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 State capitalism of South Africa??? Interesting article I found

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PostSubject: State capitalism of South Africa??? Interesting article I found   Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:10 am

South Africa today

But this is not merely a theoretical discussion. How does this apply to the current situation in South Africa? After the 1994 elections we had a situation where the ANC won the elections and thus formed the new government (though at that time it was a Government of National Unity including other parties), but on the one hand the state structures were not fundamentally transformed, and on the other economic power was still in the hands of the same handful of (white-owned) monopolies which had dominated the highly concentrated structure of the South African economy for decades. This is recognised in the document itself when it says that: "whilst the liberation movement has attained elements of political power�economic power still remains with the same class forces as in the old apartheid order." (op. cit., 4.6)

What this basically means is that we are dealing with a capitalist state structure defending the capitalist mode of production. This we can see when the police and other repressive forces are used against striking SAMWU workers during the current municipal workers strike. When the police arrest hundreds of anti electricity cut off protesters, or when the police are used to evict squatters fighting for a piece of land to live on. In all these instances the police, a very important part of the state apparatus, is used to defend the interests of capital. The fact that the ANC leaders are sitting in government does not make any difference. As long as they are committed to the maintenance of the capitalist system, as we can see clearly that they are with polices like GEAR, the privatisation of public utilities, the liberalisation of trade, etc, they are no threat to the capitalist state in South Africa. It is true that at different levels a whole new layer of civil servants has been appointed who come from the liberation movement. But this is something that the ruling class in South Africa can accept as long as their fundamental interests and property are not affected or threatened in any way. If one morning Alec Erwin or Trevor Manuel were to decide that, for the sake of argument, in line with the Freedom Charter, Anglo-American and De Beers were to be nationalised under workers' control and run for the benefit of the majority of the population, then we would see the state and the capitalist class use all the means at their disposal to prevent this from happening. In this example we can see the validity of the Marxist theory of the state.

From this correct appraisal of the current situation, the document then concludes: "a decisive shift in the balance of forces would involve an intensified struggle and progressive consolidation of economic power by the democratic bloc of forces in the NDR." (ibid.) With this, the SACP leaders imply that there is somehow a "democratic bloc of forces" which will progressively wrest economic power away from the white capitalists. But what are the classes that compose this "democratic bloc"? As far as we can see the ANC leadership and government is dominated by those who represented the interests of the black middle class and nascent black bourgeoisie and who are firmly committed to capitalism. Are we therefore talking about the creation of a black bourgeoisie as the task of the NDR? And, how is that going to benefit the interests of the working class? The main problem here is that the ANC is a multi-class alliance, this much the SACP document also recognises. But in this alliance there are different and counter-posed class interests that cannot be reconciled. As long as ANC government accepts the limits of capitalism it cannot rule in favour of the working class. The ANC government operates in the framework of the so-called globalisation and a weak South African economy which is not fit to compete in the international markets. There are only two solutions to this dilemma, either a policy in favour of the interests of capital nationally and internationally, or one that makes a decisive break with capitalism at home and abroad. The ANC government has clearly chosen to pursue a pro-capitalist policy. But the mass of workers and peasants who vote for the ANC and who compose the rank and file of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP are fundamentally opposed to these policies.

This cannot be described as a National Democratic Revolution that must be "strengthened and deepened". The SACP has the duty to tell the truth to the masses. This is a capitalist economy and a pro-capitalist government. Unless the workers go on the offensive and challenge decisively this government's policies and the very basis of the capitalist system there is no other way forward. And this cannot be done by means of a "progressive consolidation of economic power by the democratic bloc of forces" because this so-called "democratic bloc" has no economic power at all to consolidate. Economic power is clearly in the hands of the same capitalist class as it was prior to 1990. It is true that a handful of black people have now joined the director's boards of the big capitalist companies, mainly as a token to "black economic empowerment", and also a handful of black people have now became capitalists themselves. These are a very small minority and most of them are small capitalists. But in any case, surely the working class does not stand to gain anything by the so-called "de-racialisation" of capitalism. A capitalist is a capitalist, and is out to extract the maximum amount of surplus value from the workers that he can, and the colour of his skin does not make any difference to this primordial motive force.

The experience of other African countries that won freedom from direct colonial domination some time ago should serve as a lesson and a warning to the South African masses. In most of these countries we saw a situation in which the coming to power of the national liberation movements left the fundamental economic structures of the country untouched. Sooner or later the governments in these countries went down the road of Structural Adjustment Plans, that is pro-capitalist policies and had to face their own people, particularly their own working classes in the process. Neighbouring Zimbabwe is a clear example of this process. This is exactly what is happening already in South Africa.

Limits of capitalism

The SACP Congress document talks at same length about the ANC's Freedom Charter and of its anti-capitalist content. That is absolutely correct. The Freedom Charter is not a socialist programme. It is a programme of wide-ranging democratic and national reforms. Some of them even go a long way in challenging the capitalist system, particularly when it says, "the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole." This clearly cannot be achieved under capitalism, and many of the other demands contained in the Charter also go beyond the limits of today's South African capitalism, for instance: "the land shall be shared amongst those who work it", "there shall be work and security", "there shall be houses, security and comfort", "the doors of learning and culture shall be opened", and so on.

From the experience of the last eight years of the "business-friendly" policies of the ANC government we can see clearly that none of these demands can be fully achieved within the limits of the capitalist system. The unemployment rate is now according to some official estimates more than 36% of the labour force. Since 1994, 500,000 jobs, 10% of non-agricultural jobs, have been destroyed. Some 18 million citizens in more than 3 million households live in poverty. Between 1991 and 1996, the incomes of the poorest 50% of the population fell by 21%. In fact in the same period the only income group which experienced a substantial improvement in its conditions was that of the richest 10% of African households. Figures for the post 1996 period are still not available, but the situation is likely to have worsened with the introduction of GEAR policies and the crisis in the South African economy. (All figures from a National Labour and Economic Development Institute, NALEDI.)

Although it is true that some limited progress has been made in the provision of water, electricity and houses to poor South Africans, the scale of the problem created by decades of apartheid capitalism is such that it cannot be solved unless a massive programme of investment is put in place, something which is not going to happen as long as the ANC government follows faithfully the policies of "fiscal prudency". Quite a lot of the progress made has actually been reversed by the "cost-recovery policies" introduced by the same ANC government. This in other words means that if a household or a community is too poor to pay for access to water or electricity, these basic services are cut off. More than a million people have already been cut off from their water supply. Land reform has proceeded at snail's pace. The 1994 ANC election programme, the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which was discussed and adopted by all parts of the liberation movement, promised that by 1999 30% of arable land would have been distributed. So far, only 3% has been distributed.

These are just some statistics, but they cannot convey the massive disillusionment of millions of people who had participated in the liberation struggle and who voted for the ANC in 1994 and then again in 1999 in the hope that their lives would be fundamentally transformed.

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PostSubject: Re: State capitalism of South Africa??? Interesting article I found   Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:13 am

http://www.marxist.com/Africa/sacp_congress_2002.html

I took the excerpt from her luckily the working class is starting to revolt against this and are not going to take a government that protects capitalism

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PostSubject: Re: State capitalism of South Africa??? Interesting article I found   Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:54 am

interesting. i have read about an anarchist movement going on in africa:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zabalaza_Anarchist_Communist_Federation
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