Opening adress to the NUMSA National Youth Forum Conference [NUMSAYF] – By the NUMSA 1st deputy President – Andrew Chirwa

The Leadership of the Youth Forum
The leadership coming from Regions and Locals of our Union
The Regional Secretaries present
The Regional Youth Coordinators
Numsa Officials, and;
All our guest present here today
On behalf of the Numsa National Office Bearers (NOB’s) receive herewith my warm and humble revolutionary greetings.
It is always an important moment in the revolution to address the gathering of the youth of our organisation under the newly adopted name “NUMSA YOUTH FORUM”.
I have chosen to preface my input by a quote from Karl Marx when he wrote a letter to his father and said;
‘If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people’. KARL MARX.
Numsa took a conscious decision in October 2008 to establish the youth structure in order to put a focus on issues affecting young workers and most importantly saying how we can best use this structure to build a strong organisation.
Numsa acknowledged all the risks involved in establishing new structures in any organisation, however resolved on the need to build the youth forum in the interest of the entire organisation.
The current moment:
This conference happens against the backdrop of a world in crisis with the glaring manifestations of the inherent chronic failures of capitalism in our country and internationally which are now firmly anchored in the heartland of capitalism itself – in the United States (US) and Western Europe.
This ugly reality of capitalist barbarity, combined with our untransformed colonial economy and society, has sharply worsened the conditions of the working class and the poor, as evidenced by daily violent service delivery protests in our communities, and growing dissenting voices against the system, demanding housing, water, food, decent jobs and free education for the working class and the poor.
This is the global and national context which explains the Marikina massacre – a worsening global and local capitalist economy which increasingly resorts to bloody violence to “discipline” the working class in order to defend its falling profits.
This NUMSAYF conference takes place after our successful Numsa 9th National Congress that has imposed on us a revolutionary agenda that we must all carry forward.
This conference is taking place a few weeks after Cosatu 11th National Congress that was held in Gallagher Estate.
In many respect the Cosatu National Congress was a success amid the well prepared and orchestrated onslaught of the Secretariat report.
It is my view that the Congress deferred some of the fundamental differences to a later stage especially on the current political conjuncture, the strategies and tactics that must be adopted.
Most importantly the Congress has demanded our own “Lula Moment” which Numsa referred to as our “Freedom Charter Moment”. It is therefore our task as this structure to rally young workers behind this vision.
We should be inspired by the numbers of Young workers who participated in the Cosatu Congress. Indeed there is a hope.
All our eyes are now on Mangaung where the African National Congress will hold its 53rd National Congress, but the bigger question remains who will win and who will win or lose in class terms?
We must ask ourselves difficult questions and look for answers.
When our country is embroiled by unrest throughout the country, where are the progressive forces of our revolution?
When our revolution is about to be stolen by opportunists where is the working class? Where are the progressive youth of our movement?
BUILDING A STRONG YOUTH FORUM to build a vibrant Numsa
The youth must realise that they are the future and no one can deliver this better future besides young people themselves.
We must take what Lenin said serious when he said “without revolutionary theory there shall be no real revolution”
There shall be no real impact that we shall make in the boardrooms unless we go to the ground and do ground work.
Young people must always be there to radicalise the organisation, to always maintain that militancy within the organisation.
It’s the responsibility of the youth to build a strong organisation, a fighting Union of the workers and the poor.
For us to be able to achieve all these, we must take time to learn the tradition and the culture of our organisation.
Our organisation was founded and build on solid principles that we must maintain.
Amongst other, these principles are;
• Organisational Discipline
• Democratic Centralism
• Collective Leadership and Responsibility
This structure must assist the organisation by bringing that campaigning vigour that we need today more than ever before.
Don’t ever allow yourselves to be used to fight factional battles by anyone in the organisation or from outside. You must refuse.
There is a line between militancy and anarchy. They are not the same and they will never be the same. Revolutionaries know how to distinguish between the two.
Finally we want to close with Franz Fanon when he said:
Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity’
We wish you a productive deliberations over the next three days.
I thank you