Author: Fred M'membe

Hichilema’s very worrying comments, insinuations

Hichilema’s very worrying comments, insinuations Featured

The excitement of Mr Hakainde Hichilema over my carrying a firearm is very worrying.

He is passing judgement on a matter I am being prosecuted over by law enforcement agencies under his control and command. In more fair and just societies his comments and insinuations would constitute a very serious breach, prejudicing my case.

The fact that Mr Hichilema has never carried a firearm even when his life was in constant danger as an opposition leader doesn’t make my carrying a firearm illegal or unjustifiable.

It’s lawful for any Zambian to own and carry a licensed firearm and use it within legally permissible conditions and circumstances.

I have carried a firearm for most of my life. The life I have lived required me to carry a firearm, and I have been properly and adequately trained in the use of firearms.

The life Mr Hichilema has lived is very different from mine. His path in life is very different from mine. Each path in life is different.

It’s not fair and just for Mr Hichilema to prejudice my case. From his comments and insinuations it’s very clear that he is very excited about this case and he would like to see me fixed. And he seems to have serious problems concealing his excitement. But for now, let him keep his excitement and desires to himself and allow me a fair and unprejudiced trial.

The exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party [Zambia]

A progressive wave has dawned in Africa, declares M’membe

A progressive wave has dawned in Africa, declares M’membe

Speaking at the Founder’s Day celebrations in Winneba, Ghana on Friday, September 21, 2018, Dr Fred M’membe declared that Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s socialist revolutionary ideas were on the resurgence.
Extolling Dr Nkrumah’s revolutionary leadership and ideas, Dr M’membe, who is the 2021 presidential candidate of the Socialist Party (Zambia), said the progressive socialist wave had dawned on the African continent.

Below is the full speech by Dr M’membe:

Revolutionaries never die, Nkrumah lives in us!
Those who thought Nkrumah is dead, they should realise that wherever there is a crucifixion, there is always a resurrection.

Nkrumah is with us right here today. The ideas of Nkrumah will live forever, they will live forever in us, they are here today in his homeland of Ghana. Those who thought we were totally defeated and that was the end of Nkrumah’s ideas were mistaken. The revolutionary process started by Nkrumah six decades ago is being resurrected today, right here in Ghana.

Capitalism has no answer to the problems facing humanity today. Capitalism cannot deal with the problem of inequality that is crippling the world today; capitalism cannot deal with the issue of unemployment that is crippling the world today! Every year in winter they go to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum; what do they discuss in there? They discuss growing inequality in the world, they discuss growing unemployment in the world!

But every year they come from Davos without answers to these problems, without solutions to these challenges. This is so because the answers to these problems and solutions to these challenges do not lie in capitalism. In fact, what they are trying to do is to square a circle. To find solutions to these problems and challenges they have to destroy capitalism, and they are not ready to do so. We are ready to do so; and we are starting here in Ghana to do so.

Imperialism has reached its highwater mark. Today a new revolutionary wave starts here, right here in Ghana; they will not defeat us this time, we are better equipped with Nkrumah’s ideas, Cabral’s ideas, Chavez ideas, Fidel’s ideas, Mao’s ideas, Lenin’s ideas, Karl Marx’s ideas.

We are coming for you! We are coming for you! And there’s no pulling punches.
We are more revolutionary than six decades ago; we are more experienced than six decades ago. And we are more in numbers than six decades ago. In this hall today, we have over 60 nations represented, covering all continents. Can we fail? We won’t fail!

Comrades, those who thought Nkrumah’s ideas were dead, what they didn’t realise is that these were revolutionary ideas. You can’t kill revolutionary ideas whose time has come. It was time for these revolutionary ideas 60 years ago; it is still time for these revolutionary ideas today.

Since 1945 when the PanAfrican Congress was held in Manchester, we didn’t have this type of gathering, not even the OAU assembled so many nations in one place. If imperialists are as intelligent as they claim to be, they will today realise that something is changing on this continent. Something big is happening and they will not be able to stop it. They will not be able to stop this progressive wave.

History is not always in a straight forward direction, there’re often gigantic leaps backward. We have suffered our leaps backwards, we have had our calvary. We’re now coming for you! We’re coming for you! And victory is certain! We will not do it with guns but with ideas – Nkrumah’s ideas, Cabral’s ideas, Fidel’s ideas, Chavez’s ideas! We’ll do it with all the ideas of the revolutionaries of our past and our present!

Their concerted efforts to bury Nkrumah’s ideas with his body have failed. We’re today much more aware of Nkrumah’s ideas than we were before. When they realised that they were failing to bury Nkrumah’s ideas, what did they do? They started to create a new Nkrumah for us, a Nkrumah who was not a socialist, a Nkrumah who was not a communist, a Nkrumah who they called a PanAfricanist; meaning something else.

Today we are here to reclaim, to redefine and to chart a new path for the Nkrumah we know, a Nkrumah who is socialist, a Nkrumah who is communist. There was a time when it was difficult to say ‘I am a socialist’ on this continent, when it was difficult to say ‘ I am a communist’. Comrades, today I stand before you to tell you that I’m a socialist! I’m a communist who is a son of Nkrumah, who is a grandson of Nkrumah, who is a great grandson of Nkrumah!

Comrades, this progressive socialist wave will not be stopped! We are back in Ghana to draw our inspiration, to recharge our revolutionary batteries, to re dedicate ourselves to the African struggle for socialism, which is not only the struggle for Africa, but a struggle for the whole world.
We are with the whole world in Ghana here today. Those who have got ears should listen to what we are saying; those who have got eyes should see that our actions are determined, our ideas are clear! We’re resolute with everything that we are saying and which we are doing!

We’re not here to reform capitalism; we’re here to build a socialist future for our continent and the whole world. We’re here to continue what Nkrumah struggled for and died for. We’re here again because Nkrumah lives in us!

Comrades, we cannot continue on this neoliberal capitalist path. The population of Ghana today is 24 million people and at a growth rate of more than 2 per cent, the population of Ghana is likely to double in the next 15-20 years. Where are the jobs going to come from, given Ghana’s today’s unemployment rate and capitalism’s inability to create jobs? Where will housing come from in 15 to 20 years-time when the population of Ghana doubles? How are they going to live?
Can capitalism give answers to these problems? The answer is a categorical NO!

For many years, we are given examples of how Ghana is doing very well in terms of neo-liberal capitalism. What has changed? Are the conditions of the Ghanaian people today better than they were 20 years ago? Are they going to be better in 20 years-time under capitalism? Again, the answer is a categorical NO!

We are proud to be associated with Nkrumah! We’re proud to be Nkrumah’s followers! We’re proud to be Nkrumah’s children! We’re proud to be Nkrumah’s disciples! We’re proud to be socialists! We’re proud to be communists!

Your health has been put in a casino for gamblers, speculators to make money

Your health has been put in a casino for gamblers, speculators to make money

In April this year the national health insurance Act 2018 was enacted “to provide for sound financing for the national health system; provide for a universal access to quality insured health care services; establish the National Health Insurance Management Authority and provide for its functions and powers; establish the National Health Insurance Scheme and provide for its systems, procedures and operation; establish the National Health Insurance Fund and provide for contributions to and payments from the Fund; provide for accreditation criteria and conditions in respect of insured health care services; provide for complaints and appeals processes; provide for the progressive establishment of provincial and district health offices of the Authority; and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing”.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25, at page 5 states, inter alia, that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of oneself and of one’s family.
This implies that everyone has the right to medical care when sick. This obliges the government to create conditions in which every person has access to medical services and attention in the event of sickness. This right obliges the government to provide enough funds for preventive health care and basic health care assistance. This right extends to the preventive aspects of health care. This includes improved nutrition, sanitation, immunisation, education on health, improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene. This right obliges the government to pay a special attention to epidemic, endemic and occupational diseases. This right also obliges the government to pay a special attention to the improvement of healthy conditions of the children. The right to health is also connected with the rights of the persons with disabilities and the rights of the persons with HIV/AIDS.
The right to a decent standard of living also obliges governments even those, like ours, which are poor to use the maximum resources available to realise this right.
The enjoyment of the right to adequate standard of living entails adequate and equal access to health services for all. This requires an acknowledgement of the problems that beset health services and the willingness to tackle them.
Equality among citizens and the demands of justice call for policies which aim to provide adequate health care for all without distinction. Human beings can never be reduced to status objects. Every person is of equal dignity. The value of life is not to be measured by one’s possessions or position in society. Every person, whether rich or poor, has the right to receive health care.
One cannot claim to uphold the principle of the sanctity of life if provision has not been made for even minimal health care for every person.
In order to rethink fundamentally the issues surrounding this Act, we need to first understand what exactly health insurance is and what it insures. With external objects, such as a house, or a car, we know exactly what a policy insures: a house, a car, respectively. We insure for the recovery, whether by repair or replacement, of the products that we buy in case of damage or loss.
With health insurance we are able to secure funding for the necessary cost of recovering our health from a disease. In this sense, there seems to be no difference between a car policy, for example, and a health policy. However, this does seem quite right.
In the case of a car, we understand without a doubt that it is an external object that is physically separate from us. The same with houses and other things. Unlike these objects, however, our health is not external. It is what makes us function, what enables us to lead productive, meaningful lives. It allows us to be who we are. It is inconceivable to even imagine that our health is somehow external to us. So then can we talk about the health insurance industry in the same ways as we talk about the property insurance industry?
How then is health insurance even possible?
In order to understand this problem, we turn to Karl Marx’s concept of “alienation”. Marx uses this concept to understand the relationship of labour to its product. This concept is useful in helping us understand how our health undergoes the same process of “alienation” from ourselves in a dialectic process that makes health both ours, but at the same time not ours. Let me explain.
Let me begin by stating that to work is human nature. As humans we are defined by the work we do. In fact, we are our work, and our names often reveal that – Manjimela, Milimo, Ndui, Kapokola, Mulonda, Fisher, Smith, Mason, Cooper, Shoemaker, Miller and so on and so forth.
However, as soon as these products enter the cycle of being bought and sold for profit, the relationship we have with these products undergoes a fundamental change. They become something alien to us and take on a life of their own, complete separate from us. So as they accrue value, the workers who produced them see their ownership in them diminish while at the same time seeing their own value in proportion to the value of their products diminish. According to Marx, “[t]he greater his [worker’s] activity, therefore, the less he possesses. What is embodied in the product of his labour is no longer his own. The greater this product is, therefore, the more he is diminished.”
This is precisely how the process of “alienation” starts. The worker starts to be “related to the product of his labour as to an alien object.” The “alienation” of the worker in his product means not only that “his labour becomes an object, assumes an external existence, but that it exists independently, outside himself, and alien to him, and that it stands opposed to him as an autonomous power.”
So as the worker works, the more he produces through his work, the more alienated his activity becomes from himself. It becomes a “commodity as it enters a fundamentally different relationship, “a commercial relationship, a relationship of exchange, of buying and selling”. Thus, our work, that which defines us, that which is our nature, becomes the source of profit, not for us, but for those who control it.
Our health has become a commodity for an entire insurance industry.
This process of “alienation of labour” helps us understand just how the health insurance industry works today. Our health, that which enables us to work, becomes alienated from us. We insure our health as if it were an external object just like a car, or a house.
The way the health insurance industry is set up, the industry insures our health only as long as it is productive. Our health is wrested from us, made into an external object, with which to draw enormous profit, not for us, but for those who control the industry. It is literally alienated from us having undergone the transformation from something intrinsic to us to an external product. The health that is insured , however, is not the whole of our health, from good to bad, but only that part that is productive. Only that part that makes profit. Only that part that generates profit.
The word “industry” itself is apt in describing our insurance system. Under “industry” we assume that there is a concrete, external object produced through human labour that is insurable. The word itself propagates the idea that our health is capital, curiously not our own, but rather the capital with which the industry itself becomes wealthier and wealthier.
Somehow, we feel deep down that this is not right. That our health is not a commodity.
Hence, the problem with this health insurance is that our health maybe insured, but we are not. As soon as we are not able to produce that desirable external object, our health, we are no longer insurable. And why not? Because we are no longer the owner of our health. The insurance companies are. Those that profit from owning our health are. Hence, the healthier we are, the less ownership we have of our health.
Can you really be alienated from your health?
In our opinion, it is absurd to think that our health is something that can be alienated from us, commodified by a whole industry for its profit. Commodities exist solely for the profit of the owners. However, insuring our health is not like insuring a car, or a home. There is no pretence about these objects being external. If we lose them, we do not die. On the other hand, if we lose our health and our insurance because we are no longer healthy, we die for the simple fact that we cannot afford the care necessary.
We can’t play casino games with our health in this way.
It is time to fundamentally rethink this health care insurance. First of all, we need to move away from the notion that our health is something to be insured by an “industry”. The notion that it is any part of an industry is a fundamentally wrong. Health is not a commodity. It cannot and ought not to be commodified. Our health should not be used for profit.
We need to take back the ownership of our health.
Let’s bring the care into “health care” instead of giving it to an “industry.” Our lives depend on it.
Our viewpoint, as socialists, questions whether major improvements in our health system can occur without fundamental changes in the broad social order. One thrust of the field — an assumption also accepted by many non- socialists — is that the problems of the health system reflect the problems of our larger society and cannot be separated from those problems. Today our whole country has been turned into a casino where everything is being gambled – land, water, forests, food, education, health, political power and so on and so forth. All have been turned into commodities to be acquired by the highest bidder – they are up for speculation!

Speech by comrade Fred M’membe at Fieldmore’s funeral

Speech by comrade Fred M’membe at Fieldmore’s funeral

Speech by Dr Fred M’membe, Socialist Party (Zambia) Deputy General and the party’s 2021 presidential candidate at the funeral of Comrade Fieldmore Mapeto, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, August 25, 2018

Members of the bereaved family;
Leaders of Numsa, SAFTU, EFF and SRWP;
Leaders of ANC, SACP and COSATU;
Leaders of the EFF;
Colleagues of Mkhonto we Sizwe;
Respected comrades and friends,

We have come here to bury a political commissar for national liberation and socialism.

This function must be painful for all of us: first, because we are losing a good revolutionary comrade; second, because we are losing a Marxist-Leninist teacher of the first rank; third, because those of us who were his comrades, friends and colleagues are losing a comrade, a friend, a brother and a colleague. Nevertheless, how should revolutionaries react to the death of a comrade, friend, brother or colleague?

Comrades, Comrade Fieldmore understood very well the fate of a revolutionary fighter when he joined our people’s army, Chris Hani’s army – Mkhonto we Sizwe. Death is the fate of all. It is the only rest for a truly revolutionary fighter. And death is familiar to us all.

Comrades, on behalf of the Socialist Party (Zambia) I wish to convey our feelings of deep sorrow on the death of our dear friend and brother, Comrade Fieldmore.

Over the last three years, cadres of our party learned profound respect for Comrade Fieldmore as one of the most gifted, passionate and profound disseminators of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, ideas that are guiding our joint and common struggles for a more just, fair and humane world.
United under the banner of those ideas, today we are creating more and more revolutionary organisations and opening up new fronts in our struggle across Africa and other parts of the exploited, oppressed and humiliated world.

Comrade Fieldmore helped our cadres uphold the cause of socialism despite the treachery, vacillation, and irresolution of many of our comrades.

Comrades, there’s a lot to be said – and a lot will continue to be said about Comrade Fieldmore and our struggle – but this is not the best place and occasion for long speeches.

Comrade Fieldmore, we lay you to rest with the pledge that a socialist Zambia, South Africa, Africa and world you struggled for and dreamed of will one day become a reality.

Dear Comrade Fieldmore, we all owe you a debt that can only be repaid through continuing this struggle without respite, pause or improvisation – which was the passion and dream of your life.

Fighter, revolutionary, soldier for national liberation and socialism, we mourn deeply for you. You will remain in our hearts forever.

Fieldmore lives in us!
Chris Hani lives in us!
Fidel lives in us!

Statement of Socialist Party (Zambia) on Tuesday’s earthquake in Venezuela

Statement of Socialist Party (Zambia) on Tuesday’s earthquake in Venezuela

It is with profound sadness that we receive the news of the earthquake catastrophe that hit Venezuela on Tuesday.
It is with sadness, that we heard and saw on television the destruction caused by this earthquake.
We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to all Venezuelan people.
We are thinking so much of the people of Venezuela as they experience this terrible earthquake and all its consequences.
We are so sorry to see this devastation; we know Venezuela is a nation of people who will work their way through it all. We have a great admiration for the Venezuelan people.
We will be thinking of you each day – as always.
It would be a formidable task to recover from an earthquake of this magnitude. The Socialist Party (Zambia) stands in solidarity with the people of Venezuela through this difficult time.
We are concerned about the dire consequences of this deadly earthquake which will multiply the problems of the people of Venezuela.

By Dr Fred M’membe, Socialist Party (Zambia) Deputy General Secretary and the party’s presidential candidate in the 2021 elections.