31 January 2007

Class Project

Today is the day of the first Communist University class of the year, to be held at the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, corner Biccard, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, at 17h00. The topic is Lenin’s Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, and the SACP National Organiser, Solly Mapaila, will open the discussion. We may also consider the science and art of study and of writing, using Lenin’s text as an example of extreme reduction (sub-editing) and Tony Buzan’s ideas as a guide to how such brevity can be achieved. Is it mere technique, or is the pursuit of the concrete essence of things actually a profoundly political quest? You decide.

Yesterday’s post was described as “cryptic” by a friend and comrade belonging to another, bigger University. The pursuit of brevity is indeed not always successful. What was meant yesterday was that whereas the USA has established a military base in a small African country, Djibouti; and whereas the USA did also last month declare an arrogant “Africa Command” for the whole continent, and this month carried out aerial warfare from Djibouti against Somalia; yet Bishop Tutu and others have managed to help them create not one but two diversions in the shape of a liberal furore over Myanmar and Darfur. And some of our comrades have gone running after these red herrings. The Tutus of this world are like thieves who lead you running to a fire on the other side while their friends (such as US deputy Secretary of State “for Africa” Jendayi Fraser) rob and burgle your premises over here. Maybe that makes it clearer.

Karima Brown, writing in the Business Day yesterday did a good job of describing some aspects of these continuing problems. She writes that the SA government is far too willing to act as proxy for the USA, which is the God’s honest truth. See the link below.

John Perlman has resigned from the SABC. What now? Honest people are hard to find, and hard to replace. If you are reading this, the CU loves you, John. See the linked article below.

Which leaves us by elimination at the main article, which is from the front page of yesterday’s Business Day. It describes how Liberty, a finance house, sold part of its business to Saki Macozoma and his friends, let him have the fruits of it for four years, and then paid an extra R297 million to buy it back again. Minority shareholders objected to this transaction, but the institutional shareholders (sometimes absurdly described as representing the little guy, because they have their hands on your savings, insurance and pension) crushed the objectors and voted through the deal.

Briefly now, how does capitalism produce these situations? The force of the market is supposed to ensure that people do not get huge sums of money for little or nothing. Yet as Anne Crotty and Renée Bonorchis have shown in their new book on executive pay in South Africa, there appears to be no logical or discernable objective reason why capitalist business should tolerate the blatant, gouging enrichment of individuals to the tune of hundreds of millions of rands. Crotty and Bonorchis put it down to greed.

The Communist University offers a different explanation. Capitalism clearly requires the creation and subordination of a working proletariat. But it also requires the conscious creation of a bourgeois ruling class, and the maintenance of a strong polarity between these two main contending classes. This
is the on-going “class project” of capitalism, whether in 1996 or in any other year. It is not random greed that drives this project. It is cold, calculated bourgeois class politics, of which Macozoma, for one, is a master.

This class project is obscured to an extent by its conflation with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). In the small space left here, let us simply note that for every new black billionaire there are dozens of new white ones. The creation of black billionaires does not significantly dilute the white character of the bourgeoisie - it only hides it. But this whole concrete phenomenon of enrichment is not mainly about race. It is about bourgeois class formation, or as we could also say, about the “succession” of the bourgeois class power.

Click on these links:

Lenin, 3 Sources and 3 Component parts of Marxism (1838 words)

Buzan, Use Your Head, Tweedie Conspectus (4174 words)

Government too willing to be US proxy, Karima Brown, B Day (824 words)

Perlman quits SABC after list furore, Ernest Mabuza, Business Day (405 words)

Shareholders attack Liberty Macozoma buy-back, Rob Rose, B Day (695 words)


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