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Rajni Lallah at Radical Left Network Conference in Cape Town


One of Lalit's leading members, Rajni Lallah, attended a conference in Cape Town on 2 and 3 November to celebrate 90 years since the Russian Revolution. The celebration was organized by the Radical Left Network which, in itself, was an event. It unites the Socialist Group, Workers Organisation for Socialist Action, African Peoples' Democratic Union of Southern Africa (APDUSA), New Unity Movement, Comrades for a Workers Government, Labour Left Collective and the Democratic Socialist Movement.

In her report to Lalit, Rajni Lallah said she had made a plea for political co-ordination amongst political organizations in Africa. She said that this was essential at a time when the economic protectionism of post-colonial times was at an end, and when this was provoking drastic changes in the balance of class forces within each country, and impacting on the political struggle in unprecedented ways.

It is a socialist political party's daily work to analyse these kinds of changes in reality, she said, precisely because it is the aim of socialists to bring revolutionary change to the world. And it is only political organizations that have the interest and the capacity to share this kind of analysis across national boundaries.

Rajni Lallah also outlined the specific nature of the class changes that the new economic agreements can bring in Africa. She gave the example of how the end of the Sugar Protocol under the Lome Agreement and the Cotonou Agreement directly affect production and thus the balance of class forces in Mauritius. She asked what the role of a socialist party is in such times. Is it to support the old colonial agreements, against the new liberalization? And if the unions do this blindly, how do we deal with this? Lalit, she explained, has found that we cannot just support the previous status quo, staying eternally on the defensive, but must put forward a program that goes forward to a socialist future.

For this, she said, we in Lalit have found that the concept of a "transitional program" is very useful right now in the African context in the year 2007, just as it was useful at the what at the time seemed the lowest ebb of the class struggle in Europe in 1938. She said not of course that we rely on the particular analysis and demands of 1938, but that when the transitional program idea was developed by Trotsky, it was a clearly spelt out philosophy as to what a revolutionary program can be, which she explained briefly.

Other key speakers included Pierre Rousset, Fourth International member, who spoke on the Russian Revolution and a series of carefully selected ways in which it has lessons for today, and Neville Alexander, a leading member of WOSA, who spoke on the socialist alternative, itself. Rajni has recorded their speeches in toto, and Lalit members can contact her to get an audio CD to listen to.