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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > Nuusbrief: Vrye Woord

Die ANC se aanslag op skrif – 21/10/2010: Die mitiese ANC nou ’n malêmarige monster


Breyten Breytenbach - 2010-10-21

Die mitiese ANC nou ’n malêmarige monster

Breyten Breytenbach

In die nuusbrief is daar al berig oor die vervaging van grense tussen die ANC as party, die staat en die regering. Die opskrif van die nuusbrief stel dit duidelik dat dit die ANC se aanslag op skrif is omdat hulle besluit wat sal gebeur. Hier is Breyten Breytenbach se opsomming van die huidige stand van sake.

Waaroor dit op hierdie punt gaan, is dat die ANC-Bond, ten spyte van interne slordigheid, hulle gewaande historiese legitimiteit en meerderheidsmomentum nogal goed gebruik om die bemiddelde regstaat af te takel en te vervang met die Partystaat as implementering van die sg tweede fase van die Nasionale Demokratiese Revolusie. (Dit het byna niks te doen met die doelstellings van weleer of selfs met vroeëre ideologiese begrippe nie; die mitiese ANC het sienderoë ontaard in 'n malêmarige monster.)

Hierdie verskuiwing (ek weet nie of mens dit 'n “beweging” kan noem nie) het belangrike implikasies op alle gebiede – die grond, besitreg, vryheid van mening en spraak, nasionale identiteit, nasionale beleid betreffende minderhede ... Dis tog hoekom ons protesteer en weerstand wil bied en alternatiewe wil ondersteun.

Ek wil aanvaar dat die beweegredes nie vir almal dieselfde is nie. In my geval (maar dis onbelangrik) is dit dat die ANC juis nié gelykheid en ekonomiese regverdigheid en menswaardigheid bemagtig of bemiddel of selfs bevorder nie. Wat nog te sê van die hegemoniese onnoselheid wat dit vir hulle onmoontlik maak om die rykdom in diversiteit (streek, taal, kultuur, selfs klimaat) te (h)erken en benut! Maar eweneens was hierdie strewe in die praktyk ook nooit deel van die Afrikaner-establishment se etos nie. En dat brute geldelike oorwegings die vroeëre nasionalistiese projek vervang het, verander niks aan die saak nie. 

 

Die petisie vir spraakvryheid kry steeds meer steun

In ’n verklaring het Nadine Gordimer pas gesê dat die petisie wat sy en André P Brink opgestel het, steeds meer steun uit baie lande kry. Onder die belangrikste ondertekenaars tel hooggeplaastes van die Sweedse Akademie en Per Wastberg, president van die Nobelprys-komitee.

Skrywers het ook steun teenoor Gordimer uitgespreek tydens die internasionale boekefees wat in September in Gotenburg, Swede, gehou is. Sy het die petisieverklaring daar voorgelees.

Breyten Breytenbach berig oor sy pas afgelope besoek aan die Amerikaanse Weskus, “waar die toetrek van meningsuiting in Suid-Afrika, die petisie en die daaropvolgende Vrye Woord herhaaldelik onder bespreking gekom het – voor universiteitsgehore, tydens radio-onderhoude, ens – en ek bring groete van Ngugi wa Thiongo. Volgende week is ek in Maastricht - uitgenooi soontoe deur 'n plaaslike stigting wat poësiefeeste organiseer onder leiding van Hans van de Waarsenburg, 'n invloedryke oudstryder, en met mense soos Michael Krüger uit Duitsland en Pura Lopez uit Meksiko. Daar sal ek seker probeer om die Vrye Woord-vuvuzela te blaas.” Breytenbach voel dit is belangrik vir Vrye Woord “dat dit duidelik bly dat ons oor ideologiese en ander grense heen werk wanneer dit gaan oor kernbesware”.

CM

 

The anti-democratic phobia of our liberals

Jeremy Cronin

20 October 2010

Jeremy Cronin questions why the ANC/SACP has been tarred as an enemy of press freedom

Here are some relevant paragraphs from his article. Read the entire article on Politicsweb: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb
/en/page72308?oid=206016&sn=Marketingweb+detail&pid=90389

Over the past months, a range of liberal personalities and formations have networked together and persuaded themselves and all who care to listen that the ANC and SACP are bent on undermining press freedom as part of a general offensive against our democratic Constitution. The DA and their Dependent-Independent Democrats, both COPEs, the IFP's Ambrosini, the FW De Klerk Foundation, various academics, and an assortment of newspaper editors have all joined the fray.

Some left-leaning NGOs and social movements have also been swept up into what is, fundamentally, a conservative anti-majoritarian liberal agenda. We have even had the ambassador of the US (the land of the embedded journalist) lecturing us on "media freedom".

Yes, there are rogue elements within our broader movement, and particularly within the ANCYL, who have shown scant regard for media freedom, or any other constitutional or legal nicety. They and others who lurk behind them may well want to censor the media and subvert our Constitution.

But notice how it is precisely these demagogic forces (or at least the most prominent amongst them) whose sense of self-importance gets to be constantly stroked by headline treatment in the media. The print media in particular has a love-hate obsession with them. The more they insult journalists (and everyone else - including the President of the ANC, the SACP and COSATU), the more coverage they enjoy.

In many respects, these forces are, at least to a considerable extent, a media creation. If you had read newspapers in the run-up to the ANC's September National General Council, for instance, you would have had the impression that ANCYL personalities were going to pose a serious challenge to the incumbent ANC leadership. Very few newspapers in South Africa predicted that this clique would be utterly marginalised and roundly condemned by the overwhelming majority of ANC NGC branch delegates. And after the NGC, who set about refloating these forces once more? The media, of course.
So what is the media up to? Partly it is the narrow commercial imperative of presenting the news and particularly politics as a shallow spectacle, a daily melodrama. Serious political analysis and debate are marginalised.

Sometimes, the flirtation in the media with right-wing demagogy in our movement has features that are ominously reminiscent of liberal flirtations with the buffoonery of an incubating Nazism in the early 1930s. Back then it was a tragic flirtation driven by the delusion that a still small fascist right-wing was a useful counter-balance to what had been a powerful social-democratic and communist left in Germany.
(. . .)
And so we have an ongoing symbiotic relationship between liberal journalism on the one hand, and right-wing demagogic populism, on the other. The populists are high on media attention which goads and flatters them into increasingly outrageous behaviour. Media commentators then like to conflate this right-wing demagogy with the ANC-led movement in general and by this sleight of hand the media presents itself as the last bastion of defence of our threatened Constitution against an anti-democratic, demagogic assault for which, in fact, it is acting as a megaphone.
(. . .)
In power, however, bureaucratic authoritarianism often swallowed up the revolutionary and democratic impulses (and even cadres) of an earlier period. That is why it is so important that the left, especially the communist left, should be in the forefront of defending a strong constitution that safeguards individual and collective rights, and that entrenches effective checks and balances on the state. There is nothing inherently "liberal" or "anti-left" about this.

However, and this is where the left begins to part ways with liberals, we also need to check, balance and transform other forms of concentrated power that can subvert democracy and development. Notice how in the debate around press freedom, liberal voices have had a great deal to say about the state and the ruling party, while being largely silent about the massive market (and therefore ideological) power of the three capitalist conglomerates that dominate the print media.

The one is an apartheid-era corporate construct suckled on Afrikaner croney-capitalism, another is controlled by Irish media tycoons, and the third has as its major shareholder the embodiment of BEE mining money. We sometimes speak of the media as "the fourth estate", but the dominant print media institutions in our society are very much part of a ruling "first estate". In the present media debate, the recurrent message is: "The ANC government wants to take away your right to know." The message sets up a paradigm of a big, nasty government, on the one hand, and 48 million individual citizens, on the other. In this liberal fairy story, a supposedly benign print media is guided by the purest intentions of bringing the truth to these millions of individuals.
(. . .)
With COPE imploding, the anti-majoritarian liberal agenda on the party-political front is once more back to square one. This is why, over the past months, in their unceasing offensive against the consolidation of democratic majority power, we have seen these liberal forces shifting their focus to an alternative terrain - building a civil society front "in defence of media freedom and the Constitution". In meeting this challenge, we on the left must not be clumsy. Above all, we should not be half-hearted in defending the Constitution - the actual Constitution, that is. It is a Constitution that carries a profound message of liberatory transformation that goes way beyond the narrow confines of 19th-century liberalism.

Asikhulume!

Jeremy Cronin is deputy general secretary of the SACP. This article first appeared in the Party's online newsletter, Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No 20, 20 October 2010.