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The people must rise

June 2, 2017
June 2, 2017 June 2, 2017

THE current discourse around national developments is unprecedented. These developments warrant serious and careful consideration because the present crisis is more than political, social and economic.

It is also an intellectual crisis. There is a general failure to engage in discourse with hope and a vision that offer alternatives to the present, pathetic state of the nation.

In this vacuum of truly progressive discourse, we are besieged by reporting, comment and analysis in media generally, reflecting the cacophony of voices that, essentially, do not represent the interests of ordinary South Africans.

Many sound and pretend like they do, and some overtly represent the narrow interests of racists, colonialists, elitists and neoliberals.

Yet, almost everyone who took to the streets on April 7 appear to have in common the agenda to remove Zuma from office.

This agenda ostensibly united the people of South Africa in common cause. Such allegations, founded, inter alia, on the need to reclaim the captured National Treasury from the Guptas, are used to rouse support for the removal of the president.

All those opposed to the president and his clique within the ANC appear to have consensus that he should resign.

Yet, there is little discourse about who should succeed him, even if a parliamentary vote of no confidence succeeds.

More importantly, there is little discourse about the crucial policy direction South Africa needs to serve the interests of all her citizens, as opposed to the interests of disparate groups with self-serving agendas.

The country is in the grip of the drama and sensation precipitated by a cabinet reshuffle.

The scramble for power and clamour for the protection of narrow interests overshadow the interests of ordinary people who struggle with unemployment, poverty, crime and racism.

The once popular congress for the voice of workers, the trade unions, is now fragmented.

There is no broad and popular national social movement that can unite people and workers, untainted by party-political interests.

Under the one faction of ANC rule, the people remain subjected to the cheap rhetoric of wresting white monopoly capital from its agents in the interests of radical economic transformation.

On the other hand, the ANC capitalist faction of black elitism, offer the rhetoric of an anti-corruption agenda.

The people have no stake in the ANC factional woes, nor in any party-political agenda, nor in voices that have no grasp of what really ails our country.

While criticism is essential in the national discourse to address our problems, we should guard against any cynicism that erodes hope and plays into the stereotypes of the failed African state.

We must collectively resist and reject cynicism, defeatism and hopelessness that banish us to the neoliberal and
post-colonial stereotype of the iconic corrupt Africa.

The people must collectively build a vision of hope on renewed national resistance against corruption, elitism and neoliberalism.

Neither the cynics in mainstream media, nor the corrupt elites like Zuma, nor the neoliberals like Zille should be allowed to speak for the ordinary South African masses who simply demand basic human rights.

It was largely a revolutionary people’s movement that defeated apartheid.

It should be a revolutionary people’s movement that must undertake the task of seeking alliances that reflect consistency with people’s priorities in respect of basic human rights and ideals.

Such a movement must be founded on renewed ideological rigour and clarity and must now engage both strategy and principle to build a new future.

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