The year 2007 marks the 90th anniversary of the Russian revolution, a revolution that shook the whole world. In 1917, exactly ninety years ago, the Bolshevik Party led a revolution whose intention was to emancipate the toiling masses of Russia and the whole world. Despite the mistakes and errors committed at the time of the revolution, no one can deny the fact that the revolution is an important heritage of our movement. Of course, the Russian revolution will never come back but it has taught us that it is possible for the working class and the oppressed to defeat capitalism and all other forms of oppression within our society.
Our social and economic conditions are different from those of the Russian revolution. The movement that brought down apartheid has collapsed. Traditional organizations such as trade unions and civics are no longer leading struggles. This is a difficult period for our social movements. We have no strategy for the building of our movement.
Comrades, this fifth annual meeting of the SMI has a mammoth task. It has to give a clear direction to the movement building process in South Africa. We have to begin the long journey of solving the jigsaw puzzle of movement building. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We have to come out of this meeting with clear tasks for a movement building process. Our tasks have to be long-term and short-term. The short-term tasks must help us to resolve the long-term tasks.
Before we discuss the tasks, we have to provide an overview of the economic and political and economic situation within which we operate.