[DEBATE] : U.S. Funds Pressure Oil Companies over Their Iran Links
critical.montages at gmail.com
Fri Jul 27 19:23:22 BST 2007
On 7/27/07, Russell Grinker <grinker at mweb.co.za> wrote:
> Yoshie wrote:
> The ANC's problem is in part a regional and historical one
> (a lot of other sub-Saharan African countries have experienced similar
> trends, and the ANC came into power in the midst of the neoliberal
> stage of capital accumulation, the worst timing, unlike most
> post-colonial governments), to be sure, but the trend is disturbing
> nonetheless, for South Africa has far more wherewithals than most
> African countries.
> Its leadership also formally took power at a time when its entire political
> outlook was crumbling as a result of the collapse of the Stalinist bloc. The
> Soviet mentors and funders of the liberation movement now told it to
> negotiate and urged it to adopt a market-orientated development path.
> Returning from exile and pretty much cut off from a potential mass base, the
> leadership's feet never touched the ground as it was ushered into an endless
> round of workshops, seminars and negotiation sessions. It was consequently
> rather easy meat for the army of well-funded advisors and consultants who
> rushed in to 'assist' in the process and hardened apartheid functionaries
> schooled in an era of "Total Strategy". The facilitating role of various
> (also well-funded) left academics, co-opted activists and NGO hacks is also
> not to be under-estimated. Full of illusions in 'solidarity' campaigns that
> encouraged reliance on turning around western governments' attitudes to the
> SA regime, the leadership of the movement also neglected to nurture mass
> grass-roots structures which might have made a real difference to
> transformation processes. These structures, already battered by two states
> of emergency and a state-funded reign of terror, were instead further
> marginalised and consciously wound down, while the leadership obsessed over
> elite negotiations in remote venues.
> That said, at least the ANC did end apartheid.
> Formally yes, but 17 years later, new-style class-based urban segregation
> between the masses in shack settlements and poorly situated low-cost housing
> and the rest in their guarded, gated compounds, is already well entrenched.
> As for cases of international campaigns against Iran, Sudan, and so
> on, they have largely been top-down, led by people who have completely
> different agendas than the wellbeing of people in the target
> countries. Nothing good can come of them.
> Yes, they are little more than an adjunct of western foreign policy
> strategies, often designed to deflect attention away from problems in the
> It's time for liberals and leftists to rethink the value of campaigns
> for boycotts, divestments, sanctions, and so on, if the best case is
> the anti-South African apartheid campaign and the worst case is
> humanitarian imperialism.
> True. But unfortunately this is unlikely. So debased is the left's
> collective memory, that the failed sanctions strategy is ironically now
> celebrated by most as the highest form of achievement.
The politico-economic problems of South Africa under the ANC have been
much written about and are by now well known. What is not done yet is
to examine the relation among the ANC's program, the way in which it
achieved the negotiated end to apartheid, and (as you note) the role
played by the late Soviet foreign policy, and to raise questions about
today's campaigns for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions, whether
they are initiated from below and above, so we can counteract
humanitarian imperialism. It can't be easy for those who are attached
to the SACP to do so, but for those who aren't, there is no
organizational obstacle. But there appears to be still an ideological
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