|“O people and political forces” Wake up American Administration is the one occupying your Palestine, violating your Al-Quds, threatening your Holy mosque…|
So what is all the fuss about?
This article by Richard Pithouse was originally published by The South African Civil Society Information Service (www.sacsis.org.za) under a Creative Commons License
The African National Congress has been captured by a predatory elite that is cynical, corrupt, ruthless and reckless. It is actively reinscribing unbridgeable inequalities into the deep structures of our society. The transit camps and new townships in the cities, the enduring ways in which the former Bantustans remain separate and unequal zones in the countryside, the state of public education and the growth of unemployment and precarious work all mark out this out with undeniable clarity. Workers live in shacks while their bosses gather unimaginable wealth. There is an abundance of land for game farms and golf courses but from Johannesburg to Cape Town the state sends out its men with guns to illegally and violently dispossess people that seize just enough land, often wasteland, to erect a one room shack.
Attempts to find some ground for basic survival in an inhuman society are treated as criminal and consequent to sinister conspiracies. The ANC is violently intolerant of independent thought and organisation amongst the grassroots constituency in whose name it assumes a natural and permanent right to speak and act. It arrests, beats and tortures its grassroots critics. It fabricates criminal cases against them, drives them out of their homes and openly threatens to kill them.
Neither the fact that there are and have been many governments far worse than the ANC nor the reality that progress, sometimes profound progress, has been made in many areas since the end of apartheid are sufficient to redeem the party. After all it itself has, in its better moments, invited us to judge it on the basis of the Freedom Charter, the Constitution and, most of all, the aspirations of our people for dignified lives. The increasing frequency of the suggestion that distance from apartheid rather than proximity to some positive aspiration is the proper metric with which to take the measure of our progress is simply another mark of defeat.
Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema, both evidently corrupt and authoritarian men, present us with deeply masculinised, and at times even militarised, images of a mode of personal power that seeks to ground itself in the symbolic economy of violence rather than democratic organisation and debate and to legitimate and express itself outside of both liberal democratic institutions and popular democratic practices. Of course its true that the ANC retains the supports of progressives, liberals and technocrats of various sorts. But while there are prospects for progress in some areas, like health care, the reality is that in most instances bringing these people into various projects within the party is a mode of legitimation and containment rather than sincere engagement.
Different people will, on the basis of both their principles and experiences, call the precise moment at which the ANC became indefensible differently. But now that the very public massacre in Marikana has followed the very public murder of Andries Tatane – and now that the grotesque authoritarianism within the police, the union movement and the Communist Party has been openly laid out in our public sphere – only the wilfully naïve and the cynical can sustain their professions of faith in the democratic aspirations of the ANC.
Neither the fact that some among the striking miners had killed nor the fact that as a group they had prepared themselves for battle justifies their slaughter. The strikers were certainly not killed to defend the sanctity of life or to contain political engagement in liberal democratic institutions. The ANC, from Zuma to the trade unions, routinely acts outside of those institutions. And when people have been killed in xenophobic attacks, or in the midst of COSATU strikes, the state does not respond with mass slaughter. A trade union federation aligned to the ANC can destroy property, intimidate people and beat people up in public without a violent response from the state. Yet a poor people’s movement that organises independently of the ANC and engages in protest action that results in no harm to any person, makes no threats of harm against any person and does no damage to property is quite likely to be subject to serious police violence. This reality is at the heart of the matter. The ANC’s support is fracturing amongst both organised workers and communities and its response is typically characterised by recourse to conspiracy theory and then slander and violence rather than self-reflection and dialogue.
There is no doubt that this massacre marks a historic turning point. But while it is essential that
we take full and collective measure of the ANC’s failures it is equally essential that we do not take the easy option of only ascribing the distance between our faltering aspirations for a democratic and just society and the altogether more bleak and brutal realities of South African life to the ANC.
Party politics is a farce in which different factions of the elite pretend to represent the people as a whole. There is no party that seriously speaks to, let alone for, the aspirations of the majority. And civil society also has a lot to account for. The arrogance that undergirds its habitual conflation of NGO power with popular power and the routine and often racialised paternalism with which it frequently engages or presumes to speak for poor people is predicated on a simple contempt for the equal humanity of people who are poor. Its widespread reliance on technocratic and legal solutions to deeply political problems has proven to be both culpably naïve and complicit with the professionalisation of certain modes of political engagement that has entrenched the expulsion of ordinary people from our public sphere.
The media, with its systemic disregard for the equal humanity of poor people, also shares some of the responsibility for bringing us to this point. The academy, in which the elitism and personal ambition that undergirds much of the attraction to the constituted power of international institutions, the state, donors and NGOs rather than attempts to develop solidarity with the oppressed, and especially solidarity that can contribute to the constitution of nodes of popular and democratic counter-power, is also culpable. Religious leaders have often preferred to share the stage with politicians rather than to be present amidst the day to day suffering and struggles of their congregations.
The left has often been far more committed to building a base on the NGO and donor terrain than to building solidarity with actually existing popular struggles. When it has engaged popular struggles it has often done so in a manner that is profoundly patronising and, in some cases, more about legitimating its own donor backed projects rather than building real solidarity. It has also failed to mark a clear distance from the real authoritarianism and, in some cases outright thuggery, that it has long sheltered and sometimes even celebrated.
Business, which has been corrupt at the highest levels and which is often ruthlessly predatory, is deeply implicated in the morass into which we have descended. Middle class South Africa likes to think of itself as virtuous, hard-working and untainted by the excesses and corruption of the really powerful people in our society. But when the fear of the poor and contempt for the poor that often swirls just beneath the surface is masked that mask is seldom firmly fixed.
This massacre is no tragedy. It is an outrage that will leave a permanent stain on our society. It is also an outrage that was perpetrated by an increasingly predatory and repressive regime. But while it is essential to face up to the reality of what the ANC has become it is equally essential to acknowledge that the ANC is not solely responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves. It is time for a collective facing up to the broader realities of our society and a collective rethinking of a way forward.
How would you like to live under someone’s boot?
That’s not a reference to a brute for a husband or a bitch for a bride. It’s a question motivated by the behaviour of the mindless louts who enjoy holding sacrificial lambs as hostages and killing those who complain.
Who would be so inhuman? Many. Too many! Scan the histories of imperial criminals and their thieving empires:
European colonies, American settlers, Russian Gulags, African slaves, Japanese internment camps, Jewish holocaust, Palestinians, Darfur refugees, Guantanamo prisoners, South African and Israeli apartheid, Armenian genocide, the prison camps of endless wars.
Where people are privileged enough to have basic comfort, the emperors keep the privileged entertained with sports, television, films, concerts, bars and pubs.
According to journalist Chris Hedges “There are hundreds of millions of people who have a tragic intimacy with the twisted and brutal soul of American imperialism:
“Okinawans, Guatemalans, Cubans, Congolese, Brazilians, Argentines, Indonesians, Iranians, Palestinians, Panamanians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Filipinos, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenis, Somalis.
“There are now some 60,000 Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) operatives, whom the president can dispatch to kill without seeking congressional approval or informing the public.”
No one, apart from the rulers, can really know how many military bases the US has around the world. The estimates range from 700 to more than 1,000 in about 130 countries.
The Department of Defence has been called a charade–like the emperor who has no clothes–as there’s nothing to defend against and no threat of invasion.
There’s always a slogan, however, to keep the population under control. For instance, “The earth should be peopled, governed, and developed, as far as possible, by the races which can do this work best, i.e. by the races of highest ‘social efficiency’.”
Other justifications include “the concept of terra nullius (Latin expression which stems from Roman law meaning ‘empty land’) used by both the British and Israeli Zionists.
The favourite American justifying slogans have included “making the world safe for democracy.” During the cold war it was “to make the US unsafe for communism,”
After 9/11, the clarion call has been to win “the war on terrorism.” A few with less than emperor’s circle status have spoken out against the US imperial courts.
The latest have included author John Mortimer’s “A ‘war against terrorism’ is an impracticable conception if it means fighting terrorism with terrorism.”
And Noam Chomsky’s appropriate and timely “Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the US is going broke, and there’s nothing the Imperial heads can do about it.
The empire cannot afford to cut back on its major source of homeland revenue–one that cannot be outsourced. If America cuts back on military expenses, the military-industrial complex will go out of business and bankrupt the country.
There’s no connection between the wars waged by the US and the security of America.
The exception: the danger to servicemen in places where they have no business being. Last week, six U.S. troops were killed in a single attack led by Afghan forces. Two more Special Operations troops were murdered after giving a newly graduated Afghan trainee his weapon.
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.
When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”
[Tampa, Fl.] On Sunday afternoon, Carol Paul, the “First Lady of Liberty” brought the filled to the rafters crowd at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome to their feet when she exclaimed, “It’s only beginning and we are the future.”
Due to heavy attendance by the mainstream media for the Ron Paul, RepubliCAN’s Rally WE ARE THE FUTURE, this member of The New Fourth Estate was denied a MEDIA PASS to occupy their space after waiting an hour at the check in desk to learn if there would be room for me in that inn-but I did not waste a minute of it.
As foreign press, Aljazeerah USA, CNN, the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune and others waited in line for their MEDIA credentials, I offered them my MEDIA Packet filled with information regarding my run for US HOUSE, the injustices done unto the crew of the USS LIBERTY, Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower Mordechai Vanunu, FOOD NOT BOMBS and alerted them to all the NONVIOLENT Anarchists in town, the local concert series of David Rovics the troubadour for the progressive movement and the inspired and witty “Autonomous Playhouse” featuring Pandarchist.
I also told The Media that although the RNC is taking the day off in fear of Mother Nature on Monday, come rain or come shine, hundreds and perhaps thousands of we the people for justice, peace and equal human rights will be in the streets on Monday morning and at 3PM, the Rev. Bruce Wright will lead the homeless folks who have been camped out in “Romneyville” on a poor peoples march to protest, demonstrate, and participate in direct actions and civil disobedience against the Republican National Convention and against capitalism itself.
I also succeeded in passing these questions to Ron Paul’s Deputy Press Secretary, James V. Barcia:
Dear RON PAUL,
Will you support the grass roots initiative that is seeking to establish every June 8th as USS LIBERTY REMEMBRANCE DAY?
In April 1999, thirty-six members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blowers release from prison because they believed “we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity.”
Were you one of the 36?
Thank you for consideration,
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Columnist for deliberation
Candidate for US HOUSE, D. 5, Fl
Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010
As I sat in the general admission section for the next six hours I learned I have more in common with the LIBERTY movement within the Republican Party than I knew, but I already knew I agreed with Paul on his drug and foreign policy issues.
I also learned we need to abolish words like “conservative” and “liberal” because they have become as useless a canard as labeling anyone “anti-Semitic” when they seek to hold the state of Israel accountable for its war crimes and human rights abuses.
Ron Paul explained, “Patriotism is a quality in a free society that allows criticism of the government when they are wrong!”
Paul also admitted he had a “soft spot in his heart for whistle blowers” who are accused of treason for exposing what The Government wants to hide.
Doug Ward, Master of Ceremonies in reference to the heavy presence of police in Tampa, nailed it when he said, “This event was labeled to be in bad taste…Bad taste is hundreds of brown shirts and jack boots riding the streets in golf carts.”
I highly recommend The Government and Police take it down a few notches over a beer with Pandarchist at The Autonomous Playhouse, an experimental theater and more that is entertaining and transforming attitudes across the latitudes of Florida about the 99%!
Doug Ward also noted, “Bad taste is crushing the poor and the elderly. Bad taste is auditing a waitress on her tip money but not the Federal Reserve!”
Because all that career politicians really care about is keeping their power, when it hit the fan every republican and 100 democrats in the House voted YES to Ron Paul’s initiative to Audit the FED; but when Senator Rand Paul informed us that “now were talking about auditing the Pentagon” I was convinced that the Future and The Revolution are here:
IF we only hold “these truths to be self-evident: That all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among [people] deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to ALTER or to ABOLISH it.” -July 4, 1776, The Declaration of Independence.
This series to be continued in the spirit of Steve from Veterans for Peace who on Saturday night told me while on the street in front of “7th and Market” in downtown Tampa:
“The RNC came to Tampa because it was ideal to suppress dissent; but Mother Nature has suppressed them.”
I am Eileen Fleming for US HOUSE and I approve of all of my messages.