How to break monopoly white capital
The fight against white monopoly capital and its allies is an integral part of the struggle to consummate the national democratic revolution, writes Chris Malikane.
The class structure under colonialism or apartheid remains intact. The African is at the bottom of the food chain. The darkest skin performs the toughest job at the lowest wage.
Within sections of the middle class, African professionals are the worst paid and the most overworked. African small businesses receive the worst deals from white suppliers and white-owned banks, and they operate under the worst economically depressed neighbourhoods.
Even within the capitalist class, the darkest skin is the lowest in the hierarchy. It should also be mentioned that, within the African capitalist class, the upper stratum which is credit-based is found inside, and accumulates directly through, established white monopoly capitalist structures.
They own shares, sit on boards and have direct business deals with established white monopolies.
It is the link between this credit-based black capitalist stratum and the top leadership of political parties which explains how white monopoly capital concretely owns and controls state power.
White monopoly ownership and control of state power is even more secured if the government in place is democratic, since the masses believe “this is our government, we voted for it”. Yet, what cannot be explained is why “our government” is failing to resolve our centuries-old problem of white monopoly of social power.
The battle over the removal of the finance minister is the battle waged by white monopoly capital in alliance with the credit-based black capitalist, against the rise of the tender-based black capitalist class, which also has links with the leadership of political parties.
The cornerstone of the ownership and control of the state by white monopoly capital has always been the National Treasury, its associated agencies and the Reserve Bank, which constitutes the financial cluster of the state.
The leading officials and political principals have always been appointed by white monopoly capital, and legitimated through the ruling party process. The ruling party has never exercised political autonomy in relation to appointments to strategic positions.
South Africa has now entered a phase of intense rivalry between capitalist groupings. In this phase, it is not possible to advocate political abstention, especially of masses of the oppressed and super-exploited African working class.
The fight against white monopoly capital and its black/African allies, is an integral part of the struggle to consummate the national democratic revolution.
The tender-based black capitalist class is not likely to win without the support of the mass of the black and African working class. Unlike its white counterpart, the tender-based black capitalist class has no coherent historical international backing. Its relationship with the organised working class, which is the only force that is capable of disrupting white monopoly capitalist power at production, is very weak if non-existent.
Nevertheless, from the standpoint of the objective analysis of the class forces, in so far as the tender-based capitalist class has begun the war against the dominant white monopoly capitalist class, it has to be encouraged.
The absence of independent black working class action in the battle for ownership and control of state power or “state capture”, poses a serious threat to the country.
The black working class must contest to capture state power as a class. To do so, workers must unite across their unions, and establish a broad anti-imperialist front.
Neither of these capitalist groupings posit a programme whose outcomes favour the black and African majority, which is working class. What then are the immediate tasks of the progressive forces?
A. Complete the democratic revolution. The continued domination of black people by white monopoly capital, across classes and the board makes this overarching.
B. Establish a broad anti-white monopoly capitalist united front.
C. The anti-monopoly capitalist front is made up of the following class forces:
a. The working class; whose interests must be primary and whose leadership and independence within this broad front needs to be jealously guarded.
b. The middle class; whose skills, creativity and talents must be encouraged and brought to the service of this front.
i. The black professionals (lawyers, accountants, bankers, engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, academics, etc).
ii. The black business owners (builders, transport operators, shop owners, industrialists, farmers, asset managers, etc).
c. The progressive youth and students; which has for the past years been fighting for free, quality decolonised education.
d. The capitalist class; though unreliable, those sections whose accumulation is constrained by white monopolisation of value chains, especially in the real sector.
Given its unreliability, this section needs to be won over as it is warring against white monopoly capital, and it has to be neutralised where its battalion is retreating.
e. The progressive white population; which believes in the resolution of the national question in the interests of black people in general, particularly Africans. This stratum has first to dispel its deep-seated swaart gevaar and phobia of a genuine anti-imperialist African nationalist sentiment.
f. The progressive international forces: Our struggle against white monopoly capital benefited immensely from the support of progressive forces internationally.
In launching the new phase of the democratic revolution, it is important not to lose sight of the international dimension, since white monopoly capital has international backing.
That is why part of this phase will involve combating all forms of xenophobia, and involve an articulation of positions that give impetus to global struggles against the backers of white monopoly capital internationally, and struggles against white monopoly capital in Africa. The success of these progressive international struggles is bound up with the success of our national struggles.
D. Isolate the enemies of the people, who are:
a. White monopoly capitalists; who own and control monopolies in mining, banking and other industries. They also own a disproportionate share of land.
b. The credit-based black capitalists, who accumulate wealth within and on the basis of white monopoly capitalist establishments.
3. The way forward
A. The demands, In the light of this alignment of class forces, and what the campaign that has been mounted, the progressive forces need to mobilise to the streets and demand from the ANC government the following:
1. A new National Economic Plan (NEP), which outlines how the following key demands can immediately be realised:
I. Expropriation of white monopoly capitalist establishments, such as banks,insurance companies, mines and other monopoly industries, to industrialise the economy.
II. Establishment of a state bank, which will consolidate all the state-owned financial institutions to facilitate affordable credit to the progressive class forces.
III. Nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank.
IV. Expropriation of all land without compensation to the ownership of the state, and the state uses the rent collected to support expenditure for the well-being of the progressive forces, and for the use of the land in line with the new NEP.
V. Provision of free quality social services as:
a. Free, quality and decolonised education.
b. Free and quality healthcare National Health Insurance.
c. Improved quality housing, community infrastructure, etc.
d. Affordable and safe public transport.
e. Affordable and reliable basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.
VI. Wide-ranging audit of employment equity and labour law compliance by all establishments, with a view to penalise non-compliance.
* Professor Malikane teaches at Wits University’s School of Economic and Business Sciences and is adviser to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. He writes in his personal capacity.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.