The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) held its Annual Summer School from 21 to 29 December 2018 in the Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. The school was held under the theme “Maximum Defiance in the Maximum Number of Sites”. It was attended by delegates from Swaziland and South Africa. Delegates were particularly drawn from all the four commissions in which the CPS is organising: Workers; Peasants; Women; Youth and Students.
The school also received support and input from fraternal organisations, which included the South African Communist Party (SACP), the National Health, Education and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA), South African National Civic Organisations (SANCO) and the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ).
The need for revolutionaries to study philosophy
The school emphasised the need for revolutionaries to study philosophy. A study of philosophy helped greatly on the analysis of the Swazi terrain, including its society, and the whole world. Through the dedicated study of philosophy, delegates were able to comprehend that the history of Swaziland, just like the history of other societies, is a history of class struggles, bar the primitive stage of human society. Those who still fail to realise the reality of a class struggle that has been ongoing in Swaziland and instead see Swaziland as the last “true” African cultural village have, along with this failure, failed to notice the oppression of the people by the tinkhundla regime.
The method of Marx and Engels, the materialist conception of history, remains the most advanced approach through which revolutionaries study the world. It is not merely the understanding of Swazi society that is important. Rather, the point is to change that society, as Karl Marx remarked some 174 years ago. As such, the task of Communist Party cadres is not merely to get an understanding of the type of oppression that the people are undergoing in Swaziland. They have been called by history to stop this oppression by mobilising the masses for maximum defiance against the absolute monarch, for its overthrow and the preparations for the construction of a democratic republic towards socialism.
The economic system of Swaziland
In Swaziland the dominant mode of production and exchange is capitalism. There are feudalist elements, however, which remain strong. A majority of the people of Swaziland have to present themselves to be exploited in capitalist industries and in return receive meagre wages enough for them to return to work for further exploitation. The capitalists also rely on the absolute monarch to force the people back to work when they go on strike and thus help keep wages very low.
The monarch doubles as feudal lord and capitalist. Mswati holds capitalist interests in many companies while at the same time controls the land and the people as a feudal lord. This absolute monarch, the last in sub-Saharan Africa, has already ruined the businesses of many of his capitalist partners by applying feudal principles in their businesses: the demand for free shares; demand for donations to the monarch as a sign of endorsement and respect; demand for loans to the monarch which are never paid, etc.
The monarch controls vast tracts of the land as a feudal lord, and in administering the land has deployed chiefs in the communities. Both the feudal lord and the chiefs have the power to evict the people or grab some parts of their land as and when they wish. They also force the people to provide tribute labour to the monarch and the chiefs. The people of Swaziland do not own the land. About 77 percent of the people of Swaziland reside in the rural areas as peasants, although a large number of them also have to present themselves to capitalists for the exploitation of their labour power. Hence the worker-peasant alliance in the fight against the tinkhundla regime is one of the key requisites for the success of the revolution in the special conditions of Swaziland.
Mass mobilisation towards insurrection
The task of ensuring maximum defiance in the maximum number of sites involves the mobilisation of the motive forces of our struggle in the conditions of Swaziland; the workers and peasants. The duty to mobilise women, youth and students is an inevitable one in this regard.
It is within the working class and rural folk that we find the close to 70 percent who, due to the tinkhundla system, have been forced to survive on less than US$2 a day. These are the people who will benefit the most with the advent of freedom.
CPS cadres have the duty to do practical work in the conscientisation of the oppressed masses in their various categories. This is not conscientisation for its sake, but to build and strengthen a revolutionary mass capable of rising up and overthrowing the ruling tinkhundla regime. Our cadres return to their various communities ready to implement lessons learned in order to ensure that the CPS is successful in the revolution’s strategic objectives.
Understanding strategy and tactics in the Swazi revolution
A detailed and clear strategy and tactics, guided by the most advanced revolutionary theory, helped delegates to comprehend that the revolution’s strategic objectives – the overthrow of the tinkhundla regime, the building of a democratic republic towards socialism – cannot be betrayed.
As material conditions change, tactical manoeuvres or tactical flexibility will be important as we fight against the enemy of the people. The school understands too well that these tactical manoeuvres are carried out without changing the strategy of the Party. Cadres of the CPS were able to realise the necessity of an intense study of materialist dialectics in order to understand this aspect.
Tribute to the workers of Swaziland: A call for deepened unity
The school paid special tribute to the workers of Swaziland for standing up for their rights, marching through the streets of the country, notwithstanding extreme violence from the regime’s security forces. Party cadres volunteered to take up the duty to strengthen the unity of workers organised under the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Undertaking this task involves organising the unorganised and getting more unions to affiliate into TUCOSWA.
Workers of Swaziland have vowed to shut down the tinkhundla regime in 2019 as they fight for their demands. The school thus engaged on a clear and detailed strike strategy, but looked beyond the planned workers’ strikes in 2019. This is expected to filter through in the 2016-2020 CPS Programme of Action.
Upholding internationalism as a critical characteristic of the CPS
The CPS is an internationalist organisation. The school saw the need to engage in practical activities in isolating Mswati, both locally and internationally. Through its campaigns, the CPS aims to starve the monarch, while at the same time isolating the monarch locally and internationally. There must be no comfortable space for the monarch.
The CPS will strengthen the cultural boycott campaign in order to profile the Swazi revolution. The Party understands, of course, that this campaign has been chiefly led by the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) since the year 2011. The CPS has thus been directed by the school to engage with the SSN and other relevant organisations and individuals for the intensification of the cultural boycott campaign. The Annual National Conference of the Party will thus take an opportunity to deliberate further on the implementation of this campaign.
While the school understood the need to mobilise solidarity for the Swazi revolution, delegates also stressed the need for the CPS to play a larger role in mobilising the masses of Swaziland to give solidarity to other oppressed people. The CPS is thus enjoined to convene a summit inside Swaziland on the question of Palestine during the Israeli Apartheid Week in 2019.
Reviving and strengthening Party campaigns
Since its launch on 9 April 2011, the CPS has sought to carry out practical work in raising the demands of the oppressed. This has essentially been through campaigns. The CPS has been running five campaigns: Break the Chains Campaign; Land for Food Campaign; Not Another Cent for Mswati; Signature Campaign; Red October Campaign. Through these campaigns, the CPS aims to expose the Mswati regime, mobilise the masses in the maximum number of sites, leading to a mass insurrection. To intensify the long standing campaign for the unbanning of political parties, the CPS will mobilise for and revive the April 12 movement. The goal is, as per our theme, to intensify and broaden mass defiance of the regime during the whole month of April every year. The role of workers as led by TUCOSWA, women, peasants, youth and students will be critical in this regard.
The School also saw the urgent need for the CPS to play a more practical role in the revival of the Swaziland Association of Students (SAS), which organises in primary and high schools. Strengthening the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), which organises in tertiary institutions, is an integral part in the revival of SAS. Delegates to the school also took an opportunity to congratulate the newly elected national leadership of SNUS, under the leadership of its president, Comrade Mlamuli Gumedze, for their election. The regime has intensified its attacks on the union and the student movement as a whole, because it wants to suppress the voice of the youth and students. The fight for free, quality and relevant education is at the heart of the strategy of the CPS.
The struggle continues!
Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland
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