By Andile Mngxitama
The current self cannibalization of the African National Congress (ANC), expressed as the fight between the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces (led by Msholozi) versus (vs) the white monopoly capital (WMC) forces (led by Pravin Gordhan), is a direct consequence of the failure of the ANC government to end white rule in South Africa (SA). The ANC failed to use its political supremacy to destroy white hegemony and power. After 24 years in power, the limits of the 1994 compromise couldn’t be further sustained or hidden. The ANC for its own survival needed to abandon the Mandela consensus for a people’s new consensus. The problem was that a big section of the ANC leadership is directly linked to white hegemony. Therefore attempts to try and break white power, which was legitimized by the Mandela consensus, brought about the ideological split manifesting as RET vs WMC in the same party.
President Zuma, for a plethora of reasons, became the leader of the charge to challenge the Mandela consensus which entrenched white power (See Thabo Mbeki’s memorandum on Land Expropriation Without Compensation).
The rallying cry of the RET project became land expropriation without compensation. The fight back organized was the new dawn which emerged victorious in the Nasrec conference in December 2017 – not because its popular but because it has the backing of WMC which used its financial muscle to ensure victory in Nasrec.
That struggle continues. Commissions and courts are part of the RET vs WMC battle inside the same organization. WMC understands state power. It knows that if it loses its influence over the managers of the state, that will amount to a significant weakening of itself. This is why its imperative for WMC that the RET project is completely defeated and destroyed. To this end President Zuma represents a mortal force against WMC and must therefore be destroyed in the same way Lula was destroyed through the manipulation of the judiciary.
Its important to add that WMC controls public opinion by virtue of controlling the media. Using its propaganda arm, which is the media, WMC recruits to its program of anti RET even those who are its victims. The power of the media has succeeded in projecting in the minds of all, including the poor who stand to benefit the most from RET, that the problem is not white power and hegemony which in the economic sphere is expressed as WMC. The masses and segments of the black middle strata have been convinced that the problem is the corruption of Zuma and the Guptas. It makes little difference that in fact this is a lie. Propaganda makes lies the truth. We cannot underestimate the power of WMC.
The commissions and courts will be used to destroy the RET agenda under the pretext of fighting the so called corruption of Zuma and the Guptas. WMC has brainwashed the masses into believing this lie and many, without even knowing, became soldiers of WMC against their own interests. The SA opposition parties, just like in Brazil during the tenure of former President Dilma Rousseff, are the biggest tools of WMC. In SA, the attack is not from outside the ruling party as was in Brazil but is led from inside the ANC itself. Right now there is temporary skirmish in the ranks of the opposition and WMC elements in the ANC, but don’t be fooled by it. If the RET soldiers don’t succeed in the coming general elections, the opposition parties will then consolidate with Thuma Mina into a pro WMC coalition government.
The RET forces must respond. The WMC forces are united and have together made strides including removing President Zuma and stealing the Nasrec conference. They wasted no time in giving WMC R1.4 trillion through the independent power producers (IPPs). They are destroying the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and hope to use the courts and commissions in the process. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into state capture (Zondo Commission) is backfiring right now. But we can’t be complacent. WMC is dead serious.
An important feature of the consolidated WMC force is that it’s a force that extends beyond the ANC even if its led by Pravin Gordhan. Again do not be fooled by the current fight of Pravin with elements from the opposition – this is a family feud caused by Pravin’s arrogance and refusal to protect them in the VBS Mutual Bank (VBS) saga. The RET forces must take advantage of the temporary conflicts in the WMC block.
The RET forces need to also extend themselves beyond the ANC. All progressive and revolutionary people and organizations must advance the RET agenda as a minimum agenda of resistance against WMC hegemony. The RET agenda has to be explained including how and why the ANC became the center stage.
There are important immediate questions from this. Firstly, the ANC must not be surrendered to WMC. That would be like giving the enemy ammunition. WMC will use the ANC to destroy the RET agenda. But at the same time the current leadership of the post Nasrec conference cannot be strengthened by giving them a victory at the 2019 elections. That’s why Black First Land First (BLF) must be the safe house for the RET votes. This is important. BLF will safeguard the RET votes and use them to advance the progressive Nasrec agenda. Thuma Mina cannot be empowered to destroy the RET forces.
WMC knows that the ANC is important as a force to control state power. The left must organize to push the ANC away from WMC. Right now BLF is the best mechanism to do so.
The ideological battle inside the ANC is real. WMC will not rest until it Lulas Zuma. As we speak Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), the most popular leader in Brazil, is in jail. Likewise, Ecuador’s popular left former President is in exile. Rafael Correa had to flee from his own pro WMC comrades.
RET emerged as a counter to the pro WMC Mandela consensus. It’s a moment to organize the fight against the primary enemy and to address the fundamental questions which were not addressed in 1994. It’s a political mistake not to enter the fight and advance RET. It’s for this reason we need to think deep and smart. The most important and immediate response is to make sure that BLF is in parliament to agitate aggressively for RET. The best form of defense is attack!
Andile Mngxitama is the President of BLF.