[Marxism] ANC and the black bourgeoisie

Lajany Otum lajany_otum at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Feb 11 11:00:36 MST 2007

Fred Feldman writes:

<< The apartheid system was rendered impossible by decades of
violent mass struggle led by the ANC.  The inevitable class differentiation
with the fall of apartheid and the decline of nationalist and workers
struggle from the nineties to date has resulted in the Black bourgeoisie
becoming the dominant stratum.  But the fall of apartheid does not become a
defeat because it did not lead immediately to socialism or to a mass
struggle for socialism.  >>

 Let's briefly consider who won what in the fall of apartheid. After 
the fall South African capital was able to shed its global pariah 
status at little or no cost to itself, and has since established itself as a 
sub-imperialism throughout sub-saharan Africa, from which it was 
excluded during the era of formal apartheid. South African capital is 
able to take advantage of the weakness of the sub-saharan economies 
which it exploits as its own semi-periphery to partially offset its own 
relative immaturity and its weakness in comparison to capital in other 
competing centres of accumulation (non of which exist in sub-saharan
Africa). Apart from resulting in the exclusion of South African 
capital from its "natural" periphery in tropical Africa, apartheid 
had to meet the expense of a limited form of "social democracy" for 
whites and constant repression and resistance from blacks. The end 
of apartheid and the institution of black led neo-liberal capitalism has 
done away with or greatly mitigated these burdens which South African 
capital previously bore under the apartheid regime.

So much for the gains made by the erstwhile defenders of the apartheid
system. Let us turn to the gains made by the South African poor
and working classes. They have finally caught up with their breathen 
in the rest of sub-saharan Africa, and have a native bourgeoisie of 
their very own. To estimate the magnitude of this victory, one can 
count the social, political and cultural achievements of this greedy, 
grasping class in the forty or fifty years since the fleeing colonial 
powers dumped the reins of power into their laps. And they are....

 <<And it seems to me that the bars to social differentiation among the 
oppressed nation, which were part of the apartheid system, were an 
obstacle, not an aid, to the struggle for socialism and eliminating 
those barriers was a progressive and revolutionary advance for
the working people of South Africa.>> 

 When, in due course, the state in South Africa faces a crisis of
legitimacy, the black bourgeoisie are going to find new obstacles
to throw in front of the people. While the struggle against apartheid
and colonialism requires a degree of national unity, the black 
bourgeoisie which finds itself in power after the colonial regime 
eventually realises that its continued existence and its privileges 
depends on reactionary social identities which it will create, 
foster and exploit -- just as ruthlessly as the colonialists. In other
words, the black bourgeoisie has potent and destructive ways to 
neutralise the sort of social differentiation which you might regard
as having revolutionary potential. Watch this space.

<<The fact that there have been no or few general gains in living 
conditions for the Black masses is not a result of the defeat of 
the anti-apartheid struggle,  due to failure to go over to socialism.>>

No need to mince your words Fred. In many respects life conditions
for black working and poor people have actually deteriorated under 
black led capitalism. The new black bourgeoisie seems to think its 
sitting pretty though.

<<The anti-apartheid struggle was victorious, and a great victory. >>

From what a number of people not in the ANC say,  I got the 
impression that it is an open secret that the mass of black
people have stood still or gone backwards in the last fifteen 
years. That is, to put it bluntly, life remains just as cruel, 
brutish and short for many, as it was under white led 

<<The conditions facing the masses since then are related to the 
worldwide decline of the class struggle for a whole period 
linked to the fall of the Soviet bloc and the decline in mass 
social struggle under the impact of the imperialist led (in 
alliance and in domination over local bourgeoisies) 
"neoliberal" offensive against oppressed nations and 
working people worldwide.>>

In short, through all this, what could or should have been a 
victory for the African people was turned into a victory 
for the capital that continues to ruin their lives unimpeded.

 <<Judging democratic struggles by whether they lead directly 
to socialist revolution is just poison, period.>>

With respect, experience shows last Fred's statement to be well 
intentioned bollocks. The poison that is killing us is real and
potent, and it is called black led comprador capitalism. 

Just ask those hopeless cases who are being shipped off by the 
"independent" black capitalists in Uganda to sample the 
depleted uranium dust in Iraq and to act as cannon fodder and
killers for American  imperialism there.
Lajany Otum

New Yahoo! Mail is the ultimate force in competitive emailing. Find out more at the Yahoo! Mail Championships. Plus: play games and win prizes. 

More information about the Marxism mailing list