By Andile Mngxitama
“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.” – Karl Marx
In South Africa (SA) the ruling class is white monopoly capital (WMC) by virtue of owning the means of production. It therefore follows that the dominant ideas in SA are the ideas of the ruling class.
How did ordinary people get to think that the problems of SA are caused by Jacob Zuma and the Guptas? How did the majority of black people develop a skepticism about black capability?
How did black people think that state capture is real and about the corruption of those who are opponents of WMC? How did most in SA accept white corruption but are intolerant to blacks who are considered corrupt by WMC? How is it possible for some people to loot a whole province and when they choose to help WMC fight Zuma their corruption is forgotten and they are called crusaders against corruption?
How did the R7 million unauthorized expenditure regarding Nkandla become the biggest corruption in SA instead of Markus Jooste’s R20 billion scandal? How is it acceptable that Cyril Ramaphosa can get R1 billion to bribe the African National Congress (ANC) delegates at the Nasrec conference to vote for him? How did the whole nation forget Marikana?
We can go on. The point is that what you think is not what you have arrived at independently. It’s the ideas of the ruling class that you have internalized as your own.
That’s why Steve Biko teaches us that, “[t]he most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”.
Marx got many things wrong by virtue of his positionality as a white man. But occasionally he makes good sense.
Good morning people of Thomas Sankara…
Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.