BLACK AGENDA REPORT: “NYT Joins Campaign to Purge the Term ‘White Monopoly Capital’ in South Africa”
My current column in Taki’s Magazine, entitled “White Monopoly Capital” vs. “White Privilege,” was inspired by a striking New York Times feature article shaming a defunct London PR firm for promoting anti-white activism in South Africa with the “racially incendiary” phrase “white monopoly capital.”
I asked how this was so much more morally despicable than, say, the New York Times’ own campaign to stir up racial hate in the U.S. with the phrase “white privilege?”
Obviously, “white privilege” is more racialist than “white monopoly capital,” since it targets all whites rather than just white capitalists.
Now somebody else has sort of noticed this issue.
From Black Agenda Report (“News, commentary, and analysis from the black left”):
Glen Ford, BAR executive editor 08 Feb 2018
“The Times fingered a British p.r. outfit as the culprit that popularized the belief that ‘white monopoly capital’ must be overthrown to complete the unfinished South African revolution.”
The New York Times, the world’s premier journalistic purveyor of a “fake,” imperial, and profoundly white capitalist world view — masquerading as all the news that’s fit to print — wants us to believe that a now-bankrupt London-based public relations firm is behind South Africa’s regime-shaking debate over the rule of “white monopoly capital.”
It’s an amazing claim, that could only be put forward with a straight face by an institution marinated in centuries of white supremacy, whose operatives can perceive only fellow white hands and minds as makers of history — or even coiners of useful terms.
In a February 4 business section article titled, “How Bell Pottinger, P.R. Firm for Despots and Rogues, Met Its End in South Africa,” the Times fingered the British p.r. outfit as the culprit that popularized the belief that “white monopoly capital” must be overthrown to complete the unfinished South African revolution. Bell Pottinger worked for the Gupta brothers, three businessmen from India that are widely believed to have corruptly “captured” the government of President Jacob Zuma for their own enrichment. The Guptas are reportedly divesting much of their vast South African holdings, and Zuma now clings to state power by his fingernails, having lost control of the ruling African National Congress leadership to the faction led by Cyril Ramaphosa, the labor leader turned wealthy multinational corporate shareholder.
There is much talk this week about the bumptious Zulu Zuma being shoved out of the Presidency early in favor of the more suave and white business-friendly Ramaphosa, whose half billion dollars or so in net worth could at least demonstrate the existence of “black monopoly capital.”
The Times claims the Guptas and their p.r. firm set these events in motion by injecting the concept of “white monopoly capital” into the debate, thus poisoning the political dialogue, in the Times’ view. By 2017, Bell Pottinger “stood accused of setting off racial tensions through a furtive campaign built on Twitter bots, hate-filled websites and speeches…pushing a highly toxic narrative, namely that whites in South Africa had seized resources and wealth while they deprived blacks of education and jobs,” reporter David Segal wrote. “The message was popularized with an incendiary phrase, ‘white monopoly capital.’”
According to the Times, “white monopoly capital,” “a phrase that for years had been confined to left-wing academic circles, was suddenly unavoidable.”
That’s utter nonsense. The term “white monopoly capital,” in those precise words or essential meaning, has been central to the South African political conversation since before Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1962. The demand for majority control of the nation’s land and major industries was articulated in the anti-apartheid movement’s seminal political document, the Freedom Charter of 1955:
“The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people;
The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole… .”
It is an indisputably socialist document directly addressing the white capitalist monopoly on power. Although the honchos of the ruling party, the ANC, have betrayed its principles, in practice, at every juncture since the fall of apartheid in the early Nineties, the entirety of South African political leadership is still compelled to give lip service to the Charter and its embedded demands. The Brits that ran Bell Pottinger worked for the Gupta brothers, but their political client was President Jacob Zuma, then leader of the ANC, who needs no spin-doctor or “Twitter bots” to articulate his public position on “white monopoly power.”
“The minority dominates land. That’s why we are saying there is a monopoly. It is not insult,” said Zuma, in an interview with South African television, last year. “It is a fact, it’s not manufactured. We are telling the truth. We fought, they took everything, political power which we now have. They took economical power and land. Let us take the mines, companies who dominate in mines, few are benefiting. You will find the same companies in charge. That means they are dominating. They are monopolizing, they are not black.
“You have companies that are white, they start from big commodities to the broom, they are monopolies, they should be called by what they practice. There is monopoly capital and in South Africa it is white. Because of our history it does have a color and it is white,” Zuma said.
For example, according to Forbes, the richest man in South Africa is Nicky Oppenheimer. Ironically, the reason he is the richest is because his grandfather and father could not set foot in the United States because they would have been arrested on monopoly price-fixing charges due to their making their De Beers diamond firm into the most spectacular monopoly on earth. The U.S. government pursued charges against De Beers from 1945, when it accused De Beers of impeding the war effort against the Axis by charging monopoly prices for industrial diamonds, until De Beers finally pled guilty in 2004.
When I bought a diamond ring in 1986, I wonder how many hundreds of my dollars dropped straight to Nicky’s inheritance because of the Oppenheimer family monopoly on diamonds?
Obviously, the black left in South Africa doesn’t care about some white Chicago yuppie getting ripped off by white monopoly capital, they just want to be the rippers instead.
The political crisis in South Africa derives from the failure of Zuma and the leadership of the ANC to actually oust white monopoly capital from the commanding heights of the economy, after nearly a quarter century in nominal power. Instead, they have fatted a new class of Black bourgeoisie, most of them ANC-connected, as junior partners with the white monopolists through the government’s Black Economic Empowerment policies. Most notable among these nouveau Black capitalists is Cyril Ramaphosa, now president of the ANC and near certain to succeed Zuma in the next election, if not much sooner.
Ramaphosa was once leader of the mine workers union, but became one of the richest men in South Africa, with assets estimated at $450 million, thanks to his alliance with the multinational corporate mine owners. Ramaphosa is widely believed to have given the green light for police to massacre 34 striking workers at the Marikana mine operated by the Lonmin conglomerate, of which he was a director, in 2012.
Ramaphosa and a majority of the current members of the ANC’s executive committee now claim that “white monopoly capital” is “no longer part of the party’s lexicon,” although the issue remains hotly contested and factionalized. Ramaphosa was last year reported to have “criticized the use of the phrase ‘white monopoly capital’ and said it was an invention of a highly paid public relations company to ‘protect their clients’ accused of state capture.”
Thus, the New York Times is running the same line as Ramaphosa, the darling of the multinational corporations that were incensed at having to share access to Zuma’s presidency with the intrusive (and brown) Gupta brothers. Under Ramaphosa, their absolute monopoly on the state’s attentions will no doubt be restored.
Joel Netshitenzhe, a Ramaphosa ally on the ANC national executive committee, said, “the phenomenon of monopoly capital is a global one and manifests itself differently. In that context, it would therefore not be correct to characterize ours simply as white monopoly capital. That relationship would apply whether it’s Japanese, Indian, white or whatever category you can think about,” he said.
Apparently, the global system created by white monopolists — and still dominated by them, in South Africa and around the planet — loses its essential, racialized character when darker capitalists throw some money in game. Supposedly, the same transformation occurs when one mixes in a gaggle of Black Economic Empowerment program beneficiaries. Voila! Racial capitalism eliminated! Even if nothing changes in the lives of the masses of people.
As I explained in Taki’s, however, there are, however, sensible reasons why the David Segal is being so much more pro-white about South Africa in the pages of the NYT than any reporter would be allowed to be pro-white about the U.S.
The reason Jacob Zuma has made himself so unpopular with white monopoly media like the New York Times and The Economist is because his rhetoric (if not his actions) has drifted in a Mugabe-ist direction under the pressure of these guys, the far left Economic Freedom Fighters, here brawling in their red shirts in parliament: