The Conundrum of White Capital versus BRICS
“The first thing that Africa has to do is to aggressively drive investment in infrastructure. Earlier this year, the commodity trading company Trafigura published a report, which found that developing countries had to double spending on infrastructure to $2-trillion a year by 2020, with the bulk of this money to be directed to sub-Saharan Africa.
Brics, through the New Development Bank (NBD), or Brics bank, can help drive financing of that infrastructure. But the initial funding pool for the NBD is $100-billion and that is roughly the amount of Africa’s funding gap in a single year, so the Brics Bank can clearly not do it alone. It would need to be a lead funder and attract the World Bank, Sovereign Wealth Funds and global pension funds to help close the funding gap.” – (07 Jul 2015, Mail & Guardian article, What BRICS can do for South Africa and Africa)
It is no mystery that many of the Afrikan countries that got their independence in the late 50’s were handed a cheque that bounced. The colonial powers who relinquished their political fiefdoms simply handed the reins to liberation movements that continued to serve pro-western and even pseudo-communist agenda’s.
In his scathing critique of post independent Nigeria, titled Black Colonialists, Dr Chinweizu pulls no punches as he offers cogent reasons why Afrika really never lost dependence to the West nor the East. The critique does not only focus on Nigeria and other West Afrikan countries, but elucidates how even post-Apartheid South Africa remained both ideologically and economically dependent on the West and the rest of the world. Chinweizu states:
“Unfortunately, like all the other liberation movements in Africa, trhe ANC, despite the ideological lumination it welcomed under Tambo, seems to have now fallen into its own brand of the ‘crisis of knowledge’ and to have settled into the imperialist trap of economic and cultural neo-colonialism.”
Concerning China, India and all the new superpowers now eagerly courting Africa, he states:
“The new scramble, unlike that of the 19th century, is for the land and resources of Africa, and without the people. The scramblers are not interested in keeping the Black population alive, and have every reason to exterminate the population so as to have unhindered access to the resources…China we should note, can easily export 30% of its 1.4 billion population to occupy an Africa that has been emptied of all blacks. So too can India.” – ( Published in New Frank Talk, Black Colonialists: the root of the trouble with Africa, by Dr Chinweizu, 2009)
Now it’s either our black intellectuals who published this volume are either suffering from a serious bout of amnesia or chronic myopia, because instead of advocating for a decisive Pan Afrikan ethos where Afrikans can push towards sovereignty and independence from all colonizing forces, they have instead decided to forge an strange arrangement with and uncritically defend Black colonialists. The very same ones they have spent years criticizing. Anyone who opposes their view is either harassed or labeled as a puppet of white monopoly capital. One cannot have a view that is anti-ANC, because being opposed to ANC empty rhetoric is being anti-Zuma, therefore in support of regime change. Have we perhaps reached a point where we no longer believe in the panacea of Self reliance? Has pan Afrikanism totally lost its visionary energy, the idea that we as Afrikans can achieve cultural and economic liberation in our own terms?
Now while it is true that no country or nation can subsist only on its own resources, skills-base and in total seclusion, it is also abundantly clear that for a continent so richly endowed with every mineral, environmental and human resource that can be imagined, Afrika remains slavishly reliant on foreign nations. Let us not even begin to count the ways in which we are so heavily indebted and dependent on institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, World Trade Organisation to name just the few usual suspects.
It becomes quite puzzling why activists, scholars and movements that are very aware of these contradictions would throw caution to the wind when it comes to the new colonization agenda as represented by the Brasil – Russia –India – China, South Africa alliance. To even call it an alliance would be a misnomer, because every honest person can tell that the addition of South Africa to this global capitalist scheme is neither revolutionary nor mysterious. Many writers have explained how the BRICs effort is just another way for various global players to gain access through South Africa, to the rest of the continent, for the continuation of the same-old exploitation. But wait, our leading Black thought-leaders insist that BRICS is the only way we can get out of our strangle-hold with the West. They tell us that it is simply a case of choosing the better devil. We are told that the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, China and India are much better than the monstrous USA and the conniving Brits and Germans and French, because they do not meddle in their trade-partners domestic affairs. In other words, when China sells us T-shirts, spoons and shoes, we should not be concerned about whether they use child labour or are in violation of any human rights. Similarly, if we export our gold, platinum and other resources to India or Brazil, they need not be concerned about how Black labour is exploited and brutalized by the extant white capitalists and our own corrupt Black elites.
Our radical public intellectuals do not stop there, they have recently discovered another divisive rhetorical ideology, basically a new version of “An enemy of my friend is my enemy and a friend of my friend is also my friend.”
This uncritical and lazy kind of thinking is used to further divide the people of South Afrika/Azania along racial and ideological lines. Basically, if a thief is Black, he is our thief and should not be tried according to universal or locally constituted laws, but if a Black person disagrees with the thief and calls him or her out, that person is labelled as pushing a pro-White, neo-liberal agenda.
This simplistic way of dealing with matters of international trade and local class contradictions serves no progressive purpose at all, except to alienate all dissent and trick public opinions on matters that truly require us to debate openly without being bullied and coerced by those who self-appointed political prophets. Again the unfortunate part is that these two faced activists or thought-leaders have mastered the game of blending truths with fiction. They can simply throw much contradictory jargon on social media knowing that our people are desperate for answers to the pressing problems of unemployment, exploitation and political manipulation.
It does not end there; we are also supposed to support individuals who are clear imposters who have been thrust upon us by the ruling party at parastatals and other seriously struggling partially state owned enterprises. People who use any catch phrases such as Land Return, Radical Economic Transformation and promotion of Local content, while they are clearly self-serving political deployees. What all this tells us is that South Africa is suffering from a serious deficit in Intellectual leadership. Yet it is not as true that there are no Native Thinkers and pragmatic people in the country, but the political demise of apartheid left a lot of people confused as to how the exploited had so quickly become oppressors. How does the White Monopoly capital continue to control so much of South Africa’s economy?
How does a country that was supposed to have attained Freedom 23 years ago still not have a lucrative, well-functioning bank or a state owned Central Bank? How come there is still no clearly defined plan for Land redistribution and proper living spaces and schools for the majority of the people?
These are some of the issues that the would-be saviours of South Africa are exploiting in order to keep themselves relevant and in the news. But yet again, this same media is highly compromised and mired in the yet unresolved web of the market economy. But who said that BRICS is here to save us from the neo-liberal policies that have kept us in debt and poverty for so long?
Maybe we should cease being so overly cautious and simply jump in an swim with the big fishes, or perhaps we should strive for regional African integration which will lead to pan-Afrikan trade routes that have a potential to make us truly independent. But then again what would Sobukwe do? In my book, Rock ‘n Rule, I write:
“Sobukwe and other Pan Afrikanists always saw the struggle for national freedom as an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle. They believed that national liberation is intertwined and inseparable from social emancipation or the struggle for socialism. Afrikanists therefore have always rejected the two separate stage theory of our revolution – where there will be a separate national democratic revolution or a stage 1, led by one political entity and later a second socialist or stage 2, led by another political formation. Finally, Sobukwe, like all Pan-Afrikanists, believed that a United Afrika must project an Afrikan personality by making a positive contribution to the affairs of humankind.*”
So our leading Black vanguards must tell us, how Afrika can make a positive and unique contribution to humanity when we still see other nationals and their schemes as our saviors, how can we have self-determination and unity when we cannot solve Afrikan problems as Afrikans without always reacting to white power? Because it should be clear by now that all our efforts tend to become mere reactionary rhetoric that neo-liberalism and whites use to destroy our drive towards total liberation.