June 24, 2013
[Read here about the terrible oppression that continues in post-apartheid South Africa]
Nelson Mandela was the top leader of the African National Congress, which in 1992-93 negotiated a deal with the apartheid government of F.W. de Klerk that left the old ruling class--the rich corporate elite--in power in exchange for its abandoning the overt racial discrimination that was apartheid.
The following description of this story in Britannica is the part that the mainstream media tells us:
"The administration of F.W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC in 1990, and its leaders were released from prison or allowed to return to South Africa and conduct peaceful political activities. Nelson Mandela, the most important of the ANC’s leaders, succeeded Oliver Tambo as president in 1991. Mandela led the ANC in negotiations (1992–93) with the government over transition to a government elected by universal suffrage. In April 1994 the party swept to power in the country’s first such election, winning more than 60 percent of the vote for seats in the new National Assembly. Mandela, who headed a government of national unity, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first Black president on May 10, 1994."
The part of the story that the mainstream media does NOT tell us is described by one the ANC members who came to see how horrible was the decision that the ANC made. Read this person's account in How the ANC's Faustian pact sold out South Africa's poorest, by Ronnie Kasrils. The author writes:
"In the early 1990s, we in the leadership of the ANC made a serious error. Our people [are] still paying the price."*
This is a very important article because Ronnie Kasrils, with inside knowledge, explains how the ANC's failure to pursue a revolutionary (pro-working class, anti-capitalist, egalitarian) path was a disaster for ordinary South Africans.
The same choice that confronted the ANC (make a deal with Big Money or rely on ordinary people to remove Big Money from power and create an egalitarian society) confronts virtually all people resisting oppression. Ordinary people (regardless of their religion) in Palestine (by which I include the part called "Israel") who are fighting against Zionism will need to make the same decision that confronted the ANC in its fight against apartheid: make a deal and accept capitalism minus Zionism, or wage the class war for egalitarianism minus capitalism.
It is time to start Thinking about Revolution.
* To see just how awful the price is, in other words how the conditions of life for ordinary South Africans have actually worsened dramatically since 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president and apartheid was (fortunately!) abolished, study the charts on life expectancy, adult mortality, unemployment, stroke, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, hypertensive heart disease and female mortality due to breast cancer, in the document published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations titled "Dietary changes and the health transition in South Africa: implications for health policy."
Read about the continuing horrible oppression in South Africa here.