Apdusa Conference – April 2017

Vol 23 No 2


The annual conference of the APDUSA was held in the Northern Cape over the Easter weekend. Three papers were delivered. The presidential address focussed on the sea change that has been occurring in the organisational vehicles that the labouring majority has been using in struggle. In these, social movements and trade unions are promoted and portrayed as formations to be supported on a political level. The struggles of trade unions are elevated to a political level at the expense of a focus on political organisations and the political programmes they represent. The inherent danger of this approach is for struggles to be confined to economistic levels. Equating trade union and political demands is highly incorrect and improper.  The former can be reduced or diluted whereas the dynamic of latter does not allow for such dilution. The advancing of political demands by APDUSA via its set of transitional demands must therefore take cognisance of the relevance of certain demands under any given set of circumstances.

The second paper dealt with the question of bourgeois parliamentarism. Drawing on the lessons of the Russian Revolution, conference deliberated on the importance of building/developing an independent political force, capable of seizing and holding power. Democracy, it was argued is possible without parliament; that the functions of a modern state can be merged into historically more progressive systems of representation.

The current high profile of court cases in South Africa raised the question of the importance of the judiciary in bourgeois society. Being class and constitutionally bound, it was concluded that the “independence of the judiciary” is a myth.

The third paper addressed the important question of political leadership in the context of political struggles in Africa. Conference noted that nationalism still acts as a key determinant in the progress that struggles can make. The situation in different countries presented conference with different but nonetheless crucial, linked aspects of the broader class struggles: syndicalism in Nigeria, transitional demands in Mauritius and agrarian revolution in Zimbabwe, amongst others. Giving practical effect to the name “APDUSA”, in fact means the promotion of trans-national integration of struggles in Southern Africa and on the continent at large.

The secretarial report and discussion thereon dealt with the importance of ongoing recruitment, which has to be coupled with a high level of effective integration and ideological orientation of new members. Linkages with formations and individuals ranging from the UF/DLF to the PAC, GIWUSA and NUMSA were deliberated on and a way forward plotted.

The fourth political school – to address the question of the working class and the acquisition of state power – is scheduled for mid-2018