The Securocrat State is here
- Blade Nzimande
- 09 Nov 2017 12:30 (South Africa)
Access to political office is financed, among others, through corrupt means, often in partnership with a parasitic bourgeoisie, and/or sections of imperial capital. In these conditions there is often a dialectical and mutually reinforcing relationship between factionalism and parasitism. Factions must capture the state to hand over tenders to the parasites and, in turn, the parasites fund political factions to remain in control of both the organisation and the state. There is no doubt that in our movement and country today these phenomena strongly exist.
Access to state power as a means of livelihood quickly degenerates into greed. The greedy exploit access to state power not only to cater for their current wants but also to cater for their future when they are out of office. It is often at this stage that family members, siblings, relatives and their wider circle of friends get drawn into patronage networks, including but not limited to the dispensing of tenders. This brings us to an observation made by Frantz Fanon in his The Wretched of the Earth in dealing with the pitfalls of narrow national consciousness:
“National consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallisation of the innermost hopes of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilisation of the people, will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been. The faults that we find in it are quite sufficient explanation of the facility with which, when dealing with young and independent nations, the nation is passed over for the race, and the tribe is preferred to the state. These are the cracks in the edifice which show the process of retrogression that is so harmful and prejudicial to national effort and national unity.”
This tendency found expression high up among some heads of state in governance after breakthroughs against colonial rule. If parasitic networks begin to encounter resistance, from both inside or outside the state and the movement, they start creating parallel structures and processes both in the state and in the movement. Key decisions by the parasitic networks are made outside of the organisation and the state by smaller factions of individuals and “kitchen” cabinets. Sometimes important state decisions are sought from beneficiaries located outside of the official structures of the state.
Resistance to captured states and individuals in political movements is often met with an increasing element of a securocrat state. The emergence of securocrat states in Africa is persuasively analysed by Ibbo Mandaza, who found that the tendency reflects moments of post-colonial primitive accumulation where the new political elite, without its own capital, often brazenly uses state institutions to ruthlessly acquire wealth and crush whoever stands in their way, both inside and outside of their own movements.
South Africa has visibly reached the early stages of a securocrat state. The existence of rogue intelligence activities, including smear campaigns and concocted criminal charges, primarily directed at leaders inside the movement, is a sure sign of the emergence of a securocrat state that relies on factionalist use of institutions of the criminal justice system. Another example of an emerging securocrat state was the attempt to tarnish the image of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The violence we are seeing in KwaZulu-Natal can also be taken to be part of this (emergent) securocrat state. DM
Excerpt from Red Alert by Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary, Umsebenzi Online, Volume18, No. 18, 26 October 2017.