Revolutionary Speaking – President’s Weekly Column – Volume 1 Issue 8

Vol 1: Issue 8
25 November 2022
As can be expected, the saying “money talks” is attributed to a European in the name of the Greek Euripides about 2500 years ago.  “Money is far more persuasive than logical arguments”, he added.  Oh well, Euripides was a playwright who was a tragedian.  That means he specialised in writing or performing tragedies.
The tragic expression “money talks” rules the present world that is dominated by capitalism and imperialism with their Western origins and ideologies. The Merriam-Webster lexicon suggests that the idiom is “used to say that money has a strong influence on people’s actions and decisions”.  However, it has to be added that this makes sense in the monetised global economy.
In the pre-democracy era, money was not a decisive factor in the liberation struggle.  Self-reliance and volunteering were sacrosanct principles and values during that time.  That was to the extent that the political activists were prepared to contribute to the liberation struggle with their own lives.  To die with your boots on was an honour for the political activists.  On the other hand, the masses made their homes, food and resources freely available to the freedom fighters without any cost or expectation to be refunded.  They did not even care to know the specific identity of those political activists, nor did they expect to be acknowledged because that had its own dangers.
Fast-forward to the era of electoral democracy post-1994.  Things have changed.  The masses have been demobilised and immobilised, while the political activists have degenerated into political careerists and mercenaries.  Political ideology is no longer a strong consideration for political activists (now called politicians) to determine their political association.  The political party that can splash out resources is where the politician is attracted towards.  It matters very little if it is a party of devils or anti-Black forces.  Money talks.  That is why politicians can hop from a Black Consciousness or Pan Afrikanist political base to the DA or FF+.
Like religion, politics has degenerated into a money-making scheme in the South African electoral politics.  The mushrooming of political parties is based not on political or ideological mission, but on the personality of the leader who is out to access the Parliamentary resources and the clout or prestige that politics can bring to the individual in the era of electoral democracy – or neocolonial dispensation, to be blunt.  The situation was a bit more dangerous under the white settler-colonial setup.  Rather than money and prestige, it was suffering and death that visited the political activist.  The lucrativeness of the political enterprise has brought about a fragmentation and proliferation phenomenon whereby careerist leaders desert their money-making political parties and form new ones if the spotlight and resources never come to them in the manner they covet.
Unfortunately, there is not much a political party can do without the mercy of donors and philanthropists.  Do not crack your skull and try and understand what is meant by donors and philanthropists.  Those are euphemisms for the capitalists or bourgeoisie, which are in turn other euphemisms for the ruling class.  By virtue of the enduring nature of colonialism and white racism which metamorphose into coloniality and institutional racism in the new era of electoral democracy, the ruling class stubbornly and blatantly retains its whiteness.
It is therefore the donors that decide which political parties will be the forces to be reckoned with in the context of their constitutional democracy.  If a political organisation talks about land, liberation and socialism, it will not receive a cent from the donors.  Radical liberation movements like AZAPO will be left high and dry and with no resources to patronise the people; or the voters, to be exact.  The media, which is owned and controlled by the donors, will not tolerate, or publish any extreme ideas that seek to change the status quo.  In that regard, the people or the voters will be left with nothing from which to choose other than the donor-funded political parties.
In accordance with the Political Party Funding Act, the IEC has so far issued three quarterly Party Funding Disclosure Reports on 9 September 2021, 18 November 2021 and 22 February 2022.  Because political parties have perfected the art of hiding money, these disclosures are not an entirely true reflection of money received by these political parties from the donors.  There are also resources that always escape the measuring instruments.  These are the resources enjoyed by the ruling party because of incumbency.  However, the February 2022 disclosure tells us that a total of R46 036 589.97 was disclosed by the political parties for the third quarter.  A new and unrepresented-in-Parliament ActionSA declared R5 072 348.50, while the ANC and DA disclosed R22 803 969.00 and R12 519 623.47, respectively.  The EFF declared R3 148 176.00.  Mind you, these are off-election disclosures.
How much do you think AZAPO can disclose?  Zilch, because it receives nothing from the donors.  Even some sympathetic Black business finds it difficult to drop anything in the direction of AZAPO because they fund those that have the capacity to award them tenders.  That is the terrain of kickbacks.  This is how you end up seeing erstwhile radical liberation movements being completely ideologically unrecognisable.  They are forced to start learning to speak with a liberal twang or face the undesirable prospect of vanishing from the political radar of electoral democracy.
Consider that to be elected as the leader of the ANC you need in excess of R1 billion from the same donor monopoly.  In this political dispensation, a political party has to pay its members to campaign, put up posters or attend political rallies.  For a stadium rally you need a donor to pay for buses all over the country.  The rented members must also be clothed in terms of Golf-Shirts, caps, tracksuits and bags.  They must also be fed on the road and at the stadium.  Out of the window, went the principles and values of self-reliance and volunteerism.  You see just why it is difficult for organisations like AZAPO to manouevre in the closed and suffocated democratic space.  The new political entrants that are politically flexible to speak the language of the donors quickly fly past AZAPO even before they are born!
That is why the organisations of the left need to come together and devise effective strategies to remain afloat in the politics of the day.  There is no other political space.  The radical Left must work together and see how best they can tilt the political scales.  There are political precedents in history.  If somebody says there are none, we have to set the precedent for history and make liberatory politics speak in the deaf electoral democracy.