What is in a name, unpacking the construct?
Friedrich Nietzsche reminds us “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth, because they don’t want their illusions destroyed”. I thought of this poignant summation of why people refuse to engage what is not in their interest to engage, when I heard Trevor Manuel unequivocally denying the existence of any claim of white-monopoly-capital.
Manuel the longest serving Finance Minister last night at an engagement dared to say there is no such thing as white monopoly capital he reduced it to be the invention of a public relations company Bell Potting. Manuel was hardly the first to arrive at this dismissive conclusion so he cannot get the credit for originality since he is merely re-echoing from the comfort of his Rothschild’s captured position this untruth. For the record, Manuel would know that white monopoly capital existed long before a Bell Pottinger, hence we are not that easily hoodwinked into believing the beneficiaries of that very white monopoly capital regardless in what colour they may come.
White-monopoly-capital is a construct no different to others – it’s perhaps time we unpack the construct. At an elementary level, which is perhaps where we must start if we to do justice to understand the construct, consists of three nouns that also may be used as adjectives, white – monopoly- capital.
I will henceforth attempt to deconstruct the term in its components, forgive me that I spent a little more time on the monopoly immanent in land aspect.
THE WHITE NOTION
White at a basic level refers to a colour no different to others. White at a scientific level is un-refracted light. However those who regard themselves much more than a colour but an identity, from Eurocentric origin, assume white within the historical trajectory of the human race distinct from others in measurement of supremacy. James Baldwin the American essayist and social critic reminded us decades ago “there are no white people, only those who think they are white”.
White therefore as a construct and identity is a living reality the world over as functional in expression of supremacy, which suggests dominance therefore control. Therefore to deny that white identity in relation to its historical and prevailing context is to be consciously oblivious to that reality.
Trevor Manuel the child from Kensington on the Cape Flats’ life defined in claim of liberation struggle was because there existed a white identity in SA that implemented a heretic system of apartheid that declared Manuel and his family Coloured. In resistance to that he as adolescent of his time was influenced by black consciousness and he therefore adopted a black identity in resistance to that white supremacist notion. He may in this season like many others have a rethink of that adopted black identity.
His adoption of that black identity was in full acceptance that there is a socially constructed white identity, a white being that thrives on a claim of a false nonetheless superiority therefore oppressing others whom they regarded as less of human. Subjugating and debasing their rights in denial of their full humanity therefore denying them their legitimate and rightful agency, the same they comfortably and rightly claim for themselves.
Hence Manuel cannot in 2017 out of the comfort of his personal economic fortune and class disposition in association with those who defined that white identity in convenience attempt this disingenuous venture to deny the white identity he as per record fought against.
MONOPOLY (defined in land ownership)
This brings us to the next word monopoly the second word in the construct. Webster’s dictionary defines a monopoly beside the game we play as “the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service”.
The history of South Africa attests that of a monopoly, the fundamental assets immanent in land and therefore economy is the epicentre of that monopoly claim.
The education of South Africa two decades into democracy confirms the reality of a monopoly. At tertiary level this is evident in both designations senior academic staff and content for curricula. The South African student today still studies information and knowledge as curricula that confirm a monopoly of a virulent Eurocentric 500 years of control and dominance.
Therefore when the students of this generation call for a decolonized education it is more than just free education it about the reality that education in all its facets remains colonized and therefore still monopolized.
The fundamental asset of any nation is land. Land is and remains owned by the same white identity that subjugated others they found here. We know that no ship contained land when they arrived here be it the Portuguese in 1483 that attempted the first project of colonialisation who met our forebears that fought them gallantly into defeat. The Dutch in 1652, the French Huguenots in 1671, the British 1820 never brought no land. They came to dispossess as Europeans the southland of Africa for their group trade interest.
The extent of the white identity of European descent is wealth defined in land. When we talk of land it’s not just land surface but land that contains minerals, whilst some may argue the State since 2002 owns all mining rights, the reality is before we arrived at this the identity of white in supremacy of being possessed and owned this land, all that goes with and this apartheid based economy. The current reality of land ownership confirms that over 83% of the land is still controlled by 12% of the population and that percentage carry the denotation of white for their human agency.
A quick review of how the idea of nationality on the part of the Afrikaans speaking whites took form and became rooted confirms the centrality of the advancement of capitalism in South Africa in the interpretation and defining of a claim of being a nation on the part of the Afrikaans speaking whites.
Motala and Vally, in their reflection of Neville Alexander’s epistemology on the Unresolved National Question help us appreciate, how for Alexander the National Party’s theory and reasoning for nationality was informed by their struggle for hegemony against the backdrop of the post-war development of capitalism in South Africa. They advance it was the developing interests of among the Afrikaans speaking (white) population in South Africa that gave rise to their sense of nationality predicated on their common language.
Alexander asserted the overall intensions of the Bantustan strategy on the part of the Afrikaans speaking whites shows definite direct linkages to the growth and development of capitalism in South Africa. The Bantustans were crucial for forcing labour into the emerging industrial, agricultural, and commercial economy. More significant was the fact that it became the base for the presence of legislation of various land acts that necessarily and consciously limited land access for the majority of the population nor excluding laws that controlled the movement of and supply of black labour and restraining its resistance to exploitative and oppressive conditions. Manuel this is the control of land and economy therefore monopolizing.
Let us also not forget that the Progressive Federal Party the progenitor of the current DA had an orientation of South Africa as made of a plurality of groups. They had a challenge with the Bantustan strategy of the Afrikaners and consider it a Trojan horse danger to the growth of capitalism.
When we therefore assert a monopoly it is against this historical but still prevailing reality of how the identity of white monopolized every dimension that defines society, they did so for personal self-serving survival and self-interest of supremacy.
We refer to the economy as apartheid based because the economy was designed around and for the prevailing interest of those who consider themselves white and therefore supreme. Everything that defines life and space in the sphere of mobility for anyone outside the frame of white was determined by the monopolized control of those for whom the economy was designed.
It is in the light of that reality of monopolized dominance that policies like BEE, BBEEE Employment Equity etc., came to see the light. Granted these have their own anomalies and contradictions yet it remains a serious attempt at dislodging that monopoly.
Clearly these could not have come about as dreamt up in a vacuum Mr. Manuel.
It intended to contend with the disparities and dualities of that monopoly. Every sector that defines the SA economy till today reflects this monopoly. Twenty-Three years on the JSE reflects the reality of that dominance in monopoly.
Despite the thin slice of black ownership immanent in a contested 19-23% of the JSE, that confirms a buffer zone the economy of SA is monopolized in white control and ownership. Trevor was part of the ANC that attempted to break this monopoly. He in his mandated roles and functionary assignment advocated against this known monopoly of everything that defined life in SA be it sectors like the financial sector, mining, manufacturing, industrials, property ownership, education etc.
For Manuel today to argue that the South African society is not monopolized is to either hear someone who has betrayed his own ideals and is backslidden from what he was known to fight against. On another level Manuel cannot argue that the mere dawn of democracy obliterated all of the deep-seated and entrenched synapsis of carefully constructed and weaved architecture of segregation and apartheid. The fact that we had done away with over 670 pieces of legislation that defined apartheid as an intricate system of oppression does not automatically mean we have dealt with the challenge of white monopoly.
This brings us to the last word that makes up the construct, namely capital. Capital is defined as “wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization or available for a purpose such as starting a company or investing”.
The centred efforts of all forms of colonialism was always dispossession of the indigenous people, it was always about robbing those who owned with the aim of translating that into capital. South Africa therefore as a country fits the profile of a country that successfully served the interest of white monopoly and the ultimate product of that white identity that sought to monopolize everything that remotely was defined in its capitalist interest.
The ultimate aim was capital, wealth of assets owned by white individuals and the group that sees themselves as white. That capital today is measurable in the land, and every sphere of what constitute an economy as the JSE and other indexes show.
WHAT MANUEL KNOWS BUT TODAY DENIES !
· Manuel knows that all if not the finest wine farms where he had his second marriage consummated to the new love of his life is controlled by that same white identity that have monopolized and therefore own today.
· Manuel knows the University of Stellenbosch where he serves, as chancellor is the bastion of white interest. His presence there does not alter that not in the least. No different to the few black academics who through gate keeping made it for they spell no threat to the remaining status quo of white establishment. That same institution that sent Professor Russel Botman to his early grave.
· Manuel knows that the vast tracks of land, that defines the arid Karoo land or the pristine coastlines that defines a SA from the warm Indian Ocean to the cold Atlantic is owned by that same white identity that long ago have monopolized land as earlier alluded to.
· Manuel knows that the game farms where he may have hunting expeditions are exclusively owned by that white identity confirming the monopoly.
· Manuel knows that the banks in South Africa regardless of a white approved thin slice of black faces remain white controlled, owned, and managed at a critical level.
· Manuel knows that the media was for a long time controlled in monopolized ownership by that same white identity. Manuel knows that the construction companies that define the construction economy the same who colluded to rob government in the erection of sports infrastructure for the 210 World-Cup confirms attests this white dominance.
· Manuel knows that rugby a sport he loves is still white controlled as abnormal in a society of black majority hence his defiant support for the All Blacks New Zealand rugby team.
· Manuel knows that the high-heeled fully capitalized new pseudo civil society formations like SAVE – SA with its explicit political agenda of removing it a president is controlled by the benevolence of white wealth.
So Manuel with his new doctrine on capital denies there exists a white identity that has monopolized the economy, and controls the vestiges of what makes up a South Africa in landmass.
It is amazing what being associated with the Rothschild Family the USA bastion of white monopoly capital does to a former activist. They first render you a black diamond (the ultimate insult of the black identity) then they pummel you with resources and access. Finally you speak for them and repeat their claims in stark contrast to your upbringing and fight for the factory workers of the Cape Flats.
Yes, one who purely by accident became very important in a sphere of financial management and economy for which he was not remotely qualified?
I am on record for categorically asserting Trevor Manuel rose to be in Mandela’s racially inclusive Government of National Unity (GNU) cabinet thanks to the false notion of a Coloured identity, no different to the Tricameral leaders of Allan Hendrickse in the apartheid system. An identity that remains a Trojan horse in democracy that attests an easily discardable notion when its purpose has served. He owes his political and now economic success to that social constructionism of a Coloured identity no matter how he may protest. It was his visa to fly in the now retired Concorde.
Manuel who is today the Africa-face and voice of that same colonial, white monopoly capital have the audacity to lecture us from the comfort of his exceptional wealth, that there is no case for a claim of white monopoly capital.
Permit me to borrow from Mandela, when he in 1962 in the Rivonia Trial engaged a witness Mr. Moolla, his exact words perhaps today more poignant, “Well, Mr. Moolla, I want to leave it at that, but just to say that you have lost your soul.”
I am tempted to say well Mr. Manuel, you have lost your soul, to defend today an untransformed economy in which you and those who share close ties like a super-wealthy Cheryl Carolus are today gross beneficiaries and make part of the buffer zone that arrogantly can tell the poor and those of us who like them hail from the same Cape Flats who are yet to benefit like you, that there exists no white-monopoly- capital, when you in the same breath categorically claim “state capture” is real.
You will not tell us who coined state capture, I will tell you who coined it was white monopoly capital that gave us this yet to be unpacked construct.
You Mr. Manuel have come a long way from the activist that sported a receding hairline, that bearded yellow UDF T-shirt, beltless -jeans and hush puppies cadre who addressed us in the mid – eighties in places like Spinedale High in Mitchell’s Plain. You have made the transition with ease and now pontificate in the ears of the people of the Cape Flats that there is no white monopoly capital.
You are the signpost of the presence of that very white monopoly capital; no one more defines that than you Trevor Manuel. So if you would ever have to admit its existence you would have admit it made you.
There are of course those who argue Manuel is doing just enough to get white monopoly capital to extend him the loan for his acquisition of the
Barclays share in ABSA. Be that as it may, I simply have no view on that.
In the end Trevor Manuel is playing his crafted and designated role for which he was recruited as the proverbial ruse if not Trojan horse of Colouredism, a functionary role in a much bigger picture that is not always visible for the undiscerning eye. Yet, we see Manuel in all his colorful dimensions.
(We will in a follow-up on deal with specific aspects where Manuel was actively at work during his tenure to give meaning to that white monopoly capital he today denies).
Clyde N.S. Ramalaine