Cry for the Beloved Country - (pt 6 of 6)
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Fri Jan 19 14:41:37 MST 2001
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Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 15:27:49 -0500 (EST)
From: John Saul <johnsaul at yorku.ca
Subject: MR article (pt 6 of 6)
1 John S. Saul, "Magic Market Realism," Transformation (Durban), 38 (1999);
I have adapted some paragraphs of this text in writing the present essay, a
version of which (including a much fuller set of footnotes and
bibliographical references) will also appear as a chapter in my Millennial
Africa: Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy (Lawrenceville: Africa World
2 John S. Saul, "South Africa: Between 'Barbarism' and Structural Reform,"
New Left Review, 188 (1991). The original source of these quotations from
Magdoff and Sweezy is their editorial, "The Stakes in South Africa,"
introducing a special South Africa issue of Monthly Review (MR), 37, #6
3 Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson, Globalization in Question (London:
Polity Press, 1999), p. 189.
4 See Jonathan Hyslop, "Why was the white right unable to stop South
Africa's democratic transition?" in Peter Alexander et. al. (eds), Africa
Today (Canberra: HRC, 1996), pp. 145-165.
5 See Jeremy Cronin. "The boat, the tap and the Leipzig way," The African
Communist, 130 (1992); Suttner is quoted in "Central Committee discussion
of Joe Slovo's presentation," The African Communist, 135 (1993), p. 14.
6 David Howarth, "Paradigms Gained? A Critique of Theories and Explanations
of Democratic Transitions in South Africa" in D. Howarth and A. Norval
(eds.), South Africa in Transition: New Theoretical Perspectives (New York:
St Martin's Press, 1998), p. 203.
7 Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy
of Late Colonialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
8 Gerhard Mar, "Makin' Nice with Buthelezi," Southern Africa Report (SAR),
14, 3 (5/1999), p. 10.
9 As cited in Asghar Adelzadeh, "Loosening the Brakes on Economic Growth,"
Ngqo!, 1, 2 (2/2000).
10 Chris Landsberg, "Directing from the stalls? The international community
and the South African negotiation forum," in Steven Friedman and Doreen
Atkinson (eds.), The small miracle: South Africa's negotiated settlement
(Braamfontein: Ravan Press, 1994), pp. 290-91.
11 The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), Policy-Making in a New
Democracy: South Africa's challenges for the 21st century (Johannesburg:
CDE, 1999), a report funded by South African Breweries and written by Ann
Bernstein, p. 83.
12 In his important volume (soon to be issued in a new edition) South
Africa: Limits to Change: the political economy of transformation (London
and New York, and Cape Town: Zed Books and University of Cape Town Press,
1998), p. 156; as Marais quotes Anglo-American executive Clem Sunter:
"Negotiations work. Rhetoric is dropped, reality prevails and in the end
the companies concerned go on producing the minerals, goods and services"
13 See, on this subject, Dan O'Meara's magisterial study, Forty Lost Years:
The apartheid state and the politics of the National Party, 1948- 1994
(Ravan Press and Ohio University Press: Randberg and Athens, Ohio, 1998).
14 Cited in Andrew Nash, "Mandela's Democracy," MR, 50, 11 (4/1999), p.
26. Mandela's reversal of ground on the nationalization question was
actually quite rapid after 1990, such that by 1994 he could assure Sunday
Times readers (1/5/1994): "In our economic policies...there is not single
reference to things like nationalization, and this is not accidental. There
is not a single slogan that will connect us with any Marxist ideology"
(quoted in Marais, op. cit., p. 146).
15 Tito Mboweni, "Growth through Redistribution." in G. Howe and P. le Roux
(eds.), Transforming the Economy: Policy Options for South Africa (Natal:
Indicator Project SA, University of Natal Institute for Social Development,
16 T. Moll, "Growth through Redistribution: A Dangerous Fantasy?" The South
African Journal of Economics, 59, 3 (1991).
17 As described in Patrick Bond, "Social Contract Scenarios," ch. 2 in his
Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa (London:
Pluto Press, 2000).
18 Bill Freund and Vishnu Padayachee, "Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Key
Patterns Emerge," Economic and Political Weekly (16/5/1998), p.
19 Quoted in Marais, op. cit., p. 154.
20 As columnist Howard Barrell wrote in The Mail and Guardian (18/6/2000)
at the time of Mbeki's announcement of his new cabinet: "Both [Erwin and
Manuel] have won the confidence of the markets and their presence in their
current portfolios is seen as a measure of the government's determination
to stick to its current economic course."
21 Asgar Adelzadeh, "From the RDP to GEAR: The Gradual Embracing of
Neo-Liberalism in Economic Policy," Transformation, 31 (1996); the accounts
of the rise and fall of the RDP in Marais (op. cit.) and Bond (op. cit.)
are also essential.
22 Adelzadeh, ibid., p. 67. As Patrick Bond has summarized this pattern,
"Much of South Africa's national sovereignty continued to be offered up on
a plate to impetuous and whimsical local and international financial
markets" (op. cit., p. 216).
23 Bond, op. cit., p 200. See also Marais, op. cit. and Charles Millward
and Vella Pillay, "The Economic Battle for South Africa's Future," in E.
Maganya and R. Koughton (eds), Transformation in SA?
Policy Debates in the 1990s (Braamfontein: IFAA, 1996).
24 A point underscored for me most forcefully by South African economist
Oupa Lehulere in private communications.
25 The point is convincingly argued, and linked to the extreme inequalities
of economic power and income that exist in South Africa, by Adelzadeh,
"Loosening the Brakes on Economic Growth" (op. cit.).
26 Manuel Castells, The Information Age, vol III: End of Millennium,
(Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), the sub-section entitled "Africa's
hope? The South African connection," p. 122.
27 Bond, op. cit., p. 193ff. For a further detailed critique of GEAR's
performance see Asghar Adelzadeh, "The Costs of Staying the Course," in
Ngqo!, 1, 1 (6/1999).
28 Lucien van der Walt, unpublished communication (7/2000).
29 Colin Bundy, "Problems and Prospects for South African Socialists,"
unpublished paper presented to the Political Science Seminar, York
University, October, 1991.
30 See Albo's seminal essay "A World Market of Opportunities?
Capitalist Obstacles and Left Economic Policies," in Leo Panitch (ed.),
Socialist Register 1997: Ruthless Criticism of All that Exists (London:
Merlin Press, 1997), pp. 28-30, 41.
31 See John S. Saul, Recolonization and Resistance: Southern Africa in the
1990s (Trenton: Africa World Press, 1995), chs. 4 and 5.
32 CDE, op. cit., p. 145.
33 Gordon Smith, an economist with Deutsche Morgan Grenfell bank, quoted in
Norm Dixon, "ANC reassures big business after win," Green Left Weekly
(e-mail, n.d. [7/1999?]).
34 Ben Fine and Zavareh Rustomjee, The Political Economy of South Africa:
From minerals-energy complex to industrialization (Boulder: Westview
Press, 1996). On this and other related points see also Carolyn Bassett,
"Negotiating South Africa's Economic Future: COSATU and Strategic
Unionism," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, York University, June, 2000.
35 Freund and Padayachee, op. cit., p. 1179. As they continue, "If there
was a phrase that captured the imagination of South Africans black and
white within a year of the ANC taking power it was that of 'the gravy train.'"
36 The speeches are included in the final section of Adrian Hasland and
Jovial Rantao's useful biography of Thabo Mbeki, The life and times of
Thabo Mbeki (Rivonia: Zebra Press, 1999).
37 Thabo Mbeki, "Speech at the Annual National Conference of the Black
Management Forum," Kempton Park, 20/11/1999 (ANC website).
38 Closer to the truth, in fact, may be the frank and quite unequivocal
statement of a brash emergent African entrepreneur, Tumi Modise,
interviewed by David Goodman (in his strong volume, Fault Lines: Journeys
Into the New South Africa [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1999]): "Race is not the issue anymore," she told
Goodman, "It's class."
39 I have cited this statement (from 1984) and explored other questions
posed in seeking to divine the historical character of the ANC in my "South
Africa: the Question of Strategy," New Left Review, 160 (11/1986).
40 Hasland and Rantao, op. cit., ch. 7.
41 Quoted in Bond, op. cit., p. 83.
42 "Statement by Deputy President Mbeki at the African Renaissance
Conference," Johannesburg, September 28, 1998 (ANC website).
43 Albeit not too much responsibility: on balance, Mbeki's South Africa
seems quite content to propose itself for the role of the US. and global
capital's tribune (and gendarme) on the African continent; for the way this
role has begun to play itself out in southern Africa see, for example,
Larry Swatuk, "Bully on the Block?" SAR, 15, 3 (2000). Recall also the warm
tone adopted by Mandela during his presidency towards dictators in
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia who often were not only key targets
for South African arms sales but also to become important contributors to
the ANC's electoral war-chest in 1999.
44 Hein Marais, "Topping up the tank: How the ANC has reproduced its power
since 1994," Development Update, 3. 1 (10/1999), from which the quotations
in the next two paragraphs are drawn.
45 For a parallel argument, see the article in the Mail and Guardian
(9/6/2000) where educator Sipho Seepe describes Mbeki as "a president who
is ultra-sensitive, unable to accommodate others and who is impatient with
differing opinions....A president who is unable to accept that he could be
mistaken, and has conveniently surrounded himself with sycophants."
46 Quoted in Salim Vally, "Education on Trial: The Poor Speak Out," SAR,
14, 1 (12/1998), p. 27; it is Vally who suggests that the reader note "the
disarming use of the associative 'we,' Mbeki apparently seeking in this way
to signal his affinity with the teachers even while mercilessly castigating
them." As for "the toyi-toyi," it is a vigorous dance step engaged in
collectively and associated with demonstrations.
47 Glenn Adler and Eddie Webster, "Toward a Class Compromise in South
Africa's 'Double Transition:' Bargained Liberalization and the
Consolidation of Democracy," Politics and Society, 27, 3 (9/1999). But see,
for a convincing response to this kind of argument, Carolyn Bassett and
Marlea Clarke, "South Africa: (Class Compromise) ... Class Struggle," in
SAR, 15, 2 (2nd Qtr/2000), and also their "Alliance woes: COSATU pays the
price," SAR, 15, 1 (12/1999).
48 As quoted in Norm Dixon, op. cit..
49 Shamim Meer, "The demobilization of civil society: Struggling with new
questions," Development Update, 3, 1 (1999)).
50 The quotations in this paragraph are drawn from an article by Wonder
Hlongwa, "Church asked to fight Gear from the trenches," Mail and Guardian,
51 Sam Gindin, "The party's over," This Magazine (11/1998), p. 15. This has
been further defined by Gindin (This Magazine [7/2000]) as a politics that
differs from the practices of currently established political parties in
Canada (but also, we might add, from the practices of the ANC in South
Africa) in terms of "how it organizes, educates and mobilizes; the depth of
its challenge to the status quo; the emphasis it puts on developing a
counterculture; its faith in the potential of ordinary people."
52 See, for example, Blade Nzimande, "Towards a socialist South Africa,"
Mail and Guardian (18/2/2000), p. 39, and also his "State should drive the
economy," Business Day (29/5/2000), p. 10.
53 Note, however, the terms in which such criticism is sometimes cast on
the center-left of the party. Emphasizing that encouragement by the current
ANC leadership of the ever deeper penetration of monopoly capital in South
Africa may actually contradict that leadership's claim to be expanding the
scope of a nascent black bourgeoisie, such critics suggest that the least
compradorial elements of this bourgeoisie might therefore be recruitable to
a class alliance capable of redirecting the party to the left (see Z. Pallo
Jordan, "Ruth First Memorial Lecture," Witwatersrand University, 28/8/2000.
for a particularly clear statement of this position). The temptation
visible here to merely recycle the ANC's old "national-democratic
revolution" concept at the expense of a more working-class-centered
definition of on-going revolutionary struggle illustrates once again the
difficulties of conceptualizing a left-project from within the ideological
universe of the ANC.
54 Marais, "Topping up the tank" (op. cit.), p. 27.
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