Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 9, 2014

NUMSA takes on COSATU and the ANC

Filed under: South Africa — louisproyect @ 1:35 pm

Cosatu CEC November 7, 2014

Numsa GS Presentation


I stand here as the General Secretary of the biggest affiliate of this federation, as a founding member at the Congress of 1985. I will be reminding comrades here of our common history.

I stand here because the Central Executive Committee of this federation has offered Numsa an opportunity to explain to you why we should not be expelled or suspended from this organisation. I am going to fulfil that task thoroughly. I will explain in great detail exactly why Numsa should not be expelled or suspended and why, instead, this federation should obey its own constitution and allow workers, as owners of the federation, to decide on its future. When we founded this federation, we were wise enough to foresee that there might be political conflict in the future. We put in place a rule to cater for that eventuality. The rule says that if one-third of the affiliates of the federation ever think that there are issues that require the consideration of a Special National Congress, they can require the President to call that congress.

What kind of issues would require such a special congress? There are two powers of a National Congress which no other structure has.

o It makes policy

o It elects leadership.

The purpose of the rule is precisely to deal with conflict over policy and leadership. Right now, we have a crisis of policy and leadership. The reason that Cosatu is paralysed by this dispute, resorting to the courts and expensive lawyers to decide our future, is that we have refused to decide it for ourselves. We have committed the most heinous sin against the spirit of the founding fathers of this federation. We have refused to decide our own future.

In order to abandon this responsibility, the leadership of this federation has chosen to break its own rules. To violate its own constitution. As so often happen with corruption, when it starts, it doesn’t stop.

oThose who break rules have to defend themselves against those who challenge them for that act.

oThe leadership of this federation knows that it will be defeated in any National Congress of the federation. Whether that is a Special National Congress or an ordinary national congress. It can’t have a Congress because it will lose.

o So it must try to ensure that by the time it gets to a Congress it can win. o That is the reason for these expulsion hearings here today.

But underneath that, is a profound political division.

oIt is a division between those who recognise the political bankruptcy of the ANC / SACP government and those who don’t.

oBetween those who support the interests of the working class, as our Constitution requires us to do, and those who are prepared to sacrifice those interests for a class alliance.


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