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(en) zabalaza #4: FAT-CAT NATIONALISM vs. THE ULTRA-HUNGRY by Michael Schmidt / Bikisha Media Collective (ZACF Gauteng)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 25 Jun 2003 10:03:39 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

At the ANC's 51st national congress on 16 December 2000,
President Thabo Mbeki lashed out at the so-called "ultra-left"
which he accused of adopting a right-wing agenda aimed at
undermining the National Democratic Revolution. The NDR is the
ANC/SACP's hoary 70-year-old two-stage theory of
pseudo-liberation under which full social, economic and political
equality is perpetually delayed by an endless so-called
"transitional developmental state". Under this socially
irresponsible, slim-line capitalist state, the aggressive rights of the
expanded bourgeoisie are consolidated and the defensive rights of
the working class are eroded, all in the name of progress.

In an October 2002 interview, Mbeki correctly described the
ultra-left: "it's a group of people, they define themselves variously -
as anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, socialists, Fourth
International[ists] - and they have a common platform, which is let
us unite to defeat globalisation and let us unite to defeat
neo-liberalism, which is a manifestation of the globalisation

But he claimed that the ultra-left opposed the ANC's
"restructuring" of state assets because we mistakenly believe it is
actually privatisation under the guidance of a neo-liberal agenda.
We who are proudly ultra-left and who call for the socialisation of
assets, rather than for elitist privatisation or nationalisation, say
Mbeki is the one mistaken for believing that our opposition is
based on ideology and not on the reality of what the ANC's GEAR
policy is doing to the poor, the ultra-hungry.

Also, the claim by leaders like Mbeki, the self-confessed
Thatcherite, that their ultra-leftist opponents are driven by
"ideology" (whereas the state and the corporatists serves on the
other hand obviously simply represent "reality" and "common
sense") is a blatant and discredited attempt to camouflage the fact
that they do represent an ideology: neo-liberalism. And
neo-liberalism, because of the way it voraciously devours the
commons, whether in terms of physical space, once-public
services or even genetics, is frighteningly close to corporatist
neo-fascism. I defy the Alliance to demonstrate the "unreality" of
evictions and cut-offs.

The row between the Alliance and its ultra-left critics, both within
certain Cosatu affiliates and certain SACP branches and outside it
in the United Social Movements in which the ZACF is involved, has
been brewing for some time. We are accused by the ANC of
encouraging "anarchy and the breakdown of discipline" by
challenging the chronic authoritarian baasskap within the Alliance
"as a necessary internal expression of democracy and
independent thinking". We are unashamedly guilty on that score,
but even high-ranking SACP members have come under withering
fire for expressing genuine concerns at the corporate drift of the
ruling party.


In August 2002, "Dial-a-quote" Dumisani Makhaye of the ANC
viciously attacked fellow ANC National Executive Committee
member and SACP leader Jeremy Cronin, claiming that an
interview he gave to Irish writer Helena Sheehan in which Cronin
warned about the "Zanufication" of the ANC, showed Cronin's
thought to be "ultra-leftist" or "a mix of anarcho-syndicalism,
Trotskyism and anarchism". This was utter rubbish because
Cronin is widely recognised as a Stalinist ideologue: it was he who
lead the expulsion of Dale McKinley from the SACP. McKinley is
now a spokesman for the Anti-Privatisation Forum, of which
Bikisha Media Collective is a part.

Cronin, discussing the currents that formed Cosatu in 1985 spoke
about the battle between the "workerists" or "syndicalists" who
were wary of the ANC's opportunism versus the "populists" such
as the SACP who wanted a cross-class marriage - the same
Alliance that is today under such stress due to its neo-liberal,
anti-working class policies. In this battle Cronin clearly aligned
himself against the syndicalists, so to accuse him of
pro-syndicalist views is nonsense - unless, of course, one is such
an elitist that anything that even makes empty gestures in favour
of the productive classes is met with deep antagonism and a
smear campaign.

The most nefarious of Makhaye's assertions is the claim that the
ultra-left and ultra-right are not opposed, but "two sides of the
same coin". To state that South Africa's anti-fascists, anarchists,
autonomists, left-communists and Trotskyists are identical to the
white supremacist AWB or the Boeremag is the kind of
double-speak we rather expect of a low-rent spin-doctor trying to
tar honest critics with a dishonest brush.

But then, it is not surprising that those who believe in maintaining
a privileged parasitic elite to rule the productive classes - whether
Africanists or nationalists - pretend that the only "movement" that
ever counted was the one that allowed them into the inner circles
of the waBenzi.


After Cronin was shamefully forced to grovel and apologise, the
attack continued in October 2002 against ultra-left forces outside
the Alliance, when the ANC Political Education Unit (PEU)
launched a scurrilous attack on the democratic revolutionary
forces of the Landless People's Movement, the Social Movements
Indaba and allied anarchist, communist and socialist groups.

In a nutshell, the ANC alleged that we are
"counter-revolutionaries" acting in cahoots with neo-liberal forces
including the arch-capitalist Democratic Alliance to defeat the
NDR! Yes, the coming of bourgeois democracy and the defeat of
apartheid was a huge advance for the people, but the struggle
cannot end there. While the ZACF advocates instead an
international social revolution by a Front of the Oppressed Classes
themselves, we would rather see that as advancing true social
transformation beyond the half-hearted NDR, with its in-built
antagonism to social equality.

Although the PEU correctly identified neo-liberalism, and its
opponents ("communists, socialists, anarchists and
anarcho-syndicalists"), and our views of the self-enrichment
attitude of the new elite, it defied logic - and the lived experience
of the South African working class under ANC rule - by claiming
the ANC was anti-neoliberal.

The PEU's line of argument was torturous and sickening. First it
appealed to xenophobia, claiming that the presence of a few
foreign activists in our ranks means that the ultra-left is controlled
by foreign interests! Then it claimed we were trying to mobilise the
bourgeoisie and the corporate media - hardly ultra-left friendly
forces - against the government! Later it played the race card,
claiming that the overwhelmingly black, coloured and Asian
community-controlled United Social Movements was trying to
entrench white privilege!

Beating us with a stick in one hand for allegedly campaigning "on
the same political platform elaborated and publicly presented by
the political representatives of colonialism, white minority rule and
white capital", it pretended to hold out a carrot with the other hand,
claiming the "rights to demand that the communists, socialists,
anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists should support us as we
pursue our struggle for the victory of the continuing national
democratic struggle." Claiming that the ANC voting bloc and "the
people" were the same thing, the PEU said that to be outside the
ANC was necessarily to be against the people.

The pro-exploitative nature of that "struggle" is then laid out, when
the PEU stated: "Like its sister parties globally, the SACP has
never adopted what would be a fundamentally incorrect position,
scientifically, ideologically and politically, that our national
liberation movement should transform itself into a socialist
movement for the destruction of the capitalist system. It is
therefore very wrong for the anti-neoliberal movement to try to
impose on the ANC and our government its own anti-capitalist

So while we are slandered as being ultra-left and ultra-right at the
same time, the heroic Alliance magically manages to be
simultaneously pro-capitalist and anti-neoliberal! The shrill and
paranoid tone of this attack against us, combined with their
outright lies about the nature of the continuing struggle for bread
and dignity in South Africa, shows the fat-cat "liberators" up for the
frauds they are.

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