"loons in RCP"

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sat Apr 22 23:44:51 MDT 1995

Hello Paul,

It's nice you are back even though your usually penetrating observations
are on this occasions focussed on a post of mine. Or perhaps because.

I agree with the general thrust of your points and some of the detail.
Again I don't
want to prejudge anything that Ron may say but the ANC, COSATU and the
SACP are not monolithic organisations so I will have the temerity to say
what I understand to be the situation.

I understand politically conscious members of the ANC to consider the
present Government of National Unity to be very much a compromise and
that the national liberation struggle is not by any means completed yet.

In that sense the term "New Democracy" is wrong in that it was used by
the Chinese for the situation from 1949 when the national democratic
revolution had triumphed *and the proletariat and its allies were in the

The armed forces of apartheid were not defeated militarily. The
compromise of the ending of apartheid seems to me their neutralisation in
return for the acknowledged ascendancy of neo-classical capital in a
Government of National Unity. Ron may have to put me right on this from
his point of view.

The really worrying thing is that whereas even a decade ago democrats and
socialists winning an election, would think of moving towards socialism,
the new government has calculated that it must win financial credibility
in the eyes of the international bond markets *because it has no
alternative*. I know quite a lot about the considerable efforts that went
into the report of the Macro Economic Research Group that provided the
theoretical backing for the Reconstruction and Development Programme, but
it has not proved sufficiently persuasive.

In my view this is because as someone implied in earlier correspondence
about the relative strengths and weaknesses of third worldism (Kenny I
think) unless there is active support by democrats in the metropolitan
countries it is hard for a third world country to build socialism on its own.

I think in short the anti-apartheid movements in the metropolitan
countries should have followed through by campaigning for an
international financial framework of the order of over $100 billion
for the post apartheid reconstruction of the whole of southern Africa.
But the theoretical momentum was not there. The most committed activists
believed the neo-classical story that there just was not enough capital
to go round to finance the reconstruction of southern Africa as well as
eastern Europe.

This is one of the reasons I am so keen that this list helps to
rejuvenate the application of Marxist economic theory and why I am glad you
are back on the scene.


Chris Burford.
 > From owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu Sat Apr 22 21:51:03 1995
 > To: marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 > Subject: Re: "loons in RCP"
 > From: Paul Cockshott <wpc at clyder.gn.apc.org>
 > Date: Fri, 21 Apr 95 19:33:45 PDT
 > Organization: Rednet Scotland
 > Sender: owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 > Reply-To: marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
 > To follow up Chris's comments about new democracy and the
 > extension of these ideas to South Africa. I think that it
 > is highly questionable to say that the compromises and coalitions
 > that are being entered into there by the communists and the
 > ANC have anything to do with democracy. They speak rather of
 > the weakness of the democracy of South Africa.
 > The compromises that were made with the National Party, stemmed
 > not from its popular support, but from the raw social power that
 > it represents - both as the party of established capital and
 > as the party of the repressive state apparattus.
 > Such compromises can gladden only the hearts of those who
 > identify democracy with 'moderation'. I suspect that moderation
 > is never more than the disguise adopted by oligopoly.
 > Paul
 >      --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---

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