CPSA is founded

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Friday, 29 July 1921

The founding conference of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) took place in Cape Town from 30 July to 1 August 1921, however, the party was founded on 29 July 1921 in Cape Town. It was founded mainly by radical White workers and socialists who had experienced workers' struggles in Europe and were inspired by the first workers' state which was founded in 1917 in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. The founding conference was preceded by a public meeting in Cape Town attended by over two thousand, mainly coloured, workers. William H (Bill) Andrews addressed this meeting and announced the establishment, aims and character of the new Party.

The conference formally established the Communist Party of South Africa (South African Section of the Communist International) and adopted its constitution and manifesto. It also elected an executive with its headquarters in Johannesburg. Andrews was elected secretary-editor, C.B.Tyler, chairman, and S.P. Bunting, treasurer. In 1928 the CPSA and the African National Congress (ANC) began a close working relationship. Although there was much conflict in this relationship due to different working methods and ideas, and the ANC even rejected communism in 1930, it was a lasting relationship as a result of a strong bond built up in exile . In 1953, the CPSA was renamed the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Click here to read the CPSA manifesto, which was adopted at its inaugural conference in Cape Town.

Last updated : 16-Jul-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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