Black middle-class cruelty
CO-OPTION, or being captured by the supremacist patriarchal capitalist economic system is a dimension of racial integration that black people prefer not to consider or talk about.
Over the last 25 years, political activists and former freedom fighters have refused to discuss or examine their role in promoting and protecting an unjust economic system.
In fact, the agenda of the so-called liberation struggle has long been hijacked by false communists and determined by self-proclaimed radical activists who desired comfort and security in an inherently unjust capitalist system.
Even though masses of poor and working-class people were the cannon fodder that fed the military camps and marches, the values of the Struggle were always pro-capitalist.
In fact, the priority in the Struggle was for the mere abolishing of discriminatory apartheid laws without the removal or radical change of capitalism.
The call of the anti-apartheid struggle was for false equality and justice in a economic system that upholds and promotes exploitation and oppression of the poor.
The desire of the struggle for aristocracy has always been to join the elite to enjoy the fat of the land at the expense of the majority poor. Thus, the post-apartheid booming black middle class, whose income is spent in white corporations to enjoy what is considered a white lifestyle: suburban homes, private schools, expensive dinners and cocktail parties.
This preoccupation with middle-class status in the name of success has seen the elite abandon masses of the poor to focus on getting shares, bonds and other investments in the capitalist system.
The betrayal of the poor and working class has become a way of life in the post-apartheid society.
In fact, it is a prerequisite for success. To make it in the system, you must distance yourself; be alienated from the angry and poor.
Men and women, including workers’ union leaders, who do not advocate or support capitalism, are identified to be dealt with by any means necessary, including unjustifiable expulsion.
For example, communists and worker leaders today enjoy all the trappings of a middle class capitalist lifestyle.
This is the symbol of recognition, success and achievement in today’s world. Only leaders and figures who subscribe to capitalist norms of success are deemed respectable and dignified.
When you are courageous and principled but do not display conspicuous consumption tendencies, nobody takes you seriously.
The new rule for success is: when you have it, you must flaunt it.
As a result, courageous and principled leaders who are seen or regarded as “too radical” or “militant black” are pushed to the margins, and denied opportunities and access to power and position.
There was a time in the 1970s and 1980s when the agenda of an alternative to the capitalist system was part of political discourse and Struggle agenda.
In those years, there was widespread talk about the inherent injustice in capitalism, and how this needed to be eradicated and substituted by socialism.
But a profound or even shallow critique of capitalism is unheard of in the new South Africa. It is taboo.
There are very few leftists who offer a class analysis or express pragmatic views on how to untransform the capitalist system. This is because activists, academics and intellectuals cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds them.
But what needs to be understood clearly, especially by the poor and working class, is that capitalism will not allow total black liberation.
In fact, with the ANC lacking the political will to challenge the system, visions of economic justice and redistribution of the land are as good as a pipe dream.
Worse, the masses should forget about the opposition providing any concrete alternative to the current economic status quo.
Much as some wish to look to Julius Malema or his EFF, their strategies and tactics – just like the ANC and DA – are about making the best out of a bad economic system.
Whatever Malema and his cohorts may claim to be or represent, they live, work and benefit within a capitalist framework.
Alas, this rapacious economic system works for them, too.
It has predictably become difficult to find any leader or self-proclaimed messiah who makes suggestions of an alternative system or proposes ways of living a decent life outside the values of capitalism.
Much as the poor are granted allowances and feeble attempts are made to improve their quality of life through bad education and falling apart health system and housing, the capitalist system perpetuates itself by making sure that the poor exist.
In fact, it will make sure that the number of the poor and unemployed increase so that it can feed off their cheap labour.
There is no way that the middle class, particularly black, with its radical rhetoric, desires to break down the system.
South Africa has redefined itself. It is not a black man’s country. After all, it belongs to everyone who lives in it.
As a result, it has become a country of the rich and poor. Colour does not matter any longer. In fact, the leadership will tell you that there is no alternative to capitalism.
After all, communism has been smashed to smithereens when even in Russia, they have adopted capitalism – especially among the elite.
Everybody praises capitalism as the only viable system in the world. As a result, nobody is ready or willing to reconceptualise their relationship with money and what it can buy.
Former freedom fighters and the small black middle class thrive in an exclusive, money-driven society. What the elite and middle class do is to help and support their families and friends as a gesture of so-called philanthropy.
This is what blacks who have gained access into the capitalist system do. They deliver groceries once a month or a year to salve their consciences and claim this defines deep connections with the poor. But this is delusional. The days of dreaming of the equal sharing of resources are now a thing of the past. What has taken over are the capitalist values of selfishness, greed and unbridled individualism.
There is and will be no support for any stupid idea, belief or model that does not fit into the capitalist system.
While some leaders and political organisations continue to preach and espouse anti-capitalist sentiments, it is all sound and fury that signifies nothing.
Capitalism has triumphed! The poor will always be with us. The majority will be black.
TWO WORLDS: General view of Alexandra township, commonly known as Alex, a poor area overlooking the Sandton sky scrappers in Johannesburg August 23, 2002. South Africa has become a country of the rich and poor, says the writer.