8 December 2007

All Over Bar The Shouting?

To read the list of nominations for leadership of the ANC (see the link below) is to know that the choices are clear and that the old is on its way out and the new is on its way in. The scene described in Tembisa by the Mail and Guardian’s Rapule Tabane tells the same unmistakeable story (also linked below) in another way. Stories of attempted bribery by the incumbents are also rife in the media. That means that the bribers are being reported, which by itself is an indication of change. In the past people might have kept quiet about a Minister being involved in an instance of bribery, for fear of trouble. The fear is gone.

So what now? In his interesting article in the same Mail and Guardian last Friday, capitalist ANC NEC member Saki Macozoma wrote: “The first thing the new NEC will have to do is embark on a strategy for healing the party, and a start must be made in the movement’s January 8 statement, not through rallies. Every NEC member should be assigned to a place where they must go and explain to members the process of healing.”

He concluded with a threat: “In some quarters there is a view that no businessman should be in the NEC; they are creating a monster by defining business as anathema to development and the progressive movement. But if there is a hounding out, people will organise to protect themselves. They aren’t going to go away, and to the extent that they want to organise, they will organise.”

A similar theme was played by (candidate for ANC SG) Gwede Mantashe at the CHI seminar last Thursday, when Cde Gwede quoted Thabo Mbeki’s radio-interview remark about not being enemies after Polokwane; and yesterday, COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi (the full speech is linked below) said:

“The eyes of the world will be upon the conference affirming the centrality of the ANC as the premier liberation movement and party in government. It is this duality that makes the ANC such an important and powerful movement of our times.

“No one here needs to be reminded that we face deep divisions as we approach this conference… Given these challenges we must not lose our focus. But neither should we paper over the cracks. We must confront these challenge head on and emerge united from the conference. Even more important, those elected must not be tempted to vanquish their perceived opponents. Such an approach will not heal the movement but only serve to widen the gulf of divisions. We must also emerge with policies and determination to confront the scourge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.”

In the land of “Fudge and Mudge”, as they used to say in the British Labour Party before the bourgeoisie over-ran it completely, you can have it all. The capitalist lion can lie down with the proletarian lamb.

What is wrong with that? For an answer, let’s look at Venezuela. Last Sunday’s referendum proposed 69 different constitutional reforms, but the whole package was described as a matter of preparing the State for Socialism. The people rejected this package. Why? Maybe because they said to themselves: We are happy with our Organs of Popular Power, our Bolivarian Circles and the rest. We understand these things and they are helping us, and they belong to us. Why do we need “centrality” all over again? Rather leave the government to run the bourgeois State, which it is doing well enough. On our side we will continue with the dual power of mass popular agency. Things aren’t broke, so why fix them?

That argument, translated into SA circumstances, and addressed to Cde Saki would be: We are not going to hound you. We do not demand or expect to have it all. You, too, must not expect to have it all. You must not try to enforce your centrality by decrees and by emissaries from the centre, or by using the NEC for Command and Control. You must not suppress the culture of rallies. What the
SACP called in its CC statement, coincidentally delivered on the same day as the Venezuelan referendum, “the mass participatory traditions of the ANC”, must not be suppressed for the sake of bogus, anti-popular unity.

The Rape of a Trial: Jacob Zuma, AIDS, Conspiracy, and Tribalism in Neo-liberal Post-Apartheid South Africa, by Elizabeth Skeen, is a thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, on 18 April, 2007, “in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts”. Elizabeth Skeen ought to be given a doctorate for this piece of work, let alone a BA. The full thesis is downloadable in PDF format via the link given below. It tells the truth about the JZ “rape” frame-up.

Click on these links:

ANC vs ANC, Sapa, Politicsweb (list of nominations)

Zuma 10 Moloketi 0, Rapule Tabane, Mail and Guardian (617 words)

COSATU GS Z Vavi at Barney Molokoane tombstone unveiling (1027 words)

The Rape of a Trial, Elizabeth Skeen, Thesis for Princeton (747 KB PDF download)

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