Mandela - The "Great Statesman"
Mandela with SACP boss, Joe Slovo
"Nelson Mandela is a symbol, an icon, one of the world's most famous statesmen, recognised and revered by all. He dines with royalty, associates with the world's great leaders and his opinion is sought and valued on all weighty matters. He has achieved an almost divine status in the world, equal to that of the Pope or the late Princess Diana."
Most people on the left of the political spectrum would agree wholeheartedly with the above quote. But they run into an unexpected problem when someone asks "why is he considered such a great statesman?"
The problem is that Mandela, apart from having a likeable personality, has achieved next to nothing in his relatively short political career which saw South Africa rapidly decline to the status of the world's most violent and crime-ridden country, and, to add to the confusion, his greatest friends are communists and dictators like Fidel Castro, Moammar Qaddafi, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein. His ex-wife Winnie Mandela, whom he quickly jettisoned when it became clear she was a considerable embarassment to his political career, is a self-confessed advocate of terrorism and violence and has even committed murder.
In his public statements and speeches Mandela is always critical of the democratic countries of the west, but has nothing but praise for the remaining communist dictatorships of the world. He condemns mistakes and controversial policies of the west, but refuses to publicly condemn the genocides and brutal repression of current or former communist countries; he is supposedly a "champion of freedom and democracy", the "hero of oppressed people everywhere" but considers dictatorships like Cuba and Libya shining beacons of freedom and justice...
Perhaps this is what makes Mandela such a revered statesman - chameleon-like he can advocate democracy and freedom as the highest ideals one day and hold up Cuba or Libya as shining examples for the world to follow the next day. And his admirers do not even notice the contradiction, or worse, they agree with him...
Many of his apologists optimistically claim that Mandela may well have had "communist leanings" in his past, but that he has since put all that behind him and become a moderate in his political beliefs. They are perhaps unaware of his fulsome praise of a communist dictatorship as late as 1991 when he and Winnie went to what they called their "second home" - Cuba - to celebrate the communist revolution with Fidel Castro. In his speech Mandela said:
"Long live the Cuban
Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro... Cuban internationalists have
done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice. We admire the
sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and
sovereignty in the face of a vicious imperialist campaign designed to
destroy the advances of the Cuban revolution. We too want to control our
destiny... There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death.
The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all
Mandela's adulation of Castro and Cuba almost outshines that of his own admirers. In May of 1990 Mandela, visiting America, went on record, referring to Cuba:
There's one thing where that country stands out head and shoulders above the rest.
That is in its love for human rights and liberty.
A week later in Libya, he lauded Qaddafi's:
Committment to the fight for peace and human rights in the world.
While in America Mandela also made public statements that amounted to support for violence and terrorism in the furtherance of political aims. In a speech in Harlem, referring to four Puerto Rican terrorists who shot and wounded five US Congressmen in 1954, he said:
We support the cause of anyone who is fighting for self-determination, and our attitude is
the same, no matter who it is. I would be honored to sit on the platform with the four
comrades you refer to.
Suitable "comrades" for Mandela indeed. He was himself originally incarcerated, not for his political views, but for involvement in 23 different acts of sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the government. He and his fellow conspirators of the ANC and the South African Communist Party were caught by the police while in the possession of 48,000 Soviet-made anti-personnel mines and 210,000 hand-grenades!*
It is also interesting to note that in later years Mandela was offered his freedom by none other than the South African President Botha if he would simply renounce the use of terrorism, but Mandela refused to do this.
Winnie Mandela has been equally fulsome in her praise of Communism and violence. In 1986 she was reported in
Moscow's communist party newspaper Pravda as saying:
The Soviet Union is the torch-bearer for all our hopes and aspirations. We
have learned and are continuing to learn resilience and bravery from the
Soviet people, who are an example to us in our struggle for freedom, a
model of loyalty to internationalist duty. In Soviet Russia, genuine power
of the people has been transformed from dreams into reality. The land of
the Soviets is the genuine friend and ally of all peoples fighting against
the dark forces of world reaction.
and again at Munsieville, on April 13, 1986, she said:
With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.
referring here to her own specific brand of democratic political activity whereby anyone who opposed her would be bound hand and foot and then burned to death by means of a tyre filled with gasoline being placed around the neck and set on fire.
Has Mandela since changed his tune in any way?
In September, 2002, Mandela gave an interview to "Newsweek" and the following summary gives his views on the situation with regard to the Iraq crisis:
You will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United
States of America is a threat to world peace…. It (war against Iraq) is clearly
a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms
and oil industries in the United States of America…When there were white
(UN) secretary generals you didn’t find this question of the United States
and Britain going out of the United Nations. But now that you’ve had black
secretary generals like Boutros Boutros Ghali, like Kofi Annan, they do not
respect the United Nations. They have contempt for it… It is the men around
him (Cheney and Rumsfeld) who are dinosaurs, who do not want him (President
Bush) to belong to the modern age… The only man, the only person who wants
to help Bush move to the modern era is Gen. Colin Powell.
No-one will deny Mandela the right to hold views opposed to a war on Iraq, but he is here revealing his own racist attitude to world politics - only white leaders are a threat to peace, and especially so when there are black secretary generals of the U.N. And in case we don't get the message he singles out the black member of the US administration, Colin Powell, as the only exception! (And, one could add, when it suits Mandela's argument, the Egyptian Boutros Ghali, suddenly qualifies as a "black" man...) The race card is one that is always brought out by Africans when they lack valid arguments, and it has always been a standard ploy of Communist rhetoric.
To Mandela's way of thinking, it is capitalist greed that is preventing a one-world U.N. Government - in February 2003 he was reported as saying:
"if there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America...Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get hold of that oil."
Apart from displaying his Communist sentiments, Mandela here also reveals his ignorance of world economics - Iraq produces only 5% of world oil exports, not 64%. He also makes no mention of the huge debts of money that Iraq owes France, Germany and Russia, and that it is just possible that they are opposed to the war because they would like those debts paid.
If Mandela's opposition to the United States comes as a surprise to some, or are dismissed as an expression of particularly strong feelings about the Iraq crisis, we should note that Mandela is nothing if not consistent. His views are always anti-American and pro-Communist, and always have been. In his book "The Struggle is My Life", a collection of his writings, we read in a piece dated 1958:
...the people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign conducted by the U.S.A. against the Socialist countries. They know that their independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the Socialist camp but by the U.S.A., who has surrounded their continent with military bases. The Communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism. (pp 76)
* The full list of munitions and charges read as follows:
• One count under the South African Suppression of Communism Act
No. 44 of 1950, charging that the accused committed acts calculated to
further the achievement of the objective of communism;
Source: The State v. Nelson Mandela et al, Supreme Court of South Africa, Transvaal Provincial
Division, 1963-1964, Indictment.
• One count of contravening the South African Criminal Law Act
(1953), which prohibits any person from soliciting or receiving any
money or articles for the purpose of achieving organized defiance of
laws and country; and
• Two counts of sabotage, committing or aiding or procuring the
commission of the following acts:
1) The further recruitment of persons for instruction and training,
both within and outside the Republic of South Africa, in:
(a) the preparation, manufacture and use of explosives—for the
purpose of committing acts of violence and destruction in the
aforesaid Republic, (the preparation and manufacture of explo-
sives, according to evidence submitted, included 210,000 hand
grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144
tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminum powder and a
ton of black powder);
(b) the art of warfare, including guerrilla warfare, and military
training generally for the purpose in the aforesaid Republic;
(ii) Further acts of violence and destruction, (this includes 193
counts of terrorism committed between 1961 and 1963);
(iii) Acts of guerrilla warfare in the aforesaid Republic;
(iv) Acts of assistance to military units of foreign countries
when involving the aforesaid Republic;
(v) Acts of participation in a violent revolution in the aforesaid
Republic, whereby the accused, injured, damaged, destroyed,
rendered useless or unserviceable, put out of action,
obstructed, with or endangered:
- (a) the health or safety of the public;
- (b) the maintenance of law and order;
- (c) the supply and distribution of light, power or fuel;
- (d) postal, telephone or telegraph installations;
- (e) the free movement of traffic on land; and
- (f) the property, movable or immovable, of other persons or of the state.
Text of the handwritten Manuscript:
HOW TO BE A GOOD COMMUNIST
A Communist is a member of the Communist Party who understands and accepts
the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism as explained by Marx, Engels,
Lenin and Stalin , and who subjects himself to the discipline of the Party.
(See notes 1, 2, 3 & 4)
The goal of Communism is a classless society based on the principle:
from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. The
aim is to change the present world into a Communist world where there will
be no exploiters and no exploited, no oppressor and oppressed, no rich and
no poor. Communists fight for a world where there will be no unemployment,
no poverty and starvation, disease and ignorance. In such a world there will
be no capitalists, no imperialists, no fascists. There will be neither colonies
In our own country, the struggles of the oppressed people are
guided by the South African Communist Party and inspired by its policies.
The aim of the S.A.C.P. is to defeat the Nationalist government and to free
the people of South Africa from the evils of racial discrimination and exploitation
and to build a classless or socialist society in which the land, the mines,
the mills, our . . . . . . . (unreadable)
Under a Communist Party Government South Africa will become
a land of milk and honey. Political, economic and social rights will cease
to be enjoyed by Whites only. They will be shared equally by Whites and Non-Whites.
There will be enough land and houses for all. There will be no unemployment,
starvation and disease.
Workers will earn decent wages; transport will be cheap and
education free. There will be no pass laws, no influx control, no Police
raids for passes and poll tax, and Africans, Europeans, Coloureds and Indians
will live in racial peace and perfect equality.
The victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., in the Peoples Republic
of China, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania, where
the living conditions of the people were in many respects similar and even
worse than ours, proves that we too can achieve this important goal.
Communists everywhere fight to destroy capitalist society and
to replace it with Socialism, where the masses of the common people, irrespective
of race or colour, will live in complete equality, freedom and happiness.
They seek to revolutionise society and are thus called revolutionaries. Those
who support capitalism with its class divisions and other evils and who oppose
our just struggles to end oppression are called counter revolutionaries.
Comrade Liu Hao Schi, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, says:
we Communist Party members are the most advanced revolutionaries
in modern history and are the contemporary fighting and driving force in
changing society and the world. Revolutionaries exist because counter-revolutionaries
still exist. Therefore, to conduct a ceaseless struggle against the counter-revolutionaries
constitutes an essential condition for the existence and development of revolutionaries.
If they fail to carry on such a struggle, they cannot be called revolutionaries
and still less can they advance and develop. It is in the course of this
… [that] ... members change society, change the world and at the same time
To succeed in conducting a ceaseless struggle against the counter-revolutionaries,
and to be able to play the vital role of being the most advanced revolutionary
and driving force in changing society and the world, one must put all else
aside and seriously and faithfully undertake self-cultivation.
THE PROCESS OF SELF-CULTIVATION
The process of self-cultivation involves two elements:
(a) One’s steeling in the practical struggle of the oppressed people, and
(b) the cultivation of one’s ideas.
(a) ONE’S STEELING IN THE PRACTICAL STRUGGLES OF THE OPPRESSED PEOPLE.
To become the most advanced communist revolutionary, it is
not enough to understand and accept the theory of Marxism-Leninism. In addition,
one must take part in the practical struggles of the people against oppression
and exploitation. A person who is isolated from the people’s struggles, an
arm-chair politician however deep his knowledge of Marxist theory might be,
is not a communist revolutionary.
It is only in the course of such practical struggles that one’s
advancement and development is stimulated, that one acquires the necessary
experience to guide the masses of the people in their political battles and
the art and skill of being a driving force in changing society and the world.
It is precisely for this reason that SACP requires its members to participate
fully and without reservations in such issues as the Anti-Pass Campaigns,
the struggle against Bantu Authorities, against job reservation, the Group
Areas Act and in all other mass campaigns.
By consistently taking part in such struggles, Party members
who may ……… whatsoever, gain valuable knowledge and get hardened for the
stern mass struggles that are part and parcel of the life of every Communist
(b) THE CULTIVATION OF ONE’S IDEAS
Participation (in) practical mass struggles does (not) in itself
enable a Party member to raise his revolutionary qualities, nor does it help
him to understand the (aims) of the development of society and the laws of
the revolution. Progress in one’s revolutionary qualities and knowledge of
the laws of social development and the laws of the revolution will be achieved
by a thorough understanding of the meaning of Marxism.
It is thus absolutely imperative for all Party members to have
to make a serious study of Marxist philosophy and to master it completely.
Only in this way will Party members become the most advanced revolutionaries.
Only in this way will they advance and develop.
The aim of studying Marxist philosophy is to enable us to direct
more effectively revolutionary mass struggles. To put it in a nutshell, Marxism
is a guide to action.
Communist Party members must undertake self-cultivation whether
they are new members in the Party or old ones, whether they are workers,
peasants, businessmen, professional men or intellectuals, and whether they
are conducting difficult or easy revolutionary mass campaigns; in victory
Finally, self-cultivation must be imaginative and practical,
and must be used to eliminate from one’s outlook and conduct unhealthy tendencies
which local conditions may give rise to.
South Africa is a country where the Whites dominate politically,
economically and socially and where Africans, Coloureds and Indians are treated
as inferiors. It is a country torn asunder by racial strife and where black
and white chauvinism finds fertile soil in which it thrives and where efforts
and appeals for working-class solidarity very often fall on deaf ears.
The pamphlet compiled by the S.A.C.P. to mark the fortieth
anniversary of the Communist Party of South Africa which preceded the S.A.C.P.
and which was declared illegal in 1950 correctly points out that, in spite
of all the formidable difficulties that face it, the C.P.S.A. had in its
existence brought about profound changes in the thinking and political outlook
of the oppressed people of South Africa. These achievements are being expanded
and further developed by the S.A.C.P.; the worthy successor of the C.P.S.A.
In spite of these advances, however, there is still the danger that the historical
problems and prejudices produced by capitalist society in our country may
infiltrate into our Party and influence the political outlook of our Party
In cultivating their outlook, our members must consciously
strive to remove these particular weaknesses and shortcomings as well.
This is what we mean when we say Party members must undertake self-cultivation
2. HOW TO BECOME THE BEST PUPILS OF MARX, ENGELS, LENIN AND STALIN.
At the beginning of these lectures, we defined a communist
as a member of the Communist Party who understands and accepts the theory
and practice of Marxism, Leninism as explained by Marx, Engels, Lenin and
Any person may become a member of the Communist Party if he
accepts the Programme and Constitution of the Party, pays Party membership
fees and undertakes tasks given to him in one of the Party’s organisations.
These are called the minimum qualifications that every Party member must
possess, but every one of our members should not be content to be a member
of minimum qualifications He must strive to become a member of maximum qualifications.
Every Party member should raise his revolutionary qualities in every respect
to the same level as those of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.
Some say that it is impossible to acquire the great qualities
of revolutionary geniuses like Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and that it
is impossible to raise our own qualities to the same level as theirs. But
as long as Party members work hard and earnestly, never allow themselves
to be isolated for one single moment from the day to day struggle of the
people, and make serious efforts to study Marxist literature, learn from
the experiences of other comrades and the masses of the people, and constantly
strive to steel and cultivate themselves, they will be perfectly able to
raise their qualities to the same level as that of Marx, Engels, Lenin and
There are two ways of studying Marxism. One is to learn it
by heart and be able to repeat mechanically the information learnt without
being able to use this information for the purpose of solving problems. The
second is to try to master the essence, spirit and methods of Marxism. In
this second category belongs those comrades who read over and over again
Marxist literature, who pay special attention to the concrete conditions
existing in the country where they live and draw their own conclusions, their
…… activities, their attitude towards other comrades and the masses of the
people, and the whole of their lives are guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism
and aimed at one thing - national liberation, the victory of the working
class, the liberation of mankind, the success of Communism and nothing else.
To reach this goal calls for a supreme effort and an iron will.
It means complete dedication to the struggle for the removal of oppression
and exploitation and for lifelong dedication to the study of Marxism.
3. THE ASPECTS AND METHODS OF CULTIVATION
Cultivation must be carried out in all aspects in the course
of the long and strenuous struggle to free the working class and the masses
of the people from capitalist exploitation. Cultivation is needed in studying
Marxism and in applying it to answer questions and to solve practical problems,
in sharpening one’s class outlook and political thinking, in shaping one’s
moral character and behaviour; in hard work and ability to withstand hardship,
in preserving the unity of the Party and conducting inner party struggle;
in loyalty to the Party and complete dedication to the cause of the Communist
The life of a Communist revolutionary is no bed of roses. It
consists of serious studies in Marxist literature, of hard work and of constant
participation in numerous and endless mass struggles. He has no time for
worldly pleasures and his whole life is devoted to one thing, and one thing
only, the destruction of capitalist society, the removal of all forms of
exploitation and the liberation of mankind.
A Communist revolutionary always combines thought with practice.
He studies for the sole purpose of putting into practice what he has learnt.
He regards Marxism, as ….. action and takes part fully and without reservation
in mass struggles directed by the party or by other political organisation
outside of the Party.
In South Africa, a Communist Party member must take part in
mass struggles initiated by the S.A.C.P., the Congress movement or by other
political bodies within the liberation movement.
4. RELATION BETWEEN THE STUDY OF MARXIST-LENINIST THEORY AND THE IDEOLOGICAL CULTIVATION OF PARTY MEMBERS.
It is commonly thought that one’s intelligence, ability and
the study of Marxist text-books are in themselves enough to enable one to
master the theory and method of Marxism-Leninism. Nothing could be further
from the truth. Dealing with this point, Liu Shao Chu says: -
“Marxism-Leninism is the science of the proletarian revolution.
It can be thoroughly understood and mastered only by those who fully take
the proletarian standpoint and who adopt the ideals of the proletariat as
their own. It is impossible for anyone to thoroughly understand and master
the Marxist science of the proletariat only by means of his intellect and
strenuous study if he lacks the firm standpoint and …. ideals of the proletariat.
This is also an obvious truth. Therefore, in studying the theory and method
of Marxism-Leninism today, it is necessary that our study proceeds simultaneously
with our ideological cultivation and steeling because without the theory
and method of Marxism-Leninism, we should have nothing to guide our thoughts
and actions and our ideological cultivation would also be impossible. These
two are closely related to each other, and are inseparable.”
We do need Communist Party members who are highly intelligent
and who have ability and who make it their business to have a thorough understanding
of Marxist theory. But a working class revolution will be carried out successfully
by those Party members who, in addition to the characteristics mentioned
above, adopt without reservation, the standpoint and ideals of the working
Although they may be unable to recite quotations from Marxist
textbooks, experience shows that Party members of working class origin have
a keener interest and deeper understanding of Marxism-Leninism than those
Party members of student origin provided it is explained to them in words
they understand. In loyalty to the Party, in discipline and in the handling
of practical problems, they often prove more correct and more in conformity
with the Principles of Marxism-Leninism than others.
This is so because Party members of working class origin have
a firm and pure Communist standpoint and ideals, an objective attitude towards
things, and in their minds they have no preconceived ideas whatsoever, and
no worries about personal problems or about impure matters.
Party members who lack a firm working class outlook, who have
the habits and ….. of other classes and who have personal interests and selfish
ideas are not true Communists. As a matter of fact they very often find that
Marxist-Leninism principles will clash with their interests, and they invariably
try to distort these principles to suit their own personal interests and
Every Communist revolutionary must therefore, firmly adopt
the standpoint and ideology of the working class. Unless he does this, it
is not possible for him to understand the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism.
5. THE CAUSE OF COMMUNISM IS THE GREATEST AND MOST ARDUOUS CAUSE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.
On Page One of this section we found out that our aim is to
change the present world into a Communist world where there will be no exploiters
and exploited, no oppressor and oppressed, no rich and poor. We also make
the point that the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., in China and other
States in Asia and Eastern Europe proves that a Communist world is capable
of attainment. Moreover, since the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. in
1917, the Socialist camp has grown to become a world force with a population
of more than 1,000 million and occupying a third of the globe.
But in spite of this victorious advance, the Communist movement
still faces powerful enemies which must be crushed and wiped out from the
face of the earth before a Communist world can be realised. Without a hard
and bitter and long struggle against capitalism and exploitation, there can
be no Communist world.
The cause of Communism is the greatest cause in the history
of mankind, because it seeks to remove from society all forms of oppression
and exploitation to liberate mankind, and to ensure peace and prosperity
A Communist revolution is different from all other revolutions
in history. Whereas in other revolutions the seizure of State Power is an
end in itself, in a Communist revolution the seizure of State Power by the
working class is a means to an end, that end being the total removal of all
forms of exploitation, the liberation of mankind by building up a classless
Every Communist Party member must possess the greatest courage
and revolutionary determination and must be prepared to play his part and
carry out all political tasks without fear or hesitation.
In the struggle to transform the present world into a Communist
world, we must strive consistently to combine theory with practice.
Finally, WE must live and develop in reality in fighting to
change the world, we must start from the very people in close contact with
us. We must thoroughly study our own situation and problems, understand them
completely and work out appropriate solutions.
6. THE UNCONDITIONAL SUBORDINATION OF THE PERSONAL INTERESTS OF A PARTY MEMBER TO THE INTERESTS OF THE PARTY.
A Communist Party member must subordinate his personal interests
to those of the Party. The Communist Party has no interests of its own apart
from those of the working class. Therefore, the subordination of a Party
member’s personal interests to the Party’s interests means subordination
to the interests of the working class.
We test a Communist Party member’s loyalty to the Party, to
the revolution and the Communist cause by the manner in which he absolutely
and unconditionally subordinates his interests to those of the Party under
all circumstances. To sacrifice one’s personal interests and even one’s life
without hesitation for the cause of the Party is the highest manifestation
of Communist ethics.
In the Party our members should not have personal aims independent
of the Party’s interests. The desire for personal power and positions, individual
heroism, conflict with the interests of the Party and the working class.
A true communist should possess the following characteristics:
(i) He must posses very good Communist ethics.
He can show love and loyalty to all his Comrades, revolutionaries
and working people, help them unconditionally, treat them with equality and
never harm any one of them.
He always tries to do more revolutionary work than others and
to fight harder. In times of adversity he will stand out courageously and
unflinchingly and, in the face of difficulties he will demonstrate the greatest
sense of responsibility. He is able to resist corruption by riches or honours,
to resist tendencies to vacillate in spite of poverty and lowly states and
to refuse to yield in spite of threats of force.
(ii) He possess(es) the greatest courage. He can see his mistakes
and shortcomings and has sufficient willpower to correct them. At all times
and under all circumstances he speaks the truth and nothing but the truth.
He courageously fights for it even when it is temporarily to his disadvantage
to do so.
(iii) He has a thorough understanding of the theory and method of Marxism-Leninism. He has an objective attitude.
(iv) He is the most sincere, most candid and happiest of men. Apart
from the interests of the Party and of the revolution he has no personal
losses or gains or other things to worry about. He takes care not to do wrong
things when he works independently and without supervision and when there
is ample opportunity for him to do all kinds of wrong things.
He does not fear criticism from others and he can courageously and sincerely criticise others.
(v) He possesses the highest self-respect and self-esteem. For the
interest of the party and of the revolution, he can also be the most lenient,
most tolerant and most ready to compromise and he will even endure if necessary,
various forms of humiliation and injustice without feeling hurt or bearing
The Communist Party represents not only the interests of individual
Party members but also the long-range interests of the entire body of workers
and the emancipation of mankind; the Communist Party has no other interests
and aims. The Party must not be regarded as a narrow small group like a guild
which seeks only the personal interests of its members. Whoever holds such
a view is not a Communist.
A member of our Party is no longer just an ordinary person.
He is a conscious vanguard fighter of the working class. He should prove
himself a conscious living representative of the interests and ideology of
the working class. He should thoroughly merge his personal interests and
aims in the general interests and aims of the Party and the working class.
A communist revolutionary has his personal interests and the
Party should neither eliminate his personality nor prevent personal development,
as long as these do not conflict with the interests of the Party.
This is what is meant by the unconditional subordination of
the personal interest of a Party member to the interests of the Party.
7. EXAMPLES AND ORIGIN OF THE VARIOUS KINDS OF ERRONEOUS IDEOLOGIES IN THE PARTY.
(i) People who join the Communist Party come from different classes
of society and bring with them various habits which often clash with the
basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism. Because these people do not have a firm
and clear cut Communist outlook they very often waver and even desert the
Party when they are faced with danger or difficulties.
The Party must pay particular attention to the education, steeling
and self-cultivation of such comrades since without them, they cannot develop
to be true Communists. No Communist Party anywhere in the world limits its
membership only to those who have a thorough understanding of Communism.
The Party will admit any person who accepts the programme of the Party and
its Constitution. By serious study and hard work such comrades can develop
into excellent Communists ready to give their lives for the Party and the
Communist cause …. individualism and self interests in their work. In their
attitude and work they place their personal interests above the Party’s interests,
they worry about personal gains, they use the Party for their own personal
They always want special treatment, less work and more pay.
They avoid hard work and hardship; and will disappear at the first signs
of danger, and yet they will want to share the honours won by their comrades
for the Party through sacrifice and hard work.
Individualism frequently expresses itself in unprincipled discussions
and disputes, factional struggles and in sectarian tendencies and in undermining
Party discipline. A closely related mistake is that of departmentalism, in
which a comrade sees only partial interests, sees only his part of the work
instead of seeing the situation as a whole and of the work of others. It
often leads to obstruction and must be avoided.
(iii) Others show conceit, individual heroism and like to show off. Liu Shao Chi says of these people: -
The first consideration of people with such ideas is their
position in the Party. They like to show off, and want others to flatter
them and admire them. They have a personal ambition to become leaders. They
take advantage of their abilities and like to claim credit; to show off themselves;
to keep everything in their hands and they are intolerant. They are full
of vanity, do not want to keep their heads in hard work and are unwilling
to do technical work. They are haughty. When they have made some small achievements
they become very arrogant and domineering as if there were no one else like
them in the world. They seek to overshadow others and cannot treat others
on equal terms, modestly and politely. They are self conceited and like to
lecture others, to instruct and boss others. They are always trying to climb
above others, and do not accept directions from others, do not learn modestly
from others and …….. from the masses, nor do they accept criticism from others.
They like to be “promoted” but cannot stand being “demoted”.
“They can only work in fair weather but not in foul. They cannot bear
attacks on injustices and are unable to adapt themselves to circumstances.
They are no great men capable of asserting themselves when necessary or of
keeping in the background when required. They have not yet got rid of their
deep-rooted “desire for fame” and they try to build themselves up into “great
men” and “heroes” in the Communist cause, and even have no scruples in employing
any means for the gratification of such desires. However, when their aims
cannot be achieved, when they …….. treatment from comrades in the Party,
there is a possible danger of their wavering. In the minds of such persons
there exists remnants of the ideology of the exploiting classes. They do
not understand the greatness of Communism, nor do they have the broad vision
of a Communist.
A Communist should have none of these shortcomings. Whoever
possesses such weaknesses does not understand Communism and cannot rise to
become as great as Lenin. In the Communist Party leaders achieve success
through mass support. Mass support is earned by those Party members who have
no personal interests as against those of the working class and the Party
who are completely loyal to the Party, who have a high degree of Communist
ethics and revolutionary qualities, who strive to master the theory and methods
of Marxism-Leninism, who have considerable practical ability, who can actually
direct Party work, who are not afraid of serious study and love work, and
who become heroes and leaders in the Communist revolution because of the
confidence and support they enjoy from the masses of the people.
The struggle to change the …….. world into a Communist world
cannot be carried out by one person however able he may be and however hard
he works. It can be carried out successfully only by the planned and combined
efforts of millions of people.
Some Party members are contemptuous of technical work within
the Party. Such an attitude is incorrect because technical work forms an
important part of Party work and because a Party member should be ready and
willing to do any work which is important to the Party whether or no(t) he
likes to do such work.
(iv) Other comrades within the Party reflect the ideology of the exploiting
classes. In their Party work and in their relations with other Party members
they behave like landlords, capitalists, and fascists.
These persons seek to develop themselves by holding down others.
They are jealous of those who are more capable. They are not prepared to
work under other comrades or to take instructions. They secretly rejoice
when other comrades fail in their political tasks and in their moral standards
and conduct. They indulge in gossip and spread false information about their
comrades. These are the characteristics of exploiting classes and are ……..
the working class and the Party. They should be fought and exposed wherever
they are found.
The working class is entirely different from the exploiting
class. It does not exploit others nor does its interests conflict with those
of the Party and other workers of exploited masses.
The outlook and thinking of the working class are altogether
different from those of the exploiting classes. In dealing with the enemies
of the people they are merciless and uncompromising, but in dealing with
their comrades they are always inspired by love and the desire to assist.
They are strict with themselves but lenient towards other comrades. They
are strict and firm on matters of principle and always adopt a frank and
serious attitude. This is the outlook of the working class and should be
learnt and developed by every Party member.
(v) Some comrades still have bureaucratic tendencies. They like to
run the Party by issuing edicts and directives without …….. without taking
into account the views of other comrades. They resent criticism and are very
harsh in dealing with other comrades. Such weaknesses are unmarxist and every
communist should strive to overcome them completely.
Furthermore a Party member should be broad minded and concern
himself always with the overall situation when dealing with problems. He
should avoid pettiness and unprincipled discussion. He should have …….. standpoint
and not a fence sitter.
Although the Communist Party is the most progressive of all
political parties, and although it fights for a society which guarantees
happiness and prosperity to millions of people, not everything in it is perfect.
In spite of the fact that its members are the world’s most conscious and
progressive revolutionaries with the highest sense of morality and righteousness,
there are still defects in the Party and some of its members do not measure
up to the qualifications of a Communist revolutionary. The explanation for
this state of affairs lies in the fact that every Communist Party member
emerges out of the very society whose evils it seeks to remove. Its members
come from the various classes of that society and some of them bring into
the Party the habits, prejudices and outlook on life of the class from which
they came. It is precisely for this reason that Communist Party members must
In addition to waging struggles against counter-revolutionary
forces, the Party must carry on inner-Party struggles against those comrades
who are still influenced by the outlook and prejudices of the exploiting
The working class is commonly referred to as the proletariat. The working class can be divided into three groups:
(i) The first group is composed of those who completely severed their
ties with the capitalist class years ago. This is the core of the working
class and are the most loyal and reliable.
(ii) The second group consists of those who only recently came from
the non-working class, who came from the …….. the middle class and the ……..
They are usually anarchistic and ultra-left.
(iii) The third group is composed of the working class aristocracy,
those working class members who are best provided for, who earn high wages
and whose economic position is comparatively high. They compromise easily
with the enemies of the people, with the capitalist class.
Every Party member should aim to be the most loyal and reliable
to the cause of Communism and to have a firm and clear-cut working class
8. THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS VARIOUS ERRONEOUS IDEOLOGIES IN THE PARTY AND INNER PARTY STRUGGLE.
Some Party members have a pessimistic view on things and they
see errors, defects and a future beset with formidable difficulties and dangers.
The growing strength of the socialist camp, the power influence exerted by
our Party in our own country and the certainty of the final victory of Communism
over Capitalism inspire them with no hope in the future.
Others see only victory and progress, and fail altogether to
notice defects and errors in the Party. They become dizzy with success, become
blindly optimistic and become less vigilant.
Both views are un-marxist. A Communist Party member knows that
the Communist Party is the most progressive and most revolutionary Party
in the world. He has complete confidence in the future and he dedicates his
entire career to the cause of Communism. In spite of this knowledge he realises
most clearly that in our Party there are still various kinds of errors, defects
and undesirable things. A Party member clearly understands the origin of
these errors and the method to be used in removing them.
The following are the various kinds of attitudes towards undesirable things in the Party:
(i) To enjoy seeing errors and defects in the Party and to magnify
them to undermine the Party. This is the attitude of spies and similar elements
within the Party.
(ii) Some people consider that the existence of errors and defects
in the Party is to their advantage and they deliberately help to spread them
and to make use of them. This is the attitude adopted by opportunists and
similar elements within the Party.
(iii) To leave these errors and defects undisturbed instead of fighting
against them. This is the course followed by those members who have but a
weak sense of duty towards the Party and who have bureaucratic tendencies.
(iv) To harbour violent hatred towards errors and defects and towards
Party members whose political outlook is incorrect. They believe in bitter
struggles among Party members and expel their comrades at the slightest pretext.
This is the method used by Party comrades who do not correctly understand
the methods of correcting mistakes and weakness amongst comrades.
All these attitudes are incorrect and dangerous and should be scrupulously
avoided by Communists. Our own attitude is as follows: -
(i) We first analyse the situation most thoroughly and decide which
views are correct and which of them are incorrect and dangerous to the Party.
Once we are convinced of the correct opinion we firmly uphold it to the bitter
end and no matter how strong the opposition and how influential the individuals
who hold the opposite point of view.
(ii) Having carefully analysed the situation and having decided which
is the correct opinion, we then devote our attention to the promotion and
development of the correct viewpoint. We never allow ourselves to be influenced
by an incorrect point of view.
(iii) Communists are men of action. In promoting and developing the
correct viewpoint we also fight actively against all the undesirable things
in life. A Party member who is afraid of action and hard struggle, however
brilliant he might be, can never be a Communist revolutionary. A Communist
must always and under all circumstances, be ready and willing to conduct
an active struggle against all forms of reaction.
(iv) Although a Communist never compromises on questions of principle,
he never adopts an inflexible and mechanical attitude in his methods of struggle.
The aim is always to reform and educate those comrades who still possess
(v) The elimination of undesirable tendencies in the Party and the
building up of revolutionary qualities in our members enhances the discipline
and prestige of the Party. Those Party members who fail to respond to the
most patient persuasion and to efforts to educate and reform them, should
be expelled from the Party.
As indicated at the very beginning of this series, a Communist is a
member of the Communist Party who understands and accepts the theory and
practice of Marxism-Leninism as expounded by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin,
and who subjects himself to the discipline of the Party. A good Communist
is therefore one who:
(i) Is a member of the Communist Party who is absolutely faithful
and loyal to the Party, who obeys without question all Party rules and regulations
and who carries out all instructions issued by the Party.
(ii) Has thoroughly studied the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin,
who understands them clearly and who knows how to carry out their teachings
in the struggles of the people to defeat capitalism and all forms of exploitation.
(iii) Devotes all his time to one thing, and one thing only, the struggle against Capitalism and for a Communist world.
(iv) In their relations with Party comrades are always inspired by love and sincere friendship and the desire to be helpful.
(v) Are honest and upright and who are prepared to defend the truth at all times and under all circumstances.
Such is a good Communist.
Dialectical Materialism is the revolutionary philosophy of the Communist Party and the working class.
Dialectical Materialism was founded by Marx and Engels and
is discussed and explained in the works of Lenin and other prominent leaders
of the Communist Movement.
It is a dialectical philosophy because it studies things concretely
and objectively and because its approach on all things in nature is always
based on data established through scientific investigation and experience.
It is materialistic because it holds the view that the world
is by its very nature material and that the numerous things and processes
we see in the world constitute different forms of matter in motion.
In ancient times dialectics was the art of arriving at the
truth by disclosing the contradictions in the argument of an opponent and
solving these contradictions. This dialectical method of establishing truth
was later extended to the study of nature. Using the dialectical method of
study and investigation, mankind discovered that all things in nature are
always in motion and always changing, and that nature develops as the result
of contradictions in nature itself.
The dialectical method has four main features:
(1) The dialectical method considers that nothing can be understood
taken by itself in isolation from other things or from its surrounding circumstances.
A thing must always be studied and understood in relation to its environment
(2) The dialectical method considers everything as in a state of continuous
movement and change, of renewal and development, where something is always
arising and developing and something always falls into pieces or is dying
(3) The dialectical method holds that the process of development should
be understood as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from an old
qualitative state to a new qualitative state, as a development from the simple
to the complex, from the lower to the higher.
(4) The dialectical method holds that internal contradictions are
inherent in all things in nature. Everything has its positive and negative
side, a past and future. In nature there is always something dying away and
something developing. The struggle between the opposites, between the positive
and the negative, between the past and the future, between the old and the
new, between that which is dying away and that which is being born, is the
sole reason for development and change.
Historical materialism is the application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of society and its history.
A Communist must strive to master completely the principles
of the dialectical method discussed above and use them as a guide in his
Dealing with the first proposition mentioned above, the principle
of considering things in relation to actual conditions and circumstances
and not apart from these actual circumstances, is always of vital importance
to a Communist in deciding the simplest policy questions. A Communist is
useless to our movement if he deals with policy questions in the abstract
without taking into account the actual circumstances in relation to which
policy has to be implemented, without understanding that the same policy
can be right in one case and wrong in another depending on the concrete circumstances
of each case.
In their struggle against race discrimination the oppressed
people of South Africa have in the past followed a policy of peace and non-violence.
They still seek peaceful solutions and they will do everything in their power
to avoid violent strife and bloody revolution. But a blind and mechanical
application of this policy, irrespective of actual conditions and circumstances
can lead to defeat and disaster for our movement. In the past the people
were able to conduct successful non-violent struggles because opportunities
were available for peaceful agitation and struggle. But the policy of the
Nationalist Government, which forcibly suppresses the peaceful struggles
of the people, has created new conditions under which non-violent and peaceful
methods of struggle have become inadequate to advance the struggle of the
people and to defend their rights. Under these new conditions it is easy
to understand why the masses of the people are searching for a new formula
of political struggle which will enable them to hit back effectively and
end the violent and reactionary policies of the Government. Whilst in the
past it was correct to preach non-violence, under present conditions it is
not correct to go on stressing it as if nothing has changed. There is nothing
sacred or inherently superior about non-violent methods of struggle. So long
as they are effective weapons to fight for freedom and democracy, they must
be employed fully, but it would be wrong to persist with them mechanically
once conditions demand modifications.
The second proposition is equally important. If the world is
in a state of constant movement and development, if the dying away of the
old and the upgrowth of the new is a law of development, then it follows
that no system of society is permanent and everlasting. Just as primitive
communal society was replaced by slave society, and just as slave society
was replaced by feudalism, and feudalism by capitalism, so will capitalism
be replaced by socialism. This is what happened for instance, in Albania,
Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Rumania,
Russia and North Vietnam. In all these countries the capitalist system was
overthrown and replaced by socialism. In our own country capitalism cannot
and will not last indefinitely.
The people of South Africa, led by the S.A.C.P. will destroy
capitalist society and build in its place socialism where there will be no
exploitation of man by man, and where there will be no rich and poor, no
unemployment, starvation, disease and ignorance.
According to the third proposition of dialectical method, the
process of development should be understood as an onward and upward movement,
as a transition from the lower to the higher and from the simple to the complex.
Hence the transition from capitalism to socialism and the liberation of the
working class from the yoke cannot be effected by slow changes or by reforms
as reactionaries and liberals often advise, but by revolution. One therefore,
must be a revolutionary and not a reformist.
Finally, if development and change in things take place by
way of collision between opposite forces, then it is clear that the struggle
between workers and capitalists is natural and unavoidable. Hence we must
not try to preach peace and harmony between workers and capitalists. We must
stimulate and encourage class struggle. We must call upon workers to conduct
a ceaseless war against the capitalist class and for socialism.
The philosophy of materialism as expounded by Marx is a way of explaining
all questions, and is irreconcilably opposed to idealism. Two examples are
given to illustrate the difference between the two methods of materialism
and idealism, namely, what causes thunderstorms and why are some people rich
and others poor?
An idealist would answer by saying that thunderstorms are due
to the anger of God and that some people are rich and others poor because
God made them so. The materialist, on the other hand seeks for an explanation
of the natural forces and in the material and economic conditions of normal
life. To a materialist, thunderstorms are due solely to natural forces and
not to the anger of the Gods. He would explain that some people are poor
because they are compelled by material conditions to work for low wages for
the rest of their lives for the rich who own the means of production - the
land, its mineral resources and its forests, the banks, mills and factories,
transport and other systems of communication.
These differences have important practical results. If we accept
the idealist’s explanation of thunderstorms, and of why some people are rich
whilst others are poor, then there is nothing we can do about the matter
except to sit, arms folded and pray to God. If we accept the materialist’s
explanation, however, we will take precautions against thunderstorms such
as building lightning conductors. Instead of accepting our poverty as the
will of God, we will stand up and fight to put an end to a system of society
which condemns us to lifelong poverty and misery.
Materialism and idealism are irreconcilably opposed. Materialism teaches: -
(1) That the world is by its very nature material. In other words the things we see in the world are composed of matter.
(2) That matter is something we can see with our naked eyes or by the aid of scientific instruments.
(3) That the world and its laws are capable of being known. That although
there are things which are not yet known, such things will yet be known through
scientific investigation and experience.
Idealism is essentially a belief in superstition, in the mysterious.
It goes hand in hand with religion. It prevents clear thinking and confuses
people. For ages it has been used by the exploiting classes to prevent the
common people from thinking for themselves. It is a philosophy of the ruling
classes and not of the working class. It is not the philosophy of people
who fight for freedom. The philosophy of the working class is dialectical
materialism, the only philosophy which is based on truth, and which is scientific
Political economy explains how men get their living.
It deals with the production and distribution among human beings
of food, clothing, shelter, fuel and other things essential to human life.
An important feature about production is that it is always
in a state of change and development. Furthermore changes in the mode of
production inevitably result in changes in the whole system of society, in
the ideas of that society, in its political views and in its political institutions.
To put it simply, at different stages of development people lead a different
sort of life.
Five main modes of production and five main types of society
are known to history. These are primitive communal society, slave society,
feudal society, capitalist society and socialist society.
PRIMITIVE COMMUNAL SOCIETY
Under primitive communal society, men of the village went out
together to hunt for the animals, to fish and gather the fruit that grew
wild. The land and forests in which they hunted and picked up wild fruits,
the rivers in which they fished, belonged to the whole community and not
to any particular individual property and was shared equally by all. For
clothes they used the skins of the animals they killed, and for shelter they
used caves and rocks. Their tools consisted mainly of a hunting spear and
trap and of a fishing net.
This is how man produced food and shelter under primitive communal society.
There were no classes. There were no rich or poor, no exploitation
of man by man, and all were equal before the law. The affairs of the village
were discussed publicly in a village council and all members of that community
could attend the meetings and take part fully in the discussions. In times
of war they killed their prisoners. They could not enslave or exploit them
because they had no food to feed them with. In those days man could only
produce enough food to feed himself and could not afford slaves.
The only division of labour that existed was between the sexes.
The men hunted wild animals and gathered wild fruits whilst the women managed
the house, looked after children and cooked the food.
This is the sort of life man led during primitive communal ........ the earliest mode of production known in history.
In course of time some tribes developed new means of producing
food and this change in the method of producing food enabled men to lead
a different sort of life. They began to sow seed and rear cattle so that
they should have food ready at hand whenever they wanted it. Primitive agriculture
began to develop and there arose differentiation between the tribes. Some
still concentrated on hunting as the principal method of producing food,
but others became pastoral farmers. The latter could now produce more than
required for their personal needs. They became rich in cattle and began accumulating
wealth. Under these new conditions men captured in war were not killed as
in former days. Now they were needed to plough the lands of their captors,
to look after their wealth and to produce more wealth for the slave owners.
The division of society into classes had begun.
The land and forests in which men used to hunt in former times,
and the rivers in which they fished no longer belonged to the whole community
but to the slave owners. The common and free labour of all members of the
tribe in the production process, which existed under primitive communal society,
had now disappeared; in its place there was now the forced labour of the
slaves who were exploited by their masters. There was no common ownership
of the means of production or of the fruits of production. Common ownership
was replaced by private ownership.
Rich and poor, exploiters and exploited, people with full rights
and people without rights, and a fierce class struggle - such were the conditions
under slave society.
The emergence of private property, of contrasting extremes
of enormous wealth on one side and dire poverty on the other, and the class
hostility that resulted, made it necessary for the slave owners to build
an instrument which they could use to protect their properties and their
wealth and to crush slave revolts by force. It was under these circumstances
that the exploiting classes created the army, the police force, the courts
and the prisons and made laws. These things put together are called the State
which is an instrument used by the exploiting classes to compel others to
give in to their will.
The State will last as long as class society exists. Only under
Communism will the State disappear. In primitive communal society, order
and discipline were maintained by tradition and custom and by force of public
opinion. It was not necessary to rely on an instrument of force to suppress
others. In exactly the same way, under Communism there will be no State because
mankind will have reached a high level of political and cultural development
A significant development during slave society was the emergence
of commodity production. Articles produced not for the personal use of the
producer, but for exchange, are called commodities. This was a development
of tremendous importance and we will discuss it very fully when we deal with
This was then the mode of primitive life under slave society.
The system of society had changed, the people led a different way of life,
new political ideas and new political institutions had arisen.
Feudal society developed out of slave society and was essentially an agricultural mode of production.
There were two main classes in feudal society. These were the Lords and the Serfs.
As in slave society, the means of production were owned by
the lord of the estate. The serf was in a slightly better position than the
slave because the lord did not have the power of life and death over him,
and also because the serf owned the tools he used to plough the lands of
He was however, subject to cruel exploitation and restrictions.
He ploughed the land of his lord in return for a piece of land which he was
allowed to occupy at the pleasure of his lord, and out of which he maintained
himself and his family. The piece of ground where he lived was given to him
to encourage him to produce more food and more articles for the enrichment
of his lord, and he thus produced better results than the slave. He was tied
down to the land and could not leave without permission. He was in a similar
position to our own squatters commonly found on many white farms in our country.
Under feudal society, food was grown and clothes and other
articles were made to cater for the local population but the lords (or nobles
as they were commonly referred to) used part of their wealth to buy all sorts
of luxuries for themselves. In the course of time trade and transport developed
and the desire for more wealth and luxuries increased.
The development of trade and transport led to the growth of
towns and their influence. It gave rise to new classes of society and to
new ideas. A new class of men who earned their living through trade and commerce
arose. These were the merchants.
Feudal society became an obstruction to the expansion and growth
of trade and commerce and the new ideas that were arising. The new class
that was rising to power came into conflict with that class that held power.
Feudal society was being challenged by the new social system of capitalism.
Only by revolution could the new forces that were arising be freed. It was
by revolution that the new forces challenged feudal society and replaced
it with capitalism. It was also by revolution that the working class in many
parts of the world replaced capitalism with the higher and democratic system
We have now seen that five main types of society are known
to history. Primitive Communal Society, Slave Society, Feudalism and Socialism.
New forms of society grew out gradually from the other society and in some
cases different forms existed side by side. For example, in slave society
there were traces of primitive communal society, whilst traces of slave society
existed within feudal society. In our own capitalist South Africa there are
still Africans, and to a lesser extent Coloureds, who live and work on white
farms under conditions remarkably similar to those of feudal society of the
Middle Ages. In other parts of the world we see Socialist societies, and
societies in transition to Socialism.
We live in a capitalist country and the chief task of our Party
is to destroy Capitalism and replace it with Socialism. Capitalism is to
us a …….. of …….. great imbalance. It is for this reason that we devote the
greater part of this lecture to a study of this system.
Capitalism has three essential features.
(1) Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few people who own the
means of production as well as wealth in the form of money. The few people
who own the means of production are called capitalists.
(2) The vast masses of the people earn their living by working for
capitalists in return for wages. In Marxist language these working people
are called the proletariat.
End of MS
1. Karl Marx (1818-83), German revolutionist, cofounder with Friedrich
Engels of modern communism. Suggested that the capitalist society should
be overthrown by the working class. His theory of scientific socialism is
now called Marxism.
2. Friedrich Engels (1820-95) Co-founder of communism with Karl Marx.
Exercised considerable influence in the shaping of communist policy and principles.
3. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, original surname Ulyanov (1870-1924), Russian
Marxist revolutionary and theoretician, and founder of the Soviet state (1917).
4. Joseph Stalin, real name Yosif Vissarionovitch Djugashvili (1879-1953),
Russian Revolutionist and Soviet dictator. He established a terroristic police
state in which millions of his own citizens were murdered.