We are living in the jungle where there is a constant battle between the hunters and the hunted. This is a relationship between the predator and the prey; it is kill or be killed; eat or be eaten. And we find ourselves in this jungle as prey because local government elections coming in just two month to come, the predators are knocking at our doors.
We always watch on our TV screens every day some political parties representing the rich or the upper classes in the society such as ANC, DA, Cope, UDM, Agang and FF+ calling us to vote for them, but these are the leaders who own fancy restaurants and hotels and companies where their employees are earning almost close to nothing. Some of these leaders, like Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale, are rich in gold and Platinum trades dug underneath by the poor mine workers who are also dying of TB and silicosis related illnesses. We open doors for them into our houses as they tell their own stories and not the stories of the under-paid workers and the dying miners. They tell us to vote for them because they are good leaders they would do this and that for us.
But we all know how the lion tells the story of the hunt, no one ever listen to the story of the Impala. We are living in the jungle and the lions are telling their own stories. They promise us heaven they do not want to go and live in. They promise us heaven, for us to love heaven that does not exist.
The game is simple; they know that the heavens are for those who have the keys, and those who have the keys to heaven are as well the ones who can control the earth. They promise those who live on earth that they could open the heavens for them. They lie about heavens; tell the history of heavens and how are the heavens better than earth. They keep hope amongst the poor and this hope makes the people living on this earth craving to go to heaven. When the poor buy the heaven stories then those with the keys put some conditions forward. – “Vote for us first”.
In society where privilege plays a major role, like ours today, where only the rich, connected and powerful have it all they present themselves to us as “heroes”, as “leaders” and as the “providers”. They use history to shape our thinking as we endorse their thievery and whole-shoplifting in the economy in the form of votes. And until we look deeper with binoculars in to their affairs we will never know that they are, in fact, bunch of thieves who put millions of the voters back into the slums where they live in poverty and empty stomachs.
The capitalist media spreads far and above the capitalist propaganda amongst the poor that now it is that important time after 5 years of job losses, violence, high food prices, crime and nyaope sweeping society, “but please just go and vote, it is your right”.
But history prefers legends to men; history prefers nobility to brutality, souring speeches to guide deeds. History remembers the battles and forgets the blood. History glorifies the Kings and Lords as heroes and heroines, but forgets the fallen soldiers who fought the battles.
Voters, be warned! History remembers the fraction of the truth in your struggles. The lions tell their stories of the hunt, and not the impalas. The lion would say it was easy to catch the prey. The winners often have the opportunity to tell their stories; they glorify and call themselves the “heroes”. In the society in which the capitalists win the story told in the media is of the capitalist for the capitalist sustainability.
From my point of view, as I am on the side of the impalas, I have a story to tell. The African working class; the poor, youth, women, guys and lesbians, workers, youth, disabled, peasants and proletariats, has been put in a bottle for some time in South Africa; from apartheid capitalism to democratic capitalism. Their conditions have worsened in all these developments since 1652 until 1994 and still. Some defeated and many still living in misery and abject poverty all over the world, the need for world revolution is necessary.
No wonder many states are experiencing violent revolutions, it is the working class demanding change in the way the states are run. The youth in SA should look for the new alternatives and perspectives because the current ones are not working; from RDP, GEAR, ASKISA, BEE, BBBEE to NDP today, they are not working to raise the lives of black working class to the better.
Perspectives are a science, but tactics are an art. In order to work out correct tactics, we cannot base ourselves on general schemes and perspectives for the future. One must also remember that perspectives are conditional, a working hypothesis, they are not the tablets brought down from the mount, valid for all times and in all situations. Perspectives must be developed and updated, and be constantly compared with the living reality. On the basis of events, we must modify and change the perspectives, or, if necessary, tear them up and start again.
For many, it is clear what we are fighting against: corruption, unemployment, crime, crisis and austerity; but it can be harder to articulate or even picture exactly what we are fighting for. In concrete terms, how might a new society work? In what way would our individual lives be affected? What will socialism look like? Well, young men standing under a bridge everyday waiting for a pick-up truck to fetch them and give him them temporary jobs that pays only a R50 note at the end of a 9 hours of hard work would definitely not be happy. Some would choose to challenge the system of exploitation first by asking questions, but some would choose to live by it. The one that starts to ask questions would realize that there are many barriers that lead to these young people not achieving or benefiting in the ever-doing better economy. At the same time the ignorant young people would live by these barriers and settle for less.
And already, we can see the embryo of socialism within capitalism. Importantly, by examining the contradictions and barriers that capitalism – a system of private ownership and production for profit – imposes on society, we can see what the potential for a future, socialist society might be; a society where these barriers are removed, and where production is instead run on the basis of human needs.
But we need an economy that would have very less, if not all barriers removed, that would see people in general benefiting in the economy and improving their lives for the better.
“Each according to his abilities, and each according to his needs” – Karl Marx. The question we should be asking is what Karl Marx is trying to tell us here? What kind of economic development do we need for “Each according to his abilities, and each according to his needs”? Economic development is the material premise for the development of all other aspects of society. Without sufficient development of the productive forces – of industry and agriculture; of technology and technique – a society will not have the material conditions present and means necessary to advance in the fields of science, art, culture, philosophy etc. This is the fundamental tenet to the Marxist – materialist – view of history.
Capitalism is now no longer capable of developing this most fundamental aspect of society, due to its contradictions and resultant anarchy and inefficiency. Billions of rands are lost each year, which was not caused by individual greed or ideology, but due to the inherent workings of capitalism itself. Stagnation of the forces of economic production on a global scale ensued. This has thrown many countries back years or even decades in terms of their economic development – in Britain, for example, economic investment remains 25% below its pre-crisis peak and construction remains 10% lower.
Capitalism is incapable of developing the forces of economic production to their full potential. Capacity utilisation of the productive forces in developed countries is currently at 70-80%, even after having seen the closure of vast swathes of production and the loss of millions of jobs. Across the world, the average capacity utilisation stands at 70%. This means that at present we have the ability to increase global economic output by almost 50%, simply by using the existing capacity in the economy. Despite the fact that people across the world are desperately in need of food, shelter, healthcare and other basic commodities, this spare capacity is not being used. In fact many bourgeois economists today speak of excess capacity – i.e. that the economy is capable of producing too much (from the perspective of the market) and needs to be cut back further, hence closures and job losses.
We are often told that competition is the secret to capitalist efficiency; but in reality competition leads to greater waste. For example, there is significant duplication of work between businesses performing similar functions – meaning that time and money is invested twice into the same things. Take supermarkets as an example: if food distribution were carried out by one organisation, then economies of scale would make the process cheaper and centralised planning would make it more efficient.
Competition also forces companies to create needs for their particular products through advertising, the cost of which is passed onto the consumer. Trade secrets and intellectual property rights mean that the best ideas and innovations are not pursued as fully as they could be and lead to costly court cases, such as the infamous Apple v Samsung cases for mobile phones, which again push up prices for ordinary people. Instead of the world’s best and brightest minds being employed in tandem to produce the things that society needs, scientists, engineers, and designers are split up into different corporations and set against each other in competition, resulting in completely unnecessary duplication of effort and resources.
So I tell the story of the impala that capitalism is not working and we have fallen because of this system. The lions that you see today on TV telling us to vote for them are doing to because they survive and live out of the people’s miseries.
The parliamentarians, who happen to get richer and richer, by being voted to power by the poor who gets poorer and poorer are telling the story of the lion. The impala is eaten. They invest in big businesses that they have opened doors for in South Africa and Africa. The very presence of such giant multinational monopolies in every industry, in partnerships with leaders and government ministers, with just a handful of firms dominating the market, demonstrates how free competition turns into its opposite, precisely because of the increased productivity and efficiency that can be achieved from producing on such a vast scale. Within each firm there is an immense level of planning, co-ordination, and co-operation, all for the sake of increasing efficiency in the name of making greater profits. Between firms, meanwhile, the anarchy of competition and the invisible hand remains, leading to an enormous inefficiency and waste on a societal level.
Today, as i am telling the impala’s story while the lions are sleeping, we need socialism of a kind of what Karl Marx is telling us to achieve; “Each according to his abilities, and each according to his needs”. The working class must not be the hunted, they must be the hunters in this world.