We’d been discussing here some of the alarming things that have been afoot for the past several years in South Africa. One of our denizens had mentioned Mandela in a not-so-favorite light, but we’d been speaking of the sharp return to neo-liberal, neo-colonial policies, including the state murders of striking gold and platinum miners in Marikana. Jacob Zuma had called for investigations, but as I recall, both sides pointed blame fingers at one another. The strikers had raged at the gate-keeping complicity of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a trade union that was famously active in the black-liberation struggle and that currently forms part of the African National Congress (ANC)–led ruling coalition, and that was about it. Not black v. white, but black compradors against black workers, in other words.
Marsha Coleman-Abedayo (BAR) has posted ‘South Africa’s EFF: Julius Malema and the Struggle to Continue the Revolution’; “A new generation of Black activists have determined that the fight for power, land and the future of Black folks in South Africa can no longer be held in abeyance.”
“The African National Congress adopted neo-colonial policies and maintained the deadly economic structure of apartheid that exacerbated white supremacy, inequalities and class divisions in the “new” South Africa. The creation of an opportunistic comprador black class was necessary to maintain a neo apartheid state. The economic survival of these Black actors is inextricably woven to the preservation of white supremacy and global capitalism. As cheeky, white South Africans would arrogantly muse to me during my trips to South Africa, “if we only knew that post-Apartheid South Africa would be this good we would have let Nelson Mandela out of prison long ago.” Mandela’s legacy, in addition to his role as a freedom fighter, political prisoner and the first Black president of South Africa, was to preside over the implementation of neo-apartheid economic policies. The creation of neo-apartheid economic policies produced an artificial construct, namely the black comprador class.
It was this comprador class that was implicated in the Marikana Massacre of platinum mine workers seeking a living wage. Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the leaders of the anti-apartheid struggle demonstrated that this comprador class was trustworthy and would protect white wealth at the expense and lives of the black working class. From the vortex of compromised and sold-out leadership, a new organization, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) emerged to provide a voice for students, the working class and land dependent populations.”
Malema, a long-time supporter of the ANC, was the originator of the socialist EFF, which gained 25 National Assembly seats in the first year. He’s called for Zuma’s resignation partially due to Zuma’s Panama Paper discoveries, but also has challenged the ANC’s hegemony; the party expelled him in 2012. The EFF is calling for total implementation of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter. A simple scan indicates that it’s a humdinger of a people’s charter.
““The EFF would implement the nationalizations of mines, the banking sector and redistribution of land to the masses without compensation to the settler class that stole both the wealth and land in South Africa.”
This take of Coleman’s is just too damned sad:
“Apartheid leaders and its international US and European partners strategically delayed the release of Mandela until potential competitive uncompromising leaders, such as Steve Biko and Chris Hani had been eliminated. With Biko and Hani gone, international capital had a free reign to implement neo-colonial policies and to create the delusional myth of South Africa as a Rainbow Nation – the parallel of a false post-racial America. The problem with promoting South Africa as a rainbow nation and the US as post-racial is the staggering level of disproportionate poverty and state-sponsored violence to which black communities in both countries suffer.”
Coleman links to a long video of a speech Malema gave at Oxford in which he outlined the EFF’s goals, and noted that the EFF could never form an alliance with the corrupt ANC whose priorities are in direct conflict with the black working class. When asked pointed questions about ANC sell-outs, he’d called Deputy Prez and comprador founder of the NUM Cyril Ramaphosa such, but he’d ‘stopped short of calling Mandela a “sell-out” in response to a question but rather justified Madiba’s policies of “economic apartheid” by saying that Mandela was old when he took office and had taken the revolution as far as he could:
“The deviation from the Freedom Charter was the beginning of selling out the revolution. When Mandela returned from prison he got separated from Winnie Mandela and went to stay in a house of a rich white man, he was looked after by the Oppenheimers….He stayed in one of their houses, they had access to him 24 hours. They told him what he represented would not be achieved, that’s when he turned against himself…The Freedom Charter is the bible of the South African revolution. Any deviation from that is a sellout position.”
No, the ANC has not sat idly by, but has accused Malema of treason, and tossed him and his elected comrades out of Parliament as they demanded Zuma answer questions over financial corruption. But this is bound to bring you a laugh or two:
“Under pressure from the EFF and internal contradictions, the ANC has advanced a new rationale for failed neo-apartheid policies, accusing the US of promoting regime change. However, the EFF is quick to point out the irony in that position since the ANC is advancing neo-liberal economic policies that provide strategic advantages to US and multinational interest over that of South Africa’s Black working class.”
The link to newzimbabwe.com accuses Washington of regime-change plotting irregularities, and I’m sure it’s the case. But the US ambassador strongly denied the allegations, noting that (all those young people brought to the Embassy for a mere six weeks of ‘education’) are part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young leaders, an initiative started by Barack Obama in 2014.”
Oh yes, much as Kambale Musavuli of Friends of Congo had noted, remember? And I’d dug up:
‘USAID Invests $38 Million in New YALI Centers to Support Young, Emerging Leaders in Africa’
“The Centers will focus on engaging leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 from a variety of backgrounds and a diversity of experience, providing accessible leadership training, incubating organizations and entrepreneurship, and supporting professional connections among African leaders. Based in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa, each center will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the ingenuity and dynamism of the private sector and the programmatic and educational resources of USAID. Ten private sector partners and foundations have joined USAID in supporting the effort.”
Ha ha ha: just look at the list of the ‘private sponsors’, ooh-la-la.
Related, and also at BAR, ‘The Centrality of Africa in the Class Struggle to Come’ by Danny Haiphong; “The long history of solidarity between the Black liberation movement and Pan-Africanism should inform the struggle today.”
Africom now expanded into 51 of the 53 African nations, US Imperialism by way of the IMF, NGOs, destabilizing governments, infiltrating local militaries, proxy wars, allying with murderous regimes, stealing everything but the kitchen sink, because: China is also there, all of the most depressing and usual narratives.
The first commenter quoted:
‘When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.’
~ Desmond Tutu
Next: ‘What is behind the Armenian resolution passed by the German parliament?’ from Johannes Stern at wsws.org. I’ve certainly wondered about this seeming disconnect. It was adopted with one Nay vote and one abstention; Merkel, the Foreign Minister, and Vice Chancellor were (ahem) not present. Turkey’s government immediately recalled its ambassador, and claimed the resolution to be ‘null and void’. An umbrella organization of 500 Turkish organizations in Germany flipped their zoris over it, needless to say. Boo, hiss…it was never a genocide; such slander!
“The resolution states, “The German Bundestag is of the opinion that the remembrance of the victims of the massacre and expulsion of the Armenians, taking into consideration the German role, including conveying this to Turkish and Armenian citizens, represents a contribution to integration and peaceful co-existence.”
This is obviously absurd. Even the government’s integration commissioner Aydan Özoguz (SPD) said on the ARD TV channel that it “could be expected that this vote would rather close doors and even impede the working through of the history between Turkey and Armenia.”
Why this sudden u-turn after past similar resolutions had been tabled?
“An editorial that appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the day of the vote is very illuminating. Under the headline “A good feeling,” Nico Fried, the head of the paper’s Berlin office, writes that “The timing and circumstances of this decision” showed that it was “not only about the events of 100 years ago, but at least as much a statement against the current political backdrop.”
With a view to the refugee deal forced through between the EU and Turkey, Fried writes that the resolution had to be passed solely “because otherwise, parliament stood accused of having betrayed its moral principles in favour of closed borders and the goodwill of a gruff autocrat.”
In conclusion, Fried then explains that the real value of the resolution will only become clear “when the Bundestag has to vote not on the remembrance of a past genocide, but the possible attempt to prevent an impending genocide with German help.”
To put it in a nutshell: the Armenian resolution is not about peace, but is a declaration of war. The Bundestag is insisting on “moral principles” in order to prepare the next intervention by the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) in the name of the “prevention of genocide.” Both the Yugoslavia war in 1999 and the Libyan war of 2011 were justified using this pretext.” [long snip]
“With the Armenian resolution, German imperialism is trying to open up new policy options in the Middle East. Above all, right-wing circles in the CDU/CSU have long attacked the refugee deal, which the EU concluded with Turkey on the initiative of Chancellor Angela Merkel. They believe this binds German foreign policy too closely with the interests of Turkey, making it dependent on Ankara.
Now the Bundestag has made a corresponding foray. It is consciously taking a worsening of relations with Ankara into its calculations in order to win greater influence in the strategically important Caucasus region and more room for manoeuvre in the Syrian conflict. Armenia, which welcomed the resolution, plays an important role in this.
For the moment, the German government is staying in the background because it is still trying to save the dirty refugee deal with Ankara. This was why Merkel, Steinmeier and Gabriel stayed away when the vote was taken.”
Yes, Germany seems to be expanding its options in financial and geopolitical alliances, even with Russia, I think, as well as insulating itself on potential future war crimes. Some bi-lateral energy deals between The Bear and Germany were struck some years ago as I remember it. But Stern then mentions some content of a parliamentary report prepared by the Left Party, it accused Turkey of encircling Armenia, and its allies Georgia and Azerbaijan, and using military exercises to protect oil and gas pipelines to Turkey.
“As before the First and Second World Wars, German imperialism is again looking towards the resource-rich Caucasus and is seeking ways to exploit the growing conflicts in the area to advance its own economic and geostrategic interests, if necessary through military intervention under the pretext of preventing genocide. That is the real significance of the resolution passed by the Bundestag.”
Fascinating, plus it has the added value of making sense.