“…To my knowledge, no class can hold State power over a long period without at the same time exercising its hegemony over and in the State Ideological Apparatuses. I only need one example and proof of this: Lenin’s anguished concern to revolutionize the educational Ideological State Apparatus (among others), simply to make it possible for the Soviet proletariat, who had seized State power, to secure the future of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the transition to socialism. This last comment puts us in a position to understand that the Ideological State Apparatuses may be not only the stake, but also the site of class struggle, and often of bitter forms of class struggle...” – Louis Althusser (Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, Monthly Review 1971)
To paraphrase Karl Marx, in any class-divided society, the ideas of the ruling elite/class are the ideas which are grasped as material expressions of the slave – master relationship/dichotomy. In other words, in a colonial and capitalist South Africa (with a ruling class which is also the dispossessor force in your Anglo-Boer capitalism as an economic base); their musings, thoughts, culture and institutions become the edifice upon which is sustained the dominance informed by this economic base. To live in South Africa is to live in a country where the colonizer and the colonized both exist, where the dispossessor and the dispossessed share site and situation. As an Afrikan, to live in South Africa is to live in violence; physical, non-verbal, economic, legal & social. To understand this reality in detail, one must give an account of how we come to know the state of South Africa in practice today – as a product of a historical battle that remains unresolved many years later. The understanding of the state by revolutionaries differs radically… from the bourgeois notion of the state and its apparatus having the best interests of the people at heart. To make this case, I will concern myself with the historical and political formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. I will give an illustration of the State founded on the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist paradigm, and show how white monopoly capital propaganda in South Africa (as a political tool for mass mobilization) has mobilized and captured even the fiercest of yesteryear’s revolutionary sensibilities to complete this biggest ‘post-apartheid’, apartheid lie.
1. Class society and the state
“The state is therefore by no means a power imposed on society from the outside; just as little is it the moral idea, the image and reality of reason, as Hegel asserts. Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that is cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms, classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society became necessary for the purpose of moderating the conflict and keeping it within the bounds of ‘order'; and this power, arising out of society, but placing itself above it, and increasingly alienating itself from it, is the state..” – Friedrich Engels (Origin of Family, Private Property & the State)
The above quote bears reference to the historical role and meaning of the state in a capitalist society, insofar as Marxism is concerned. It argues that the state is a manifestation of the irreconcilable differences between classes, in a class-divided society. The state, according to Engels, arises when, where and only to the extent that class antagonisms cannot be reconciled. Consequently, what this means is that the state as we know it exists as a living testimony that class antagonisms cannot be resolved. Here, with the aid of the classics, we are compelled to understand what the state is, and what it is not. Consequently, Marxism as a tool of analysis argues that the state therefore is an organ of class rule, an oppression of one class by another in which it creates “order & law" to facilitate this oppression of one class by another. What this means is that in South Africa, the modern state is a product of this historical anomaly, and the capitalist state in practice today is a conduit to sustaining the legacy of colonialism and dispossession. The foundations of the modern state idea result from the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 – in which the protestants fought wars against the religious and political hegemony of feudal Catholicism. The principle of sovereignty of states was given birth by this history, and still continues to inform international law and relations.
The concept of state “power” then arises from Engel's assertion that the state “is a power that arises from society, but which places itself above it and becomes more and more “alienated from it”. This power consists of an apparatus and special bodies of armed men in the form of prisons, courts, police, military etc. The army and police are chief instruments of state power and how it facilitates this. The army and police are the power arising from society, but standing above it. In a nutshell this means that the capitalist state is an instrument for the exploitation of the oppressed class in any class-divided society. Hence laws are passed to protect the sanctity of the state. Think of the apartheid state as a legal body of armed men, prisons, courts, police and military which made laws justifying the oppression, dispossession and exploitation of African people. It can be deduced then that in a colonized, free market society like South Africa, the state is an organ to maintain landlessness, coloniality, unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment. This is “legal”and is protected by the courts, prisons, police and the military. The ruling party in South Africa is not the ruling class!
2. 1910 Union of South Africa and Land Dispossession
The Union of Europeans, in our fatherland Azania, in 1910 gave birth to the Republic of South Africa – which we have come to know of today. It was the coming together of the Natal Colony, the Cape Colonies under British control, and the Transvaal in its entirety, by the Afrikaner Trek Boere. Interesting to note is that since their arrival in 1652, the European minorities in South Africa have always jostled for the control of the Afrikan, his land and his wealth. The Anglophone and Boer war, though representing the same sides of a different coin, were able to unite for the damnation of Afrikan people. India at this time was under heavy British capitalist colonialism which had commenced from 1858, with some scholars arguing even earlier. It is the very British who first brought Indians into South Africa; as indentured slaves and labour for the Natal sugar canes – on land which was stolen from Afrikans that national liberation warriors like Bhambatha fought hard to defend. The British control of India lasted until 1947, a year before the Nationalist Party introduced apartheid in South Africa as official government policy. The 1910 unholy alliance of Europeans to govern Afrikans was further compounded by the historic 1913 Land Act, in which Afrikans were designated as official beggars on their own land. Using state power and the brute force of the military and the gun, the Union of South Africa in a short space of time managed to commit the biggest crime, of taking away the birthright of the native. Afrikan lands were now captured, and the state was the arrow and cross bone in this grand theft. This is how Afrikans come to know of real capture, a capture that threw Afrikans to the margins of the township, village and mining hostel. This capture continues right to 2020. 35 000 of the European minority owning 90% of the land. European minority Banks controlling 95% of Finance Capital. European minority media monopolizing the space of free press, to sell their ideas as a ruling force. European minority Universities, ownership and monopoly of large industries for manufacturing, monopoly of all principal capital assets...
The Gupta propaganda then fits into this historical battle by Anglo-Boer capital, colluding with International capital – another name for imperialism as the British empire has now taken shape in multi-national company form. These multi-national companies, colluding with domestic and international capital, continue the British- Boer agenda of controlling every sphere of life of the Afrikan. The Guptas, Indians with a lived experience of British colonialism that tore India apart, cannot then suddenly compete with their colonizers who have monopolized South Africa in media, mining, energy, and other sectors – because they too like Afrikans are a scene of “subjection”. They must be shown a lesson just like anyone who dares to associate with them.
3.State Capture: The biggest Anglo – Boer capital post-apartheid, apartheid propaganda
The documentary How to Steal A Country, based on Robin Renwick’s book which carries the same name, is a propaganda tool absolving the historical role of Anglo-Boer capital in stunting national liberation. The foundation of the National Question is purely that; the nation (native, indigenous people) their lands and their right to self determination. President Jacob Zuma is at the centre of this damnation, which falsely accuses him of stealing R1trillion with the Guptas. The evidence is not there, apart from media reports of those who control public opinion. It is based on a report by Advocate Thuli Madonsela which, to the surprise of many questioning South Africans, relies heavily on media reports to support the allegations levelled in its many pages. It is directed by Rehad Desai, the same documenter of Miners Shot Down. It would seem to me that Desai, after having exposed the role of Lonmin, Cyril Ramaphosa and International Capital – together with the state – in the Marikana Massacre, is now playing curve ball.
There is no State Owned Enterprise that was privatized for the control of the Guptas, no government department, no judiciary, executive, or even one public facility which was taken over by the Guptas. Contrast this to the present unbundling of Eskom, the selling and privatization of South African Airways and Transnet under claims of corruption… We are yet to see. The state uses courts to hide the financials of Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign, hide the financials of SAA – in South Africa it is even legal for taxpayers not to know who they are paying as suppliers of IPPs at Eskom. All this is legal. The Gupta’s Optimum Coal Mine, which they bought from Glencore, only accounted for 5% of coal at Eskom. The rest of the 80% share is monopolised by Glencore, Exxaro, South 32 and the like. Today we are seeing corruption at Eskom where the COO, Jan Oberholzer is involved in R139 billion disappearing. Steinhoff and Edcon are bailed out by R200 billion of public taxpayers’ money from the PIC, yet still no noisefrom the media and opposition parties. How To Steal A Country is lacklustre documentary meant to fool unsuspecting South Africans. The land is still not back. Neither are the mines. The banks remain, as always, in the hands of a settler minority. Unemployment is at its worst ever, we are in a double economic recession, with a shrinking GDP growth rate. There are high student fees and debt, and rising inequality – but still retrenchments and privatization continue as normal. What state power classifies as legal is in fact actual maintenance of the old economic system that President Jacob Zuma sought to destroy. Anglo-Boer capital mobilized opposition parties, the media, NGOs and trade unions to go to the streets – to fight against a capture we are yet to see even today. Meanwhile, White monopoly capital continues to steal (Eskom, SAA), kill (listeriosis), and destroy innocent black executives and legal practitioners.
This propaganda can be summarized in six terms. Namely; (i) The means justify the ends: use whatever and whoever, it does not matter the damage, as long as Anglo-Boer capital gets its way. (ii) The distortion of truth and reality: Feed the public lies via the media, as the unsuspecting masses wilfully consume propaganda without question. They repeat this until those with no credibility gain gain respectability based on falsehood. (iii) Create and accelerate chaos: whilst offering the way out (OUR way). (iv) Demonise the opponent: President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas, even by those who do not know, are termed as corrupt. Busisiwe Mkhwebane is deemed incompetent. Mobilize the opposition to make noise and further falsehoods. Propaganda legalizes the illegal, and illegalizes the legal. (v) Propaganda of example: drag your opponents to court, frustrate them legally using a captured judiciary, ensure that President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas are made an example of, for anyone who dares to challenge Anglo-Boer capital. Make sure all prime newspapers and newsrooms carry the same script. Lastly (vi) blame your predecessor for everything whilst messing up in the present. South Africans foolishly believe that everything wrong with our country is because of President Jacob Zuma, hence the popular media coined the phrase “nine wasted years". This, with splintered opposition, notably the EFF, has been the charm in the puzzle of White capital under Cyril Ramaphosa – the DA vigilantly protecting the interests of Anglo-Boer capitalist economy.
We are yet to see the militancy of opposition, media, NGOs and the trade unions in taking back the land and economy from Anglo-Boer capital, in South Africa. The state apparatus as a repressive force continues to rule, on behalf of the class that is in control of it. In South Africa, the ruling party is not the ruling class! The only way to end state capture, which began in 1652 and is yet to end, is to return our captured land and economy through a genuine Afrikan proletarian revolution. We either rebel, or face another 80 years of no land and development.
*Stream Rehad Desai’s How To Steal A Country on Showmax