Importance of revolutionary Left parties in the elections

27.6.2012 Xola Tyamzashe from APLAMVA one of the speakers at a Military Veterans and youth seminar at Freedom Park on Wednesday. Picture: Etienne Creux

27.6.2012 Xola Tyamzashe from APLAMVA one of the speakers at a Military Veterans and youth seminar at Freedom Park on Wednesday. Picture: Etienne Creux

Published May 24, 2024


Xola Tyamzashe

Revolutionary Left political parties, like the PAC, participating in elections can serve several important purposes in the pursuit of their long-term goals.

Some key points on the importance of their participation in elections:

* Platform for Advocacy: Participation in elections provides revolutionary Left parties with a formal platform to advocate for their ideological beliefs, principles and policy proposals. By engaging in electoral campaigns and debates, the parties can raise awareness about their vision for society and attract supporters. It is important for revolutionary Left parties to maintain their ideological integrity and principles while participating in the electoral process. They should stay true to their core values, advocate for radical change and avoid compromising their beliefs for short-term electoral gains.

* Legitimacy and Visibility: By participating in elections, the parties can gain legitimacy in the eyes of the public and the international community. Winning seats in Parliament or other political bodies can provide them with a mandate to represent their constituents and influence policy decisions.

* Opportunity for Mobilisation: Election campaigns offer left-wing parties the opportunity to mobilise their supporters, build grass-roots networks and connect with like-minded individuals and organisations. This can strengthen their organisational capacity and broaden their support base.

* Influence Policy and Governance: Even if revolutionary Left parties do not win a majority of seats, their presence in Parliament can allow them to influence policy debates, hold the ruling party accountable and push for progressive reforms. They can use their positions to raise important issues, propose legislation and challenge the status quo.

* Educating and Conscientising the Masses: Participation in elections can be a powerful tool for conscientising the masses and raising political awareness among the population. Campaigns provide an opportunity for the parties to educate people about social justice issues, systemic inequalities and the need for radical change.

*Building a Movement for Systemic Change: Ultimately, by participating in elections and using parliamentary platforms, revolutionary Left parties can contribute to building a broader movement for systemic change. They can inspire and mobilise people to work towards the total seizure of state power and the transformation of society along their ideological lines.

While some revolutionary Left parties might be critical of electoral politics or view it as a limited tool for achieving revolutionary change, participation in elections can offer valuable opportunities for advancing their goals, engaging with the masses and challenging the power structures.

It is important for the parties to carefully strategise their electoral participation in alignment with their broader revolutionary objectives. While participating in elections, revolutionary Left parties should maintain a long-term vision of social transformation and the total seizure of state power.

They should view electoral politics as one tool among many in their arsenal and continue to work towards building a mass movement that can challenge and replace the capitalist system.

Revolutionary Left parties can critically engage with political institutions, such as parliaments and local councils, to push for progressive programmes, hold the ruling elite accountable and advance their revolutionary agenda.

They can use their positions in the institutions to amplify the voices of marginalised communities and advocate for policies that benefit the working class.

By carefully navigating the strategies and considerations, revolutionary Left parties can effectively balance their revolutionary objectives with their participation in the electoral process, maximising their impact and advancing their vision of social change.

Tyamzashe a former child soldier and member of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the PAC and author of the upcoming poetry collection titled, “Products of the Azanian Chimerenga” and autobiography titled “The Metamorphosis of a Lone Revolutionary: Memoirs of a Child Soldier”