By Andile Mngxitama
How does social change happen? This question is important today as we see for the first time a real ideological split inside the ruling party.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is important to all of us because of the relative political weight it has and mass support it enjoys from an electoral point of view. The ideological split inside the ANC is between the pro-radical economic transformation Jacob Zuma faction, against the pro-white monopoly capital faction of Cyril Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan.
It’s not too important to explain how the split in the ANC occurred and why, unlike the pre-Polokwane and pre-Mangaung eras, the current split is not fake slate politics under the guise of ideological differences. In the ANC, elective conferences are usually contested on the basis of pseudo differences created to justify slates by people who fundamentally agree ideologically. The pre-Polokwane pseudo differences were couched in terms of pro and anti the “1996 class project”. Former president, Thabo Mbeki,was projected as the representative of the pro-1996 class project which was the neo-liberal anti-poor GEAR policy.
As soon as the so-called anti-1996 class project got into power after defeating Mbeki, they intensified the same policies they claimed to have been against. This explains why the pre conference split was a fake split. Currently, a fake split is also true in the Eastern Cape. It is said that both factions are generally pro-Ramaphosa.
Mpumalanga seems ideologically neutral. It’s playing pure politics. It believes in nothing.
Having said the above, we can say the general split right now in the ANC has some ideological content. We know the radical economic transformation faction has provided clear policy proposals including land expropriation without compensation, the mining charter, pro-BRICS international policy and free education (I believe Zuma will pronounce on this soon).
The pro-white monopoly capital side has offered the idea that it’s fighting corruption and state capture. We have seen how even Johann Rupert has come out against radical economic transformation, saying it represents state capture and corruption.
Needless to say, the pro-white monopoly capital faction covers up white monopoly capital corruption. The radical economic transformation faction is seen as too close to the Gupta family, which is at war with white monopoly capital. Right now, white monopoly capital is trying by all means to destroy the Gupta family because it believes that it’s the source of financial support for the pro-radical economic transformation tendency within the ruling party. On the other hand, the Guptas, it would seem, believe their business fortunes lay in the defeat or neutralization of white monopoly capital, hence support for the pro-radical economic transformation tendency. If this is true then the Guptas would objectively be part of the progressive arm of black capital.
Now, we can deal with social change.
The victory of radical economic transformation will not be the end but would create favourable conditions for change. It would not even be enough to make policy reforms. In any event, all of the radical economic transformation policy changes are going to be blocked by the courts. Real change will occure only through the action of extra state forces in direct war with white monopoly capital. At this stage the commitment of the radical economic transformation tendency to radical change will be tested. Whilest we support radical economic transformation, we can’t trust the ANC to deliver on this. That is why revolutionary organisations must mobilise on the ground massive processes of confronting white monopoly capital as part of the implementation of radical economic transformation.
This is why Black First Land First (BLF) is organizing and carrying out land expropriation without compensation processes in support of radical economic transformation. Social change will not come from a formal policy shift alone. Real change will happen from social and political struggle outside the state programme aided by a radicalisation of the state.
Another process of social change is revolutionary rupture. We must prepare for the revolution through mass radical action. At this stage, revolutionary forces must support radical economic transformation and give it theoretical content and practical expression.
If Zuma was not serious about radical economic transformation, too bad for him because we are serious.