New architecture for the left

The moment is ripe to look to Brazil and form our own mass workers party along the lines of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). The left should exploit the deepening political crisis in the ruling ANC alliance and the accompanying social crisis as is evident from the rate of community protests.

It will take a great deal of hard work and it will not be easy to launch on a credible footing without significant mass support among the trade unions.

But if the left can so unify and if labour provides its mass base, then this party could win elections on a clear socialist platform in the future.

It is something the country desperately needs and would reignite the passion and energy of the left we witnessed in the Nineties. It would be a focal point to woo the disenchanted ANC allies into as it is my view that they will get little or no joy at the December conference in Polokwane.

While support from the SACP is important, the party must first abandon the mistaken notion that it is the vanguard of the working class. The SACP must learn to work with other socialist formations on equal terms — the moment demands a completely new architecture for left politics in the country.

Two tasks are crucial. The ongoing struggles in townships provides a great opportunity for the SACP, Cosatu and social movements to forge unity in action. The federation and the communists know their members live daily with the same issues social movements are fighting for, such as access to decent housing and adequate basic services for all those who cannot afford to pay for it.

The second task is to hold a national conference to analyse the politics of the moment and to forge an elusive unity, as well as discuss the tantalising possibility of a workers’ party.

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