The Day After Election Day . . .

What happens? Well, things have changed since the Creator made certain confident predictions about the forthcoming election. We all have to get used to the fact that “things have changed” is invariably a code phrase meaning “things have got worse, but you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet”, alas.
There are two interesting predictions arising out of contemporary polls. One is that CoPe is not going to do as well as it hoped to do. This is, of course, an ambiguous affair. How CoPe hoped to do is not really victory in the election, which they could not have hoped for. Notwithstanding, the polls are putting CoPe at about 10%, which is well below the level at which CoPe could realistically expect to ignite a firestorm of anti-Zuma rebellion in the ANC.
Politics is about patronage. If CoPe were to push the ANC out of office in the Eastern Cape, and if it and the DA were to push the ANC (potentially) out of office in the Western Cape and threaten the ANC’s majority in the Free State and Limpopo — well, that’s all a big if, but it did not seem altogether impossible when the party started out. That, together with pushing the ANC down well below 60% (the big gain would have been pushing it below 50%, but that would be rather desperate) would raise problems for the people who have supported Zuma because they expect him to give them jobs. If in one electoral cycle the arrival of Zuma throws a lot of people out of jobs, with the prospect of wholesale collapse in the next cycle, then the inclination to dump Zuma and restore more competent and able and — perhaps — honest people to power would be quite strong.
However, if this doesn’t happen, then CoPe becomes just a big United Democratic Movement, severely internally divided and with no cohesion. In fact, CoPe appears to lack internal cohesion already, hasn’t been particularly good at developing a message (let alone at getting it out) and has made a couple of potentially serious blunders, like appointing Alan Boesak. It is also short of money (which of course is no surprise given that it has only existed for four months and for much of that time ANC pressure prevented it from campaigning). If it has only 10% and no prospect of splitting the ANC, then it is, essentially, a waste of space on the election floor.
Of course, none of this may be true. The Creator would remind you that this is all dependent on right-wing propaganda being truthful. The polls are based on rich white people’s polls, which are inevitably skewed towards the wealthy. CoPe could be, and probably is, a more completely grassroots-based movement than most parties, in which case it does not show up clearly on white ruling-class radar. This was what gave the National Party such a salutary shock in the 1980s when they discovered that, because they had abandoned the Afrikaner working-class, they were completely unaware that the Afrikaner working-class had responded by abandoning them and going to the Konserwatiewe Party instead. If CoPe is the KP of the ANC, then it might still turn out to perform better than expected. Rich parties think in terms of posters on poles, mass meetings and TV advertising, whereas real political activists should think in terms of house meetings, taxi discussions, and clumps of people milling around in T-shirts.
Still, the dearth of CoPe media may be a bad sign — when the ANC was banned it still tried to get its pamphlets out. (Incidentally, the ANC has been campaigning feverishly in CoPe areas, using CoPe techniques like motorcades, apparently trying to create the illusion, which may not be an illusion, that they are also a grassroots party.) CoPe’s leadership have also done some extremely stupid things. Forwarding the names of ANC loyalists as their candidates was dumb. Lekota backing the FF+/DA campaign to have whites who have abandoned South Africa (because of their hatred for black rule) accepted as voters in South Africa is dumb squared.
Another prediction is more interesting, and actually more reassuring (although it also weakens CoPe’s position). The Democratic Alliance appears to be doing far worse than it thought it would. This may be due to extremely incompetent campaigning — yesterday the party’s leader, Helen Zille, announced at a mass rally that it was not true that the DA was planning to do away with social grants. Well, of course they are planning to do away with social grants — that must be the long-term goal of any reactionary, anti-poor party like the DA. The whole corpus of propaganda about “Mbeki babies”, girls getting pregnant in order to get child support, which is a mass of lies copied from American anti-poor corporate propaganda — that all comes ultimately from the DA. But equally obviously, it’s not something that you want attributed to you in an election. Zille, by officially denying it, gives the accusation the stamp of authority. Plainly she’s a lot less shrewd than she seems —
Unless the DA is throwing the election. The social grants thing does not have any effect on the DA’s core constituency of whites, anti-black coloureds and anti-black indians. Maybe Zille, like Leon, is afraid of expanding the constituency too widely, bringing in blacks who might want some representation on the Federal Council and might not be docile bootsuckers like Joe Seremane. Alternatively, maybe the DA is worried that if the ANC is weakened too much, that could benefit CoPe — in other words, the DA may have realised what CoPe’s strategy is, and recognises that Zuma secure in power is better for the white ruling class than Zuma having to go cap in hand to CoPe. CoPe will not be around in 2014; the DA, as the ultimate tool of the ruling class, can afford to think long-term. Or is the Creator being paranoid?
Perhaps. This could be quite interesting. In the Western Cape, for instance, the DA essentially announced that it was going to win. If it does not win — if the ANC either squeaks in or can arrange a coalition (one suspects that CoPe would dump Boesak and sign up with the ANC quite quickly — CoPe’s rank and file are not at all interested in the DA, whatever their leaders may say). If the DA does not win the Western Cape, it will have a problem — it has promised many people jobs who will not be happy about not getting them. Zille has explained that her party’s incompetence in running Cape Town is due to their not controlling the province as well (a bad excuse, but fools believe such things). Hence her failure to take the province will imply a continued inept management in Cape Town.
It could also raise a problem because her effort to take the Western Cape, while potentially sensible, is also a way of building her power-base in the DA. When Zille fails, the Gauteng leadership — particularly Bloom, who has no empathy or sympathy for anyone except reactionary white males — will argue with their customary fraudulence that they could have taken Gauteng but for Zille. It is plausible that there could be a power-play; anyway, there will be a degree of conflict which will keep Zille’s merry folk busy for months (especially with Sandra Botha out of the picture — it is remarkable how all attractive and intelligent people in the DA gradually depart, as if a hypnotic trance has worn off).
What this would then mean would be that the 2009 problems for the ANC could be plausibly presented as a hiccup rather than as a terminal crisis. With CoPe having failed, and the DA’s challenge beaten off, and both parties in turmoil, and no other opposition parties with any prospect of success, the ANC would be more entrenched than ever, and the Zuma faction would be able to spread its control throughout the ANC, as they have been doing since Polokwane, with virtually no successful organised resistance.
What would that mean?
The ANC’s policies appear not to have changed. What has changed is how they are applied; for instance, the ANC claims to continue to support the rule of law, yet it has facilitated extremely doubtful court cases and has effectively prevented the punishment of criminals in the case of Yengeni and Shaik. It claims to support democracy, yet it gerrymanders its own elections. The increased political violence in KwaZulu/Natal is worrying, although it is nothing like the violence that province went through in 1985-95. Some of the laws pushed through by Zuma’s government since the overthrow of Mbeki do look rather worrying in terms of matters such as freedom of speech.
By the looks of things, the ANC Cabinet is going to mostly contain mediocrities. The SACP wants to establish a centre of power outside government, but dominating government, which it can control. Zuma is partly sympathetic to that, it would appear, perhaps because it would enable him to escape criticism (it’s not me, it’s those guys over there) as he has always done. Ditto the notion of increasing the number of ministries while eliminating deputy ministers — it potentially leads to greater internecine conflict and confusion of responsibility, and to an overworked Cabinet which would then be easier to control. Control seems all-important to the new people, much more important than the implementation of policies. (Actually, making promises and then breaking them seems to be the core vision of Zuma’s future government.)
As a result of this, it seems that corruption is likely to flourish even more than incompetence — indeed, the two are closely related. Zuma’s and the SACP’s sympathy with big business is well known and quite extreme. We cannot, therefore, be sure that anything will be done about the big problems of the present — particularly economic inequality. Indications are that this inequality may rise sharply under Zuma.
Meanwhile, of course, the problems to be faced by Zuma are greater than the problems faced by Mbeki. The global economic depression, together with the calamitous consequences of global warming and the depletion of resources including food — these are things which cannot be wished away. One can pretend they don’t exist, and many do just that — but they do exist. Hence, we seem to be in extremely difficult straits, with a government which is prone to lie, which is likely to be unprincipled, which is in thrall to rich people who have no real interest in drastic responses to crises, and with a virtually destroyed opposition both within the Tripartite Alliance and in the wider community.
Maybe all this is wrong. Maybe in the end Zuma will turn out to be a better person than he seems. The Creator, however, is worried that Zuma will actually be considerably worse than he seems, and that as conditions deteriorate the Zumatics will continue to change for the worse. This was why the Creator wanted someone else — almost anyone else — in charge. Unfortunately, not even the Creator can overrule the white ruling class, who are behaving like runaway rogue white elephants and are about as useful to the human race . . .

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