Since the inception of the BLF-SM, we have maintained the clear call for Free Black Centered Socialist Education. This call is rooted in the liberation of black people and the total crushing of the anti-black system that maintains black oppression. We want decolonised education in a decolonised society, not the opposite as the formation of commission suggests.
BLF-SM has consistently called for the student and worker alliance to use any means necessary to bring about this decolonised education in a decolonised country. Since our inception, we have pushed the ideological question on the ability to decolonise an institution in a colonised country. Linking the black struggle from the academic institution through to the land question, with its potential to change colonial patterns of ownership from white to black as well as pushing direct action to centres of white-power.
Practically BLF-SM works within the Black Consciousness (BC) / Pan Afrikanist (PA) block to mobilise students and workers ensuring ideological clarity to prevent us from falling into the same traps that the #FeesMustFall (FMF) encountered last year.
One of these traps, was the co-option of the struggle by formations aligned to the African National Congress (ANC) Government, namely: Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), South African Students Congress Organisation (SASCO), African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) & Young Communist League (YCL). The co-option of the struggle ultimately led to the sell-out agreement of “no fee increment”, while the broad student collective insisted and called for Free Black Centered Socialist Education on deaf ears.
Post this moment, the ANC government announced a Fees Commission whose “mandate is to inquire into the feasibility of free higher education and training in South Africa”. This commission was due to announce its findings at the beginning of October 2016. This commission has just started to receive public submissions and is now scheduled to conclude in May 2017.
Recently the Minister of Education, Blade Nzimande has met with Student Representative Council leaders, who have consistently sold out their constituency owing to the incestuous relations with government as well as academic institution management with the view to normalise a forthcoming fee increase announcement for 2017.
This has subsequently resulted in a body known as South African Union of Students (SAUS) making a broad call to the student population to shutdown all institutions of higher learning nationally, and to march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and Chamberof Mines to request the funding of free higher education. This SAUS is primary comprised of SRC members. A large portion of these SRC members are a component of the African National Congress (ANC) represented through Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), South African Students Congress Organisation (SASCO), African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) & Young Communist League (YCL), and in many cases the same individuals who sold out the struggle for Free Black Centered Socialist Education.
What does it mean when the students who are aligned to the same ANC who maintains black oppression, now call on society to protest against a fee increase? What does it mean when the very political formations and in some cases the same persons who sold out the struggle in 2015 want us to come out and respond to its call for protest?
The Black First Land First – Student Movement reminds the broader #FMF community that unprincipled unity is no unity at all. We remind all, that our struggle is not a struggle of one moment in the streets, but a lifetime commitment to the total liberation of the black majority, through bringing about a decolonised society that puts black people first. To this end, we must commit ourselves to the principle of truth telling. Therefore, fidelity to this principle means among many other things, guarding against being used as protest cows by unscrupulous Sunday school politicians of the PYA! We shall not be in the streets for narrow ANC fights that do little or nothing to move us to our desired goal which free black centred socialist minded education!
Noting the internal contradictions and the political opportunism, we critically locate our enemy as white-supremacy, and its agents that act in its interest of maintain institutions as spaces of commodification of education for the benefit of white people. The ANC government, management of institutions of higher learning, police, private security, as well as those from the academia who trivialise black suffering through the reductive economics argument; these are all the agents of white-supremacy. White-supremacy, benefits white people and is complimented by and through white systems like capitalist economic control which plays out through backward funding structures like NSFAS, that humiliate and remind black students of their wretched of the earth status annually.
We thus maintain our broad call for direct and indirect action against the white supremacist system as well as those agents who act on its behalf. The call is broad, and all action will be informed by the readiness of the people, and is fundamentally separate from the call of those agents, who work to maintain black oppression.
Black First Land First – Student Movement: What we want?
1) Free Black Centered Socialist Education – An education that is rooted in putting black people first both in learning content, how it is transferred, who transfers and directed by the primary purpose which is black liberation. The basis of this education must comprise of transforming the institution and all stakeholders through conscientisiation of the black struggle for liberation, and consisting of an inward intersectional struggle outlook that deals with oppression of black people within the struggle for a decolonised society. An education that is socialist in nature, ending the capital exploits of learning, but again place black people as the centre of the institution.
2) End Outsourcing – Insource all workers, paying all a living wage and ensuring full institutional benefits for employees.
3) Shackville TRC – A national commission based on justice for students and workers. Immediate demilitarisation of campuses, insourced security must serve to protect students and workers, all students and workers who have been suspended, interdicted, expelled, dismissed, financially and/or academically excluded must return; this as the basis for commission to seek justice for participants in the broad #FeesMustFall Struggle
Black First Land First – Student Movement: How is a decolonised education made possible?
1) White Corruption: The public protector must complete and ensure a return of the R26Billion stolen from the reserve bank at the latter stages of apartheid by white people. Post the completion of this, we must then target other cases involving white corruption
2) Black Agenda – Nationalisation: All mineral wealth must be socialised to the benefit of the people.
3) Black Agenda – Take Back the Land: Land redistribution without compensation
4) Black Agenda – Sankarism: Reduce government wasteful expenditure, including sale of all luxury commodites, a reduction of salaries, and a shrinking of unjustifiable ministerial positions
Black First Land First – Student Movement: What is to be done?
1) Speak Out: Through pamphlets, mass media, social media and direct communication we must unite the black community for Free Black Centered Socialist Education and Land Return.
2) National Shutdown: We must shutdown all institutions of higher learning and strategic national key points until peoples power moves the ANC government to act for the black majority.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
17 August 2016
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