Many people today remain baffled by the African National Congress (ANC)’s destruction of South Africa.
“But it is clear that race-based policies do not create jobs or promote economic growth. It is also clear that the government’s continued control of Eskom will lead to worse load shedding. Why can’t the ANC understand this?”, is especially asked.
In her new book, Countdown to Socialism: The National Democratic Revolution in South Africa Since 1994 (Jonathan Ball, Johannesburg) explains dr. Anthea Jeffery of the Institute for Race Relations that this is the wrong approach to understanding the ruling alliance of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
The fact of the matter is that those in authority in the ANC are not stupid. They know exactly what they are doing. It is wrong to assume that the ANC and the government want to create jobs, promote growth, or end load shedding.
These are not the ANC government’s goals.
When we measure race-based policy and centralization of services, among other destructive policy choices, against the ANC’s actual goal, then we will see that the ANC is indeed very capable and is in the process of achieving its goal.
National Democratic Revolution
The ultimate goal of the ANC/SACP alliance is to “transform” the economy and society to such an extent that the establishment of a socialist regime becomes possible. Under conditions of abundance and fluoridation, and under conditions where there is a strong civil society and commercial sector, this is not possible.
In other words, to make socialism possible, the government must create dependence on the state and take control of formations outside the state. The government must also blame the social and economic collapse of society on capitalism, to ensure that state control is seen as the solution in the collective mind’s eye.
And the ANC/SACP alliance is already well advanced with this programme. They call it the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
The NDR is a local form of the old communist formula which requires that the proletariat must first (in the first phase) take control of government institutions by means of democracy, and then use this power to (in the second phase) socialism in the economy bring about. This formula was particularly applicable in the ex-colonial world.
Although it is very presumptuous, the rich-above imagination leaders of the ANC and SACP see themselves as the representatives of the proletariat. The first phase is therefore now completed in South Africa. The second phase is underway, with interventions such as the expropriation bill and national health insurance in the pipeline.
The NDR is not a conspiracy theory. The ANC and SACP and even the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are very open about their commitment to socialism in general and the NDR in particular. There are also numerous accessible texts written throughout the years of the Struggle in which academics who were sympathetic to the ANC/SACP alliance discussed the NDR. The “two-phase revolution” formula is also based on the work of socialists themselves, rather than a third-party interpretation of their beliefs.
For commentators like Ebrahim Harvey and Chrispin Phiri to deny the socialist and anti-constitutional foundations of the NDR is therefore nothing more than blinding (gaslighting not.
The ANC and SACP have been honest about the socialist nature of the NDR for decades, and during the transition period of the 1990s both pushed back strongly against other parties’ proposals to enshrine substantive checks and balances in the Constitution. The alliance argued that the new government should have a free hand to bring social equality to the agenda.
To argue today that the NDR is compatible with a free market system or with constitutionalism is intellectually dishonest.
Most socialists – apart from Harvey, Phiri, and a handful of others who like the fruits of capitalism but remain socialists in their hearts – are not ashamed of this ideology. On the contrary, they believe that they are ultimately striving for a future that will be ideal for everyone.
Apart from the naked corruption among many in the ANC, I do not believe that the true believers have bad intentions. But unlike apartheid, bad, destructive policy cannot be measured by the intentions of its architects. Considerably more focus must be placed on the nature of the policy (for example theft, regardless of its intentions or results, is inherently immoral) and its outcomes.
For the ANC/SACP alliance, the socialism of the Soviet Union, and others such as Cambodia, was not “real socialism”. It will work here, in South Africa, because we seem to understand the mistakes that were made before and will not repeat them.
Certain commentators may read Jeffery’s book and therefore come to the conclusion that it is actually good that the ANC still has ideological goals, and that it is good that the NDR – which was for large parts of the anti-apartheid movement’s leading star – once again is on the agenda.
On the contrary, in my opinion, those in the former Soviet Union and Cambodia should be glad that they didn’t live under “real socialism”, because “real socialism” would have had even worse outcomes than the “fake socialism” that modern leftists believe existed. application was. Imagine if the state could actually manage to regiment all economic affairs.
It would be more of a totalitarian nightmare!
Jeffery explains that socialism simply does not work, and that it almost always has the opposite social effect than intended. Apart from the enormous economic destruction that socialism must necessarily bring about, it also always degenerates into dictatorship and severe restrictions on civil liberties.
Capitalism and constitutionalism
The genuine freedom that the capitalist, free market system provides for ordinary people should not be considered a bearable inconvenience. Rather, it should be recognized as the most liberating human institution of the last four centuries.
Socialism, real or fake, proposes to commit all participants in the economy and society to the “plan” of the political elite.
Whether you like the Constitution or not, it is clear that the Constitution does not envisage the totalitarian socialism of the NDR. It envisages – with notable imperfections – an open and free society where ordinary people, communities and businesses may act autonomously and independently, rather than being led around by a dominating state bureaucracy.
And dr. Jeffery explains in detail how the ANC/SACP alliance has been working since the years of the interim constitution to undermine this basic constitutional postulate, and ensure that their own cadres become the pivots of every important decision in the economy or society.
All serious observers of South African affairs must obtain a copy of Countdown to Socialism possess if they want to understand the motives of the political elite and gain insight into the assumptions behind every consequential decision made in the political arena.