The Green Book
Report of the Politico-Military Strategy Commission to the ANC National Executive Committee, August 1979
Transcribed: for marxists.org by Dr. Pallo Jordan.
PART ONE — Introduction
1. A joint meeting of the full NEC [National Executive Committee] and RC [Revolutionary Council] was held in Luanda between 27th December 1978, and 1st January 1979, to hear a report from the NEC delegation which visited the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in October 1978. After discussing the report of the delegation, the meeting proceeded to consider its relevance for our own struggle and concluded that “the Vietnam experience reveals certain shortcomings on our part and draws attention to areas of crucial importance which we have tended to neglect.”
2. The meeting then discussed and adopted a statement containing a summary of its views, which is annexed, marked “A.” [Annexure A, not included here, is “Statement of a Joint Meeting of the NEC and the RC"]
3. Thereafter the meeting elected a Commission of 6 comrades to be headed by the President and including Thabo Mkeki, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Joe Gqabi and Joe Modise.
The Commission was instructed to begin its work immediately and to make recommendations to the NEC on the items contained in Paragraph 5 of Annexure “A.” [See Chapter 10]
At a subsequent meeting of the NEC immediately after the joint meeting, it was resolved that the Commission, to be known as the Politico-Military Strategy Commission, should complete its work in time for the projected meeting of the NEC in February 1979.
4. Immediately after the joint meeting, the Commission proceeded to carry out its mandate. Three sessions were held in Luanda for the purpose of mapping out a programme of work. Thereafter, the Commission adjourned and completed its task in Maputo, where 15 sessions were held between February 1-20 1979. A final session was then arranged for Lusaka for 9 March to finalise the Report.
5. In order to facilitate its work, the Commission immediately took the following steps:
- Comrades Yusuf Dadoo and Reg September were invited to meet the Commission to discuss the question of the institutions which are being imposed on the Coloured and Indian people and to examine the general question of organisation and mobilisation of these communities as part of the revolutionary alliance of oppressed peoples. After this discussion, it was agreed that the two comrades urgently convene meetings of cadres engaged in work among these communities in order to make recommendations on this question. This decision was carried out and the Commission subsequently received extremely helpful reports which will be referred to later under the relevant section. Annexure “A” was taken to the Island [Lesotho] by special emissaries with a request to the comrades there to submit their thinking and recommendations to the Commission. This was done, and we will refer to their memorandum under the relevant section.
- Annexure “A was submitted to the meeting of the SACTU executive with a request to make proposals on how best the ANC and its allies can help to implement item 5(g). The Commission received a written report from SACTU which will be referred to under the relevant section.
- The London Research Unit was requested to supply available documentary information on the existing mass organisations. Some of the information supplied will be referred to later under the relevant section.
- Comrade Jack Simons was asked to pay special attention to item 5(j) in the camps. He has replied that he is beginning the process in consultation with the camp administration and will report results later.
- The SACP was requested to table its recent discussion document on the Bantustans together with the comments which it had received from its units. This was done. A copy of the document has already been circulated to NEC members, and the comments will also be made available to the forthcoming NEC meeting. Those documents assisted the Commission in its discussions and formulation of recommendations on the question, which will appear later in the report. The minutes of an earlier discussion by the NEC on the Bantustan question were also tabled.
- Annexure “A” was also sent to the Women’s Section and the Youth and Students section with a request that they discuss and submit a report on plans for relating their work to the internal struggle. Both sections have submitted reports which will be referred to later.
6. Comrade Mac Maharaj was invited to attend a number of sessions of the Commission in Maputo and participated fully in our discussions on the Bantustans and the institutions being imposed on the Indian and Coloured people.
7. The Commission assumed that items 5(k) and (l) of Annexure “A” dealing with the question of membership of the ANC and the capacity of the NEC to discharge its responsibilities was not within the scope of its terms of reference, and should be handled directly by the NEC.
8. The Commission’s discussion on certain items and its recommendations will appear separately under the main subject sections which now follow. Certain of the documents which were received by the Commission and which are not annexed to this report will be made available to the NEC when the Commission’s report is discussed.
9. Finally, it should be emphasised that the paucity of information on a number of important questions stood in the way of the Commission being able to develop its proposals more fully. This is, in itself, a reflection of the movement’s poor style of work in many important areas. We therefore regard our recommendations as merely providing the launching-pad from which the whole spectrum of mass mobilisation and organisation can be approached with a new urgency and vigour.
PART TWO — Our Strategic Line
The Commission started its main deliberations by considering the first four terms of reference [among the 12 listed by the joint meeting of the ANC/RC] which required us to make recommendations on the:
- elaboration of an overall strategy based on mass mobilisation. creation of the broadest possible national front for liberation. strengthening the underground machinery by drawing into it activists thrown up in mass struggle.
- development of operations out of political activity, guided by the needs and level of political mobilisation and organisation. Because these items are so closely connected with one another, we decided to consider them together. After lengthy discussion, we adopted the Document (Summarised Theses on our Strategic Line — Annexure “B”) which we submit for the NEC’s consideration.
The Document is an attempt to set out in succinct and concentrated form a bald statement of our main strategic line. We did this in the knowledge that the broad approach to our revolutionary strategy and tactics is reflected in many of our basic documents such as the Freedom Charter, Strategy and Tactics, etc. In addition there are numerous documents, memoranda and writings which have developed our basic ideas in relation to the changing situation. Some of these (e.g. the Memorandum submitted during 1978 to FRELIMO) were referred to in our discussion.
The Document we are submitting does not therefore claim to be a new departure in all respects from previous analytical perspectives. On certain questions it contains a re-statement of basic propositions. In regard to others, it attempts to sharpen, clarify, or emphasise some basic propositions. But in some important areas, the Document attempts to incorporate the new thinking which emerged at the Luanda meeting, in particular on the vital question of mass political mobilisation and the relationship between the political and military struggle.
We deliberately attempted to present the basic propositions contained in the Document in concentrated form, avoiding argumentation, and without including references to past errors. As was the case at the Luanda meeting, the Commission was, however, conscious of the fact that our revolutionary practice has, in the recent past, not always conformed to the strategic approaches contained in some of our basic documents, and has ignored key experiences of earlier phases of struggle. This is so particularly in the vital areas of our approach to mass mobilisation, the character of our armed struggle, and the way we see it taking root and growing. If there has been such departures or uncertainties in our practice, this implies that in some important areas our line has not been commonly understood and interpreted at all levels of our movement and that it perhaps needs sharpening in order to eliminate vague and ambiguous formulations. Even at the level of the Commission, different interpretations emerged and we found it necessary to debate some very fundamental propositions (referred to below) which go to the root of our strategic line.
We also noted that very often a basic issue is debated at length and leads to what appears to be a consensus, only to find later that even the participants express diametrically opposing views on its true meaning. We therefore considered that, as a starting point for carrying out the Luanda directive, it would be necessary to place before the NEC a document containing a definition of, and an answer to, the main questions facing our revolution. Such a document would not only be a useful tool for consolidating previous thinking and hammering out a united consensus at top levels, but could also become the guidelines for further discussion, elaboration and education throughout our movement, bearing in mind item 6 of the Luanda decision [by the joint meeting of the ANC and the RC] that: “all discussions around these proposals should continue beyond the limits of the NEC and the RC, ideally to encompass the entire membership, and to culminate in an authoritative and representative conference convened to review and formulate policies.”
We draw attention to some of the main issues which came up for debate and discussion in the Commission:
1. In the original draft considered by the Commission an attempt was made to set out a minimum programme of aims which would be designed to attract the broadest possible spectrum of organisations, groups and individuals who are, or can be, engaged in the struggle against the regime. After debate, the Commission felt that it would be premature to attempt such a definition.
We were influenced by the argument that the process of creating a single broad platform of common aims would be the culmination rather than the starting point of united action at different levels of the mass struggle. Such a minimum programme would also be more appropriate at the time when it becomes possible and necessary to create a structured nationwide liberation front.
As indicated in paragraph 9 of the Document, the more precise content and shape will only emerge in the course of the actual unfolding of our struggle. At this stage the vital tasks of mass mobilisation demand that we work for the maximum unity in action between organisations, groups and individuals at the various levels of confrontation with the regime. For this purpose we considered it far more urgent that a programme of action should be elaborated round which mass activity can be generated at all levels of our society. We did not ourselves attempt to elaborate such a programme of action because this would have to be proceeded by a more detailed study of national, regional and local issues and organisations than was allowed by the time at the disposal of the Commission. We therefore recommend further that one of the priority tasks to be undertaken by the control organ (referred to in Part Three) is to work out such a programme of action for consideration by the NEC.
2. We debated the more long-term aims of our national democratic revolution, and the extent to which the ANC, as a national movement, should tie itself to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and publicly commit itself to the socialist option. The issue was posed as follows:
In the light of the need to attract the broadest range of social forces amongst the oppressed to the national democratic liberation, a direct or indirect commitment at this stage to a continuing revolution which would lead to a socialist order may unduly narrow this line-up of social forces. It was also argued that the ANC is not a party, and its direct or open commitment to socialist ideology may undermine its basic character as a broad national movement.
It should be emphasised that no member of the Commission had any doubts about the ultimate need to continue our revolution towards a socialist order; the issue was posed only in relation to the tactical considerations of the present stage of our struggle.
The Commission finally resolved its thinking on the question in the formulations contained in Paragraph 1 of the Document read with Paragraphs 4 and 5. We all agreed that the way in which we publicly expand on the contents of these paragraphs requires a degree of tactical caution. At the same time it is necessary:
- for our movement itself to entertain no ambiguities about the aims of people’s power and the role of the primary social forces, both inside and outside our movement, which will underwrite these aims, and to gain increasing mass understanding for the idea that, in contrast to many old-style nationalist movements in Africa, we believe that there can be no true national liberation without social emancipation.
- The seizure of power by the people must be understood not only by us but also by the masses as the beginning of the process in which the instruments of state will be used to progressively destroy the heritage of all forms of national and social inequality. To postpone advocacy of this perspective until the first stage of democratic power has been achieved is to risk dominance within our revolution by purely nationalist forces which may see themselves as replacing the white exploiters at the time of the people’s victory. We emphasise again, however, that, as was the case with organisations such as FRELIMO and MPLA (both of which committed themselves to the aim of abolishing the exploitation of man by man early on in their struggle), care must be exercised in the way we project ourselves publicly on this question.
3. Another issue which gave rise to considerable debate relates to the basic perspectives of the armed struggle itself. The following question was posed: Do we see the seizure of power as the result of a general all-round nation-wide insurrection which a period of armed struggle will have helped to stimulate; or are we embarked on a protracted people’s war in which partial and general uprisings will play a vital role? The Commission opted for the latter approach (see Paragraph 8 of the Document), and this choice has an important bearing on strategic planning. This approach is broadly consistent with the thinking of the movement up to now as expressed in the bulk of our basic documents (see Strategy and Tactics), with an added emphasis on the possible role of partial and general uprisings. Therefore, without excluding the possibility that conditions may emerge in the future in which a successful general insurrection becomes a realistic slogan, this cannot be an exclusive perspective in relation to conditions as we know them today.
4. We draw attention to the fact that in the Document there is no specific reference to the peasantry. We have restricted ourselves to the expression “landless mass in the countryside” to describe the rural stratum. We concluded that not enough research and analysis have so far been undertaken to enable us to characterise both the size and social significance of what could classically be regarded as the peasant class and the process of differentiation within it. We consider it of vital importance that such a study should be undertaken. It should also cover those who, as migrant workers, live and work both in the industrial and the rural sectors, and the extent to which these workers continue to rely in part for their survival on “subsistence” farming undertaken by their immediate and extended families. Such a study would better equip us to assess not only the nature of the existing class relations in the countryside and the full extent of the land hunger, but also to evolve a more detailed and specific programme for the mobilisation of the masses in the countryside.
5. Although the Bantustans are referred to in the Document, because of the importance and immediacy of the problem, we considered it necessary to incorporate our fuller policy recommendations in a separate document which will be referred to later in this Report. This applies also to the other government-created institutions which affect the Coloured and Indian people. But it may be said in passing that in this area too, the need for a collective and common understanding of our strategy and tactics is underlined by a number of differing approaches which emerged in the initial stages of the discussion in the Commission.
6. We are of the view that our fundamental strategic objectives must be thoroughly understood not only at all levels of our movement, but that we should also do more than in the past to convey their content amongst the people in a form which will be understood. We therefore regard our proposed Document as primarily serving the purpose of defining the issues more sharply for ourselves as a movement. The elaboration of the main contents for mass circulation and education will require additional popular elaboration and presentation.
7. We attach marked Annexure “C” the information received from the London Research Unit on internal mass organisations.
PART THREE — Structure
The mandate we were asked to carry out in terms of Paragraph 5(e) of the Commission terms of reference was to make recommendations for the “creation of a Central Organ to plan, coordinate and direct all activities inside the country.”
1. The Luanda meeting concluded that there does not exist at any level of our movement a single working centralised structure under the NEC which keeps internal political developments under constant review and which has the capacity to plan, coordinate and implement all political and military activities inside the country, including the effective linking and supervision of all subordinate organs engaged in different aspects of internal work. The Commission considered it necessary, in the first place, to examine the weaknesses and limitations of the existing structures. It thus devoted some considerable time to this preliminary question.
2. The leading organ of every revolutionary organisation can, in practice, only implement its tasks through subordinate working organs specifically created for this purpose. Control of the subordinate working organ can only be assured if the leading organ exercises collective control over the subordinate organ by regularly reviewing its mandate, receiving and discussing full reports and providing it with guidelines for activities between meetings of the leading body.
3. In our discussions we noted that the NEC, as a body, has not in fact exercised this type of control over its subordinate organs. We did not, however, consider that it was within our mandate to make specific recommendations about the NEC itself. But we did consider it relevant to draw attention to this question in a general way because whatever working organs are created to plan and implement our internal tasks, their political control will only be assured if the NEC itself has an effective collective life.
4. We then proceeded to examine the other organs which have been delegated some kind of jurisdiction over internal work. In brief, the following points emerged in this part of our discussion:
- The working committee of the NEC has a small permanent core but is usually made up of those NEC members who happen to be present or are passing through Lusaka at any given moment. It tackles a variety of external and internal problems. It rarely takes planning initiatives in relation to the internal struggle, and it is not structured to carry out the functions of a central organ envisaged by the Luanda meeting.
- The Secretary-General’s Office also has functions, which it shares with the RC HQ, in connection with one very vital area of our internal work -the internal reconstruction department. Such a dual chain of authority is highly undesirable and can become a recipe for the absence of supervision.
- The Presidency was, amongst other things, designed to supervise the work of the RC HQ, but in practice it does not do so effectively. In the absence of the President, it has the most minimal working relationship with the RC. In addition, it has direct control of internal propaganda, a function which it is surely difficult to carry out effectively in isolation from the day-to-day planning of the balance of our internal political and military activities.
- The Political Commission of the NEC has hardly functioned in the year since it was appointed.
- The RC HQ has the task of planning and supervising our external military bases and internal military activity, and has some jurisdiction (which it shares with the Presidency and SG’s office) over aspects of internal political work. The RC has approximately 7 main departments which, in turn, have created sub-structures to carry out their work. In practice, each of these departments has a relatively autonomous life; they tend to work in isolation from one another even in some fields where the work is inextricably connected, and are not effectively directed or supervised. The Commission noted the weakness of the RC HQ in this connection. We have already referred to the dispersed nature of the responsibilities connected with internal political work. But in the forward areas the separation of political and military planning and work has, by and large, become almost total. Even those departments specialising in the military field, operate in relative isolation from one another. Recently there have been positive attempts to achieve a measure of coordination between the RC departments.
- But, experience has shown that without a total organisational integration of political and military direction based on an overall plan for the whole country, such attempts do not lead to satisfactory long-term solutions. The broad division of functions between the NEC and RC in relation to internal work has not always been clear. Day-to-day functions in a number of areas (such as internal reconstruction, internal propaganda, intelligence, mass work) are supposed to be handled by both bodies through the variety of working organs mentioned above. These organs, as already pointed out, have no effective structured relationship with one another. In the result, there still does not seem to be a common understanding of who does what in some vital areas of internal work. With the present complex multiplicity of the division of functions between the RC and the working organs of the NEC, and the absence of a working relationship between them, the RC is incapable of fully carrying out its tasks.
- As mentioned earlier we made special contact with the Island [Lesotho] and examined the structure which has, over the years, been evolved by our comrades there. In contrast to all other areas, we found that the comrades on the Island had succeeded in creating an organisational structure which, from top to bottom, is designed to plan and coordinate all aspects of internal work under the immediate direction of a single political collective, serviced by specialist departments. We consider this experience to be most instructive and as capable of being adapted to the more varied and complex tasks of the national leadership. We attach the Island Memorandum marked Annexure “D.”
5. Having analysed the weaknesses of the existing structures, we proceeded to discuss the principles which should govern the creation of new ones. In summary, the following points emerged:
- The new structure should be as simple as possible.
- There should be a clear and coordinated line of authority from top to bottom.
- The central organ should be headed by the President whose work routine must make it possible for him to devote his main energies to this task. The rest of the collective (whose exact number should be determined by the NEC) must be selected by the NEC on the basis that the central organ is a key political working collective and should be chosen from amongst the most experienced, talented and leading cadres (bearing in mind the needs of other vital levels of work) who, as a group, would effectively carry out the functions referred to in (d) above.
- The main function of the central organ is to act as the NEC’s chief instrument for the planning, coordination and implementation of internal political work (which includes military) in accordance with the perspectives elaborated in the Summarised Theses (Annexure “B”).
- The central organ must be mandated to take charge of political and military work within the country, and all subsidiary organs and departments specialising in internal work must be under its direct working authority. To ensure the implementation of the central organ’s plans, the Commission was of the view that it is vital to duplicate the pattern of work of the central organ at the level of the forward areas. Therefore, at this level too, it is essential to create a local politico-military collective (a sub-organ of the central organ) which is in charge of all political and military work in the region of its responsibility. All such work in the forward areas will be supervised by the central organ, acting through its local sub-organ and not, as in the past, by separate departments such as operations, internal reconstruction, ordnance, etc. In so far as the latter specialist departments are still considered (and many of them may have to be retained) they will become subsidiary servicing machineries of the central organ with defined functions. In other words, at the local level of implementation, all political and military work will be in the control of the local organ directly responsible to the central organ and not to any other departments. The local organs will, in turn, create and/or absorb existing local sub- machineries specialising in the implementation of political and military tasks in its allotted region.
- The Commission considered that, in the light of our main approach to the primary tasks facing us, the time had not yet arrived to justify the creation of a separate military HQ made up of all the departments handling military specialties. We debated the question whether it would, in any case, be advisable to create a military commission under the central organ, but decided against such a proposal. It follows from our other recommendations that such a military commission would in fact have no direct line of authority to the local organs in the forward areas which will be combined politico-military organs. In terms of our proposals, it is of course open to the central organ, in its discretion, to group one or more of the existing military departments for the purpose of directly servicing the central organ. But the overall direction of military planning will be the task of the central organ as part of its overall politico-military strategy, and will be given effect by its local organs in the forward areas. For analogous reasons we also rejected the idea of creating a special political commission under the central organ.
- We have already referred to the central organ as the NEC’s chief instrument for implementing its internal policy. It follows that such an organ would, in practice, have wide decision-making powers between the NEC meetings. We therefore spent some considerable time discussing whether the existence of such an organ poses a danger for the NEC as the unquestioned leading decision-making body on every aspect of our strategy and tactics. The Commission is of the view that there is no such danger; as already stated, the central organ is a totally subordinate instrument of the NEC and is unconditionally subject to its direction and supervision. We also considered whether the proposed central working organ should be restricted in its composition to NEC members only. We decided however to recommend that, although there should be a predominant NEC presence in the central organ, it would be wrong to exclude individuals from other levels of our movement because it may unduly narrow the choice in relation to the desired qualifications referred to in (c) above.
- Inevitably the question arose: what then is the future of the RC? We noted that the RC not only carries out many functions of internal work (in practice it has been more military than political), but also has deeper political significance as an organ of the NEC which involves leading revolutionaries from the other groups in, or near, the over-all decision-making processes of our movement. At the same time, it is clear that the present structure, composition and mandate of the RC does not conform to the requirements of the type of central organ which the Commission has in mind. In the result, we did not consider it to be within our terms of reference to make proposals, one way or the other, about the future of the RC. We believe that it is for the NEC to decide whether to redefine the RC’s mandate and structures so as to enable it to carry out the functions which will have to be carried out by the type of central working organ which we recommend, or to retain the RC as an extended political collective with consultative functions in relation to the progress of the struggle as a whole.
6. AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE ABOVE DISCUSSION OUR SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS UNDER PARAGRAPH 5(C) OF OUR TERMS OF REFERENCE ARE CONTAINED IN ANNEXURE “E” WHICH ALSO INCLUDES A DIAGRAMMATIC PICTURE OF THE BROAD SCHEME PROPOSED. WE HAVE DELIBERATELY REFRAINED FROM TYING OURSELVES TO GREATER DETAIL BECAUSE SUCH DETAIL CAN ONLY BE USEFULLY ELABORATED AFTER THE NEC HAS TAKEN ITS DECISIONS ON THE MAIN FRAMEWORK OF THE SCHEME AS A WHOLE.
PART FOUR — The Bantustans and other government-imposed institutions
1. The Commission was directed to make recommendations on:
- The formulation of strategy and tactics towards political institutions imposed by the regime on Coloured and Indian communities (item 5(h) and Annexure “A”), and
- The formulation of correct strategies and tactics towards Bantustans (item 5(i) of Annexure “A”).
2. In the case of all these institutions the Commission proceeded from the premise that our movement is unanimous about the need to do everything in our power to destroy the regime’s attempts to impose them on the people. We do not believe that any of these institutions provide the slightest basis for a democratic advance. On the contrary, they are clearly designed to intensify discrimination and the exploitation of the Black mass, to reverse the growth of African national awareness, to divide the black communities and to win black collaboration for the perpetuation and intensification of racial domination.
3. Before coming to a detailed consideration of our strategy and tactics, the Commission found it necessary to define with greater clarity the general factors which should influence our tactics in the struggle to destroy the regime’s institutions. We concluded that, from a tactical point of view, there is no single route which will mechanically lead us towards this result. In this connection we refer (in Paragraphs 4 to 6 below) to some of the points which emerged in our discussion.
4. Until we have achieved people’s power, these undemocratic institutions (or variations of them) will continue to be imposed by the regime on the people. Therefore, when we talk about fighting these institutions we mean:
- mobilising the masses to struggle against them in every possible way. making the institutions increasingly unworkable by methods which have to be worked out in relation to each specific institution, taking into account the level of organised opposition which the revolutionary movement has generated against them.
- increasingly reducing the capacity of the enemy to govern by ensuring that the institutions are prevented from playing the role for which they are designed.
5. Practice has already shown that there is no single route towards achieving our aims in this important area. The forms of opposition to the different institutions have varied and these forms have each, in their own way, contributed to placing obstacles in the way of the regime’s plans. For example:
- The refusal of some Bantustan administrations to accept “independence” has helped to mobilise large numbers against the fragmentation process as a whole and has impeded the regime’s overall plans to speed ahead with its programme. If this opposition is maintained and spread, it will contribute to making the enemy’s master-plan partially unworkable.
- the very effective obstructionist tactics by the Labour Party within the CRC has helped to mobilise the Coloured people against the institution as a whole and, from a government point of view, has made it almost unworkable. In this way the regime’s capacity to govern the Coloured people has been considerably reduced.
- mass action in Soweto and the other urban complexes has effectively destroyed the old Bantu Urban Council system. The regime’s attempts to replace it with Community Councils has, so far, had little success as is clearly demonstrated by the mass and almost unanimous boycott of the elections.
- in the case of the Indian people, the regime was forced to make voters registration for the SAIC compulsory because of the effective boycott of the previous voluntary system. Amongst the Indian people there is a consistent and traditional rejectionist mood in relation to the SAIC.
6. We also felt that in some cases (e.g. amongst the Coloured people), those who participate in elections in support of candidates who are committed to the destruction of the institutions are often motivated by the same strength of feeling against the institution as those who opt for a complete boycott. It is our duty to ensure a growing unity between both sections, rather than to engage in the Unity Movement’s tactics which mechanically dismiss all those who participate, in any shape or form, as “sell-outs.” The more important level of struggle against the institution lies in the field of mass action not only on election day but, more so, in the long years between. We must ensure that tactical differences between groups of people who agree on the main question of destroying the institution should not lead to conflict and division between them.
7. After the above discussion the Commission debated and adopted the document dealing with our general tactics in relation to the government-imposed institutions, which is attached marked Annexure “F.”
8. The Commission then proceeded to deal separately and in greater detail with our tactics in relation to the different institutions imposed on the African, Coloured and Indian people.
9. The Bantustans. After lengthy discussion which took into account the SACP documents and the minutes of the NEC discussion on the Bantustans, we adopted the document attached and marked Annexure “G” for consideration by the NEC. It should be added that our future attempts to implement a more balanced policy in this area should not ignore the extremely strong feelings, especially amongst large sections of the urban youth that action short of complete boycott amounts to outright collaboration with the enemy, whatever the circumstances. It is nevertheless our duty to provide a correct lead and not to respond mechanically to popular feeling (especially in the case of detailed tactics) which is not always rooted in scientific revolutionary analysis. We must rather concentrate on harnessing the healthy strength of feeling against Bantustans which motivate the radical youth, and in a careful non-hostile debate make them understand and accept our approach which, we believe, will more effectively achieve the common aim of undermining, obstructing and ultimately destroying the Bantustans.
We also considered certain figures (attached and marked Annexure “H”) in relation to Bantustan elections together with comments which draw the inference that the statistics show that the people are in fact boycotting. We discussed these figures, especially in relation to the Transkei. We concluded that more information is needed before such sweeping inferences could be drawn. The reason for this will, if necessary, be elaborated verbally at the NEC meeting.
10. The SAIC and The Three-Tier Parliament. We adopted the document attached and marked Annexure “I” for consideration by the NEC. Our conclusions are based mainly on the proposals forwarded by the group convened by comrade Yusuf Dadoo. We stress the need to urgently intensify the campaign for the complete rejection of the three-tier parliament, to link this campaign with the struggles against the Bantustans and to bring about unity in action against all the institutions between the African, Coloured and Indian people.
11. The CRC and the mobilisation of the Coloured Community. We were helped in our discussion by the document prepared by comrade Reg September, which we attach marked Annexure “J.” At the end of our discussions we found ourselves in complete agreement with the main ... [two missing pages discuss trade unions].
7. The above task is all the more urgent in the light of clear indications that the ruling class is no longer able to evade some form of recognition of black trade unions. It is, however, attempting, with all the resources at its disposal, to ensure that the processes will be a ‘guided’ one and will go no further than the erection of trade unions concerned solely with petty reforms and isolated from the national liberation struggle. Time is indeed very short for our movement to ensure the emergence of a trade union movement which will have the capacity to act in the interests of our revolution.
1. Item 5(f) of Annexure “A” states: “All our organisations, including the women and youth sections, should direct their activities towards the advancement of the struggle at home.”
2. The Commission forwarded a request to the youth and women sections to urgently consider the Luanda document and to make proposals in relation to their own spheres of work.
3. Both sections provided the Commission with memoranda which are attached marked “M” and “N” respectively.
4. We recommend that the central organ should, at an early stage, initiate discussions with the women and youth sections in order to work out in greater detail the most effective ways of mobilising and organising the women and youth at home and building powerful mass movements amongst them.
Annexure “B” — Summarized Themes on Our Strategic Line
1. What is the main content and aim of the present phase of our revolution?
- The main content of the present phase of our struggle is to achieve the aims of our national-democratic revolution whose essence is the national liberation of the black oppresseed. Among the black oppressed it is the African majority which, as a community, suffers the most intense forms of racist domination. The colonial conquest, by force of arms, robbed them of their sovereignty and of their land and transformed them into the main object of economic exploitation. The maximum mobilisation of the African people, as a community robbed of its land and sovereignty, is a fundamental pivot of the alignment of national revolutionary forces.
- The aim of national liberation guides our assessment of who the principal enemy is, which are the primary revolutionary forces, and what strategic and tactical methods of struggle are called for. The victorious outcome of the present phase of our struggle will create a people’s power whose main immediate task will be to put an end to the special form of colonial-type oppression, guarantee democratic rights for all South Africans and place the main means of production into the hands of a people’s state.
- The aims of our national-democratic revolution will only be fully realized with the construction of a social order in which all the historic consequences of national oppression and its foundation, economic exploitation, will be liquidated, ensuring the achievement of real national liberation and social emancipation. An uninterrupted advance towards this ultimate goal will only be assured if within the alignment of revolutionary forces struggling to win the aims of our national-democratic revolution, the dominant role is played by the oppressed working people.
2. Who is the principal enemy?
- The principal enemy of our revolution is the South African ruling class, which is distinguished by a combination of several key characteristics. Like its counterparts in other capitalist countries, its power is rooted, in the first instance, in its ownership and control of the basic means of production. But in South Africa, the system of economic exploitation is reinforced and deepened by the national oppression of the black majority. Thus, capitalist exploitation and racial oppression operate together and reinforce one another. This combination of class exploitation and colour oppression imposes a double burden on the black majority, who are exploited as working people and also as members of a nationally oppressed groups.
- To maintain this system and safeguard its control, the ruling class operates through a state apparatus whose political institutions and instruments of repression — the army, police force, civil service, judiciary etc. — protect the existing relations of production and, at the same time, the race rule which excludes all who are not within the white minority group from political rights and civil liberties in the land of their birth. Real liberation is inconceivable without the overthrow of the economic and political power of this class and the total destruction of its state apparatus.
3. Who are the enemy’s principal allies?
- Externally, the enemy is closely linked to imperialism whose economic and political interests are served by the perpetuation of the existing relations of production and the preservation of the main features of the political and social institutions which reinforce these relations. At the same time, open imperialist collusion with the South African state faces a number of tactical obstacles. The global spread of imperialist investment covers important newly-independent regions which, in varying degrees and for special historical reasons, form part of the anti-racist groupings and nations. Anti-imperialist rivalries, played out at both the national and multi-national level, give rise to secondary contradictions within imperialism and partly explain the existence of conflicting political lobbies on the South African question within the ruling circles. In addition, the contradictions are deepened by the popular revulsion which the racial oppression excites, leading to pro- liberation pressures within the imperialist countries, particularly from the working class and other democratic social forces. This aspect of our external diplomatic front thus constitutes a vital area of our struggle and calls for tactics designed to exploit these secondary contradictions so as to divide and weaken the regime’s external support base.
- Internally, the South African ruling class draws its political support from all the classes and groups amongst the white community, including the white working class, which in return for such support enjoys economic and political privileges vis a vis the black majority. All factions of capital and the white middle and working classes benefit, in varying degrees, from the system of race oppression and exploitation. But the fact that they do not benefit equally or in the same way gives rise to secondary contradictions. It is our duty to take full advantage of such secondary contradictions within the enemy camp in order to win over sections of the white community to our cause.
4. Which is the principal social force of our revolution?
- The principal and most consistent social force for the achievement of the aims of our national-democratic revolution is the exploited and nationally-oppressed working people in the towns and the landless mass in the country-side. This social force has no stake in the existing relations of production and suffers the worst excesses of oppression and economic exploitation. Its dominant role in the struggle for people’s power will ensure uninterrupted advance towards a social order which will eliminate both the forms and substance of national oppression and lead to complete social emancipation.
5. Who are the main allies of the working people?
- The place which the other classes and strata of the black communities occupy in the social and economic structures does not give them an equal interest with the working classes in the achievement of all the aims of our revolution. Nor are all those classes and strata equally consistent, reliable and unvacilating in their resistance to racist domination. Nevertheless there is no single class or strata within the black communities which is untouched by the political, economic, social, cultural or religious consequences of racial discrimination. This provides the basis for contradictions and conflict between the regime, on the one hand, and every class and stratum within the black communities, on the other hand. It is our duty to exploit these contradictions and to ensure the maximum participation in immediate struggle of all these groups and strata, even if they do not support every plank in our immediate or long-term platform.
6. Who are the main external allies of our struggle?
- Externally, the main allies of our national liberation struggle are: the Socialist world, those newly-independent states (particularly on our continent) who have already won the first stage of their struggle against colonialism, especially those consolidating their political independence by the demolition of the vestiges of colonialism and total economic reconstruction of their societies, those states in the western world which have given consistent political and material support for our liberation movement, the people still engaged in the struggle against colonial rule, and the working class and other democratic forces in the imperialist countries.
7. What are the key elements of the enemy’s political strategy?
The key elements of the enemy’s political strategy to maintain and perpetuate its system of economic and social domination are as follows:
- It seeks to maintain and strengthen the political unity of all class and social forces within the white community against black liberation. To achieve this aim it entrenched the basic economic, political, and social privileges of all strata amongst the white community. It uses its ideological weapons, relying particularly on anti-communism, in an attempt to confuse the people and to rally all reactionary forces within the country and internationally in defence of its system.
- The regime is founded and survives on violence and terror. Externally, it uses its economic resources and strengthens its conventional armed force in order to advance its regional imperialistic aims and to weaken the capacity of the newly-liberated states to support our struggle. It seeks to strengthen its international support by exploiting its role as one of the main suppliers of vital strategic raw materials to imperialism and as its chief gendarme on the African continent.
- Through the political fragmentation of our country into so-called Bantustans, the regime seeks to reverse the historic process of African national consciousness and to revive and entrench tribalism. The plan to institutionalise the division of the African people along tribal lines is calculated to defraud their right to full economic, political and social equality within one united South Africa and to create a more manageable reserve of cheap black labour, with an only transitory presence in the country’s industrial strongholds and no rights of labour or political organisation.
- In furtherance of its policy of divide and rule, the regime attempts to play off the main black groups against one another by a system of differential levels of oppression and the imposition of separate sham constitutional “solutions.” Within the black groups it tries to win over collaborators and agents so as to separate them from the mainstream of the revolution. Using all the techniques of fascist state terror, the regime seeks to prevent the political organisation of the oppressed and their struggles for their rights. It blocks the emergence of a trade union movement which would genuinely represent the interests of the working class. It persecutes all attempts by the masses to associate together in order to confront the system on even minimal demands. Above all, it acts to weaken and try to destroy the ANC and its allies and to isolate the people from the revolutionary vanguard. Although the repressive measures of the regime are directed mainly against the black oppressed generally and our revolutionary movement in particular, they also infest inter-white politics and, from time to time, trigger off secondary political contradictions within the privileged group. The regime is doing all in its power to prevent our armed struggle from taking root. It is continuously sharpening its counter-insurgency strike forces and undertaking intensive propaganda campaigns amongst the people in order to win their “hearts and minds” for the counter- revolution.
8. What is our principal immediate strategic line of struggle?
- The strategic objective of our struggle is the seizure of power by the people as the first step in the struggle for the victory of our national democratic revolution. Seizure of power by the people means and presupposes the all-round defeat of the fascist regime by the revolutionary forces of our country. It means the dismantling by the popular power of all the political, economic, cultural and other formations of racist rule and also necessitates the smashing of the state machinery of fascism and racism and the construction of a new one committed to the defence and advancement of the people’s cause.
- The character of the South African ruling class and the nature of its state apparatus dictates that national liberation and people’s power can only be won by revolutionary violence in a protracted armed struggle which must involve the whole people and in which partial and general mass uprisings will play a vital role. Such a peoples war can only take root and develop if its grows out of, and is based on, political revolutionary bases amongst the people.
The leadership core of our struggle is the ANC and its revolutionary allies. It is this core which must provide guidance to the whole revolutionary process. To carry out this task:
- we must work unceasingly to reinforce and extend our underground presence in every part of our land. In this connection, it is vital to attract to our ranks the most committed and advanced militants who are engaged in struggle and confrontation with the racist regime at various levels of the mass movement. It is particularly vital to ensure that the best elements from the principal social force of the revolution — the workers and landless mass — are recruited and involved at every level of our movement.
- we must work for the political mobilisation and organisation of the masses of our people into active struggle as a matter of priority. We must aim to attract all forces — at national, regional and local levels — who have potential to confront the regime in the struggle against racism and for one united non-racial South Africa. We must bring about the broadest possible unity of all national groups, classes and strata, organisations, groups and prominent personalities around local and national issues. This means we must combine illegal with legal and semi-legal activity to ensure such mass mobilisation and to establish our presence and influence wherever the people are. We must not mechanically reject all participation in government-created bodies, if such participation will advance our revolutionary aims, contribute towards the undermining of such bodies and towards the exposure and isolation of the out-and-out collaborators
- we must help organise genuine mass organisations among all sections of our people and establish contact with and provide guidance to those which have been formed through the initiative of others. In carrying out this task we must avoid exposing the legal and semi-legal mass organisations to more intense police harassment. This means that the guiding hand of our liberation movement does not always have to be seen or publicly acknowledged.
- we must be on a constant alert to provide, either directly or indirectly, the main campaign slogans and issues around which the people can be mobilised to organise and act at national and regional levels. This can only be done if we are closely in touch with the masses of the people and are so organisationally structured that the bulk of our talents and the bulk of our resources give day-to-day attention to the internal situation and to the effective co-ordination of internal political and military activity.
- together with our ally, the S. A. Congress of Trade Unions, we must work for the strengthening of a Trade Union movement which will genuinely represent the interest of the working class and ensure their organised participation in the struggle for national liberation.
- we must work for the creation of a widespread network of nuclei among the people which can undertake military and para-military activities, guided and determined by the need to generate political mobilisation, organisation and resistance, which nuclei will become the basis for creating an armed people as the foundation of the struggle for power.
- we must maintain our independence as the vanguard of our revolution and win growing acceptance for our long-term programme, strategy and tactics. At the same time we must encourage, provide guidance to all opposition to tyranny and racism and to every struggle for democratic rights and better conditions of life. In this connection we must regard every act of opposition as furthering the cause of our revolution even when the participants do not yet fully understand or accept our immediate or long-term policy.
9. What is the character and shape of our broad front of struggle?
- In general, it is our duty to counter the enemy’s strategy to divide and narrow the base of the liberation opposition, by our strategy of creating a nation-wide popular liberation front. In the first place, we must recognise all expressions of opposition to the racist regime as part of such a front. We must aim to progressively harness such opposition toward a common content and purpose.
- This does not imply the immediate creation of a single, formal and publicly-defined structure. At this stage such a front will operate at a number of levels simultaneously and in different ways. It will express itself in independent as well as supportive actions between the various mass organisations and will include varied forms of direct and indirect collaboration between our liberation movement and the mass organisations. Such collaboration must be in a form which will safeguard the division between legal and illegal work and must respect the independence of the participants. It is not conditional on the acceptance of all aspects of our revolutionary strategy.
- In the long-term, conditions may mature demanding the creation of a broad structured organisational front in which our movement will have won a guiding position by virtue of the calibre of its leadership of the revolutionary process as a whole. The more precise content and shape of such a structured front will only emerge in the course of the unfolding of our struggle in the immediate future.
10. What is our approach to the relationship between the political and military struggle?
- The preparation for People’s Armed Struggle and its victorious conclusion is not solely a military question. This means that the armed struggle must be based on, and grow out of, mass political support and it must eventually involve our whole people. All military activities must, at every stage, be guided and determined by the need to generate political mobilisation, organisation and resistance, with the aim of progressively weakening the enemy’s grip on his reins of political, economic, social and military power, by a combination of political and military action.
- The forms of political and military activities, and the way these activities relate to one another, go through different phases as the situation changes. It is therefore vital to have under continuous survey the changing tactical relationships between these two inter-dependent factors in our struggle and the place which political and military actions (in the narrow sense) occupy in each phase, both nationally and within each of our main regions. The concrete political realities must determine whether, at any given stage and in any given region, the main emphasis should be on political or on military action.
- The creation of a national liberation army, with popularly-rooted internal rear bases, is a key perspective of our planning in the military field. Such an army unit must, at all times, remain under the direction and control of our political revolutionary vanguard.
11. What is the main emphasis at the moment?
- At the present moment we are at the stage when the main task is to concentrate on political mobilisation and organisation so as to build up political revolutionary bases throughout the country. In as much as the growth of the armed struggle depends on the rate of advance of the political struggle, the armed struggle is secondary at this time. This assessment of the balance between political and military activity in the present phase must reflect itself at all levels of our planning and in the way we use our energies and resources.
12. What is the role of armed activity at this stage?
Organised armed activity continues to be one of the vital elements in helping to prepare the ground for political activity and organisation leading to the creation of a network of political revolutionary bases which will become the foundation of our People’s War. More particularly, the purpose of such organised armed activity at the present stage is: -
- to keep alive the perspective of People’s revolutionary violence as the ultimate weapon for the seizure of power.
- to concentrate on armed propaganda actions, that is, armed action whose immediate purpose is to support and stimulate political activity and organisation rather than to hit at the enemy.
13. How do we answer the enemy’s counter-insurgency tactics?
In general, the answer to the enemy’s counter-insurgency tactics lies in the field of all-round political mobilisation and organisation of the masses. More particularly:
- We must spread an understanding amongst the people of the place of revolutionary violence in the struggle for power, the relationship between armed and non-armed forms of struggle and the meaning and content of Peoples War in our conditions.
- We must be on the alert to answer the enemy’s continuous campaign of slander against our liberation movement and its armed wing — MK, especially his attempts to distort the aim and purpose of armed combat actions.
- We must undertake a detailed and on-going study of the enemy’s counter-insurgency tactics amongst the people and continuously find ways of defeating them.
- We must imbue the people, and especially the working and student youth, with a deep pride in and respect for the fighting traditions of our people whose outstanding military prowess showed itself during the wars of resistance to foreign conquest.
- We must work systematically to undermine the morale and cohesion of the enemy’s forces and their social support base within the country. We must in the first place work to win over or neutralise those amongst the black oppressed who have been recruited into the regime’s puppet armed force. We must ensure that our armed actions are, by their nature, always seen to reflect the people’s interests. They must always be directed against the main enemy and must be consistent with the ideological perspectives of our revolution.
Annexure"D” — Memorandum to the Politico-Military and Strategy Commission [from Lesotho]
- 1. We have always felt that political work is primary and that everything else flows from it.
2. In all the areas we have tackled, we have made it a point to begin by establishing an underground presence of the ANC. We have thus made it compulsory for all MK members to start with political organisation before carrying out any military tasks.
3. We have adopted the above-mentioned methods out of a realisation that political work provides the following advantages for our cadres:
- Protection and shelter from enemy attacks and surveillance. Increase the survival period as the political organisation serves as eyes and ears of the MK cadres.
- Collection of intelligence data facilitating armed actions. Advice on proper and suitable hiding places.
4. In order to make our local MK cadres suitable for this type of work we have embarked on regular political classes making each and everyone of them self-sufficient in the task of political mobilisation.
5. Internally we carve the areas into sectors appointing comrades to be in charge of these sectors. The comrades in charge are responsible and accountable individually to the collective here. There is no link and communication between the comrades in charge of the different sectors. The sector leader is in charge of the various units in the sector but meets the leaders of each unit separately. Some of the sector leaders are based in our area but undertake visits into their sectors for discussions and exchange of views and implementations of decisions. Others are based in the Transkei and come now and again to discuss with the collective. At other times the collective delegates some of its members to get inside to consult and satisfy themselves that the work is being carried out.
6. The collective has established political and military training facilities for short training for comrades sent by the different sectors. The training course lays special emphasis on trade unionism, underground political organisation, conspiracy and security.
7. The collective has also begun to set up intelligence groups inside the country and locally to collect information on various aspects of our work and advise the movement on dangers facing it, liquidation of those posing a threat to our survival. These intelligence units function independently of the internal units and are responsible to the collective.
8. We have also established a production and propaganda unit in our area. It produces a sheet as regular as resources allow. The propaganda is then fed into our internal machinery for distribution. We decided that the contents should be in our own languages to ensure that our messages are understood by the working people and peasants. We also encourage the units to prepare their own material and send them to us for production until such time that they are in a position to produce these themselves. The advantage is that this enables them to tackle the burning issues themselves.
MASS POLITICAL MOBILISATION
We believe that serious efforts should be made to involve as many of our people as possible in our struggle. In order to realise this, our collective feels that we should explore the potential of existing legal and semi-legal organisations. It is of the view that our organisation as the vanguard of the National Liberation Revolution must seek a common denominator with legal and semi-legal organisations. This common denominator must among other things embrace an uncompromising opposition to racism and White domination as well as the upholding of the principle of the oneness of our country. Our collective has thus made discreet approaches to the Democratic Party in the Transkei. Useful talks have been held and important decisions taken. We are hopeful that we shall be in a position to make progress in this field.
Our collective has seriously discussed the need to contact the Labour Party to explore possibilities of establishing some links, especially with those elements recognising our leading role. These approaches are to be secret and underground. But we think serious efforts should be made to establish ANC cells among the Coloured people. The aim is to take politics and activity outside the Coloured Representative Council. We want to make the Labour Party a vehicle for mass political mobilisation among the people. At the same time we think that attempts should be made to strengthen the influence of SACTU among the Coloured workers, thus destroying or reducing the reactionary role of TUCSA.
Non-racial sporting bodies are playing a good role in fighting Apartheid. These bodies are beginning to tackle political issues as well, thus correctly arguing that “there can be no normal sport in an abnormal society.” Bodies like SARU [SA Rugby Union], SACOS [SA Council on Sport], the Soccer Foundation, etc. must be contacted to explore areas of co-operation as well as trying to involve them in the task of mass political work.