“The political education of the masses proposes not to treat the masses as children but to make adults of them.” – Frantz Fanon
1. What is the BLF?
BLF is a revolutionary vanguard, anti racist, anti capitalist, anti colonial, anti imperialist, anti sexist, pro LGBTQI, internationalist, people’s movement established to overthrow the current order by “any means necessary”. This means that BLF shall pursue all tactics and strategies that maximizes the fight to liberate black people.
2. Will the BLF contest elections?
If the majority of BLF members say that contesting elections is a viable option to maximise our chances to make revolution, we shall participate in elections.
3. Can one be a member of BLF and also be a member of another political organization or party?
The answer is a clear NO! We are building a unique movement here that calls for 100% dedication.
4. Who can be a member of BLF?
Any black person who has reached the age of eighteen; accepts the politics, ideological perspective and Constitution of the BLF; joins a branch of the organization and is prepared to work actively in it as part of the branch collective; is committed to honoring the organization’s resolutions and decisions; accepts the organization’s policy perspectives; commits herself/himself to being a disciplined member, and; is willing to pay the necessary membership fees may become a member of BLF.
5. What about white people who want to be members of BLF, are they allowed to do so?
The answer is NO! If there are white people who agree with our agenda let them open a white-wing and pursue the struggle for land return without involving us blacks.
6. Who are the black people?
Blacks are those people who are by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group in South Africa and who see themselves as a unit in the struggle for liberation from white supremacy. In terms of this definition, the black people in South Africa are (as indicated by Steve Biko) those that come from the African communities, the so-called Coloured communities and so-called Indian communities.
Not all black people are black! If one has a black skin and is part of those who are; “by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against” but is not “identifying themselves as a unit in the struggle towards the realization of their aspirations”, then such a person is not black, according to BC. Black people who do not stand with blacks in the struggle for liberation such as Ghandi or Indian people who operate through Indian consciousness are therefore not black but non whites. There are Africans also who are non whites such as those who are in government making laws to protect white capital and murdering black people who demand a living wage – or as we see today those incapable of giving free education to black people. Such people are not black but non whites.
In Biko’s words; “Non-whites do exist and will continue to exist for quite a long time. If one’s aspiration is whiteness but his pigmentation makes attainment of this impossible, then that person is a non-white.”
7. Is BLF just concerned about the liberation of blacks in South Africa?
BLF is against all forms of oppression wherever it exists on this earth. In this regard we are against white supremacy, which is driven by capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. We are a movement that builds resistance to the many ways blacks are destroyed by white supremacy. To this end we are in solidarity with the oppressed people everywhere in this world and shall participate in the international struggle for the complete overthrow of all forms of oppression and discrimination so as to facilitate the establishment of fully responsive black first socialist governments throughout the world.
With particular reference to the African continent – BLF is committed to lead, participate in, support and promote all struggles for the achievement of the total sovereignty and “unity of action” of the African states and of the African continent as an indivisible single force.
8. But what about the oppression of women and the LGBTQI peoples?
BLF is against the oppression of women, and; the oppression of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) people’s. We are against patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia. We are also against tribalism, religious and cultural intolerance. We oppose any cultural or religious practices that promote the oppression of anyone and women in particular.
Our objective is to take power and usher in a black first socialist system capable of responding to the total needs of blacks including the needs of women and the LGBTQI people’s. To this end we strive to bring about the end to the current racist capitalist relations that enables these forms of oppression.
9. What is BLF’s Philosophy Of Liberation?
Our philosophy of liberation is Black Consciousness and Pan-Africanism.
Our guiding philosophical outlook is both the black consciousness as principally developed by Steve Bantu Biko and the Pan-Africanism as principally developed by Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. These black forms of radical philosophies together constitute the only viable single philosophy of black liberation.
The above philosophy encompasses “Sankofa” the African wisdom as expressed by the symbolism of the Sankofa bird. To this end the Sankofa bird indicates our commitment to learn from the past so as to create the present and a new future. We must be committed to learn from all our past – from antiquity to yesterday – so that we may create a better and improved today and tomorrow.
10. What is the Leadership Ethos of BLF?
BLF pledges to build a revolutionary movement that is Sankarist in belief and practice – following and honoring the revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara.
We believe that for the movement to succeed it needs a servant leadership – an accountable, democratic, responsive leadership that puts Black People First.
11. What is BLF’s ideological orientation?
It is Black Consciousness and Pan Africanist and embraces the leadership values of as elaborated by Thomas Sankara.
12. What is different that BLF brings?
There is no point in repeating the experiments of the parties and movements we come from. We must build on higher different kind of politics. We need to work on “anti-politics – political engagement” meaning we must use politics to end politics! We are not a government in waiting! We want to overthrow the government! We do not want uninformed numbers! We want revolutionary numbers!
13. What is democratic centralism?
Democratic centralism is the core organizational principle of BLF in terms of which the whole organization observes unified discipline through processes that involve democracy in discussion and centralism in action. To this end the guiding principle is that at all times the individual is subordinate to the organization, the minority is subordinate to the majority, the lower level is subordinate to the higher level and the entire BLF is subordinate to the NCC (National Coordinating Committee)
Leading structures of the BLF at every level shall periodically report on their work to BLF Imbizos as well as general meetings and shall constantly listen to the opinions of the people both inside and outside the organization and to this end accept their supervision. BLF members have the right to and must be encouraged where necessary to criticize the BLF, its leadership and or any component part thereof at all levels and make proposals to them. If a BLF member holds different views with regard to the decisions or directives of the any component structure of the BLF s/he is allowed to reserve her/his views and has the right to skip the immediate leadership channels of command and report directly to higher levels, up to and including the NCC and the President. It is essential to create political conditions that are conducive to both centralism and democracy; discipline and freedom; unity of will and personal ease of mind.
14. BLF claims to be a movement for total liberation. Did 1994 not achieve this?
Twenty one years after democracy black people are still at the bottom of society. We, the black majority, are last instead of being the first in our own country. Now we have decided to put black people first! It is only when we as black people are seen and treated as the rightful owners of this country shall we be really liberated and treated with the dignity that we deserve. The first step to black liberation – to achieve dignity and an end to white arrogance and racism – is LAND FIRST! It is land that shall put BLACKS FIRST! Without LAND we are nothing! With LAND we are everything we want to be and more!
Many people think that all is not lost with the 1994 “post colonial” settlement – that the problem of the ANC is who is it’s leader. They believe the problem is that the ANC does not actually implement the good policies and does not follow the Freedom Charter (FC) as it ought to. This is a wrong reading! The ANC with its ideologies starting with the FC, were never aimed at ending white supremacy but rather aimed at INTERGRATION. The ANC never really asked the questions: Who owns South Africa (SA)? What do we do with those who dispossessed us of our land? Instead the FC says, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it – both black and white”. This is a statement of surrender and selling out on the land question.
The land clause of the FC says, “the land shall be shared by those who work it”! Why would we work for our land? It was stolen from us and we want it back, ALL OF IT! Having given AWAY our land rights in 1955 via the FC, in 1994 the same ANC made policies that sought to maintain the commitment to the lie that SA belongs to all who live in it. They committed us to buying back our land. The consequence is that only 8% of the land has been bought back at more than R50 billion. It will take us more than 100 years to buy back only 30% of the land. Why is land so important? Because all the SA realities that puts blacks at the bottom comes from land dispossession! BLF is committed to putting black first. To do so we have to get the land first. It is for this reason that any compromise on land must be rejected. Land is the basis of our freedom!
Black people are last in all areas of life – this is the case even after ’94. First and foremost, we are last when it comes to land ownership. The white settler minority has the land while we blacks are landless! Out of the 54 million people in South Africa only 35 000 white families including white businesses own more than 80% of the land. Since 1994, the ANC government has bought 8% of the land from whites at the cost of about R50 billion! The ANC is using our money to buy back the stolen land. Since 1994 more than 1 million black people have been forcibly removed from farms! Farm workers are slaves in SA. The restitution-claiming communities, who are victims of apartheid land removals, remain landless after 20 years of ANC rule! In urban areas black people have no housing because they are landless. The housing prices are out of reach for most blacks. In this context, most black professionals cannot even afford housing because of the landlessness. If we were to rely on the current land policies of the ANC it will take more than100 years to buy back only 30% of the land.
Black people are last when it comes to employment! More than 45% of black people are unemployed compared to only 5% of white people! Whites are only 10% of the economically active population but occupy over 60% of the top management positions.
Black people are last when it comes to income! White families earn six times more than what black families earn. A black family’s annual income is a meagre R60 000, whereas a white family earns an annual income of R360 000. Added to this factual situation is the reality that on an average a black family is comprised of 6 people compared to a white family of about 3 people.
We are last even when it comes to education. Shockingly only 5% of blacks complete their university or tertiary education. Most black students are excluded from university due to financial constraints.
It is not a secret that black people are also at the bottom of the economy. To this end, inter alia, blacks only own about 3% of the listed JSE companies.
So ’94 changed fokol! Enough is enough! Now it is time to put BLACK FIRST for LAND FIRST! BLF invites all like minded organizations, interests groups and individuals to hold hands with us so as to build a revolutionary movement based on TWO basic principles: 1. Black First. 2. Land First.
15. What does Black First, Land First mean?
Black people are the first people on earth! We blacks gave the white world life and civilization but slavery, colonialism and apartheid have put blacks last. We are now correcting this injustice by calling for Black First! By black we mean all those who are oppressed and dispossessed by colonialism and apartheid. The system of divide and rule has been sustained by creating misunderstandings amongst the oppressed. In this context the elites from within the black community have further fuelled tribal animosities. Black First seeks to end all divisions and contradictions amongst the people so as to consolidate them into a united strong block against white racism and dispossession. Black First follows the liberating truth that “the last shall be first”. We have been overlooked for far too long! Putting Black First means ending suffering, poverty, landlessness and all the other ills of white supremacy that characterize the black condition. Black First is a call for blacks to love themselves, to care for each other and to fight for their liberation and dignity.
Without land there is no freedom or dignity. We want Land First because it is the basis of our freedom, our identity, our spiritual well-being, our economic development and culture. The land of Africans was stolen and this theft has rendered us landless in our own land. We want all the land with all of its endowments on its surface together with all the fortunes underground as well as the sky. All of it belongs to us! We are a people crying for our stolen land! Now we have decided to get it back by any means necessary!
16. Don’t we have alternative political movements or parties?
In South Africa right now, there is no revolutionary movement or political party that puts black first and land first! We lost hope on the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) when in April 2015 it’s president, Julius Malema, sold out the land principle of “expropriation of (all) land without compensation”. In this regard Malema assured the white agricultural capitalist class in Stellenbosch that as long “as it’s a productive farm, we don’t have to interfere with the production on that piece of land” and opted instead for the anti black demand of expropriation and occupation of“non-productive land” only. Furthermore, he told the land thieves that when there is a part of the land “which is not used for agriculture purposes, we would be having a problem. All we are saying is the land must be used. It must not lie idle.” He thus gave a guarantee to land thieves that “their” land is secured and that blacks shall only occupy unused and unproductive land. What an insult! We don’t want crumbs! We want all our land because it is ours!
The current political parties and movements tend to serve politicians and elites in society. The BLF, as a revolutionary movement, seeks to end white capital and neo liberalism in general and bring about a people’s participatory democracy where the people themselves participate in decision making. To this end decisions made are ultimately translated as people’s collective decisions.
All the political parties are agreed on the poor service that the ANC government give blacks, from RDP houses to open toilets. The BLF with its “Sankarist Leadership Ethos” has the potential in a Black First Socialist Azania to hold all politicians accountable and to struggle for real freedom. To this end BLF seeks to build society along revolutionary socialist lines and in this regard transform politicians and public representatives into being servants for the people.
BLF is the only revolutionary force that can truely challenge and destroy the neo liberal anti black ANC led system. It is clear that the BLF – via its deepened concrete analysis of the concrete situation that boldly suggests putting Black First for Land First – seeks to destroy white supremacy together with its front office managers and this includes the ruling elite.
17. Why the BLF?
We have chosen to build a new home because the homes that we blacks have been building thus far can no longer accommodate our dream of freedom. The formation of the Black First Land First Movement is a response to a historical necessity. 21 years of ANC rule has indicated more than enough that black people are not liberated and can not be liberated by the policies and practices of the ANC thinking.
A revolutionary crisis is emerging! This needs revolutionary organisation, foresight and preparedness lest it would be squandered into a compradoreial compromise and reproduce the ANC “surrender hailed as victory”.
BLF MUST operate above the crisis to ask the real questions again: What is the fundamental contradiction? Who is the enemy? What are we fighting for?
18. What is the fundamental contradiction?
The fundamental contradiction is white supremacy located in slavery (first encounter) and colonialism (second encounter) which is rooted in the dispossession of our land. The cumulative effect of these processes has ensured that blacks are last in everything! The BLF has clearly elaborated elsewhere in this FAQ’s just how bad things are – most strikingly that we blacks are last on land ownership and to this end that more than 80% of our land is owned by a mere 35 000 white families and trusts.
19. Who is the enemy?
BLF is clear! The ANC is not the primary enemy, it is only the body guard of the real enemy which is the white capitalist settler stock which has stolen our land, labour and African sense of being. Even if we defeat the ANC tomorrow we shall not have defeated the real enemy.
However, defeating the ANC is the precondition for the defeat of the settler stock. But our struggle is not primarily against the ANC. The ANC is a dangerous diversionary tactic. As we keep on saying: 1994 complicated our lives and didn’t end the order of oppression.
20. What are we fighting for?
This is an important question. Essentially we want to be free! We understand that freedom is dependent on firstly the return of the land. We struggle to create a new society where suffering shall have ended! This shall be a black socialist society! In this fight we learn from the past- Sankofa style.
Our decision to start from the beginning is because we are convinced there is no revolutionary movement that is fighting for black people and for land. We see people who are busy running and celebrating but not organising for revolution.
21. Can we achieve a new society? How can this be done?
We can achieve this new society but only through the masses of our people being united in purpose! Hence BLF’s emphasis on revolutionary and not empty numbers. As BLF we believe in the mass black line which teaches us that without the black people we are nothing! The BLF stands for the total transformation of our society by any means necessary guided by the politics of Black Consciousness and Pan Africanism and the leadership ethos as elaborated by Thomas Sankara.
BLF will guide and help society to consciously ask the right fundamental question: is this how we should be governed? Until our people have asked this question with one voice, we cannot build a new society. BLF seeks to build critical consciousness by asking the right fundamental questions in society.
BLF desires to ultimately build a happy secured society where all live in freedom for REAL! To this end democracy will serve the people instead of serving politicians and public representatives at the expense of the people!
22. Is that kind of democracy even practical?
Politicians and public representatives serving under neo liberal rule resist real participatory democracy which makes the realization of this kind of democracy impractical. Hence we now have the situation where 400 parliamentarians rule over more than 53 million people! This is hardly the kind of democracy that can be made to serve the people and this amounts to surrendering people’s power to an elite. It also creates the opportunity for politicians to abuse the people’s mandate to represent their best interests. As mechanisms to make politicians and public representatives accountable to the people are either non existent, very weak or selectively utilised, they (public representatives and politicians) can consequently give each other perks and legalise corruption through the Ministerial Handbook as so many of them are currently doing.
We need to build new people’s democracy to properly serve the people. All options including technological options needs to be fully explored and if needs be utilized so as to make people’s participatory democracy real! To this end the possibility of voting on all major issues – such as the type and location of houses, universities, hospitals to be built for citizens; the salaries of politicians and civil servants; the termination of office of a minister(s) etc – becomes real. Just imagine, at the mere touch of a button we could have fired the Minister of Health for the consistent high infant death rate at public hospitals or the Minister of Education for failing to provide quality free education, cancel all student debt and put an end to outsourcing. In this context the use of cell phone technology for democracy becomes a viable option and should be optimally utilized to meet the current demands of the participatory democratic system that our people so desperately need. Cell phone democracy, is cheap, reliable and viable! This kind of technology is already used in countries such as Estonia.
23. What is the basic program of the BLF?
The basic program of BLF is the destruction of white supremacy and it’s guardians (black colonialism) via the “repossession of land without compensation” and the installation of a socialist system that responds to the total needs of blacks. To this end BLF links all other people’s struggles to the land struggle.
24. What does BLF mean when it says it is a vanguard organization?
BLF is a vanguard organization leading the revolutionary masses in the fight to destroy white supremacy.There can be no revolution without a vanguard organization. As a vanguard organization the BLF’s role is to lead the masses of our people by raising their consciousness against the enemy so as to resolve the contradictions via the revolutionary process itself.
25. What are the Central Tasks of BLF Structures, Formations and Other Entities
In general, BLF branches must be formed in factories, mines and other enterprises, people’s residential areas including informal settlements, offices, shops, prisons etc.
BLF branches or primary BLF Coordinating Committees may also be set up where there is a relatively large membership or where the revolutionary struggle requires.
BLF structures, formations and other entities must give prominence to the revolutionary politics of the organization and develop the style of melding theory with practice, maintaining close links with the people and practicing criticism and self-criticism.
The main tasks of the component structures, formations and other entities of the BLF are:
To lead BLF members and the broad revolutionary masses in studying, internalizing and applying the political line of BLF;
To give constant education to BLF members and the broad revolutionary masses and to lead them in fighting resolutely against the class enemy;
To propagate and carry out the policies of BLF, implement its decisions and fulfill every task assigned by the NCC;
To maintain close ties with the masses by being located on the ground and constantly listening to their opinions and their demands.
To conduct robust ideological struggle within the BLF so as to keep the organization’s life vigorous.
To take in new BLF members, enforce discipline, constantly consolidate the BLF membership strength and to get rid of the rot and take in new energy so as to maintain the good health of the organizations’ ranks.
26. How are members who violate organizational discipline dealt with within the organisation?
By applying the disciplinary procedures as outlined in the BLF Constitution.
27. What can you do to help build the BLF?
Get any information you can on the BLF via, for example, its blog at www.black1stland1st.wordpress.com and it’s website at www.blf.org.za
Join the BLF as an active member who is committed to building a culture of liberation.
If you choose not to join the BLF but simply to support its campaigns, you are welcome to do so. Even as a supporter do not hesitate to call BLF to a meeting in your area.
Read and study all the founding documents, resolutions, directives, decisions and instructions of the movement; starting with the contents of this “FAQS” document.
Educate yourself and others. Spread the message of revolution! These are the most important things you can do to build the BLF. Start with your immediate vicinity – share what you learn with your family members and friends. Engage them appropriately.
Each person joining this movement is expected to recruit at least TEN members.
In doing revolutionary work – build good relations with our people by showing the necessary concern and helping them resolve their problems.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
8 November 2015