Programme of the South African Communist Party 1962
This transcript is taken from a clandestine edition, approximately 8cm x 14 cm in size. It is not dated but is known to have been written in 1962, and this is confirmed from the text, which mentions events up to 1962, and PAFMECSA, an organization which was overtaken by the OAU in May, 1963.
The copy from which the transcription has been made is stamped on the back (with a rubber stamp), “Inkululeko Publications, 39 Goodge Street, London W1P 1FD.”
The imprint is: “Printed by Farleigh Press Ltd. (T.U.), Aldenham, Herts, England, for Ellis Bowles. 52 Palmerston Road, London, S.W.14.,” which appears at the end of the text.
Communism - Vital Force of our time
The African Revolution
Colonialism of a Special Type
The Forces of Change
The National Democratic Revolution
Immediate Proposals of the Communist Party
Our country, South Africa, is known throughout the world because of its system of White domination, a special form of colonialism which has been carried to extremes under the Nationalist Party policy of apartheid. Nowhere else is national and racial oppression practised so nakedly and shamelessly, with such systematic brutality and disregard of human rights and dignity.
The three million Whites hold a monopoly of political rights and economic opportunities. They alone can vote for and be elected to Parliament and other governing bodies. They are fortified behind a wall of privilege in the civil service, in jobs and professions, in educational opportunities and a hundred other fields. 87 per cent of the land is reserved for White ownership, and White capitalists own and control the mines, factories and banks and most of commerce. Their government inculcates a lying and insulting doctrine of race superiority.
The eleven million Africans, two-thirds of the population, suffer ruthless national oppression. They have been robbed of their ancestral lands. The thirteen per cent of land set aside for African occupation — the so-called Reserves, or “homelands” — are grossly overcrowded and the soil exhausted. Hunger and the network of pass laws and special taxes drive Africans to work in mines, industries and farms, where they are terribly exploited and underpaid. African languages are despised and undeveloped. The growth of national cultures is stifled. Africans are doomed from birth to little or no education, to the status of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”
The other non-White groups — one and a half million Coloured people and a half million South African Indians — are but little better off. Indeed the advantages they once enjoyed over Africans are one by one being removed. They have no vote or say in making the laws. Apartheid means gross national oppression for all non-Whites.
This system of race domination and oppression has its origins far back in South African history. However, it has developed into its present, extreme form with the development of capitalism and especially of the great diamond and gold-mining monopolies. Capitalism everywhere cultivates and plays upon race and national antagonisms. These are to the advantage of the capitalists because they are a weapon in the competition between capitalists of different nationalities, and because they are a means of dividing and weakening the working class. In the highest, imperialist phase of capitalism the West European monopoly capitalists developed vicious racial theories to justify their subjection of African, Asian and Latin American peoples to colonial slavery. The South African and foreign monopoly capitalists and large-scale landowners, who, together, are the real rulers of this country, have cultivated racial differences and prejudices as their most effective instrument in their insatiable drive for cheap labour and high profits. The colonial status of the African people facilitates the maximum exploitation of their labour. The privileges extended to White businessmen, farmers, professional people and workers are a means of maintaining their support for the ruling capitalist class and for the South African colonialist system.
Since 1948 the Nationalist Party government has intensified this system to an unendurable degree at the very time when racialist and colonialist theories and practices have been discredited and condemned throughout the world, and when hundreds of millions of people of Africa and Asia have gained independence and self-government. To maintain this system the Nationalists rely more and more on suppression, force and violence. Almost every channel of legal protest is closed. The main organs of people’s resistance have been driven underground, South Africa is being turned into an armed camp. The State moves increasingly towards the pattern of fascism: an open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary and racialist section of capitalists.
One of the first attacks of the Nationalist government on the people’s rights was the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. The Communist Party of South Africa which for twenty-eight years had marched at the head of the freedom struggles of the workers and oppressed peoples, was outlawed. The Act laid down heavy penalties for defending or advocating Communist ideas. It was no accident that the Nationalist Government made this Party and these ideas their first target, and sought to destroy them as the main obstacle to their plan of subjugating the people. Communism stands for the direct opposite of the theories and practices of the Nationalist Party. Communism stands for the rights of the workers and oppressed people — against all forms of racialism, privilege, colonialism and exploitation of man. Communism stands for peace, freedom, democracy and national independence.
Laws and force cannot destroy the ideas of Communism, of Marxism-Leninism, because these ideas are true and answer the needs and aspirations of the people. They correctly explain the world we live in and show mankind the way forward to a better world: a world without wars and racialism, without poverty and exploitation.
In this Programme, the South African Communist Party states its fundamental principles. It surveys the vast changes which are transforming the world and the continent we live in. It analyses the historical roots and the underlying realities of South African society. It puts forward its answers to the problems facing the people of our country today.
As its immediate and foremost task, the South African Communist Party works for a united front of national liberation. It strives to unite all sections and classes of oppressed and democratic people for a national democratic revolution to destroy White domination. The main content of this Revolution will be the national liberation of the African people. Carried to its fulfilment, this revolution will at the same time put an end to every sort of race discrimination and privilege. The revolution will restore the land and the wealth of the country to the people, and guarantee democracy, freedom and equality of rights, and opportunities to all. The Communist Party has no interests separate from those of the working people. The Communists are sons and daughters of the people, and share with them the over-riding necessity to put an end to the suffering and humiliation of apartheid. The destruction of colonialism and the winning of national freedom is the essential condition and the key for future advance to the supreme aim of the Communist Party: the establishment of a socialist South Africa, laying the foundations of a classless, communist society
Communism — Marxism-Leninism — is the dynamic social and political force of our times. Already, under the leading banner of the Marxist parties, one-third of mankind has chosen the road to socialism. Already, in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, the gradual transition has begun to Communism, the highest form of human society. The world over millions of men and women, inspired by the Parties of Communism, are struggling for peace, socialism, democracy and national independence.
Karl Marx, the great 19th Century thinker and revolutionary who, together with his comrade Frederick Engels, was the founder of the modern Communist movement, laid bare the basic laws which determine change in the universe and in human society. The Marxist world outlook, dialectical materialism, enables us to understand the laws of change. It enables us to understand the world as it really is — and how to change it. All progress and development comes through inner conflict and contradictions: the conflict between what is new and struggling to be born, and what is outworn and dying. Like everything in nature, human society develops from lower to higher stages, according to the development of the productive forces at each stage. Feudalism is a higher stage than slavery. Capitalism is still higher, and Socialism and Communism the highest of all. Social progress has always come about through class struggles; struggles between slaves and slave-owners, between feudal lords and their serfs, and today between the two main classes of society, the capitalists and the working class.
Marx analysed the capitalist system of production. He exposed how it rests on the basis of the exploitation of man by man. All value comes from labour. Because they own the means of production, the capitalists hold the whip-hand over the workers. They do not own them, as a slave-owner owned his slaves. They pay them wages. But the wages are not equal to the real value produced by the worker. The worker works only part of the day to earn his wages. The rest is free labour for the boss. This is surplus value, out of which the capitalists make their profit and accumulate wealth. Because of their great economic power and wealth, the owners of the means of production dominate in every capitalist country. They run parliament and the press; their ideas prevail in educational and religious institutions. The laws are made to suit their interests. The State, the army, the police and the courts, defend, in the first place, their property. However democratic it may appear on the surface, every capitalist state is in reality a dictatorship of the capitalist class.
The genius of Vladimir Lenin, recognised leader of the workers and oppressed people of all countries, threw a bright light on the further development of 20th Century capitalism into its highest and last stage — Imperialism. As capitalism develops, more and more the control of wealth passes to fewer and fewer hands. Big firms eat up small ones. Huge monopolies grow, both national and international, and a few giant firms dominate whole branches of the national economy. Banks and other financial institutions buy shares in industrial concerns, and the “kings of industry” acquire controlling interests in the banks. So the two kinds of monopoly capital, financial and industrial, merge with one another. The imperialists export capital to the sources of raw material and cheap labour, to the countries which are less developed economically. Economic penetration is followed by political domination. A handful of West-European powers, Japan and the United States of America, seeking higher profits, dominated the whole of Africa, Asia and Latin America, mercilessly looted their natural resources and exploited their people. The colonial system of imperialism did incalculable damage to these peoples. It held back and stifled their independent economic, political, social and cultural development. In extreme cases it resulted in the wholesale massacre and near-extermination of indigenous peoples. Imperialism produced disgusting and utterly false theories and practices of so-called “superior” and “inferior” races, which culminated in Hitler’s Germany and Verwoerd’s South Africa.
Imperialism breeds war, on a scale and of a frightfulness previously unknown in human history. Following the “scramble for Africa” towards the end of the 19th Century, the entire world was partitioned between the imperialist powers. Powerful new capitalist states arose, and demanded their “right” to own colonies. But all the colonial territories had already been grabbed by the older imperialists. The desperate conflict between the rival imperialists for the re-partition of the world, erupted in the terrible world war of 1914-18, which shook the foundations of imperialism and exposed its true nature to the masses.
Capitalism, in its time, was a progressive social system. With all its defects it represented an advance over feudalism, higher production, greater liberties. But, in the world of today, capitalism is no longer progressive. Modem production is a great and complicated process, arising from a highly organised society. But the means of production remain in private hands, and the fruits are appropriated by the few. This deep contradiction between social production and private appropriation leads to great conflicts in society: between the masses of the people and the group of monopoly capitalists who control their destinies, between rival capitalist countries, between colonial peoples seeking national freedom and their imperialist masters, between the working class as a whole and the capitalist class. These conflicts cannot be resolved within the framework of the capitalist system. They are leading to the breakdown of that system. Symptoms of this break-down are the ever-recurring crises of overproduction; the turning of the ruling classes towards fascism; the gigantic expenditure on armaments; the ceaseless drive towards aggression and war.
Capitalism is obsolete. It is giving way to the new and higher social order of socialism and communism. Socialism puts an end to the contradictions of capitalism by abolishing private ownership of the main means of production and placing them under public ownership. It replaces the dictatorship of the capitalists with that of the workers, thus for the first time ensuring genuine democracy for the masses. It overcomes the class and national conflicts inherent in capitalism by abolishing the exploiting classes and the exploitation of man by man; by guaranteeing equality and national rights to all peoples. Socialism aims to meet the growing material and cultural needs of the people by overall planning, by steadily developing and improving social production. It develops socialist consciousness and labour enthusiasm among the working people by applying the principle: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The great development of the productive forces under socialism, and in the rise in the socialist consciousness of the masses, enables the gradual development towards a still higher stage of human society: communism. Communism is a classless social system, with one form of public ownership of the means of production. All members of communist society will enjoy full social equality. The all-round development of the people, accompanied by the growth of the productive forces sufficient to ensure abundance of goods, enables the principle to be applied: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Under communism — a highly organised society of free, socially-conscious people enjoying public self-government — labour will cease to be a burden. Everyone will recognise that to work for the benefit of the people is a necessity willingly performed as life’s first need.
A new era in human history opened with he great October Socialist Revolution of 1915 when, led by the Communist Party, and inspired by the great teachings of Marx and Lenin, the workers and peasants of Russia and the former Tsarist Empire overthrew capitalist class rule and established, over a vast territory, the dictatorship of the proletariat The heroic victories of the Soviet workers and peasants against counter-revolutions and foreign intervention, their triumph over famines and backwardness, their great achievements in the building of socialism, inspired millions of working people in many parts of the world. Powerful Communist Parties arose in many countries. In the areas of the greatest population, the colonies of imperialism it Asia, Africa and Latin America, the October Revolution aroused hundreds of millions to fight for national liberation.
Following the historic victory of the Soviet Union in the second world war and the defeat of fascism on an international scale, the people’s cause made a further leap ahead. Led by the Communist Party, the great Chinese nation of 750 million put an end to domination by imperialism and its agents and took the road to socialism. In a number of European and Asian countries the people rose against capitalist and landlord rule and laid the basis for socialism. These countries have joined the Soviet Union in the socialist camp, comprising no less than one third of the human race bound together by firm fraternal and equal relations among themselves, advancing the people’s living standards by leaps and bound, and providing a powerful safeguard for peace, national liberation, democracy and progress for all the peoples of the world.
The colonial system of imperialism is crumbling. The peoples of practically the whole Continent of Asia have within an astonishingly short space of time liberated themselves from direct colonial rule. The tide of national liberation has advanced with equally dramatic swiftness throughout the continent of Africa and the great majority of our fellow-Africans today enjoy formal political independence. The inspiring example of Cuba has called forth a great wave throughout Latin America of resistance to the economic enslavement by United States imperialism. Determined to win a place of equality in the world, and to overcome the evil heritage of imperialism, the peoples of the colonial and formerly colonial countries arc conducting vigorous and mounting struggles against imperialism and its agents in their midst. They fight against feudalism and other forms of local reaction. They are striving to build states of national democracy, which will move forward from formal independence and break all imperialist financial, economic, political and military entanglements. They seek rapidly to put an end to the chaos and economic backwardness which imperialism has left behind it. They aim to overcome the crippling lack of equipment, communications, and trained and skilled personnel; and to conquer illiteracy, mass poverty, disease and ignorance. They aim to catch up with the most advanced countries in industrial and agricultural development, in living standards and conditions, in educational, cultural and scientific achievement. Only thus can true equality, independence and democracy be established for the hundreds of millions of people in the former colonies of imperialism.
More and more the masses of people in Africa and other formerly colonial countries are coming to understand that capitalist forms of production, based on private ownership, can never enable them to accomplish this gigantic task. Led by the small, but growing, working class, in close alliance with the masses of rural people, they are striving to achieve noncapitalist forms of development, leading towards socialism. They are demanding a vast process of agrarian reform, enabling the African, Asian and Latin American farmer, for the first time in history, to have sufficient land at his disposal for a decent life. To place the control of their countries firmly in the hands of the people, they are fighting for genuine democracy, guaranteeing freedom of speech, of the press and organisation, and enabling masses of workers and peasants to play a full part in public life. The newly independent countries no longer constitute a reliable reserve of imperialism. They are moving more and more out of the sphere of influence of imperialism, and becoming a powerful factor for peace, against imperialist war.
The greatest threat to the aspirations and the future of the peoples of all countries lies in the aggressive plans of international imperialism against socialism and national independence. Should the imperialists succeed in triggering off a nuclear world conflict it would destroy a great part of humanity and man’s greatest achievements. Imperialism has not changed its character. Mobilised and organised by the leaders of world reaction, the United States monopoly capitalists, the imperialists are intensifying the armaments race and the cold war, they commit continuous fresh acts of intervention and aggression, attempting to check and reverse the world tide towards national independence and socialism. They threaten the world with nuclear destruction. But because of the tremendous strength, economic, social and military, of the Socialist countries, attracting the powerful support of hundreds of millions of people in the newly liberated and the capitalist countries, the power of the imperialists to impose colonialism, or to start wars, has been checked; their wings have been clipped.
Powerful peace movements, embracing millions of people of varying political beliefs, have grown up in many countries. The forces of national liberation and of the labour movement everywhere are insistently demanding an end to the cold war and the observance of the principles of peaceful co-existence of states with different social systems. All these forces are rallying to demand universal and complete disarmament. This crucial policy, advanced by the Soviet Union, crystallises the longings of our generation for peace and security, for life itself. Universal disarmament would lift a crushing burden of taxes from the shoulders of the people. It would make available the huge resources and quantities of manpower now diverted to arms production for useful production to raise the people’s living standards. It would greatly assist the cause of national liberation by striking the weapons from the hands of the colonialists. It would free the world from the nightmare of nuclear war. Unity of all the forces demanding peace is capable of enforcing this demand. Even though imperialism still rules in powerful countries, such as the United States, the countries of Western Europe and Japan, and even though the war danger is still acute, the possibility already exists of achieving universal disarmament and eliminating war, providing the people struggle resolutely to assert their will for peace.
It is no longer the imperialists, but the international working class and its proudest creation, the world socialist system, which determine the main characteristics and trends of our times. We live in an epoch of struggle between two opposing social systems, an epoch of socialist and national liberation revolutions, of the breakdown of imperialism and the abolition of the colonial system. it is an epoch of the transition of more and more peoples to the socialist path and the triumph of socialism and communism on a world-wide scale. These vast changes in the world spell the doom of capitalism and imperialism. The victory of socialism and communism will ensure the eradication of all types of exploitation and oppression, a future of peace, friendship, well-being, and unlimited advance for all peoples of the earth. Idlers and parasites will no longer exist, for “he who does not work, neither shall he eat.” Selfishness, ignorance, superstition and other evils of the acquisitive society will disappear. Mankind will enter upon a greater freedom, in terms of the principles of Communism.
But this great change will not come about of its own accord, or by persuading the capitalist ruling classes that change is reasonable and desirable. No ruling class in history ever bowed itself gracefully off the stage. The defeat of capitalism and the transition to socialism can only come about through struggles of the masses of the people, headed by the most advanced, resolute and revolutionary class, the working class. In their fight against exploitation and capitalist class domination, the weapon of the working class is organisation. The workers organise trade unions to fight for higher wages, better conditions and shorter working hours. They build mass political organisations to oppose and protest against the injustices of capitalist class rule. Answering Marx’s great call: “Workers of all countries, unite!” the workers of each county strengthen brotherly ties between themselves and those of other countries beyond their borders, on a regional, continental and international basis.
Due to differences of history and national tradition, which the Communist Parties take into account, the precise path to socialism will differ from one country to another. But international experiences show that certain basic laws apply to all countries. Headed by the Marxist-Leninist Party and in alliance with most of the peasants and other working people, the working class must destroy the state of dictatorship of the capitalists, and replace it with the dictatorship of the working class, offering the widest democracy to the great majority of the people. Attempts at counterrevolution by the reactionary classes and groups must be suppressed. Private ownership of the main means of production must be abolished, and public ownership must be established in its place. The land must be in the hands of those who till it, and agriculture gradually transformed on a socialist basis. The national economy must be planned, to raise the people’s living standards and build socialism and communism. Capitalist influence must be rooted out in the fields of ideology and culture, and a new type of intellectual must be trained, devoted to the welfare of the people’ and to socialism. All forms of racial and national discrimination and oppression must be wiped out, complete equality of rights and opportunities and brotherly friendship must be an unvarying principle governing all relations between people of different national groups. The achievements of socialism must be defended against enemies inside and outside the country. Working class internationalism — close ties between the workers of all lands — is essential for the building of socialism in any country.
The highest form of working class organisation is the Marxist-Leninist Party, the most advanced, conscious and determined section of the class. This Party, the Communist Party, is a voluntary association of the best, most militant and devoted fighters for the cause of the workers, peasants and all oppressed people. All Party members enjoy equal rights irrespective of race or nationality. All members pledge themselves to maintain the highest standards of discipline, political training, loyalty and courage. Led by the Party, the working class aims, not merely at reforms of the capitalist system, but at the revolutionary overthrow of the system itself and its replacement by socialism.
For centuries the peoples of Africa were subjected to exploitation and robbery by the capitalist maritime nations of western Europe and other marauders. Millions of sons and daughters of Africa were transported as slaves to far away countries. In the words of Karl Marx, Africa was “a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins.” The invaders destroyed Africa’s ancient civilisations. They seized and laid waste her natural wealth. By the end of the 19th Century almost the whole of Africa had been conquered — by trickery or the force of superior arms — and brought beneath the alien yoke of a handful of European powers — Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and Spain. Her peoples were deprived of self-government, alienated from their ancestral lands and driven to work as forced labourers on white-owned plantations, mines and other enterprises. Africa’s normal economic and political development was arrested and set back. Vast fortunes werc accumulated in Europe and North America out of African resources and African labour. But the people of our Continent remained the most poverty-stricken in the world, with the highest death rate and the lowest expectancy of life. The colonialists proclaimed that their mission was altruistic and civilising. But now when they are being driven from Africa, they leave behind them a crippling heritage of illiteracy, ignorance, economic stagnation, starvation and disease.
As a result of the heroic struggles of the African peoples, all over the Continent, and also of the break-up of the colonial system of imperialism which was inaugurated by the great October Socialist Revolution, the peoples of Africa have swept forward to win freedom and independence. At the end of the second world war, only Ethiopia and Liberia could claim to be African states governed by Africans. By 1962 the whole picture had been transformed. Only Angola, Mozambique and a few other scattered territories remained under the direct colonial rule of European powers, and in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa and the Rhodesians, White minorities continued to dominate. The area of formal political independence had spread to almost the entire continent. This sweeping process — the return of Africa to the rule of the African people themselves — is a great victory for the African people and the cause of freedom. It must be pressed forward and completed as soon as possible. It is the essential basis for all future advance. The working class, and its most advanced leaders, the Communists, arc intimately concerned with this great movement for political independence; they form its spearhead and its most determined and uncompromising defenders.
But, formal political independence alone will not ensure the genuine independence of the African peoples, and their equality amongst the nations of the world. The former colonies remain tied by a thousand bonds to their former owners. Through the “British Commonwealth” and the “French Community” powerful pressures are exerted to influence them and ensure their continued adherence to political, diplomatic, military and economic systems of Western imperialism. There is a new “scramble for Africa” in which United States, West German and Japanese finance capitalists are vying with the older imperialists to extend their investments and their economic stranglehold over African territories and resources. The imperialists all strive to retard the development of national economies and national industries in the African countries, Through such instruments as the European Common Market they strive to keep them backward, in a position of suppliers of raw material and cheap labour for imperialism. These plans of neo-colonialism are the greatest threat to the real independence and development of the newly emerged African States.
The young African states need to abolish illiteracy, backwardness and economic dependence. They need to “Africanise” their civil services and administrations, rapidly to train personnel from amongst their own people to administer and develop their countries. They need radical land reform, to transform and improve African agriculture and greatly raise the desperately low living standards of the masses. They need rapid industrialisation and economic development, in order to overcome the terrible heritage left behind by colonialism, and to catch up with the advanced countries of the world. In these aims the young African Republics are tremendously assisted by the generous and unconditional aid extended to them by the Soviet Union and other countries of the socialist world system. Such aid is rendered upon the principles of strict equality and true brotherly friendship. It aims to lay the basis for the industrialisation of undeveloped countries — the foundation stone of true independence and equality — and to train competent specialists in the hundred fields which the new Africa so urgently requires.
Only if they can achieve a social transformation, a fast rate of economic and social development, can the African countries ensure genuine independence and equality in the world family of nations, and higher standards of life, health and culture for their people. In their drive towards these goals the African peoples are faced with the choice between capitalist and socialist paths. More and more, the revolutionary workers and peasants, the radical intellectual youth of Africa are turning towards the socialist path. They have seen the evils of capitalism at work in their midst, its greed and wastefulness of life and resources; its ruthless contempt for the dignity and value of the human being. They have learnt of the tremendous rate of development which socialism has made possible especially in the Asian Republics of the Soviet Union, in People’s China and other formerly colonial countries which, under workers’ rule and socialism, have advanced with giant’s” strides. Non-capitalist forms of development, aimed at the building of socialism, are the only way in which Africa can rapidly liquidate racialism, feudalism, tribalism, poverty, backwardness and disease, and the exploitation of man by man.
The South African Communist Party regards as a dogmatic distortion of Marxism, the concept that African countries which are in a precapitalist stage of development must necessarily pass through a period of capitalism before achieving socialism. We are living in the epoch of the transition, on a world scale, from capitalism to socialism. The experience of the Soviet Asian Republics, of People’s China, Vietnam, the People’s Republic of Korea, and People’s Mongolia, show that in our epoch it is possible for the people of colonial countries to advance along non-capitalist lines to-wards the building of socialism.
Recognising the tremendous attraction of socialist ideas in Africa, various leaders have advanced the concept of a special kind of “African Socialism” different from Marxism-Leninism. These concepts are mistaken. It is true that the precise paths of the African peoples towards socialism will differ from those of peoples of other continents, due to differences of national tradition and history, to the long period of colonialist domination which, amongst other factors, has prevented the development of African societies along the same lines as those in Europe and Asia. But the whole of international experience has proved beyond any shadow of doubt, that the main truths of Marxism-Leninism are fully applicable to countries in every stage of social development. The only road towards a socialist and communist future is that indicated by Marxism. The innumerable attempts, in many parts of the world, to propound or practise non-Marxist socialism,” or to revise, “modify” and “improve” Marxism-Leninism, have one and all ended in disaster and betrayal of the working class.
The countries of Africa are in various stages of historical and social development. In some areas, such as the Republic of South Africa and the Congo, there is a relatively high degree of industrial development, of powerful monopoly capitalism and a numerically strong working class. Other areas have hardly been touched at all by capitalist development. There is little or no commodity production and exchange, and modern nations have not developed. Feudal and pre-feudal societies prevail. There is thus no common solution which would answer the needs of all the territories of Africa; each area needs to be studied specifically in the light of its own actual conditions. But, in most parts of Africa, the needs of the people will best be met at the present time by the formation of states of national democracy, as a transitional stage to socialism. The minimum essentials for a state of national democracy as indicated in the declaration of 81 Marxist Parties in December 1960, are that it: “consistently upholds its political and economic independence, fights against imperialism and its military blocs, against military bases on its territory; fights against the new forms of colonialism and the penetration of imperialist capital; rejects dictatorial and despotic methods of government; ensures the people broad democratic rights and freedoms (freedom of the press, speech, assembly, demonstration, establishment of political parties and social organisations) and the opportunity of working for the enactment of agrarian reform and other domestic and social changes, and for participation in shaping government policy.” The basis of a national democracy is a leading alliance of workers and rural people. Such a state will provide the most favourable conditions for advance, along non-capitalist lines, to socialism.
In their advance towards national independence, democracy, unity and socialism the African peoples are seriously handicapped by the lack of understanding of socialist ideology — largely a result of the imperialists’ censorship and distortion of Communist ideas — and by the absence in most parts of our Continent of independent, Marxist-Leninist parties of the working class. Socialism cannot effectively be built without socialist organisation guided by socialist theory. The development and growth of such parties, devoted to the people’s struggle for freedom and independence, and building and forming part of the united front of all patriotic classes for national liberation, would be an important contribution to the cause of Africa. By making a profound study of scientific socialist theory and creatively applying it to the solution of the problems of their own countries, such Parties can play an indispensable role in carrying the African Revolution forward uninterruptedly to its consummation: the crowning of national independence with deep-reaching social revolution and the full emancipation of the African peoples from bondage.
The common struggle of the peoples of Africa against imperialism and colonialism in all its forms has brought the peoples of Africa closer together than ever before. The African countries which have already achieved independence render fraternal assistance to the freedom struggle of their brothers who still suffer under foreign or White minority domination. A powerful urge towards closer ties and solidarity exists among all Africans based upon the understanding that unity can best enable the African people to maintain and consolidate independence, overcome their grave social and economic problems, develop the resources of the Continent and raise their living standards. This urge finds its expression in the historic All-African People’s Conferences and in regional groupings such as the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East, Central and Southern Africa: in the formation of the All-African Trade Union Federation; in joint economic and defence plans; in actual or projected regional Federations aimed at the ultimate establishment of a United African Commonwealth. This movement is progressive and anti-imperialist in character, reflecting the essential unity of the African Revolution. The frontiers of Africa were drawn by the imperialists. For the most part they record past conflicts and settlements among the colonialists. They do not reflect African interests, nor do they demarcate natural geographical, linguistic or other divisions. Progressive elements in Africa will seek to re-draw these frontiers, to create larger and more viable communities, leading to a fraternal commonwealth of Africa as a whole. Because they are achieving independence in the epoch of the world transition to socialism, it is not inevitable that the African nations should follow the path of other continents by developing antagonistic nation states, each jealously guarding its frontiers. Such states arc the product of capitalism. Provided all the African countries follow non-capitalist forms of development the achievement of a united Africa will become practical and desirable. But if this great historical process is to be effected without sowing the seeds of new conflicts, it must be based on consent and persuasion, not upon force.
Communists recognise the right of all peoples and national groups to self-determination. They respect the languages and progressive traditions of all African peoples, and their right to independent development of their culture. While recognising the progressive elements in African nationalism and the movement for Pan-African unity, South African communists remain true to the principles of working class internationalism. They will fight against all expressions of racialism, isolationalism, and the glorification and perpetuation of reactionary traditions, which have their roots m capitalist, tribal and feudalist outlooks.
The struggle of the peoples of the rest of Africa and those of South Africa, against colonialism and for freedom are one and indivisible. White colonialism in the Republic of South Africa threatens the independence, peace and progress of the whole of Africa. It is a stronghold and refuge of reaction and imperialism threatening the gains of the African revolution; a breeding ground for plots and activities designed to restore colonialism throughout the Continent. A poor and backward Africa profits the South African monopoly capitalists, enabling them to exploit cheap African labour, both in their heavy investments in many parts of the Continent and by importing workers from other territories to mines and other enterprises in the Republic itself. The South African state and its military forces collaborate with those of the Portuguese, Rhodesian and other colonialists. In fighting against White supremacy, for the democratic revolution in South Africa, the people of our country are fighting for the cause of the African Revolution as a whole. In this fight they are greatly heartened by the victories of their brothers and sisters beyond their borders, and by their actions of solidarity with South Africa. They welcome the decisions for the complete diplomatic and economic isolation of the Republic, the boycott of South African goods and the withdrawal of migrant labour from this country, and call for the strict implementation of these decisions. The liberated South Africa of the future will build ties of the closest fraternity and mutual assistance, based upon equal friendly relations, with all peoples of Africa. Its wealth, experience and skills will be a source of strength to the new Africa.
The White ruling classes, and especially the leaders of the Nationalist Party have manufactured a version of the past and present of this country which they systematically attempt to impose everywhere, from the schoolroom to international opinion. According to this picture, the early White settlers penetrated peacefully into a virtually unoccupied country. The African population, who are depicted as savage barbarians without culture, achievements or history, are represented as relative newcomers who entered the country at about the same time as the Whites, and conducted aggressive wars and raids against them. The impression is given that African occupation was always more or less confined to the present Reserves — the “Bantu Homelands.” This version of South Africa’s past is entirely false.
From the time of the first White settlement, established by the Dutch East India Company 300 years ago, the pattern was set for the ruthless colonial exploitation of the non-White peoples of our country, the expropriation of their lands and the enforced harnessing of their labour power. The Dutch made war on the people of the Cape, whom they contemptuously called “Hottentots,” and rejected their appeals for peace and friendship. The so-called “Bushmen” were all but exterminated. Slaves were imported from Malaya and elsewhere. White settlers gradually penetrated into the interior. They drove the indigenous people from the best farm lands and seized their cattle. They subdued them by armed conquest and forced them into their service-at first through direct slavery, later through a harsh system of pass laws and taxation.
This pattern was not basically changed by the seizure of the Cape Colony from Holland by Britain in 1806. The British colonialists conducted a savage series of wars of conquest against the AmaXhosa people in the Eastern Cape and the Zulu people in Natal. They imported more White settlers from Britain, and greatly extended the area of White domination. Through the agency of missionaries, traders, or armed bands of adventurers, they extended British sovereignty or “Protectorates” through Bechuanaland and Basutoland, and beyond the Limpopo River in Mashonaland, Barotseland, and other territories to the north, which they have named after the infamous adventurer and multi-millionaire Cecil Rhodes.
The beginnings of the pass system were introduced under British rule. However, as the foremost capitalist country at that time, Britain was opposed to direct chattel slavery. In 1836 a law was passed abolishing slavery in the Cape Colony. In protest against this law, and to get away from British rule, large parties of Boers left the Cape and crossed into Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In the course of this Great Trek, the Boers conducted continuous aggressive wars against the African tribes whom they found in possession everywhere. They usurped their lands, exploited their labour and even practised forms of slavery. They established new Republics founded on White domination and the racialist principle “No equality in Church or State.”
Colonialist propaganda has emphasised the negative features of traditional African society: the relatively low development of productive techniques; the illiteracy, inter-tribal conflicts and wars, superstitions and poverty. It is true that such features existed in traditional African society just as they did among all peoples at the period of simple tribal economy. But hostile propaganda has presented a distorted image. Prior to the European conquest of Southern Africa, the indigenous peoples had developed their own independent culture and civilisation. They mined and smelted iron, copper and other metals and fashioned them into useful implements. They had developed a number of handicrafts. Their system of extensive agriculture and livestock breeding was well-suited to the type of country and the tools at their disposal. It produced a surplus sufficient to maintain full-time specialist workers, smiths, doctors and others. Their system of government, though simple, was essentially democratic and popular in character. The hereditary chiefs were assisted in their functions as law-givers and judges by the senior people of the tribe, and important decisions affecting the whole tribe were always referred to a general meeting of the people-the Tswana and Sotho Pitso, the Xhosa and Zulu Imbizo. Private property in land was unknown, and food and shelter were freely shared, even with strangers.
When Whites first appeared they were welcomed courteously. But when the colonists began their ceaseless acts of armed aggression, the African people resisted bravely to defend their cattle and their land from robbery and their people from enslavement. They took up spear and assegai against the bullets of the invader with his horses and wagons. The Xhosa people, under leaders such as Nqgika, Ndlambe, Hintsa and Makana, the Zulus using Chaka’s battle tactics, under Dingane, Cetywayo and Bambata, the Basotho under Moshoeshoe, and in the North, the Tswana, Pedi and other African peoples, fought back bravely against the Boer and British invaders. The Coloured people, too, struggled valiantly. Revolts took place and the Coloured community led by the great Adam Kok, established their own independent Griqua Republic. But, tribal society and a rural economy could not provide the material basis for successful warfare against an enemy with a more advanced economy and more destructive weapons. The impact and penetration of White missionaries and traders paved the way for military conquest. Disunity amongst the various African peoples prevented the development of a common front of resistance. The farsighted vision of Moshoeshoe did indeed encompass this idea, and he sent emissaries to the Zulu and Xhosa people, and to Adam Kok, to propose such a united front. But Moshoeshoe’s idea of a grand alliance came before its time. Time and again in their wars of conquest against African peoples, the British and Boer imperialists were able to play off one tribe against another and to enrol African auxiliaries.
The discovery of diamond fields at Kimberley and goldfields on the Witwatersrand had profound and far-reaching consequences. Foreigners flocked into South Africa. Great British and European finance houses exported vast sums of investment capital to South Africa. To seize complete control over the gold of the Transvaal, British imperialism invaded the two Republics, and after a cruel war, in which the Boers defended themselves with great heroism and resourcefulness, brought them within the British Empire. One of the pretexts for Britain’s aggression had been the oppression of the African people under the Republics. Yet, following the British victory, the colonial status and subjugation of the indigenous peoples was continued and even intensified. The goldmining interests were now the true rulers of the country. They had only one interest in the African — to force him into labour on the mines at minimum rates of pay. They found the harsh colonial policy of the Republics admirably suited to this purpose. The poll tax and pass Systems were intensified. Dispossession of the Africans from the land was speeded up. Not a single move was made to introduce into the northern colonies even the minimum citizen rights which had been conceded to the non-Whites in the Cape In the oppression, dispossession and exploitation of the non-Whites, British imperialism and Afrikaner nationalism found common ground. This was the basis for the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
Dominating the all-White parliament, the representatives of the wealthy Boer farmers and the imperialist mine-owners joined in an unholy alliance to squeeze the last drop of cheap labour out of the African people. The Land Act of 1913 ended African land ownership or tenancy except in the Reserves which were deliberately designed to be insufficient to support the population, so that the menfolk would be driven forth by hunger to work in White-owned enterprises. The state developed the contract system of migrant labour, separating the wage-earner from his family, so that the employer would not have to pay for the maintenance of the worker’s wife and children. The democratic, co-operative basis of tribal society was broken down, and the entire African people turned into a rightless community of impoverished peasants and underpaid forced labourers in White-controlled farms, mines and factories.
South Africa is not a colony but an independent state. Yet masses of our people enjoy neither independence nor freedom. The conceding of independence to South Africa by Britain, in 1910, was not a victory over the forces of colonialism and imperialism. It was designed in the interests of imperialism. Power was transferred not into the hands of the masses of people of South Africa, but into the hands of the White minority alone. The evils of colonialism, insofar as the non-White majority was concerned, were perpetuated and reinforced. A new type of colonialism was developed, in which the oppressing White nation occupied the same territory as the oppressed people themselves and lived side by side with them.
A rapid process of industrialisation was set in train, especially during the two world wars. South African heavy industry and secondary industry grew to occupy first place on the Continent. This process had profound effects on the country’s social structure. It concentrated great wealth and profits in the hands of the upper strata of the White population. It revolutionised the economy, transforming it from a predominantly agricultural into an industrial-agricultural economy, with an urban working class, mainly non-White, which is the largest in Africa. But no commensurate benefits of this industrialisation have been enjoyed by the masses of non-White people.
On one level, that of “White South Africa,” there are all the features of an advanced capitalist state in its final stage of imperialism. There are highly developed industrial monopolies, and the merging of industrial and finance capital. The land is farmed along capitalist lines, employing wage labour, and producing cash crops for the local and export markets. The South African monopoly capitalists, who are closely linked with British, United States and other foreign imperialist interests, export capital abroad, especially in Africa. Greedy for expansion, South African imperialism reaches out to incorporate other territories — South West Africa and the Protectorates.
But on another level, that of “Non-White South Africa,” there are all the features of a colony. The indigenous population is subjected to extreme national oppression, poverty and exploitation, lack of all democratic rights and political domination by a group which does everything it can to emphasise and perpetuate its alien “European” character. The African Reserves show the complete lack of industry, communications, transport and power resources which are characteristic of African territories under colonial rule throughout the Continent. Typical, too, of imperialist rule, is the reliance by the state upon brute force and terror, and upon the most backward tribal elements and institutions which arc deliberately and artificially preserved. Non-White South Africa is the colony of White South Africa itself.
It is this combination of the worst features both of imperialism and of colonialism, within a single national frontier, which determines the special nature of the South African system, and has brought upon its rulers the justified hatred and contempt of progressive and democratic people throughout the world.
All Whites enjoy privileges in South Africa. They alone can vote and be elected to parliament and local government bodies. They have used this privilege to monopolise nearly all economic, educational, cultural and social opportunities. This gives the impression that the ruling class is composed of the entire White population. In fact, however, real power is in the hands of the monopolists who own and control the mines, the banks and finance houses, and most of the farms and major industries. The gold and diamond mines are owned by seven mining-financial corporations and controlled by a handful of powerful financiers. These seven corporations are closely linked with British and American imperialist interests. They control capital investment in mining alone of R490 million, and employ almost 500,000 workers. In addition, they dominate large sections of manufacturing industries. They are linked with the main banks, two of which control assets of over R2,000 million, mainly in the form of loans to industry, commerce and estate. They own vast tracts of arable land and mining rights in almost every part of the country. In agriculture too monopoly dominates. 4 per cent of the farms make up an area amounting to almost four-tenths of the total White-owned farmland. Thus, in mining, industry, commerce and farming, monopolists dominate the country’s economy. They are also closely linked with state monopoly capital ventures, such as Iscor (Iron and Steel), Escom (Electricity) and Sasol (Petrol).
These monopolists are the real power in South Africa. The special type of colonialism in South Africa serves, in the first place, their interests. Low non-White wages; the reserves of poverty; the compound labour system and the importation of hundreds of thousands of contract labourers from beyond our borders; the pass laws and poll tax and rigid police control of labour and of movement-all are designed to keep their profits high. In 1961, these seven mining corporations and their subsidiaries made a working profit of nearly R212 million and paid out dividends of R101 million to shareholders.
The South African monopolists act as allies and agents of foreign imperialist interests. One quarter of the capital of the seven mining-financial groups is owned abroad, mainly by British and American investors. In 1958, dividends of R43 million were paid out abroad. The two biggest banks, Standard and Barclays, are largely controlled from Britain, and in recent years United States capital investment in South Africa has grown rapidly, exceeding all other American investments in the rest of Africa put together.
Effective economic domination in South Africa is thus exercised by an alliance of local White monopoly interests in mining, industry and agriculture, together with foreign imperialists and representatives of state monopoly capitalism. These interests have conflicts among themselves, which are reflected in the main White political parties and groupings. But they find common ground in the perpetuation of the colonial-type subjugation of the non-White population.
The system of colonial domination over and robbery of the non-White masses is not in the genuine, long-term interest of the workers, small farmers, middle-class and professional elements who make up the bulk of the White population. White domination means more and more police and military expenditure to burden the taxpayer and divert men and resources from useful production. It means that the poverty-stricken masses arc unable to form an adequate market for South African industry and agriculture. It means more and more dictatorial police-state measures, the extinguishing of civil liberties for Whites as well as non-Whites. It means a South Africa despised and shunned by the whole world, subjected to economic, diplomatic, cultural and other forms of isolation, boycott and sanctions. It means a future of uncertainty and fear. The maintenance of White supremacy involves ever-increasing repression and violence by the government, resistance by the oppressed people and the steady drift to civil war. Only the complete emancipation of the non-White peoples, can create conditions of equality and friendship among the nationalities of South Africa and eliminate the roots of race hatred and antagonism which are the greatest threat to the continued security and existence of the White population itself. The national liberation of the non-Whites which will break the power of monopoly capitalism is thus in the deepest long-term interest of the bulk of the Whites. Progressive and far-seeing Whites ally them-selves unconditionally with the struggle of the masses of the people for freedom and equality.
On the whole, the White workers represent an “aristocracy of labour.” The monopolists have extended numerous concessions to them. They receive relatively high wages. Non-white miners receive an average of R144 a year plus food and compound housing; White miners R2470. African male farm workers average R68 a year; Whites R1050. Whites have a monopoly of the best paid jobs, and of entry into skilled trades. They arc invariably given positions of authority over non-Whites. The relatively high standards of life and wages enjoyed by White workers represent, in reality, a share in the super profits made by the capitalists out of the gross exploitation of the non-Whites. Systematically indoctrinated with the creed of White superiority, the White worker imagines himself to be a part of the ruling class and willingly acts as a tool and an accomplice in the maintenance of colonialism and capitalism. However, in reality, the White worker, like the non-White worker at his side, is subjected to exploitation by the same capitalist owners of the means of pro-duction. White workers’ wages in general are high in comparison with those of non-Whites. But many categories of White workers are paid little more than non-Whites, and also struggle to support their families. The White worker is subject to the insecurity of the capitalist system, with its constant threats of depression, short-time and unemployment. The division of trade unions on racial lines weakens all sections of workers in their constant struggle with the bosses for better pay and conditions and shorter hours of work. The fundamental interests of all South African workers, like those of workers everywhere, lie in unity: unity in the struggle for the day-to-day interests of the working class, for the ending of race-discrimination and division, for a free, democratic South Africa as the only possible basis for the winning of socialism, the overthrow of the capitalist class and the ending of human exploitation.
More than two-thirds of the South Africans are people of indigenous African descent. Living and working in all parts of the country, they form the basic population and are at the same time the main victims of colonialism; the most oppressed and exploited of all. The former divisions of the African people along tribal lines, and their classification into chiefs and commoners, are breaking down with the collapse of the tribal system. This system was suitable for the simple, self-contained economy of the past, based on subsistence farming and common ownership of land. There is no place for it in a modem exchange economy based on large-scale industry and mining, on the farming of products for sale on the market. The Nationalist Party government, following the maxim: “Divide and Rule,” is attempting to revive tribalism and tribal divisions. Their attempts cannot succeed. The African people of this country are moving inevitably and consciously towards the formation of a single, modern nation.
There are no acute or antagonistic class divisions at present among the African people. Most of them are wage-workers in industry or agriculture. There are no large-scale African employers of labour. The professional groups, mainly teachers, do not, as a rule, earn salaries or live differently from their fellow-Africans. Even the people of the Reserves, especially the men-folk, spend much of their lives as migrant wage labourers on the mines, in agriculture or industry
One-third of the African people live on the Reserves. The largest of these arc the Transkei and Ciskei, in the Cape Province, but there are also other scattered areas widely separated in the other three provinces. The Nationalist government speaks of the Reserves as the “homelands” of the African people, but so far from being able to sustain additional population, they are grossly overcrowded already and far too small to maintain their present population of 34 million. Most Africans on the reserves are not independent peasants and have no land or insufficient to make a living. To support their families and avert starvation, most of the men in the prime of life are usually away working for White employers, and leaving the farming to old people and womenfolk. The smallness and the overcrowding of the Reserves leads to soil exhaustion. There is no opportunity for intensive farming, crop rotation, and scientific cattle pasturing, because there is not enough land. The Reserves are the most backward and undeveloped areas in the country, typical of colonial Africa. They lack industries, communications and power resources. There is no capital for improvements or mechanisation.
Under its preposterous “Bantustan” scheme the Nationalist government is proposing to partition South Africa. They pretend to be conferring “independence” and “self-government” on the Reserves, which they have rechristened “Bantu Homelands,” and thus to justify treating Africans in the remaining 87 per cent of South Africa as “aliens” and “temporary visitors.” They present this proposal as a concession to the African people and to world opinion. Africans and all freedom-loving people reject this proposal with contempt and indignation. There are no grounds, in history or in reality, for the Nationalists to claim any part of South Africa exclusively for Whites. Africans live in every part of our country; their labour has gone to develop its farmlands and its cities, its mines and industries, its railways and harbours; they claim every inch of South Africa as their homeland. The “Bantustan” scheme is not only undemocratic and opposed to every principle of self-determination, it is also fraudulent. Though they pretend they are giving land to Africans they are not giving them any additional land at all — in many cases they are actually taking away land from them. The Nationalist Party promises independence and self-government to the Reserves, but the so-called “Bantustan” schemes are both dishonest and impractical. The Nationalists have no intention of conferring any genuine independence on any group of non-White people. Even if they were compelled to make concessions in this direction, the land area of the Reserves is too small, the economy too backward, and completely lacking in capital to allow for the possibility of any real independence for these areas.
The government is attempting, through the “Bantu Authorities” system to enforce a return to tribalism, using chiefs who are prepared to collaborate, and deposing and deporting those who refuse. The effect is actually to hasten the breakdown of tribal institutions. Those chiefs who collaborate with the government have become the most hated group in the countryside, relying on dictatorship and terror, contrary to African traditions, to enforce the laws of the White authorities on the unwilling people. The people of the Reserves are boldly calling the government’s “Bantustan” bluff. They arc fighting bitter struggles, including armed struggles, against the Bantu Authorities. The peasant in the countryside today is not the unsophisticated tribesman of the previous century. Millions have at some time or other come to work in the towns. They have come into contact with the challenging outlook and the advanced methods of organisation of the trade unions, the Congress movement and the Communist Party. These “new peasants” have awakened the countryside, transforming the African peasantry from a reserve of conservatism into a powerful ally of the urban working class in the struggle against White colonialism, and for freedom, land, equality and democracy.
Millions of agricultural labourers and labour tenants are employed on White-owned farms throughout the country. These are the most exploited workers in South Africa. They work without any protection from labour laws, from dawn to sunset, at hard and exhausting labour, for wretchedly low wages. The food they are given is too little, it is always the same, and it is an unhealthy diet. On most farms the housing for them is worse than what is provided for the farm animals. The use of convict labour, and compound labour, and other forms of forced labour, is common on farms in many parts of South Africa. Farmers and their foremen frequently employ physical violence against African farm labourers, beating them with sjamboks, often to death. Wages for farm labour are the lowest in the country. Agricultural labourers are not really free workers. They are tied, often for life, to a particular farmer because of the operation of the labour tenancy system, the pass laws and in particular the so-called “trek-pass,” the Native Service Contract and the Masters and Servants Acts. Organisation of agricultural workers’ unions and other bodies for farm workers is also made exceptionally difficult because of the close supervision maintained over them by the farmers.
The 400,000 African labourers working on the gold and coal mines have to do the most backbreaking, dangerous and unhealthy work, for wages which are a scandal and a disgrace in an industry which distributes millions of rands annually to its shareholders. They are separated, for long periods, from their wives and families. A large proportion of them are “imported” from territories outside the Republic, the Protectorates, S.W. Africa, the Portuguese Colonies, Nyasaland, Tanganyika and elsewhere, although conferences of African states have decided to work towards ending this practice. The migratory labour system leads to a continual turnover of personnel, making the organisation or mine workers a difficult task and the mine owners go to great lengths to stamp out the development of trade unionism among them. Especially since the great strike led by the African Mineworkers’ Union in 1946, they are subject to constant surveillance by police, spies and informers.
The special character of colonialism in South Africa, the seizing by Whites of all the opportunities which in other colonial countries have led to the growth of a national capitalist class, have strangled the development of a class of African capitalists. All positions of economic strength and influence are held as the jealously guarded monopoly of members of the White group alone. There are very few Africans who make profits by the exploitation of labour power. In some areas there are some independent African farmers, producing for the market along “capitalist” lines. But, as a rule, the holdings are so small that they can be and are cultivated by the farmer himself and his family. There is quite a substantial number of African traders and shopkeepers. Because they have to contend with innumerable colour bars and special restrictions, and because their capital is usually too small, their businesses are rarely very big or very profitable. In a great many cases, in fact, the shop is in the hands of non-African bondholders or wholesalers, of whom the shopkeeper himself is little more than an employee. African business men are not allowed to own fixed property. They may not trade in the centres of the cities, the main areas of commercial activity, but are relegated to the African townships and the outskirts. They are subjected to the pass laws and all the restrictions and insecurities imposed on all Africans. An African businessman is not allowed to open a branch elsewhere or to trade anywhere outside his place of residence. The interests of the African commercial class lie wholly in joining the workers and rural people for the overthrow of White supremacy.
The intellectuals and professional groups among the Africans share with their people all the hardships and indignities of colonialism. The largest group, the teachers, receive salaries far below those of their white colleagues, and comparing unfavourably with those of many African industrial workers. They have to work in appalling conditions, in overcrowded classrooms, lacking modern equipment, teaching half-starved children. The Nationalist policy of “Bantu Education” imposes upon them syllabuses designed to indoctrinate their pupils with servility and apartheid theories, and containing a minimum of genuine educational content. They are compelled to teach in the African languages although there are no adequate text books in these languages. Under the Nationalist regime there has been a catastrophic fall in the standard of African education. The few places once open to African students for professional training in some White universities, have been closed. The new “tribal colleges” set up instead by the Nationalist government are a travesty of institutions of higher education. They have no facilities to train architects, engineers, scientists, dentists or technicians in most fields. Passports for those who wish to study abroad are usually refused. Opportunities for cultural development among Africans are restricted to a minimum. Nearly all public libraries, theatres, concert halls and other cultural facilities are reserved for Whites and the few for non-Whites are inferior. The exceptionally sharp contradictions of South Africa, and their own conditions of life, which are a challenge to their self-respect and human dignity, face the African intellectuals with a clear-cut choice. Either they align themselves with the struggles of the masses, or else they accept the role of assistants and agents in maintaining White colonialism. To their credit, many African professional men, teachers and even chiefs have sacrificed all hopes of privilege and advancement in order to join wholly with their people.
The workers of the towns, the Africans employed in factories and in transport, in steelworks and power stations, in shops and offices, comprise the most dynamic and revolutionary force in South Africa. The wages of urban African workers, in relation to their high living costs are scandalously low. They are forced to live far from their places of work, involving exhausting and expensive journeys by bus or train. In shops and factories they are relegated to the most arduous and least rewarding work. Pass laws and urban areas legislation make the tenure of their jobs and their residences precarious, and they are subjected to never-ending raids and surveillance by the police. It is illegal for African workers to strike and their trade unions are unrecognised and vigorously discouraged by the State. Even when employers are prepared to enter into collective bargaining with African workers, the State intervenes to stop it. Despite these and many other disabilities, and the daily struggle for existence, this class, the most numerous and experienced working class on the African continent, has time and again shown that it is the vanguard of the African people. It has built up a number of stable and effective trade unions, devoted to the cause of African liberation and of workers’ unity on our continent and throughout the world. African workers constitute the core of the African National Congress and the Communist Party. They have repeatedly come out on nationwide political general strikes and have been the leading force in every major struggle of the liberation movement. Disciplined and taught the lessons of organisation and unity in the harsh school of capitalist production, driven by their conditions of life into united struggle for survival, this class alone is capable, in alliance with the masses of rural people, of leading a victorious struggle to end White domination and exploitation.
The Coloured and Malay people, a population of 11/2 million living mainly in the Western Cape Province, are a national group comprising workers, farm labourers, professional people and small businessmen. Like all non-Whites, the Coloured people are subjected to many forms of racial discrimination, reflected in low standards of living, education, housing, nutrition and health. Coloured workers, despite a tradition of craftsmanship which is the oldest in the country, find access to senior posts is withheld from them and given to Whites; Coloured farm labourers work and live under wretched conditions. Their pay is scandalously low, and on the wine farms is partly made up by a liquor ration — the “tot” system, which undermines their health. Coloured teachers and other state employees are paid much less than their White counterparts for doing the same work. Nevertheless, for many years, this community occupied a privileged position in relation to the Africans. The White ruling group extended various concessions — such as a qualified franchise, trade union rights, property rights — in order to prevent the emergence of a Coloured national consciousness and the formation of a united front of oppressed non-White peoples for equality and the ending of White colonialism. This policy was not without success. But, with the deliberate removal by the Nationalist government, one after another, of all the privileges extended to the Coloured people in the past-the abolition of the common roll franchise, the introduction of apartheid and job reservation, White baasskap in the trade unions and separate university education — working class and democratic leaders have come to the fore. The Coloured people are rejecting apartheid and moving towards the path of struggle, side by side with African and other freedom fighters.
The Indian community, of half a million, are mainly the descendants of indentured labourers who came to work in the Natal sugar fields a century ago. From the earliest times all sorts of degrading and discriminatory restrictions have been placed on South African Indians, restrictions which they have resisted in many historic struggles. Today there is a substantial class of Indian industrial and agricultural workers, especially in Natal, but also, increasingly in the Transvaal. There is also a considerable class of Indian merchants, factory owners and small shopkeepers. The Indian workers face appalling problems of unemployment and overcrowding in slum conditions. Indians do not enjoy voting and other democratic rights. Indian businessmen, and all sections of the community, are subjected to innumerable disabilities, especially relating to land and property ownership and economic and educational opportunities. They are not allowed to move from one Province to another without special permits, and are completely debarred from the Orange Free State. The Nationalist government has applied the Group Areas Act with particular ferocity against the Indian communities in the cities and small towns, uprooting them from their homes and livelihood and threatening to “resettle” them in isolated areas where they face complete ruination. The Indian people have turned their backs on the reformist bourgeois leadership which counselled paths of compromise with oppression and the seeking of sectional privileges regardless of democratic principle and the fate of the masses. They have unreservedly joined in the many united struggles of the African and other oppressed peoples over the past two decades.
The system of colonialism and racial oppression in our country is powerfully challenged and will be overthrown by the unified struggle of national liberation and working class movements that have grown, developed in experience and maturity and become steeled in many years of complex and difficult struggle.
The impact of capitalism destroyed the traditional economy and fabric of African tribal society. It scattered and disarmed the tribal armies. It turned the chiefs from people’s leaders into instruments for implementing the laws devised by Whites. But the spirit of the African people was not broken. Patriotic African intellectuals, with the backing of many chiefs, began forming a new type of organisation, a national political organisation of the African people. A number of such bodies was formed, and in 1912 these united to form the African National Congress. The establishment of the A.N.C. is a profoundly important landmark not only for South Africa, but for our Continent as a whole. It was the forerunner of similar bodies in very many other countries of the Continent, movements which led the African revolution, and today take part in African governments.
As a national liberation organisation, the A.N.C. does not represent any single class, or any one ideology. It is representative of all the classes and strata which make up African society in this country. With the advance of members of the working class, together with revolutionary young intellectuals, to leading positions in the A.N.C., the organisation steadily developed and went forward in its policy and methods of struggle. Congress has steadfastly rejected narrow nationalism, Black chauvinism, anti-Communism and other outlooks which are harmful to the people’s cause. It was precisely on these issues that the right-wing Pan-Africanist Congress broke away from the A.N.C. to form a rival organisation. The A.N.C. has formed a firm alliance between itself and patriotic organisations of the Indian and Coloured people, the democratic Europeans and the non-racial Trade Union movement-the Congress Alliance. Even though driven underground since 1960, the A.N.C. has carried on the struggle.
The representative organisation of the Indian people is the South African Indian Congress. For many years, under the leadership of representatives of the wealthy commercial classes, the Indian Congress contented itself with sectional struggles, aimed at maintaining and improving the status of its community alone as a minority group. But, in the middle forties, a dynamic new leadership, representing the mass of exploited Indian workers and peasants, as well as radical intellectuals who had absorbed the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and identified themselves with the working class, pointed out that the future of the Indian community in South Africa was dependent upon the establishment of conditions of true democracy for the country as a whole. The struggle of the Indian people was one with that of the African national movement for freedom and equality for all in this country. This new policy and leadership was accepted by the great majority of the members of the South African Indian Congress, and since that time this Congress has taken full part in the major struggles of the Congress Alliance.
The pioneer Coloured political movement, the African People’s Organisation, conducted militant campaigns and pursued a radical united front policy, but this tradition was not maintained. For many years, leadership of the Coloured people’s organisations and trade unions was dominated by middle class elements, who either collaborated openly in the maintenance of White supremacy, or — under the cover of wordy denunciations of “Herrenvolkisrn” — preached a policy of abstention from political activity and hostility to the African national liberation movement. In recent years the Nationalist government’s attacks on their longstanding rights have led to a revival of militancy among the Coloured people. The masses of Coloured working people and radical youth are turning increasingly towards the Coloured People’s Congress, an ally of the African National Congress.
There has always been a minority of Whites in South Africa who fought against racial oppression and courageously came out for the rights of the oppressed. The African people will never forget the memory of such democrats, Christians, liberals and Communists as van der Kemp, Pringle, Olive and W. P. Schreiner, Ivon Jones and S. P. Bunting, who swam against the stream of racialism. From its formation in 1953 until it was outlawed in 1962, the Congress of Democrats represented the most advanced and progressive section of the White population. In spite of unceasing persecution by the State which banned and restricted the greater part of its membership, the C.O.D. joined all the major campaigns of the people for freedom, and shared all the trials and tribulations of the other members of the Congress Alliance.
This alliance headed by the African National Congress, which has been joined by the lion-racial Congress of Trade Unions, has adopted a revolutionary democratic programme, emanating from the masses, the Freedom Charter, which envisages profound democratic changes in every field of South Africa’s political, social, economical and cultural life. During the grim years of the Nationalist regime, the Congresses have conducted one stirring campaign after another-the May Day and June 26 strikes of 1950 and many general strikes in the years that followed, the campaign of Defiance of Unjust Laws and the Congress of the People are examples. In its foreign relations, the Congress Alliance has done much to bring the outrages of apartheid to the attention of the outside world, and to evoke acts of international solidarity which have greatly inspired and encouraged the peoples of our country.
The labour movement of South Africa has reflected, in an especially acute way, the profound international cleavage of the working class between reformists and revolutionaries, social-democrats and Communists. It began almost exclusively as a movement of the White skilled workers. During the first quarter of the present century the White working class fought many a bitter and stirring struggle against the monopoly capitalists. The miners and other White workers of the Witwatersrand formed armed commandos to defend themselves against the attempts of the Smuts government in 1922, to smash their strike by force. But, led by Right-wing renegades from socialism, such as (erased) and bribed by concessions and privileges extended to them by the monopolists, the great majority of the White workers repudiated the principles of socialism and working class unity. So far from joining bands with their oppressed and exploited fellow-workers of a dark skin colour, they have turned their backs on them and joined in an alliance with the White capitalists and wealthy farmers to maintain White colonialism and to subjugate and exploit the non-White peoples. The years since 1922 have seen a steady decline in the militancy and class-consciousness of the White workers. The once powerful Labour Party is dead. The White trade unions — with a few honourable exceptions — collaborated in the implementation of apartheid in industry and job reservation. In fact, most of these unions have become little more than societies to preserve a White monopoly of skilled jobs. For the most part, the White workers of this country support their capitalist rulers and exploiters in the maintenance of White supremacy and colonialism.
The labour laws of South Africa, accepted in the main by the White trade unionists, have compelled the African workers to form their own trade unions. In spite of all the disabilities under which they have to function, these unions have played a notable part in raising the wages and improving the conditions of th& workers. They have educated the workers in the spirit of class unity and international solidarity. Following the exclusion of African trade unions from the White-dominated Trade Union Council in 1956, these came together with workers of other races who remained loyal to the principles of trade unionism, to establish the South African Congress of Trade Unions. S.A.C.T.U. has consistently campaigned to organise the hundreds of thousands of unorganised workers, particularly the Africans. It has opposed every manifestation of racialism and White privilege in the economic life of the country and in the trade union movement. It has endorsed the Freedom Charter and played an important part in the Congress Alliance. The Congress of Trade Unions has consistently upheld the principle of working class internationalism as expressed by the World Federation of Trade Unions. It has opposed the efforts of the so-called International Confederation of Free Trade Unions to split the workers’ movement in Africa and elsewhere. S.A.C.T.U. is a foundation member of the All-Africa Federation of Trade Unions.
Established on July 29, 1921, the Communist Party of South Africa was the first Marxist-Leninist Party on the African Continent. It was itself based mainly on the International Socialist League, which in 1915, under the leadership of men like Bill Andrews, had broken from the S.A. Labour Party over the issue of opposition to the imperialist war. It spread socialist teachings among the people and strove unceasingly against racialism and for the unity of the working class. It demanded complete freedom and equality for the African and other subject nationalities and led the workers and oppressed people in struggles many of them historic, against pass laws and unemployment, against fascism at home and abroad, and for a democratic South Africa. The Communist Party brought about profound changes in the thinking, political outlook, demands, forms of organisation and methods of struggle of the oppressed and exploited people of this country. Members of the Party worked hard to build up the trade union movement, the African National Congress and other organisations of the people. Hated, slandered and persecuted by the ruling classes, the Party grew to become the outstanding champion of the oppressed and working people in every struggle against exploitation and national oppression. Nevertheless, despite its great achievements and struggles, the Communist Party of South Africa proved incapable of surviving under illegal conditions. Legalistic illusions had penetrated into the ranks of the Party, including its leading personnel. The Party was unprepared and unable to work underground. These errors culminated in the dissolution of the Party upon the passing of the Suppression of Communism Act by the Nationalist Government in 1950. Under this law hundreds of “listed” Communists were victimised, banned, banished and forced to resign from organisations which they had given their lives to build.
The Nationalists boasted that they had “destroyed Communism in South Africa” it was an idle boast. Defying the Nazi laws of the Nationalists, the most steeled and determined Communists of South Africa came together in 1953 to form the South African Communist Party, to carry forward and raise still higher the banner of the Communist movement under the new and testing conditions of illegality. Combining legal mass work with the illegal work of building the Marxist-Leninist Party as the disciplined vanguard of the fight for freedom, democracy, peace and socialism, the South African Communist Party is the heir to the tradition created by the Communist Party of South Africa. It is a tradition of unflinching struggle against oppression and exploitation, for unity of the workers and freedom-loving people of our country, irrespective of race and colour.
The South African Communist Party is the party of the working class, the disciplined and advanced class which has no property stakes in present-day South Africa and has been the core and inspiration of other classes in every struggle of our time. The working class seeks a close alliance with the rural people, and with the urban middle classes and intellectuals in the national democratic revolution. Only under its leadership can the full aims of the revolution be achieved. It is to enable the working class to fulfill this historic mission that the workers have founded and built their own political party, the South African Communist Party.
The historic task of the Communist Party is the abolition of the capitalist system, and through socialist transformation of the economy of the country, to attain a classless Communist Society. However, At a time when the majority of the people are subject to the most vicious and degrading national oppression, when White colonialist reaction imposes a rule of terror on the whole population and sacrifices the people’s living standards on the altar of White supremacy, the central and immediate task of the Communist Party is to lead the fight for the national liberation of the non-White people, and for the victory of the democratic revolution. The Party will strive continuously for the building and strengthening of a united front of national liberation, the unity of Communists and non-Communists, the unity of freedom-loving people of all nationalities and all anti-colonialist classes in the national democratic revolution.
The South African Communist Party is a part of the world Communist movement. It participates in meetings of fraternal Communist and Workers’ Parties and abides loyally by their common decisions. True to the principles of working class internationalism, the Party works for unity of the workers of the whole world, and especially of the Marxist-Leninist parties. The Party works for the unity of all anti-imperialist and sane forces in the world in the life-and-death struggle against a devastating nuclear war, for peaceful co-existence of nations of whatever stage of social development, for universal and complete disarmament. This policy coincides with the fundamental interests of the people of our country. It is in harmony with the aims of the independence and integrity of our country and of all-African co-operation and unity
The structure of the Party is based on the principles of democratic centralism. While demanding strict discipline, the subordination of a minority to the majority and of lower Party organs to higher organs, and the prohibition of all factions within the Party, it upholds the principle of democratic election of all leading organs of the Party, collective leadership and full debate of policy. The curtailment of some aspects of democratic procedure is inevitable under illegal conditions; this temporary situation must be compensated for by all members, regarding it as their duty to participate in the formulation of policy and by the leadership, encouraging and making it possible for them to do so.
The Nationalist Party, which has governed South Africa since 1948, has brought this country to the verge of revolution. The Afrikaner nationalist movement, which was always corrupted by White chauvinism, has today lost all trace of the anti-imperialist element it once had, during the period of its struggle against British rule. Dominated by the Afrikaner capitalist class and large-scale farmers, the Nationalist Party is controlled by the fascist “Broederbond” secret society. Deeply influenced by the Nazi movement in Germany, it adopted many of Hitler’s ideas and worked for a fascist victory in the second world war. The Nationalist Party has become the instrument of the most racialistic and imperialistic sections of the capitalist class. The declaration of a Republic in May 1961 in no way lessened the dependence of the South African economy on British and American finance-capital. The Republic left the British Commonwealth not by choice of the Nationalist government but because the unpopularity of its racial policy among African and Asian member countries faced it with expulsion. In all major questions of international policy the Nationalist government identifies itself with the most aggressive elements of international imperialism in the United States, Britain, France, West Germany and Japan. It is dependent on financial and armaments aid from these countries to maintain its rule in South Africa.
The Nationalist Party relies on violence and terror to maintain itself in office. It has disfranchised the few non-Whites who once enjoyed the vote and otherwise altered the electoral system to ensure that it cannot be removed by Parliamentary means. It has outlawed workers’ and liberation organisations, meetings, newspapers and other publications, and resorted to arbitrary bannings, deportations, arrests, confinements and house-arrests of freedom-fighters. It has closed the door to every possibility of peaceful advance of the non-White peoples to social, political and economic rights. It is mobilising and arming the White population for the express purpose of “shooting down the black masses.” Already its police have committed massacres of unarmed Africans, such as those of Sharpeville and Langa, which have shocked the whole world. A powerful international movement has developed, supported by African, Asian and socialist governments, for the diplomatic, economic, cultural and sporting isolation of South Africa, and for boycotts and sanctions against the Republic. The policy of the Nationalist government has brought about a state of permanent and deepening crisis in the country.
The other White parliamentary parties can offer no way out of this crisis. The United Party, traditionally the instrument of the gold-mining interests and the English-speaking capitalists, laid the basis for all the excesses of the Nationalists during the many years in which it governed South Africa prior to 1948. As the main “opposition” group in Parliament it has steadily retreated before Nationalist reaction. It is compromised by its own antidemocratic class character and afraid lest genuine opposition to the government might result in disturbances which would adversely affect business and the confidence of foreign investors. It vies with the Nationalists in appealing to the racial prejudices of the White voters. It has actively or passively assisted the Nationalist Party at every stage of its march to fascism.
Disgusted with the surrender of the United Party and alarmed at the dangers to the country’s stability and future presented by Nationalist policy, a number of former U.P. M.P.s and members broke away in 1959 to form the Progressive Party. Backed by influential imperialist interests, such as the Oppenheimer mining group, and supported by a section of urban, middle-class Whites, the Progressive Party seeks to avert the coming democratic revolution in South Africa by offering a “qualified” franchise to middle-class non-Whites and concessions to ease the intolerable burden of apartheid.
A more radical tendency among progressive middle-class and intellectual circles is represented by the Liberal Party. This Party proposes a universal franchise, but since it expressly confines itself to “parliamentary and constitutional methods,” it suggests no realistic or convincing method to obtain this. Its insistence on anti-Communist and anti-socialist policies and its failure to attack the roots of race-oppression in the economy of the country seriously lessen the Liberal Party’s usefulness and effectiveness. Its adherence to the “West” in the cold war continually conflict with its opposition to the Nationalist government, and make the liberation movement doubt its reliability as an ally in the struggle.
The deep-rooted crisis in South Africa cannot be resolved by the Nationalist government, using methods of force and violence or attempting to deceive home and world opinion with fraudulent schemes of “Bantu self-government” Nor can it be resolved by a mere change of government to another section of the White ruling class which would make superficial concessions while leaving the essence of the colonial system and monopoly control intact. The crisis springs from the fundamental contradictions of South African society: between the oppressed people and their rulers; between South African colonialism and the world-wide movement against colonialism and imperialism; between the working class and the rural masses, together with the middle classes, on the one side, and the handful of monopoly capitalists on the other.
This crisis can only be resolved by a revolutionary change in the social system which will overcome these conflicts by putting an end to the colonial oppression of the African and other non-White people. The immediate and imperative interests of all sections of the South African people demand the carrying out of such a change, a national democratic revolution which will overthrow the colonialist state of White supremacy and establish an independent state of National Democracy in South Africa.
The main content of this revolution is the national liberation of the African people. Its fulfilment is, at the same time, in the deepest interests of the other non-White groups, for in achieving their liberty the African people will at the same time put an end to all forms of racial discrimination. It is in the interests of the White workers, middle class and professional groups to whom the establishment of genuine democracy and the elimination of fascism and monopoly rule offers the only prospect of a decent and stable future.
The main aims and lines of the South African democratic revolution have been defined in the Freedom Charter, which has been endorsed by the African National Congress and the other partners in the national liberation alliance. The Freedom Charter is not a programme for socialism. It is a common programme for a free, democratic South Africa, agreed on by socialists and non-socialists. At the same time, in order to guarantee the abolition of racial oppression and White minority domination, the Freedom Charter necessarily and realistically calls for profound economic changes: drastic agrarian reform to restore the land to the people; widespread nationalisation of key industries to break the grip of White monopoly capital on the main centres of the country’s economy; radical improvements in the conditions and standards of living for the working people. The Communist Party pledges its unqualified support for the Freedom Charter. It considers that the achievement of its aims will answer the pressing and immediate needs of the people and lay the indispensable basis for the advance of our country along non-capitalist lines to a communist and socialist future. To win these aims is the immediate task of all the oppressed and democratic people of South Africa, headed by the working class and its party, the Communist Party
In their long and difficult struggles the national liberation organisations of South Africa, including the Communist Party, have always sought peaceful methods of struggle. In the past they have counselled non-violent methods not because they are cowardly or believers in pacifist illusions but because they wished to avoid the bitterness and bloodshed of civil war. But the ruling class has invariably replied to non-violence with violence; to peaceful protests with suppression and police massacres of unarmed men, women and children. The Nationalist government has closed, or is closing, every channel of legal protest and normal political activity. It is openly preparing for civil war.
In the face of these provocations, the liberation movement has had to reconsider its attitude towards “non-violence” as a universal principle. The patience of the people is not endless. They are determined to win freedom in our lifetime. They would prefer to achieve their liberation by non-violent means. But today they are left with no alternative but to defend themselves and hit back; to meet violence with violence. The Nationalists are forcing a solution upon South Africa in which patriots and democrats will take up arms to defend themselves, organise guerilla armies and undertake various acts of armed resistance, culminating in a mass insurrection against White domination. In such a conflict, however long and costly, the fighters for freedom must win, for they will enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people of our country and the whole world.
The Communist Party considers that the slogan of “non-violence” is harmful to the cause of the democratic national revolution in the new phase of the struggle, disarming the people in the face of the savage assaults of the oppressor, dampening their militancy, undermining their confidence in their leaders. At the same time, the Party opposes undisciplined acts of individual terror. It rejects theories that all non-violent methods of struggle arc useless or impossible, and will continue to advocate and work for the use of all forms of struggle by the people, including non-collaboration, strikes, boycotts and demonstrations.
The Party does not dismiss all prospects of non-violent transition to the democratic revolution. This prospect will be enhanced by the development of revolutionary and militant people’s forces. The illusion that the White minority can rule forever over a disarmed majority will crumble before the reality of an armed and determined people. The crisis in the country, and the contradictions in the ranks of the ruling class, will deepen. The possibility would be opened of a peaceful and negotiated transfer of power to the representatives of the oppressed majority of the people.
Whether its end is brought about through such a peaceful transition or by insurrection, the vicious type of colonialism embodied in the present Republic of South African cannot long endure. Its downfall and the victory of the South African democratic revolution are certain in the near future.
The Communist Party unreservedly supports and participates in the struggle for national liberation headed by the African National Congress in alliance with the S.A. Indian Congress, the Congress of Trade Unions, the Coloured People’s Congress and other patriotic groups of democrats, women, peasants and youth. With them, it demands the immediate summoning of a sovereign national convention to draw up and promulgate the constitution of a state of national democracy in South Africa. It considers that it is important and urgent for all the forces and movements for freedom to agree upon all their main goals and aims at this time.
It is in this situation that the Communist Party advances its immediate proposals before the workers and democratic people of South Africa. These are not proposals for a socialist state. They are proposals for the building of a national democratic state. These proposals are put forward within the framework of the Freedom Charter which the Party considers to be suitable as a general statement of the aims of a state of national democracy. Our proposals are not directed towards communists and socialists alone, but are submitted as a basis for discussion for all democratic and patriotic people, and in particular for members and supporters of the national liberation and trade union movements.
The Party stands for a unitary South African state with a Republican form of government. All local and national representatives in legislative bodies should be subjected both to election and recall by universal, equal, direct, adult franchise, without regard to race, colour, sex or property, educational or other qualifications whatsoever. The Party declares that the revolutionary people of South Africa cannot merely take over existing State and government institutions designed to maintain colonialism, but must destroy them and create new people’s institutions in their place. The Senate and all institutions based on property or other undemocratic qualifications must be abolished.
New territorial administrative regions should be established, enjoying full powers of local government corresponding to the progressive traditions and the wishes of the people of each area, but conforming to the overall character and laws of the people’s democratic state.
Every vestige of apartheid and racial discrimination should scrupulously be removed from every field of state service and public life. Every rank of the Civil Service, of the army, navy and air force, of the judiciary, police, municipal services and other public institutions should be open to all South Africans The aim of the state should be to replace all officials who are disloyal to democratic non-racial principles. Special measures should be taken rapidly to promote African and other non-White personnel, so as to ensure that all state institutions are fully representative of the nature of the population of South Africa.
The state must guarantee the fullest liberty of speech and thought, of the press and of organisation, of conscience and religion, to all citizens. The people’s’ freedom of movement must be guaranteed. Racialistic and counterrevolutionary propaganda must be forbidden. People must be free to discuss and debate all schools of democratic and progressive opinion.
In order to preserve and extend the gains of the revolution, particularly in the conditions of South Africa, the utmost vigilance must be exercised against those who would seek to organ ise counter-revolutionary plots, intrigues and sabotage, against all attempts to restore White colonialism and destroy democracy.
While extending the greatest measure of democracy to the people, and ensuring their fullest participation in the public life of the country, a vigorous and vigilant dictatorship must be maintained by the people against the former dominating arid exploiting classes. Towards this end, the Party will propose the disbandment of the police and military forces maintained by White colonialism. A new people’s militia and people’s liberation army; composed of and led by trusted representatives of the people, must be created.
The Party will work unceasingly to oppose the development of any form of cult of individual leadership, of illegal and arbitrary methods, or of misuse of power in any way. It will uphold proper legal and judicial procedures, and fight to protect the security of the citizen, the inviolability of his home, his privacy and his correspondence.
In order to ensure the rapid development of South Africa as a well balanced industrial-agricultural country, overcoming the lopsidedness caused by colonialism, to abolish unemployment, and to ensure continuously rising material and cultural standards of the people, the Party advocates the large-scale, planned development of the economy of the country, controlled and directed by the state.
In order to ensure South Africa’s independence, the Party will press for the strengthening of the state sector of the economy, particularly in the fields of heavy industry, machine tool building and fuel production. It will seek to place control of the vital sectors of the economy in the hands of the national democratic state and to correct historic injustice, by demanding the nationalisation of the mining industry, banking and monopoly industrial establishments, thus also laying the foundations for the advance to socialism.
At the same time, the state should protect the interests of private business where these are not incompatible with the public interest. It should offer assistance, by way of state loans, to non-monopolist producers, in return for a state share in their undertakings, thus paving the way for a gradual and peaceful transition to socialism.
The state should encourage and develop the initiative, talents and crafts of the people and provide opportunities and the fullest encouragement for those who show inventiveness, mechanical skill and other socially useful talents.
In order to rally the support of the great masses of rural people, to raise their living and cultural standards and to rectify the injustices committed by the colonialists in seizing most of the land of South Africa, the revolutionary state must take immediate and drastic measures to restore the land to the people. The Reserve system, and any laws restricting land ownership on a racial basis, must be abolished.
All land must immediately be confiscated which is in the hands of financial monopolies and land speculators, absentee-owners, farmers who use convict labour or indentured compound labour, and other idlers, exploiters and parasites who allow the land to lie idle while the masses starve. This confiscated land must be placed in the hands of those who live and work upon the land. At the same time, the state should guarantee security of tenure to peasant farmers and smallholders who fruitfully cultivate the land by their own labour. All agricultural land transactions should be regulated to avoid accumulation of land once again in the hands of the rich.
Radical reform must be undertaken in regard to all communally-held and tribally-held lands, with respect to land tenure and social relationships. Backward tribal and other relationships should be replaced by democratic institutions. Special attention should be given to building industries in these areas, electric power stations, modern roads and railways, and all other things required to enable them soon to catch up with the economic and cultural development of the rest of the country. Advanced and efficient agricultural methods and techniques should be introduced.
The state should encourage the widespread development of democratically administered co-operative and collective farms rather than individual peasant smallholdings. Vigorous measures should be taken to meclianise and electrify farming operations, to conserve water supplies and create large-scale irrigation schemes, to encourage scientific livestock breeding and the diversification of crops. The state should aim at the development of a prosperous cultured and progressive rural community, close in its standards of living and education, social outlook and interests, to the people of the towns and cities.
As the party of the working class, the Communist Party demands the protection and substantial advancement of the workers’ standards of living, housing, working conditions, wages, leisure and recreation. It proposes that all workers, including farm, mine and domestic workers, be entitled to full trade union rights and the protection of labour laws, including a national minimum wage, annual paid holidays, sick leave unemployment and workmen’s compensation benefits for all, and adequate safety regulations in all mines, factories, farms and other places of work.
The Party demands that the state provide special protection for women workers, the removal of all restrictions against married women employees, and the provision of adequate maternity leave before and after birth. The Party will fight for full and equal rights for women in every aspect of state, social and private life. It will work for the elimination of polygamy. It will fight vigorously against all vestiges and manifestations of contempt for or unequal treatment of women, or their being regarded as mere cooks, domestic servants, nannies and housekeepers. It will fight for the admission of women on an equal basis to every sphere of state, industrial, commercial, agricultural, scientific, academic and professional life.
The Party proposes that a state medical service be instituted providing free preventative and curative medical and health services to all, including hospitals, medicines, spectacles, dentures and all other aspects of a comprehensive health service.
The Party proposes the provision of free meals at school to all children: that all workers be guaranteed cheap transport to and from work and that the state provide adequate pensions, without discrimination, to all old people. It demands adequate allowances for all who are unemployed, disabled, orphaned, or otherwise unable to earn a living.
The Party demands the abolition of all residential segregation and the provision of adequate housing for all, with special attention to the needs of those living in slums.
There must be no segregation in education. All children must receive free primary and secondary education from the state. Standards of education must be the same for all children, irrespective of race, home language or economic status, and designed to develop citizens imbued with a love of their people, their country and humanity.
There must be equal opportunities for all to receive higher education and specialised technical training. however, in order to correct the legacy of colonialism, priority must be given to the training of African and other non-White specialists in every field.
The state must organise a campaign among the masses for the complete elimination of adult illiteracy.
All teachers must be guaranteed decent standards of living and the right to take part in public life. They must be enabled to attain the highest qualifications and their remuneration and promotion must be on the basis of qualifications and merit alone.
In view of the ravages wrought by the White colonialists, the Party demands exceptional measures to uphold the rights, dignity, culture and self-respect of all national groups inhabiting our country.
All languages used by the people of South Africa should enjoy equal rights and status. In local administrative regions, organs of local government, laws, and courts, the language used should normally be that spoken by the majority of people in that region.
The state should encourage in particular the unity of the African people and foster the spirit of unity of all South Africans. At the same time it should encourage and stimulate the development of healthy, non-antagonistic national consciousness and legitimate pride among all sections of the people. It should encourage the development of national cultures, art and literature.
While standing for a united South African state, the Party recognises the rights of all national groups in the country to develop and to determine their own future. To enable these rights to be realised, the Party demands the abolition of the Reserve system and the even development of agriculture, industry and communications throughout South Africa.
Freedom of movement must be an inviolable right of all citizens and all citizens must enjoy equal rights and status in every part of the country.
Vigorous measures must be taken to train and promote non-Whites, especially Africans, as managers and directors of industrial, agricultural, mining and commercial enterprises; as professors, doctors, chemists, architects, scientists and engineers; as leading personnel of every sort.
While regarding as its main task in the sphere of national rights, as being to correct the injustice and crime perpetrated against the African majority, the state must also safeguard and guarantee the rights of minority groups, whether of European, Coloured, Indian, Chinese or any other descent. The state must protect the rights of all citizens equally, and vigorously oppose and suppress all senseless acts of revenge which have their roots in the past. All manifestations of racialism, including the use of derogatory terms to designate people of various national groups must be prohibited by law.
The national democratic state of South Africa should be fully independent. It should base its policy on the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. South Africa should aim to strengthen the United Nations and make it more democratic and effective as an instrument of peace. It should work for universal disarmament and the abolition of war as a means of settling disputes between nations.
South Africa should not join any imperialist military alliance or power bloc, or allow imperialist bases to be set up on its territory.
A democratic South Africa should aim at the closest and most fraternal relationships between all African states, towards a united Africa.
Democratic South Africa must seek the closest and most brotherly relations upon: a basis of complete equality between our country and its neighbouring territories of South West Africa, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland, Mozambique and Rhodesia. It must proclaim and scrupulously observe the right of self-determination and independence of South West Africa, Basutoland, Bechuanal and Swaziland.
A free South Africa will render every assistance to all other Africans in their struggles to liberate themselves from colonialism.
A democratic South African state should enter into diplomatic, cultural, commercial and economic arrangements with all countries, irrespective of their social system, seek to conclude equal and mutually beneficial agreements with them and to strengthen the tics of friendship and brotherhood amongst the peoples of the whole world.