4 June 2014
In the past few months we have seen the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with great speed abandon the slogan asijiki and adopt another one : siyagijima! This rapid changing of slogans by EFF indicates rapid shifts in the ideology and philosophy of the movement away from its radical roots into an accommodationist liberal movement that no longer wants “land expropriation without compensation”. In full flight of siyagijima entered the new and alien notions of “unoccupied”,“unproductive”, “abandoned” and “idle” land. Like the ANC and DA, EFF now doesn’t want to disturb the peace and only wants the land that white “land thieves” don’t want or don’t use – abandoned and idle land – this is what the struggle has been reduced to! So the question must be asked, siyagijima siyaphi?
The rapid changing of slogans substitutes sustainable programmes on the ground. The party is driven by the frivolity and superficiality of fashion politics. Everything is fleeting at great speed- siyagijima! We all know fashion is the practice of permanent change at a superficial level. It’s change that changes nothing. It’s change to remain“relevant”, to be in the mainstream, to reproduce the status qou! Followers of fashion are in a perpetual state of chasing “what’s new”. Revolution is about fundamental change not chasing fashion and creating one spectacle after the other. Revolution is not about chasing newspaper headlines.
Fashion politics is driven by newspaper headlines where every action has to be colored in red, not given revolutionary content. We see that the noble commitment to lead and support community struggles has become a chance to be on television or the front page of the newspaper. The people’s struggles are appropriated by these siyagijima activists; who are here now and in the next moment gone to the next protest march to claim leadership in front of the tv cameras. Is it not strange that up to now there has not been a single successful land occupation by EFF? EFF doesn’t want land occupations. It is not interested in them working. It wants only media coverage that projects it as the champion of the poor and land struggles. A directive was shot from Braamfontein, that all provinces must each have a “land occupation”programme. The provincial leadership responded by seeking moments for the media and then went home. Often the land occupiers are without any support when arrested! Once the photo-shoot is over the struggle for land is over. It makes little sense that a rally is attended by several thousands of people while a land occupation occurs by a few people. Land occupations are not planned nor supported. They are an abuse of the desire for land and change by our people and only serve to demoralise them.
When university students undertook an autonomous struggle in the decolonising of the university, led by the “Rhodes Must Fall” movement in University of Cape Town (UCT), EFF went into a desperate attempt to appropriate the student struggle instead of giving it support. There were even messianic calls by EFF leaders that only they can bring the statues down. A few EFF-led quick moves for the media were undertaken and then as the photo-shoot ended the campaign ended too. A revolutionary movement should not be interested in taking over student struggles. It should instead give the students critical support by assisting them to give revolutionary content to their struggles and to sustain them.
It must be asked, so what happened to the call for all casualized / temporary / labour broker bound workers to submit their names to the EFF office? Newspaper headlines were gained, the abused and exploited workers were forgotten! Anyway, the idea of EFF fighting for workers rights has now been exposed as a lie. The CCMA has seen more than a hundred cases of complaints lodged by EFF employees who have been treated as slaves by EFF. Those who work for the EFF have been treated as workers without rights and many are winning their cases in the CCMA. EFF is like a brutal white farmer or mine owner when it comes to treating those it employs. Imagine what will happen to workers when EFF is in power. The siyagijima brigade is so busy running and has no time to reflect on the bad and reactionary practices of party leadership.
EFF has abandoned workers rights, as it has abandoned land return, as it has abandoned asijiki for siyagijima! EFF had abandoned it’s own Founding Manifesto when it begged money from white land thieves in Stellenbosch and promised them that their land is free. Julius Malema has made sure there is no questioning, only running at high speed to nowhere. These days when questions are asked about party positions and anti-revolutionary practices, the response is a picture of a tent full of people in red shirts and a slogan, “siyagijiima!”. Imagine the scenario where one asked: “if Julius Malema says he was not in Maputo but his credit card was swiped there, why does he not show the media his passport?”, the response from abagijimi (the runners) is to produce a picture of a rally and repeat the slogan, “siyagijima”. Here the members of EFF have been tricked into believing just like the members of the ANC that if they have numbers they don’t have to worry about the truth. Since the ANC has more numbers than all political parties in SA, it can cover the truth up more effectively. However EFF is not far off in using the idea of numbers to hide the truth. It’s like the ANC is saying, “you can say all you want about Nkandla, we have the numbers”. It’s what one once said are “voting cows”. Well siyagijima is a response of cows.
This year alone already EFF has held more than 6 rallies and yet more are to come. Things are happening at fast speed, siyagijima! The strange thing about these rallies is that they are held in tents. These tents serve two purposes. The first is to create the impression of a big and well attended meeting. A rally in a tent? This is new! But that is only a secondary consideration. The real objective of rallies is the theft of organisational funds. Rallies allow for inflation of prices and collusion with service providers for purposes of money laundering. The four main money spinners are: the tent, the sound, the stage and buses or transport. These services can be given to companies that are owned by friends and they then the supply services at inflated prices. For example, if a tent is R500 000, the company inflates the price to R2 million on the instruction of party leaders. The same applies for sound and stage as well as for buses or any frm of transport. So rallies are not used to build the movement and revolution but used as a way to steal from the party. People going to rallies shout, Siya,gijima! The response must be siyagijima siyaphi?
The politics of siyagijima have turned EFF into a massive event management company to manage rallies. These rallies are like roving rock music festivals across the country. Just like a proper rock band on tour, EFF functionaries are enlisted to travel ahead of rallies into localities to put posters and invite members of the community to the rally and to come and listen to the rock star, the commander in chief and son of the soil, insult Zuma and lizards. He will make them laugh, he will make them cry, he will make them believe, he will give them hope and they will feel relieved for the duration of the performance.The poor, the bored, the denigrated and disillusioned leave the rally addressed by the CIC imbued with new hope and euphoria. They are like the grass eating and petrol drinking members of the new churches. Under the spell of great words that speak to ones suffering, faith grows so much that one can even allow one to be jumped on or even go naked. The same practice of make-believe used by the charismatic pastors is at play here. Everything is experienced as the truth. In science this false cure is called the placebo effect. It works only for a little while. But the sense of belief and relief one experiences during the rally is like a drug fix, its as addictive as nyaope. One can’t wait for the next fix. The commander in chief on top of the imposing stage with booming speakers leaves them awe-struck. Like in a true rock festivals, fans faint and stomp their feet in hysteria!
Slogans are not the concentrated expression of political beliefs. Slogans tells us about the understanding of the immediate tasks of the revolution. Asijiki was a statement of refusal to compromise. Siyagijima is a statement of surrender covered in urgent meaningless action. EFF has been reduced from a revolutionary movement into a party of meaningless activity. This serves the counter-revolution well. Besides enriching the leadership through inflated prices for the rallies it gives the impatient angry and hungry fighters false relief. The fighters want action. Instead their tense bodies are given relief through a rally, songs and occational bashing of those who dare question the leadership. The fighters want revolutionary action. They are ready but instead they are given meaningless tasks of organising meaningless rallies. Siyagijima is the one more action in the long list indicating the right wing turn of the EFF as it becomes the private property of the leadership and abandons the mission of creating a revolutionary subject for the emancipation of the oppressed. EFF has lost direction! It is running free like a wild horse to nowhere. Siyagijima! We ask siyaphhi?