Below is Matabz’s response to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi’s piece published on the Daily Maverick titled Dispelling Myths of the Cabinet Reshuffle.
Comrades! A great change has now taken place in the political situation” ~ Mao Tse Tung
We are in an epoch sutured by imperialist agent provocateurs and foxy interlocutors masking as radical voices – the bastardized children of Rupert and unproductive land, have appropriated to themselves the right to invoke Steve Biko and Frantz Fanon in their quest to dissuade and blunt the radical project.
Not so long ago, the peoples’ bae, A.K.A Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, stood confidently in front of the country declaring the progressiveness of installing white capital in key metros of the country. One begins to wonder if the Reds (Economic Freedom Fighters) have shut their brains and allowed their tongues to roll unabatedly in praise of Johann Rupert’s tunes, or is it just plain ideological bankruptcy and pseudo-intellectualism which relies on dishing names like Fanon and Biko without the slightest conception of their theoretical coordinates.
In this rejoinder I hope to debunk Ndlozi’s grandly misguided and stupid conception of current political realities stemming from his grand deficiency and skewed grasp of politics, or at best his impulse to covertly shield white monopoly capital.
1. The so-called anti-White Monopoly Capital myth
In a letter to his party comrades on tactics of combating Japenese imperialism, Chairman Mao poses an important question: “what is the present situation?”
Ndlozi’s poverty of analysis on the reshuffle lays in his lack of conceptual clarity and political acumen on how in the last 3 years the deepening of internal contradictions in the ANC and developing geopolitical contradictions have shaped our current SA political and economic landscape in which a blatant and bare tension between white monopoly capital (WMC) and radical nationalism has been born.
Ndlozi’s reading of the ANC is at best devoid of understanding the internal factions of the ANC which mirror two ideological strands of nationalism and imperialism. The vivid clarity of the battle between Pravin Gordhan and Jacob Zuma is ineptitudely misread as a battle devoid of any ideological density predicated on the old tension between political representatives of the mother country and the neo-colony.
It is quite obvious that the ANC has historically been a bodyguard of white capital in its political character and outlook, and this is evinced in its failure to transform economic patterns to the benefit of black people in its 23 year tenure of nominal power. The EFF off-course on the other hand, has taken the baton of being bodyguards and bull dogs of white capital while certain layers of the ANC are now barking against the master and destructing the smooth flow of white capital’s plunder.
One doesn’t expect Ndlozi to understand the mechanics and dupes of white capital because he’s drunkenness from the cup of Renwick’s puppetry is still active. The kind of intellectual and political disorientation found in Ndlozi’s politics is because of the madness and desperation of the EFF (the new agents of white capital) which wants to reduce politics to mere individual squabbles in an attempt to dissuade us from the real enemy, hence even a bare expression of imperialism is not understandable to him.
Ndlozi’s peasant intellectualism and under-theorized political conception rears their ugly head through his inability to understand politics that have been shaping the BRICS countries, and how Western powers are at pains to pull a “Brazil” on SA; and how he and his fellows have become agents of imperialism under the guise of some foreign type of Marx, Lenin and Fanon which ignites them to install white capital into power.
Ndlozi does not tell us how Msholozi has been pulling radical nationalistic stances and engaging in fierce battles from white capital. Rather, the Peoples’ Bae is fixated with a Zuma of 2007 who politically offers a rejoinder to Ndlozi’s colonial myths listed under different conditions than the current realities at play. Against Ndlozi’s wobbly analysis, it’s instructive to wage a sophisticated analysis of the ANC, one that takes into account that the ANC is now not homogenous in its orientation to white capital. Msholozi has come out to sing the revolutionary tune of land expropriation without compensation (not expropriation of unused land and ruse 6% offers), and some layers of the ANC in support of Msholozi have recently taken the struggle to the shores of white capital through the “ABSA must pay back the money” campaign which Ndlozi and his comrades rejected even upon invitation as they prefer instead to be poodles doing walk-ins at the JSE and being lap dogs of white capital begging for inclusion.
Ndlozi’s archaic, static and obsolete reading of the ANC is tangential and digressive to actual political realities inside the ANC and their relation to the neo-liberal macro economic edifice that the ANC has been committed to until the recent swipes by Msholozi. The ANC is now littered with two ideologically opposing factions, one of which works in tandem with the EFF to protect the status quo by castigating Zuma.
2. The Guptas are a black myth
Ndlozi’s conceptual and theoretical emptiness is devastatingly made manifest in his banal, poor grasp and distortion of Bikoist and Fanonian politics on race. Suddenly the Fanon of “overdetermination from without” and Biko’s politics of pigmentation are turned upside down and emptied of all the potency necessary for the destruction of white capital.
In his text “Blacks Can’t Be Racist”, Andile Mngxitama makes a profound theoretical breakthrough using Fanon and Biko’s schema of blackness to assert that “blackness is a matter of pigmentation”. A banal and unsophisticated reading may lure one to a temptation to locate Mngxitama against the Bikoist formulation whilst In actual fact he’s affirming Biko through the Fanonian schema of “over-determination.”
Our blackness lies not in the paradigm of class relations or titles of “exploitation and alienation”, but purely in our racialized skin. Hence a house negro and a field negro are both negroes and ultimately face the fate of all negroes under the clutches of white supremacist capitalism – the same fate President Zuma is currently subjected to by the new handler of the Reds, Robin Renwick.
To find or locate the Guptas outside the realm of blackness on the basis of their business relations to the state is an acute, crude and distorted reading of Biko and Fanon. What Biko designates as a “non-white syndrome” is a normalized pathological desire of some blacks to be white and advance white interests by rejecting their blackness – we actually see Ndlozi’s party actualizing this pathology by a protracted political desire to appease whiteness through partnering with the DA, and giving it power in the name of “dealing with Zuma” a black president.
Actually, this kind of pathological madness which Ndlozi struggles to comprehend is what makes his party’s lack of conception of Biko’s pigmentation politics to be in synch with the white liberal tradition which has hijacked the formulation “blackness is not a matter of pigmentation” in order to undermine the specific black existential reality which accrues to black bodies on the basis of race.
Ndlozi may do well to re-read Fanon’s characterization of the black middle class or what he (Ndlozi) terms as the business elite in the neo-colony. The Martinician scholar (whose politics the EFF has castigated) reminds us that: “the national middle class which takes over power at the end of colonial regime is an under-developed middle class. It has practically no economic power, and in any case it is in no way commensurate with the bourgeoisie of the mother country which it hopes to replace”
It’s actually quite perturbing that Ndlozi’s main pseudo-concern is with the impotent black national petty bourgeois which eats crumbs from the master’s table, and not at all with the real white bourgeois class which has been controlling Treasury since time immemorial and literally owns and have monopolized all industries in the country.
This parochial fixation with the Gupta family which has been deemed corrupt a priori even though no criminality has been found in them, is another trick and red herring peddled by white capital in its long insatiable and rapacious desire to continue its vulgar systematic and smooth plunder of national resources.
Instead of mobilizing all black national classes and layers of society against the imminent imperialist domination; in a twisted colonial logic, Malema’s boy shifts the fight away from the true enemy of our national problems by entrenching a focus on pseudo-lizards and trying to make us loose sight of the dragons
Maybe it is necessary to help Ndlozi by explaining the distinction between what Mao would call antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions in a political situation. In SA today, the main principal contradiction is white racism. At a moment when this contradiction intensifies, we ought to tactically suspend our non-antagonistic tension and proclaim the old saying “peace amongst all blacks and war to the enemy” – this is what we call radical nationalism. Something Ndlozi wouldn’t understand after being launched by Renwick as a vitriol against Mugabe, Guptas and Zuma.
We are at a political time wherein imperialism is flexing its muscle to unbearable levels and radical thinkers with a sophisticated grasp of the situation should defend even the domestic black powerless business elite which is under attack.
Ndlozi’s infantile disorder and parochial conception is well captured and rebutted by Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s letter on “Tactics against Japanese Imperialism”. Dealing with a similar imperialistic context like that of SA, the Chairman is unequivocally clear that in a phase of rampant imperialist attack: “the people will not expropriate private property other than imperialist and feudal private property, and so far from confiscating the national bourgeoisie’s (a very under-developed so-called bourgeoisie in the case of SA) industrial and commercial enterprises, it will encourage their development”. The Chairman says further, “we shall protect every national capitalist who does not support the imperialists”
3. The Qualifications Myth
Ndlozi once more suffers the worst form of a colonized mindset repudiable and repugnant to both Biko and Fanon.
Desperate to protect white capital, he finds himself offering a ritual of veneration to the neo-liberal ethics of judging political prowess on the basis of technocratic abilities normally reserved for DG level positions, and in the most paradoxical way sings praises to the very agents of the neo-colonialism which he claims to de-mythologize or de-mystify.
The Peoples’ Bae is not embarrassed to invoke Biko, Fanon and at the same time applaud Tito Mboweni’s tenure in the Reserve Bank – a tenure marked by rampant neo-liberalism. Such are meat-eating vegetarians – they hail Marx, Lenin and Fanon while at the same time being committed to agents of neo-liberalism. No longer is the adage “speak left and walk right” relevant in our times. The Reds “speak left and speak right…and definitely walk right”.
Engulfed and inundated by the colonial gravitas, Ndlozi doesn’t even realize that experience in neo-liberalism cannot count when one is opting for new radical policy directions.
Gigaba has made important postulations around aligning Treasury with Msholozi’s radical economic transformation project and making it an enabling entity in the betterment of black lives. This must be seen as an important step towards radicalization of the Treasury and all its institutions.
The role of black intellectuals, activists, businesses and black citizens is to continue the push towards the full realization of a radical black nationalist agenda with land expropriation and a nationalized economy as the key inputs.