The problem with moral indignation

Russell Grinker grinker at
Mon Dec 6 23:49:56 MST 1999

Lou Proyect wrote:
>Unless I'm way offbase, it seems to me that the number one task in South
>Africa is to break through the illusions in the ANC program,

Very broadly speaking, yes

>which in many
>ways is Kerenskyism/1999.

The analogy is off beam.  To compare them with Kerensky would imply that
there was some sort of pre-revolutionary situation in SA today. You could
not be more mistaken.  I don't see similarities between Kerensky's politics
and the ANC's either. Please explain.

You sneer at the talk of nationalization when it
>is this very sort of topic that is swept under the rug by people like Thabo

Such demands are on nobody's agenda and haven't been since before 1994.
Funny how, although you're always making jokes about old British Trots and
their talk of "dual power", "workers' defence guards" etc, you ultimately
don't seem much different in your sense of where the movement is today and
what is possible.

It would seem to be the number one job of Marxists in South Africa
>to find a way to break through reformist illusions,

Few people these days have illusions in the ANC/SACP bringing about
socialism through an accumulation of reforms.  SA politics are today a lot
more like what
you'll find in the Europe or the US than you might care to admit.

>rather than to adapt to
>them which talk about the need of clean water, etc, absent of any
>engagement with political economy.

The need and demand for these things doesn't exclude a broader set of
political demands and I never implied that it did.  Were there an
alternative political movement, these would probably be key issues in its
programme.  In fact the ANC is still forced to retain stuff on land, water,
housing etc in its programme because these are remnants of the pre-1994 RDP
which still have some popular resonance.

In reality, the blather being put
>forward by Mick Hume is virtually identical not only to the ANC top
>muck-a-mucks but also what a Blairite just wrote in the latest Newsweek:

So you're saying that countries like South Africa have nothing to fear from
the protectionist tendencies couched in PC language doing the rounds at
Seattle both inside and outside the conference chamber?
While I disagree with Alec Irwin's politics, I think his concerns over the
exclusion of Africa have some validity.  And from his point of view, what is
being said by many protestors seems equally dangerous.

As to your posting of the Mac Shane article as "evidence" of Hume/LM's
heresy, isn't it time you stopped attacking your opponents by lumping them
with other groups or individuals whose positions are partially or
superficially similar? Apart from the fact that Both Hume and Mac Shane are
critical of the protest movement, I don't see significant similarities in
their politics or their political trajectory.


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