SACP end of year and New Year message
The SACP wishes to take this opportunity to wish all fellow South Africans, especially the workers and the poor of our country a happy festive season and a happy 2009. To the workers of our country we wish to salute them for their hard work and sweat that keep the wheels of our economy turning. For this we wish them a well-deserved rest.The year 2008 has witnessed many problems on the socio-economic front, with a devastating effect on the workers and the poor. 2008 will be a year to be remembered by the steep and ballooning rise in food, electricity and fuel increases, especially during the first half of the year. This rise in the cost of living affected the workers and poor of our country most severely, eroding the very minimal wage increases won by the working class, and severely affecting the value of the social grants received by the poor in our country.Despite the insignificantly modest decrease in interest rates towards the end of the year, the rise in interest rates preceding this reduction had added a further burden on the poor. The inflation targeting band and policy of the Reserve Bank, as mandated by government, needs to be urgently reviewed, as this is a blunt instrument in fighting against prices that are inspired by the rise in global fuel prices.
The SACP salutes the organized working class for the struggles waged against the rising cost of living for ordinary people, underlining the importance of ongoing mass struggles led by the working class if we are to deepen and consolidate a radical national democratic revolution. The SACP is proud for consistently being in the trenches with the working class in fighting against the (neo-liberal) capitalist onslaught on ordinary people.
The Year 2008 also saw the deepening crisis of the global capitalist system, first originating in the financial sector in the US, but spreading to the rest of the world and now having a devastating effect on the productive economy. The SACP has consistently and correctly pointed out that the current crisis is but one moment of the many crises that are inherent in the capitalist system itself, as it is a system incapable of addressing the basic human needs of the world's working and poor people. This calls for intensified internationalist working class solidarity to roll back the barbarism of the capitalist market.
The SACP also supports the call by our ally COSATU, for intensified working class mobilization to ensure that the current capitalist crisis is not used by the bosses as a cover for mass retrenchments in order to maximize profits. As we enter 2009 the SACP continues to pledge its support for intensified working class struggles, including waging its own campaigns, to defend the working class against retrenchments and the rising cost of living.
The challenge of economic transformation, to change the current accumulation trajectory, in order to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods must remain at the centre of working class struggles in the new year. It is for this reason that we welcome the ANC's commitment in placing this challenge at the top of its own priorities for the next five years. It is a challenge that the incoming government in 2009 will have to take up earnestly and seek to mobilize all our people towards the realization of the goal of decent work.
To those who go around shouting that our constitution is under threat from the ANC and its allies, we want to say, the real threat to our constitutional democracy is not the ANC and its allies, but the high levels of unemployment, poverty and disease in our country. It is not the middle class 'past time' of always claiming that our rule of law is under threat, but the failure to transform our criminal justice system to serve the interests of the ordinary workers and the poor of our country that constitutes a threat to our constitution. It is failure to transform our criminal justice system to effectively deal with women and child abuse, and violence directed at black farmworkers and communities that has the potential of undermining our democracy.
It is not affirmative action, as we are now told by the born again black DA – the Gang of Three parading as COPE – that undermines our constitution, but the continued ownership of wealth and occupation of senior positions by a tiny minority of white males! It is the dominance of white owned monopoly capital and preponderance of a white managerial stratum in the upper echelons of our economy, that continue to frustrate the creativity of the black middle classes, a vibrant SMME and co-operative sector, and the continued retrenchments and casualisation of the black working class, that pose a threat to our democracy.
The SACP however also notes some positive developments during 2008. In the wake of the ANC's Polokwane conference in December 2007, there has been an improved functioning of our Tripartite Alliance, especially at national level, thus strengthening our capacity to work together to confront the many challenges in our country. The year 2008 saw the holding of two alliance summits, an inclusive manifesto conference, and the adoption of the ANC's election manifesto with an endorsement by the allies.
It is this fear of a united alliance that all opposition parties, including the new ones, are now dusting off the 'rooi gevaar' scare tactic, unjustly accusing the ANC of being controlled by the communists and COSATU. Just like the apartheid regime failed before them, they will also fail. It is this strengthened unity of purpose by the alliance that is of absolute necessity in facing the many challenges in our country. Only an ANC-led alliance is best capable of leading and creating a better life for all in our country.
There are four key challenges facing our country as we celebrate the coming of the year 2009. The first one is that of ensuring an overwhelming ANC electoral victory in the 2009 national and provincial elections.
The SACP calls upon all our people, especially the workers and the poor, to come out in their numbers to ensure that the ANC wins the next election convincingly. Only an ANC-led government is best capable of addressing the needs of the overwhelming majority of our people. Our call is based on the progressive prioritization of five key issues by the ANC-led Alliance as the key, but not the only, tasks over the next five years:
· DECENT WORK AND SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS · EDUCATION AS A SOCIETAL PRIORITY · HEALTH AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY · FIGHTING CRIME AND BUILDING STREET COMMITTEES · SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT
All the above are in the deepest interests of the working class and the poor of our country. The second interrelated challenge is that of ensuring that continue to mobilize our people to effectively participate in governance through the creation of vibrant street committees, local education and health committees, etc in order to ensure that they are not spectactors of governance by those elected onto government positions but they buttress all actions of government at all levels.
The third challenged, underpinned by a mobilized population, is that of ensuring that the many positive elements in the ANC electoral manifesto are indeed implemented, as the only way to defend our constitution, deepen our democracy and take the struggle to build a better life for all to even higher levels.
The fourth challenges will be that of deepening our international solidarity and economic ties with the African continent, the South and progressive forces in the North. As part of this we need to send an even stronger message to the political formations in Zimbabwe that a solution is found to address the political and economic crisis in that country.
The SACP also expects of our government to intensify pressure on the regime in Swaziland to listen to the will of its people to create a democratic Swaziland. The SACP strongly condemns attempts by the Tikundla regime to try and blame all of its internal problems on the solidarity activities undertaken by progressive formations in our country. We won't be intimidated or blackmailed, but instead we vow to intensify all forms of peaceful solidarity actions with the oppressed people of Swaziland and pile even more pressure on that country to embark on the road to full democracy.
As we end the year, the murderous Zionist regime of Israel has unleashed what is perhaps one of the worst slaughters of the innocent Palestinian people in the history of its illegal occupation of Palestine. We call upon the international community to take strong measures to stop this massacre and send a clear message to the Israeli government that such slaughter is nothing else other than further unleashing of terror on the Palestinian people. We also call upon all progressive forces to intensify solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people. The SACP also wishes to take this opportunity to wish the revolutionary Cuban people well in their celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the triumph of that revolution over the US backed, repressive Batista regime on 1 January 1959. The Cuban people have correctly chosen a socialist path for the development of their country, and this must be respected as a right of any sovereign nation. We once more call upon the US government to lift the illegal blockade of Cuba.