SA Communist Party; Towards apostasy
By William Mervin Gumede, Financial Mail
2 June 2000
Tactical alliance with capital?
The SA Communist Party (SACP), at its national strategy conference in
Johannesburg last weekend, wondered whether it wasn't time Africa's
oldest communist party embraced capitalism.
"The key question (we) need to debate and refine is whether or not it
is time now to approach domestic public and private capital resources
in a new way," says a conference resolution. It goes further: "Is it
not about time we seriously consider and propagate the type of
tactical alliances we need to form with sections of domestic capital
(black and white) around a developmental agenda?"
Such an agenda, it says, would be based on business giving a
commitment to invest in job-creating sectors of the economy. The
"toenadering" between Cosatu and business to form a Millennium
Labour Council is the start of a "tactical alliance with
capital". Cosatu's co-operation with business - such as their
joint campaign against IMF gold sales, and the gold summit between the
National Union of Mineworkers and mining companies on job losses -
must be seen as a new way of coming to terms with the market.
But it cautions against the liberation movement adopting the left-wing
slogan "a market economy, yes; a market society, no" because
it "tends to embody the illusion that a more humane society can be
built by working with, rather than dialectically (with and against),
the logic of capitalist accumulation".
Of Cosatu's national strike on May 10, the party says: "It is not
clear that Cosatu or the SACP have learnt to conduct themselves in the
new environment in a way that does not cause anxiety among their
colleagues in government."
On the tension within the tripartite alliance, the SACP says: "The
glue . . . that held the multiclass alliance that is the ANC, SACP and
Cosatu together prior to 1994 has shown signs of being inadequate in
this new period." It warns against government policy being made by
"technocrats": "The ANC risks becoming a transmission belt
if major policy issues are not debated in its structures first, but
worked out in the corridors of government and brought to the ANC for