Desmond Tutu and regimes of rightsLeave a comment
14/01/2022 by socialistfight
By Gerry Downing
ARE THERE OTHERS LIKE ME who are now absolutely pig sick of hearing what an amazing, awesome human being Desmond Tutu was? From the Queen to the Pope to every reactionary leader in the planet we get this gushing vomit of praise pouring out of every orifice of the capitalist establishment.
Only number two to Nelson Mandela and his difference with him was his total opposition to violence as opposed to Mandela who used it as a leaver to force concessions from the Apartheid regime.
Moral pressure would have got nowhere without the mass movement of the masses. This mass movement threatened revolution at certain points and opposition to this is what united Mandela and Tutu, one substituting the bogus armed struggle which never sought to lead the risen masses and the other hypocritical Christian morality which equally condemned the violence of the oppressor with the violence of the oppressed. His opposition to apartheid in Israel was on the same Christian moralist basis; he never condoned the revolutionary violence of the oppressed necessary to overthrow the whole system.
He was forever equating the violence of the slave seeking to break their chains with the violence of the slave owner, seeking to maintain and strengthen those chains. Mandela and Tutu became the best of friends after the 1994 election.
The violence in the ANC camps against opponents on the left who sought revolution was fully equal to Stalin’s Great Purges against the revolution in the late 1930s. Tutu also politely complained about the ANC leaders who sought to enrich themselves after the 1994 election, but he was equally counter-revolutionary in his moral crusade against the spirit of freedom of the masses in insurrection.
South Africa is the most unequal country in the planet
Now, thanks to both, South Africa is the most unequal country in the planet, closely followed by neighbouring African countries, with similar appalled infant mortality rates and very low life expectancy. Expressed on percentage terms Gini 100 is complete inequality and 0 is complete equality. In 2020 South Africa was ranked as the most unequal country on the planet with a Gini Coefficient of 62.7, closely followed by Namibia at 59.18 and Brazil at 53.1. Back in 1993 South Africa’s Gini was 59.30, falling to 57.80 in 2000 before rising again to its current appalling level.
The mass of black African people are now worse off than under Apartheid. And Tutu joins the list of all the other reactionaries who received the Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for services rendered to imperialism. The social architecture formed over more than three centuries of white rule has maintained South Africa’s position as the world’s most unequal society, according to the Thomas Piketty-backed World Inequality Lab.
“Attempts by the now-democratic government to wipe away the legacy of apartheid and colonialism have failed to narrow the imbalance between rich and poor”, it reported, “with 3,500 adults owning more than the poorest 32 million people in the country of 60 million”.
“There is no evidence that wealth inequality has decreased since the end of apartheid,” it went on to say, “Asset allocations before 1993 still continue to shape wealth inequality.”
But, because Mandela totally capitulated to the IMF and World Bank, he, and all ANC and SACP leaders like Blade Nzimande became massively rich. In 1996, some two years after those elections came the GEAR, the IMF austerity programme of mass privatisation to benefit transnational corporations, followed by other similar attacks on the masses from the IMF that followed. Remember Mandela was selling off Apartheid-era state enterprises to profit what were mainly US transnational corporations.
From leaders with basically nothing before the 1994 election Mandela died with $3.2 million, Mbeki, reached $10 million, Zuma $20 million and now Ramaphosa, the butcher of Marikana, has in excess of $500 million, his brother-in-law Patrice Motsepe is approaching $2 billion now. Conditions for mineworkers are as bad if not worse now than in August 2012 and no one has been prosecuted for the police massacre of the 34 miners at Marikana, as we approach the 10th anniversary. Ramaphosa, having graduated from leader of the National Union of Mineworkers to a director of the Lonmin mining corporation, called for “concomitant action” to stop the “illegal action” at the mine. The police obliged.
At a dinner of the World Economic Forum In early 2020, Motsepe remarked to President Donald Trump that “Africa loves him”. He was forced to apologise following a ferocious reaction back home; “I do not have the right to speak on behalf of anybody except myself” he acknowledged.
Gathered around these are a coterie of grovelling, corrupt followers with lesser wealth but still with substantial rewards for their outright class treachery. Tutu has died with only modest wealth of some $2 to 3 million in his estate. The hypocrisy of moral humbug!
Well done Nelson and Desmond. Let’s erect more statues in Parliament Square to every saviour of Imperialist interests against the dreaded socialist revolution, fought for only by the South African Trotskyists and their internal comrades. Always the Workers Charter for socialist revolution, never the two stage, counter-revolutionary Freedom Charter.
Marx and bourgeois secular regimes of rights
Marx made the first socialist criticism of the bourgeois secular regime of rights in 1843 in On the Jewish Question, the ideological foundation for his later critique of capitalism as a whole. His basic argument is that the secular regime of rights as developed by the American and French Revolutions at the end of eighteenth century represented civil but not human emancipation. He examines the French The Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) and passages from other constitutions to make his point. It equally applies to the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. As Marx shows in On the Jewish Question these rights presuppose increasing inequality because they bifurcate human lives and psyches, the citizen equal before the law and in voting rights and as they really exists in society, alienated, oppressed, and exploited:
“Where the political state has attained its true development, man – not only in thought, in consciousness, but in reality, in life – leads a twofold life, a heavenly and an earthly life: life in the political community, in which he considers himself a communal being, and life in civil society, in which he acts as a private individual, regards other men as a means, degrades himself into a means, and becomes the plaything of alien powers … the right of man to liberty is based not on the association of man with man, but on the separation of man from man. It is the right of this separation, the right of the restricted individual, withdrawn into himself.”
But of course, South Africa’s new regimes of rights was apparently a big step forward compared to the old Apartheid system, but it was only the beginning. To hail it as the ultimate goal, as the SACP/ANC/Cosatu and Mandela did in the Freedom Charter, was the betray the revolution and the masses, as both Mandela and Tutu did. Socialism was a vague goal for the indefinite future.
Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
But the greatest betrayal of the masses perpetrated by Mandela and Tutu was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which Mandela appointed Tutu to lead. Many had big hopes that these hearings would bring a measure of justice at the end of the Apartheid system and lead to the prosecution of the state mass murderers and assassins under president F. W. de Klerk and his system.
They were sorely disappointed. The BBC described the criticisms made by the victims and relatives of the slain as stemming from a “basic misunderstanding” about the TRC’s mandate, which was to uncover the truth about past abuse, using amnesty as a mechanism, rather than to punish past crimes.
“Among the highest-profile of these objections were the criticisms levelled by the family of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was killed by the security police, and whose story was featured in the film Cry Freedom. Biko’s family described the TRC as a “vehicle for political expediency”, which “robbed” them of their right to justice. The family opposed amnesty for his killers on these grounds and brought a legal action in South Africa’s highest court, arguing that the TRC was unconstitutional.”
Of course, Steve Biko’s family lost their legal challenge. There was going to be no “Nuremberg style trial to establish guilt and attain justice” in the words of the BBC. As with the later inquiries into the Ku Klux Klan/police massacre in Greensboro, North Carolina on 3 November 1979 and the north of Ireland Bloody Sunday massacre on 30 January 1972 all you had to do to escape prosecution was to give evidence to the subsequent inquiry under amnesty. So truth without justice was the goal, the protection of the Apartheid monsters in South Africa, the KKK/police for the Greensborough massacre and the Saville Inquiry in 2010 into the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.
As Workers Vanguard No. 1171, 6 March 2020 put it:
“TRC put the black toilers who had fought for their emancipation on trial for the crimes of apartheid! At the same time, it forced black, coloured, and Indian people to beg for ‘reconciliation’ with their racist torturers. The aim of all this was to sanctify the neo-apartheid arrangement in which the white rulers turned to the ANC regime to preserve their system based on the superexploitation of black labour”.
Practically the entire South African industrial proletariat consists of black Africans, with a significant number of coloured proletarians in the Western Cape and some concentrations of Indian workers in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The white capitalists, like the Oppenheimers ($8 billion), still rule. The small black capitalist minority like Motsepe and Ramaphosa attained their wealth via the Black Economic Empowerment policy, and fully understand they are still dependent on their white masters. Desmond Tutu had no opposition to that; in fact his entire political life was dedicated to preserving that corrupt relationship.▲