises, Numsa regions will convene constitutional meetings to give feedback to members on the issue."