24 December 2007


A great rush of new facts and opinions produced a rich and useful mix of reportage yesterday. There was too little time for a lot of spin.

In the same way, the recent fast-moving events have produced some great commentary journalism, even if it is a little behind the fast-moving news. The news shows that at the same time as “the people have taken back the party” from Thabo Mbeki, they have also set the man free of the ANC constraints that have to some extent bound him, and therefore have made him even more “Bonapartist” than before.

The term “Bonapartism” does not refer to the first emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It refers to the latter’s nephew, Louis Bonaparte (a.k.a. Napoleon III, see picture). This character was literally a “returned exile” who managed to grab the leading position in France shortly after the revolution of 1848, even though he had no constituency of support or "power base" of his own. He continued to rule over the country for the next twenty years by playing one class off against another. Karl Marx said of him that he could be everything, because in himself he was nothing.

Be that as it may, the four items linked below, by Jeremy Gordin, Moipone Malefane, Kaizer Nyatsumba, and Cameron Duodu, are all well written and highly readable, and deserve to be archived and re-read in the future.

We recall that Kaizer Nyatsumba did a famous interview with Thabo Mbeki in The Star in the mid-1990s, not long after the beginning of Mbeki’s term as First Deputy President. That was before the Star was being archived on the Internet, it seems. Or perhaps those archives are there, but not available to the public. Either way, this kind of thing is one reason why the Communist University archives stuff. You can’t always rely on other people to hold on to the material that you think is most interesting, or to keep it publicly available, or to refrain from deleting it altogether.

Click on these links:

The people have taken back the party, Jeremy Gordin, Sindy (1572 words)

Mbeki puts blame on himself, Moipone Malefane, Sunday Times (510 words)

We should rejoice at Zuma victory, Kaizer Nyatsumba, S Times (1560 words)

The people have spoken on Msholozi, Cameron Duodu, City Press (569 words)


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