[Marxism] The Leftist Spy Who Came in From Cold Pretoria
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Wed Mar 28 11:03:51 MDT 2012
Counterpunch March 28, 2012
The Contradictions of Ronnie Kasrils
The Leftist Spy Who Came in From Cold Pretoria
by PATRICK BOND
‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this
level,’ said the normally ebullient Minister of Intelligence
Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after fourteen years of service to the
South African government. It was late September 2008, just after
Thabo Mbeki was palace-couped.
Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international
laughingstock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide
across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in
unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s
factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and
extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest
Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC).
Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head
of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made
South African security farcical at best.
None of this was Kasrils’ fault, of course; such fights continue
to this day, and leading police officers Bheki Cele and Richard
Mdluli have allegedly amplified the Mbeki-era traditions of graft.
But the intrigue was so murky in September 2008 that when an
obscure judge made an offhanded, seemingly flippant remark about
Jacob Zuma being a victim of political conspiracy, it was a
catalyst for the ANC’s Zumites to unceremoniously evict Mbeki
seven months before his term was due to end.
To last so long in that immoral swamp required a firm
constitution, and to then extricate from the mire was a heroic
task. Kasrils was (and remains) the continent’s highest-profile
revolutionary from the white race, and in spite of all the muck
nearby, he exudes an exceptionally powerful moral influence.
Kasrils also played crucial leadership roles as minister of water,
deputy minister of defense, and leadership in the ANC’s Umkhonto
we Sizwe armed wing and SA Communist Party dating back nearly five
The contradictions he faced during his era in power were
overwhelming. They deserve, I believe, serious consideration; in
some cases, much more decisive resolutions than we’ve witnessed;
and now renewal, in the dialectical spirit. Exploring and
transcending both the exercise of power (thesis) and counter-power
activities by progressive civil society (antithesis), in order to
find a new synthesis and yet new contradictions, is my objective
in the coming pages.
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