Roaring young Lions for total liberation or Rented Lackeys of a neocolonial and neoliberal capitalist establishment?
By Molaodi Wa Sekake
We need to learn from the elders as the youth. We need to learn from many generations that came before us so that we have a sense of what was what is and what ought to be. But a such learning must be accompanied by the courage to unlearn and challenge certain things which are not in accordance with the realities of the era we live in.
If a generation uncritically swallows whole what the old guard teaches it what happens is that, that youth is likely to disown its generational mission and nail its colours to a mast of a political and ideological project that in no way embodies its generational interests and aspirations. This is a typical feature of neo-colonial and neo-liberal political and social arrangement which has recruited or conscripted the able-bodied, particularly the youth into a discourse that is hostile to that youth's generational mission.
South African is not immune from this reality. The country is largely made up of the youth. It is said that young people below the age of 35 are about 66% of the total population, which therefore means young people are a majority. But the question is, has this majority identified its generational mission, or at least, show any willingness to do so, or has the most politically active section of this youth succumbed to patronage and factional politics which in no way embody the interests of the youth?
While it is not all gloom and doom, signs of a youth elite that barefacedly panders to neo-colonial politics, and has become the defensive 'barking dogs' of the neo-colonial and neo-liberal political elite which refuses far-reaching transformation of society because it has a stake in the status quo, are palpable, and are brutally manifesting at a frustratingly alarming rate.
The case in point are the ANC YL remarks that it won't elect anyone who protects "white monopoly capital"; such remarks are questionable at best and hypocritical at worst. As an electorally dominant political force in charge of the nation-state, the ANC's failure to practically transform the economy instead of spewing a rhetoric of radical social and economic transformation, simply means it is the ANC that has sustained a system in which the privileged few thrive [including the people they have mentioned and many that they chose not to mention for palpable reasons, who have shares in different private companies] at the expense of the vast majority of the underprivileged people. When such half-baked analysis conveniently pandering to factional-driven political expediency, we cannot help but nod our heads in disbelief if not shock.
When serious questions and critical debates about the challenges our society faces are shunned at, and everything else conveniently yoked to a momentary hype and a factional streak, what comes out is not competition over what kind of ideas would enable the empowerment of the entire socially and economically disenfranchised youth, but a competition as to who is more loyal to the old guard or the elderly political elite than the other, and the reward on the horizon is, tenders and money for an affluent lifestyle at the expense of the vast majority of the poor youth.
As a result, young people become a docile section of the population that has blatantly abandoned its generational mission and embraced the status quo that inherently accommodates a few people at the expense of the majority. The ANC can be better off without some puppetry emitting mediocrity extraordinaire.
In actual fact, while the youth is not homogeneous ideologically and otherwise, there is really nothing that divides the poor youth besides being used by those who are pocketed by old people and have come to believe that they have arrived or they are on top of the world. The tired bodies and minds, albeit experienced in good and bad things, are using fresh bodies and minds to sustain the status quo that benefit them not the youth that is its turn to fight to for a just and humane society.
We cannot afford, as this generation, to live our lives as foot soldiers of a neocolonial and neoliberal capitalist establishment and its apologists. We need to fight over what are the best ways and means through which the empowerment of the vast majority of the youth can come about; we need to fight over how the country can best industrialize, so that we have labour-absorptive industries to ameliorate the scourge of unemployment; we need to fight over which best policies can be put in place to control capital flows in the best interests of the country, especially its workers and the poor.
The pertinent question we must ask ourselves as the justice-yearning and freedom-thirsty youth: are we going to allow a situation in which our generational dynamism in pursuit of total liberation for every man and woman is stifled at best and thwarted at worst by the petrifying realities of the neocolonial and neoliberal capitalist status quo that refuses any radical change, and has gone about to paying able-bodied young loudhailers allergic to critical engagements?
By Molaodi Wa Sekake
Young Communist League of South Africa National Spokesperson
078 164 3668
Writing in his personal capacity