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'There are no solutions within capitalism for these crises of capitalism. The crises are not the result of capitalism, but of its very successes!' - SACP policy document

By Ido LekotaPolitical Notebook | Dec 17, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE raging public spat between the South African Communist Party and the ANC Youth League has the potential of - as SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande is wont to say - "vulgarising" a very important debate.

This is the debate about how the ANC must intervene to ensure a bright future for the millions of South Africans who continue to be economically marginalised. The debate is even more important given the current global crisis.

From the SACP's point of view, the current global financial crisis is in the nature of the capitalist system because "capitalism is never crisis-free".

"The pursuit of profit maximisation through the ever expanding accumulation drives capitalism's constant and innovative tendency to revolutionalise the forces of production," the SACP argued in one of its policy documents discussed at its special congress in Polokwane, Limpopo, last week.

"But this very process constantly leads capitalism to 'over-produce to over-accumulate' - that is, to produce more goods that can be profitably sold: which is different from saying more goods that are needed by humanity.

"At the heart of all capitalist busts lies this kind of crisis of accumulation."

As far as the SACP is concerned, the solution to these crises is socialism because by its very nature capitalism will continue to create these crises that leads to millions losing their jobs and being thrown into economic dire straits - as is currently the case.

"There are no solutions within capitalism for these crises of capitalism. The crises are not the result of capitalism, but of its very successes," the SACP says.

"The crises are not 'abnormal', they are systematic and inevitable ... as long as we are imprisoned within the capitalist system."

This, for the SACP, is how the current situation must be understood if , for example, the ANC is to come up with solutions that will improve the lives of the millions who have voted it into power.

This is essentially the position held by the communists within the broad church called the ANC.

The public spat between ANCYL president Julius Malema and the SACP leadership must be seen in this context.

Malema (who ironically describes himself as an aspiring communist) believes that the communists want to impose their beliefs on the ANC.

The SACP on the other hand argue that Malema is part of the new tendency within the ANC that is essentially nationalist and is there to protect the interests of capital.

Especially the few beneficiaries of black economic empowerment who want to use their access to political power to protect their self-interest and that of (essentially white) capital as whole.

For the SACP, the call by the ANCYL for the nationalisation of mines is driven by this tendency.

"What in fact appears as an articulation of the progressive clauses of the Freedom Charter is immediately betrayed by naked class interests of trying to use the state to bail out dependent BEE capital," argues the SACP.

Malema has also thrown his volley of punches. He has lashed out at the SACP leaders accusing them of trying to be "white messiahs (Jeremy Cronin), who are there to save black people" and "pseudo-communists with a liking for red wine (Blade Nzimande)".

Last week, following his being booed at the SACP congress, Malema questioned how communists could humiliate "their own comrade", while welcoming a representative of the very monopoly capital they seek to destroy.

This after the delegates applauded when a representative from Standard Bank was officially introduced to the congress.

Standard Bank was one of the sponsors of the congress.

Amid the heat generated by these debates there is a need to seek the light that will eventually bring hope to the the millions of South Africans who are feeling the pinch of the global crisis.

To do so there are few givens that must be taken into consideration.

Whether it will eventually be the nationalists or the communists that hold fort within the ANC - there are few basic truths that either must accept:

l The capitalist system has for many years of its existence failed the poor of this world.

l There is indeed something wrong with a system where the number of rich people is growing; yet at the same time the poor remain poor; and in some cases are becoming even poorer.

As the Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama puts it: "The effect of the free-market system is, as we know, a high level of average income but still unacceptable levels of poverty."

This means that there is indeed a need for some intervention that will redress this situation. For the millions of South Africans out there it is not important whether the intervention is made by nationalists or communists.

What is important is that those in power must learn certain lessons from the above-mentioned truths.

They must also accept that a completely free-market system has so far failed to deliver on the dreams of the likes of economist Friedrich von Hayek, who believed that any society that has achieved a certain level of wealth "can provide some minimum of food, shelter, sufficient to provide health, and the capacity to work as well as education to everyone, without endangering freedom to its people".

In South Africa, and several other developing countries, the opposite is true, with millions unemployed, uneducated and sleeping with empty stomachs.

The other lesson those with power can learn is that countries that have state-controlled communist driven economies, like China, are embracing the free-market economy.

One of the lessons that can be learned from such developments is that the solution does not always lie in the state controlling the means of production.

Nationalisation can, for example, lead to state capitalism - whereby the elite use state control for self-enrichment.


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