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  • in reply to: Mandela dead, so what? #98770
    pgb
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    Yes, but what is the significance of this in light of the discussion on this thread?

    in reply to: Mandela dead, so what? #98765
    pgb
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    L. Bird wrote: For Communists, the concept of ‘exploitation’ plays a central part in understanding any society. You don’t seem to agree with this concept, and focus on’rights’, ‘equality’, ‘freedom’, and ‘peace’.If you are a Marxist communist, you must know that exploitation has a specifically technical meaning within Marx's LTV. It relates solely to the wagelabour -capital relationship of a capitalist economy. It is not a concept which Marx used to give expression to political oppression of the kind experienced in apartheid South Africa. Marx spoke mainly about the despotism of capital, not the despotism of the state which is what Mandela and others fought against. This really draws attention to what I believe is the fundamental weakness in your analysis of Mandela's role in S Africa, and (much more emphatically) the posts submitted on this thread by MColome1 who holds the view that all oppression begins at the point of production – a crude reduc- tionist view IMO. In Apartheid South Africa oppression began not at the point of production (that's where exploitation begins) but at the point of political authority and ideology (racism) and was so inscribed in the statute books. Holding such a reductionist view of political power obscures the reality that people often fight for political rights (eg. the right to vote, the right of political assembly etc) without there being a specific class interest at stake. On your view Mandela wasn't really fighting for political freedom of his fellow black Africans, he was instead fighting for his class interest which you assumed was the interest of rich blacks. Elsewhere you speak as if the interests of rich whites and rich blacks were the same interest. When I suggested that your class analysis was faulty, it was because of the crude reductionism I read in these views and the fact that you gave no evidence to back up your claims re the alleged class character of Mandela's politics. I am not suggesting that class analysis is inherently weak or false, quite the contrary, but its utility can only be judged by how well it explains a complex reality. I didn't find it in your arguments I'm afraid. BTW, what do you find objectionable in concepts such as rights, equality, freedom and peace? I thought most socialists/communists would endorse these concepts. They were certainly important to Mandela and the black population of South Africa.

    in reply to: Mandela dead, so what? #98762
    pgb
    Participant

    L Bird: Mandela wasn't incarcerated for trying to smash exploitative structures – he was gaoled for trying to ensure that rich blacks had the same access to those structures that rich whites had. He succeeded and is praised by bosses of all colours throughout the world for doing it.Mandela was gaoled for life on charges of sabotage and treason against an apartheid State where only the white minority enjoyed political rights. His consistent aim was to build a democratic society where blacks and whites would have equal rights and opportunities and to live in harmony. I have seen no evidence that he was dishonest (lying) when he expressed those aims (eg. in his address to the court ) even if we might in hindsight consider them romantic idealism. Are you suggesting that the real (really real) reason for his life imprisonment was that white capitalists wanted to stop the emergence of black capitalism? Mandela was not himself a capitalist nor did he have as any aspirations at all to become one, nor as far as I know did the majority of his supporters in the ANC and elsewhere. All they wanted was political equality and if they saw this as a step towards economic equality, the fact that they didn't get that in the end doesn't negate the significance of Mandela's and their struggle for political freedom where they were eventually successful. Without Mandela, apartheid in South Africa would have been around much longer and while I believe it would in time have disappeared its end would have been bloody and violent. Mandela was the main reason why this didn’t eventuate and for that he deserves great praise IMO.And who are these “bosses of all colours” you speak of who supposedly praise Mandela for giving rich blacks “the same access to the structures” as rich whites? The only bosses I know in my part of the world have praised Mandela for the same reason as ordinary workers do: he brought political rights to an oppressed minority in South Africa and did it without violence. But true, that wouldn’t be many bosses. That’s because most bosses aren’t terribly interested in South African politics and history. And I don’t think they know or even care about the economic conditions of South African capitalism today. Why should they? The whole of sub-Saharan Africa is an irrelevance to capitalists in my part of the world. There have been prominent political supporters of capitalism who have heaped praise on Mandela, chiefly PM Fraser, a Tory grazier, who has a genuine concern for human rights in Africa, and Hawke the sometime Labor PM who had the solid support of the Australian TU movement behind Mandela in his struggles against Apartheid. It is simply false to say that these bosses supported Mandela simply because it served their capitalist interests. If this is where class analysis takes you, I humbly suggest you find a new method.

    in reply to: Mandela dead, so what? #98750
    pgb
    Participant

    Mandela finished his law degree while in prison where he was locked up for 27 years.  Does this incarceration redeem him in your eyes and thus give him a sort of "moral equivalence" to all those workers of the developed world who you suggest don't have the same opportunity as Mandela had to become lawyers (not true BTW in my part of the world)?  And what are these "ill-gotten gains" you refer to?  And what "class" are you referring to?  He was born the son a a tribal chief (not wealthy by the standards of Whites in Apartheid South Africa).  Surely you are not suggesting he was a paid up member of a black bourgeoisie!

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