[Debate] (Fwd) Class analysis of ANC (BDay)
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Apr 21 06:03:54 BST 2012
(Not saying they have it right because the first clause is dumb, but
it's interesting when put in such stark terms: "The governing alliance
is now sandwiched between a left-leaning workerist faction that is
blocking the structural reforms needed to grow the economy and create
employment, and a socially conservative nationalist grouping that is
intent on benefiting from black economic empowerment and the
redistribution of wealth. Sooner or later the mainly young, poor and
unemployed masses are going to realise that, although both factions
claim to represent them, neither actually cares a jot.")
EDITORIAL: ANC disunity may give Malema a gap
Sooner or later the mainly young, poor and unemployed masses are going
to realise that, although the left-leaning workerist faction and the
socially conservative nationalist grouping claim to represent them,
neither actually cares a jot
Published:2012/04/19 08:13:30 AM
THE divisions that have emerged in the African National Congress (ANC)
Youth League in the wake of Julius Malema's summary suspension being
upheld on appeal were predictable enough. They also explain why those
who remain loyal to him are so keen to hold an urgent national general
They are acutely aware that if sentiment within the league's structures
swings much further against them it will be extremely difficult to stem
the tide now that they do not have the authority and resources of the
party behind them.
Mr Malema desperately needs to secure a vote of confidence from the
general council but he has probably left it too late. His influence over
the delegates who would attend as representatives of their branches is
waning rapidly as the consequences of the league going for broke and
defying the ANC by refusing to accept its authority start to sink in.
As Mr Malema's nemesis, PresidentJacob Zuma, is fond of pointing out, it
is cold outside the party's embrace. The fate of ANC members who left in
disgust over its treatment of former presidentThabo Mbekito form the
Congress of the People is a constant reminder of this fact.
Mr Malema and the handful of other youth leaders who were disciplined
with him may have little left to lose, but that is not true of the
league as a whole.
It accounts for about a third of the ANC's membership, so should in
theory have considerable influence within the party as long as it
remains united. But it is doubtful that saving Mr Malema's skin is cause
enough to ensure unity, especially since the credibility of the process
that saw him elected was questionable in the first place. There is no
other obvious issue of principle that could fulfil that role.
The league has been so used and abused in support of Mr Malema's
personal agenda that it is doubtful that even an issue such as the
nationalisation of the mines will be supported with much enthusiasm now
that he is officially out of the picture and unable to bully or buy the
support he needs to get his way. The same applies to his feud with Mr
Zuma --- now that the stakes are clear, and so high, it is unlikely most
league members will see much reason to keep pursuing it.
The ANC has won this battle of wills, even if Mr Malema somehow manages
to persuade the general council that it is in its and the league's best
interests to bite the hand that feeds them. The most likely scenario
will see someone stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum and prevent a
complete breakdown of relations with the ANC, which has the power to
disband the league if it comes to that.
League deputy president Ronald Lamola is the most obvious candidate for
But if he is unable to overcome his loyalty to Mr Malema, there will be
no shortage of candidates once the impotence of those who find
themselves in the political wilderness becomes clear. Mr Malema is about
to discover that friends are indeed few when times are hard, especially
when they were not really your friends in the first place.
But this is a pyrrhic victory for Mr Zuma and the ANC. The organisation
has clearly been weakened by the division Mr Malema has caused and Mr
Zuma's need to shore up his support base ahead of the party's December
elective conference means he has a continual need to placate its union
allies, which is making effective governance nigh on impossible.
The governing alliance is now sandwiched between a left-leaning
workerist faction that is blocking the structural reforms needed to grow
the economy and create employment, and a socially conservative
nationalist grouping that is intent on benefiting from black economic
empowerment and the redistribution of wealth. Sooner or later the mainly
young, poor and unemployed masses are going to realise that, although
both factions claim to represent them, neither actually cares a jot.
That may be the gap Mr Malema is looking for.
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