Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Malema, Cronin and FW

Aside from the most satisfying stitching up of the ANC Youth League president there were two other excellent bits floating up through the dross of the weekend news; both from the excellent www.timeslive.co.za.

Firstly, Ray Hartley (editor of The Times and the Times Live website and author of the exceptional blog The Wild Frontier) interviewed Jeremy Cronin about, amongst other things, the dangers of populism. Cronin talks with clarity of the clear and present danger of a form of fascism that is taking root – and being encouraged to take root – in the mass of 18 – 25 year olds who are unemployed and not in any form of tertiary education in South African. Listen to him speak of “big man” authoritarian politicians dealing in patronage and claiming a shared victim-hood with under-serviced poor; and listen to him warn of the similarities of our present to both 1930’s Germany and present-day Zimbabwe. There is no question in my mind that the red finger of his accusation is pointing at the likes of Julius Malema and his crew. I highly recommend the interview; catch it here.

The second piece is from Ray’s colleague Mondli Makhanya,  editor of the Sunday Times. He warns that the current ANC leadership is airbrushing both Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk out of history in much the same way as Stalin erased the image of Trotsky. It is an interesting point and, now that he mentions it, clearly true. Catch it here.

3 thoughts on “Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Malema, Cronin and FW

  1. I wonder in what sense MM thinks FW de Klerk is being air-brushed out of history? One speech? The man last wielded any power 15 years ago – he was clearly mandated as a transition leader in that fateful referendum, and seems to have been quite happy with his lot in near obscurity. Clearly the 20-year anniversary of the release of the Great Man has meant a spotlight on FW, but I think it’s just a temporary meteor shower.

    The other interesting mistake in MM’s appraisal is that, unlike Trotsky, FW is no threat to anyone. He may have been slightly snubbed for his role, but any ex-Nationalist is in a very shaky position in any context. It’s not at all the axe-in-the-head kind of air-brushing for which Stalin became famous. I get the impression that, on balance, De Klerk is happy with his conscience – leading the group of Nats and ANC who pretty much avoided the South African Civil War. But he hasn’t wanted to assert his place in history, it seems.

    It is however, perverse to accord anything good to PW Botha.

    1. I think the assumption that the ANC is making is that FW is immediately involved in mobilising anti-ANC support amongst Afrikaner – and that this is a recent and definite change in his behaviour. I suspect a person of the calibre of Mo Shaik has got his minions to dig around in the incipient Afrikaner nationalist revival that is (not) sweeping the country like a wildfire and tagged it with some bureaucratic threat rating and the comrades are nodding wisely that the white backlash is finally at hand and the leaders need to be identified and isolated …. something like that

  2. The Bolshevist Jeremy Cronin “talks with clarity of the clear and present danger of a form of fascism that is taking root – and being encouraged to take root – in the mass of 18 – 25 year olds who are unemployed and not in any form of tertiary education in South African.”

    Please analyse the differences between Fascism and Bolshevism . Based on this analysis , please explain why Fascism is a danger to South Africa , whereas Cronin’s Bolshevism is held out to be South Africa’s salvation .

    Who is Bolshevist Cronin to warn of the similarities of our present to both 1930’s Germany and present-day Zimbabwe ( a communist dictatorship ) ?
    Has he conveniently forgotten what happened to Kerensky’s provisional government in 1917 ?

    Some quotes from :

    BOLSHEVISM
    The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy
    BY
    JOHN SPARGO
    Author of
    “SOCIAL DEMOCRACY EXPLAINED” “SOCIALISM, A SUMMARY AND INTERPRETATION OF SOCIALIST PRINCIPLES” “APPLIED SOCIALISM” ETC.
    HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON
    1919
    CHAPTER VI
    The Bolshevik War Against Democracy

    “The Bolsheviki did not want the ideals of the Revolution to be realized,
    for the very simple reason that they were opposed to those ideals. In all the long
    struggle from Herzen to Kerensky the revolutionary movement of Russia had stood
    for political democracy first of all. Now, at the moment when political democracy
    was being realized, the Bolsheviki sought to kill it and to set up something else—
    namely, a dictatorship of a small party of less than two hundred thousand over a
    nation of one hundred and eighty millions. There can be no dispute as to this aim;
    it has been stated by Lenine with great frankness. “Just as one hundred and fifty
    thousand lordly landowners under Czarism dominated the one hundred and thirty
    millions of Russian peasants, so two hundred thousand members of the Bolshevik
    party are imposing their proletarian will on the mass, but this time in the interest of the latter.”

    “Instead of being fanatical idealists, incapable of compromises and
    adjustments, the Bolsheviki have, from the very beginning, been loudly scornful of
    rigid and unbending idealism; have made numerous compromises, alliances, and
    “political deals,” and have repeatedly shifted their ground in accordance with
    political expediency. They have been consistently loyal to no aim save one—the
    control of power. They have been opportunists of the most extreme type. There is
    not a single Socialist or democratic principle which they have not abandoned when
    it served, their political ends; not a single instrument, principle, or device of
    autocratic despotism which they have not used when by so doing they could gain
    power. For the motto of Bolshevism we might well paraphrase the well-known line
    of Horace, and make it read, “Get power, honestly, if you can, if not—somehow or
    other. “

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