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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 16, No. 17, 16 October 2017

In this Issue:

Red Alert

Counter-revolution - corporate rule and state capture

Cde Solly Mapaila

This is a provincial political school of a progressive teachers union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu). It is critical therefore that I use the opportunity provided by the school to highlight how the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism are dealt an unfair blow in our institutions of learning through curriculum content. This happens across all levels, from primary and secondary schooling, to college and university education and training. At the university level, neoliberalism is dominant in our curriculum, particularly in humanities and social sciences such as economics.

In schools there are sections of our curriculum learning and teaching content for example that contain distortions, and are anti-communist, despite the defeat of the apartheid regime in 1994 – which would not have been possible without the role played by the Communist Party and the assistance of the Soviet Union, Cuba and other countries that chose the path of socialism. This role is not being acknowledged in what learners are being taught.

Instead, communism is presented as synonymous with Joseph Stalin’s alleged conduct, or his real mistakes, while capitalism is glorified. Learners are not being taught about the millions and millions of people who were killed worldwide by the regime of capitalist exploitation and its rule since its inception, colonial and imperialist expansions, and throughout its wars. Let us highlight a very few examples of mass murder under capitalist rule:

  • Just in one country only, Congo (DRC), capitalist war murdered over 5.4 million people in five years only, between 1998 and 2003, according to figures cited by the United Nations Security Council when it took a decision to increase its peacekeeping force in that country.
  • In Rwanda, in three months only, between April and June 1994, capitalist rule presided over the mass murder of an estimated 800, 000 people, who were killed in what became known as the Rwandan genocide.
  • In 2011, capitalist rulers adopted Resolution 1973, declaring Libya the so-called no-fly zone but then went ahead to fly their own killer machines in that country to support mass murder, including racist genocide against Black Libyans and other Black Africans . Libya was destroyed. Its people were plunged into economic, political and social crises, forcing them to flee to Europe and other parts of the world. What are the European and North American capitalist rulers who were responsible for the crises doing? They are blocking the Libyan people from running away from the crises to Europe.
  • In North America, the capitalist rulers, represented by the "dotard" Trump, were pushing a project to build an apartheid wall separating the US from Latin America, a region the Unites States has exploited and under-developed for centuries as part of its development formula. What was even unthinkable is that they wanted Mexico to pay for the wall. The irony is that the states of California, Texas and everything in between were part of Mexico until hijacked by the capitalist rulers of the US during the 19th Century.
  • The First World War was a war of capitalism in its imperialist stage. The total number of people killed in this capitalist, imperialist war is estimated to be around 37 million.
  • The Second World War was a war of capitalist aggression, with capitalist rulers forcing progressive states to defend their people. An estimated 60 million people were killed. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the direct state outcome of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which occurred in Russia, in 1917, during the First World War, lost more than 20 million people for the revolutionary role it played in the Second World War in defence of the world against capitalist aggression. This year, on November the 7th, we will be celebrating, and correctly so, the world changing event of the Great October Socialist Revolution!
  • The wars and conflicts that have devastated and continue to devastate the entire Africa are wars of capitalist rule and its imperialist machination. Latin America has been facing the same problem, so is Asia, and, of course, so are the people of Palestine and the Middle East.

No system in the entire history recorded by human society has killed, injured, maimed and caused disease affecting more people than capitalism.
No system in the entire history recorded by human society has destroyed the environment more than capitalism. These facts must be taught to learners in schools. Learners need to know the truth, as opposed to the capitalist propaganda that paints socialism and communism with the brush of murder!

Teachers must not serve as the conveyor belts of capitalist propaganda. Teachers must be critical of what they are required to teach, and they must teach the learners to receive what they are being taught with a critical mind. Sadtu has a key role to play as a progressive union in developing leadership to subject curricula to the test of scientific scrutiny.

Right here in our country, both at work through occupational injuries and diseases, and in communities through the history of colonial war, colonial dispossession and colonial rule, including apartheid, the last stage of what the SACP characterised as colonialism of a special type, capitalism is yet to account for the actual number of people it killed, injured, paralysed, maimed, disappeared and exploited not only in South Africa itself, but also in our neighbouring countries.

Capitalism and its imperialist phase, including the dominant ideology of neoliberalism, must be stopped from further committing crimes against humanity. Its private wealth accumulation agenda that enriches a handful of individuals at the expense of the masses, including through the looting of national wealth, public resources and the private accumulation of the social produce of the labour of workers by the tiny minority of capitalist exploiters must be stopped if inequality and poverty are to be eliminated, and if society is to live in peace and realise collective prosperity! This is the strategic task facing the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism.

We must defeat the entire system of corporate rule including state capture!

Associated with corporate state capture is corruption. We must fight these two dangers of capitalist greed and bring them to an end if we are to defend and deepen our democracy, including democratic national sovereignty. Corruption, state capture and the governance decay associated with the two evils of the greed of private personal and capitalist self-enrichment are destroying our country:

SAA is bankrupt. It is in crisis.

SABC is insolvent. It is bankrupt. It is in crisis. Its workers have been facing a crisis of salary/wage increases. As if that is not enough, the SABC does not have governance and accounting authority, the board, because of the inaction of President Jacob Zuma and his lack of appreciation for proper structures to be in place and for good governance. Some of the individuals, who plunged the SABC into governance decay, dropped the President’s name left, right and centre. He never distanced himself from them.

What is more worrying about the situation that led to the SABC to fall into crisis, is that the public broadcaster has been used to make a private monopoly, MultiChoice, a subsidiary of Naspers, the mouthpiece of the Broederbond, the ideological vanguard of apartheid, to thrive. There are many other parasites that benefitted from the destruction of the SABC as is the case with all other public enterprises. Everywhere state owned enterprises have been pushed into governance decay and crisis - it is because of looting by private capitalist interests, big and small, Black and White, national and foreign, always in collusion with the bureaucratic and political elite.

Prasa was plunged into crisis in the same way. It, like the SABC, also does not have a board. The manner in which the boards are appointed and their absence both at the SABC and Prasa are more concerned with an agenda to handpick the agents of corporate state capture. This malady has worsened exponentially under the incumbency of His Excellency President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and his friends, the Gupta family.

PetroSA was forced into crisis. Our strategic energy reserves have been looted from the Central Energy Fund (CEC). They have been sold under mysterious circumstances at substantial discount.

Eskom, another energy entity, has been plunged into crisis. Unexplained payments were made under mysterious circumstances.

SARS, our formerly trusted receiver of revenue, has been forced into acts of pervasion and compelled into crisis involving collaboration with a foreign monopoly auditing company, the Netherlands headquartered KPMG. KPMG is one of the only four auditing oligopolies dominant in South Africa’s financial affairs. The other three oligopolies are also foreign controlled, and are all headquartered in the UK, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte&Touche. We must highlight where these private monopolies are headquartered, because this is an important indicator of who really controls not only this significant sector but also holds an enormous stake in the wider economy of our country.

Corporate state capture is not merely some domestic affair involving only local parasites and their networks of patronage and factionalism, because it is those who control the economy who set the parameters for the exercise of state power and hold the ultimate decisive sway in relation to that power. This is where state capture originates.

Transnet was pushed into crisis.

We all know the crisis of Denel and the looting manoeuvres it was plunged into.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which handles approximately R2-trillion of state employees’ pensions funds, including your funds in the teaching profession, has recently faced unravelling manoeuvres to loot the money.

There are many examples of corruption and corporate state capture at national and sub-national levels in provinces, district and local municipalities.

Important criminal investigation and prosecutorial authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to this rot or caught in factional, palace politics. It must be regarded a national embarrassment for people who commit wrongdoing in South Africa to be held accountable far away in Europe, such as Bell Pottinger and McKenzie, a private company involved with another by the name of Trillian and others in the crisis facing Eskom.

There are people who were implicated in the Gupta email leaks. By all intents and purposes, everything points to an "inside job" to obstruct investigation and prosecution. Only an independent judicial commission of inquiry can help unearth the extent of state capture in our country.

The commission, first called for by the SACP, must be appointed as soon as yesterday with the report of the former Public Protector entitled "State of Capture" as the basis.

However, we must be clear, commissions and the courts can only play a small part. It is mass mobilisation against the rot and its foundation in the form of the tenderisation of our state that will ultimately tilt the balance of forces in favour of the national democratic revolution and the logical conclusion of socialism.

This is why, as the SACP, we are saying teachers, let us join forces with all progressive South Africans and save our young democratic transition from destruction. Our struggle is far from over. Inequality and poverty remain persistent and widespread. Over nine million of our people are unemployed. Our communities are ravaged by insecurity as a result of crime in general, in particular drug dealing which leads to other serious crimes and has at its top big business. Our communities are ravaged by substance abuse and the increasing scourge of violence in general and gender based violence in particular affecting in the main females of all ages.

Crime and corruption are Siamese twins. Both are the products of the capitalist ideology of individualism, which is currently under its extreme phase of neoliberalism. One cannot develop a clear grasp of both crime and corruption in isolation from their material basis which lies in the capitalist mode of private wealth appropriation and the greed of individualism (the "me", "my" and "mine") that it engenders.

In the same manner, one cannot develop a clear grasp of state capture in isolation from its material basis which lies in the capitalist mode of private wealth appropriation and the greed of individualism and the corruption that it engenders. The destruction of state owned enterprises, the domestication of the investigative and prosecutorial authorities that should be dealing with corruption and state capture, and the general hollowing out of state capacity - both its technical and professional capacity - as well as its broader capabilities, should be seen and treated for what they are, a counter-revolution. If we do not defeat this rot very soon any remaining vestige of the national democratic revolution will have disappeared at least for a generation!

* Cde Solly Mapaila is SACP First Deputy General Secretary. This is an excerpt of a contribution he delivered at the Sadtu Eastern Cape Province Political School, East London on Saturday, 14 October 2017.

Umsebenzi Online is an online voice of the South African working class