If everyone is a racist, nobody is a racist.

THERE is a disturbing trend in South Africa. It involves blanket-blaming a group of persons, defined by race and class, in this case privilege squared with apartheid-era race classification. The negation of the idea of non-racialism and economic redress by intellectually closing down any possibility of escaping the alleged racism of ones ancestors, results in a powerful recipe for intolerance, scapegoating and racially-charged witch-hunts. The bluntness of the new discourse, its targets, and victims, (Gareth Cliff and the #ZumaMustFall campaign) is alarming.

The elevation of those on the side of the indictment, persons such as Gillian Schutte, to media guru status, merely compounds matters of apartheid denial and historical revisionism. Schutte went so far as stating, early last year that all whites are racist. To which she added, “Some may not practice racism and many may be anti-racist. Others may mistakenly believe that we live in a non-racist epoch. Some may be left wing and others may be moderate or right wing — but the bottom line is that to be white is to be racist.

Accepting this is the first step to recovery.”

Schutte’s open call for political re-education, (salvation can only come via her own pen) was soon followed by a hard hitting retort attacking non-racial critics of racism and their opposition to race classification as mere “liberalism”

If anything, it is Schutte and her intellectual cronies, who have resurrected scientific racism in the project to make all white persons so classified, accept guilt. A cross that everyone cast under the spotlight is expected to bear, as melanin-deficient people today are forced to atone for doing what exactly? Being alive or being cast out like pariahs? South Africans ‘black and white’ have not “returned race supremacists to power” year after year. There is a ‘black majority’ government in power. The Population Registration Act institutionalising race classification was abolished in 1991, despite this, our government continues to deploy such demographic data.

Privilege should be dealt with by the numbers, via wealth redistribution and taxation, a social wage, creating an economy which removes poverty,  not through inculpation and probation of all and sundry according to racial criteria. The Rainbow Nation is about the colour of ones rights, not the colour of ones skin.

Racial categorisation is really an affront to our nation’s freedom struggle, from which was birthed the movement for non-racialism articulated by the late Nelson Mandela, and also the Unity movement which saw all “races” as being essentially part of the same stream of humanity. United because of our common humanity. It is easy to attack the nation’s founder now that he is no longer around to defend himself.

I personally, as an individual once classified white and then reclassified several times, endured several bannings, (all a result of organisations of which I was a member being banned).  Forceably assimilated into the coloured community, I am now cast as an absurdity by our legal system. I did not join the freedom struggle to absolve the likes of Schutte nor Gareth Cliff, so that we could live in a country where scientific racism is the norm, I joined the struggle against racism in all its forms, and however so defined.

The Schutte saga has appeared to prefigure the latest round of mudslinging, such as Philip Dexter’s Only whites can be racist , and a piece commissioned by the Independent Group rehashing Schutte’s “Epistle to Whiteness”. But as Andile Mngxitama’s 2009 polemic piece “Blacks can’t be racist”and Sobantu Mzwakali’s recent precis, Black people can’t be racist, demonstrates, the idea consistent with scientific racism, that black people are distinct from white folk and vice versa, has been doing the rounds for some time. One need not look any further than Penny Sparrow’s own descent into the Origin of the Species, to see why the belief in inferiority or sub-humanism is offensive.

The terms used by all of the above persons are anachronistic, they are not based upon science but are mere fictions and a bad fiction at that. The lesson of apartheid is that race is not immutable. Nations are not races. Adaptive traits such as hair and skin colour are not indicative of a separation of the species. The struggle between the haves and have-nots is not about race, it is about poverty, inequality and discrimination based upon the self-same criteria that self-confessed and rehabilitated racists like Schutte deploy on a daily basis, it is nothing less than a defunct and moribund ideology.

Published in Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) 24 January, under title Avoid Race to the Bottom

SEE: See through the hate politics

SEE: Domination isn’t only black and white

See through the hate politics

THE Anti-Politics of Andile Mngxitama, Zanele Lwana, Dumisani Hlophe, and Gillian Schutte have graced a number of publications over the past weeks. From City Press to Independent Online, this group of self-appointed political pundits, have become a stock source of criticism of any opposition trend which does not have the commandeerist seal of approval.

Whether it be advocacy of Mandela’s non-racial legacy, a march in support of economic development, or a campaign against corruption within the ruling party, such opposition concerns are written off as nothing more than “right-wing conservativism”, “pro-JSE market fascism” and “white privilege”.

In Whites Marched to Uphold their privilege  Schutte expresses her belief that the #ZumaMustFall march “indicated the wish to shift political power back into “competent white hands”.

In see through the white nostalgia for apartheid,  Mngxitama and Lwana, assert that the #ZumaMustFall campaign is “just an excuse to flaunt racism and fascism”.

In Madiba legacy a liberal construct is right when he says “Mandela has gone in our minds from militant to saintly reconciler”. It is not the ANC who have reconstructed Mandela from “a militant liberation hero to a reconciler, nation-builder and saintly Mother Teresa character” but rather “unreformed apartheid benefactors.”

All three pieces demonstrate a class project that is avowedly against the non-racial policies of the ruling African National Congress party and leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. In order to gain relevance within the ultra-leftist circle surrounding the South African Communist Party, various trade unions and the EFF, (Malema is by all accounts, a Maoist), these pundits blanket-label opposition (and government) in terms that are extraordinarily broad, and often qualified by hate speech and racial profiling.

A progressive meeting aimed at reclaiming economic policies that will avoid South Africa going bankrupt, is thus something more sinister, a conservative “reactionary movement”. An amalgam of youth, students and ageing lefties is thus either a new threat, or an old foe, the”white right-wing” organising only “under the pretext of fighting corruption”. Mandela’s legacy is therefore, a cynical “liberal construct”, a new target in the battle against neo-liberalism by the ultra-left.

It was not so long ago, when communists were on the receiving end of this kind of McCarthyiest witch-hunt, to expose persons and movements with wrong-views, divergent opinions and unlicensed ideology. What is clear, is that there is growing opposition to untrammelled government largesse, an unequal state where 40% of the budget goes towards public service salaries. A country dangerously teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. An economy being strangled by monopolies and parastatals. Since Mr Zuma came to power in 2009, says the Economist, South Africa’s finances have grown ever more precarious. The budget deficit is 3.8% of GDP. Public debt has ballooned from 26% to almost 50%. (see  Try again, the Beloved Country)

Unfortunately, the drift towards fascism in South Africa, isn’t coming from conservatives within the African National Congress, and the democratic opposition, it is coming from ultra-Marxists on the ground, (and within parliament) who see themselves as a vanguard of a revolution still to come.

Whether it is in terms of the Arab Spring, which failed notably in Syria, where the result is 380 000 dead, or in terms of South and Central American failures such as Chavez, Castro and Kirchner, these pundits, notoriously thin on human rights and individual freedom, believe that ideology alone is sufficient to move the country forward.