EFF celebrates 7 years, spells out its ambitions
Today the EFF turns 7 years old. When the EFF was founded, many doomsayers thought it would not exist for a very long time.
The EFF is however the most important weapon in the hands of poor and black people. Whenever people encounter racism in communities and in the workplace, their first solution is the EFF, and the entire racist establishment knows that the EFF is intolerant to racism.
The EFF has also become an important shield for workers who face unfair labour practices in workplaces. At Wits University, Johannesburg and Unisa, Tshwane, thousands of workers who used to be employed through labour brokers are now full-time employees of these institutions with full employment benefits.
The achievements recorded by the more than 1200 EFF public representatives in Parliament, provincial legislatures, and municipality councils will need volumes of books to record. What is now important are the aspirations of the EFF going forward. In celebrating our 7th birthday, it is perhaps important that we adopt a nuanced approach and write about our future aspirations.
The EFF’s 2nd National People’s Assembly set clear and cogent aspirations which will constitute the core political programme for the years ahead. Our aspirations include the following:
Fighting for the return of the land to the ownership and benefit of the people as a whole and thereby guaranteed food security and maximal usage of the land to benefit the people.
Building a highly developed South Africa and Africa which will create sustainable livelihoods for all its people.
Building a Marxist-Leninist, Fanonian pan-continental movement with unquestionable ability to lead the whole of society towards economic freedom, comprised of community- based activist branches and members, affiliated workers’ unions, civil society organisations, research and educational institutions and professional organisations (Doctors for Economic Freedom, Lawyers for Economic Freedom, Engineers for Economic Freedom, Teachers for Economic Freedom, etc).
An organisation with maximal capacity to train, develop, guide, oversee and monitor all its deployees in all spheres of the state. A mass campaigning organisation that consistently wins over members to the struggle for economic freedom and is active even in the period when there are no elections.
A pan-continental movement with ability to win elections not only in South Africa, but in other parts of the African continent.
An organisation with elected structures at all levels that have an independent capacity to organise and mobilise society behind the struggle for economic freedom and assist ordinary people with everyday challenges.
An organisation with functional EFF-owned offices at national, provincial, regional, sub-regional and branch level, which interact with members of the community constantly.
A fully functional organisation with an optimally functioning EFF Women’s Command, Youth and Students’ Command, and ultimately a Young Pioneers’ Movement.
An organisation that maximally uses information technology and other forms of technology for internal systems and communication with the entire membership.
An organisation with a high technology membership system that knows every member, their address, gender, race, employment status, and additionally has capacity to produce membership cards within a week of members joining.
An organisation with excellent research and policy development capacity to guide all fighters and commissars deployed in all spheres of government.
An organisation with an institutionalised political school that produces the best graduates in various fields of study and has internal capacity to send a minimum of 500 students to the best universities across the world every year.
An organisation with sound business interests that generate enough money to fund its own programmes without reliance on external funders.
An organisation that owns all its properties and has a property portfolio which includes national conference facilities and accommodation.
An organisation with a fully functional and efficient media and publicity division that publishes a weekly newspaper, quarterly journal(s), books, and has capacity to directly communicate with more than 10 million people all at once through various channels.
The path towards achieving these aspirations will not be easy but will be defined by dynamic political developments not only in South Africa but in the entire African continent and the world. What will determine the success of the EFF nonetheless will be the resoluteness of its leadership and members.
The question that remains is: What must happen to achieve an EFF that is ideologically sound and provides cogent alternatives? A straightforward response to that is: the EFF and its members at all levels must internalise the following principles of EFF organisational democracy:
Elected and collective leadership
This means that all leaders of the EFF are democratically and transparently elected in people’s assemblies and should at all times work as a collective. Collective leadership means that all leaders of the EFF should carry the obligation to consult the collective before engaging in activities and programmes that have organisational consequences, and must never act in isolation.
Powers of the National People’s Assembly
This means that the National People’s Assembly (NPA) is the highest decision-making body of the EFF and all programmes and resolutions adopted at the NPA guide the organisation until the next NPA.
Democratic centralism refers to the practice of democratic consultation and engagements before decisions are adopted, and once adopted, they are binding on all members and structures of the organisation.
The key and non-negotiable themes under democratic centralism are: 1) the majority rules over the minority, and once the majority has taken a decision, there is no expression of minority reports and perspectives that contradict the adopted position; 2) decisions of upper structures are binding on all lower structures and should be implemented and adhered to without any form of defiance; and 3) once decisions are adopted, the right to differ dwindles into insignificance.
Mandates, accountability and reporting
This means that once mandated on any task, members of the EFF at all levels must fulfil the mandate, take full accountability and report. Whosoever is given a responsibility at all levels of the organisation and in deployments carries the obligation to account and report on the work mandated. After every meeting, each member of the EFF participating or belonging to the Command Team should have absolute clarity of what is expected from them over what period.
Constructive criticism and self-criticism
This means that from time to time, members and structures of the EFF should engage in constructive criticism and self-criticism. Meaning they should openly and honestly review the work they do and avoid all forms of boastfulness and self-glorification over minor achievements. The people’s assemblies, CCTs, PCTs, RCTs, BCTs, deployed cadres and members should periodically review the work they are doing against their own set targets.
They should always ask whether they have taken correct decisions, whether they have achieved what they intended to achieve in the time periods they had set to achieve their mandates and resolutions.
Discipline and hard work
Discipline in a revolution is not an incidental issue, it is an essential ingredient and component of what the EFF seeks to achieve. Without discipline and hard work, all the objectives and aspirations of the EFF will not be achieved.
Discipline means utmost adherence to organisational resolutions and programmes. Discipline means punctuality in fulfilling organisational mandates. Discipline means that members and leaders alike must be able to publicly own up to everything they do in private. Hard work means that additional to fulfilment of mandates, leaders are willing to go an extra mile and do constructive and organisational tasks that seek to improve, enhance and harness the organisation.
Selflessness, love for the organisation and love for one another
Selflessness means that members and leaders alike perform tasks and mandates of the organisation without expecting financial benefits, promotion or praise. Selflessness means that members and leaders alike do not claim individual victory for collective work or for work they did in pursuit of the revolution. Selflessness means that instead of heaping individual praise and worship, members and leaders must always make the organisation shine.
Because of these aspirations and principles, the EFF will face an onslaught from the white capitalist establishment, their political puppets and media representatives because the EFF is fighting for equality.
Leaders of the EFF will always be portrayed as unreasonable and corrupt politicians and will be subjected to courts of public opinion, and black people who will be the primary beneficiaries of the EFF programmes will be used as instruments to fight against the leadership of the EFF.
We will never compromise on these values and will fight to the end until all these aspirations are achieved.
Happy 7th anniversary to the EFF, the journey ahead is longer and needs discipline, dexterity and determination.
* Floyd Shivambu is EFF deputy president.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.