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Marxist and left jargon hijacked to justify tribal politics by SACP and Cosatu KwaZulu-Natal

05 October 2012, 08:27

Floyd Shivambu

On the 2nd of September 2012, the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions Provincial leadership collectives in the province of KwaZulu Natal issued a joint statement after a bi-lateral meeting they held on the same day. There is no patent clarity on the statement of the substantial ideological and political issues these formations of the working class and workers could have discussed in the meeting, but the statement suggests there were lots of conjectural issues and complaints discussed in the meeting. What is evident though is that the meeting failed to discuss the necessary ideological matters confronting the movement currently, more importantly the question of whether the ANC led National Liberation Movement is still pursuing the National Democratic Revolution towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives. The meeting also did not make any reflection on whether defining the current phase of the struggle as the second phase of South Africa's transition does help in the mission to attain all Freedom Charter objectives. There certainly was no reflection on the changing global balance of forces, which all progressive Left forces should recurrently asses in the course of the revolution.

What this important meeting did though was decry what they misnamed the "renewed imperialist aggression directed at the Zuma lead (sic) ANC and government". COSATU and the SACP said after their meeting that "this imperialist agression comes in a form to recolonise this country in another form so as to continue to serve the interests of the imperialist countries". Now coming from the SACP and COSATU, this is profound, but dismally fails to locate what exactly this imperialist agression is all about and fails to explain how the Zuma led government and ANC are under attack. This makes the claim of an impending "imperialist agression" a confusing one and will ill-prepare the anti-imperialist forces in the attack against imperialism. In all fairness, the confusion expressed by these formatiins is not worth responding to, but because this has potential to further mislead workers and unseasoned communists who constitute an absolute majority of SACP members, we need to instructively dismiss this nonsense of using Left and Marxist jargon to justify purely tribalist and tribal solidarity politics, which will be exposed below and on various occasions from now onwards.

In the Left political spectrum, the theory of imperialism was adequately discussed and written about by Vladimir Lenin in analyzing and trying to inveigh against the European capitalist expansion to territories which in the early stages of industrialization were categorized as the periphery. These territories were now positioned as sources of natural resources to supply the aggressive industrial development which characterized most of Europe. This capitalist expansion was pioneered by Portugal and was agrressively pursued by huge multinational corporations, such as the British East Indian Company and the Dutch East Indian Company, which after colonial conquest of many territories, formalized capitalist settlement and take over of other territories into official political system now called colonialism. Fundamental to colonial conquest was the motive of capitalist expansion, hence Lenin referred to imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism.

With the development of ideology, and particular the Marxist/Leninist ideological telescope, the class divide which is inherent in all class societies was now understood to be a global phenomenon with the colonial conquerors and colonial conquered perceived to be on different divides of the world relations of production. When the world was almost exclusively divided into two huge blocs rallied behind the USSR and the USA, most of the colonial conquered were broadly categorized as belonging to the former, except for few protectorates, islands and dominated territories which were under the Queen's control. South Africa is a conquered nation and country whose form of colonialism was understood to be of a special type because the colonisers had settled and naturalized into this territory and had semi-independence from the colonial master. Whether South Africa has been decolonised remains a necessary political and ideological question to answer.

The inclusive democracy that begun in 1994 did not erode the key features of a conquered or colonized South Africa, because key the economy is still controlled by those who did under colonial-cum-apartheid domination. As a democratic government, we had two options, 1) to decolonize the economy through discontinuation of private and foreign ownership of the means of productions like Mines, Factories and land, and 2) leave the colonial ownership patterns as they were before all people were allowed to vote. It is very obvious that we chose the latter and predictably some of the former leaders of the liberation movement and Unions co-opted into higher echelons of Capitalist domination. Frantz Fanon spoke about the National parasitic bourgeoisie long before South Africa gained political independence, and what happened in South Africa is exactly what he said.

Now, the SACP and COSATU in KwaZulu Natal say that there is imperialist agression against the ZUMA (emphasis) led ANC and government. An emphasis is made on 'ZUMA led' because that is what COSATU and SACP in KwaZulu Natal wants to highlight in their statement, and that is what they essentially want to defend. Now, this Zuma they referring and so want to defend against imperialist agression is Jacob Zuma, the President of the ANC from KwaZulu Natal province, elected in the 52nd National Conference of the ANC in Polokwane with more than 99% support from KwaZulu Natal formations of the ANC, SACP, COSATU, SASCO, COSAS, SANCO, MKMVA, IFP, and everything that had political interest in the Province of KwaZulu Natal. No other Province of the ANC and all these other formations had a solid support of more than 80% because under normal circumstances, politics lead to various different conceptions of history and interests, which even in socialist countries can never be 90%.

The Zuma referred to is the same comrade who in his closing address in Polokwane said, "ANC policies, including economic policies that have been adopted at this conference do not indicate a fundamental shift from the policies that the ANC has adopted since it has come into power. Let me reiterate that decisions with regards to policies in the ANC are taken by conference and not by an individual. There is therefore no reason why the domestic or international business community or any other sector should be uneasy. I tried to calm these fears before the conference during my meetings with various business groupings at home and abroad.". It is vividly clear that he made these remarks to assure investors, whose imperialist interests overwhelm any political and ideological will of all colonised and conquered territories like South Africa. He made this remark in a Conference which both both COSATU and the SACP hailed as watershep, or Polokwane revolution which must be defended with everything, including destruction of principles.

This Zuma COSATU and the SACP claim is under imperialist agression is the one who went to Britain on than more one ocassion to assure imperialist Masters there that their imperialist domination and control of South Africa is secured. Whether he has the necessary sophistication to comprehend this reality is not our problem, but the fact is that he has assured imperialism. This Zuma who is being defended from imperialist agression is the same one who in the period leading to the 2009 general elections was frequenting Mauritius, not for holiday or exotic wedding purposes, but to try and prevent a piece of evidence which will under a fair judicial system, will secure his conviction on the corruption case he is facing, and should still be held accountable on.

When Ivory Coast was on fire, with complex political developments, and under practical and physical imperialist take over and recolonisation, Jacob Zuma who must now be defended against imperialist agression is the one who broke ranks with the entire African continent and sided with France's erstwhile Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, who led and funded an imperialist coup de tat in Ivory Coast. The courage to invade Ivory Coast came as a result of the assurance Zuma gave Sarkozy after the terribly planned and hurried State visit with with business associates who never even had any bi-lateral engagement with French business. When Libya had to be rescued by the African Union, Zuma broke ranks once again and voted for war and later claimed ignorance that he did not know what the no-fly zone and all other necessary interventions he voted for means. His decisions cannot be compared to the other proud imperialist puppets of Nigeria and Gabon because those came in the open to say they are under imperialist control and it's not a secret that they are funded by imperialist forces. The Gobonese leadership even came out in the open to say they knew they are voting for imperialist war in Libya and proud of it.

If there is a leader of the ANC both in history and post democratic dispensation who has lacked the balls to confront imperialism it is Jacob Zuma. The excuse that he does not understand the nature of imperialism might be a reflection of reality on Jacob Zuma's side, but it is entirely unacceptable and cannot now be overturned to claim that he is under imperialist agression and attack. He has been a useful idiot for imperailism, made to run around justifying the unjustifiable in the African continent, and allowing imperialist wars and actual recolonisation to happen unabated. Now for KwaZulu Natal COSATU and SACP to turn against imperialism on Zuma's behalf and sensationally claim that South Africa will be recolonised is purely dishonest and lacks substance. The only leader who poses a threat for recolonisation of South Africa and the African continent is Jacob Zuma and his recent past decision bear testimony to this fact.

What is apparent and very clear from COSATU and SACP statement is that they just want to defend Jacob Zuma, and now that we have exposed that their political and ideological reasons are non-existent, the only conclusion we are left with is that he is supportted and defended on tribal basis, like it was the case when he received more than 99% support towards Polokwane Conference of the ANC. It is very possible, because many factors now and in recent past history have pointed that a trend exist in KwaZulu Natal to support a leader on the basis on the language they speak.

A fresh example is that of leadership of the ANC Youth League in KZN which came to the National Congress of the ANCYL, sponsored a resolution against tribalism, explained to the leadership that the ANC PEC and President Zuma are mobilising political support in KZN on tribal grounds and later change to join the band of tribalists. It is not a rumour, and it is contained in official ANC Youth League National Executive Committee reports presented to the ANC Secretary General and Kwazulu Natal PEC that after meeting with President Zuma, the ANCYL KZN PEC diametrically changed and openly spoke tribal politics of entitlement to lead the ANC.

Now reading COSATU and SACP statement, it is very clear that the only thing intended there is to defend Jacob Zuma without any reason. Theories of imperialism and possibilities of recolonisation are then employed to mislead people, which is total rubbish and sad attempt to hoodwink workers. It will not be a surprise if KZN ANC structures go to the 53rd National Conference saying the same thing with 100% of all MDM formations plus the IFP agreeing on 2nd term for Zuma because a culture of intimidation and mysterious disappearance of comrades such as Sbu Sibiya and Wandile Mkhize seem to be a consequence of those who think independently in that Province. As formations in the Left political spectrum, COSATU and SACP in KwaZulu Natal were supposed to be the first to use correct Marxist/Leninist tools of analysis to educate workers that Jacob Zuma is a disaster and that he cannot be supported on the basis of the language he speaks and sings. Left formations should have risen above tribalism to educate the nation, but they cannot because of tribal loyalty and prejudices.

I am writing this in full knowledge that part of the responses from the comrades there will be threats of violence and killing squad, which the MKMVA in KwaZulu Natal says exists or existed to kill people who disagree with President Zuma. Death threats happened before from KZN MKMVA, and the ANC never condemned nor took any action even when we reported these incidents. This is a long held political trend and fashion that must be nipped in the bud in the ANC, because if all of us are quite, we will not go anywhere with this glorious movement.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter.
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