Malusi Gigaba a sound choice within the modern/colonial habitus

2017-03-31 05:17

Gigaba's position on regional economic integration and development is quite progressive. I have heard him speak in parliament before and I think, myself as a pan-Africanist, if Gigaba is sincere, the choice by the president is sound compared to Gordhan. This judgement is made in light of analysing matters from within the 'habitus' of modern/colonial system and context of elitist politrix & not the people because in as much as Gigaba supported the Free Trade Agreement, there were notable indication of a top-down approach to regionalization. Nonetheless, within the constraints of South Africa (a modern/colonial construct), I'm in support of the move to appoint him especially out of lack of knowing other potential candidates with his kind of thinking in terms of the political economy trajectory we ought to follow in the African context thus the limitations in this analysis. Nonetheless, the fact that markets behave like irrational men exposes the falsity of the neoliberal idea of the free market. Even neoliberal market fundamentalism is not in operation revealing yet again how transnational elites advance paradigms they do not even apply yet have the audacity to manipulate the world to believe otherwise.

As for president Zuma and his critics, it is interesting how entrenched neoliberal brainwashing is in many of our minds. It's interesting how failure to completely think for ourselves and not always fall for the liberal propaganda especially in the context of politics of the global South. Everything about the president is spinned in a manner beyond levels of "normal sabotage". In 2016 Thuli Madonsela exhibited leniency and to some extent endorsement over president Zuma's choice to confront Pravin Ghordan yet the neo-liberalized people in the televised Thuli Madonsela lecture opted to interpret Madonsela's utterances through their own anti-Zuma lenses. She seemed in "favour" of the president despite her criticisms.

I think we must not forget that the global economic war is very real and the media has been an integral part of the global coloniality project. Years ago Julius Malema was painted in all sorts of dehumazing manners when he uttered radicalism while within the ANC. He was villified and ridiculed because his views threatened the establishment. The minute he began to do the work that culminated into weakening the ANC, the media representations of Malema changed. He regained his politico-respectability. Zuma on the other hand rose to the realm of a national villain, partly out of his own doing, but his cosy relationship with Russia, China and all the potential disruptors of the global Western hegemony made him enemy number 1. This ofcourse does not take away from the appalling errors of some of his ways. Despite those he exhibited "clarity" on the "trans-geopolitical" warfare at play. I say trans-geo-politics because the elites spearheading the wars from their boardrooms have transcended boundaries of nation-states and to some extent one could argue that they also transcend the US and other powerful nations because they no longer operate like traditional capital which was grounded in geo-political territories.

These transnational elites also launched an attack in 2015 which saw a massive plunge in BRICS economies. This was "visible" through the market turbulence resulting from withdrawal of US$1 trillion in a period of a year. Russia lost a total of US$202 billion by 2015 since 2014. Brazil had a total of US$48 disinvested in 2015. China was also in turmoil after its decision to devalue the Yuan while South Africans saw the massive drop in the value of the Rand and GDP had been on a slope for a number of years. We must note that even when GDP was strong, the pain of black people was not healed so to many living in the fringes of the modern economy including the precariats, GDP does not significantly stop systematic violence. Moving back to BRICS and the currency wars, the Indian rupee was also plunging around the same time. Ofcourse there were other emerging economies that felt the heat including the Euro currency against the petro-dollar. However, what made the BRICS countries interesting, especially South Africa and Brazil was the similarities in terms of the political upheavals.

South Africa witnessed an authentic surge from us the students through the FeesMustFall campaign. The interesting part in this case was the dominance of the anti-government narrative by the media vis a vis the white capitalists who have corporatized the university under global neoliberal economic dispensation. The government felt greater heat, thus legitinizing the typical liberal anti-state rhetoric which discredits states as beyond repair-incompetent tools of economic growth. Around the same time of the FMF campaign, Brazilians were also having their own "anti-government" protests during the demands for the "Bus Fares to fall". The anti-Dilma Rousseff political theatrics were heightened calling for her impeachment, just like liberal South Africans demanded the removal of Zuma whose ANC is also in bed with capital. The leftist Rousseff was impeached successfully but Zuma survived the motion despite the efforts of the liberal DA and other organizations. Not much needs to be said about China and Russia in the eyes of the "North". There is certainly no love for these nations.

This context specific bias towards the president especially his position on land, something China also did, does not mean there are no issues, potential problems & consequences that may lead us to a state of Chinese/repressive politics in SA. All "revolutions" have come at the cost of freedom just as there is an absence of freedom under our corporatocratic dictatorships within democratic nations. Land ownership without the demise of the capitalist system will not help us. In this case, revolution does not mean a complete systematic upheaval in the authentic sense, even neoliberals thought their triumph over keynesian macroeconomics was a revolution. The land question which president Zuma is addressing must be looked at critically because I doubt it is sincerely out of good will for blacks because the very nature of the modern/colonial world system is anti-black and participation in a rat race towards problematic idea of economic progress, power and 'global whiteness' excludes black people and other marginalized ethnic groups. Giving land to those who till it is not packagec with the demise of capitalist production which by its very nature progresses via dispossession and dehumanization of others. We are also moving towards a different and brutal form of capital because of the evolving nature of capitalist economy. In this case the volatile finance economy will have greater bearing on the real economy which creates jobs for people. The financialization of the South African economy will not wipe the tears of many. I also doubt land ownership within the current neoliberal framework pursued by the current government will help us.

As for the unequal relations within BRICS, there is probability of ultimate "bullying" by the intra-BRICS hegemons. Consider the Russia-SA nuclear debacle and the SINO-SA Steel industry saga. The latter revealed to us that our shared bed with stronger China is not always great for our own industries. Perhaps hard economic jobs will emerge out of China's decision to deindustrialize in light of its environmental pressures but such should not make us rejoice if capitalist elites decide to bring all their investments to SA as they did with Asian tigers catapulting into their "miraculous" growth, for instance China's leap at the expense of the ordinary people and the environment. Part of the decoloniality process in South Africa will involve questioning ourselves over the values we espouse in the pending decisive choice of economic tvalues and pursuits.

Africanization, which would involve ubuntu cosmology, is incompatible with China's holistic model of economic growth. The strive for cosmic harmony and ecological justice are aspects of Afrocentric Ubuntu. Meaning ecological genocide and extremely unequal relations among people particularly resultibg from skewed redistributive politics will fundamentally differ to the capitalist trajectory followed by China. Hopefully Gibaba's appointment will entail deeper reflections and planning for the future and the "conversation" about regional integration he got immersed in will be cemented through greater facilitation of intra-Africa trade as we move towards a goal of a prosperous Africa.

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