The following presentation was delivered by Hulisani Mmbara, President of the Pan Africanist Youth Congress (PAYCO) at a rally held on June 16, 2009 at Ouraad Saal in Tshwane in Occupied Azania (known as South Africa). The event was in commemoration of the June 16, 1976 Soweto Uprising.
Comrade Program Director, Leadership of PAYCO, Leadership of Component Structures of the Party, PALF; APLAMVA; PASMA; and PAWO, Leadership of the PAC, our beloved Veterans and long standing cadres of the liberation struggle, Sons and Daughters of the soil, Comrades and Friends.
It is exactly 33 years today since the heroic events of June 16 1976 Soweto Uprising unfolded. These events which spread throughout the whole country revived the militancy and vibrancy of the revolutionary struggle against minority white settler colonial class. This youthful contribution accelerated the struggle by leaps and bounds. We know that these events were part of a concerned effort by the PAC to take the struggle forward. Those leaders and activists who pioneered this decisive effort where hauled before the Bethal Court in the 18 Bethal Treason Trial.
It was on this day, June 16, 1976, that the brave youth of our land took decisive action against oppressive, degrading and exploitative mechanics of the minority white settler colonial regime. They took up arms against imposition of inferior education and, in particular, Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
The June 16 generation made an indelible mark in the national liberation struggle. Generations and generations of our land shall remember and honor this selfless contribution for time immemorial. No amount of falsification, distortion and trivialization of history by any government can erase this historic memory!
Comrade Program Director, The youth of today must now make their contribution and declare war against neo-colonialism in all its forms.
Our role is not to commemorate the revolutionary experience of June 16. Certainly as tools of change and history ours is not to admire and marvel at this episode of history but to make our own decisive contribution going forward and complete the outstanding tasks of the revolution. Our historic task is to build a movement for socialist change. The creation of an Africanist socialist democracy is the task of our generation.
Comrade Program Director, There are those who surprise themselves at a mention of the word socialism in our midst. We want to state, without any fear of contradiction, that socialism has been a fundamental objective and the very essence of PAC ideology from day one since the formation of our revolutionary party. Those who are veterans and stalwarts of the party know this fact better. No confusion should therefore be created. True to its historic tasks, the PAC must strive for the establishment of a society whose character is Africanistic, form is democratic and content socialistic.
The PAC youth must, in this regard engage in a ferocious combat inside and outside the party to make sure that this revolutionary task is fulfilled. We must isolate those who wish to frustrate and replace this historic task with a bourgeois agenda aimed at amassing wealth for the few co-opted African petty bourgeoisie while condemning the poor African working class masses to perpetual grinding poverty.
Comrade Program Director, Our generation is faced with several other challenges. While we pursue efforts to build a viable and dynamic revolutionary PAC to fulfill the revolutionary tasks of the party we must, at the same time, continue to address pertinent issues close to the hearts and minds of our people.
Building a revolutionary party must go along with a concrete program of action which is an expression, embodiment of the desires and aspirations of the poor African working class masses. The Pan Africanist Youth Congress has already adopted this program, Ideologize, Organize for Takeover (IOTA). Let us enrich it and rally behind. This program to conscientize and organize the poor African working class masses for seizure of state power, around fundamental class contradictions of our society is the lifeblood of the movement for socialist change.
Comrade Program Director, The fundamental issue of landownership is grossly unresolved. The African land remains in the hands of the minority white settler dispossessor class. The ruling party has had no qualms with this for the past 15 years. PAC must mobilize and lead the dispossessed poor African working class masses in the rural areas, townships and urban centers in the struggle for land restoration to end this obnoxious land ownership monopoly by minority white settler dispossessor class.
We must demand free access to quality education and the creation of a single education system in the country.
The country must guarantee every adult citizen a right to work and earn a living wage. To this end, we must actively organize the unemployed youth to demand the right to work.
More than 90 percent of the economy and the common wealth of our country remain in the hands of a small local and international capitalist class whereas the poor African working class masses who are the wealth producers continue to languish in poverty.
Comrade Program Director, We do not believe that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) being launched today will be the voice of the majority of youth in this country. We do not believe that it will deliver on the developmental requirements of young people. The ruling party continues to marginalize other political formations in the process. It is puzzling how the NYDA will drive an integrated youth development strategy when it does not even report to the bloated Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities but to the Presidency. This is another proof that the ruling party is not serious about youth development. We reiterate our demand for a single dedicated executive Ministry of Youth Affairs.
Comrade Program Director, New circumstances call for new strategy and tactics, fresh ideas, an aligned program of action, and new blood to take the struggle forward. It is sheer conservatism to seek to cling to leadership and command levers of the party merely because we were in exile, on the island or in the military operations of the liberation movement. It is also reactionary to use these credentials which are largely a matter of accident of history to blackmail and intimidate the youth and emerging generations of leadership.
All revolutions naturally, at various epochs, produce leaders who must serve the people selflessly without demanding rewards, awards and recognition for their role. Revolutionary leadership is not akin to traditional leadership which under normal circumstances is terminated only by death of the incumbent king or chief. There are no kings and chiefs in a revolutionary movement. Leaders come and go. Generations come and go. Each generation fulfills its tasks and goes. People are born; they fulfill their tasks and perish. It is simple science.
Comrade Program Director, PAC is not immune to these scientific dictates. It is time for those who have fulfilled their historic tasks to stand down and give way to a new generation of leaders. We need a generational change of leadership. Now it’s the hour of the new generation. Veterans and stalwarts of the party, who have contributed immensely, must lend their valuable experience in support of this youthful generation of leaders. A generation which fulfills its role and yet clings to authority becomes anachronistic, counter productive and ultimately counter revolutionary.
Comrade Program Director, We earlier referred to a group, which of late claims allergy to socialism. While the ANC theatrically proclaims, ‘Together we can do more’, this small group of people who are allergic to socialism, currently represented by Mr. Letlapa Mphahlele wish to do more on the foundation laid by the ANC. We on the other hand want a complete paradigm shift to socialism, true to the historic task of the PAC. Mr. Letlapa Mphahlele used demagogic nationalist rhetoric and a poor of the poor red herring to climb to the leadership of our revolutionary party. He continues to cling to the office of PAC president for no other purpose than to deliver PAC to the imperialists on a silver platter. His role is akin to that of Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr. Letlapa Mphahlele has completely abandoned all revolutionary programs of the party. He no longer supports Chimurenga in Zimbabwe under the vanguard of ZANU-PF, he no longer advocates unconditional return of the land to its rightful owners, creation of an Africanist Socialist Democracy, release of APLA combatants languishing in prisons, he apologizes for our just war against the illegitimate forces of minority white settler colonial regime and has ensured that the PAC no longer speak of the United States of Africa. The list goes on and on.
Comrade Program Director, We call on the youth and other progressive forces in the party to fear no one, unite and defend the party of Sobukwe, Mda, Madzunya, Pokela, Mothopeng, Masemola, Phama and many living and late heroes and heroines of our party, from this counter-revolutionary tide. Nobody must stand between us and this counter-revolutionary tide because anything that shields this reactionary tide deserves the volley-fire of our bullets.
We must add that we are aware of the jostling for the leadership of the party under various pretexts. We must separate genuine efforts to revive the party from opportunistic maneuvers to retard growth and progress of the party. We must also make it clear that PAYCO will not be doing the bidding for any of these self-interested opportunistic groups that have no program to reposition the PAC into a government of the future. We say no more horse betting. We are fit and ready to run the race ourselves.
Comrade Program Director, I am about to conclude, but I must touch on one last important issue. We have noted efforts to divide the youth movement in the party. And we must warn that any attempt to transplant the ANC leagues into the PAC will be quashed. Our focus, unity and cohesion can never be broken by these nefarious activities of enemy agents. We wish to state that there is one united youth movement in the PAC. That youth movement is the Pan Africanist Youth Congress.