The DA plan to march against Zuma today in Joburg. From what I can gage it doesn’t look like many people will be demonstrating. I do not know with any certainty, not being in the country, but it does feel like Zuma is recovering his position. Just what hold he has on the ANC and whether they will act after the election to remove him or not is impossible to tell at the moment.
I think the only hope there is, is that Zuma might be removed if the ANC loses over 5-7% of their majority. This will all depend on whether those in the metropolitan areas, who usually vote ANC, can bear to vote for anybody else or stay away from the polls. Post 1999 I have been voting for all kinds of parties from the DP to AZAPO to the UDM. Of all of these I feel most satisfied with the UDM, but it is remarkable that no proper social democratic party has managed to establish itself in opposition to the ANC. I have been waiting, for many years now, in the hope that the ANC would return to a party I could vote for, but I think that ship has now sailed. I am simply not sure whether I could ever look at those colours and feel happy about putting a cross next to them.
But what hope does this leave us with? What worries me is that the only position is to continually put a cross next to a party that one has no belief in. In saying this though I think that party democracy around the world has failed – I doubt there is any party in the world that one could vote for with any real sense that they would act in good faith. Interestingly Simone Weil in one of her proposals to de Gaulle, about how France should be structured after the war, was for France to abandon the party system. But how would we ever reach such a position? One simply can’t imagine a democratic world without the party system. I think one of the reasons for this is precisely this. A failure to imagine. One of the reasons for this is obvious. Our institutions have become too intrenched in the dogma that is referred to as neo-liberal, although it is neither new nor liberal.
Neo-liberalism is simply the dogma of the technocrats who have convince themselves and their class about the supposed ‘science’ of capitalism. Convinced themselves of ideas like fair competition, free markets, rational self-interest and ‘trickle down’, all of which are ideals as fanciful as dialectic materialism. We live in a world of monopolies, market protection, and vast unemployment and inequality, in a world of political corruption and corporate interference in politics (state capture). And yet there are still people who believe that this system is ultimately the right one. Or at least they believe that it is the best of all the bad systems. I think they are wrong. As Tony Judt argued in Ill Fares the Land the European social democracy of the post-war period was far more equitable than what we are confronted with now. That is to say we are not stuck, we have at least some proof that things could be better. But it will all depend on whether ‘the haves’ are willing to share some of what they have secretly stashed away. And whether they are willing to stop their political manipulation of political parties. And whether political parties are willing to divest themselves of the powers they enjoy. But that is in real terms unimaginable.