Beware the bidders’ wolves in sheep skins
INCREASINGLY, South Africans are confronted with a sinister yet pervasive agenda by representatives of big global and local capital bent on positioning themselves as the legitimate voice for sustainable democratic change.
Despite their supposedly wise and sound language, these wolves in sheep skins are essentially doing the bidding for their handlers in Europe and North America.
These self-appointed guardians of our democracy believe that our people will be so bamboozled as to gleefully welcome them as the mythical messiahs they have long been waiting for.
Colonialism did not just strip Africans of political rights. It dispossessed them of their land, destroyed their economic systems, trod on their human dignity and turned them into beggars in their motherland.
The fight by the majority of black people to share in the country’s wealth is a just demand and must never be abandoned. Of course, a step in that direction attracts the full and ferocious wrath of those who benefited and continue to benefit from the black person’s poor economic and property-less status.
At 105, the ANC has to provide leadership and offer a thoroughgoing critique of how, in times such as ours, capital is fond of dancing with democracy as if by so doing it will disown its intrinsic imperatives and embrace the interests of the most oppressed and economically exploited classes in our society.
As progressive forces in our society intensify social transformation, the murky politics of the moment require ideological clarity and articulation.
Since the nightmare and the ghost of colonialism and apartheid continue to torment us, the audacity of big global and local capital to capture the popular imagination is despicable. Even the litany of insults and propagandistic tirades that have been punted as progressive discourse have become less surprising.
What perhaps may be surprising is the paucity of progressive political and intellectual thought in the mass media and other platforms bold and principled enough to expose the big lie and its plethora of poisonous slogans. It is unclear as to why.
For those of us who don’t suffer from selective amnesia, it’s impossible not to return to our recent history. We refuse to forget that when South Africa was proclaimed an “independent” white dominion in the British Empire on May 31, 1910, Britain and her capitalist backers were essentially betraying the oppressed African masses of our land. In the word of the eminent scholar Ben Magubane: “The formation of the ANC in 1912 was an African response to one of the most unconscionable political betrayals of a people by a colonial power that prided itself as a paragon of virtue and mother of parliamentary democracy.”
Since the gradual and violent dissolution of the African communal societies and the plunder of their collectively owned lands from 1652 onwards, subsequent struggles against colonialism and apartheid strengthened and sharpened our people’s resolve to fight back. It is that warrior spirit that we must guard jealously and defend to the bitter end. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels but must be more vigilant to fight what scholars Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri term imperialism’s “new strategies of rule”.
It is indeed appropriate on an ongoing basis to review our progress in the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. As history unfolds, varied material and ideological factors pose challenges to the agenda of realising meaningful democratic transformation; non-sexism, non-racism, shared prosperity and deeprooted social justice. With international capital on an even bigger offensive to win the hearts and minds of our people, the so-called distributional impact of economic growth requires a robust critique.
It can no longer be acceptable that only models imposed on us in the developing world by the global North should determine our socio-economic trajectory. As it has been proved that not all economic growth automatically leads to poverty reduction and a better life for all, pro-poor movements at home must play a bigger role in mapping out new paradigms of tackling endemic poverty and inequality in our country.
It is nonsensical to want to police the South African economy as if it was a missionary station of Europe and North America – thereby limiting creative and fresh responses to the issues of economic injustice. The habit to label some among us as good leaders for business and others as undesirables for the markets is unfortunate. One can almost hear whispers in the dark: “The market shall govern.”
It is not a coincidence that those who continue to benefit from an economic system of commerce and industry that exploits and excludes the majority now use their political proxies to weaken the ANC and even openly call for its demise. It’s the old tactic of “divide and rule”, perfected by imperialist forces a long time ago.
The ANC must never be distracted from taking the most appropriate directions and policy decisions that will help give material meaning to the idea of freedom for the majority of our people. Amid vast internal challenges, the ANC must seek to fulfil its historical mission and not waver in the quest to overthrow the stubborn and systemic remnants of apartheid colonialism.
We owe it to ourselves, our children and their children to stand up and defend the land of our fathers and forefathers. We must give material substance to social emancipation. It is this major task that must animate the ANC even more in the year of OR Tambo’s 100th birthday anniversary.
‘They’re not the messiahs our people have long been waiting for’