“I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don’t believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two way street.” – Malcolm X
In the past I had declared my support for the Economic Freedom Fighters. I gave reasons why its policy programs were and still are the most appealing to me compared to all the other active political parties. I am still convinced that if implemented with professional efficiency, South Africa will reduce poverty and inequalities, and be on the road to full employment within a very short space of time.
Ever since taking up support, and eventually becoming a registered member of the EFF, I have never felt the need to be apologetic about my choice, and I still feel the same. However, as a disciplined member of the EFF, I always take time, now and again, to dispel misconceptions and correct misinformation whenever I can.
There is this perception among some people that the EFF is an anti-white organisation. I take perceptions very seriously, and I am also aware that some perceptions are not anchored in reality, but are fed by a misplaced fear. However, perceptions are very strong factors in our lives, and heavily affect how we view the world around us. If I perceive something as such and such, I am as a consequence, going to relate to it in relation to how I perceive it.
I have had a lot of encounters with people, Black and White, who hold the view that the EFF is actually anti-white. I have also had an encounter with a lot of people, Black and White, who hold the view that the EFF is actually NOT an anti-white organisation. The dictates of logic should immediately tell us that both groups cannot be right at the same time. EFF is either anti-white or it is not, it cannot be both.
I had a small conversation with an acquaintance last week who is convinced in her mind that the EFF is anti-white. This is, for her, the greatest obstacle of having to engage with EFF further, in any meaningful way.
So is the EFF an anti-white organisation?
Before I venture into any attempt of answering this question, let me just digress a bit to discuss this issue of ‘race’. I believe racism is one of, if not the greatest absurdity of the human history. ‘Race’, in my view, is a very big mis-categorisation, because there is only one race on earth, that is, the human race.
Racism started being a big problem in the world when we began categorizing people into ‘races’ based on artificial external features like skin colour and hair type etc. People have also over the years tried their level best to scientifically justify racism, without any success. In fact, science has over the years dealt a death blow to racism, which is why racists have since turned their justification to socio-economics instead.
What does Science tell us about ‘race’?
Genetic studies over the years have taught us that the issue of ‘race’ is actually only skin deep. Genetics has undermined racism by showing that human ancestry can actually be traced simply as it is inscribed in the DNA. Studies have shown that the genetic make-up of all human groups is actually similar, with very small differences, the reason for the artificial differences like skin colour and the likes.
In biological terms, all human groups are classified as one and the same living organism, with small but insignificant variations, but still the same species. So there is only one human race.
Also, sociologically, the difference in individual human behaviour and the behavioural differences in various groups is not necessarily proof of the inherent difference ‘racially’, but it is actually as a result of the difference in the socio-economic environments of different groups.
The trend lately has been to try justifying racism and racial bigotry by pointing out the socio-economic conditions of different groups. I find this very absurd because historically we know that people have been oppressed and subjugated simply because of their skin colour, resulting in their current socio-economic conditions. It is like locking someone in a cage for a year and then coming back later and pointing to how inherently inferior they are because their condition is not better than before.
In any case, let’s get back from this digression. We know for a fact that racism and racial bigotry are stupid and archaic, but is the EFF anti-white?
My answer to this question is NO. From my reading of EFF literature, and listening to its leaders since its inception, I have seen and heard consistency in what they stand for, and what they stand against. EFF made it plain from the beginning that they stand opposed to white supremacy, and they have made no apology for that, and justifiably so.
Now, there is a difference between white supremacy, and a white individual. White supremacy is a value system, whereas a white individual is simply that, an individual. White supremacy is a system that firstly serves to guarantee a privileged position for a caucasian skin, and then goes further to preserve that privileged position.
I don’t think any right thinking South African will ever say that Nelson Mandela was anti-white, yet most of his life he stood opposed to apartheid, a system of white supremacy. It shows that we are quite capable of differentiating between an individual and a system.
Historically, we know that this system can be propagated by both Black and White people. So it doesn’t matter who upholds it, EFF stand opposed to it.
As Malcolm X puts it; “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it; I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”
When EFF calls for the expropriation of land for redistribution, we are not necessarily launching an attack on individual white people, or white people as a group for that matter. We know for a fact that only about 4% of all white people (individuals, families and corporates) own 79% of the South African land mass. It makes no sense at all for anyone to postulate that this constitutes a personal attack on all individual white people, since not all even fall in this category.
One of EFF’s main goals is to totally collapse white supremacy (because it still persists in South Africa, and it is systematically institutionalised), and to de-racialise South Africa. This can only ever be achieved by directly and meaningfully addressing historical injustices against the general black population, in terms of economic and land ownership.
Another urban myth: We are not really interested in taking white people’s houses, cars and money, those are their property, and they can keep and enjoy them. We just want to free our land from the hands of a few people (who historically happen to be white) and use that land to help develop the poverty stricken general population (who historically happen to be black).
We want to use our land, and all our other natural resources to empower poor South Africans, in order for them to realise self-sufficiency and to attain self-determination.
For as long as the face of poverty is Black and the face of progress is white, we will never attain a non-racial and reconciled South Africa that most of us want to see.
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