Do try to keep up

Have you read Fikile Mbalula’s speech from the Economic Freedom in our Lifetime lecture last night?

If not, why not? You are lagging behind. Do try to keep up.

Speaking on the subject of the (proposed?) nationalisation of the mining industry and, in this excerpt, specifically on those who are against such a plan, he said:

It is of paramount importance that revolutionaries should soberly engage the ANC Youth League. This engagement should be based on answering the fundamental question:
“To what extent does the slogan ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ link strategically to the slogan for ‘freedom in our lifetime’?”

These questions are of pivotal importance because if the entire mass democratic movement fails in its conviction to see a symbiotic link between the two slogans in this era of the National Democratic Revolution, and rather settle for isolating one at the expense of the other, this will, to my mind, be equal to an intellectual and ideological disservice on the side of the movement as a whole.

However, we are fully aware of a tendency that attempted to dislodge the content of the National Democratic Revolution by among other things, dismissing race as less important a social category in contemplating any social progress.

At the same time, we were aware of the ultra-leftist tendencies that were aimed at uplifting pseudo-Marxist predispositions at the expense of the revolutionary recognition of the symbiotic link between national liberation and social emancipation; born out of the acknowledgement of the inter-play between the national oppression and class exploitation; in the context of the National Democratic Revolution.

Yeah. What he said. You’d better believe it.
And extra points for getting the all important “tendency” in there.

Basically, for those of you at the back, I think that he’s having a bit of a pop at Blade Nzimande – “that bloke from the SA Communist Party”  – who, as we’ve seen before, isn’t adverse to a little bit of hyperverbosity (aimed right back at Fikile’s chums) himself.

It seems that when it comes to insulting one’s allies through the means of speeches or statements filled with ridiculously extreme,  hyphen-laden, politically-related adjectives, the members of the tripartite alliance have got it sorted.

Blade’s Big Words

You know how it is. You emerge from the lab, having metaphorically flung all that you possess at the TB growing in there and you need a coffee. And while the kettle is boiling, you glance at Monday’s newspaper, dozing casually on the tea room table and you catch sight of Blade Nzimande’s outburst which was “not directed at anyone in particular”, but actually was.

Blade talks mainly sense, but I had to sit down with an oat crunchie and work my way through these two lines in the middle of his emotional monologue:

We are dealing with an anti-worker, anti-left, pseudo-militant demagogy that betrays all our long-held ANC-alliance traditions of internal organisational democracy, mutual respect for comrades, non-racialism and service to our people.

It has created space for the anti-majoritarian, conservative reactive groundswell that seeks to tarnish the whole movement, portraying us all as anti-constitutionalist and as narrow nationalist chauvinists.

So many ists. That can’t be good.

Blade’s concern is seemingly for the ANC-alliance, but the divisions he speaks of here are being created across the country “not by anyone in particular”. I almost feel sorry for Blade and his chums. He’s correct that the entire Alliance is being tarred with the same brush, through no fault of his own.
At what point those “in charge” of the ANC finally find the guts (or indeed the ability) to prevent “anyone in particular” from causing more hurt and harm, I don’t know.
But like not learning someone’s name at a party, the longer the conversation goes on, the more difficult it becomes to ask.