Numsa Youth Forum – National Conference Declaration

“In our country – more than in any other part of the oppressed world – it is inconceivable for the liberation to have a meaning without a return of the wealth of land to the people as a whole.
It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy.
To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not represent even the shadow of liberation…..Our drive towards national emancipation is therefore in a very real way bound up with economic emancipation.
We have suffered more than just national humiliation. Our people are deprived of their due in the country’s wealth; their skills have been suppressed and poverty and starvation has been their life experience.
The correction of these centuries-old economic injustices lies at the very core of our national aspirations. We do not understand the complexities which will face a people’s government during the transformation period nor the enormity of the problems of meeting economic needs of the mass of the oppressed people.
But one thing is certain – in our land this cannot be effectively tackled unless the basic wealth and the basic resources are at the disposal of the people as whole and are not manipulated by sections or individuals be they White or Black, (ANC Strategy and Tactics, Morogoro, Tanzania, 1969)
“The main aims and lines of the South African democratic revolution have been defined in the Freedom Charter, which has been endorsed by the African National Congress and the other partners in the national liberation alliance.
The Freedom Charter is not a programme for Socialism. It is a common programme for a free, democratic South Africa, agreed by socialists and non-socialists.
At the same time, in order to guarantee the abolition of racial oppression and White minority domination, the Freedom Charter necessarily and realistically calls for profound economic changes; drastic agrarian reform to restore the land to the people; widespread nationalisation of key industries to break the grip of White monopoly capital on the main centres of the country’s economy; radical improvements in the conditions and standards of living for the working people.
The Communist Party pledges its unqualified support for the Freedom Charter. It considers that the achievements of its aims will answer the pressing and immediate needs of the people and lay the indispensable basis for the advance of our country along non-capitalist lines to a Communist and Socialist future.
To win these aims is the immediate task of all the oppressed and democratic people of South Africa, headed by the working class and its party, the Communist Party”, (SACP’s Road to South African Freedom, 1962)
A. Introduction
We, one hundred and eighty (180) red, radical and militant young metalworkers, have met over the past three days as delegates to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Youth Forum National Conference in Lakes Hotel & Conference Centre, Benoni, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng province on 12 – 14 October 2012.
This National Conference was symbolic since it was taking place during the month of October which is highly regarded as Che Guevara’s month by working class formations across the world.
It was during this month that an evil deed was committed by the counter-revolutionary government of Bolivia in cahoots with US imperialist when Che was executed 45 years.
Che Guevara continues to be a symbol of working class internationalism and ongoing working class international struggles to free humanity from all forms of oppression, domination and sponsored wars by imperialist embedded countries.
The National Conference pledged its unwavering support and solidarity with the Cuban people amidst the US imperialist aggression and unjust economic sanctions imposed on the Cubans. Furthermore, the National Conference called for the unconditional release of the Cuban Five unfairly incarcerated in US jails.
The National Conference received Messages of Support from the youth of the advanced class, the Young Communist League of South Africa (Ufasimba), the fighting youth of the liberation movement, the ANC Youth League, and from the red and class oriented World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Youth Secretariat.
This National Conference laid a solid basis for building unity within the formations of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), particularly between the ANC Youth League and Young Communist League.
The National Conference was firm that the unity between the ANCYL and YCL is sacrosanct, and such unity should be underpinned by a revolutionary programme that places the interest and aspirations of young people at the centre of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
The National Conference was clear that the Young Communist League (YCL) remains the vanguard of the working class youth struggles and aspirations.
The National Conference called on the Young Communist League to play its vanguard role by being at the forefront of working class struggles for decent jobs, free quality education, nationalisation of strategic and monopoly industries and abolishment of private property.
The 1st Deputy President of NUMSA Comrade Andrew Chirwa presented a working class oriented, ideologically informed and militant message to the National Conference on behalf of the National Office Bearers (NOBs) of NUMSA.
Our National Conference occurs in the midst of the ongoing global capitalist crisis which has imposed a huge burden on the socio-economic living conditions and standards faced by the workers in the whole world.
This global capitalist and neoliberal reforms imposed by imperialist and capitalist think-tanks such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rendered our own country to be amongst the leading country in the world with huge and scandalous inequalities.
This crisis has renewed our collective resolve to fight for the abolishment of the barbaric and most inhumane system of Capitalism, and thus replace it with Socialism, a system based on meeting social needs and greater aspirations of the overwhelming working masses, including the working class youth interests and aspirations.
Since the 1994 democratic breakthrough serious advances have been made by the working class under the ANC-led Alliance government. But these advances are being seriously eroded given the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and deepening inequalities.
On a daily basis the working class in poor communities is embarking on violent protests demanding provision of quality service delivery, similarly in our factories or major industries the exploited workers are up in arms demanding a fair and equal redistribution of wealth at the point of production.
In major varsities and colleges, mainly catering for working class and poor students, students are fighting for the implementation of quality, free public education system in the interest of the working class and poor students.
The National Conference was firm that that the South African crisis was compounded by the continued implementation of the embedded neoliberal reforms and the reactionary posture assumed by the National Treasury.
The Numsa National Youth Conference was clear that the Freedom Charter remains the only relevant political programme at this moment to reverse the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and deepening inequalities.
It is within this context that the 2nd National Conference called for the radical and decisive implementation of the Freedom Charter by the ANC-Alliance led government as part of addressing the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and the levels of deepening inequalities, including meeting the greater needs and interest of our people as encapsulated in the Freedom Charter.
Working class leadership of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL)
The National Conference correctly agreed that the working class and poor youth constitutes a bulk membership majority in the structures of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and the visibility of working class conscious cadres in leading positions of the ANCYL is minimal.
Therefore, the National Conference agreed to call on all young workers/young worker-leaders to swell the ranks of the ANCYL. This will be done consistent with our historical objectives of making sure that the working class as at the forefront and occupying leading positions to drive a socialist orientated National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
Building of the Young Communist League
The National Conference resolved and committed itself in re-building the structures of the youth of the advanced class, the Young Communist League, to be rooted amongst popular struggles of the working class and the poor in factories, institutions of higher learning, schools, and communities and internationally.
The National Conference held a view that the Young Communist League represents the future and aspirations of young people in South Africa, and the YCL should not be a conveyor-belt of certain sectarian interests within the Party, but should be castigating the SACP to play its vanguard role for the consolidation and deepening of an uninterrupted and radical, socialist orientated National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
Mass Roll-Out of Political Education and Ideological Training
The National Conference committed itself to embark on an intensive political and ideological training premised on a Marxist-Leninist outlook. We define ourselves as a political school of young metalworkers and young Shopstewards. This will afford NUMSA an opportunity to develop new cadres and second layer of leadership.
The National Conference committed itself to play a vanguard role in the recruitment of unorganised workers in the metal, steel, engineering, auto and tyre sectors, as part of our selfless contribution so that NUMSA reaches its targeted membership of 400 000 by 2016.
Already we appreciate the unprecedented growth of our union over the past five years to above 300 000. This growth can be attributed to the fact that NUMSA remains a democratic, worker-controlled, campaigning, active and visible union, and thus provide quality service to members.
Labour Brokers must be banned now
The National Conference resolved to embark on a militant campaign calling the ANC-led government to ban labour brokers. The Freedom Charter informs us that “Child labour, Compound labour, the tot system and the contract labour shall be abolished”
Youth Wage subsidy
The National Conference reaffirmed COSATU’s total rejection of the Wage Youth Subsidy. Call upon all young metalworkers in their regions, locals and plants to consistently campaign against it. We are firm that the proposed national youth wage subsidy is all about advancing a two tier labour market and we will go out with all our energetic souls to campaign against this.
NUMSA Youth Forum Campaigns to embark upon:
a) All people of South Africa must share in the wealth of the country thus socialisation and democratisation of ownership and control of the economy is inevitable, post 1994
b) The basic wealth of the country must be transferred into the hands of the people as a whole, as a precondition for attaining democracy and peace in South Africa. In this regard, there is no alternative to popular nationalisation of the strategic economic sectors
c) South Africa needs a truly new and revolutionary redistributive, job led growth path
d) South Africa needs to break the domination of the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex and the white community it supports in South Africa, for truly equal and democratic South Africa to begin to emerge. Only this can uproot racism in South Africa.
e) The country needs to urgently attend to the matter of rapid industrialisation on a foundation of quality mass education, skilling and health programmes on a scale hitherto never embarked upon. Without this, South Africa will never win the war on mass poverty and hunger
f) It is time to take charge of monetary policy on behalf of all the majority of the people of this country who are working class and rural poor
g) It is time to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank
The National Conference agreed and resolved that we will go out to the ground and embark on the above key campaigns for the realisation of the task given upon the young metalworkers.
The delegates emerged from this 2nd National Conference confident that the future is revolutionary and the future is Socialism led by the vanguard party of the working class, the South African Communist Party (SACP).
Newly elected national leadership of the NUMSAYF:
1) Mpho Hlongwane – National Chairperson
2) Vusimuzi Tyhalwa – National Deputy Chairperson
3) Lazola Ndlazilwane – National Secretary
4) Elton Gordon – National Deputy Secretary
5) Pinky Ramakoka – National Treasurer