In its yearly statement commemorating the death of Joe Slovo, SACP president Blade Nzimande slammed US President Donald Trump for his aggression in the Middle East, and, domestically, pleaded for the downfall of neoliberalism and state capture.
“The SACP strongly condemns the acts of aggression by the United States against both the Iranian and Iraqi people,” Nzimande said, according to the statement provided to the media of the speech delivered at the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto on Monday.
“These attacks amount to a violation of the two countries’ rights to national sovereignty and self-determination. The flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereign airspace is one of the many examples which prove that the imperialist regime of the US has never cared about the freedom of the people in any region or country and is prepared to violate international law whenever it wants to.”
He claimed it was well-documented that the US’ involvement in the Middle East had nothing to do with peace and believed the US’ intentions were more about natural resources, particularly oil and the US dollar.
“It is also no mystery why Iran, with 10% of the world’s oil production, would attract the imperialist US’ violence. The surrounding of the region with US military bases has all the imperialist trappings against which the working class must unite. This is our call.”
Nzimande said the SACP called for an intensification of internationalist work from the working class, and on all peace-loving people globally struggling against imperialism.
Turning to South Africa, he said it was a historical fact that life in South Africa was better now than before the end of the apartheid regime in 1994.
“However, unresolved contradictions and increasing challenges are undermining our achievements. We are severely affected by the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, coupled with factors such as bad governance, poor oversight, state capture and other forms of corruption, in a world dominated by the imperialist agenda of neoliberalism and global capitalist crisis.”
“If he were alive, Slovo would, for instance, certainly be unhappy about load shedding, poor quality or dilapidating RDP houses, and skyrocketing cost overruns in development projects.”
Nzimande said the SACP was calling for “maximum unity” among South Africans to overcome the “vicious impact of the crisis of social reproduction, patriarchy and gender-based violence, and to confront state capture and other forms of corruption”.
He added the first generation of black economic empowerment largely played within the rules of the capitalist system.
“Generally, established monopoly capital played along with, and often actively promoted, this agenda, seeing it as a key means to advance its interests by deepening capitalism in South Africa against ‘radical’ threats.
“However, for many reasons, this agenda proved unstable and unleashed many contradictions and rivalries, including within state institutions.
“Enter the looting class, the second generation of the post-1994 primitive accumulation.”
Nzimande described state capture as “a second wave of accumulation using positions within the state and politics” and that it no longer played within the capitalist rules and was no longer in the interests of monopoly capital.
He said state capture caused enormous damage to economic infrastructure, finances of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the South African economy.
“It further weakened our capacity as a country to face the increasingly hostile global economic environment due to the compromised nature of some of our instruments for economic transformation and development like the SOEs and key institutions such as the South African Revenue Services, SARS.
“Our fight against the corporate state capture networks was in no way intended to make way for a re-assertion of the neoliberal agenda and its policy regime. Similarly, our fight against the neoliberal agenda and its policy regime is in no way intended to give any quarter to the parasitic networks associated with state capture to rebound and resume looting.
“The choice between looters and neoliberals is no choice at all.”
Nzimande said the way forward was a “people’s economy and a democratic development state”.
“In other words, without the national democratic revolution being reflected in economic policy, not only will we fail to resolve the imminent capitalist crisis we find ourselves in, we will also inevitably move towards a more complex and prolonged crisis.”
Joe Slovo was the general-secretary of the SACP and minister of housing in Nelson Mandela’s first Cabinet until his death on January 6, 1995.