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Sunday, November 20, 2011

DID NYERERE SEE THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM?

QUESTION

"Socialism, as and idea of a just society, cannot die.... At present we are living in a moment of deception. But the conditions being created on the ground by this euphoria over capitalism give me reason to believe that in about ten years or so, the idea of socialism will return-more forcefully than before." JKN to ElPais in November 1991.

Comment and Discuss.


RESPONSE:

It is not so much the future of capitalism that he (and others) foresaw twenty years ago but more thelogic of a certain type of capitalism, the type that denies social justice or that denies societyall together, like Margaret ("there is no such thing as society") Thatcher. If one "reads history backwards",one can see that this statement from Thatcher is as mad as the one from Golda Meir who said "there is no such thing as Palestinians...they do not exist." These beliefs are not only untrue but dangerous if takento be the gospel for they boomerang and cause havoc eventually so that, instead of learning from the past,we are haunted by its distortions.

As Seithy Chachage puts it, "history tells us something about the present;that people learn from the past."But if one lies about the past, one is condemned to lying about the present. In the 1980s, some African countries with huge debts were faced with what were then known as "IMF riots". Who would have thoughtthat the Greeks and Italians, to name but a few, would be facing "GoldmanSachs riots" 30 yrs later for the same reason ? Or that today, the "marxist" President of Angola (growth rate:12%) could offer to bail out the former colonial master, Portugal (growth rate: about 1% if lucky) !

To revert to the quote from his 1991 interview with El Pais of Spain (another current basket case), Mwalimu's logicalconclusion about " a new god, one called capitalism, which supposedly has all the answers..." derives from anotherobservation, made much earlier, in 1970:

"Poverty is not the real problem of the modern world. For we have the knowledge and resources which could overcome poverty. The real problem-the thing which creates misery, wars and hatred among men- is the division of mankind into rich and poor... The reality and depth of this problem arises because the man who is rich has power over the lives of thosewho are poor, and the rich nation has power over those which are not rich. And our social and economic system, nationally and internationally, supports these divisions and constantly increases them...Both nationally and internationally, this division of mankind into the tiny minority of rich, and the great majorityof poor, is rapidly becoming intolerable to the majority--as it should be. The poor nations and the poor peoplesof the world are already in rebellion against it; if they do not succeed on securing change which leads to greater justice, then the rebellion will become an explosion. Injustice and peace are in the long runincompatible.."President Nyerere's speech to the Congress of Maryknoll Sisters, New York State, October 16 1974.

In making such observations, Mwlaimu was not star-gazing, for he was no astrologer.It was not the futurehe was reading correctly, but the present. As a result, one could say, he was reading history forwards.

© A.C.

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