Thursday, January 07, 2010

SA Communist Party going nowhere

Fezile Kies of Cope Northern Cape points out in the Sunday Independent (January 3, page 11) that the SA Communist Party is petulant with the fact that South Africa is a capitalist society and that they are redundant in the scheme of things.

I quote Kies:

"Isn't it interesting that despite all their hollow talk of the imminence of a socialist revolution on our home soil, it is in fact the communists, quite to the detriment of their own struggle, who proudly proclaim "that to seek to accelerate a socialist struggle when the consciousness of our society is not fully developed enough to appreciate the fundamental struggle will be suicidal?"

"The above quotation, used by Buti Manamela, who is national secretary of the Young Communist league (Sunday Independent, December 20), is from the works of Lenin, the context of which was feudal Russia with its backward mode of economy, with no industry, no proletarian or working class to speak of.

"That our South African communists can borrow ... from the works of Lenin and believe that such quotes can be applied without change in conditions totally different from those of feudal Russa can be explained only by the fact that communists view their theory of social development as superior and without parallel in academic, intellectual and social circles.

"South Africa is a thoroughly capitalist society and has been such since the late 19th century. It has had a fully developed proletariat for almost a century ... It boggles the mind how communists in South Africa would still wait for conditions to ripen or for the consciousness of the masses to sharpen before they can even consider the advancement of the socialist revolution, this taking into account the reality that the economic exploitation of our mineral resources is on the decline, as is the number of workers in active employ.

"Numerically speaking the National Union of Mineworkers and National Union of Metalworkers are insignificant compared with about 20 years ago, with most of their members retrenched, or their workplaces shut down due to operational requirements.

"Why would communists endlessly debate whether the objective conditions permit a full-on advance of socialism? The answer may be found in the subjective factors, that is, the organisational strength and capacity of the communist to advance that struggle are almost non-existent, hence they will forever cling parasitically to the ANC.

"Having cautioned against BIG leaps towards socialism, Manamela ... is again bold to pronounce that the ANC-led alliance ... is now on the verge of defeating racism and ready to usher in a prosperous society.

"Decoded, this can only mean that since the dominant contradiction of race is about to be eliminated and prosperity is upon us, South Africa can now proceed unhindered towards socialism ... The polemics between Julius Malema and Jeremy Cronin is further evidence of how shallow and treacherous South African communists can be.

"The great communist intellectual chose to rubbish Malema quite treacherously by not acknowledging that there is a definite link between nationalisation and socialisation ... The truth is that in Cronin's world view, the current state and its personnel cannot be trusted with nationalised assets, not only because they cannot think beyond bling and jewellery, but because of the state's social and political orientation - hence the big NO."

Now here I would interrupt and say that I wouldn't trust the state with nationalised assets, not because Cronin thinks they can't because they're not "communist" enough, but because they are too greedy and corrupt not to screw it up. Fezile Kies was with the ANC in the Northern Cape and left for Cope precisely for the reason that he found the ANC greedy and corrupt.

But this doesn't detract from the fact that the SACP and Jeremy Cronin talk rubbish. For once I take Malema's side, not on the nationalisation of mines, but on the need for value add via beneficiation. When Malema brought up the subject of beneficiation, Cronin promptly pounced on him for being superficial and interested only in "bling". See Cronin's full rant here.

I don't see why South Africa can't develop more manufacturing jewellers just because Jeremy Cronin is uncomfortable with "bling". You could argue that South Africa's gold is running out, sure, but what about platinum jewellery? It would be a far better route to take than threatening existing jewellers with draconian BEE laws, which threats were later withdrawn because there isn't much of a cake to share in the typically "mom and pop shop" local jewellery industry, especially during a recession - see here.

In principle I agree totally with beneficiation, let's get ready to do it on a bigger scale. The recession won't last forever and demand for jewellery will return. But we need to get away from uncompetitive labour laws.

It will take a brave national vision to turn away from crony capitalism and focus on the creation of a highly skilled artisan class working to competitive economies of scale. Quite possibly the ANC is too self absorbed and vacuous to do anything other than throw around unconditional social grants, but it seems that not everybody is fooled by either the SACP or the ANC.

2 Opinion(s):

Vanilla Ice said...

@Dachs. Is that your first piece of Gimp 2 handiwork?

Dachshund said...

VI: No. I haven't tried it yet, I found that pic on the net.