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Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, South African Communist Party to NEHAWU 8th Congress
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Build Working Class Power for a Developmental State, with and for workers and the poor: Notes for an address to NEHAWU Congress

We are presently in a very important, but simultaneously fluid, moment in the history of our revolution. This year the various formations of our movement will be holding vital decision making Congresses convening to chart a way forward on what essentially should be the direction of the National Democratic Revolution.

It is therefore important to understand that this very congress is part of these vital gatherings and you should approach it as such. The ANC Policy Conference is taking place this week and it is a crucial gathering that is faced with very stark choices. Amongst these is whether this Conference will be bold enough to come up with economic policies that lay the basis for a break with the current growth path, whose primary beneficiaries is the white bourgeoisie, now joined by a small black elite. Or it will develop cold-feet and continue with economic business as usual, which has not addressed the yawning developmental challenges in our country.

The source of the fluidity in the democratic revolution has a lot to do with the fact that objective reality in order to advance our revolution requires some radical changes to transform the growth path we are in.

There is also an intensifying and deepening class struggle over the direction of our democratic revolution. One example of this is the offensive by both domestic and sections of global capital to try and blackmail delegates to the ANC Policy Conference. Some of the leading imperialist economic rating agencies have publicly communicated that they are postponing a new rating for South Africa until after the ANC Policy Conference.

We want to send a clear message to these imperialist rating agencies; the ratings they should be doing must not be about how much profits they will get out of capitalist investments in South Africa, but what is their rating of poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and the general well-being of ordinary South Africans. Unless they do this, they might as well shred their ratings, and the working class of our country will rate its own government and economic climate in terms of how many jobs are being created, how much are we doing to eradicate poverty! Enough is enough of imperialist blackmail at the expense of the workers and the poor of our country!

The SACP welcomes the many advances made by our revolution since 1994. We further welcome the economic shifts that have been taking place over the last few years, including a move away from the privatisation of key state-owned enterprises. We must ensure that these shifts are not just temporary, but instead they must be deepened.

But we are concerned that these shifts are more to do with building infrastructure in order to lower the cost of doing business rather than to lower the cost of living.

Historically, there was never a mistake, or understatement that the NDR sought to address, in an interrelated way, the class, national and gender contradictions in South African society. The NDR recognised the objective reality that South Africa's Colonialism of a Special was characterised by the interconnectedness of class exploitation, national oppression and patriarchy.

Whilst national and gender oppression were the predominant contradictions in South African CST, class exploitation is correctly understood as primary, and almost the fundamental reason and bedrock upon which national oppression and patriarchy were reproduced and entrenched.

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