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MEMORANDUM ON ISSUES FOR THE BILATERAL BETWEEN THE ANC YOUTH LEAGUE AND COSATU
4 APRIL 1997
1.1 In meeting with COSATU, the ANC Youth League seeks to enhance its relations with the democratic labour movement and hence organised workers; to influence and be influenced by this movement; and to contribute towards building the alliance.
1.2 The meeting with COSATU should, therefore, be viewed as a very serious meeting, coming as it does on the eve of the Alliance Summit when the alliance is itself strained, under attack and under review. The central question facing the alliance is that of social transformation.
1.3 The ANCYL is therefore happy to make its contribution on these questions, and to share its opinions and perspective with another central partner of this revolutintral partner of this revolutionary alliance.
2.0 ANC YOUTH LEAGUE POA IN 1997
2.1 The ANCYL has two twin tasks: i.e. (i) to rally the youth in support of the ANC and to actively participate in the transformation project; (ii) to champion youth interest.
2.2 In pursuance of those tasks, we have defined our objectives for 1997 as: (i) building a strong ANC (which includes building a strong Alliance); (ii) building a strong ANCYL that is able to execute and accomplish its tasks and objectives; and (iii) consolidating our role in the youth sector which includes building the progressive youth alliance, playing a leading role in both the national youth commission and council.
2.3 Therefore, we have divided our work in terms of political programs, organisational development, youth development (consisting of youth development, education and legislative and governance matters), political education, gender, media and publicity.
3.0 SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
3.1 The Alliance has already developed three documents, viz., the ANCs "State and Social Transfoquot;State and Social Transformation", COSATUs "Program for the Alliance" and the SACPs "Lets not lose sight of our perspective". Furthermore, the ANCYL issued a document "Organisational and Leadership Questions in the ANC" containing some critical issues regarding social transformation and matters of organisation.
3.2 At this moment, the strategic task of the democratic forces is the establishment of a democratic state; a state shaped and modelled in the interests, ideals and image of the main social motive forces of this transformation. We, however, inherited a putrid and undemocratic apartheid state with all its resultant effects, and have to build a democratic one on the ashes of the old. Yet, the old state is not totally dead, and the democratic one is still nascent, not yet strong and grounded in our social system. How do we build and ground it ?
3.3 The central question under debate is the role of the (democratic) state in social and economic transformation; and the relationship between the democratic state and the various social forces that have vested interests in this transformation.
3.4 Particularly, what is the nature and character of the relationship between this democratic state and the poorest of the poor,rest of the poor, as well as other social forces that are not part of the progressive forces ? What is the relationship between this state and the workers ? How does it relate to the labour movement and how does it articulate the interests of the forces which are bringing it about and upon which it relies for its continued existence ? How should the entire Alliance and democratic movement relate to and interact with this state ?
3.5 Of further concern to us, is the perceived (real or imaginary) oppositional role taken by COSATU, in particular, in relation to the new developing state. Points of agreement between the state and COSATU are not emphasised, but instances of conflict are over-emphasised. Often, COSATU takes the stance of an opposition party, which while it rightfully criticises the faults of the state, it, on the other hand, does not pursue points of agreement with the state with equal vigour and passion.
4.1 The ANCYL contends that the alliance is currently in tatters, going through one of the most difficult moments of its existence. We are of the opinion that not much effort has been put into addressing this matter; things have been left on their own for quite long and we are arrived at a moment w arrived at a moment when we are compelled to either respond or let the Alliance go away !
4.2 We are of a firm opinion that the leading role of the Alliance during this transformation process is not in dispute. We are worried, however, that when there are problems and differences of opinion within the Alliance, partners tend to slaughter each other in public. This sends confusing signals to members and supporters, and excites our enemies.
4.3 The ANCYL, furthermore, firmly believes that the Alliance has not played its rightful role in terms of policy formulation. This terrain has resided in government for some time, and this situation needs to be altered.
Whilst we accept that this is a question that cannot be triviliased as an either/or question, we, however, believe that the Alliance must place itself in such a position that it is able to open up policy formulation avenues for itself, preferably using progressive policy institutes already existing. These should be accessible to the entire democratic movement.
5.0 THE PMT
5.1 Much has already been said about this PMT; its objectives and programs. This movement needs further and concreteeds further and concrete discussion among the Alliance, first, and among the entire democratic movement. It cannot remain a discussion point at the level of various organisations whilst it does not get concretely discussed at an Alliance level. There are tendencies to postulate this PMT as a "revolutionary" alternative to the Alliance which is seen to be sold out and weakened by the ANC. This question confronts us squarely as we ascend to the future; we cannot leave any questions of organisation unattended to at this stage.
6.0 YOUNG WORKERS, COSATU AND THE ANCYL
6.1 The character of the ANCYL reveals that it is the largest political youth organisation in the country; that it is growing both in quantity and quality; and that it ty; and that it is still very attractive to youth and is able to even attract much younger generations which were too young during the 1980s and early 1990s. Certainly it is able to renew and rejuvenate itself and is certainly the most strategic futuristic youth organisation in the country that will continue to feed the Alliance with membership and leadership.
6.2 However, the ANCYLs character also reveals that the ANCYL is an organisation largely of the unemployed youth, and the secondary school youth. Other sectors of youth, like the working youth, professional youth and others are very minimal and do not participate in our activities. The key question is WHY?
6.3 A different question is: of the young workers organised in the ANCYL, how many are COSATU members?
6.4 Of COSATUs youth members, how many are rising to responsible positions in the ranks of the union ? Is there space for them ? Are there opportunities for their development ?
6.5 Noting the above, what is the role of both the ANCYL and COSATU in encouraging young workers to join both organisations ? Particularly, what role does COSATU play in ensuring that young workers, as a component of the social motive forces of the NDR, swell the ranNDR, swell the ranks of the ANCYL in order to prevent any eventuality of its slide into petty-bourgeois and/or bourgeois politics ? It, surely, should be very interested in this matter.
7.1 We should clarify the ANCYLs role in COSATU campaigns and vice versa. We need to identify campaigns which we can implement jointly. This should also help to increase the ANCYLs profile among young workers and vice versa.
7.2 What role should the ANCYL play in May Day preparations ?
7.3 COSATU and the ANCYL should co-operate in other joint programs like cadre development.
7.4 Currently, the ANCYL is involved in a process of developing a National Youth Policy that would spell our a clear national POA to address the situation of SA youth. We will urge COSATUs input with regards to youth and the economy; alleviating youth unemployment; and human resource development. These are programs the ANCYL cannot avoid, but which COSATU can also not avoid.
7.5 We suggest that COSATU should play a role and assist the ANCYL with its fundraising endeavours and should alsndeavours and should also give us other support, for example, through its research capacity.
7.6 The victory of the democratic movement in SA underscored one point: that is, SA stands as a component part of a bigger world whose greater part is still plagued by serious social ills. There is still a need for the SA democratic movement to engage in solidarity campaigns with Southern Africa, Cuba, Western Sahara, Swaziland, Sudan, Palestine. SA has not really taken a proactive role in such campaigns, or its role is not co-ordinated.
8.1 The ANCYL trusts and hopes that this meeting shall deliver the required results.