Rhetoric demobilises working-class
OUR country has suffered under the grip of a diabolical contest that has seen friend turn to foe and comrades become sworn enemies. All this shows that there are fundamental delusions in the understanding of the “white monopoly capital” concept.
Ordinary men and women have been left none the wiser and aspirant political activists turned into ideological buffoons who, like parrots, repeat what their master says without understanding.
The resurgence of this concept coincides with a salvo of revelations that the Gupta family has benefited from its parasitic relationship with the president and his kith and kin.
Media reports have also been awash with reports suggesting that the concept was used to distract us from the corruption and #GuptaLeaks.
The truth is that many still view the concept as a ratchet “revolutionary” and “radical” rhetoric that has usurped objective political engagement.
Whether what is assumed about the resurgence of this concept is true or not, the fact is parasites continue to wreck the lives of ordinary people and, in the process, the working class is demobilised with “revolutionary” sounding rhetoric.
At the centre, and more worrisome, is a general display of ideological lethargy and emptiness. The telling tale iswhite monopoly capital is spoken about, outside of a general analysis of the capitalist mode of accumulation.
Therefore, the point of departure should be the understanding that monopoly capital remains the single most influential work in the Marxist political economy to emerge.
Like any great theoretical work that has retained its influence over a long period of time, monopoly capital’s significance derives not simply from Guptarised political economy of South Africa, but from the complex debates it has generated.
We all need to understand that one can’t speak of (white) monopoly capital and in the same tone be silent about capitalism.
In essence, monopoly capital is a later stage of capitalist development. It was Lenin – Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism – who introduced the concept of “finance capitalism” and “monopoly stage of capitalism”.
Lenin explains:“Capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves in all spheres.
Economically, the main thing in this process is the displacement of capitalist free competition by capitalist monopoly.”
Monopoly capitalism, characteristically, has certain features where the economy tends to be confronted with chronic problems of surplus absorption, excess labour, unemployment, underemployment and stagnation.
The result is always growing irrationality at every level of the economy – for example, social inefficiency and meaningless investments at the expense of the public purse. Such waste results in the squandering of human lives and efforts, and the transformation of capitalism’s “creative destruction” into a more pervasive “uncreative destruction.”
I can say without fear of contradiction that, as a country, we have ticked all the boxes.But most important for aspirant cadres is not so much to turn them into sloganeers but to explain concepts in simpler and well-understood terms.
It is for this reason that one can’t just end with explaining the Marxian conception of monopoly capitalism but to provide sufficient basis for better political education.
It becomes important that one further explains that monopoly capitalism, in the current epoch, has become ever more reliant on capitalist states to serve as facilitators, protectors, and a damage control mechanism.
Our problem is fundamentally neoliberal monopoly capitalism. Not surprising though, as neoliberalism has become the prevailing ideological force in the most recent stage of the evolution of monopoly capitalism.
Neoliberalism marks a shift in the purpose of the state from the responsibility to insure full employment and protect its citizens against the exigencies of the market toward the imperative to protect the market itself.
In the neoliberal era, private life and public goods are annexed to the market, while the subservience of politics to business interests grows more total and transparent, particularly when examined in the context of economic surplus funds.
Lest we forget that the primary purpose of neoliberalism is to empower the institutions of monopoly capital continually to increase their control over economic surplus funds.
The neoliberal ideology proposes that the ultimate and only necessary regulator of economic activity is the market, that the economic sphere runs its course naturally and with ruthless, logical objectivity.
It is sad that our debates have reduced the politico-economic discourse to race, that is the whiteness of monopoly capital, without attempting to discern the advances in capitalist development and racial ownership of the means of production. Meredale, Joburg
WRITE TO US
SOUL-DESTROYING:A man searching for work in Cape Town. Monopoly capitalism has certain features where the economy is confronted with chronic problems such as unemployment.