Don’t Quit Your Day-Job, Tim.

August 31, 2012

The DA has an economic plan. It is called the Growth and Jobs Plan. GAJP sounds less pronounceable than GEAR, but it does appear to fulfil the first two elements of that plan (Growth and Employment). Of course, we may recall that GEAR delivered very little growth and even less employment, so let’s hope that the DA is up for something better. Or is it? It’s an odd-looking document. It’s very long, so no normal person will read it for fun. However, it’s as glossy and facilely written as a pamphlet. Although it’s supposedly an economic analysis, it contains no real references and no reading list. It falls, thus, uncomfortably between a serious plan and a propaganda piece, with the unreadability of the former and the superficiality of the latter. The DA’s Chair Wilmot James, a disgusting individual illustrated in the document with a suitably vile photograph showing him sneering at his audience and gesturing dismissively, calls it the 8% Growth Plan. (He also thanks a raft of people who are not actually economists, including Mamphele Ramphela, who used not to be openly a DA supporter; meanwhile, the plan was actually written by a right-winger named Tim Harris.) It seems evident from his introduction that the focus of the Plan is not jobs, but growth. This is an immense problem. South Africa has, after all, attained growth over the last two decades, averaging over 3%, which is not bad, and attaining 5% in the later years of Mbeki’s governance, which is pretty good. Yet this growth has not generated jobs. On the contrary, employment has fallen, and even within those who are lucky enough to be employed, inequality has risen, so that, as compensation, the middle class has racked up an immense private debt which has the potential to cause gigantic financial problems. The problem is not the lack of growth, but the failure of growth to generate jobs or greater economic equality. It is, of course, possible that faster growth might create jobs. On the other hand, it might simply drive greater inequality. In any event, to focus on growth rather than the sources of economic inequality is a bit like focussing on your skin problems, and smearing on more makeup, when you are suffering from Karposi’s sarcoma as a product of AIDS; it is not only failing to address the real problem, but it is a foolish distraction from it. OK — before we dive into the mud, how would it be possible to develop economic growth at a rapid pace? Obviously, this means that vastly more goods and services have to be produced each year (or else the value of goods and services produced have to be increased by a vast amount each year). In order to do this, there has to be investment in productive activity. Money can be obtained for this by borrowing, but obviously banks will only loan money for investments which are more or less certain to provide large returns (and under present conditions, lending is extremely tight, because our banks are mostly owned by foreign banks that are technically insolvent, and have no desire to expose this fact through making bad loans). Meanwhile, if the company wishing to invest in production has a lot of money of its own, should it invest in production, or should it invest the money somewhere more profitable? Large numbers of companies prefer to do the latter. Already we have a problem. Another problem: supposing the investments are made and the plant constructed. (Let us pass over the problems of lack of materials and equipment for the plant, and the lack of qualified people to construct, maintain and operate it.) Goods and services are produced. Who’s going to buy them? South Africans, as already pointed out, have not very much spare cash and are heavily endebted in order to sustain their lifestyles. Pour out additional goods and services into a saturated market and you will have a crisis of demand. In other words, you need to expand the market by increasing the number of consumers, or by giving the existing consumers more money to boost demand. (The latter was done under the Social Grants system, and perhaps it is not coincidental that the introduction of this system led to a surge in economic growth. However, this did not last.) OK, let’s export. There are two problems with this. One is that there is a global economic crisis which is hampering exports. Another is that everybody else is also trying to export goods and services. In general, this means that there is a race to the bottom in terms of prices. At the moment, the price of goods and services generated by India and China is lower than the price of goods and services generated by most South African industries. Somehow we shall have to reduce our prices in order to compete. But the easiest way to reduce the prices is to reduce wages. Unfortunately, that will reduce domestic demand for goods and services, meaning that economic growth stalls on that front. Also unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that foreigners will buy our goods — so we could stall our domestic economic growth without boosting exports. This is a lesson for the DA: economics is not easy. However, Wilmot James says that there are tremendously clever people who have worked on the DA’s economic policy. The Creator would not trust Wilmot’s judgement, but all one can say is, they will certainly need it. Now let’s see what they are saying. In the preamble, they say that we should model ourselves on Peru and Vietnam, who have grown at 6% whereas we have grown at 3,5%. The first problem with this, is that Peru is not exactly a brilliant example of equality, although they say that it is. Evidently we can’t altogether trust the DA. The second problem is that Vietnam is a socialist state with very tight state controls over investment. The DA appears to be giving us a choice between growth with inequality via capitalism, or growth with equality via socialism. What’s it going to be, then, eh? But also, they say “Economic growth is the essential ingredient”. Well, yes. But most of the countries in the world have managed to create jobs with fairly modest growth. The United States, for instance, created jobs in the Clinton era despite having economic growth well below South Africa’s in the last decade. This focus on economic growth is thus a spurious fetish. Meanwhile: “South Africa remains a country of insiders and outsiders with Big Government, Big Unions and some anti-competitive Big Businesses on one side, and millions of ordinary of South Africans on the other” (p.9.). OK, so government, unions and business are all together? This sounds a very odd analysis to me given that unions and business are usually in opposition. Unless, of course, what is being described is a kind of social contract, like that in the Nordic countries or Germany (where there is high employment and rapid economic growth). If that exists, is it such a bad thing? Let’s see. The document says, without providing evidence, that apartheid caused inequality (which is blindingly obvious) and that the post-apartheid government has made matters worse (which is possible, but it would be nice to see some data). It then goes on to provide some rather muddled statistics about unemployment and poverty, which we need not be told, are high in South Africa. What should we do? They start by saying that state-dominated development is not on, because it leads to “regulatory failure, inefficient resource allocation, reduced innovation, reduced competition, poor corporate governance and heightened corruption”. So the method by which all states have succeeded in the past, is a failure. This is a very convenient fantasy, but it is no more than a fantasy. What they actually say they want is a capitalist road which has “many similarities with the pragmatic and successful policies pursued by countries with open, market-oriented economies such as Brazil and Mauritius, rather than the solidly statist policies of Russia and China”. Hang on. Brazil’s economic growth rate is no faster than South Africa’s. Mauritius is a tiny island running on sugar-cane and tourism. Russia is a capitalist country. China’s economic growth is driven by capitalist development (although with strong enabling forces from the state) and, by the way, this is the only one of these four countries enjoying an 8% economic growth rate. The comparisons and distinctions drawn here are pretty much comprehensively invalid and the conclusions even more so. Again: “at current growth rates, it would take South Africa 35 years to reach the per capita income levels of a developed country like Poland or Portugal. If GDP growth were to increase to 4% it would take approximately 17 years, while at 8% it would take less than a decade”. Absolutely true, and look at the state of Poland and Portugal today. Meanwhile, this says absolutely nothing about reducing unemployment and inequality, both of which are extraordinarily high in Poland and Portugal, and growing steadily. It is starting to look as if the DA’s plan is not really interested in these matters. Indeed, there follows some unsourced gee-whiz statistics derived from countries (other than China) not experiencing 8% growth rates. They then say that they support inflation targeting (i.e., keeping inflation low by raising interest rates) which is based on the idea that it is more important to control inflation than to promote economic growth. They add that they want to abolish all exchange controls (which are the tools through which all rapidly developing countries prevent the capital flight which is South Africa’s bane). They hint that they want to restrain wages and also allow prices to rise, which would necessarily depress demand. It looks as if the DA not only does not want to increase employment, it doesn’t really want growth either. What, then, is it after? More BBBEE (gosh, I thought they were opposed to crony capitalism), more state-based land reform, a better social security system, and tax cuts. Go through those with great care. The first benefits the rich. the second will almost certainly do nothing, the third might benefit the poor, the fourth benefits the rich. None of this does anything to promote equality or employment, nor does it serve economic growth. Head in hands time. It appears that the DA is simply packaging dumb ideas borrowed from the ANC as if they had anything to do with their alleged project. Then they say we need to promote competition, which will supposedly reduce prices, according to what people learn in first-year economics. More powers for the Competition Commission! But, less powers for the Ministry of Finance (that is, less “red tape”). An “environment conducive to innovation” — that is, bullshit. An “incentives-driven industrial policy” (bribing businesses to do things). And making the government free of corruption. Now, none of this will actually promote competition (indeed, bribing businesses, like BBBEE, obviously undermines competition). They also suggest that, since banks aren’t loaning money to start-up companies, the government should provide this money. That’s surely a recipe for enhancing corruption, especially since they demand deregulation — so the government should provide money to start-ups without strings attached. Gaaah! One cogent proposal: we have to spend 10% of GDP on infrastructure, specifically transport. This might be a good thing, assuming that transport is the problem (which they have not proved). On the other hand, doesn’t this mean cutting spending on everything else? Or are they proposing a massive increase in taxation to fund this? They don’t say. Then there are the power and water problems. Break up ESCOM and build more dams. OK, that’s the end of the executive summary, and that’s really all you need to know.


The Dead Republic (I): Mittelschmertz.

August 30, 2012

The United States is a fascinating source of entertainment for those with strong stomachs and capable of viewing it from a distance. Watched on television or read about over the Internet, it generates much the same psychological effect as must have been experienced by Elizabethans who crowded excitedly around the sand-pit to watch a bull being torn bloodily apart by terriers. Plus, it provides the merciful and self-satisfying illusion that one is up here rather than being down there, in the United States, amid the blood, noise and stink.

The problem with this pleasant detachment, which is extremely and increasingly evident amid even American webloggers and the few astute members of the official commentariat of that country, is that it is simply an illusion. There is no place where America cannot reach, and if they can’t blow you apart with a Hellfire they’ll get you with Goldman Sachs.

Dear old Julius Nyerere of Tanzania once remarked that Tanzanians should have the right to vote in American elections, since the media informed them more thoroughly about those elections than about the ones in their own country. He had a point. At the very least, we should be trying to find out what is going on in the United States, and if there are any chinks in their armour through which we can fit the needle-blade of a misericord.

It seems rather obvious that there are, for the United States is in a fairly bad way as a World Power. It has enormous global influence, of course; it can terrorise Syria with the best of them, and Western Europe looks instinctively to New York to decide whether the stock markets in Frankfurt or London go up or down. However, it is light-years away from the bright days of fantasy under Clinton, when it seemed to have won the Cold War and to be the unsurpassable ruler of the Free World and so on.

Let’s not forget that the Bush rampage was essentially a reaction to decline; Bush had convinced himself (with the help of a large team of like-minded imbeciles) that the Indispensible Nation was in decline because of the weak liberalism of Clinton, and that throwing a bit of weight around would resolve all the problems, especially those of international respect and financial crisis. Instead, America discovered that invading the Middle East was hard (having not learned from Israel’s fiascoes because the American neoconservatives listened to Israeli politicians rather than Israeli generals) and also discovered that in the end, lying about how rich you are doesn’t make you get any richer.

Obama has simply been trying to do the same sort of thing with far less resources, meaning less opportunity for error, and far less political support. His own party supports him only tepidly, being dimly aware of how corrupt and evil his policies are and more thoroughly aware of how unpopular his policies are everywhere outside the United States. His policies have made the United States far less secure, since apart from being universally disliked and distrusted, it is also weaker because of the financial catastrophe which he has done nothing to ameliorate. Hence, it’s about time that someone challenged him. However, it is impossible for this to happen from within the Democratic Party. Almost unprecedentedly, nobody even put up a primary candidate to challenge him, for fear that otherwise the vile Republicans might take heart from a division in the divine Democratic Party. Meanwhile, all potential third-parties are weak, gutless, heartless and hopeless. The OCCUPY movement, never as lively as its press agents made it appear, is dead. It would seem, therefore, that there is nothing to be expected from the left or from the stinking carcase of what was once liberalism in America.

Therefore one must turn to the conservatives for succour. Surely they, with their immense funding, their vast army of activists backed by researchers, their dominance of American intellectual journals, can provide an effective counterweight to Obama? Perhaps they can. However, there is no sign that they want to.

The Republican Party in the United States appears to have become a very strange organisation — perhaps stranger than most leftists realise. The American Right has been bizarre, by left-wing standards, for a long time. However, it is worth noting that the American Right has at least had an objective, a case on its own terms, since the days of Goldwater. The Right’s contention has always been that its opponents were cowards and also perverts, who were also selling the country out for gold, but also out of a desire for the destruction of America for its own sake. This was because the Right believed that its own policies were not merely perfect but self-evidently perfect, and therefore anyone else’s had to be not only wrong, but wilfully wrong.

This made a certain amount of sense so long as the actual goal shielded by this nonsensical concept was quite plain — to reverse the gains made by the American working class between 1880 and 1950. This was a reasonable, even understandable project, and since one of the chief allies of the American working class had been the liberals (who had basically allowed American workers to enjoy a satisfactory standard of living in exchange for social harmony) it was natural that this was cloaked under a denunciation of the liberals. (Since the liberals speedily jettisoned all support for the workers the moment they felt themselves criticised, this was not necessary, but it was convenient — because the effective demonisation of liberalism could be used by the ruling class to mobilise even the working class against its own interests.)

All very well, but there were a couple of problems. The United States in 2000 was not the same as the United States in 1880, when it had been splendidly isolated from the rest of the world, impervious to foreign attack and almost entirely self-sufficient in manufacture and resource. It faced stiff competition from powerful foreign economic entities. Moreover, sustaining its society was technologically complicated. There was little value generated by unskilled labour; therefore, an educated labour force was needed, and such a labour force was very different from the blue-collar underclass exploited by the American elite in 1880. An educated labour force would be aware of the advantages enjoyed by educated labour forces in other countries; it would therefore be unhappy at being reduced below their level. It could be expected to resist, and if it did not resist it would become demoralised. This labour force was needed for its brains, and if it were intellectually depressed, the performance of its brains would suffer.

There was an additional problem. In 1880 the middle class had been small. By 1980, it had grown to a sizeable part of the population. If the ruling class were to acquire as vast a slice of the national income as it had enjoyed in 1880, the middle class would simply have to go. But unfortunately, the middle class was absolutely essential, because it was the class which generated the trade in goods and services which sustained the economy of the United States. Return to a pre-Fordist social structure would mean returning to a system under which the overwhelming majority could not buy very much — and therefore, the minority could not sell them very much. In other words, it required a considerable contraction of the US economy, and therefore ultimately a contraction of the wealth of the US minority. A return to the Gilded Age would mean a return to the age when billionaires were a rarity.

It seems quite clear that the American Right did not think at all about these things, and therefore went ahead and did what it could to slash wages, slash taxes, reduce social services, cut back on infrastructure maintenance, ship jobs overseas, downsize manufacturing in favour of financial services, and all the other things which neoliberalism brings us. Inevitably, with all this came stagnant growth and expanding unemployment. To counter this, the American Right permitted massive borrowing to finance the goods and services on credit. To reduce the cost of imported goods, the American Right obliged the same policies to be implemented everywhere in the world that the American writ ran. As a result, when this unsustainable system led to a financial collapse, it happened almost everywhere except in Russia and China and parts of Latin America, precisely the places where the American system was frowned on.

The apotheosis of this system is Willard “Mitt” Romney, the billionaire fund manager who has become the Republican candidate for the Presidency. That he is rich, effete and out of touch with the average American is obvious, but this is a red herring; the same is true of almost anyone who is likely to become a candidate for the job. What is much more problematic is that he appears to have no idea that the system which he is trying to manage is getting dangerously out of control.

Romney, following on the approved right-wing script, accuses his opponent of being socialistic — because he did not allow various American corporations to collapse, but instead gave them government loans when they went bankrupt due to their incompetence and due to the disasters caused by the system generated by the American government. He proclaims that the core problem is that government is doing too much, and that it must do less. To ensure that it does less, he wants to cut taxes, chiefly on the wealthy, even though America is currently running a vast budget deficit and is only very slowly growing, if at all. Tax cuts on the rich will not promote demand; they might promote investment, but America has immense amounts of surplus capital and is not investing it, so such cuts will simply expand this surplus. If the tax cuts do not increase growth then they will increase the budget deficit, providing excuses for further cuts in social services, but such cuts will definitely diminish demand.

It is evident that Romney has no new ideas and no consciousness of what his political class has done to the country. His concern is simply to defend what he has and to preserve the system which benefits him and his friends. It is essentially the same as the concern of his opponent, except that his opponent is also trying to pretend that he isn’t doing this — because forty years ago Democrats were supposed to oppose this sort of plutocracy, and sometimes even did oppose it a little. However, they opposed it out of a sense of fairness, not out of a sense of personal advantage. Whether or not the money was spread around a little, both Democrats and Republicans would remain rich. Now, however, the question is whether Romney’s economic policies — or even Obama’s — are actually sustainable, or whether the United States is not teetering on the edge of a complete breakdown of the economic system, a crisis of demand which will make 2007 seem minor.

It is probably this crisis which makes the United States and its allies ever more aggressive towards the weak countries which they want to plunder. There is no real difference between Obama and Romney over the proposed war with Iran. Meanwhile, Russia has provided India and China with improved weaponry with which to wage war with the United States should they need to, and China also has the money — while both Russia and India, and to a lesser extent Brazil, are unhappy at the way in which the United States’ global meddling is disrupting their own interests. Thus, just as the greatest power in the world finds itself in crisis and decline, the lesser powers find themselves indignant and empowered. The next few years may be a rather crisis-ridden period.

 


Unfit to Govern.

August 30, 2012

Because the ANC is in such a disastrous situation, it is tempting to say that they should be voted out of power and replaced by someone capable of addressing South Africa’s problems. There is, however, a problem with this. The opposition party, the one backed by big business, is utterly unfit to rule.

How can this be true? The newspapers tell us that the Democratic Alliance are the only party capable of ruling South Africa. Of course, the newspapers told us the same thing about their parent, the National Party. We are told whatever the ruling class wishes us to believe. This does not mean that it is true. We are told that Cape Town and the Western Cape, which are ruled by the Democratic Alliance, are better than anywhere else in South Africa. The fact that both are cesspools of corruption and mismanagement is studiously ignored; the splendid facades of both city and province are what we are presented, even though these facades were built up by the Western Cape’s parasite-like feeding on the labour and minerals of the rest of the country. The facades did not vanish during the brief periods when the ANC controlled both city and province. No, the facade does not matter much. And besides, what lies behind the facade?

Crime, of course. Cape Town is the gangsters’ capital of South Africa. In the 1990s it was dominated by the Firm, an enormous drug-selling syndicate. Of course, there are plenty of other lucrative criminal trades — protection racketeers, taxi warriors, human traffickers, and the big-time international crooks like Mark Thatcher and Vito Palazzolo who lived under the protection of Cape Town’s elites for decades. Ultimately, the Firm disintegrated, as always happens, under the stress of competition, and calamitous anarchy reigned.

Meanwhile, of course, poverty is universal, though shielded by the shiny plutocratic surface of Cape Town’s suburbs. This explains the misery and occasional small-scale uprisings in the poorest areas — inhabited by africans pathetically seeking nonexistent employment in the bright lights and lies of the white city, as they have always done. But in the half-poor coloured areas, the growing poverty is combined with fear of africans flooding into the city, and envy of the stellar lifestyle of the whites across the railway tracks.

What is needed, of course, is a dose of fantasy. The children of the coloured areas are constantly told that they can expect nothing from the africans, and that the whites, regrettably, cannot help them. They must take care of themselves, without money or self-respect. Inevitably, that means flight from reality, into either the instant, transient orgasms of crack or tik, or the insubstantial allegiances of the Americans or the Sexy Boys. Children playing playground power-games, but equipped not with the spitballs of the playground, nor with the switchblades and sharpened bicycle spokes of yesteryear, but with Glocks and Z88s. And of course they kill each other, and bystanders, and people who show them insufficient respect. Why not? What have they to lose?

And the most successful killers, and the most brutal manipulators, grow up and become grown-up gangsters, or killers for the grown-up gangsters. (The grown-up gangsters do not spray bullets around their neighbourhoods, unless they are arranging a drive-by shooting for someone whose bodyguards are too diligent and numerous. Normally, though, a grown-up gang killing is neat and simple; take the target somewhere quiet with hands tied, and pump a couple of rounds into the head at close range. No waste, and everybody knows who did it, and why. No accident it is called “execution-style”; actually, it is execution.

So how to stop this? Notice that the random killings are almost completely separate from the druglords; they are products of two different categories of gangs. Notice, also, that the youth gangs existed long before crack or tik or heroin. You’re not going to suppress Old Brown Sherry with any ease or efficiency. In any case, far too many Capetonians take drugs to make a war on drugs worthwhile. And if the drugs were gone, there would still be the protection rackets and the whoremongers and the culture of swagger and cringe. So what is to be done?

The DA has the answer. Send in the army, blazing away with automatic rifles from armoured cars. Problem solved!

In response to this extraordinarily stupid demand, Police Minister Mthethwa, who is one of the architects of the remilitarisation of the police service and must take much of the blame for the explosion of police brutality and unprofessional conduct in the service over the last few years, announces that it is not suitable to send troops into the townships. And the DA denounces him for being soft on crime.

Although this might seem hopelessly unnecessary, it is probably worth pointing out why the DA’s demand is indeed stupid — apart from the points made above. It is worth pointing out because the press has been flooded with DA proclamations, letters and other utterances about the glories of sending in the army, and with their customary integrity and lust for truth, the editors have, by and large, gone along with this. There have been a few intelligent comments — but painfully few, and of course none from the punditocracy, which tells you all you need to know about their links with the plutocratic forces which also back the DA.

It’s fairly simple. If you want to stop criminals from committing crimes, you need to know who they are. The army do not know this. In fact, nor do the police, since virtually no police or municipal police resources are devoted to the task of fighting gangs. (There is a six-person municipal police unit ostensibly pursuing this task — but in fact they are engaged in setting up fake drug deals in order to harass pot-smokers and the odd street dealer. As usual, the municipal police are engaged in class warfare — like their ongoing campaigns against streetwalkers and homeless people — disguised as crimefighting.) So, the army would be operating in ignorance — and meanwhile the police would be eager to discredit their efforts and would probably feed information to the gangsters, while the gangsters would see the arrival of the army as the seal of approval on their activities.

The army, however, is forbidden to kill South Africans, or even arrest them except under very special circumstances. In other words, they could parade around Bishop Lavis, but they couldn’t actually do anything unless a state of emergency were declared. When the army is employed to help the police, it is in tasks such as throwing cordons and staffing roadblocks — activities which are not very helpful in fighting against gangsters who are not conspicuously going anywhere and are indistinguishable from everyone else in the township. Therefore, the presence of the army would make, essentially, zero difference to the gangsters. Unless a soldier were taunted into opening fire. Automatic rifle bullets go in one end of a township and out the other, because of flimsy construction, so the chances of killing someone would be excellent.

There are few or no police to help in the struggle against gangsterism — and the call for the army is a call for a deployment instead of police, not to supplement the police. However, soldiers are not trained to gather evidence, and therefore anyone arrested would be out on the street again speedily, probably suing the Ministry of Defence and laughing heartily at the situation. It seems probable that the idea is to post a soldier on every corner, looking around to prevent gangsters from killing each other. In a grid of ten streets, however, there are a hundred street corners, and it’s painfully easy to drag someone into an alleyway or backyard. Therefore, even if you deployed a company of soldiers in every suburb (and they’d have to be replaced every few hours, so it would amount to a battalion in every suburb) you couldn’t monitor everything all the time. There aren’t enough troops to perform this minor task. And what would a single soldier do if a mob of a dozen thugs swarmed over a little old lady? Blaze away on automatic? Thank you, no! Gangsters are heavily armed and highly motivated for their tasks, and the actual tasks of gangsters are not conducted out in the open. Five years of state of emergency and military occupation failed to erase the UDF, and the UDF had far less deep roots in the community than the gangs do.

It thus doesn’t take genius to see that this is a stupid call. One must either assume that the leadership of the DA, and their electorate, are all idiots and therefore unfit to hold office (although if all the whites and coloureds in Cape Town are idiots, then idiot politicians are probably excellent representatives for them)  or one must assume that something else is going on. The most likely thing going on is a process of cementing the voting bloc.

The DA’s support-base in the Western Cape is historically white and coloured, with a smattering of africans. Urban whites vote DA; more rural and reactionary ones vote Freedom Front Plus, poor souls. A lot of coloureds have shifted over from ANC to DA, propelled by the hostility of the Zumatic africans and by the DA propaganda which says that african politicians don’t care about coloureds. They need to be kept there by stoking up paranoia about this.

When the coloureds are responding to their actual neglect by the ruling class by intensifying their criminal activity, it is a clever bit of DA judo to refuse to do anything about this crime (thus saving money, freeing resources to protect their affluent backers from crime, and avoiding making promises which they might break. Instead they blame it on the ANC by pretending that there is a simple solution which the ANC is refusing to implement. It is nonsense, but it is what the coloureds have been telling themselves because it is consoling to blame someone else, and what the DA whites have been confirming, because it is politically convenient to blame the africans — especially in a time when inter-community tension is unprecedentedly high, and therefore easy to exploit.

So that’s the story. The DA has persuaded its support base, through repetition, that the solution to a policing and intelligence problem is out of their hands. Therefore, they do not need to solve this problem. They are doing this in order to make the dangerous tensions between coloureds and africans in the Western Cape more extreme, because this chases the coloureds further into their camp. Furthermore, this strengthens the fascistic attitudes in the white community, who can identify with ideas that brutal violence is needed to subdue the restless natives on the other side of the railway line, and can relive their fantasies of military violence from the days of apartheid. It also correlates well with the militaristic fantasies encouraged by the American extremist right, under whose shade the poisonous mushroom of the DA has been flourishing for two decades.

This is very much what the Zuma wing of the ANC is up to with its fantasies of police violence and its deliberate encouragement of economic inequality, but the ANC at least does not actively promote racial intolerance at the very highest levels and does at least take some responsibility for its actions. The DA, by its behaviour here, shows that it as an organisation is prepared to go far further down the road of corruption, mismanagement and thuggery, in principle and policy, than the ANC has yet demonstrated. Therefore it should never be allowed to take office. Instead, presumably, we should wait until the ANC declines to the level of the current DA, and see what happens then.