25 August 2011

Democracy is Ours

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 9

Democracy is Ours

This part is the penultimate (second last) in the present series on Anti-Imperialism, Peace, and Socialism. This part is designed to invite comrades to reflect upon the place of the anti-Imperialist struggle within the entirety of world history.

That is why Issa Shivji’s address on The Struggle for Democracy and Culture (linked below) is used. It explicitly and correctly claims, on behalf of the national-liberation and anti-colonial struggle, that this struggle carries, for the time being, the banner of progress for the whole world.

For a long time past, and into the future, until such time as the struggle for socialism itself becomes once again the principal one, the National Democratic Revolutions taken together constitute the main vehicle for human progress, bearing and rescuing all that is noble and fine in humanity.

The bourgeoisie is a thieving class and it will steal the clothes of the revolutionaries without any hesitation if it sees the smallest, or the most temporary, advantage in doing so. The Imperialist bourgeoisie wishes to reverse the appearance of its shameful past and of its hopeless future. It wishes to claim the moral superiority that the liberation movement has, and steal it.

Issa Shivji, the revolutionary Dar-es-Salaam intellectual, shows very clearly how the monstrous fraud is attempted. The constant droning about “good governance” is the extreme of hypocrisy, coming as it does from the worst oppressors in history, the force that has taken oppression to the ends of the earth – Imperialism. Read Shivji. He tells it well. But also note the hypocritical machinations of our present South African anti-communists, including but not limited to, the DA. If you did not know better, you could start to believe from what you read that it was liberal whites who liberated South Africa from the old regime.

The struggle for democracy is ours, not theirs. The struggle for freedom is ours. We are the humanists now. We, the liberationists, are the principal creators of human history and we have been for many decades past. The 20th Century was the liberation century and the first anti-Imperial century. That was when we overtook the others in politics, in morality, and in philosophy - but we were only starting.

In the 21st Century we will finish the job, and finish with Imperialism altogether.

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

23 August 2011

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 8c

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

To underline the ruthlessness of the Imperialist enemy, we can quote as follows:

“the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union, Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War”.

This statement is taken from Norm Dixon’s article “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst terror attacks in history” published in Green Left Weekly, August 3, 2005 (download linked below).

The two worst-ever terrorist attacks in history, by far, were perpetrated by the USA, for the most cynical and mendacious reasons.

Images of what resulted in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are abundantly available on the Internet but the ones that show people, whether alive or dead, are too terrible to use here.

To this day the USA does not face up to what it has done by these two vile acts.

This course is on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace. We cannot leave this thing out. We have to note that the US power that did these unspeakable things is still active in the world, and is still, as it was then, active in the cause of its own dominance over the rest of us. The list of its crimes continues to grow longer every day.

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

22 August 2011

First They Came for the Communists

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 8b

First They Came for the Communists

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing.

Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist.

And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little.

Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.

Pastor Niemöller

The third linked document in this part opens up the double question of who backs the communists, and if the communists are not backed, then what happens to the others?

This is the question of self-defence for the political movement, the importance of the communists, and of the non-communists.

Pastor Niemöller’s story is extraordinary, and unexpected. This German anti-Nazi Pastor survived Dachau.

For revolutionaries it is very moving to record the solidarity of people such as Pastor Niemöller.

The revolutionaries must trust the people. They have no choice.

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

20 August 2011

Neo-Colonialism, Last Stage of Imperialism

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 8a

Neo-Colonialism, Last Stage of Imperialism

The second linked document is included here because of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah’s correct and insistent concern with the continuing threat to Africa (now materialising again militarily as “Africom”) posed by Imperialism in its last stage of neo-colonialism.
Nkrumah believed that Africa must unite, for the sole reason that if it did not unite, then it would not have sufficient strength to resist the Imperialists - and so it has turned out.

Nkrumah defined neo-colonialism as follows:

“The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.”

He goes on to add:

“Neo-colonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad.”

And in his Conclusion Nkrumah says:

“In the earlier chapters of this book I have set out the argument for African unity and have explained how this unity would destroy neo-colonialism in Africa. In later chapters I have explained how strong is the world position of those who profit from neo-colonialism. Nevertheless, African unity is something which is within the grasp of the African people. The foreign firms who exploit our resources long ago saw the strength to be gained from acting on a Pan-African scale. By means of interlocking directorships, cross-shareholdings and other devices, groups of apparently different companies have formed, in fact, one enormous capitalist monopoly. The only effective way to challenge this economic empire and to recover possession of our heritage, is for us also to act on a Pan¬-African basis, through a Union Government.”

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

16 August 2011


Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 8


Exactly how the anti-Imperialist struggle will resolve itself in South Africa, Southern Africa, and Africa in general, is something unpredictable at the tactical level. The question of the armed defence of revolutionary change cannot be ruled out, and we have examined this question.

This part of the present series, referenced to the “Beyond Vietnam” speech (linked below) of the late Rev Martin Luther King Junior, is designed to point to the subjective political factor in the anti-Imperialist struggle.

Nowadays it has become commonplace to refer to “international solidarity” as not only a specific, but more so a universal idea. But this concept that we have largely stripped of its particularity, generalising it as a formula, does actually have a tremendous history whose meaning is not fully conveyed by a stock phrase called “international solidarity”.

The anti-Imperialist struggle and the democratic struggle can and should be one. It is not a matter of charity of the rich to the poor. It is also not solely a matter of good-hearted and exceptional individuals (but there have indeed been such individuals - MLK was one of them - and there will be again).

What Martin Luther King describes, and justifies, is: “why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church - the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate - leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.”

In other words, MLK at the meeting of the “Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam”, in 1967, was preaching the intrinsic, organic unity of the struggle of the common people everywhere. It is not an artificial altruism but it is a unity of purpose, in concerted action against the single enemy that manifests itself everywhere and oppresses us all: monopoly-capitalist Imperialism.

And further than his literal message, there is also the extraordinary power and style of MLK’s oration. We forget this factor of art too easily. Lenin spoke of “insurrection as an art”. It is an art that goes beyond the military, and encompasses all of our activities. Therefore when reading such a piece as MLK’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, one should regard it as a source of learning of the art of advocacy, which is part of the art of leadership, essential to the art of insurrection.

The question of international solidarity has raised itself very sharply in South Africa recently (August 2011).

Should South Africa be planning “regime change” in Botswana? Of course, not. It is not for South Africa to substitute itself for the Batswana as the agent of history in that country.

Should South Africa be dictating terms to Swaziland, in consideration for extending a loan in advance of moneys that will accrue to Swaziland in the future? No, of course not, and for the same reasons as apply to Botswana.

Our task is to provide assistance, including political education, hospitality, and a joint critique of that Imperialism which is always prepared to fish in troubled waters, and whose signature is always aggression and war.

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God...” – Martin Luther King.

Picture: Rev. Martin Luther King, Junior, at the White House, Washington DC, USA

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

05 August 2011

Strategy and Tactics

Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 7a

Strategy and Tactics

The ANC’s famous 1969 Strategy and Tactics document adopted in the Morogoro, Tanzania Conference involving O R Tambo, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and others, is downloadable from the link given below.

The classic Strategy and Tactics document can speak for itself. It is straightforward enough.

Do post any queries or comments you may have, to the list. If you do so, then other comrades will no doubt assist with their inputs. This is how political education is supposed to take place – in dialogue.

Picture: Morogoro, Tanzania

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

04 August 2011

The Armed People

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 7

The Armed People

The practical alternative to the State that appeared in Paris in the beginning of 1871 was not only the right of recall and the whole people collectively in power and in perpetual session. It was also the reappearance of the Armed People in a new kind of societal framework. So-called Primitive Communism is an Armed People. Here, in the Paris Commune, was an Armed People in advanced productive circumstances.

The security forces - army and police - that had existed before the Paris Commune had been paid to support the bourgeois State and to guarantee the State’s survival by suppressing, whenever necessary, the working class. These forces were disbanded and not replaced. With hardly any exceptions, all “separations of powers” were abolished in the Paris Commune, leaving only one power: The Armed People.

In Chile, in the time of the Popular Unity government that fell on 11 September 1973, instead of an Armed People, a virtue was made of disarmament, and a “Peaceful Path” was worshipped as the new political Golden Calf.

Volodia Teitelboim, in the first document linked below, gives a brief description, as one of those who was involved, of Chile’s Popular Unity government and its disastrous end at the hands of traitor fascists who used the national army to overthrow it. It was a shocking reminder of the purpose of the “special bodies of armed men”.

Teitelboim calls for “A Reappraisal of the Issue of the Army,” meaning a return to the view of the Paris Commune, which is mentioned in the first line. This document of Teitelboim’s is sufficient as the basis for a very good and necessary discussion.

The second linked document is the ANC’s original Strategy and Tactics document of 1969. This document unashamedly embraces armed struggle, and not any starry “Peaceful Path”.

Like the Chilean Popular Unity government, ours is a multiclass government underpinned by a class alliance for common goals. It is a unity-in-action, otherwise called a popular front.

Why have we in South Africa survived after 16 years, while the Chileans did not survive after only 1,000 days?

The answer could be that we are not pacifists. Or, the answer could be that our crisis has not arrived yet. Or, that we have passed at least one crisis (e.g. in mid-2008, resolved by the recall of President Mbeki and the resignation of various ministers including Terror Lekota and Mluleki George), which may not yet be the last.

South Africans were in this case in advance of the historic crisis that manifested in Chile. Four years prior to the Pinochet coup in Chile overthrew the Popular Unity government led by Salvador Allende, the Morogoro Conference of the ANC had laid down the necessity for the armed defence of the revolution. We look at this in the next instalment.

Picture: There are very few photographs of freedom fighters in formation or in action to be found on the Internet, whether of MK or any of any other liberation army; but there are many photographs of freedom fighters in captivity. Full justice has not yet been done. The picture is of a statue of Dedan Kimathi under the blue sky of Kenya. AMANDLA!

Please download and read the text via the following link:

Further reading:

01 August 2011

How to Master Secret Work

Course on Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 6b

How to Master Secret Work

The third linked item is the 1980 clandestine SACP publication “How to Master Secret Work”. It makes a point that we need here, which is that there is no virtue in being illegal.

The communists do not volunteer to be illegal.

The nature of secret work is really that it is a systematic struggle against banning and persecution. As much as it is secret, yet its purpose is the re-expansion of communication and the re-legalisation of the Party. Its purpose is the public political rebirth of the organisation.

Within less than ten years of the publication of this document, the SACP was unbanned and declared fully legal again, as it has remained ever since, up to today.

The SACP had been banned and was underground (“clandestine”) from 1950 to 1990, a total of forty years. All that time the Party struggled to reverse the situation of banning and illegality. It announced its existence with the publication of the African Communist from 1959. “How to Master Secret Work” was published in the underground newspaper, Umsebenzi.

The great majority of secret work is about communicating, and through communication, deliberately reversing the Party’s excommunication from society.

There is no imaginable situation where the political vanguard will deliberately choose to be clandestine and make a virtue of its excommunication from the masses. There is no virtue in secrecy.

Unfortunately we have none of the lively illustrations from this historic document, only the text.

Please download and read this text:

Further reading: