SA's vanguard communist cadres want power everywhere - Business Day, 6th August 2012.

The seven or more SACP members of the Cabinet are only the tip of the iceberg of communist influence in the government and the public sector. If their interventions cause even more economic and social damage, they will not apologise but rejoice - and call for even more state power for themselves.

A recent letter in Business Day criticised this column for not paying enough attention to local communists. I am happy to rectify the omission. A fortnight ago, I said the South African Communist Party (SACP) had provided a sanitised account of the mass murders resulting from Marxist ideology. The SACP's airbrushing goes further, however.

Its recent five-year plan - The South African Road to Socialism - spends four pages on the collapse of the "world capitalist system", and then declares it "imperative" that communists conduct "an honest review of the factors that led to the collapse of socialism". These include such things as "unrelenting destabilisation and the crippling Cold War arms race the imperialist powers imposed on the socialist bloc". But that's about as far as the review goes. No mention of why the Soviets couldn't keep up in the arms race, or of how communism debilitated the USSR, necessitating Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika reforms. Or of why China has turned to economic liberalisation, why Cuba is following suit, or of why more African countries are turning away from Marxist prescripts.

This is not surprising. The SACP always was the most Stalinist of communist parties, supporting the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, for example. So its failure to probe the reasons for the implosion of the USSR is in character.

Unfortunately, this matters. First, the SACP has more influence on the direction whither SA is heading than many people care to admit. Second, it wishes, unelected, to impose on this country policies that have failed elsewhere but whose failure it does not acknowledge. Third, it is making incremental progress with implementation, although this is not widely recognised either, since people simply cannot believe that communist ideas should have such influence here in the 21st century.

The "central question" for the SACP is "state power". As a totalitarian party, it recognises no limits on where such power should be exercised. Community policing forums, school governing bodies and ward committees are thus among the "participatory institutions" and "sites of power" that must be "transformed" by "working-class hegemony". As far as business is concerned, the overriding objective is "socialisation" of the "mineral-energy-finance monopoly capital complex". This entails the mobilisation of private capital for the "national democratic revolution" by means ranging from state-led strategic planning and state-provided infrastructure through incentives and public-private participation arrangements to "straightforward compulsion and expropriation".

The beguiling objective is "to place social needs above private profits". The determination and filling of such needs will apparently be made not by markets or entrepreneurs but by professional cadres deployed to the state, onto the boards of parastatals, and even to parts of the private sector.

These cadres will be "vanguard proletarians schooled in Marxism-Leninism". They will ostensibly act in the name of the working class, which will help them capture all "sites of struggle". However, the working class itself is too downtrodden and confused to act for itself, so the vanguard cadres in the SACP - "the most politically advanced sections of the working class" - will speak for it.

Whereas the 1996 growth, employment and redistribution strategy, which the SACP has derailed, saw one of the key roles of the government as creating a climate favourable for private investment, with growth and jobs as spin-offs, the SACP is bent on harnessing the private sector for socialist goals.

SA is thus in the curious situation that the people seeking more control of the economy are not only ignorant of how to run a business but also hostile to the "barbarism of profit maximisation".

It is easy to dismiss this as sophomoric Marxist jargon. But the seven or more SACP members of the Cabinet are only the tip of the iceberg of communist influence in the government and the public sector. If their interventions cause even more economic and social damage, they will not apologise but rejoice - and call for even more state power for themselves.

First published on the Business Day website on 6th August 2012.

© 2018 South African Institute of Race Relations
CMS Website by Juizi

Copyright | Accuracy Guarantee | Sponsors & Donors