SECTION

SOUTH AFRICA

 

 


 

 

 

Documents of the CPSA

 

 


THE PRINTED PROPAGANDA OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA 1921-1950

 

 

6th CONGRESS OF THE COMINTERN

 

 

Resolution

The South African Question

adopted by the ECCI of the Communist International

Sixth Comintern congress

1928

SOUTH AFRICA

There was keen interest as the Commission moved to the next point on the agenda – South Africa. Here again it was a fight against the denial of the national liberation movement in the name of socialism, the same right deviation on new turf. In the South African setting, where four-fifths of the population were black colonial slaves, the deviation was particularly glaring.

It was true that in the past year or so the South African Party had intensified its work among the natives, a “turn to the masses." As the Simons noted, by 1928 there were 1,600 African members out of a total of 1,750 in the Party. The year before there were only 200 African members.26

The Party had pursued a vigorous policy in the building of Black trade unions, in conducting strikes, and in fighting the most vicious forms of national oppression – pass laws and the like. The Party’s official organ, The South African Worker, had been revived on a new basis. More than half the articles were now written in three Bantu languages: Xhosa, Zulu and Tsotho,

Sidney Bunting, leader of the South African Party, had emerged as a stalwart fighter for Native rights in the defense of Thibedi, a framed-up Native communist leader. As a result about a hundred Natives had been recruited into the Party, and two were now on the Central Committee. On the whole, the Party was making a turn toward the Native masses. But it still lacked the theory which would enable it to tap their tremendous revolutionary potential.

As did most of the white leading cadre, Bunting exhibited a paternalism with respect to the Natives. This paternalism was rooted in an abiding lack of faith in the revolutionary potential of the Native movement. They saw the South African revolution in terms of the direct struggle for socialism. This white leadership, brought up in the old socialist traditions and comprised mainly of European immigrants, had not yet absorbed Lenin’s teachings on the national and colonial questions.

These shortcomings had been brought sharply to the attention of the Comintern by La Guma. The result was the resolution on the South African question which La Guma, Nasanov and I had worked on the previous winter. It recommended that the Party put forward and work for an independent Native South African Republic with full and equal rights for all races as a stage toward a Workers and Peasants Republic. This was to be accompanied by the slogan “Return the land to the Natives.”

The resolution was not only rejected by the Party leadership, hut they had now sent a lily-white delegation to the congress to fight for its repeal. The delegation consisted of Sidney Bunting, Party chairman, his wife Rebecca, and Edward Roux, a young South African communist leader who was then studying at Oxford. Whatever their hopes were on arrival in Moscow, they now seemed dejected and subdued. Having sat through the discussion on the Afro-American question, they undoubtedly saw the handwriting on the wall.

From the start, the South African delegation was on the defensive, having been confronted by other delegates with the inevitable question: Where are the Natives?

What answer could they give? It was evident to all that theirs was a mission on which Natives could not be trusted, even those “brought up in the old tradition,” to use the phrase of Roux.

We Blacks asked about La Guma and they replied, “Oh, he was here just a short while ago and had his say. We felt that the other viewpoint should be represented.”

After copies of the ECCI resolution on South Africa had been distributed, the South African delegates took the floor before the entire congress to challenge the line of the resolution. The South African revolution, they argued, was a socialist revolution with no intermediate stage, an argument which posed a sort of South African exceptionalism.

The argument ran that South Africa was not a colonial country. Bunting then contended that “South Africa is, owing to its climate, what is called a ‘white man’s country’ where whites can and do live not merely as planters and officials, but as a whole nation of all classes, established there for centuries, of Dutch and English composition.”27

Bunting’s statement came under attack on the floor of the congress, notably by Bill Dunne. Bunting defended himself, holding that his description was solely factual and was not an “advocacy of ‘White South Africa,’... the very view we have combatted for the last thirteen years.”28

In essence, Bunting’s views liquidated the struggle of the black peasantry in South Africa. He declared that they were “being rapidly proletarianized,” and further that “the native agrarian masses as such have not yet shown serious signs of revolt.” Hence the slogan of “Return the land to the Natives” would antagonize white workers with its implication of a “black race dictatorship.”29

Rebecca Bunting spoke in the commission sessions. Addressing herself to the land question, she denied that the land belonged to the Bantu in the first place. Both the Bantu from central Africa and the Afrikaaners coming up from Capetown had forced the aboriginal Hottentots and Bushmen off their land. Thus, there was no special Native land question.

The real question on Rebecca Bunting’s mind, however, was not of land, but of the position of the white minority in a Native South African Republic. She came right to the point. Who will guarantee equality for the whites in an independent Native Republic? Their slogan, as you know, is “Drive the whites into the sea.” We listened to her in amazement and a laugh went through the audience.

The cat was finally let out of the bag, and a mangy, chauvinistic creature it was. Manuilsky stepped forward, his eyes twinkling. “Comrade Bunting has raised a serious question, one not to be sneezed at. What is to become of the whites? My answer to that would be that if the white Party members do not raise and energetically fight for an independent Native Republic, then kto znaet? (Who knows?) They may well be driven into the sea!” That brought the house down.30

The commission finally affirmed the resolution for a Native South African Republic. It was then passed onto the floor of the congress where the fight continued and our position was eventually accepted.31

 

______

 

26. (p. 270.) See Simons, Class and Colour, p. 406.

 

27. (p. 271.) Speech of Bunting, Inprecorr, August 3, 1928, p. 780; and Inprecorr, September 19, 1928, p. 1156.

 

28. (p. 271.) Ibid.

 

29. (p. 272.) Speech of Bunting, Inprecorr, November 8, 1928, p. 1452.

 

30. (p. 272.) I know of no written record of either Rebecca Bunting’s or Manuilsky’s remarks since they were made at the commission meetings, and these were not recorded in Inprecorr.

 

31. (p. 272.) This position was stated in the section on South Africa in the “Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies.”

 

Speech of S.P. BUNTING

 

SESSION: 23 JULY 1928

 

 

 

 

 

remark of the Comintern (SH):

The Communist International .....

( and all its documents !! )

belongs to the world proletariat

and not to the world bourgeoisie !

Help us to give all the documents back to all oppressed and exploited peoples all over the world !

Long live the world revolution and the dictatorship of the world proletariat -

that will confiscate all the property of the Comintern !

 

Simply and solely the Archives of the Comintern are the property of theComintern's successor - our Comintern (SH) – and to nobody else!

 

We, as the leaders of the worldrevolution, are determined to go to any length fetching them back to provide the world proletariat with the weapons of the priceless treasures of the Comintern`s documents!

We need these documents of the Comintern for the preparation of the world revolution - this is part of our most important tasks of the present international class-struggle!

In the first line we have to unmask the world bourgeoisie who tries to abuse and falsify the Comintern Archives for the purpose of anti-communism ! The world proletariat shall find out the entire truth and shall defend the truth ! We need your support to fulfill this task!

Comrades all over the world !

Translate and spread the Comintern-documents in YOUR countries !!

Long live the Comintern of Comrade Lenin and Stalin !

Long live the Comintern (Stalinist-Hoxhaists) !

 

 

 

 

Enver Hoxha:

"The Comintern, the Third Communist International - led by Lenin and Stalin, adviced the Albanian communists to find the right way to struggle, that way to the Marxist-Leninist ideology - to unite with the working class, to tie in the masses of the people, gaining new strength from them like Antäus and to create the Communist Party under the right, concrete conditions. We Albanian communists just won because we followed this way."

( from: "The Democratic Front, led by the party, is the great organisation of unification and political education of the people" - Albania Today", No, 4, 1979)

 

Konferenca I e Vendit - Maj 1943

Long live the Comintern ! Long live comrade Stalin !

"Profte Internacionalja Komuniste "

"Profte shoku Stalin"

 

 

 

 

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Comintern

Section South Africa