The ANC has compared the EFF to Nazis and its leader to Hitler. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Khusela Sangoni debate the issue.
Hitler? What Hitler? This is the argument of a party in fear of the radical in blacks, says Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Earlier this week the ANC National Working Committee came out spitting fire through its secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, when it argued that the EFF was Nazi.
The ANC finally netted the views of Mantashe into its official reading of the EFF long after he and others in the ANC had gone to town characterising the EFF as Nazi and its leader as similar to Hitler.
But this claim signifies a suffocating voice from the bottomless abyss of the ANC’s ideological inability to deal with the rise and increasing dominance of the EFF.
Mantashe bases this on the EFF’s usage of the red overalls and beret (uniform) to mobilise society, the poor in particular.
He likens this to Hitler’s 1930s use of brown shirts to mobilise his followers.
Mantashe first reached for Zimbabwe when the EFF emerged. His position then was that EFF would lead South Africa into a Zimbabwe.
This could not stick. Instead our people filled each and every public meeting the EFF held in swelling numbers, and wore the red beret with pride. The red beret then spread like wildfire – it became fashionable. We can think of very few pieces of political clothing that managed to capture social imagination and dominated all media the way the EFF red beret did.
Realising this, Mantashe then accused the EFF of stealing the red beret from the ANC, and printed tens of thousands of these at an ANC elections manifesto launch in Mbombela.
But all these were failed attempts that ended in more embarrassment on their part as the EFF’s popularity was still on the rise; they could not disarm fighters of the red beret. It is still the signature of the EFF.
After failing, now Mantashe wants to say using the red beret, the overalls and domestic workers’ wear (uniform) is Nazi. Yet he tried to imitate the EFF and thought he would beat us at our game, but failed.
Just last weekend, the EFF celebrated its first anniversary with more than 40 000 people at the same time, same place and same day the Soweto Derby took place for the Carling Black Label Cup.
This is after the elections and their momentum, showing that the EFF indeed has a great future.
Instead of accepting that the EFF is here to stay, Mantashe does not stop at red berets. Using his bitter forked tongue, he says the EFF uses “anarchy and destruction as their modus operandi.
This anarchy and destruction fits into the paramilitary content of their strategy.”
But he does not say what content he is referring to.
Nevertheless, now that they have brought up content, the truth is the ANC has not managed to concretely argue against the policy propositions of the EFF.
The EFF in Parliament put it to the ANC that there is huge transfer pricing in the mining industry, where private capital sells minerals to subsidiaries offshore at a lower price to avoid taxation.
The EFF demonstrated how state revenue was based on VAT and personal income tax and private capital only contributed 23 percent, yet was the biggest beneficiary in GDP profiteering.
We put it to the ANC that a macroeconomic strategy based on the hope that such capital, whose primary corporate strategy is to rob us of our mineral resources, will in turn invest in our industrial expansion is false.
We argued that mining and minerals were strategic to the South African economy and must be forced to benefit local protected industrial expansion.
We said take mining capital and invite other business and start new factories for the local manufacturing of electronics like microwaves, television sets, cellphones, washing machines and radio sets, all of which are currently manufactured outside South Africa.
Imagine, we argued, South Africa’s economy has about 24 million television sets, all of which at the moment will need set-top boxes with migration to digital terrestrial television coming. We said initiate state investment into the local production of set-top boxes with a view to create jobs and local skills transfer. These are our arguments in Parliament, to which the ANC has not given an ear.
This is all while Mantashe’s fellow communists in Parliament are using the Oxford Dictionary to define “radical economic transformation” or Wikipedia to understand what populism is.
The EFF also warned the ANC against its appropriation of the SABC by collapsing it into the Department of State Communications (Government Communication and Information System) and the imposition, against the recommendations of the public protector, of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who intentionally lied about his qualifications to gain a position at the SABC.
This is what being Nazi is: taking a public broadcaster and making it the broadcaster of the state, where the SABC will only show and say what the ANC wants us to see and hear.
To be Nazi is to kill 34 mineworkers using the police when they took to strike demanding a living wage. To be Nazi is banning adverts on SABC that are critical of the government during the elections.
To be Nazi is to build a great mansion using taxpayers’ money, with a private clinic inside, when the poor have no access to decent housing and health care.
Mantashe is the number one distractor of working-class formations; particularly formidable formations. He is the single most dangerous individual in South African politics at the moment.
Wherever he goes, the working- class formations he leads fall on their knees: NUM, SACP, ANC Youth League and now he is busy killing the ANC.
Moreover, Mantashe is a puppet of the white liberal left, whose history in the struggle for decolonisation is to suppress the national question or dilute it.
The idea that the EFF is Nazi first emerged from the white liberal left because they never want to accept independent left movements that have self-generated black intellectuals without their help.
They are puppetmasters of Mantashe; they are the ones who also said the EFF policy of land expropriation would reduce South Africa to another Zimbabwe.
Here, Mantashe is not actually doing the thinking, thus the real people who cannot provide intellectual counter-content to the programme of the EFF are the intellectual white left.
This is because they actually do not have an argument, being in the left themselves.
Their beef, therefore, is the EFF’s unapologetic alignment to Frantz Fanon and radical black thought as a tool of analysis of the race question.
They are paranoid because the EFF’s leadership core consists of cheeky blacks who are famous for their rage at white supremacy.
These blacks do not possess the submissive soul contained in a Mantashe. These blacks have raised the race question in very sharp terms and demand its transformation without using compensation.
To add petrol to the wildfire, these blacks do not want to wear suits in Parliament; they never speak of non-racialism, reconciliation, or forgiveness.
Instead they are well known for their phrase “economic freedom in our lifetime”.
The EFF is a Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian organisation with a commitment to a socialist programme spelled out in the seven non-negotiable pillars of its Founding Manifesto. The ANC and Mantashe have finally reached the cul-de-sac of their ideological defence in Parliament, because they have never had an opposition since 1994. Now they are asphyxiating in the void while the EFF gains momentum as the legitimate vanguard of the working class; the organisation that people know will fight for their economic emancipation without sunset clauses.
* Mbuyiseni Ndlozi is EFF National spokesman and a member of Parliament.
Poverty has rendered people vulnerable to the reincarnation of the Führer, says Khusela Sangoni.
History tends to repeat itself. This does not mean it takes the same form each time, but what would have occurred years before would re-emerge later in life with distinctive and pointed characteristics.
This is why we study history and the basis of dialectical historical materialism – to ensure society is alert to the revisiting upon the world of tendencies that would have negative and sometimes catastrophic effect on it.
There has been a harried scramble in recent days from the EFF to argue the implausible.
They are intent on presenting as unfounded and baseless the characterisations of the EFF as a fascist movement that has emerging tendencies reminiscent of Nazism.
The logic posited by the EFF is that if that is not how it characterises itself, it must follow that the characterisation is incorrect or, alternatively, an exercise in “intellectual laziness”.
Fascism by any other name remains fascism.
The rise of Nazism and fascism during the Third Reich was largely due to the political and economic instability of Germany following World War I.
The stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression and rising levels of unemployment created fertile conditions for the ascension to power of the Nazi party, led by a man who believed that “the driving force of the most important changes in this world have been found less in scientific knowledge animating the masses but rather in a fanaticism dominating them and in a hysteria which drives them forward”.
Hitler’s Nazi party was characterised, among other things, by an extreme and aggressive nationalist Christian-Socialist ideology, which later evolved into anti-Semitism, suppression of dissent, the regimenting and militarisation of society and a subversion of democracy and institutions of state.
In present- day South Africa, we have the EFF, which is a collection of racist anarchists who fiercely oppose any criticism or dissent.
They are determined to reverse the significant strides towards reconciliation and nation-building and in their stead reintroduce racially divisive politics, according to which a single race is solely apportioned blame for the all- pressing challenges facingsociety.
They spew revolutionary-sounding rhetoric, using the hypnotic prowess of a gifted orator whose ramblings are devoid of any genuine concern for the well-being of our nation and its people.
To paraphrase Hitler, the programme (of economic transformation) is not the question, but rather the attainment of power.
The EFF preys on the genuine struggles of our people in the same way Hitler did in the aftermath of the Great Depression, when Germany was facing challenges of high unemployment and economic instability; conditions which are not dissimilar to our debilitating levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The tragedy of Marikana is exploited for political expediency and gain and the sincere grievances of our people are opportunistically manipulated.
Our people are mobilised using extreme nationalism, racial bigotry and left-leaning language in the same manner Hitler committed to deliver the people of Germany to the promised land of Socialism.
Opponents to the views advanced by the ANC on the characterisation of the EFF hasten to claim that the ruling party’s perceived recalcitrance to deal swiftly and decisively with the economic challenges faced by South Africa is a fertile breeding ground for the acceptance of the EFF.
This assertion ignores the real fact that the EFF has brought nothing new to offer the electorate except for regurgitated views flowing from the collective wisdom of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), the rightful custodians of the programme of economic freedom.
The so-called EFF pillars of Economic Transformation are the product of submissions of young people of the ANC who gathered to develop a programme with which they would lobby the ANC towards a radical programme of economic transformation.
If there was any honesty in the debate and the real intention was to effect fundamental change for the benefit of the masses of our people, there would be an acknowledgment of the significant successes recorded by the ANCYL and, by extension, the ANC, towards the attainment of this programme.
Radical economic transformation is firmly on the agenda of the ANC and the ANC-led government.
Strategic nationalisation on a balance of probabilities that take into account national interest, advancing redress and the security of property rights is a policy position of the ANC.
The 53rd national conference of the ANC resolved to expropriate land without compensation where such land had been acquired illegally, with due regard to the constitution of the republic.
The Expropriation Act has been amended to bring it in line with the supreme law of the land and give effect to the provisions in Section 25 which, when methodologically applied, nullify the need for the failed willing buyer, willing seller principle.
The land restitution process has been reopened, and rural development and agrarian reform are at the centre of the government’s programme at all levels.
While there is a lot more to be done to realise the type of society envisioned by the Freedom Charter and reaffirmed by the 53rd national conference, there have been bold and decisive steps taken by the ANC towards it, and hence the EFF is hamstrung, unable to add anything new to the debate except to seek to undermine and destabilise the legitimate government.
It is a huge fallacy for the EFF to claim that it is the voice of the majority and the poor.
In the general elections, 94 percent of voters rejected the EFF and its destructive and divisive policies and posture.
Others will seek to argue that the EFF’s participation in Parliament should serve as a marker that the party cannot be fascist, because it forms part of the government.
Like the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the EFF is not averse to election to Parliament; the Nazi party garnered enough electoral support to be elected the majority party in the Reichstag, Germany’s legislative body.
Such support was utilised to eventually appoint Hitler as chancellor of Germany and president, the supreme leader of Nazi Germany.
The Sturmabteilung was the paramilitary wing of the party and used the swastika, like the red berets, as a rallying point; ultimate loyalty was pledged to the person of Hitler, with varying factions all vying to curry favour with the master.
All these are tendencies that are displayed on almost daily with the rebirth of the many faces of Joseph Goebbels vying to be the most vocal, most “radical”, most militant howlers in the hallowed halls of our seat of the government.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that our Parliament is disrespected and institutions such as the legislature are invaded and occupied with impunity.
To thrive, fascism by its very nature must undermine democracy and state institutions.
The period leading to this year’s general elections saw a concerted effort by the EFF working with other opposition parties to delegitimise the Independent Electoral Commission and, by necessary implication, the election and the election outcomes.
Criminal actions are cloaked as genuine protest, rampant fear is instilled in anyone who dares oppose and society is rendered immobile to respond to this severe affront on our institutions of democracy.
Indeed, then, this analysis raises the question, what is to be done?
The ANC is correct to call for vigilance lest we forget, bury our heads like the proverbial ostrich and continue to celebrate racism and fascism couched in revolutionary rhetoric.
For its part, the ANC must remain steadfast, resolute and determined to accelerate the pace of change for the betterment of and in service to our people.
Poverty and unemployment have rendered our people vulnerable to the reincarnation of Hitler and his Nazi Germany.
The work of the liberation movement to conscientise and mobilise South Africans behind a common agenda is not yet done and negation of this important and historic duty creates space for opportunistic elements disguised as revolutionaries to subvert national unity, shared goals and a common vision – critical preconditions for the advancement of our revolution.
The ANC must aspire to the three represents of the Communist Party of China according to which the party shall represent the advanced social productive forces, advanced culture and the interests of the overwhelming majority.
* Khusela Sangoni is national media liaison officer for the ANC.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.