August 18, 2009

Lest we forget our revolutionary heroines.. The YCL of South Africa remembers Ruth First

As the Young Communist league of South Africa celebrates women’s month it remembers the women that were brave enough to tackle injustices of the apartheid regime. We need to commemorate our heroines that put their lives on the line to see the liberation of not only our women but as well as the majority of South Africans. Today marks a tragic day in history, where the forces of apartheid robbed us of our comrade. Today in 1982 (17th of August 1982) Cde. Ruth First was killed by a parcel bomb in Maputo, Mozambique.

Cde. First’s political indoctrination went as far back as being a child, she was raised in a family that was politically aware and her parents were some of the founding members of the Communist party of South Africa. In her time as a student she was active in structures of youth movements. Ruth First was the first female secretary of the Young Communist League.

She was central to debates within the Johannesburg Discussion Club, which led to the formation of the underground SACP (of which First was a member) and to closer links between the SACP and the African National Congress (ANC). First was also instrumental in the foundation of the non-racial Federation of Progressive Students and joined the South African Communist Party - the principal party open to whites forging interracial political activity.

She supported the ANC's 1952 Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign and in 1954 helped found the Congress of Democrats branch of the Congress Alliance, the South African Indian Congress, the South African Coloured People's Congress, and the South African Congress of Trade Unions. She helped draft the Congress Alliance's Freedom Charter, which called for "… a non-racial South Africa based on equal rights for all". Her role in the struggle has been significant.

Today there is a glorification of women that advocate the capitalist agenda and marginalise those that do not have a voice in society. Being a CEO of a corporate giant seems to the generally accepted status quo as opposed to developing your immediate community; there is a lot that young women can learn from the likes of Ruth First with respect to patriotism and selflessness. The YCLSA prides itself in having been led by an outstanding leader like Cde. Ruth First. The YCLSA is also encouraged by the fact that its membership profile constitutes predominantly of women. This is visible in branches, districts, provinces as well as at National level. This is the legacy that leaders like Ruth First have left and we believe that the YCLSA will continue to produce female cadres like Cde. Ruth First. Let us continue to advocate and champion socialism as capitalism has continuously proven to be destructive.

Your spirit lives on Cde. Ruth first

Issued by the head office of YCLSA

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