21 November 2007

Imaginary Cities

The next live session of the Communist University will take place on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 17h00 in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. We will be using the draft (linked below) on Local Dual Power to stimulate our discussion. Please print your own copy this time, comrades. The CU is temporarily incapacitated in the printing department. The picture is "Imaginary City" by the Haitian artist, Prefete Duffaut.

Karima Brown is unfair to describe Jacob Zuma as a tribalist (see her article below). We feel obliged to point out again, and to contradict Terror Lekota again as well, that the T-shirt slogan “100% Zuluboy” is an ironic reversal of the racist “hoax e-mails”, which plenty of Zuma supporters do not think were hoaxes at all. The “100% Zuluboy” T-shirts are deliberately worn by non-Zulus. They are an anti-tribalist statement!

But people know this. Lekota certainly knows it. As the fading one-man-band for the Mbeki camp, he is grasping at straws. Karima Brown may be more interested in literary “balance” than anything else. As a liberal writer, she may feel that she cannot take a swipe at the “Mfengus” unless she bashes the Zulus first. This is at the least, a misjudgement. By doing so, she is actually opening the door for more tribalism.

There are tribalists who make a point of never being openly tribalist, but only pretending to pointing at tribalism elsewhere. Those who are inclined that way will easily understand the coded message. Spreading the lie that the Zuma campaign is tribalist, when it has never been, only licenses others to be tribalist against him.
However, Karima Brown does make one fair point when she writes:

“[The ANC’s] ideological outlook on race has been stripped of all the progressive content infused into the party by its alliance with the communist and labour movements. Under Mbeki, the ANC has all but completed its transformation into a purely narrow nationalist movement, lacking any understanding of the complexity and nuance of identity. It was always going to be easy for its new brand of racial nationalism to degenerate into a brazen ethnic free-for-all.”

Kenneth Couesbouc has objectified the Internet and previous communication technologies in the Counterpunch article linked below. To that extent he has assisted those of us who toil in the world of words. But he goes too far. Couesbouc believes that the ruling class can always use its possession of the means of media production to overwhelm the popular revolutionary Subject (called “motive forces” in SA). Couesbouc is a fatalist post-modernist who is already flinching, even as he writes, in anticipation of the blows of a “21st Century Counter-Reformation”. Such writers oppress themselves.

It is not the case, and it has never been the case, that objective conditions preclude subjective revolutionary action. On the contrary, what revolutionary theory shows us is that from every objective situation (i.e. every concrete “unity and struggle of opposites”) there is always a revolutionary way forward. The CU says that any way forward must involve learning and dialogue. Educate, organise and mobilise!

The ANC has issued a statement detailing the stages in the nomination process prior to its 52nd National Congress scheduled to start on 16 December in Polokwane, Limpopo Province. Provincial Nomination Conferences will have a second bite at the process, in between the branch nominations and the National Conference. Why? Is this normal? Do other organisations do this?

Click on these links:

Local Dual Power, Johannesburg Labour-Urban Federation (2167 words)

ANC grants old demon new life, Karima Brown, Business Day (740 words)

Circles of Power, Kenneth Couesbouc, Counterpunch (1655 words)

Update on ANC nominations process, 20 November 2007 (489 words)

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