2014-10-17 06:17

In her latest contribution to the discourse on the 70th anniversary of the ANCYL, Gugu Ndima writes on the need for the league to begin to take ownership of the priority issues that characterise its struggle, that is, to acknowledge that "young people have a right to claim their inheritance" and that "nature compels them to be custodians of generations to come". With over 30 percent of the youth unemployed, it is evident that the struggle of the ANCYL is more economic than is political.

There is an emerging culture from subordinate structures of the ANC, particularly the

Youth League, to alienate their guiding principles for the general satisfaction of the mother-body. Over the years, the league has come to portray itself as a structure within the ANC whose only core function is to amplify the voice of the ANC. It is an indisputable fact that the ANCYL ought to carry in its DNA, generic elements of the body from which it was born and therefore cannot be a carrier of a political gene and an ideology that contradicts, in absolute form, that of the ANC.

Considerably, the general posture of the Youth League ought to be informed by that of the ANC inherently. However, both need to acknowledge that contradictions are bound to take place for two obvious reasons: Firstly, the ANCYL is not an exact copy of the ANC, meaning it is autonomous and as such has control over its affairs. Second and last, the Youth League represents a portion of society whom as Ndima says, are custodians of generations to come (directly).

In its discussion document titled 'Political and Economic Transformation', the Youth League brilliantly acknowledges that the economic posture of South Africa is capitalist in character and correctly asserts that the economic structure of this country is, in its most basic form, a definite system of property relations. It further goes on to argue that among the factors that contribute to the class struggle is that the economy does not allocate a fair share of its total wealth among different class groups, with a great deal of consideration to race differentiations. In essence, the ideological inclination of the document (including others released for engagement in preparation for the National Conference) learns toward an apparent socialist demeanour.

The problem arises when the structure becomes passive in its approach towards realising its vision as outlined in what can be referred to as possible guiding documents of the organisation. This vision ought to direct the mobility of the ANCYL in such a way that its pillars are not divergent relative to the economic policies of the ANC. If there are contradictions in the economic policies of the two organisations, then of all the structures under and/or affiliated to the ANC, the Youth League must arrogate itself the task of standing out as the branch with the greener leaves and more fruit by:

1) reflecting on the economic trajectory of the ANC-led government since 1994 to date.

2) reviewing the National Development Plan in view of the previous economic policy plans on development (RDP, Gear, Asgisa etc.)

3) establishing if any of the economic policies implemented before produced desired results

4) establishing weather the National Development Plan is merely a continuation of the previous economic trajectories or an actively transformative development plan (in the context of the current policy position of the Youth League).

5) advocating for genuine radical economic transformation, even if it means rejecting the prescripts of the NDP.

In any struggle, individuals trusted with the responsibility of leading a particular group in society, especially one that prides itself in embracing a collectivist approach to addressing its societal challenges (be they economic or political) should be able to argue and protect with conviction, the values and principles upon which they were chosen to lead and execute their task as mandated by their constituency without fear or favour.

Leon Trotsky, in his book  titled 'In Defence of Marxism' clearly states that “in reality leadership, having risen above the oppressed class, inevitably succumbs to the pressure of the ruling class” and further goes on to say that "the selection and education of a truly revolutionary leadership, capable of withstanding the pressure of the bourgeoisie, is an extraordinarily difficult task". In the latter, the revolutionary leadership Trotsky so emphatically speaks of, is a leadership that appreciates the value of a deferring voice in the midst of a purely conformist bunch.

If it is to be taken seriously, the ANCYL should begin by building its vision towards the realisation of economic freedom in our lifetime on the aforementioned principle, so as to know what to put forward as priority issues, how to achieve the set objectives and how accelerate the process. It is only then, that its pursuit for economic freedom will not be a pie in the sky, but a goal that is within an arm's reach, and can be made reality. After all, they are the custodians of future generations.

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