Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, July 26, 2007

SACP's Policies
I've consistently maintained on this blog that the SACP will never be seen as a viable governing option, and thus as a majority political party, so long as it espouses communism. Rhoda Kadalie, in an op-ed piece in the Business Day, concurs:
Year in and year out, the SACP continues in this vein and, with a declining membership, clings to its alliance partners for its survival . Refusing to become an autonomous political party, it knows instinctively that it may not survive on its own with an ideology that has been discredited the world over.

The African poor and working classes look at China’s embrace of capitalism, the transformation of former east European socialist countries and the economic rise of southeast Asia and many Latin American countries, and they just know that communism is no solution. When the poor in SA see the poor from Zimbabwe, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia flooding over our borders, they increasingly question the legacies left by ideologues such as Robert Mugabe, Augustino Neto, Meles Zenawi, Fidel Castro, Erich Honecker, Joseph Stalin, Nicolae Ceausescu, Augusto Pinochet and Mao Zedong.

In the 1990s, financier George Soros took the board of the Open Society, of which I was a member, to some countries in eastern Europe “to see for ourselves”. The last bit of socialist conscience I had dissipated after walking the streets of Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Ukraine and seeing empty shops and listening to stories of rampant corruption, media suppression, inferior health-care systems and ineffectual industries, all made worse by the growing class and gender inequality. This was an eye-opener and broke down all the Marxist claptrap I had imbibed as a young social anthropology and sociology student.

The astounding thing is that while middle-class socialist politicians live bourgeois lives, travel the world, enjoy the benefits of globalisation, the internet and global information technology, they speak a language out of synch with the modern democratic society that allows them their lifestyles.

Why can we not speak of a social democratic form of capitalism geared towards socialist ideals as a viable alternative to address poverty and unemployment? Why can the excessive revenue generated by the government not be used to create employment and fulfil some of the socialist goals that most of us share?

No national democratic revolution or the overthrow of “colonialism of a special type” will provide answers to these problems. They will, I know for sure, make them worse. What political leaders need tons of is common sense.