Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive (mental) dissonance (conflict). And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize (justify), ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” – Frantz Fanon
Frantz Fanon was one of the greatest psychiatrists, political philosopher and a revolutionary thought leader. We reflect briefly on his profound (deep) statement because of the psychological damage our People suffered and continue to suffer up to this day. In the current context, the suffering is now mostly self-inflicted and in automatic mode, some would say in self-destructive mode. We self-inflict because of our stubbornness to organize ourselves as a unit. It is our understanding that the mental conflict within the Classified Coloured People is so serious, that when you try to educate them regarding the genocide (killing or slaughter) of our ancestors (families), those who lived on the entire land called South Africa, they simply try to reason it away or ignore it totally. They will explain their European lineage and those who are looking for economic opportunities will tell you about their Bantu-Nguni/Ngoni descendancy, and there is nothing wrong with self-determination or self-identification, it’s your constitutional right.
Our best attempts to get our People to talk about Economics or Finances almost always create an immediate mental blockage and almost all cannot engage in a ‘sustained discussion’ as far as economics (fiscal) or money is concerned. It is like a short-circuit in the brain. It generates or produces an automatic audible silence. If we don’t quickly change the subject, the discussion dies a quick death. That phenomenon speaks of the success of our People’s lynching (the act of killing someone without a legal trial) and the triumph of colonialism, apartheid and now the democratic seasons’ conquest over our people. It is a dark, dejected (sad), and miserable reality! Perhaps, we must admit, the assumption that ‘Our People’ means every Classified Coloured automatically subscribes to our endeavors, is equally highly problematic and way too presumptuous (arrogant or audacious). So, ‘Our People’ will generally mean those who are willing to take the journey of discovery with us and ready to help us develop sober responses to the myriad of contesting ideas, philosophies, or perspectives. After all our research and development, we must offer People who are Classified as Coloured substantive information to process and make informed decisions, we as IFNASA so undertake.
As the Classified Coloured People, the stark (blunt) social development exclusion, the contrast, and contradictions as far as the economic darkness is concerned, there seems to be no end in sight. Talking about religion energetically ignites massive interest and our People are able to quote scriptures from the Bible and Quran verbatim (exact or literal), meaning word for word and line upon line. We are not against the People’s spirituality or their personal convictions, but when your personal lives do not line-up materially with what the spiritual dogma (belief) says, clearly there is a problem or is there? Economics and finances regulate our daily living and livelihoods, there are no ‘sensible’ discussions if we cannot engage in a ‘sustained discussion’ on finances and economics. We have to grow out of the religious and social laager and the cocoon mentality, it’s hurting our potency (power) and potential.
So, we at IFNASA are wrapping up the first quarter of an exciting information season of our yearlong programs. This first quarter was wholly dedicated to economics, finances, and the reason why we should own the means of production. It does not mean that we will not be engaging in economic or financial discussions the rest of the year, we will continue under our new innovative business platform.
So, getting into these final few days of the first quarter, it’s important that we continue with asking the question: ‘Why Classified Coloured People Need to Own Our Economy? When we read the newspaper headlines like: “South African economy contracts 7% in 2020 amid Covid-19 slump” – Mail and Guardian 9th March 2021 and “Oil demand to reach record by 2026” – News24 18th March 2021, it is obvious that without an economic base, as a community collective, we are sentenced to perpetual (everlasting) poverty. All the economic signs are indicating that we are on a slippery slope and there seem to be no rescue lifeboats, as the Economic Titanic steadily reaches the mountain of total financial destruction. The country needs to urgently find a ‘New Economic Trajectory (NET)’ if we are going to navigate the stubborn economic subsidence (sinking or collapsing).
If we are going to develop our own economy in an intimidating economic environment, examining the Russian revolution always makes for interesting intellectual feasting. The current conditions in South Africa mirror those within the Soviet Union around 1917. Immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 (Russia), Vladimir Lenin and his party found themselves considering what would be suitable and proper for Russia’s economy which, at the time, was suffering from serious social challenges. Before the Revolution, there were basically only three classes of people: Peasants (laborers), Nobles (upper class or aristocrats), and Romanovs (highest-ranking). Although certain reforms had been made, the peasants were still treated poorly and taken advantage of by the nobles, a case in point in present-day South Africa. At the same time, World War One was taking place which not only negatively affected Russia’s economy but also had a great effect on Russian society as well. If we consider our current context, it’s clear that World War Three has taken a different form and shape. Wars have taken a new twist and it will not be fought in the conventional (predictable) manner, where big armor and massive tanks bomb up cities and enemies. The new wars are now much more sophisticated and technology has already been deployed to eliminate opponents across the world.
Curiously, when the Bolsheviks seized power, Lenin misjudged the complications within the country, not only economically but socially as well. It was within the first few months following the Revolution, all that could be changed was changed. Change in a few months, in the 1900’s, so why is it not possible today in SA? The most thought-provoking of the changes made in those first months of the Soviet Union was the ‘taking of private property from the capitalists: farmland, factories, mills, railroads, banks, and other properties with no compensation’. So, now the question on your mind is or could be, ‘Are we advocating for Nationalization?’ Meaning, are we at IFNASA supporting those who want to take the Land, Banks, etc.? Our purpose with this information is to provide a provocative analysis, which the reader must interpret for personal processing. This message will require extensive reading outside of this article, and we call on you to seriously consider the offerings and observations we make throughout the information. Generally speaking, our People struggle to read, this message is on the lengthy side, we will start to make video recordings of these discussions going into the future.
To engage our local situation or the current situation, one must appreciate that Lenin made the mistake of taking what was the current government and its people and diving right into full-blown Communism, not realizing that they all were economically unequipped for such a conversion just yet. Along with this, the unemployment rate sky-rocketed. Almost all manufacturing and retail were nationalized and peasants’ harvests were forcibly requisitioned (requested) by the state, with the idea that it would all go to the State whereupon it would be evenly distributed. Forced-labor policies were also set into place forcing both civilian and military persons to provide service to the state.
If we consider how Lenin ventured into uncalculated economic strategies, by nationalising almost everything, it becomes apparent that South Africa and especially our political parties and politicians need to intensely rack their brains in finding the appropriate macro and microeconomic mix. Like Russia, those who took over the political and administrative leadership of SA twenty-six plus years ago clearly were ill-equipped for the massive responsibility which was place in their care. It is not uncommon to hear that a government department has squandered billions or return money to the treasury because they did not have the capacity to execute. Similarly, unemployment is officially over 50% of those who are able to work and local beneficiation remains a pipedream. That means the state is happy to sell our raw materials without locally processing them so that we can create jobs. They sell off our prized-possessions because they catch the spoils personally in bank accounts abroad.
As Lenin addressed the problems, as well as the obvious solution of reversion (return) to capitalism, he talks about how the “unprecedentedly dislocated country is just barely beginning to recover, he equally also just realizing the full depth of its ruin, the suffering and the most terrible hardships-stoppage of industry, crop failures, famine, epidemics”. Eventually, the Bolsheviks came to realize that Russia was beginning to drown underneath this War Communism from a whole host of circumstances, such as famine, lack of resources, and disease due to malnutrition. What Lenin admitted was that, “We have risen to the highest and at the same time the most difficult stage of our historic struggle.” In SA, there is no consciousness amongst politicians and bureaucrats (officials) as far as inclusive economics are concerned, they are all engrossed in their individual plans to loot the coffers of the state with impunity (license). Some accuse us of not providing alternatives until they meet us and hear how we tried communicating with the state and its functionaries to no avail. Now we doing it with the People.
We need to bring the reflection and analysis on Lenin to a close. It was on April 25, 1921, that Lenin introduced what was called the ‘Tax In Kind’ policy, which would replace the “surplus-food appropriation,” or the policy which assigned a certain amount of the peasants’ produce which the State was entitled to. The produce which was collected would go directly to the State and then be distributed to the rest of the country, in order to ensure that everyone had food. Sadly, there is no political will in SA to ensure that every household has something to eat daily. This system Lenin introduced seemed effective, theoretically. However, once it was put into practice, the country soon faced a famine due to the fact that there were too many people and not enough food. The government was helpless to fix this.
As we uncover capitalism, socialism, and why it is important that as Classified Coloured People We Own Our Economy, our interest is notably with the collective establishment of enterprises and the concept or system, ‘Tax In Kind’. Should South Africa consider such a tax? The ‘Tax In Kind’ policy of Lenin, which would replace the surplus-food appropriation system with a ‘fixed tax’ (which the peasants would be informed of ahead of time), however, this was meant to ease the burdens which the War Communism program had placed on the peasants and, therefore, improve their motivation to work. As Lenin put it, “The peasants will now set to work on their farms with greater confidence and with a will, and that is the main thing.” The ‘Tax In Kind’ would not only give the peasants incentive to increase production, but it also gave them the freedom to sell what they produced on the market for profit, something that would not have been allowed under the War Communism system.
Capitalism involves private ownership of the means of production and a model of continuous profit growth. It originated in Europe as a result of the removal of people from the land, creating dependence, wage labor, and competition. Communism is the communal ownership of the means of production. Under ‘ideal’ communism, people would receive equal benefits from the work they do. Socialism involves societal ownership of the means of production, and the power of workers to make decisions about and directly benefit from their work. Colleagues, again, this message is not about our choice for or against Communism, Socialism or Capitalism, it’s about developing a consciousness about the economic world we live in and provoking you into action. Our ignorance of economics, finances, or money, generally speaking, and our refusal to learn about it is the reason why Classified Coloured People remain poor. Remember, ‘Poverty is a Choice’. What we choose to do today will determine what we experience economically tomorrow.
What has become abundantly clear throughout the discovery and research in understanding our Economic and Financial place in South Africa, is that capitalism, communism, or socialism on its own does not offer enough credence (authority) or security. As we dive into this rather complex discussion of Economics and Finances, we have to develop education centers across our communities where we almost exclusively teach and train our People, especially the youth and the kids about money. It was the European Father of Economics, Adam Smith, the Scottish Economist who said: “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” Classified Coloured South Africans, we are not excluding other ethnic groups because we want to be separate and happy alone, no, we are simply starting with us, so that we can assist the rest of the country with the colossal (huge) economic failures and the re-engineering process. It is said that charity starts at home!
An interesting African Proverb says: “However long the night, the Dawn will break.”
The People Liberate Themselves!