An in-depth look at democracy in South Africa Part 1:
The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin coined the term inverted totalitarianism in 2003 to describe what he saw as the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin analysed the United States as increasingly turning into a managed democracy (similar to an illiberal democracy). He uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” to draw attention to the totalitarian aspects of the American political system while emphasizing its differences from proper totalitarianism, such as Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist regimes.
The book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012) by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco portrays inverted totalitarianism as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics bests politics. Every natural resource and living being is commodified and exploited by large corporations to the point of collapse as excess consumerism and sensationalism lull and manipulate the citizenry into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government. Wolin, Hedges and Sacco may very well be describing the post birthing travails of the post democratic travails of an ANC government that has lost its way, its motivation and long ago flogged its high tone principles for the siren like allure of corporate money and the comfort that they have a ruling partner now.
The only opposition left to contest ideas and to seek solutions in a country that’s in the grip of the international corporate capital, to the degree that Soros himself boasted at Davos in 2001, “South Africa is in the hands on international capital” is the upstart proto-Marxist party of Julius Sello Malema, the EFF, the Economic Freedom Fighters. That repurposed tool of old Apartheid money and corporate power, the DA, Democratic Alliance, has for all intents and purposes written itself out of ever running the country for two dead obvious reasons:
You have to have powerful black people in your party if you have any hope of capturing even a portion of the black vote, the ANC is barely holding onto. Other than the EFF, black people have very little choice but to cling to the old party of luminaries like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, the ANC, an all but captured, discredited and hollowed husk of a political party once boasting the finest minds and the most incorruptible souls in South African politics since 1912, until they bumped into that bottomless purse that is white capital. The road to servitude and fealty to the corporate elite and corporate interests was as swift as it was embarrassingly obvious. You would think that starting at such a low base apropos the appalling socioeconomic conditions in South Africa, pre 1994 would be the spark, the motivation to exceed all number of expectations once in power? Instead, the ANC saw the very low bar or standard left by the Apartheid government as the goal, the benchmark on which to pursue its restructuring goals. Well, 4-million cheap hovels built over a period of 25-years is its visible record, as clear to see as the mighty Sphinx in the Egyptian desert.
It has instead roused itself to pursue with vigour its “Faustian Bargain” with the corporates at great expense to the country. There are few if any signs of mighty industrial projects, new interstate highways, giant factory complexes or massive IT parks being built, in preparation for G5 and IR4?
Instead many in the ANC have managed mysteriously to amass huge personal fortunes, holding and occupying multiple directorships on the boards of some of the largest transnational companies on the planet. So, not unlike its white supremacists predecessors, the wealthiest black people in South Africa today, are either ex-politicians, their families or ones closely connected to the centers of power. Perhaps I should recommend a copy each of Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco’s book, “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” to our new political Mandarins as a prescient manual of what the world they’re so eagerly creating in the “image and likeness” of white corporate capital looks like? That’s if they have the time to read, given their new hobby of counting money…….