This exchange between Scott Hamilton of the Communist Workers Group and Don Franks (ex Workers Communist League, ex Socialist Workers Organisation) of the Workers Party occurred recently on Indymedia.
Scott Check this review of Don’s talk by loopy Trevor Loudon. It has to be seen to be believed:
He thinks SA is run by commies today and Don’s to blame!
Don Well, I hope the ruling class have more competent spies and theoreticians up their sleeve than Trevor Loudon otherwise the revolution may be boringly onesided.
Trevor is 100% wrong with his central assertions about the WCL and the SACP.
The WCL had some respect for SACP members, because of the incredible repression they were under, but we never had any time at all for their political line, which we regarded as revisionist. The WCL had many, often bitter arguments with various other anti apartheid activists about SACP type politics, especially in trade union circles. I think the present state of South Africa shows our misgivings had some foundation.
New Zeal Don is a bit harsh here. I blamed him for being part of a movement that helped to bring the SACP to power in South Africa. That much is true.
However I am well aware that the Workers Communist League at the time was a hard core Maoist outfit, totally at odds with the Soviet line.
The WCL even formed a Campaign Against Soviet Imperialism (fronted by Virginia Adams) and campaigned against Soviet cultural visits, Lada car imports and NZ/Soviet fishing deals (as did I, for different reasons).
The WCL backed South African Maoist groups such as Steve Biko’s Black Conciousness Movement of Azania. While the WCL linked Maoist, Trevor Richards had a lot to do with the SACP controlled ANC, I accept that the WCL was not directly pro ANC.
It should have been very clear at the time however that the ANC and consequently the SACP would be the only force likely to replace an Apartheid government.
If Don and the WCL did not understand this, I would question his/their judgement and political nous.
Regarding Scott’s questioning of the SACP’s control of South Africa, he is either ignorant or being deliberately dishonest.
Approximately 30% of ANC officials are SACP members. Many ANC MPs are in the SACP as are at least five Cabinet Ministers.
President Thabo Mbeki himself, is a former Soviet trained SACP member. In 2005 he threatened to rejoin the Party, if the ANC refused to allow him more than two terms as president.
By the way Don, I’ve always wondered about the roles of your late comrades, Rona Bailey and Ron Smith.
I’ve heard that while Rona was a Maoist and WCL member, her real allegiance lay with the Soviets. A very high level operator. Any comments?
Also while Ron was a WCL member, I’ve been told he also used to attend meetings of the Wellington City branch of the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party.
His wife Carmen was a stalwart of the SUP controlled, NZ Council for World Peace. She also attended the SUP’s 1988 National Conference.
Any comments on Ron’s role, Don?