24 May 2019

South Africa: A Response to Ronnie Kasrils' Response to Me


In the wake of the Zuma years, it is naïve to believe it would have been possible for the SA Communist Party to run a principled but independent anti-corruption, pro-socialist electoral campaign in 2017-18 and still have an effective impact on the critical challenge of the time. That challenge was to pull the country and our hard-won constitutional democracy back from the brink upon which we were teetering in 2017 and early 2018.

In his iconoclastic but loving memoir, "My family and other communists", David Aaronvitch, son of a former leading British communist, has a telling throwaway comment. Borrowing from Sigmund Freud, he suggests that too often left-wing debate, with its passions, factions and weaponised quotations from Marx and Lenin is often really just "the narcissism of small difference".

So, for openers, let me say that there is much with which I whole-heartedly agree in Ronnie Kasrils' Response to Jeremy Cronin (Daily Maverick, 20 May 2019).

Yes, we need to transition away from a world disorder driven by profit maximisation for a tiny few. We need to struggle for societies based on human needs and environmental imperatives. Yes, in Kasrils' apt words, in our complex global and national context, socialists...

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