Cronin warns Cosatu: if you lie down with dogs expect to get fleas

Umsebenzi Online has just (yesterday) published a stern warning to Cosatu from SACP deputy secretary general Jeremy Cronin about the trade union federation’s recent “Civil Society Conference”.

Cronin’s “intervention” (his word) is torn between warning:

  1. that the conference plays into the hands of “anti-transformation”, “anti-majoritarian” “right-wing liberals” and
  2. the fact that leading members of Cosatu’s partner organisations in the endeavour “share an activist history going back to the 1980s when they were involved in the “Marxist Workers’ Tendency” – a left-wing entryist formation that sought to transform the ANC into a workers’ party”.

So if you want the crude summary Cronin thinks Cosatu (and especially its secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi) is either misguidedly or deliberately serving the agenda of:

  1. those who would like to see Apartheid  survive  and US imperialism rule forever, and
  2. the same old anti-Soviet Trots who hated the SACP in the old days and still want to win the workers away from the party today.

I think both these reasons for warning Cosatu off are wrong-headed, but Cronin’s interventions are always interesting and are especially instructive for those prepared to poke around in the fermenting and bubbling interstices of his argument.

I will, therefore, be examining bits and pieces of what he has to say during the course of the day.

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