After Mandela was Re: L-I: Chris Hani's legacy: Interview with ANC'sThenjiweMtintso

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Thu Aug 12 20:16:23 MDT 1999

>I see that no matter how compelled we feel to sweep early Soviet history
>under the rug, it keeps cropping up. Even Jon Flanders, who took time away
>from replacing pistons on a diesel locomotive, mused on the similarities
>between nostalgia for Stalin and nostalgia for Hoffa. This after
>complaining about how a discussion on Stalin vs Trotsky is the last thing
>we need to hear.
>Louis Proyect
I would be the last person to indulge in Stalin nostalgia or Trotsky versus
Stalin polemics - at least willingly.  However the historical truth is that
Mandela was not released until after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet
Union collapsed.  The bourgeoisie desperately needed to wind up apartheid,
but were still terrified that the ANC would play the Russian card and that
somehow they could have conjured up a state capitalist alternative to the
bourgeois mess that now obtains.

Hence the panic when they discovered that Mandela had tuberculosis and they
feared not being able to use him to control the wilder elements in the
townships.  I rejoiced in the release and the retirement of Mandela, and I
will rejoice in his death.  He was a phase that the working-class had to go
through. Absolutely had to. Now it is over and Mbeki is no Mandela. He will
not find it so easy to spin the webs of illusion.

Having said that about him let me make it clear that I absolutely endorse
Lou's refusal to indulge in glib dismissals of people like Mbeki and I
might add Gerry Adams. These are complex figures with big followings among
the people (Adams especially so).  They won these positions by genuine
sacrifice and commitment to one level of the struggle.



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