“HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, FIRST AS TRAGEDY, SECOND AS FARCE” – Karl Marx
The only instance when the despicable part of history repeats itself is when the victims of that history decide to sit in their laurels and observe the sequels of such history unfolding even beyond the victims’ triumph over such victimhood. Advancing, deepening and defending our democracy therefore becomes an on-going responsibility so as to impede the farce of history.
Two strands of schools of thought come to mind: the first being that South Africa bears the history of white minority rule against the African majority who were also economically dislodged by the very white ilk, especially when the then mining-conglomerate-cum-prime minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil Rhodes, assuaged power in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. And this reality still defines the attitudes of the significant number of white South Africans – yearning for the re-institutionalisation of white supremacy – especially against majority rule today.
The second strand resonates around the resistant and defiant posture defining the character of the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles wedged by the oppressed majority- Africans in the main- who ultimately emerged victorious in 1994 (ushering a majority-driven political dispensation).
In itself this reality remains an anti-thesis to the white folks who have openly sought homage in the anti-majoritarian Democratic Alliance, in the Whites-only-Freedom Front and other issue-based NGO’s, parading themselves as super-constitutional custodians yet unsurprisingly remaining as silent as the night on economic democratisation in South Africa.
For this significant white ilk, democracy means the freedom of an individual and preservation of (white) property rights, freedom of the media- especially as long as it remains hell-bent in destructively criticising the ANC-LED Alliance government.
Need it be said yet again that the advent of DA’s clinging into Western Cape provincial administration depicts a deep-seated white reminiscences of the Cape Colony under Cecil Rhodes who further advocated the annexation of Transkei, the Griqualand West and other southern and central parts of South Africa.
Henceforth, the DA’s campaign to ‘win’ Gauteng province in the up-coming 2014 general election represents nothing other than a political try-and-error method to annex not just Gauteng province but eagerly the hub of Africa’s monopoly capital under white minority rule yet again.
DA’s core values and its political interests have just been classically illustrated by the General Secretary of the South African Communist, Dr Blade Nzimande:
“The internal, seemingly ideological, fissures we see inside the DA at the moment further underlines the fact that the DA at its core represents the racialised class interests of a white middle strata – its key constituency. These contradictions also reflect a tension between some of the DA’s black leaders and the core white conservative constituency of the DA. Some of the black leaders inside this party, together with a small minority of white members, do realize the necessity to be seen to support some form of affirmative action and employment equity in order to reach our to black voters.
But Zille’s firm rebuke and reigning in of the DA’s parliamentary leadership led qwwby Lindiwe Mazibuko, further reflects the extent to which, when it comes to the interests of its core white constituency, the likes of Maimane and Mazibuko are nothing more than a post 1994 phenomenon of political fronting to try and legitimize the DA in the black population of our country.” Umsebenzi Online Volume 12, No. 40, 14 November2013
Even with the concerted campaign by the axis of white supremacy (DA, FF, mainstream media and other forces posing as Centres and Foundations of democracy advocacy) against African Liberation Movements and their leaders, we have witnessed that beneath such campaigns lies a zealous resolve to maintain white supremacy (national oppression) through working class exploitation (capitalist mode of production) and vice versa. In themselves these campaigns are supported by foreign and local business in order to detach the ANC from the South African en-mass and portray it as an embodiment of South Africa’s socio-economic failures.
Their voices are dumb and their fingers are reluctant to point directly to white monopoly capital breeding economic isolation and deprivation of the poor and the unemployed South Africans who are mainly Africans because of the nemesis and the colonial character of our economic concentration into few hands at the expense of the toiling masses.
The fact that the post 1994 democratic dispensation gave rise to immense economic advancement of South African business than it did to the poor and the working class is downplayed by the Democratic Alliance and some white folks because if elevated, the DA’s support base (white middle-class and business gurus) would view the ANC government differently from what the DA would like them to believe.
In the Mail and Guardian (4-10 October 2013) Piet Croucamp observed: “Afrikaners are actually bloody well adjusted. They are richer than they ever were, their unemployment is extraordinarily low…”
With some of Afrikaners in political disarray, many of them elect to vote for the Democratic Alliance because of their inclination with liberal politics and their protectionist ambiance of white supremacy.
Of course, the Freedom Front’s tiny minority vote is also sourced from the carcases of the Afrikaner conservative folks who myopically define themselves as politically marginalised and some even running amok to the extremes of grouping themselves around what they call red October: wanting to fill the skies with red balloons as a protest against marginalisation.
The Freedom Charter’s adage that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it…” seems to be viewed as a mirage within a significant number of white South Africans because, in the main, such an adage apportions the responsibility of democratisation and socialisation of the South African wealth among all South Africans and thereby threatening their (whites’) dominant hold on the South African economy.
And as for some of the South African white working class, we have only their lack of class consciousness to blame for they chose to be trapped in the memory of the1910 Union of South Africa which in itself entrenched white and African working class exploitation. Though it allotted some crumbs of privileges to the white working class, but the Union of South Africa was essentially an executive representing the interests of (some whites) monopoly capitalists especially in the mining sector and inherently alienating the very ‘privileged’ white working class from owning and controlling the forces of production.
In other words, within the makings of the whites-only Union of South Africa existed the reality of class contradictions, wherein the majority of whites remained as an alienated peripheral appendage in class terms and in as far as controlling the means of production was concerned. And this reality still haunts a significant number of the white working class section in South Africa today.
In its dynamic location of the role of white revolutionaries in the cause of our liberation struggle, the ANC’s 1969 Strategy and Tactics document made reference to what is conceptually relevant even today:
“Whatever instruments are created to give expression to the unity of the liberation drive, they must accommodate two fundamental propositions: firstly they must not be ambiguous on the primary role of the most oppressed African mass and, secondly, those belonging to the other oppressed groups and those few white revolutionaries who show themselves ready to make common cause without aspirations, must be fully integrated on the basis of individual equality.
Approached in the right spirit these two propositions do not stand in conflict but reinforce one another. Equality of participation in our national front does not mean a mechanical parity between the various national groups. Not only would this in practice amount to inequality (again at the expense of the majority), it would lend flavour to the slander which our enemies are ever ready to spread of a multi-racial alliance dominated by minority groups. This has never been so and will never be so.”
But what about the empty rhetoric in EFF, Agang, Cope and things?
Within the scheme of things, as regards the South African electoral politics and fermented organisations thereof, we are to be cautious of the breed of political formations and individuals in the main, which and who are, parading themselves as radical and as forces of change yet essentially adventurist and opportunistic, exploiting the plight of the poor and unsuspecting components of the South African populace.
Even the South African mainstream media has occupied a centre stage in portraying South Africa as a country in political limbo.
For example, how active the media and some ‘media freedom fighters’ have been vociferous in campaigning against the State information Protection Bill cannot be paralleled with how they have campaigned ( if they did) for the Land Restitution Bill, a very critical socio-economic issue affecting millions of South Africans anguishing in poverty and destitution.
Among these are political formations established by protestant and disgruntled elements from within the mass democratic movement like the Malemas and the Lekotas of this world.
On the other hand we find disgruntled business associates like Mamphele Ramphele, who, after the advent of yet another capitalist crisis since 2008 which threatened the survival of their mining ventures, decided to succumb into active politics under the cloak of ‘restoring the promise of freedom’.
Such vague sloganeering runs in the face of concerted effort and with tangible achievements by the ruling party and the people of South Africa in advancing the socio-economic interests of many South Africans since 1994.
Mamphele’s political mediocrity surpasses that of all political formations that emerged after 1994. With her book titled In Conversation with My Sons and Daughters there is nothing to show about her understanding of the plight of young South Africans, except to learn that she was inspired by her own well-off biological and adopted sons and daughters firstly to write a book and secondly to succumb into active politics after more than 24 years of styling and pioneered herself in businesses specifically in the hitherto untransformed mining sector.
In actual fact when Mamphele was Vice-Chancellor in the University of Cape Town together with Hellen Zille of the DA, who was part of the conservative University’s management at the time, contributed immensely in the decision of the university to curtail housing benefits of more than 300 general workers of the university. These workers ended up vacating their decent houses and as a result moving to squatter camps after many years of service in the university.
To this effect, we are made to believe that the upcoming 2014 General Election shall be the end of history and the beginning of the ‘real revolution’, a ‘revolution’ to be ushered in by the African chauvinist Malema’s EFF or by a liberal Mamphele’s Agang!!! Really, the “Holy Spirit” shall come down here!!!
In conclusion, President Samora Machel’s warning befits allaying such political mediocrity:
“The other face is that of the indirect and secondary enemy, who presents himself under the cover of a nationalist and even as a revolutionary thus making it difficult to identify him… THE FIGHTER MUST DISTINGUISH FRIEND FROM FOE EVEN IF THE LATTER IS CONCEALED UNDER THE SAME COLOUR, LANGUAGE, FAMILY TIES OR TRIBAL MARKINGS AS THEIR OWN, EVEN IF HE RAISES HIS FLAG WITH US”.