Veteran US politician and academic Robert Reich recently said that “Republican leaders have mastered the art of manufacturing crises to divert the public’s attention away from the real crisis of our era – the siphoning of income, wealth and power away from most Americans by a small group at the top.”
The unnamed evil of our era is “the small group at the top”. They have defined our politics, determined our wars and dictated our words to us. Aided and abetted by media houses and marketing agencies, they have announced culture wars, destroyed anything they did not understand, and have silenced the march for justice.
Last week, I suggested that the big story for South Africa over the next 10 months should be the upcoming national elections. Political parties are designed around three things: better tax and power regimes for the rich, raising a class of compliant activists, journalists and economists, and not disturbing the rich-poor equilibrium.
Both Paulo Freire and Frantz Fanon warned us that liberators are at highest risk of betraying the revolution and acting in the same manner as the oppressor.
This “small group at the top”, aided by sycophantic media houses, manipulated markets and greedy marketing agencies has no interest in ending poverty. Every grand scheme to “help the poor” is a ploy to stay in power and make more money. Every election promise to create safer communities and job opportunities for poor people or educational opportunities for their children ends up turning everyone into a security guard or police constable. They are not creating jobs. They are creating private armies to extend their control and power over the restless and revolutionary poor.
The people must not be shocked, like a famous president tends to be, when they discover that “the small group at the top” of both the right and the left are best friends with each other.
Our poverty is engineered and maintained by the very people who tell us they are launching more poverty eradication programmes and relief grants. The violence we live with is politically engineered to keep us fearful of each other and trusting of their system.
Thousands of liberation activists have been bought, co-opted, and captured by the political, economic, and aid-industrial complex. From the moment freedom becomes a possibility, the activists are earmarked to serve the empire. What makes respected liberation veterans flash new watches and cars and overseas vacations to a constituency of the poor?
Before the first freedom ballot is cast, the empire has bought, at the cheapest price, the voice and soul of freedom’s veterans, priests and politicians.
If you wonder why you still live in a shack today or still can’t get proper public transport or education, while your liberators feign shock at your poverty and your pain, then look no further than “the small group at the top” who bought them and now own them.
They are not there for you. They are there for “the small group at the top”, to do their bidding. These liberators don’t have time to read Marcus Garvey, Du Bois, Lumumba or Fanon. Political theory is of no interest to them. Freedom has become a business transaction.
They mesmerise us with sloganeering while they drink expensive drinks and vacation with their paymasters. Our liberators will keep us longing for the end of our poverty with their speeches while they are feasting on our unquestioning compliance.
Sending our children to become security guards that will guard their multiple empires earns them promotion into “the small group at the top”.
* Lorenzo A. Davids.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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