Zwelinzima Vavi made public that he thought that revolution or uprising against Govt is not a far off prospect but a very real threat (I’m paraphrasing of course), that the conditions are that which would make this outcome very plausible. Well most would consider this a fair comment, I would argue that indeed it is but there is a far more troubling aspect to this view and in particular from the man himself. As head of the largest Labour Union in SA and part of the tripartite alliance, with the ruling body of the nation he seems to have forgotten about the basic tenants of democracy. That the leadership is subject to electoral removal and that revolution is a far greater concern than a loss at the polls. What does this say about the state of our democracy, the public’s understanding thereof and the structure of our nation? What it implies is that even the upper echelons of Govt don’t recognise the existence of a one party state; it does recognise a monopoly of govt where change only occurs through revolution. It also says that the structures of power are quite happy with this status and it implies a very low bar of competence and performance before a credible threat to that power presents itself. Take some time to think about this in terms of what we see happening , corruption , service delivery, constitutional infringement, judicial dilution , concentration of power ect and why Zuma will debate Zapiro and not Helen Zille. Revolution has a history of opening gaps to tyrants and demagogues even with the pleasantries of democratic aspirations, so don’t be blinded by rhetoric of revolution, on-going revolution, counter revolution /ary ,as it has become part of a political romanticized lexicon of unclear terms . Revolution is really a ‘Hail Mary’ pass of the masses at changing the status quo, sometimes it works sometimes not.
“Revolutions in democracies are generally caused by the intemperance of demagogues, who either in their private capacity lay information against rich men until they compel them to combine (for a common danger unites even the bitterest enemies), or coming forward in public stir up the people against them. The truth of this remark is proved by a variety of examples. At Cos the democracy was overthrown because wicked demagogues arose, and the notables combined. At Rhodes the demagogues not only provided pay for the multitude, but prevented them from making good to the trierarchs the sums which had been expended by them; and they, in consequence of the suits which were brought against them, were compelled to combine and put down the democracy.” -Aristotle: “Politics”, Book Five, Part 5, 350 B.C.E.
This brings us to the other arm of our governing body the SACP, now to call them communists is a slight misnomer in the light of reality but as their name claims we’ll keep it to ideology. The communist ideology is one caught in quick sand and no amount of Marxist revisionism can pull it out of it flaws which are fundamental and quite simply the antithesis of democratic principles of liberty, freedom and representation (this is whole other debate however). The problem with the SACP to get back on point is one of ideological incontinuity, by definition the communist view is that that the means of production, property and ownership thereof should the sole realm of the state yet we have the communists rejecting the idea of nationalization and the so called liberal progressives asking for it. ? They claim to be the enemy of monopoly capital (again a fuzzy concept) in particular that of the paler nature , but at the same time both reject and accept the concept of the ultimate monopoly, that of the state monopoly on everything. Maybe someone can help here with clarity as it seems to again illustrate a party, ideology in complete lack of foundation, a relic of yester year dragged along for the sake of posterity but now void of relevance and a foot stool of power.
This brings me to Marikana , a tragedy that was both avoidable but in my opinion inevitable at the same time and involves all of govt , the ruling coalition , unions , employers and employees . I’m sure more shall be revealed as we move forward but it seems like a compilation of events whose only outcome could be a tragedy of some sort, at some point in time, now revealed as being at Marikana . Here’s the recipe I’m eluding too, a confrontational culture endemic in SA which we can see manifest in violence at protests, strikes and marches. A institution of unions far too far across the divide on the side of politics versus their mandate of worker rights and interests. A combination of group polarization, violent tendency and police outnumbered and to be honest terrified which just needed the right circumstances .We also need to look at the workers and how they contributed to this, I see them as a victim of this macro environment but also that they have ceded so much to these organizations that dissent or contradictory view is tantamount to treason (this is a military mind-set). Relating this to my initial point is that this is all because of power, they know it is fixed and not fluid as a democracy should be, it results in the continuation of toxic alliances from poles of the political divide, oligarchy, preservation of vested interest, erosion of democratic principles and stagnation of development.
I see this as a concern for all South Africans because events like these and what we view or accept as root causes for events like Marikana and how we move forward are profoundly important and I have great reservations that the powers that be will be able to really address it . Please give your opinion; it’s not ‘the truth’, a campaign of vilification but a political, social dialog. We need to recognise, articulate and embolden our national values, what we stand for and what our aspirations are, for without that we will truly be adrift and Aristotle’s words become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Me and all my Ninja’s
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