We are now already deep into the silly season of an ANC-led movement electoral year. At the forefront of trying to promote the silliness are some of the usual hacks in the commercial media - especially those with the attention span of a tweetable headline. Last night the SACP head-office was contacted by one of them, in this case from the Mail & Guardian, wanting to "confirm" that SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande was the author of the ANC's draft "Strategy and Tactics" document entitled "The Second Transition?"
For what it's worth - the answer is "no". Cde Blade was NOT part of the drafting team and the first time he saw the document was when it was presented to the NEC for general endorsement as a DISCUSSION draft in the run-up to next week's ANC National Policy Conference. But I won't be surprised to find that tomorrow's Mail & Guardian simply ignores this fact. For the hacks this is not about facts, and, more importantly, it is not about helping to promote a thoughtful discussion about the challenges of dire poverty, inequality and unemployment confronting our country. It's about seeking to promote the shallowest of factional contests.
Take a look at this morning's The Times (Thursday, June 21) for example. It has a stupid story headlined "Zuma's plan thrashed. Second transition document rejected". Even on its own exceedingly superficial terms, the body of the story doesn't quite bear out the claim in the headline. According to the body of the story, some ANC provinces have supposedly "rejected" the document; others have "supported" it. But what does the journalist (Amukelani Chauke) mean by "rejected" or "supported"? Does Chauke mean that provinces have either rejected or supported the document in its ENTIRETY? Or does he mean that some are relatively comfortable with the specific notion of a "second transition" while others are not? For the purposes of The Times' agenda there is no difference between these things. In the world of tweetable political analyses everything is factionalised around simplistic one-line slogans.
And so The Times story (and it is not alone) proceeds to pit ANC Deputy President, cde Kgalema Motlanthe against ANC President, cde Jacob Zuma; COSATU against the SACP; and "non-Marxists" against "Marxists" with the former all being in the "anti-second transition corner" and the latter in the corner of this "Marxist jargon" word "second transition".
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