Inequality and joblessness is amongst the reasons the masses are rejecting the establishment. Ordinary people are still recovering from the catastrophic 2008 recession. It was a sign that capitalism as an economic system is also fallible. Interestingly, those responsible for the financial collapse as the financial expects, fund managers, rating agencies were never punished. Instead, the focus was on the government balout details which, in the process left ordinary workers poorer, indebted and unemployed. For the general masses, it was a matter of dusting themselves off, move on without any compensation on their financial loses. With rising living cost, inequality, unemployment and other social ills emanating from the current political setup, it is a natural reaction to drift away from the liberal capitalist establishment. The marginalized are definitely on the move. On the other hand, the liberal capitalist groupings are crying foul, blaming lack of education and hatred of immigrants, globalization and so forth. From the Brexit vote, to Trump’s ascendance, and finally, to the number one citizen in the United States of America. We have the proponents of democracy hypocritically questioning democratic processes when they yield unfavorable results to them. Everyone who voted contrary to their expectations or for the “correct candidate” is labelled a demagogue, xenophobic etc. They conveniently disregard all shortcomings of their favored candidate, react with shock when they lose, throw tantrums and wild allegations. Ordinary people are tired of empty promises and corruption. It would seem that people have decided to disregard Trump’s personal views in favor for his economic views. In my view, most of the post-election crises are created by the western media. They completely underestimated Trump and raised false hopes to Hillary Clinton and her supporters. After the election, instead of thoroughly engaging Trump on his political and economic views. They opted for raising legitimacy crisis.
Business funding of political campaigns and politicians business interests are some of the reasons why politicians prioritize investors over voters. During the fierce campaign against Hillary Clinton, Trump told his supporters in Pennsylvania that, “Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy…but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache,” In the USA and across the globe, running for presidential elections is an expensive exercise. Presidential hopefuls must fundraise to businesses sympathetic to their economic policies. It is at this point where business and politics form a corrupt relationship biased towards business. Hillary Clinton consolidated her support amongst the Wall Street donors and other businesses empires. Across the globe, polls, financial markets and businesses expected their democratic candidate to win. When they realised the defeat, the markets plummeted. Investors were left gasping for their dollar. This practise of business intertwining itself with politics happens everywhere. In the case of South Africa, politicians are openly in bed with businesses, benefiting themselves and their families at the expense of the masses. State capture and tax aversion phenomena are ills well known to authorities but no action is taken. Globally, multinational companies are always involved in trade deals negotiations but the general public is often ignored. When the people are negatively impacted on by multi-national economic dealings, inequality, globalization and emigration, they will abandon the status quo as it happened with Brexit and Trump victories.
International organizations like ICC, WEF, IMF, WB, NATO and UN have all adopted a capitalist liberal model and chastised everyone against the establishment. The IMF, for instance, will not grant a loan unless they have a say on sovereign countries fiscal policies’. Countries with policies considered populist or investor unfriendly will not get a loan. The dominance of these institutions means that poor countries have no choice but to adopt the “investor friendly liberal policies”.
To illustrate this fact, take Nelson Mandela’s attitude on nationalization before and after prison and notice the difference. “”It is true that in demanding the nationalisation of the banks, the gold mines and the land the (Freedom) Charter strikes a fatal blow at the financial and gold-mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country and condemned its people to servitude. But such a step is absolutely imperative and necessary because the realisation of the charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until these monopolies are first smashed up and the national wealth of the country turned over to the people”. – Nelson Mandela, 1956”.
The U-turn happened when Mandela attended his first World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 1992, he was advised or warned that if nationalisation happened, South Africa would not get foreign investment. Ian Taylor quoted Mandela in his book Stuck in Middle GEAR: South Africa’s post-Apartheid foreign relations as saying to delegates gathered in Davos in 1992 “he asserted that the ANC was ‘determined to … establish the political and social climate which is necessary to ensure business confidence and create the possibility for all investors to make long-term commitments to South Africa”.
Since then, Mandela and the ANC lost their struggle economic ideals. Despite the ANC’s continued adherence to western liberal policies, unemployment, inequality has risen. In the process businesses connected to the governing party are thriving in a “business model” called state capture. It is definitely a day light robbery of the public purse and will likely be punished by voters in the next incoming elections.
On the other hand, these institutions continue to destroy countries in the guise of fighting for justice. Not so long ago, The United Nations approved a US-NATO regime change disguised as a no fly zone in Libya. NATO in particular was a tool used to exploit Libyan natural resources and to perpetuate western dominance. There is no logic in burning down the entire house to kill a mice. It is worrisome that these institutions are captured by capitalist interest to destabilize peace and harmony in certain regions for illegal economic reasons. The consequences thereafter amongst others were starvation, mass migration and increased terror treats of which the perpetrators claim victimhood. The base of terrorism is in those countries that were once peaceful under the so called despotic leaders like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. The base and origins of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other similar organizations is mainly on those countries whose peace were disturbed by the Western super powers. These self-professed liberal democrats conveniently forget their mistakes and the social injustices they have caused. And again, the ICC is not looking for them because they decided not to be part of it, it is voluntary justice.
A political revolution has begun with far right politics and “populism” gaining momentum. The rejection of the current political and economic system establishment represents a seismic political shift. It shows that an inclusive alternative system to lift the masses from financial distress is long overdue. The proponents of free market economies should regard this shift in political voting by ordinary people as a warning. The patience of poor people to wait for the so called trickle down effects of economic gains have evaporated. Trump victory have regenerated the far right political formations across Europe especially France, Italy and Greece. Interestingly, Donald Trump is a billionaire capitalist who does not get along with other capitalists. His fellow billionaires regard him as an isolationist or nativist for questioning the global investor biased trade deals. He is a far right capitalist who despises Western liberalism because they deteriorated the economic prospects in the USA and he wants to make it “great again”. He comprehended the concerns of some Americans, formed a plan, created a wining message around the weaknesses of migration, globalization and worker biased trade deals. Also, he had a massage that resonated with the majority of American voters. His protectionist message and job creation methods were headed by voters and have given him a chance to govern. If Brexit and Trumps succeed, the world would change and it would demonstrate that there is an alternative to the status quo. The issue of immigration is over emphasized in both Brexit and Trump victories as the main factor. Inevitably, when resources are scarce and highly contested, tensions will naturally surface at the expense of political correctness. If globalization, internationalism, emigration and multinationalism takes more from people than it gives, the disenfranchised will revert to nativism and protectionism to survive. Brexit and Trump represents a shift towards nationalism and a backlash by the voters who are left behind economically. Ultimately, it means that if the so called ethical politicians continue to fail the people. Anyone, including Malema can govern South Africa.
By Sivodlo Silombo
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