We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, March 11, 2013
Get Rich or Lie Trying: Why ANC Millionaire Julius Malema posed as a Radical
This rather lengthy article provides an excellent illustration of how capitalist ruling classes are very creative in maintaining their system in order to provide themselves with so much power and wealth. Capitalist elites are always seeking alliances with others who can further these common goals. To maintain a system that provides such a distorted distribution of power and wealth requires numerous strategies such as divide and rule, control of a dis-informing media and other institutions of indoctrination, co-optation of opposition, tight control over political institutions to insure that the right people are elected or outright rigging of elections, and police state methods to suppress opposition.
After the colonization of South Africa by white Europeans, a white minority of capitalists established an overtly racist state. Because they constituted such a small minority of the population while ruling over the vast majority of black Africans and "coloreds", their rule in the 20th century was sustained by the most brutal police state methods. This became increasingly untenable. Thus, they decided to co-opt amenable black and colored Africans to join them on the fringes of the ruling class by installing them in government agencies where they could compete over government largess. (This process and key African leaders, for example Mandela, who went along with this strategy were widely celebrated in international capitalist media.)
Various factions arose among black "co-optees" to secure influence in the government and to obtain the benefits of government contracts. This article mostly tells the story of the rise and fall of one player, Joseph Malema, who often posed as a radical to gain popular support for his rise in the power structure.