South African Communist Party

16 December 2021 The South African Communist Party (SACP), on this historic 60th anniversary of Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK), takes this moment to pay tribute to all the MK combatants who laid down their lives for the freedom of our country from colonialism and apartheid. The SACP also honours all the surviving MK combatants within our midst who are still working so hard in uniting our movement in the national democratic revolution. The MK was a joint army of the SACP and the African National Congress, formed on 16 December 1961. Much of its formative processes, such as the writing of its constitution, took place at Liliesleaf Farm, then the headquarters of the underground SACP. Along with mass mobilisation, underground work, and international isolation of the apartheid regime, the armed struggle was one of the four key pillars of our struggle to defeat apartheid. By the time the MK was formed, the SACP had already undertaken acts of sabotage against the apartheid regime, as Nelson Mandela states in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. These were designed by the armed struggle networks that the SACP had already put in place. The experience of the SACP in the underground thus made a sterling contribution to the formation of the MK later. Among the many communist leaders who contributed to building the MK, we honour Michael Harmel, Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, Govan Mbeki, Ruth First, Raymond Mhlaba, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Linda Jabane, Mzala Nxumalo, Rica and Jack Hodgson, whose small flat in Hillbrow was used to produce explosives for the 1961 Sabotage Campaign, and many others – all of whom played various roles in strengthening the MK. As Nelson Mandela states in the Long Walk to Freedom, pre-existing SACP armed struggle networks and their experience were key in the foundation of the MK. Due to the experience of the SACP in the underground, communists were among the first to volunteer in the MK as soon as the decision to form it was made. The SACP is thus proud of the contribution of many communists within the ranks of the MK in our struggle against the apartheid system. While this is an important moment for all of us to salute our cadres, women and men who served in MK, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the long struggle to end class exploitation and systematically eliminate inequality, including racial, gender and spatial development inequalities, and poverty. Putting people first must underpin these processes of struggle, democratic transformation and development. In paying tribute to the MK, the SACP expresses support, and is part of, for the process to unify MK veterans as a key component of rebuilding our movement. MK veterans must not be involved or involve themselves in dividing our movement. Instead, they should work to unite the movement, uphold the revolutionary legacy of the MK to serve all the people, and secure the future of our movement by putting people before profit in all people’s campaigns. The SACP also calls upon our movement to keep the legacy of the MK alive, not least in, and through, the arts and academic spaces. The MK’s legacy would also be best preserved by uniting our democratic and peace loving forces to strengthen the struggle to eradicate poverty, unemployment, and inequality, the associated crisis of social reproduction, as well as fighting for the end of the exploitation of one person by another, all anchored in putting people before profit. ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP EST. 1921 AS THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA | CPSA   1921–2021: 100 YEARS OF UNBROKEN…

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SACP Statement on 60th anniversary of Umkhonto WeSizwe