COMMENTATORS everywhere reserve their choicest admonitions for the state’s encroachment on freedom, and the member (of the Upper Jukskei Flyfishing Collective) happily joins the kerfuffle over political change; our state, especially, is a splendid target.
First, it is a sitting duck. It never budges from its position, no matter how lunatic its expectations of attaining a different outcome by repeating with extra vigour its proven folly. Even shallow flyfishing hacks find it difficult to avoid the mark. Second, the state is a default target, since it would be inappropriate to lambaste SA’s long-suffering society whose members are doing their best just to get through each day made miserable with parsimony and crime and abuse and the prospect of a hopeless, featureless future. It is the default target because it owns the means of coercion.
You may argue that the state is not the government, but in SA you would be wrong. The idea that the state is a constant constitutional entity populated by a succession of government officials for the purpose of applying policy is just that: an idea. In SA, Max Weber’s somewhat optimistic view does not account for the self-perpetuating coercive class created by the African National Congress (ANC) government. Karl Marx railed against the hereditary succession of the coercive class, but as an instrument of oppression it is no different from the abuses of corruption and nepotism in methodology, purpose and outcome.
Perhaps its perpetuation is a good thing. In Marxist revolutionary terms it could mean the ANC suckles the device of its own destruction. Perhaps critics should stop urging volte face, but rather encourage the party in its endeavours of doom.
Nevertheless, the ANC/government/state is our enemy and it must go. Not in due course, or when the time comes, but right now, overnight.
Perhaps not. Since we already know the ANC is not fit to govern, further proof of its folly will not shame it into capitulation. Most likely our bunch of bullies and toadies will make an even greater effort at what they do, limited as it is, and implode in good time, but that would be a pyrrhic victory. Radicalism and revolution drain wealth, and wealth is what we mean to preserve and grow.
Nevertheless, the ANC/government/state is our enemy and it must go. Not in due course, or when the time comes, but right now, overnight. It is not enough that we are prepared to take responsibility for our circumstances, and that we are accountable for our actions, even when the ANC/government/state is not.
The member proposes another way. Consider that the ANC/government/state survives only because a great number of people are co-opted into its hegemony, either as employees and consultants or as contractors and as beneficiaries of any of the myriad instances of arbitrary largesse. Now consider what could happen if we were to give up all of that.
Consider what could happen if we were to widen private security provision to include an even greater number of communities and if we were to educate a growing number of our children privately in low-fee co-operative institutions and if we were to construct privately managed healthcare funds that would include a greater range of income groups. Consider what could happen if we were to do the ruling elite’s work for them in every sector of the economy.
It would not necessarily loosen the ANC/government/state’s grip on sovereignty, but it would certainly advance our feeble expressions of dissatisfaction from protest to resistance without anyone having to do anything violent or illegal.
Ideally, it would render the state’s interference in the economy irrelevant, but most importantly, each of us will be able to reclaim a bit of our freedom to take responsibility for our own lives. That, more than anything else, is the purpose of political change.