Monday, December 17, 2007

ANC Tug of War

By Joe Sims

It's the end of the second day of the ANC conference and voting for the top officers is about to start. If some of you are wondering why it took so long to write the answer is simple: no internet access.

Who know what's going to happen with both sides confident of victory. I wonder though if in these circumstances everyone loses. It's clear Jacob Zuma has a lot of support on the street. "Everyone should have their chance" seems to be the watch word, meaning that President Mbeki should step back after two terms.

Others though are backing Thabo Mbeki, among them lots of women – at least these are some of the voices I've heard. Whatever the case, the country seems pretty evenly divided on the issue.

A last ditch effort by Winnie Mandela to broker a compromise seems to have fallen on deaf ears. With final nominations being approved tonight, and ballots printed up, the notion of a compromise seems out of the question.

The eyes and ears of the country are very focused on the event. It's the subject of conversation everywhere. The country seems very politicized from that point of view, specially at the grass roots. Many are wondering how did it come to this? Others ponder, how can we get the hell out of it? Some are posing the need for a greater theoretical elaboration. One said to me: "We need to discuss this issue of the national democratic revolution and socialism. I mean, the national democratic revolution is a transition, right? And socialism is a transition, right? Well how can you have a transition to a transition?" Well, I was a little stumped. It all seems a little transitional to me.

We'll see what tomorrow holds. One thing that is bothersome is that all the factional fighting has turned off a lot of good people from politics. I've heard that several times now, from people who were outstanding ANC, SACP, and COSATU activists. One said today, "I'm just not into ANC politics anymore." I replied, "If all good people said that about politics, who would be left?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see a problem with "a transition to a transition" There are stages in development. The national democratic revolution is a transitional stage leading to socialism, i.e., after the national democratic revolution is consolidated (which seems far from being the case in SA) then the transition to socialism can begin. After the consolidation of socialism the transition to a higher stage can begin. This, however, is highly speculative as it appears that no one has yet been able to consolidate socialism. Hopefully, being turned off of ANC politics is not the same as being turned off of politics. The ANC has been working to consolidate the SA economy as part of the neoliberal Washington Consensus. The national democratic revolution cannot be consolidated on that basis.