Arise Prisoners Of Starvation!
THEUNS (‘Namibia is a socialist state’ The Namibian, 13 July) is correct in saying that the commercialisation of state-owned enterprises has failed in Namibia.
It is also true that we have high taxes for the working class, while the elite gets away with tax evasion. I concur that we are being over-exploited by the municipalities with their neo-liberal cost-recovery policy, but we should realise that the central government should first and foremost be held accountable for this predatory approach.
The Namibian government represents the interests of global capitalism. The Marxist, David Harvey, has called this ongoing process ‘accumulation by dispossession’ since it is part of the world-wide attempt to commodify everything. Our analysis therefore cannot only focus on the municipalities.
Nevertheless, in his haste to criticise the bourgeois Namibian government, Theuns confuses state-owned enterprises and socialism. Besides his rather patronising tone, he makes the ridiculous assertion that Namibia is a socialist state. We certainly should have a more informed discussion to find the way forward.
There exists a fundamental difference between capitalism and socialism. The logic of capitalism is all about profit or the interests of Capital (Big Business). A socialism system, on the other hand, is concerned with constructing a society guided by the logic of social equality. In a socialist society, enterprises would be managed and owned by workers’ collectives for the social good, not for profit. Socialism is a system of associated producers.
Capitalism does not pay the bills. The wealth is created by the working class and there is enough wealth for everyone to live sufficiently. However, in a capitalist society, the wealth is so badly distributed in that most of it is appropriated by the top one per cent elite.
Namibia is the most unequal society in the world. Have we ever thought about what are the implications of this? It means that, compared to all the other countries in the world, the Namibian people would benefit the most from a socialist system!
At the moment, Namibia is the exact opposite of what a socialist society should look like. The majority of Namibians are victims of the worst social inequality on the entire globe.
Namibians should therefore struggle the hardest for socialism and should be deeply involved in the global fight against capitalism. We have a special historical responsibility to overthrow capitalism.
And how do we do that? We approach the socialist struggle from a general-strike perspective. In other words, the most effective way to build a socialist society is through direct action and, in particular, a mass strike.
I would like to end off with some relevant verses from the socialist anthem, The Internationale: ‘Arise ye wretched of the Earth; Arise ye prisoners of starvation; There are no supreme saviours, neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune; The State oppresses and the law cheats; Tax bleeds the unfortunate, no duty is imposed on the rich; The rights of the poor is an empty phrase, enough languishing in custody! The kings of the mine and of the rail, have they ever done anything other than steal work? The people want only their due; Peace among us, war to the tyrants! Let the armies go on strike; Workers, peasants, we are the great party of labourers’.