26 June 2014

Permanent Revolution

National Democratic Revolution, Part 1c

Permanent Revolution

Karl Marx’s March 1850 Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League (attached) begins by describing the working proletariat as the “only decisively revolutionary class”, and ends with a battle-cry for the workers: “The Permanent Revolution!”

In this Address, Marx is advocating all possible means of achieving a revolutionary change which, if not theoretically irreversible, would not in practice be reversed – i.e. a “permanent revolution”.

“The workers' party must go into battle with the maximum degree of organization, unity and independence, so that it is not exploited and taken in tow by the bourgeoisie,” said Marx, rehearsing the events of the previous two years when the bourgeois allies of the working class had treacherously sold the workers out as soon as they could secure favourable terms for themselves in the revolution against the reactionary feudal powers.

Marx then very frankly reviews the competing self-interests of the contending classes and fractions of the bourgeoisie.

“There is no doubt that during the further course of the revolution in Germany, the petty-bourgeois democrats will for the moment acquire a predominant influence. The question is, therefore, what is to be the attitude of the proletariat, and in particular of the League towards them,” declared Marx.

“As in the past, so in the coming struggle also, the petty bourgeoisie, to a man, will hesitate as long as possible and remain fearful, irresolute and inactive; but when victory is certain it will claim it for itself and will call upon the workers to behave in an orderly fashion, to return to work and to prevent so-called excesses, and it will exclude the proletariat from the fruits of victory,” warned Marx.

The working class must “be independently organized and centralized in clubs,” and “it is the task of the genuinely revolutionary party… to carry through the strictest centralization.” Reading this section, it is clear that Marx was convinced that the building of the democratic republic and the building of the nation had to be one and the same set of actions.

The working-class tactics in alliance with the bourgeois democrats should be to “force the democrats to make inroads into as many areas of the existing social order as possible,” and constantly to “drive the proposals of the democrats to their logical extreme”.

The workers must always look ahead to the next act of the revolutionary drama. They will “contribute most to their final victory by informing themselves of their own class interests, by taking up their independent political position as soon as possible, and by not allowing themselves to be misled by the hypocritical phrases of the democratic petty bourgeoisie into doubting for one minute the necessity of an independently organized party of the proletariat.”

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League, Karl Marx, 1850.

25 June 2014

Origin of the National Republic

National Democratic Revolution, Part 1b

Barricade, Rue Soufflot, Paris, February 1848, painting by Horace Vernet

Origin of the National Republic

The Great French Revolution that started in 1789 did not immediately produce a lasting democratic republic in France. Napoleon Bonaparte’s Empire, launched with a coup d’etat on 9 November 1799, had attacked feudal monarchs all over Europe. But these events were followed during the next three decades by the restoration of weak versions of the French monarchy, culminating in the “July Monarchy” of Louis Philippe. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels anticipated a coming revolutionary upsurge and published the Communist Manifesto at the beginning of the revolutionary year of 1848.

The Manifesto’s first major section is called “Bourgeois and Proletarians” and it says among other things that: “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other - bourgeoisie and proletariat.”

Karl Marx arrested in Brussels, March 1848, drawing, N Khukov

Yet it was Marx in particular, in two great books and one short Address (see the attached and/or the links below), who described, better then anyone else, the much less simple, more complex, permutations of class conflict at the time. For example, in the following cut from “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (find attached, or please download your file via the link below) it is clear that the proletariat suffered an almost immediate disaster, because it had no allies. The proletariat was isolated and attacked by all the other classes together, and massacred, in June of 1848 in Paris.

This is the situation that the proletariat must always avoid, and it is one reason why the working class must always have allies. Here is the cut from Marx’s outline of events, given in the “18th Brumaire”:

“a. May 4 to June 25, 1848. Struggle of all classes against the proletariat. Defeat of the proletariat in the June days.
“b. June 25 to December 10, 1848. Dictatorship of the pure bourgeois republicans. Drafting of the constitution. Proclamation of a state of siege in Paris. The bourgeois dictatorship set aside on December 10 by the election of Bonaparte as President.”

In the “18th Brumaire”, not only do the contenders of the Great French Revolution, the Aristocracy, the Peasantry (sometimes called the Montagne), the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat reappear. Also described are the clear contradictions within the bourgeois class. Plus the classless, manipulative Bonaparte, who played the four main classes off against each other for more than two decades until he lost the plot.  And notably the “lumpen-proletariat” of idle adventurers who were Bonaparte’s willing, and paid (with “whisky and sausages”) accomplices.

Berlin, March 1848, painting

In his March 1850 Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League Marx spoke in particular of Germany, which had also caught the revolutionary enthusiasm, again in terms of a precise and dynamic comprehension of the patterns and permutations of class contradiction, and of who must ally with whom at any particular moment.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were deeply, personally and very effectively involved in these events as individuals and as organisers, and in Engels’ case as a military combatant.

These events shaped the new form of democratic republic that was consolidated in France after the eventual fall of Louis Bonaparte in 1871, and after the brief life of the Paris Commune.

Barricade, Paris, June 1848, photograph

That newly-formed kind of “democratic bourgeois republic” still remains the standard form of nation-state in the world, and it is the same kind that our republic has become, here in South Africa.

This historic understanding, as well as the unsurpassed clarity with which Marx in particular describes the nature of practical multi-class struggle, can serve to prepare us for a progressively more specific, historical examination of the theory and practice of National Democratic Revolution (NDR) through the 20th Century, in Africa, and in South Africa up to the present time.

The NDR is nothing if it is not about class alliance, and about democracy on the national scale.

Marx’s “The Class Struggles in France” (please find attached or download the extract linked below) is also a study in class alliance, and complements the “18th Brumaire”. It is a detailed account of the revolutionary events in France from 1848 onwards, including the rise of Louis Bonaparte. Marx was frequently in Paris during this period.

What “The Class Struggles in France” does for us here, early in our course on the National Democratic Revolution, is to demonstrate the realities and permutations of class conflict. It shows once again how the working class must have allies, and it shows how treacherous, brutal and ruthless the bourgeoisie can be. It also shows how lightning-fast revolutionary events can be. The period covered by chapter 1 is only four months, from February to June, and yet almost everything that can happen in a revolution, happened in that time. The question of the republic arises, and the necessity of supporting it. The revolutionary national democracy is crucial.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Chapters 1 and 7, Marx, Part 1 and Part 2, and Class Struggles in France, Part 1, The Defeat of June 1848, Marx.

24 June 2014

Critique of the Gotha Programme

National Democratic Revolution, Part 1a

Critique of the Gotha Programme

Why does the Critique of the Gotha Programme come in here? What does it have to do with the NDR?

Because: The Gotha Programme was a Unity Programme. It was supposed to be the basis upon which the separate factions of the German Social Democrats were going to unite and go forward together.

The National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance must be a united front, broad alliance, popular front or unity-in-action. The one that Marx criticised in this document was founded on a false basis. It needed to be an honest programme, but it was not.

If you skip over Engels’ foreword, you will find that the actual “Critique” is only eight pages long. It is a short read but it contains a lot. Some of it is controversial, even today – for example Marx’s remarks about co-operatives (p. 9).

The person called Lassalle who Marx refers to had been the energetic leader of the politically weaker faction. By this point in time Lassalle was deceased, but his followers were still being called the “Lasalleans”.

Our South African National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance does not require the creation of a monolithic Party.

Perhaps this is one reason why we have celebrated the centenary of the ANC, without the collapse of the essential class alliance.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx, Part 1 and Part 2.

Roots of the NDR

National Democratic Revolution, Part 1

Roots of the NDR

With any course, one must decide where to begin. In the case of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), the course has to begin with an understanding of class struggle and of class alliances in history.

Such a study could begin as long ago as the fifth century BC in the Athenian Republic led by Pericles, or with the Conflict of the Orders in the Roman Republic at approximately the same time, and it could proceed through the class struggles involving, for example, the Gracchus brothers [Pictured: Gaius Gracchus, Tribune of the People], Julius Caesar and others, that led in 27 BC to the stagnant class truce called the Roman Empire, which then, during four centuries, declined and fell (in its Western half) into a rural Dark Age, which was also the genesis of feudalism. Class struggle is the engine of history. Without it, there is very little movement.

We could alternatively begin in 1512 with Machiavelli, and the class struggles of Renaissance (i.e. “born again”) Italy, where multiple city-states with populations of 100,000 or more were embroiled in internal and external class conflicts.

We could go to Thomas Hobbes, who published his book Leviathan in 1651, describing the politics of the bigger national states of Northern Europe (Like Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands) which had by his time surpassed the politics of Italy to become the main theatre of recorded historical process.

These European machinations could have been be our workbook and our political sandpit, for the main reason that there is a record of them. There is very little virtue to be found in this history, and the examples are mostly bad examples – examples of things to be avoided – but there is a literature.

French Revolution

But we might as well rather begin, as Frederick Engels does in the first part of his “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific” (attached), with the Great French Revolution that started in 1789. From this point on we can meet, in their developed form, the class protagonists who allied and clashed, from that time until now, in all possible permutations; alliances holy and unholy, strategic and tactical; marriages of convenience and marriages made in heaven; and we can have, for the most part, the benefit of Marx and Engels as eyewitnesses or near-eyewitnesses.

The contending classes were: the feudal aristocrats; the peasants; the bourgeoisie; and the proletariat.

Using this work of Engels’ as a starting point has the additional benefit of introducing the rudiments of political philosophy, and leading our thoughts towards the “democratic bourgeois republic”, which is at one and the same time the highest form of political life before socialism; the prerequisite of concerted proletarian action; and a form of the State that has to be transcended.

In other words, our study of the NDR will bring us, as history has already brought us in life, to the kind of crisis that Lenin outlined so sharply in “The State and Revolution,” when majority rule is no longer an adequate substitute for the free development of each as the condition for the free development of all, social self-management, the end of class struggle, the withering away of the state, and the fully classless society called communism.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, Part 1, Engels.

23 June 2014

National Democratic Revolution: Introduction

National Democratic Revolution, Part 0

National Democratic Revolution: Introduction

The CU National Democratic Revolution (NDR) course will be serialised in the third quarter of 2013.

The NDR is the product of a class alliance (unity-in-action) against an oppressor class. The clearest original statement of this theoretical principle was made by V I Lenin at the Second Congress of the Communist International (2CCI) in 1920, in his Report of the Commission on the National and Colonial Question. We will return to the 2CCI statement in due course.

In practice, the NDR works to extend democracy to all horizontal corners of, and to all vertical layers within, the national territory and its population. In the cause of national democracy, it also overcomes non-class contradictions such as those of race and gender.

The NDR is always historical, in the sense of being a practical piece of work carried out in changing objective conditions, by individuals acting through the structures that they have consciously created. This series will trace the world history of the NDR from the distant past up to the present, attempting to cover the salient features, if not all the detail.

NDR in South Africa today

The living history of the NDR in South Africa is that of the African National Congress, embodying the class alliance that is the functional heart of the NDR.

The main trade union federation COSATU, and organised labour in general, are vital components in the necessary process of rendering the mass of the people into a self-conscious, free-willing historical subject. The working class leads and lends class-consciousness and a sense of purpose to the peasantry and to the petty-bourgeoisie. The working class is indispensable to the NDR.

But labour unions are not sufficient by themselves for the NDR; it requires an organised mass-democratic national liberation movement; and it also requires a party of generalising professional revolutionaries. That party is the SACP.

The theoretical pattern of the NDR was set in 1920 by the Comintern, and immediately afterwards by the conference of “The Peoples of the East”. Before we come to these, we will look at the ancient history of the nation - its origins and its development as a human institution.

Triumph attracting the attention of Disaster

Coming up to date, we will find, in parts of the ANC, that the NDR is treated as if it is complete, or in stasis, or that it is an end in itself. We will expose such ideas to criticism.

The NDR story is one of the materialisation and triumph of an idea all around the world, but also of a new threat: that the NDR could be treated as a meaningless commonplace, taken for granted, or even worse, expropriated as a political weapon by the very forces that the NDR exists to oppose.

Unlike those who want to call closure on revolution and declare a static “National Democratic State”, the communists know that history will insist on moving on, beyond NDR, towards the revolutionary end of class conflict itself, and towards the corresponding withering-away of the State.

The challenge posed by this study of the NDR is therefore to learn how to carry out the National Democratic Revolution to its utmost possible extent, and then to be able to conceive of an even greater degree of freedom: a freedom that is beyond democracy and which is more than the mere crushing of a minority by a majority (which is the essence of democracy). True freedom is the ultimate goal.

As Lenin pointed out in “The State and Revolution”, written on the eve of Great October, 1917, the withering away of the state has to become a burning issue. Before we get to that point in our studies, we must, in the next post of this new course on the National Democratic Revolution, begin again from the beginning.

·        To download any of the CU courses in PDF files please click here.

20 June 2014

Building SADTU

Development, Part 10b

Building SADTU

Why SADTU, in this general course on development? In the first place, because after the ANC and the SACP, we need an example of a primary, subjective mass organisation so as to consider how the democracy of this country is being built, and can be further built, right across the board, and at every level from grassroots to national.

This is to conclude our course on development, because, firstly, true development, which is “the free development of each, and the condition for the free development of all”, is human development, and depends upon the development of democratic institutions.  But also, material development at local level cannot proceed properly without democratic institutions to guide it.

For this purpose SADTU is as good an example as any other.

In addition one can also say that, in the context of building the National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance at local level, SADTU has a unique relevance because its sites are in every ward. SADTU has an unequalled opportunity to spearhead the integration of the COSATU federation into practical alliance with the SACP and the ANC at local level, because it is there.

Therefore the downloadable text related to this, the last item in the last part of our course on Development, Rural and Urban, is SADTU’s recruitment brochure, previously downloaded from the SADTU web site.

Also from the SADTU web site is the following on Membership:

“SADTU is a union proud of its history and confident of its future. The union is currently boasting a membership of 240,000 representing more than 2/3 of the teaching force in the country. It is an affiliate of COSATU, the biggest federation in South Africa. SADTU is a member of Education International (EI), the global union federation of organisations representing 30 million teachers and other education workers, through 394 member organisations in 171 countries and territories.”

and the following on Joining SADTU:

“Membership of SADTU is open to any person who is eligible for such membership [according to the SADTU constitution] and subscribes to its aims and objects. Persons can apply for full membership for those practicing as teachers or educationalist including those in auxiliary services, both formal and non-formal institutions of learning. Associate membership can be applied for by persons professionally admitted to the teaching profession but no longer practice as such and all persons who qualified as teachers and are yet not employed as such and student teachers.”

The SADTU Constitution (37-Page, 439 KB, PDF) can be downloaded here.

Mass organisations of every type are needed. In particular, South Africa needs a democratic, individual-membership mass organisation of women.

From the end of this week the CU political education forum will be carrying a ten-part course on the National Democratic Revolution.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: SADTU Recruitment Booklet and SADTU Membership Application Form.

19 June 2014

Imvuselelo Campaign

Development, Part 10a

Imvuselelo Campaign

The SACP’s call to “swell the ranks” of the ANC is not an attempt to gain a majority in the ANC and thereby to take it over. To do that would be counter-productive. The SACP does not need another clone of itself. The SACP needs the ANC to be the ANC: The expression of National Democratic Revolutionary class alliance, and of unity in action; in short, the SACP needs the ANC to be South Africa’s liberation movement, because this is what South Africa needs.

The growth of the ANC is a tactical necessity for a South Africa that is still trying to realise its full freedom. This is the same reason that the SACP has been building the ANC since the 1920s, without any pause. At the beginning of their relationship the ANC was a much smaller organisation than the SACP.

The ANC complements the SACP and COSATU. No one of these three can replace or substitute for either of the others. None of them can do without the others. All three have to be grown, for the sake of all three.

Now, while the SACP is aiming for half a million members, the ANC passed 1.2 million six months ago. It could reach 2 million within the current term of Jacob Zuma’s Presidency. The organised trade union movement may altogether have three million members, with COSATU affiliates currently having about two-thirds of the total.

This growth of mass democratic formations is the working out of the National Democratic Revolution, which moves towards completion in proportion to the democratisation of the popular masses in various mass democratic structures, elaborated at different levels and throughout the country.

The ANC’s expansion and extension plan is called the Imvuselelo Campaign. The attached and  linked document is made up of part of an ANC statement re-launching the Imvuselelo Campaign on 12 August 2010, plus a link to the “How to join the ANC” pages on the ANC web site. Also attached is an ANC membership application form.

In the next item, which is also the last of this course, we will look at the role of Trade Unions and the actual and potential role of SADTU in particular.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: ANC Imvuselelo Campaign and How to Join the ANC.

17 June 2014

The Party Goes Local

Development, Part 10

The Party Goes Local

The final part of this course on Development is concerned with the building of the mass collective Subject of History, starting with the main agent of such organisation, the communist party, in this case, the South African Communist Party, the SACP.

The SACP is in the process of converting its branches to “Voting District” branches. The SACP is also determined to achieve a 500 000 membership, or roughly one per cent of the South African population.

Urban Voting Districts in South Africa contain some 3,000 voters on average located within a radius of some 7,5 km of each Voting District’s single voting station. Rural Voting Districts accommodate some 1,200 voters located within a radius of some 10 km of the voting station. There are normally several, often four or five, Voting Districts in each electoral ward.

SACP Party Branches are supposed to have a minimum of 25 members according to its Constitution, which has not changed. The same rules apply to the new situation.

The next item in this last part of the Development Series will focus on the ANC’s Imvuselelo Campaign, and the third and final instalment will focus on SADTU’s recruitment, which in turn is in parallel with recruitment by other trade unions within and outside of COSATU, our federation, and with other mass organisations.

Localisation of the Alliance

What are the implications of all this recruitment? What qualitative changes may arise from the envisaged quantitative increase?

The National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance has been called “tripartite”, referring to the SACP - the vanguard party of the working class, the ANC – the mass, class-alliance, unity-in-action liberation movement, and COSATU, the federation of mass industrial trade unions. But in addition to these, the historic “civic” movement SANCO has a status as the fourth member of the Alliance. If there was a free-standing Women’s Movement, it could serve as the fifth independent Alliance partner.

The qualitative change which can be expected if the SACP succeeds in creating a substantial number of branches at Voting District level, and if the ANC is able to consolidate its 100-member-plus-per-ward branch structure, and if the local structures of the Trade Union movement can become similarly well-defined, is that the localisation of the Alliance will become a practical possibility.

For many years past, sundry expressions of disappointment been heard saying that the Alliance does not function at local level. The main stumbling block to this local functioning of the Alliance was never a lack of intention but rather the lack of equivalent basic structures across the three main organisations. The SACP especially was apt to be patchy in terms of its coverage on the ground, with hardly any organisational correspondence to the ANC at branch level. SACP Districts have also hardly talked to ANC Regions or to COSATU locals. Only at Provincial and National levels have the three structures been equivalent across all three of the main Alliance organisations.

The coming increase in membership of the SACP and the ANC will mean that it will be possible to populate viable parallel structures all the way down to branch level. This in turn will open up the prospect of a renewed relevance for SANCO, which can be the locus of combination with other mass organisation, of women, of religious people, and more.

The implications for the possibility of conscious, all-round development of the country in the fullest sense are profound.

The attached document is a compilation of the Commission Report on Building a Strong SACP from a Conference of Commissars, and notes on forming Voting District Branches, including extracts from the SACP Constitution as it was prior to the 13th Congress. Please refer to the latest version of the constitution before acting.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Building a strong SACP, Forming a VD Branch.

12 June 2014

NDP Chapter 9 on Education

Development, Part 9b

The National Planning Commission:
Draft National Development Plan

Chapter 9 on Education
This course is still a study in Development. It is not a running commentary on the NDP’s progress. The writing below is an edited version of the previous iteration of this course. It refers to the NDP draft of mid-2011, and the attached document is an extract from Chapter 9 of the draft, called in full “Improving Education, Training and Innovation”.

The current version of the full Education chapter (613 KB) can be downloaded by clicking here.

As with most, but not all, of the other chapters of the NDP draft, this one was practically impossible to summarise, because it was an eclectic mixture of points pulled out of the thin air of bourgeois common sense.

It had no organic integrity, let alone any sense of a unity-and-struggle-of-opposites that would drive education forward in a way that corresponds to the dialectical nature of human history. This chapter exposes the National Planning Commission’s lack of a founding concept of humanistic development. The NPC appeared to be trapped within bourgeois utilitarianism, which is only a little better than bourgeois post-modernism.

This document was of the “end of history” variety. It anticipated no qualitative change, but sought only relative improvement. As well as having no revolutionary perspective, it is unable to anticipate the inevitable periodic “crises”, or even to take into account the one that we already have, the so-called “meltdown” that still continues to get worse and more threatening.

Not being historical, and so being trapped in its time, the document became a barely-disguised intervention in current attacks by the DA on SADTU. The National Planning Commission had lazily assumed that the projection until 2030 is doomed to stay within the narrow concerns of the mostly-white constituency, represented by Helen Zille and her cohorts.

SADTU issued a statement on 13 November 2012, taking issue with a number of the many bullet-points in the NDP draft. Here are three of SADTU’s responses:

Political and union interference in appointments: SADTU’s role is that of ensuring that proper processes are followed in the appointment/promotion of teachers and district officials. The recommendation should deal with those responsible for employment such as the SGB and the District office to perform their duties in the best interest of our country and not to allow improper influence.

Increase teacher training by Funza Lushaka bursaries: While we welcome the bursaries, we maintain that we don’t believe that the universities have the capacity to train the number of teachers needed. Our universities have abandoned research in favour of making profits. We therefore reiterate our call for the re-opening of teacher colleges to have focused and dedicated training.

Regular testing of teachers: The regular testing of teachers in subjects they teach is an insult to teachers. Instead, teachers should undergo regular refresher courses on the subjects they teach. The recommendation is based on preconceived ideas and not on the reality faced by teachers. This will add to the low morale the teachers are already suffering from because the policies are de-professionalizing teaching.

The National Planning Commission was not assembled on the basis of any common theoretical understanding. Clearly, it failed to build such an understanding. Perhaps it never attempted to do so. Consequently, it only managed to descend to its lowest common denominator, made up of ad hoc common sense and the fashionable ideas of the day. In the case of Education, this means that the National Development Plan is just about as "uneducated" as it could be.

In the next instalment, on Health, we will see that the situation was not quite the same, because the prevailing ideas are much more theoretically well developed. On Health, the NPC soaked up some good material and was able to use it in the NDP.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: 13093, National Plan, C9, Education - extract.

11 June 2014

Draft National Development Plan

Development, Part 9a

Trevor Manuel

The National Planning Commission:

Draft National Development Plan

The South African National Planning Commission (NPC) handed over its draft National Development Plan (NDP) to the President of the Republic, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, on 11 November 2011.

This post, now adapted, was added to the CU “Development” course during its previous iteration on “CU-Africa” on 10 March 2012. Abridged, this post can still serve the instructive purpose of introducing the NDP process, as well as introducing one chapter of the draft, namely Chapter 3 on Economy and Employment (November 2011 draft).

On 15 August 2013 the actual plan came out, called “Plan 2030: Our future - make it work”. Links are given below to the new document. But we will continue to refer to the draft for this item, this time, so as to retain the points of discussion as they arose in time. In any case, the NDP is still being revised, and it will continue to be revised.

Our purpose is to observe the thinking that informed the process. We note that the November 2011 draft closely followed the format of the July 2011 “Diagnostic” document.

In the three-page “popular plan” version of the NDP draft, the NPC stated that after a three-month consultation period (November 2011 to February 2012) the plan was to be turned into reality. This did not happen. nor is it ever likely to happen in this literal sense, because what we posted on the CU-Africa in 2012 has turned out to be true: This was never an executable plan. Here follows more of what we wrote then:

The NDP is apolitical and a-historical. It makes no reference to the Freedom Charter or to the National Democratic Revolution. It does not mention the world’s first-ever National Plan – Lenin’s tremendous GOELRO Plan, adopted by revolutionary Russia in 1920. Nor does the NDP make any critical comment on the political philosophy of development. Searches of the entire NPC web site, including the 444 pages of the plan, for the words “Lenin”, “Socialism”, “Dialectic”, “Slovo” or “Mao” return nil results. The term “Capital”, on the other hand, returns 130 results. Try it yourself. Google for [selected term]” site:www.npconline.co.za.

Instead of doing what we have done in our CU course on Development, the draft NDP applies the logic of “therapy to victim” (T2V).

NDP not dialectical

Which means that problems, or sicknesses, are “diagnosed” in terms of received wisdom, or “common sense”. Of course, the solutions for those problems are predetermined by the definition of the problems/sicknesses that the “diagnosis” selects, or invents.

Subsequent progress is imagined as inevitably gradual, incremental or marginal, and not as dialectical, or revolutionary.

The product of this kind of reasoning is eclectic, and it refuses to take on board any acknowledged, as opposed to tacit, “meta-narrative”. In other words, it refuses overt politics. It just sees South Africa as sick, and it sees itself, the National Planning Commission, as South Africa’s technocratic healer. It sees SA as being under doctor’s orders, with the NPC in the rôle of bossy doctor.

The result of this “T2V” can only possibly be a “best practice”; that is, a cleaned-up, marginally-improved version of the status quo. It cannot possibly be a revolutionary break. Unlike the National Democratic Revolution, the NDP is not even a preparation for revolutionary, qualitative change

National Development Plan Downloadable

“On 15th August 2012, the revised National Development Plan 2030 entitled, “Our future-make it work” was handed to the President at a special joint sitting of Parliament. All political parties represented in Parliament expressed support for the NDP.” – NPC web site

Here are some links:

·        NDP downloadable from http://www.npconline.co.za/pebble.asp?relid=25
·        SACP’s May Day message, 2013 is at: http://www.sacp.org.za/main.php?ID=3963
·        SACP discussion document (click for link): “Let’s not monumentalise the NDP” (May 2013)

The National Development Plan in chapters:

The Plan (NDP 2030):


Chapter 3 on Economy and Employment

Herewith, attached, is the National Development Plan draft Chapter 3 on Economy and Employment.
The chapter begins:

“Achieving full employment, decent work and sustainable livelihoods is the only way to improve living standards and ensure a dignified existence for all South Africans.

“This will be achieved by expanding the economy to absorb labour

“We can reduce the unemployment rate to 6 percent by 2030.”

The National Development Plan is a gradualist plan, and not a revolutionary plan. It works from the unspoken assumption that what we have would be good enough, if only it was improved. In this chapter, 2030 looks very much like 2012, only with some of the bad bits made a bit better.
The chapter begins with some projections and some generalities. After page 7, it goes into “Employment scenarios”. This is so-called scenario planning, which is a kind of dreaming. Is that bad? You be the judge.
Then the chapter proceeds to “challenges”.
Thereafter, from pages 15 to 45 the document is mainly prophecy, or declaration. Sentences are written as “need to be”, “would be” and “will be”, without much sense of difference between these. It is not altogether clear whether this is a guide or a model, or an intended set of laws.
There is a Conclusion on the last three pages (49-48).
Is this chapter from the NDP on employment, just a wish-list? You be the judge.
And if it is a wish-list, is that bad?
Yes, it would be bad, if the wish-list is taken as a plan, because a wish is something less than a plan.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: National Plan, C3, Economy and Employment – extracts.