31 October 2007

Line of March

There was some feedback yesterday. Two comrades wanted to know why Andrew Feinstein’s book-excerpts and supporting articles were strongly featured. One said that Feinstein is a Johnny-come-lately to the ANC. The other one said that Feinstein is a supporter of GEAR.

All of this may be true, but none of it takes away from the interest of the documents as eye-witness accounts of the court of Thabo Mbeki, seen from the inside. It might also be fair to say, although we do not know this, that Feinstein’s memoirs are motivated by “sour grapes”. All political memoirs are under suspicion of being “special pleading” and selective. That is not a sufficient reason for ignoring them or suppressing them.

Another point of feedback was the firm view, from a respected academic, that there is no peasantry in South Africa. We would like to have more views about this. Are there any peasants in South Africa? Or are there only capitalists, working proletarians, and unemployed proletarians? In other words, what exactly is the political economy of South Africa at this conjuncture?

Without an accurate understanding of the country’s political economy, we would be handicapped in the task of mapping a way forward, or “line of march”. We would be half blind, and taking chances. Please offer your empirical knowledge and your views, comrades.

In this regard, personal witness of personal lives is valuable. Is your (extended) family living in a rural area? Are any of them farming (for themselves) at all? Do they own any livestock? Do they have use of land, water rights, equipment and so forth? What are the relations of production that rule their lives?

Our next get-together will be on 6 November 2007, at 17h00 in the SACP Boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street corner Biccard, Braamfontein. Our “codification” will be a prophetic article from ten years ago called “We Need Transformation, not a Balancing Act” by Blade Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin. See the first linked item, below.

Following that, we will move on to try to get a grip on the “Medium Term Vision” (MTV) concepts of the SACP, as they were understood at the time of the 2002 11th Congress of the SACP. Then we will look at excerpts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. All of these documents should assist us in getting a grip on whatever is underlying the Polokwane machinations.

Karima Brown is the political editor of the Business Day. She is also following a train of thought concerning Polokwane. She sees the ANC’s centre of gravity disappearing, and the situation as unlikely to be resolved. Karima Brown can also see something called “constitutional crisis” on the horizon. See below.

COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi has been singled out for attention in an ANC media release. See below.

Also linked is an article by the sometimes lucid and plausible Business Day and Weekender columnist, Tim Cohen, here examining the circumstances of the purchase of a slice of Standard Bank by the Chinese ICBC bank.

The cartoon is from the
Savage Chickens web site.

Click on these links:

We Need Transformation not a Balancing Act, Nzimande and Cronin, 1997 (3262 words)

What falls by the wayside in fight for ANC, Karima Brown, B Day, (716 words)

ANC media release on 'attacks' by COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi (250 words)

ICBC’s R37bn tie-up with Standard Bank, Tim Cohen, B Day (949 words)

Coming Events


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