Political education is lifeblood of any revolutionary movement

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Welcome address by the Secretary General of the ANC, Cde Elias Sekgobelo Magashule during the occasion of the ceremony of the official opening of the OR Tambo School of Leadership held at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, Gauteng Province on 11 April 2019

Our profound gratitude and appreciation embrace all of you gathered here today during this rare occasion of great historical significance. On behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC), we welcome you to this solemn occasion of the official launch of the Oliver Reginald Tambo School of Leadership.

We are indeed humbled to welcome you to this rare historic event, dedicated to one of our outstanding sons, whose name is engraved in the epitaph of the pantheons of the struggle for the liberation of our country and of human society,  Cde President Oliver Reginald Tambo. He indeed belongs to those of the few and the better, to those sons and daughters of our soil, whose names are emboldened in the glorious path of the heroic history of the struggle of our people.

Comrade President OR was one the towering giants of our struggle, and the longest serving President of our national Liberation Movement. A humble servant of the people who no words can describe the pathos of his outstanding feats and his contribution towards the noble cause of our struggle for freedom and dignity.

Comrade President OR Tambo was the epitome of our revolutionary theory for transformation of society. His epic definition of the revolutionary Alliance as a living organism born out of the common struggle of our people was a reflection of his rich theoretical understanding of the nature of our South African revolution.

Therefore the inauguration of the OR Tambo School of Leadership will go a long way in ensuring that we build a new type of a cadre capable of leading the struggle of our people during this historic period of a hostile world dominated by forces of imperialism and neo-colonialism. The school will ferment a new momentum of a new cadre capable of confronting the growing onslaught by forces of reaction against the revolutionary movement in our country, the continent and the whole world.

The late President of the Republic of Mozambique, Cde. Samora Machel, expressed the following profound theoretical words:

“That after the triumph of each and every revolution, revolutionaries always have the tendencies of taking off their guns and exchanging their military regalia with suits and ties. These are the mistakes we make, we will be elegant with the suits and ties, but the bourgeoisie will continue carrying their guns”.

Here the late President Samora Machel was bringing to the fore the important question of the necessity of political education in the life of every revolution. One important factor that we always forget and take for granted at the expense of the future of our people.

We need to unleash our energies and focus on political education and therefore building on the capacity of our young generation, if indeed we want to eliminate the dominant vestiges of imperialism and neo-colonialism in our society. To achieve this important strategic political task, we need to make it compulsory that all our branches have systematic political education sessions on a regular basis.

A political school is the nucleus, and therefore an essential life, of any revolutionary movement. It is like a factory of production which produces the caliber of cadres, the most advanced elements in society, with farsighted clarity on the ideological and organizational forms of struggle society has to engage with at the turn of each and every historical period.

A political education school is like a nursery which hatches new revolutionary ideas necessary to guide the struggle for the liberation of human society. It is a platform to empower society with rich ideas to create better living conditions for peace, freedom and equality.

We say this because of the fundamental reason that the battle of ideas is historically the most contested terrain of struggle. The battle of ideas is about power and hegemony, it is about nation building and formation, and about the kind of society we want to build.

Last year we attended an auspicious ceremony of the official launch of Malume Julius Nyerere School of Leadership in the United Republic of Tanzania. The school is an important initiative to empower young people with the requisite skills necessary for the development of the African continent.

The OR Tambo School of Leadership will collaborate with the Malume Julius Nyerere School of Leadership, including other schools managed by all former liberation movements in the continent, for the purpose of achieving our strategic goal of building a strong organization on our continent and in the world.

A Board of well experienced men and women led by the former

Secretary General and Deputy President of  the ANC Cde Kgalema Motlante has been appointed to oversee the functioning of the school. We are confident that these able men and women of our Movement will be equal to that important task.

Comrade President in welcoming our guests and delegates to this important historic ceremony, allow me to quote the following leaders of the world revolutionary movement with regard to the importance of political education. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Chairman Mao.

Cde Karl Marx, one of the outstanding philosophers of the world revolutionary movement said the following:

“… the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, the class which is the ruling material force is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.

The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.

The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant relationships grasped as ideas”.

The founder of the Communist party of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin said the following:

“Our revolutionary scientific theory is the weapon to make us judge and define the methods of struggle correctly. That is a weapon that helps us to analyze and understand correctly the cause of development of human society at every moment, to analyze and understand correctly every turning point of society and to carry out the revolutionary transformation of society”.

Lenin proceeded to say the following about the leadership role of a vanguard party:

“The starting point of any revolution rests on the fundamentals of a revolutionary theory and a revolutionary working class party. In its struggle for power, the proletariat has no other weapon but the organization, the proletariat can, and invariably will, become invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principle of Marxism, being reinforced by the material unity of organization.

The founder of the Communist Party of China Cde Mao Tse Tung said the following about the important role of the cadres of a party:

“They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity, they must be imbued with the spirit of self criticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work.

Our party organization must be extended all over the country and must purposefully train tens of thousands of cadres and hundreds of first rate cadres. They must be politically far sighted, competent in work, full of spirit of self sacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own, loyal and devoted to the nation and the party.

It is on this cadres and leaders that the party relies for its links with the membership and the masses, and is by relying on the firm leadership by the masses that the party succeed in defeating the enemy.

Such cadres and leaders must be free from selfishness, from individual heroism, sloth, passivity, and arrogant sectarianism and be selfless national and class heroes, such are the qualities and style of work demanded of the members, cadres and leaders of our party”.

We are confident that the OR Tambo School of Leadership will guarantee the struggle of our people for the achievement of the objectives of our national democratic revolution. It will indeed be a fountain of wisdom for the future generations to come.

We thank you very for this opportunity and we again welcome you all to this important historic occasion, of the official launch of the OR Tambo School of Leadership.

We thank you.