Farewell To His Comrades: Message, September 19, 1983

[Message to a meeting of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party, written and signed hours before his death, September 19, 1983]

Dearest Comrades and Colleagues,

It is with deep sorrow and great personal regret that I inform you of my inability to attend this most important meeting. It will be the first time since the reconstitution of our Party that I have been absent from ordinary or plenary sessions of the Central Committee. Furthermore, since my election as Chairman in 1972, this will be the first time I am deprived of the honour and privilege of presiding over the deliberations of the Central Committee. I am sure you will all understand that my absence is due entirely to my present poor state of health.

It is now, reflecting on events from my hospital bed, that I fully realise the faith, confidence, loyalty and dedication that comrades of the Party, at all levels, have shown to me, particularly over the last difficult months. The high standing our Party enjoys has also been demonstrated by the fact that messages of support during my illness have come from many fraternal parties, governments, liberation movements, cadres in the front-line at home, and not the least, from individuals throughout the world. This depth of concern and love, so freely expressed, has touched me deeply. I would like to say to all of you whom I have come to know and love over the many difficult years we have worked together, that your support and caring is what has sustained me. I am humbled to be the recipient of such devotion.

Our Party, whatever its weaknesses over the years, has also consistently been a great source of strength and power. This strength is rooted in the firm foundations laid, from the very beginning, the emphasis placed on a correct understanding of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism by all cadres; on the emphasis of education classes and the correct teaching of Marxism-Leninism to cadres; on the unqualified discipline and high level of commitment demanded from cadres; and on the unswerving loyalty and respect our Party has for the CPSU.

At this juncture in history, when the Reagan Administration is threatening the world with nuclear destruction, it is the fundamental task of communist parties and the international communist movement as a whole to awaken world public opinion and bring all their force to bear in the struggle to ensure that people understand that the defence of peace lies in support for the Soviet Union and the world socialist movement. The unity of communist parties is vital to counteract the propaganda efforts and disinformation of world imperialism, which is attempting to brand the Soviet Union as the enemy of humankind.

The years of painstaking work by the Party and the ANC are showing results. There is the continued tremendous growth of internal, organised opposition exemplified by, among other events, the momentous gathering in Cape Town during the last month which launched the United Democratic Front. At the same time this growth of resistance imposes its own exacting demands on our Party. The gains achieved must be consolidated. The mass of our people are united as never before to engage in all-out battle for the overthrow of the apartheid regime. It is our task and our revolutionary duty to ensure that our proud history of struggle bears fruit; that guidance and direction is clearly given; that the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism are correctly understood in the context of our struggle.

Our strength in the past has been built upon the depth of our Party's and cadres` ideological knowledge and understanding. The fierce ideological battle being waged on many fronts must not find our Party wanting. It is in this context that we need to assess here today, and in our forthcoming deliberations, our weaknesses and strengths, our successes and failures. We must frankly, honestly and realistically provide direction for enhancing our work in the testing time that lies ahead.

Of prime importance is the ideological work at every level. We need to critically assess our effectiveness in this key area. To what extent has it become understood by the people as their own policy? Have we made sufficient efforts to ensure our own cadres understand the Party's policy in present-day conditions, and, with such an understanding, do our cadres have a clear idea as to his or her duty in carrying out allocated tasks?

Today, almost as never before, the South African workers are on the march. In this field a great responsibility rests on our Party. We are the revolutionary Party of the working class, whose clear role is that of the vanguard in the fight for socialism. The working class, in essence the black working class in our country, is the pivotal force in the struggle for a revolutionary overthrow of the entire apartheid system. As such our Party must place its main focus and emphasis in organising, uniting and giving clear guidance to this class, which forms the backbone of our struggle. Included in this task is assessing our strength and weakness in the trade union movement as a whole, assessing (re-defining if necessary) the role of SACTU, and ensuring that our future work in this vital field meets the demands of the time.

The Botha regime, fighting for the very survival of Nationalist rule, has launched an offensive spearheaded by the creation of a President's Council, backed up by the constitutional proposals, the Koornhof Bills, and all-out effort at the creation of a black middle class. It is our urgent task to ensure all-out mobilisation to defeat this new enemy manoeuvre.

In his "Analysis of the Existing Situation and Landmarks for the Future", given in an address to the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the CPSU on June 15th, 1983, Comrade Andropov, General Secretary of the CPSU, said: "In politics one pays for one's errors. When the guiding role of a Communist Party weakens, there arises the danger of sliding back to a bourgeois-reformist way of development. If a Party loses touch with the people, self-proclaimed aspirants to the role of those who express the interests of the working people emerge in the ensuing vacuum." We have witnessed the consequences of such developments in Poland. We, working in underground conditions of the harshest nature, must ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our efforts to create the conditions whereby our Party, the working class and the liberation struggle are one and the same thing.

I have every confidence that this meeting will correctly analyse the present developments in our country and will establish guidelines and directives for our future effective working; will accurately assess the workings of our Party in keeping with the strengthening of our deep-rooted alliance with the African National Congress and the armed wing of the liberation movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe; will look at the role of the Party in the present-day heightened imperialist offensive and ensure that we continue to play our part in defending and strengthening the world socialist community, and, above all, will produce a programme of action that will enable our Party, our cadres and our people to be more than equal to the challenge that lies ahead.

I would like to say that throughout my life I have tried to serve my people, my country and the cause for which I have lived. There are many individuals who have greatly influenced me. Many incidents have contributed to my development as a Communist and freedom fighter. Figures such as Malume J. B. and Mick stand out as beacons, while over the years my thoughts never strayed far from those entombed, tragically for so long, on Robben Island and Pretoria Central, now Pollsmoor or even "whereabouts unknown". Our duty, in paying tribute to their selfless courage, is to go forward with renewed vigour, rededication and self-sacrifice, characteristics which have consistently been our hallmarks.

Finally, to all of you I hold so dear, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the years of true comradeship and love we have shared. I have indeed been privileged to know you.

I wish this meeting every success in its deliberation.

Long Live the South African Communist Party!

Long Live the African National Congress!

Forward to Freedom!

(sd.) Yusuf Dadoo
19th September 1983

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

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