THAT some commentators and journalists are rising to the defense of paramilitary politics in South Africa is not all that surprising. Far-right spokesperson Simon Shear, whom the Daily Vox’s of the EFF and the urgent topic of whether self-proclaimed “Commander in Chief” Julius Malema, is a fascist or not, needs to be congratulated for setting the matter straight. insists is required reading on the subject
Yes, the EFF are a Marxist-Leninist party, and if anything, Malema is a Stalinist not a Fascist in the traditional sense of the word.
That Hlongwane should find himself quoting the author of a piece purporting to debunk Affirmative Action, and thus “The case against Affirmative Action” is typical of so many on the authoritarian left, who see in Malema many of the macho characteristics and atavistic impulses they too, would wish to emulate, yet also find the need to meekly reinterpret their party dictator and thus to apologise for his often strident and offensive comments, which exist alongside the steady racial barrage and ideological violence of his many lieutenants.
Hlongwane rushed into criticism of Van Onselen’s piece on the EFF, calling Malema a fascist, a piece which he believes is “an ideologically inconsistent mess, but the overall intended effect is to take concepts such as whiteness (no matter how many times that this doesn’t refer to white people, but a social construct of power), socialism, and even black consciousness off the table.”
If taking Affirmative Action off the table, to promote Milton Friedman, as Shear does, while dissing the new dawn Ramaphosa ANC and its politics of unity and centerism, the Maimane DA and its equal opportunity ‘property rights for all’, and thus the Rainbow Nation, isn’t in the same league, as dismissing all Marxists as simply the descendents of proto-fascists, then I don’t know what else would rate as a critique of the authoritarian centre of the new paramilitary left?
An authoritarian cabal whose pundits are apt to quote Marx, Fanon and Sankara, while forgetting that the anti-hegemonic ideals propagated by these politicos were essentially founded upon humanism and the love of freedom as much as they are bound up in dialectical materialism. Marx was a fervent champion of press freedom, even if this means tolerating the excesses of the tabloids, writes Mark Thomas, citing Marx himself who said the “press, in general, is a realisation of human freedom,”
Not only does the belligerent EFF have a ‘war council’, in possible contravention of our pacifist constitution, but in many ways, its paramilitary operations have centred around the cult of personality which has evolved around Malema. A man whose daily diatribe and steady output of race-talk exists right alongside the politics of hate, symbols of outrage, and acts of political thuggery, which are emblematic of both National Socialism under the Nazis and Communism under Joseph Stalin.
Racism, hostility and ideological cant, all too familiar for many South Africans who may remember similar periods in which paramilitary organisations have graced the political stage, often urging violence, whilst seeking to play the parliamentary card of political privilege — thus it is almost impossible to check Nuremberg Rallies if they happen to happen in Vereeniging, or to counter Malema’s aggressive “cut the throat of whiteness” comment in the runup to an election in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Whether it be the brownshirts and swastikas of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and the late Eugene Terreblanche or the Red attire of ‘White’ Communist Party leader W H Andrews, known as ‘Comrade Bill’, one of the Red leaders of the 1922 Rand Revolt, the denouement and rationale in authoritarianism, dictatorship and obedience to a leader at the expense of personal freedom, has always been the same.
In 1932 the South African Gentile National Socialist Movement of Louis Weichard emerged and quickly became known as the Greyshirts because of their clothing.
In 1939 a fascist and racist group known as the Ossewabrandwag (OB) was founded and along with its volkish symbolism, was also inspired by Adolf Hitler.
All were local South African fascist groups, and one should add that the term fascist does not necessarily connote a direct causal link with the politics of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Yet his fascist progeny have invariably emphasised ethnic, class and racial differences. Thus for the fascist right, it was Aryan race rhetoric which was used to organise amongst the various poor white immigrant communities, while for the fascist Afrikaner Reds, it was a strange mixture of class revolt and cruel desire to preserve economic advantage over their fellow black workers, and thus race privilege amongst the ranks of those with jobs, that drove their Marxist fantasy and inspired revolt.
A third not insignificant group known as New Order, emerged in 1940 under the leadership of Oswald Pirow.
In the case of Julius Malema, like his nemesis Jacob Zuma, the imperatives of equality and civil rights for all, outlined by our constitution, appear to have been bent by sleight of hand and trick of tongue, into a perverse demand for land but only for those within the political laager, those closest to the Red authority at the Red centre, while the constitution itself is seen as merely an impediment to the leader’s ultimate stated goals of power for the sake of power and Totalitarianism by any other name. Malema’s Newcastle statements on slaughtering the opposition and land ownership for example, contradict his recent statements at New Brighton, all part and parcel of the get elected at any cost, and by any means campaign, and therefore the leader’s poetic license to say whatever needs to be said to any group, at any given time.
It was an admixture of right-wing groups, (and quasi-leftists), some armed with socialist ideas such as volkscapitalisme, which eventually became the National Party, a political organisation responsible for apartheid. The NP was openly affiliated to the International Gentile Movement, and sought special privileges for the Afrikaner to the exclusion of all other ‘race groups’ while creating an authoritarian state, a country whose economy still shares many of the defects associated with the socialism of former Eastern European Bloc countries.
Like these earlier periods, the misreading of seemingly egalitarian texts, whether the Bible or Das Kapital, combined with a volatile confluence of popular disgruntlement with the ruling party, racism in the form of anti-white hostility, and the lure of the land debate, all appear to have invigorated the paramilitary EFF party. Its leader, Julius Malema, not an emerging leftist ideological oracle, has been catapulted into media headlines, as the ranks at the forefront of the authoritarian left swell, and as demonstrated, are articulated by apparatchiks and gauleiters, who are not ashamed to draw ideas from the fascists on the far right when it suits them.
Hence the internal contradictions of the ANC itself, a party which risks losing elements within come the 2019 election, that have always aligned themselves with dictators from Lenin to Fidel Castro, and thus the politics of Hugo Chavez and Jacob Zuma. These “fascists” may have just found themselves a new political home. We wish them well.
NOTE: Gauleiter was the second highest Nazi Party paramilitary rank, subordinate only to the higher rank Reichsleiter and to the position of Führer.
In a brazen “State of the Nation” address, uncharacteristically published by local newspapers over the weekend*, Malema, who technically cannot stand for parliament whilst under curatorship for mismanaging his own finances, called for mass expropriation of land and property rights. (See Ivo Vegter’s take on this issue here)
“We will pass legislation which will make the state the official and only custodian of all land in South Africa, in a similar way the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act has made the state the custodian of our mineral and petroleum resources.”
Common property ownership has long since been abandoned in China and Russia. In South Africa it would instantaneously turn property-owners into tenants or wards of the state as all citizens suddenly became government employees in a perverse system that myopically fixes the problem of jobs with a stroke of the pen without actually creating any new jobs.
With the state controlling banking in South Africa under Malema, citizens will be expected to hand-over their current accounts to the state for safe-keeping — do we really trust the government to secure our money? Malema however chooses to deflect such criticism in his address, by referring to the “South Korean” banking system and thus may already be in talks to establish his own private investment bank.*
The ANC breakaway faction which has become the EFF party platform has simply adopted a hodge-podge of leftist demands, along with many of the supposedly radical policies of the North Korean dictatorship on the other side of the 38th parallel.
For example, the
The only bank available to citizens is thus the solitary Central Bank which has over 220 branches, all providing exactly the same choice in government banking.
The release of an unprecedented United Nations report detailing crimes against humanity by the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Un has focused world attention once again on the problem of totalitarian states.
Startling details of the centralised, command economy of North Korea have emerged, such as the fact that each and every North Korean home has a speaker directly linked to a government propaganda machine.
Reports that children as young as 5 in North Korea are given special political education classes in which they are taught to hate “imperialists” as well as their own parents are rather troubling.
Despite the myriad problems, so poignantly related by images of malnourished children, Julius Malema, who resembles the portly Kim Jong-Un in stature, has already modeled himself on the classic “personality cult” figures once associated with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Mao Zedong, choosing to brandish a beret and the banner of ‘class warfare against the oppressor‘.
If may be early days, but the comparison with Kim Jong-Un , Pol Pot and other regimes such as the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, in which political education classes resulted in torture camps and political prisons overseen by psychiatric doctors, is not all that far off the mark.
The ANC once had its own system of political detention camps in Zambia. EFF are again taking up the cudgels on behalf of abandoned Marxist-Leninist policies.
NOTE: *Speculation is rife that Malema could be a Manchurian candidate for Asian business interests who wish to install him in government without bothering with an election result.
THAT the far left Economic Freedom Fighter’s leader Julius Malema has absolutely no clue on how the economy works is best illustrated by his recent comments that ‘nationalised banks would run themselves, and without focusing on maximising profits, would keep their interest rates low so that all South Africans could afford a house and car.” While not going so far as abolishing the central bank or putting an end to usury, Malema sees low interest rates and nationalisation as key factors in ending neoliberal profiteering and the market economy in a heady mix of Marxist rhetoric drawn from failed experiments in state capitalism that saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Block states nearly 25 years ago.
The EFF party manifesto is full of Marxist bluster, calling for the end of private companies and the expansion of the state from its caretaker role, to a more aggressive socialist platform that would essentially result in all forms of economic activity falling under the state purview, with the immediate consequence being the end of individual entrepreneurism.
That state capitalism is enormously bureaucratic and inefficient can be seen in South Africa’s ailing parastatal sector. Both Telkom and Eskom have been beset with problems regarding lack of competition, inefficiency, and inability to cater to consumer demand, with the result these state run corporations are only sustainable via huge bailouts funded by the treasury.
Telkom posted one of the biggest non-mining losses in the South African economy this year with a 11.6 billion rand write down. The net loss for the year through March compared with 216 million rand a year earlier.
Eskom’s losses are even more startling. The parastatel made a loss of R10.7bn through supplying electricity to Hillside, the bigger of the two aluminium smelters at BHP Billiton and is heading towards a R350bn debt trap. Making losses and providing bailouts to the parastatal sector are the exact kind of thing which Julius Malema and his brand of Malemanomics advocates — it is thus difficult to see any real ideological difference between the current administration and the EFF party, suffice to say that the aegis of parastatals would be increased while individual businesses would be contained, if not abolished.
Instead of ending South Africa’s ‘dirigiste’ experiment with state corporations and the abuse of state capital with the resulting enormous drain on the nation’s coffers, perhaps by providing alternatives such as cooperative and local economic solutions, and an unconditional basic income grant, the EFF seeks to up the ante by embracing the kind of mega-projects and foolish statist policies that reduced East Germany to a drab grey as the country failed to develop economically under Erich Honecker.
Another parastatal, SAA was bailed out to the tune of R550 million this year alone, and while the national airline marquee may bring pride, it certainly does not bring profit. The SA Post Office suffered a net loss of R179 million.
Clue to the thinking behind Malemanomics is the belief that the profit motive is behind South Africa’s super-exploitation of labour. Seeking to address the enormous disparities in income between the lowest paid worker and the highest paid corporate executive, Malemanomics with its logic of retribution and redistribution, would essentially end private ownership of property, turning all land over to the state and ending the willing buyer, willing seller principle. If this doesn’t turn every South African citizen into a tenant of the state, then the party’s lurch to the left could bring the kind of Zanu-PF rule that characterised the collapse in the Zimbabwean economy under Robert Mugabe.
Despite this statist orientation, it is unclear whether Malema will actually go ahead with any of his plans or be able to sustain his own rhetoric and party platform.
“An entrepreneur must be able to do business no matter who is in government. A real businessman doesn’t lose sleep over whether the [National Party], ANC or EFF is in power”, says the former ANC youth leader.
Something needs to be said about the Lonmin Massacre. It is not simply because what we are witnessing recalls so many massacres under the apartheid regime, or that what we are seeing is occurring now under an ANC government. No, what needs to be said is the way foreign markets are dominating the political and social discourse of the Republic.
Having Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the chief authors and negotiators of the South African constitution, at the helm of the board which is overseeing mining operations at the platinum mind, boggles the imagination. How could this happen and why are we not seeing a lot more contrition on the part of those who undoubtedly ordered the use of force?
Equally upsetting is the way the stage is being set by various shareholder groups, for a hostile takover of the resource, pre-empting a possible shift in the body politic.
Can anyone believe Julium Malema, when he says he has the best interests of the miners at heart? Surely what Juju wants is exactly what Cyril has at the moment, access to 80% of the worlds’ supply of platinum. It is a tragic power-play in which workers are being slaughtered because of the markets, while the banks and foreign investors leverage control South Africa’s economy.
One cannot help but think this disaster was in the making began when Juju jetted off to London, only to broker deals which could give him the upper hand in the incipient battle over leadership of a political movement which is showing signs of being nothing more than an excuse to command investment and interest rates, the kind of rough capitalism which has always managed to colonise Africa to the detriment of the poor.
Somebody must have given the order to shoot, as too, the government offical or party oligarchs who are now spin-doctoring, denying culpability while presumably granting Malema access to the Lonmin compound. Providing platforms for political speeches has always been the method of choice of the global illuminati and bilderburgers who control the Earth’s mineral wealth and who will resort to any means necessary to secure their investment.
This time, there is nobody who can accuse the capitalists of being racists, what they are, are plain old capitalists, and with Cyril involved, we can only presume to know how much money has been wagered on the operation.