Regarded as one of the greatest strategist and philosophers who possessed timeless wisdom, Sun Tzu is quoted stating that “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.
The words, “unity”, “renewal” and “radical socio-economic transformation” have become synonymous with the kind of character the ANC and its alliance partners of today aspire. This can be discerned through cursory observations of themes, speeches and resolutions of gatherings such as the ANC’s 54th National Conference, 108th January 8th ANC birthday celebrations, COSATU’s 13th National Congress and SACP 4th Special National Congress. These expressions are an indication of an outcome these progressive forces wish to attain in relation to both their respective standing as well as impact they desire onto South African society.
Borrowing from Sun Tzu, the critical question then becomes one of the type of strategy and tactics required to emerge victorious in this course towards unity, renewal and socio-economic transformation. This edition of Umrabulo, themed Strategy and Tactics, applies itself to these very questions.
Reneva Fourie’s Suicidal Fault Lines In Our Strategy and Tactics lays a crisp and informative foundation to this edition’s theme as it provides background about the concept “strategy” and “tactics”. This is defined both as a concern in the corporate world and with a distinction of its use by the revolutionary movement. Landing itself in Sun Tzu’s warning about why the importance of strategy and tactics, members of the ANC are cautioned to be disciplined, or else risk causing the organisation’s combat abilities to become redundant. The article pointedly states that “We will perpetually be caught in a paralysis of analysis; and when we do act, the actions will be flawed because the base that informs it is wrong.”
In Wide-Reaching Growth of Laager Mentalities’ Impact On The S&T Dr Oscar van Heerden draws attention to results of the 2019 National General Elections as he questions what this means for balance of forces in South Africa. Through an analysis of the results he argues that “in line with global right-wing trends, meaning, ultra-right, narrow nationalist and anti-immigrant approaches, we see that in South Africa, voters too are adhering to inward looking and protectionist trends.”
Malusi Gigaba’s At The Root of Capital’s Strategies & Tactics For Power And Control provocatively looks at the role capital has played in shaping, delivering and holding on to the South Africa we are experiencing today. Amongst assertions made is that the nature of capital is such that it would never leave things to chance. Instead it will seek and has ensured direct presence within planning and discussion sessions of the governing party.
Dr Yacoob Abba Omar’s Strategy and Tactics In A Digital Era is a rather self-explanatory title. The article is best explained through its expressions that “Given the extent to which we feel overwhelmed by the tsunami of technological changes that confronts us, there is a temptation to simply submit… Perhaps the starting point would be inserting the potential role of digital media into the perennial debate on the modernisation of the ANC. This should impact on the very DNA of the ANC’s approach to organisational form, internal democracy and campaigning.”
Focused on balance of forces on the global stage and whether the ANC have applied itself correctly to this is Thato Magogodi’s “Is Today’s A World of Unipolarity or Multipolarity or Bipolarity” . Have we got the definitions correct about the world we live in? Or have we handed ourselves the short end of the stick? Meaning our analysis of balance of forces could be questionable. And therefore so to our strategy and tactics.
In “Encountering ‘The People’ in Public Decision Spaces” , Proffessor Muxe Nkondo makes a case for “the people” as the sole enablers of true radical economic transformation. He straddles through definitions of “the people” and what their appropriate location should be in the planning and execution of solutions orientated programmes.
The next edition of Umrabulo is themed “Economic Transformation” and if keen to submit an article than please contact the Editor. Articles must preferably be about 2 000 words long, but not longer than 3 000.
Happy Reading. In the words of the revolutionary Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, “Without patriotic political education, a soldier is only a potential criminal”. Therefore, amass yourself in the articles published in this edition and share in discourse within your locality around the critical subject matter of Strategy and Tactics.