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The Politics of Race: Discrimination in South Africa by Hillel Ticktin

The Politics of Race: Discrimination in South Africa by Hillel Ticktin

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Published by blasted444
"The white supremacy policy in South Africa derives from white labour politics. Historically, the capitalist class accepted the demands of white labour because it was internationally too weak to do otherwise ... The simplistic and wrong view that apartheid is a system utilized by the capitalist class to raise its profits has been widely propagated. It has never explained why the capitalist class has always been opposed to the white worker and his extreme racialism."
"The white supremacy policy in South Africa derives from white labour politics. Historically, the capitalist class accepted the demands of white labour because it was internationally too weak to do otherwise ... The simplistic and wrong view that apartheid is a system utilized by the capitalist class to raise its profits has been widely propagated. It has never explained why the capitalist class has always been opposed to the white worker and his extreme racialism."

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Published by: blasted444 on Jun 17, 2011
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02/07/2014

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THE POLITICS OF RACE: DISCRIMINATION INSOUTH AFRICA by Hillel Ticktin
Chapter1THE DEBATES IN SOUTH AFRICA
The general laws of political economy apply as much to South Africa as to other parts of thecapitalist world, but they are refracted through the category of racial discrimination. In this regard,there are three problems that have to be addressed. The first is the particular role of racialdiscrimination in the history, politics and production relations of South Africa. The second involvesthe respective roles of the state and capitalist class in the maintenance of racial discrimination. Thisthen leads to a third - political - question. Will the South African revolution be a one-stage or two-stage revolution and will it be community or worker based? In other words, should the struggle bebased on working-class forms or on nationalist cum guerilla forms? This book is intended to be anintroduction to these debates. The thesis put forward here is that the peculiar social relations ofSouth Africa are to be understood as a twentieth century solution to the capital/worker relation. Justas the 'white Australia' policy was a labour policy in opposition to the attempt by capital to undercutwages, so too the white supremacy policy in South Africa derives from white labour politics.Historically, the capitalist class accepted the demands of white labour because it was internationallytoo weak to do otherwise.The crucial theoretical issue, therefore, is that of the nature of the division of the workforce and therelation of the capitalist class to the different sections of its workforce.[3] On the one hand, the
 
capitalist class appears to have cheap black labour by employing the whites as a praetorian guard.On the other, the capitalist class has to suffer all the expenses and restrictions on accumulationconsequent on racial discrimination. To understand this ambiguous relationship it is essential tointroduce the category of abstract labour.The term abstract labour is itself not an easy category but it is a fundamental one. Specifically itrefers to the social reduction of labour to a common form. This does not imply that there is anactual physically determined amount of labour time common to all workers. It refers rather to alevel of labour time, intensity of labour etc., which is common in the economy. Thus in the UnitedKingdom the intensity of labour is very different from that of the United States, as is the number ofhours worked, the numbers of workers per machine and so on. The question is not that everyoneworks at the same level but that they tend towards that level. Its determination is a result of theprocess of accumulation expressed particularly in the mechanization of the economy and of theclass struggle. The word form, here, is crucial. The form of abstract labour, hitherto, has tended tobe a national form, rather than an international form. In turn, this is reflected in the national fluidityand mobility of labour.[4] The problem in South Africa is that abstract labour has necessarily to befractured to maintain the system. There are two important consequences. Firstly, the capitalist classfaces a conflict between its (individual and collective) economic interests and its collective politicalinterests. Secondly, the fracturing of abstract labour has inevitably led to a community-based formof struggle as opposed to class action. However, the conflict between the formation of abstractlabour and its fracturing has only delayed and hindered but cannot prevent the formation of a blackworking class.Thus, the fundamental reason that has prevented direct working class forms of struggle in SouthAfrica is the fracturing of abstract labour. In practice, this material fracturing has provided theopportunity for the African National Congress/Communist Party, and other organizations to turn thecommunity struggle into a nationalist form. The combination of these two forces - the one materialand the other political and ideological - has prevented direct working-class forms of struggle. Thepresent nationalist form of the movement (although some workers did advance socialist demands),the nature of the uprising from 1984 onwards, and the consequent defeat are all attributable to theStalinist leadership and ideology accepted by the masses. In other words, the absence of an anti-capitalist mass movement is to be explained in part by the line of the Communist Party and theinfluence of the USSR. Indeed, the failure of the campaigns from 1984 onwards may also be tracedto the communitarian as opposed to class form of the struggle.The defeat of 1984-6 and the current strategy of the ruling class necessitates a debate about thenature, development and decay of racial discrimination and its specific adaptation of the laws ofcapitalism. The simplistic and wrong view that apartheid is a system utilized by the capitalist classto raise its profits has been widely propagated. It has never explained why the capitalist class hasalways been opposed to the white worker and his extreme racialism, why it financed politicalopposition to the Nationalist Party and fought to replace white with black workers in the wholeperiod down to 1922.The current Communist Party view that the system exists in order to raise the profits of worldimperialism from an 'internal colony' has become common parlance among the left. Unfortunately,the early tradition of theoretical discussion in South Africa on the left, even within the SouthAfrican Communist Party, has been replaced with descriptive analysis, the gathering of empiricaldata and ruinous Althusserian diversions.[6]
 
This unfortunate decline of Marxist analysis has left the way open to liberal interpretations.[7] In awork, very much a social democratic defence of progressive capitalism, one author has correctlydescribed the trials and tribulations of the left in coping with the problem of the role of the capitalistclass.[8] Merle Lipton, like many economists, provides historical detail of the costs of apartheid tocapital.This book then attempts to make a non-Stalinist Marxist analysis of South African politicaleconomy. For this purpose, it begins with a discussion of theories of racial discrimination andoutlines the theory informing this book. It then provides a brief history relevant to the theory.Chapters on the nature of Capital in South Africa and then on the nature of Labour follow. Thesechapters are succeeded by one which deals with the programmes of political parties as well as theforms of change proposed and introduced by the state. The position of South Africa in the worldeconomy follows and the last two chapters discuss the question of consciousness and alternativestrategies for change.

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