Statement of the South African Communist Party on Nelson Mandela [Workers World]
December 6, 2013
“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
Last night, the millions of the people of South Africa, majority of whom the working class and poor, and the billions of the rest of the people the world over, lost a true revolutionary, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Tata Madiba.
The South African Communist Party joins the people of South Africa and the world in expressing its most sincere condolences to Ms. Graca Machel and the entire Mandela family on the loss of what President Zuma correctly described as South Africa’s greatest son, Comrade Mandela.
We also wish to use this opportunity to express our solidarity with the African National Congress, an organisation that produced him and that he also served with distinction, as well as all his colleagues and comrades in our broader liberation movement. As Tata Madiba said, “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants. …”
The passing away of Comrade Mandela marks an end to the life of one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century, who fought for freedom and against all forms of oppression in both their countries and globally. As part of the masses that make history, Comrade Mandela’s contribution in the struggle for freedom was located and steeled in the collective membership and leadership of our revolutionary national liberation movement as led by the ANC — for he was not an island. In Comrade Mandela we had a brave and courageous soldier, patriot and internationalist who, to borrow from Che Guevara, was a true revolutionary guided by great feelings of love for his people, an outstanding feature of all genuine people’s revolutionaries.
At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Comrade Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle. The contribution of communists in the struggle to achieve the South African freedom has very few parallels in the history of our country. After his release from prison in 1990, Comrade Madiba became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days.
The one major lesson we need to learn from Mandela and his generation of leaders was their commitment to principled unity within each of our Alliance formations as well as the unity of our Alliance as a whole and that of the entire mass democratic movement. Their generation struggled to build and cement the unity of our Alliance, and we therefore owe it to the memory of Comrade Madiba to preserve the unity of our Alliance. Let those who do not understand the extent to which blood was spilt in pursuance of Alliance unity be reminded not to throw mud at the legacy and memory of the likes of Madiba by being reckless and gambling with the unity of our Alliance.
The SACP supported Madiba’s championing of national reconciliation. But national reconciliation for him never meant avoiding tackling the class and other social inequalities in our society, as some would like to make us believe today. For Madiba, national reconciliation was a platform to pursue the objective of building a more egalitarian South African society free of the scourge of racism, patriarchy and gross inequalities. And true national reconciliation shall never be achieved in a society still characterized by the yawning gap of inequalities and capitalist exploitation.
In honour of this gallant fighter, the SACP will intensify the struggle against all forms of inequality, including intensifying the struggle for socialism, as the only political and economic solution to the problems facing humanity.
For the SACP, the passing away of Madiba must give all those South Africans who had not fully embraced a democratic South Africa, and who still in one way or the other hanker to the era of white domination, a second chance to come to terms with a democratic South Africa founded on the principle of majority rule.
We call upon all South Africans to emulate his example of selflessness, sacrifice, commitment and service to his people.
The SACP says, “Hamba kahle Mkhonto!” [“Go well, brave warrior!”]
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Selection of Left perspectives on Mandela’s passing:
“Mandela and the South African Communist Party” by Bill Van Auken [World Socialist Website]
“In the wall-to-wall, week-long coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela, the corporate-controlled media has passed over in near universal silence the one piece of news that emerged with the demise of the former South African president…” Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/12/sacp-d12.html [This article is something of a Trotskyist retort to the SACP statement above. - Zuo Shou]
“NYT Takes Mandela’s Death as a Chance to Mock His Fight to Free His Country” by Jim Naureckas [FAIR]
“Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote his paper’s obituary for Nelson Mandela (12/6/13). As you might have guessed, it glosses over the CIA’s role in helping the apartheid government catch Mandela…” Full article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/12/06/nyt-takes-mandelas-death-as-a-chance-to-mock-his-fight-to-free-his-country/
“Chart of the Week: How South Africa changed, and didn’t, over Mandela’s lifetime” by Drew Desilver [Pewresearch.org - Fact-tank]
An essential and stunning (some would say damning) pair of charts documenting South African income disparity and population trends over Mandela’s lifetime, unfortunately not reproduceable here. Article link: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/06/chart-of-the-week-how-south-africa-changed-and-didnt-over-mandelas-lifetime/
“The Legacy of Nelson Mandela: A Dissenting Opinion” by Jonathan Cook [Globalresearch.ca]
“…Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now. In my view, Mandela suffered a double tragedy in his post-prison years. First, he was reinvented as a bloodless icon, one that other leaders could appropriate to legitimise their own claims, as the figureheads of the “democratic west”, to integrity and moral superiority. After finally being allowed to join the western “club”, he could be regularly paraded as proof of the club’s democratic credentials and its ethical sensibility.
Second, and even more tragically, this very status as icon became a trap in which he was required to act the “responsible” elder statesman, careful in what he said and which causes he was seen to espouse. He was forced to become a kind of Princess Diana, someone we could be allowed to love because he rarely said anything too threatening to the interests of the corporate elite who run the planet. It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa…
“Why imperialism mourns Mandela” [World Socialist Website]
“The death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 has touched off a worldwide exercise in official mourning that is virtually without precedent.
No doubt working people in South Africa and internationally pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by the African National Congress leader—as well as thousands of others who lost their lives and freedom—during his long years of illegality, persecution and imprisonment under the hated Apartheid regime.
Capitalist governments and the corporate-controlled media the world over, however, have rushed to offer condolences for their own reasons. These include heads of states that supported South Africa’s apartheid rule and aided in the capture and imprisonment of Mandela as a “terrorist” half a century ago…”
Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/07/pers-d07.html
“Mandela’s Dream of Black Power Became a ‘Neoliberal Nightmare'” by James Winter [Globalresearch.ca]
“[After Mandela's release from prison,]…South Africa took the route [previously] characterized by Mandela as ‘inconceivable.’ Political successes, but economic ruin. South Africa is now among the most unequal societies in the world….”