Nationalisation: Cronin answers Malema – again … but what about the goose?

It’s getting a little like a tennis match. Eventually you can do well to watch the audience, heads swinging from-side-to-side to the sharp “pok” of the shots, to get a sense of how things are going.

As I was reading the article by Cronin, again from Umsebenzi Online, that came out today I groaned. It seemed the deputy secretary general of the SACP who also wears the hat of the deputy minister of Transport was going to kowtow to Malema’s racial bullying and appeals to authority, which in turn was a response to Cronin’s take on the ANC Youth League’s call for the nationalisation of mines that I cover here.

It was difficult to hold out through the comrade’s niceties, etiquette  and jargon – it’s exhausting at the best of times.

But lo! Just in time. If you can plough through the forelock tugging and coded jousting* to the end of paragraph seventeen:

If you disconnect a class analysis from a race analysis you run the danger of wittingly or unwittingly serving the interests of monopoly capital in SA and its comprador and parasitic allies – many of whom have been close to, or actually within our movement.

Well, no guessing which interests Cronin is suggesting Malema is serving – wittingly or unwittingly.

The long and the short of Cronin’s newest contribution is he still thinks that nationalisation of the mines (as he argued in his original critique) is a bad idea; but that more onerous and creative “beneficiation” obligations should be linked to the licences.

His argument is – as always – useful and rational.

My problem remains that the poles of the debate are being defined by the ANC Youth League president and the deputy secretary general of the South African Communist Party.

Hello? – as a 13 year old girl I know might say. Our mining sector has been shrinking for ten years while the equivalent sector internationally has been growing about 5% a year (in response to the so called Commodity Super-Cycle).

The communists and the crony-capitalist aspirants can only extract so much value (for their different, perhaps opposite, purposes) from the sector before investment flows to where the return is better.

Didn’t anyone ever tell them the parable of the goose and the golden egg?

There was this couple. They had a goose. It laid a single golden egg every day. After some years they became disatisfied and wanted more gold. So they cut the goose open to get at the motherload. But it was just a goose on the inside. So they starved to death … and then burned in purgatory forever. (Actually I added that last bit –  it was more a hope on my part.)

* I don’t know what I am doing sneering at Cronin’s writing style! Just read a collection of his poetry (like: Inside) and you will realise that Cronin is unique amongst the comrades in that he has a laconic and comely turn of phrase. My irritation was actually about the fact that I thought – incorrectly – that he had bowed to Malema’s populist and racist assault.

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