Jeremy Cronin’s shallow and decidedly incorrect view is not a surprise
Article by Floyd Shivambu
17 JUL 2017 01:26 (SOUTH AFRICA)
The so-called communists in the SACP, who were deployed in government, are nothing but careerist cowards and opportunists with no capacity to introduce anything leftward. Instead those like Jeremy Cronin and Secretary-General Blade Nzimande are stumbling blocks to progressive proposals in government.
When presenting the South African Communist Party’s leadership view on its relationship to electoral politics and state power, the recently outgone First Deputy Secretary General remarked that perhaps it is difficult to find intelligent people in the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Jeremy Cronin’s shallow and decidedly incorrect view is not a surprise because for a very long time now, this liberal airhead masquerading as a communist has thought of himself as the paragon of political virtue, a messiah and intellectual par excellence, only rivalled by Joe Slovo. Intelligent people to him are only those who are sub-controlled by white people, and no African child or collective can ever be considered intelligent.
In his unsubstantiated remark about the lack of intelligence (revolutionary intellectual capacity) of EFF, he fails to ideologically, intellectually and politically pinpoint unwise and unintelligent ideological, political and intellectual mishaps of the EFF both as an organisation or otherwise. He cannot do so because in all forms and shapes of measure, the EFF’s ideological, political and ideological perspectives represent superior logic and that is evidenced by its upward qualitative and quantitative development. As a matter of fact, the EFF is the biggest (qualitatively and quantitatively) socialist political movement on the African continent that is not under the ideological control of white people, now and in the future.
Cronin will not admit to this fact because, despite claiming to be a scientific socialist, Cronin is an undercover white supremacist whose participation in the Communist Party leadership was aimed at sanitising the radical manifestation of Marxism-Leninism in a country that is defined by white political, economic and social domination. Cronin’s role (and perhaps that of his ideological father Joe Slovo) in the National Liberation Movement has always been a sophisticated form of white entryism because uncompromising implementation of the NLM’s original vision would lead to the complete destruction of his kin and kith’s absolute dominance over society and the economy. Entryism refers to the infiltration of a political party by members of another group, with the intention of subverting its policies or objectives , and that is exactly what Jeremy Cronin has been in the liberation movement.
The task of revolutionary leaders in South Africa and all over the world is to constantly provide thorough diagnosis of societal challenges and provide durable solutions. Since Cronin was elected as part of the SACP leadership he has never provided any substantial and clear ideological and political guidance that unsettled white minority control of SA’s wealth and got to benefit the black majority and Africans in particular.
His role has been to correct the grammar, prose and form of emerging revolutionaries who in the process of development will objectively make some theoretical and superficial mistakes in their application of Marxism to the South African problem as it can be expected. Of course, Jeremy would understand English (the language) better than other African leaders in the and society because that’s the only language he knows and it’s his birth language. This is a leader of the so-called vanguard of the working class, who has not bothered to understand the language of the people he is vanguard of, and always ready to belittle them when they make genuine semantic errors in their attempts to explain society through the Marxist-Leninist telescope.
On several occasions, Cronin’s role has been to suppress its understanding of society better. Here are some of the examples: When the decidedly neoliberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution(GEAR) economic policy was adopted, the SACP issued a statement to welcome it, and only somersaulted when Cosatu opposed the macroeconomic strategy. The SACP verbatim said, “T he South African Communist Party welcomes the government’s Growth, Employment and Redistribution Macro-Economic Policy. We fully back the objectives of this macro-economic strategy and note, in particular, the following key features: Contrary to certain attempts to use the macro-economic debate to shift government away from its electoral mandate, the strategy announced today firmly and explicitly situates itself as a framework for the RDP.”
Despite the many justifications and exonerations of GEAR, it represented ideological and global economic dynamics naiveté on the part of the liberation movement, which had been in political power for two years. As a so-called vanguard of the working class, the SACP should have foreseen that neoliberal trade liberalisation, lowering of tariffs, taxation and fiscal reform would destroy industrialisation and the state's capacity to deliver services. The so-called vanguard of the working class should have foreseen that loosening of exchange controls would lead to massive capital flight, outflow of capital necessary for industrialisation to destinations that did not play any meaningful role in its generation.
In the 2000s, Cronin and the SACP forgot that when GEAR was adopted, the SACP fully back(ed) the objectives of this macro-economic strategy. They then conceptualised what they termed the 1996 class project, which was loosely defined as an ideological trend that forced GEAR’s adoption, in pursuit of a neoliberal crisis and therefore responsible for all South Africa’s developmental and economic problems. The defeat of the 1996 class project was then mixed with the removal of Thabo Mbeki as the Godfather of the class project. The ANC’s 52 National Conference was the theatre upon which the class project would be defeated and succeeded by a progressive reconfigured alliance. This, the intelligent Cronin argued, would lead to a permanent solution to our problems.
Hindsight reveals the simple fact that the SACP and its lead ideologue, Jeremy Cronin, the intellectual, misdiagnosed the South African problem, and history proves that the so-called 1996 class project does not have any scientific basis. The 1996 class project, conceptualised by Cronin, was nothing but a factional hogwash of the Communist Party’s (an organised faction in the ANC) bid for its leaders, not its ideas, to be accommodated and mainstreamed in the ANC as ministers and deputy ministers. This is evidenced by so many statements made by SACP leaders that they are tired of hunting for nogwaja (rabbits) alongside the ANC, and the ANC leaders eat alone.
The deepening crisis of the ANC-led liberation movement which will lead to its total destruction and ruin of all its component parts reveal that the SACP’s unscientific characterisation of the South African post-1994 problem as a problem of the 1996 class project was not only scientifically lousy, but was totally wrong. The socio-economic crises facing South Africa today reveals the fact that the so-called communists in the SACP, who were deployed in government, are nothing but careerist cowards and opportunists with no capacity to introduce anything leftward. Instead those like Cronin and Secretary-General Blade Nzimande are stumbling blocks to progressive proposals in government. Government under Jacob Zuma is directionless, the most corrupt, confused and self-contradictory, but the communists are there. Where is the intelligence of the Cronin and the SACP collective to rescue the situation?
When there were problems in Cosatu, Jeremy Cronin was part of a factionalist perspective that justified why Numsa and subsequently Zwelinzima Vavi should be expelled from Cosatu. It is not a secret that the SACP played a central role in fomenting the divisions that led to the split of the trade union movement. What is intelligent with a Communist Party that splits a workers’ movement and constantly banishes progressive forces into many components that do not speak in one voice? Isn’t the role of the vanguard party to unite all working-class forces?
Perhaps one of the most misleading things about the Communist Party was Jeremy’s concoction of pure lies about the leadership of the ANCYL, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ generation of the Congress Movement, which advocated for land expropriation without compensation and nationalisation of mines. There is no doubt that one of the greatest opportunities to radicalise the ANC-led liberation movement into a decisive, principled and ideologically steadfast Left movement was during Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema’s leadership of the ANC Youth League. Instead of rallying all progressive forces behind the radical calls for socialist economic freedom in our lifetime, the SACP through Jeremy Cronin’s lies and conspiracy was at the centre of driving a wedge between progressive workers and youth movements.
Sophisticated and intelligent revolutionaries always know when to maximise on revolutionary unity for a common socialist cause. The nature of Leninist movements in the world is their ability to gather immediate interests of different groups in society and consolidate them into a strategic vision and path towards socialism. Instead of playing this role, the SACP has always been at the centre of fomenting divisions in the liberation movement and casting aspersions on the true nature and character of socialist demands. The SACP and subsequently Cosatu was misled (lied to) by Jeremy Cronin that the then leadership of the ANCYL wanted to rescue some BEE deals in the correct and genuine call for nationalisation of mines. This has been proven to be conspiratorial hogwash promoted to protect Cronin’s kin and kith because black people’s ownership of mines in SA is less than 5%.
Parliament recently underwent a process of drafting an Expropriation Bill, and Jeremy suspended all his ministerial responsibilities and went to camp in the portfolio committee on public works every day to prevent an insertion of a clause that would have secured expropriation without compensation. Ministers and deputy ministers’ (executive) draft legislations and submit them to Parliament (legislative body) to deliberate and conduct public hearings. After this process, Parliament adopts the bill and sends to a president of accession, and the bill becomes law, an Act of Parliament.
During the process of deliberating and conducting public hearings on the Expropriation Bill, Jeremy Cronin, the intelligent Deputy Minister of Public Works, was camping in the committee to specifically prevent expropriation of land without compensation, something which he successfully managed to achieve. It is not surprising because in the course of pretending to be revolutionaries, the majority of white political activists in the Congress movement and other formations are inclined towards defending the true interests of kin and kith at the expense of principle.
In all the parliamentary debates led by the EFF and recently the NFP, Jeremy self-appointed himself as the defender of the status quo. He always comes to debate that the constitutional and therefore land status quo should remain because anything else will disrupt and disturb his kin and kith. This is the intelligent communist who struggles to find intelligent people in the EFF, and the reason they are not intelligent is because EFF leaders and members are demanding the land without compensation. To white supremacists, the legitimate demand for land to be returned to its rightful owners is of course unintelligent.
Jeremy Cronin’s other role in the SA Communist Party has also been to suppress internal organisational democracy. In the SACP 12th congress in Port Elizabeth, Jeremy is the one who changed the majority of congress’ view on state power and drafted something called a reconfigured alliance. We are aware of this because we were part of the resolutions committee and know that the majority of SACP members wanted SACP to contest political power independently from the ANC. SACP members might be wrong or right in their demand that their party should contest elections, but their intellectual contributions always get undermined by Jeremy Cronin, who has no regard for organisational democracy, in particular the view that the views of the majority must dominate over the minority views.
He seems to have done the same thing in the 14th Congress, because the reports point to the reality that if the question of the SACP’s relationship to state power was voted on, the majority would have voted that the party should contest independently. Like they did in the SACP’s 12 National Congress, the leadership duped their membership by cutting and pasting resolutions on the party’s relationship to state power.
In 2007, the SACP’s resolution on its relationship to state power and electoral politics read as follows:
“That the SACP contests state power in elections in the context of a reconfigured Alliance.To mandate the incoming CC to actively pursue the different potential modalities of future SACP electoral campaigning. These modalities could involve either:
“An electoral pact with our Alliance partners, which could include agreement on deployments, possible quotas, the accountability of elected representatives including accountability of SACP cadres to the Party, the election manifesto, and the importance of an independent face and role for the SACP and its cadres within legislatures. OR,
“Independent electoral lists on the voter´s roll with the possible objective of constituting a coalition Alliance agreement post elections.”
In 2017, in their 14 National Congress, the SACP resolution on state power and its relationship to electoral politics reads as follows:
“The SACP must actively contest elections. That the modality through which we contest elections may, or may not be within, the umbrella of a reconfigured alliance.”
The declaration of the 14 Congress says,
“The SACP remains committed to strengthening and consolidating our ANC alliance. This will require a significant reconfiguration. Whether the ANC has the capacity to lead its own process of renewal, and whether it will be able to once more play the critical role of uniting itself and its alliance remains uncertain.”
Many newspaper and television headlines ran front-page and leading stories announcing that the SACP will contest elections in 2019 independently, and such represents a dismal failure to understand the SACP and particularly Jeremy Cronin’s ideological misguidance.
As a matter of fact, the SACP is not planning to contest any elections because of principle issues, but instead is waiting for the outcomes of the ANC elective conference in December 2017. When the leadership outcomes favour the careerist and factional interests of the Communist Party leaders, they will re-assert their loyalty to the ANC, and when the outcomes are not favourable, they will try to cobble up some broad front to contest elections. If the latter is the case, the SACP will encounter its rude awakening that boardroom politics are not the same as groundwork. They will evidently not achieve even a fraction of what the EFF achieved in less than 12 months.
The SACP resolutions are drafted, justified and presented by Jeremy Cronin because, like a large number of the so-called communists, he lacks principled Marxist-Leninist discipline of not sacrificing principle on the altar of political convenience. The fact of the matter is that Jeremy Cronin is a liberal airhead masquerading as an African communist. He does not have the lived experience of blackness and does not understand the pain of landlessness and hopelessness that black people have suffered and continue to suffer 23 years after democracy. He has misled on many occasions. Under his leadership, the SACP has been used as an instrument of causing disunity among progressive working-class forces in and outside the Congress movement.
As a deputy minister of public works, Jeremy Cronin never came up with any innovative solution to the reality that the state is largely a tenant of white property owners in the capital cities for administrative headquarters, functional and service offices and even police stations. When Jeremy was appointed deputy minister of public works, he found the state renting offices and he will leave it like that. There has never been an intelligent solution he provided as a deputy minister of public works. Government is occupying rented property all over South Africa, and the Department of Public Works he leads and led with a fellow communist does not have a plan out of such. The Department of Public Works is instead renowned for justifying the patently illegal construction of the Nkandla private residence of Jacob Zuma. The Department of Public Works is also known for the creation of lousy underpaying jobs called expanded public works, which converts youth into cheap and easily disposable labourers for rapacious and callous contractors who loot state resources.
Blade Nzimande, who is overstaying his welcome as the General Secretary of the Communist Party, is Minister of Higher Education and Training, and yet the Communist Party has never provided any substantial and intelligent solution to the need for fee-free quality education. This is despite the fact that the ANC’s 52 National conference resolved to introduce free education for the poor until undergraduate level. Amid the #FeesMustFall struggles, the SACP of Blade Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin chose to concoct conspiracies around the activists, and never proposed any intelligent solutions. The Communist Party deployees have illustrated beyond any doubt that they will never do anything different from the neoliberal ANC even when they are given political power.
The EFF’s leadership collective has on the contrary produced creative and innovative and groundbreaking exact diagnosis of the SA problem, and constantly provides durable solutions. All the 15 diagnoses and analyses contained in the EFF Founding Manifesto are an exact reading of South Africa’s political and economic landscape. The EFF’s policy proposals are trendsetting, and always influence a discourse previously ignored or suppressed by the capitalist establishment. The EFF’s submissions on how multinational capital steals wealth through tax avoidance and illicit flows has led to SARS establishing and strengthening the internal units that deal with transfer pricing and aggressive tax avoidance.
The EFF's submissions on land has placed the land question on the agenda, even of the confused ANC. The EFF’s qualitative analyses and interventions have translated into quantity, leading mass protest actions and securing votes. The Communist Party has never organised or led a mass protest action that is even 10% of the protest action organised and led by the EFF. The Communist Party lacks relevance in society, and yet there is no sane political analysis and understanding of South Africa that can exclude the EFF.
The EFF is also able to build a dynamic relationship between the mass struggles and effective parliamentary work. We have made substantial and impactful transformative submissions on the transformation of the financial sector, and despite having taken up a campaign in 2002, the SACP has not made any substantive and impactful submission anywhere, let alone in Parliament.
The EFF has achieved in four years what the Communist Party could not achieve as an organised faction in the ANC. The SACP under the intelligent leadership of Jeremy Cronin does not have comprehensive policies on many key areas of society. The EFF has. Policy in SACP is the feelings of its leaders, and not scientific diagnosis of societal problems and solutions, hence the entire recent conference discussed only state capture that was introduced by the EFF. But well, Jeremy Cronin will never acknowledge the success of the EFF nor its potential because its policies will overturn his kin and kith’s economic dominance.
The EFF will never be diverted by liberals masquerading as communists because in 2013 we adopted a Founding Manifesto that inter alia diagnosed that, “ the Congress-aligned left-wing formations have been swallowed into reform politics of patronage and will never regain integrity to pursue real working-class struggles any time soon. The organised Left has been swallowed by the state, and is currently at the forefront of justifying the rapacious and callous theft of public funds by the incumbent president of the republic”. That is what the SACP has become under the intelligent leadership of Jeremy Cronin. Let us see what will be of a Cronin-less Communist Party, will they unite working class forces, and stop the blind loyalty to the corruption-ridden and captured ANC?
All of South African society knows and now understands that the true voice of the working class and the poor, the vanguard movement for socialist economic emancipation, is the EFF, and not Cronin’s SACP. The SACP’s relationship to state power and electoral politics is dependent on whether its preferred faction in the ANC wins elections. The SACP fails to internalise the most basic Leninist observation that, “ Whatever guise a republic may assume, however democratic it may be, if it is a bourgeois republic, if it retains private ownership of the land and factories, and if private capital keeps the whole of society in wage-slavery, that is, if the republic does not carry out what is proclaimed in the Programme of our Party and in the Soviet Constitution, then this state is a machine for the suppression of some people by others.”
The only movement that understands this in South Africa is the EFF through lived experience and once again, there are no white messiahs who will define the contours of our revolutionary struggles.
Floyd Shivambu is EFF Deputy President