It was not I, but the world’s beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who once said that the Freedom Charter*, was not a blueprint for a socialist state.
He also added that “dispossession of ‘white mining kings’ and ‘land barons’ would, instead of leading to socialism, ‘open …fields for …a prosperous non-European bourgeois class’, where for the first time, the non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name … mills and factories …and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.”.
According to Temba A. Nolutshungu, erstwhile director of the Free Market Foundation, self-confessed former Black Consciousness ‘pioneer’, and compiler of a journal of pro-Market book titled Nationalization, published in 2011;
“The world’s negative experience with nationalization during subsequent decades (which, when it manifested itself, became the decisive factor that persuaded Mandela and other ANC luminaries to replace nationalization with privatization, albeit cautiously and in limited contexts.”
As Azania/South Africa and indeed the rest of Sub-Saharan Afrika remains economically exploited yet desperately un-free, I am finding myself cursing the day I ever met my socialist and Pan-Afrikanist colleagues. If it was not for these radical Black ConscioussPan Afrikanists, I would have happily swallowed everything that the Mandela’s, Ramaphosa’s and Nolutshungu’s said.
Black Consciousness gives us the analytical campus and tools that help us as Black people to navigate the anti-black world towards our particular well-being. Without Black Consciousness, I would be confused and dismayed by the whole economic outlook of this country, the Fees Must Fall, and the Zuma Must Fall campaigns would send me on a spin trying to gain some kind of understanding of why we are in the state we are in.
I would probably be a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters or worst still, the ANC, but instead I am part of a movement that seeks a radically new way of doing politics and understanding the economy. In fact we usually state that we are in politics to end politics, or even to End The World as we know it.
Before we engage with the pros and cons of socialism, capitalism and whatever middle-ground there may exist between the two ideas, let us explore what it might entail to achieve Black economic liberation in our lifetime.
The term used by my younger comrades during a seminar I recently conducted on Thomas Sankara, is Black or Afrikan Communalism. This may be an old term, possibly initiated by Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and even Biko or any pro-socialist former head of state. The essential reasoning is that we as Afrikans should make a clear break from ideologies that come from Europe as they may not be beneficial in our specific local contexts.
During this discussion on the efficacy of Sankarist methodologies, ideological framework, another young leader from the Black First Land First movement also cautioned that we must not allow ourselves to be stuck in nomenclature,a heady word that simply means we must move beyond mere labels, names or terms into a level of thinking and action that is based on what is necessary to realize a better life for the people and planet.
In other words, we need new names, new terms of engagement and re-languaging the idea of freedom…a new politics and ways of governance …