Groundhog Day at the SACP congress
The SA Communist Party (SACP) just never learns. This week they were debating the same old issue they have interrogated for the past 14 years or so: whether or not they should break away from the alliance and contest elections on their own.
As with all previous conferences, the branch members have been singing songs expressing their desire to go it alone. But the leadership is warning them not to take “emotional decisions”.
City Press has no interest in whatever direction the party takes. But we have observed a pattern in each of the party’s conferences. Each time the issue of breaking away is raised, the party deflects by announcing a special conference the following year.
The move is, in effect, to give the SACP time to observe developments in the ANC. The following year, they are likely to take a decision that, while there is nothing wrong with the principle of contesting elections, the time and conditions were not yet ripe for such a move.
So, previously the party decided that they would work to support President Jacob Zuma, who was seen as more sympathetic to the working class. The move inevitably ended in tears and recrimination as their decision to link their future to an individual failed to bear fruit.
They are again on the verge of doing the same, throwing all their eggs in Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s basket. The party has embraced him, despite him being an archcapitalist. We do not know how this will end up, but clearly lessons have not been learnt.
The SACP needs to do more to define its own path without concomitantly being interwoven into the ANC’s factional politics. Watching the party keep more or less the same leaders as before and taking the same decisions as before feels a bit like the film Groundhog Day.