The Liberal Delusion of Apartheid

Posted: 02/01/2014 in ONE planet, Struggle
Tags: , ,

Here is an interesting documentary on apartheid by Pilger:-

It was made in the late 90’s and it questions the liberation struggle. For me Pilger showed his Trot roots but at the same time there were aspects of his humanity that make his Trotskyism difficult to dismiss.

Before getting into the main theme of this blog I want to ask the question “what did the Trots want to see as the end of Apartheid?” One can understand criticisms that the Freedom Charter was dismissed in favour of maintaining the previous economic system, he later referred to as Global Apartheid, whose current term Occupy has given as 1%. But to maintain the Freedom Charter would have seen the end of money in South Africa, would have seen white flight, and would have left a destitute country along the lines of what I perceive Zimbabwe is now. Did Pilger want South Africa to be the same as the rest of sub-Saharan Africa – the rest of Bantu Africa? What do we have there? Black puppet dictatorships with the power-elites of those countries treating their black countrymen as bad as, if not worse than, the white supremacists of South Africa. It is this reality that I saw. Before going to Botswana I hated the Afrikaaner accent – this was my western socialism. Once in Africa I saw the damage that the puppet dictators were doing to their own people, and the only complaints in the West was that their donor money was being misappropriated. South Africa continues to be a player in the world economy, all of its people have benefitted to some extent although it is quite clear that a number of richer blacks have been bought off. But of course this was to be expected. What did the Civil Rights Movement produce in America? A wealthy black middle-class. Pilger is right to expose what has happened (1998), and probably continues to happen (2013).

Pilger alluded to some of the following, should he have done more? For the West the apartheid struggle was totally liberal. By this I mean that the western version of the struggle was concerning the liberal issue of race. It was the abhorrence of racial difference being enshrined in a constitution that raised the sheckles of western liberals. If one were to look round other parts of Africa at the time you would see poverty, you would see huge disparities of wealth, and you would see economic systems in these countries that enriched a few in the country and maintained the flow of profits to western multinationals – bog standard neo-colonial exploitation. Apart from putting a snip in the Oxfam envelope these scenarios did not disturb western liberals. But South Africa did because the rulers were white and they maintained a white power over blacks. This horrified the western middle-classes. Western governments had to hide their allegiances – Maggie was a friend of white South Africa but never made a public display of it even though she displayed horrendous behaviour to her own working-class.

The issue was always liberal – middle-class. So when it ended there was no interest amongst white middle-classes to see a class revolution, they wanted a liberal model and Mandela delivered that. And the ANC continues to deliver that.

However for the very same reasons of liberalism this was an important victory for the world’s middle-classes – and therefore for the 1%. Middle-class liberals who boycotted SA produce, who supported Gleneagles, can turn round and say they were part of a victory, a liberal victory in which race was not part of the constitution. But South Africa continues to work within the Global 1%, South Africa is now the same exploited model that the UK is. A country of wage-slaves in which a few make profits. The 99% suffer the same in South Africa as they do in the UK as they do in Europe, as they do in the US. In all these countries the middle-classes are bought off, and are just higher-paid wage slaves. But they perceive themselves as choosing their work, choosing their professions, choosing which type of wage-slavery. Since apartheid South Africa is the same with the same liberal attitudes. The whites can have their liberal issues, they can complain that the wealthy don’t care enough for the people, and can campaign liberally (especially all aspects of ecology is a proud issue in white SA) without the discomfort of knowing that race is constiutionalised.

But none of what is now accepted is a solution. The middle-class are wage-slaves globally but because of their share of the pickings they consider themselves different from the working-class – 99%. This divide is important in maintaining exploitation by the 1%. Working together the 99%, working-class and middle-class, might be able to do something; as the 99% our struggles are the same. Separated nothing will happen. As always political analysis comes down to recognising that the only possible way forward is Unity, politically as the 99% – and spiritually we are ONE planet.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

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