Human Rights for Robots: The Artificial Intelligence Generation

After mothballing my blog for more than a year, I succumb to numerous requests for a piece. Hitherto, the use of the first-person singular has always been avoided in all my writings, especially texts that are public. With my recent preoccupation, I have adapted to different writing styles as a result of switching between academic and political writing, neither of which accepts the use of the first person as appropriate. For the purpose of distinguishing from academic or political text, this piece, I shall for the first time apply myself to the text, in relation to the topic of interest.

To-day, we spend our lives sitting in front of a computer or television, we are becoming more and more remote, like robots, lacking humanity. It is sporadic in the developed and much of the developing world, to find refuge from a screen, and even fewer places are exempted from the networks that bind all these devises together. We are colonised by a web of signals and interfaces, which has spread like a malignant tumour, beyond communication at the workplace or home, to airports, schools, churches and places of organised leisure.

While attending a concert, more often than not, the front row is made up of faces glowing behind camera lenses, with the performance being consumed from a secondary medium or often being recorded inattentively, to peruse at a later date. Being in the moment and subsequently exchanging with friends, opinions about the highlights of the night, is a thing of antiquity. Documentation has replaced experience and the self is now the selfie. At times it seems the event itself is of secondary importance to the massive digital activity that crowds around it. From the social media boosterism beforehand to the online comments emerging in the course of the event, quite similar to Sunday evening Twitter, where everybody is watching a show and busy talking about it while it is underway.

No concert, hang-out session, or party can be enjoyed without taking the time to distance yourself from what you are doing, to make sure that those in your digital world know instantly how much fun you are having. The young are engulfed in a virtual world of tweets, status updates and “posting pictures of my dinner”, where the currency of popularity is traded in likes and comments on the social-sharing apps. We are so used to being stimulated all the time, so used to being on telecommunications, are not used to sitting with their own thoughts.

In examining the development of technology, particularly post the 3rd Industrial Revolution, analysis must focus on what the physical medium entails, to assist in determining how it influences our thinking, feelings and actions. The internet in no longer a medium that we access at certain moments through designated devices, but rather an environment we are permanently occupying, always on, transmitting and receiving. This has severe impacts on the development of humans as a race.

Without qualified medical diagnosis, I am certain that I am not thinking today as I used to. Over the past few years, I have experienced an uncomfortable evolution in my brain, with my neural circuitry remapped, and memory reprogrammed. Whether online or not, my mind has adapted to taking information the way the internet distributes it. Reading printed text is a hustle, my concentration drifts after a few paragraphs, followed by immediate fidgeting, the I lose the thread and look for something else to do. Instead of reading from left to right, top to bottom and absorbing the entire piece, I skim around the page, looking out for key information, like in a web page.

It is true that following a prolonged time on the internet, one struggles to readjust to non-digitalised elements of our daily life. This corroborates medical assertions that “our brain is modified on a substantial scale, physically and functionally, each time we learn a new skill or develop a new ability”, such a rumination ascertains that the internet has power to cause fundamental changes to our mental makeup.

When used excessively, digital technology- such as internet use, smart phones and computers- cause deterioration of brain function, which is medically referred to as Digital Dementia. This is characterised by unbalanced brain development, with heavy users developing their left brains more than the right. The right side of the brain is associated with creativity and emotional thought, factors that deteriorate as we invariably rely on Apps, we then develop what I call “Is there an app for that Syndrome”.

Our generation, is engulfed in Apps, young people today seek and easy solutions, as would be provided by an App. The exploratory path to discovering knowledge is replaced by a host of apps and search algorithms, which have prompted the young to avoid inquisitiveness when there is no “app for that”.
We have developed a symbiotic relationship with computer tools, which teach us to think like they operate. Using the brain to store information is no longer an efficient human physiological function, instead of remembering information by knowing, like computers, we remember by knowing where the information can be found. The information age is ironically resulting in humans knowing less instead of knowing more.

In conclusion, I ask the question, “who gets to know more?” Generally, technology magnifies power. Facebook may give power to activists to organise themselves online, however the authority will use the Facebook to identify the activists. Computer technologies are not tools of emancipation, they are an apparatus of control, designed to monitor and influence human behaviours. As we spend time filling online databases with details of our lives and desires, the establishment grows more capable of discovering and exploiting our patterns of behaviour. Computer technologies have inundated us with an unprecedented amount of data, most of which for us, is unusable in any practical sense. On the part of our generation, the true result of this has been an increase in human anxiety, as we try to keep up with the growing stream of information. Our nervous systems experience more stimulation than our intellects do and we are becoming more of robots and less human.

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Desired Plea to the Youth

Tshireletso Mati

An appeal to the young in South Africa, to the educated graduates employed and unemployed, to those who have been denied the opportunity to pursue higher education, to those who have been unlucky to be born into cursed families, those who have inherited nothing but burdens and debt. To those who enjoy historical privilege and thrive to the exclusion of the majority, to those who are engulfed in yankee ways of living and to those who endorse imperialistic principles that continue to put the human race at war with itself. To those who continue to oppose imperialism and all its antagonistic ways, those who advocate for liberty and egalitarianism. To the idealists, those who continue to deny themselves the pleasure of humanity, and to those who refuse to be ruled by antique ideas that revolt against human existence.

The young, certainly you have considered the viability of your future, and have understood that to sustain yourself and your ways of living, owning not the means of production, you need to be a proficient in a particular science or trait. While many pursue economic sustenance not with intentions to use their acquired skill for individual gain and subjugation of others, it is the system of capitalism which has developed into imperialism and dictates that the knowledge, skill and ability of the privileged few shall enfranchise the daily ignorance and misery that fuels imperialism in Africa. As one such person, with a vision for emancipation, this is an appeal for you to understand this work as a step towards advancing the development humans.

Supposing that you have received education and serve as a professional in a particular discipline or perhaps you are an artisan partially educated but with proficiency that renders you employable in our time. In whatever field that has opened up before you and has put you in a position of relative comfort, tomorrow a woman subordinate to you shall need service for a man in misery. This shall take you on a journey to the most indigent of places, where the poor are clustered and live with no optimism. You shall encounter the most muted of children, those whom even with so much surplus, endure famish. The man has worked nearly all the days of his life to lead an honest livelihood, however to be retrenched or unemployed is not rare in our times. With the man out of work, the woman makes a few hundreds of Rands when fortunate to secure impermanent occupations.

Of what value is your expert assistance to this wretched household? Despite your proficiency in your specific field, with a glance you realise that your service will not leave the family in a significantly restored form and that the recurring difficulty that you are expected to service is a consequence of a lack of sufficiency in conditions that maintain human wellbeing. It is ironic that the existence of many is dependent on the inability of others to afford good food and water, education and skills, clothing and clean ambient conditions, that if they afforded these, your expertise would be of no use. If you have a good heart, the conditions of the family and your experience with them will intrigue your conviction, and you will come to know that in the next house, the circumstances are not better. You leave the inundated family having enhanced your livelihood, you hope for appreciation but are embarrassed of your insufficiency in offering deeds not frivolous.

As you are pondering over the miserable conditions with which you left the wretched family, your partner tells you about a need for their expertise by the owner of a fine house who is worn out by sleepless nights, devoted to dressing, intoxicants, and squabbles with the man for which the service is required. For the family, your associate fancied commending a less byzantine habit of life, fresh air and isometrics to make up for the lack of valuable work. While the other suffers because of not having sufficient food or rest, others pine because of not knowing what work is and the privilege of privatised surplus.

If you are spineless and are prone to the dictations of the superstructure, at the sight of such repulsive spectacles you shall find consolation in inebriation, then you shall make sense of these disparities inert and you will look to maintain yourself in the ranks of the content so that you may never find yourself among the inferior. But if you are a conscious human being, if your intelligence has not drowned in desensitising ideas, then you will upon returning home, reject predetermined ways of living, ways that ensure that adversities are cured instead of prevented. A good living and intellectual advancement for all is not imaginary and exclusive to a hallowed dreamland. Fresh ambience, clean water, good food and not as much a devastating grind is how we must begin. Without this, any intended human development will be adverse to human existence.

At the realisation of the above stipulated you shall realise that, you shall see that the future of humanity is not guaranteed if we continue to lead fabricated lives of pleasure. When you admit to the absurdity the world is, then you understand the need for socialism and can be pursued to bring about a social revolution. You will realise that professions are taken to pass life with pleasure, in this case, what respect does a doctor who pursues medical science in order to pass life pleasantly differ from a slum narcotics addict who only seeks abrupt pleasure of drugs. While the educated scientist might have chosen a pleasure more sustained than the drug addict, they are not fundamentally different as they both have a selfish end in view, personal gratification. But no, you wish not to lead a selfish life. You shall vow to work for humanity as you realise that that which you were opportuned with is an appendage to luxury, it only serves to make life more pleasant than that of the marginalised majority of mankind.

You will come to the appreciation of the knowledge that ensures the perseverance of our own health and good conditions for the larger population of the world. How we ought to live can only be implicit through science and to think that science today exists only for the privileged, you shall realise that the irony of all the conditions science asserts for a rational existence only hits a few. This is despite that the work is contained in books. There is no longer a need to accumulate scientific knowledge, what is important is to spread the knowledge that is already at our disposal, and make them common inheritance. It is no longer viable to continue to make education a luxury when science must be the basis of everyday life. We must vehemently reject and condemn any educated individual who crams scientific truths as the whole rest of human beings remain in a slave and automated mentality incapable of grasping bare actualities exposed by science and education.

There is no working for humanity outside socialism because I promise you even when you are an enforcer of the law and you are expected to bring about justice in society. If a man attempts to steal bread from a baker and he is caught and arrested, upon questioning it is revealed that the man and his family have not had anything to eat for three days, the triumph of justice dictates that the man be prosecuted and charged, then locked away for three months. What justice is this? Justice that can punish a mad man for a crime- not even to the consideration of the ill childhood and continued misery the man has had to bear. This is a crime for which society in its entirety is to blame. Will you claim that protestors should be shot down and arrested by police to be prosecuted and sent to jail? No. If you reason instead of repeating the doctrines that have been passed down generationally throughout the bloody history of mankind, you will realise that opposition of written law is necessary and profound. With coherent economic, social and political consciousness, you will turn out to be a revolutionary socialist.

Even an engineer young engineer in industrial advances has not intentions to ensure that millions of workers lose their jobs while a handful of monopoly capitalists make a fortune and squander money of luxury. Perhaps you are an engineer pursuing the science and technology of artificial intelligence. While you intend to simplify production, your efforts surpass your expectations. Surely no engineer dreams of that. Surely the creators of Instagram- with less than thirty employees at establishment- had no intentions to bring Kodak- with thousands of employees- out of business. If you pursue limitations in society with the same vigour that has driven your mechanical innovation you will determine that under the reign of private property and wage-slavery, all attempts in the advancement of human existence shall leave the poor in more suffering and only bear pleasure for the few who are privileged to enjoy profits.

The passing on of existing knowledge for profits should be condemned. Say you are a qualified in schooling students and you are passionate about the young. One day your most improving literature student manages to do better than all other students and is writing stunning poetry. But when the student returns home, the parents reprimand them inhospitably for want of respect to the priest. The student then subverts the passion for literature over the fear and respect of a priest, which culminate into submission. When the student becomes inseparable from the bible, your best student turns out poor as they even dream of becoming a priest. Like the young engineer, you come to a brood about the realities that are imposed by the superstructure. In two ways really, as you will also carp the fact that the poems that you teach have nothing to do with the reality of your life or the lives of your students today.

To the young artists, the art of our time is profitmaking, the vicissitudes are hurried because if it cannot assist the schema of the imperialists today, then it cannot be acknowledged and rewarded. Most artists are slowly dissipating into a history that will be disposed in revolutionary fury. But if your heart is among humanity, whether or not you enjoy reward, you cannot remain neutral. You will come to the side of those who are fighting for justice and freedom, you will pursue art with revolutionary awareness.

Is there, but, the ludicrous ways of humanity? If all human beings were to disregard all sophisms, it would be easy to appeal to man to work for the transformation of society. All suggestions of idealistic illusions and liberal education imposed by the superstructure shall become irrelevant and with application of the dictates of nature and principles of liberty and egalitarianism, man shall be emancipated.

When you are a man conscious of their surroundings and has devoted their knowledge and capacity to the cause of social emancipation, when you reject history as written by the conquerors, when you pursue science for the modifying of anthropology, sociology and ethics, when you can convince society that all ills are to be cured from the roots, when you can show that actual life is gruesome and can tell to extents what a rational life would and should be. When you possess the knowhow and ability to serve where you are needed, you must never take an opportunity to be trapped in a composite assumption of superiority. Your efforts on this path shall bear fruit if you come not as an ambitious master or ruler but as a comrade in struggle.

Even upon grasp of the above without err, others will be left however without the necessary reason or courage to act. Perhaps the truth of the dilemmas that life present is too simple after all, it will not be this easy to lead individuals into championing the cause of social revolution, particularly individuals who have been exposed to bourgeois backgrounds and voluminous sophisms. But the contradictions within the social order and the global events facilitated by imperialists that continue to put the lives of the majority in jeopardy highlights the magnitude of the cause and the profound struggle a socialist struggle is.

All those who endure the misery caused by the imperialist social order, from a young age, know that those with chubby and shiny chicks in trendy clothing are not their equals, neither socially nor economically. While others go to schools and academies, you are shut in factories and farms, and at a later stage, the others- while less intelligent, but better educated than you- become your superiors, relishing all the pleasures of life. This is the same weary existence that your mother and father have endured for more than you have lived, anxious of the realisation of bread on the table. Will you devote yourself to providing luxury and pleasure to a minority of loafers? Perhaps you will give up given that generations throughout their historical existence, men have endured the same and even worse. If you are to become a lumpen, and live in submission, it will take pains to enlighten you.

Imperialism is prone to crises ones capable of destroying whole industries leaving millions of workers in melancholy. Upon crisis, your family will capitulate to privations, for mere want of food, you shall spend days as a unit of pauper while the rich continue their pleasant lives with disregard for those who starve and croak. Reflection will point out to the contradictions in the social order that continue to marginalise billions at the expense of an avaricious minority. One day, when your master decides to reduce your wages to increase their fortune and you are told to go home if you are in opposition of the idea, when you understand the inferiority with which you are looked upon by your boss, and that you are a slave chained by the wage system, again at this point, you will understand that socialism is inevitable and desirable.

Mother, after bearing life, do you ever reflect on the future awaiting your children or generations to follow them? Do you wish your offspring would loaf as their forefathers, with no quest than that of daily survival? Do you wish your children to be subjects of those who have inherited capital to exploit? Will not your blood boil when your partner accepts the terms dictated by capitalists in great contempt? There is no denying the contribution women have made in struggles to advance human existence and to undermine the contribution women offer to the revolutionary struggle for socialism is to undermine not only socialism in principle, but the advancements in human existence in their entirety.

Every one of the young will then understand the privileges of being human, privileges that are denied to the majority by inequality. You will come and work with comrades in preparation for revolution. None of you will be left with the desire to continue to limit others, you shall open an avant-garde scope of joyous existence characterised by wellbeing for all, under principles of liberty and egalitarianism. You shall work with all for all and you shall never heed those who dismiss the splendid outcomes of a socialist revolution based on the fact that we are hardly adequate in number because it is us- the majority- who suffer injustice. It is the billions in all our varied experiences and vocations who are in agony and endure daily distress. We the young dare not wait for an idol, not for our sake, but for the sake of human existence, let us revolt against all oppression and exploitation.

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Anarchism towards Anti-Imperialism in Africa

Tshireletso Mati

When taking account of the role of the radical left in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles, the role of anarchist-syndicalists has generally been ignored. This problem emerges from the tendency to conflate radical left efforts in the above mentioned struggles with Marxists engagement. Marxists enjoy a special relationship with nationalists throughout the world, as seen in the case of a number of African nationalists who have attempted to take up socialism as an economic system subsequent to their liberation. The involvement of anarchist/syndicalists in anti-imperial, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles dates back to the mid-1800s.

Anarchists actively participated in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles in colonial and post-colonial regions including parts of Latin America, South and East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Their participation also included militant anti-imperialist and anti-war struggles in the home imperialist states. Marxists had a marginal presence in the trio of struggles until the 1920s, and at times presented sharp contradictions given the existence of Russian and Chinese imperialism. With increasing national and class consciousness among and within colonies, a third world revolt was seemingly becoming inevitable.

Anarchism emerged in Egypt in the 1870s where Arab workers were recruited through multi-lingual propaganda and international syndicalist unions at a later stage. Most Anarchists in Egypt were found in the Egyptian Socialist Party, which positioned itself as a pure anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist organisation. However following the seizure of British control over Egypt, anarchists and other radicals were persecuted by the government of Sa’d Zaghul.

In French Algeria, the prevalence of anarchism is owed to the revolutionary syndicalist General Confederation of Labour which was actively opposed to French colonialism and discrimination, and the 1930 colonial centenary celebrations. Anarchists in the struggle for the liberation of Algeria organised both in Algeria and France against the French plutocracy.

In the early twentieth century, the self-governing dominion of South Africa had social relations similar to those in Algeria during French rule. The substantial anarchist and syndicalist movement of the early 1900s opposed the civil, political and economic disabilities imposed on the natives, as well as the segregationist nature of apartheid. A significant number of natives were recruited to several syndicalist unions and political groups such as Industrial Workers of Africa (IWA) and Industrial Socialist League (ISL). The IWA and ISL worked with and within some sectors of the African National Congress (then African Native National Congress), from a position of critical engagement. Certain ISL militants like T. W. Thibedi assisted immensely in the formation of the Communist Party and expansion of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU) into neighbouring colonies.

While anarchists and syndicalist contribution to the liberation of African nations is clearly recognisable, the impact of these struggles in advancing anti-imperialism was not captured, this can be attributed to the dominance nationalist ideas and the struggles being captured by nationalists. Successful anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles required internationalist anti-authoritarian social revolutions against the state and class system.

The participation of Anarchists in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles was driven by conviction and intention, they did not undermine the potential of these struggles to advance the revolutionary class struggle for a universal, self-managed and stateless socialist order. Anarchists believed that anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles were not in any way inconsistent with their larger project, which is the removal of social and economic inequality, and all forms of exploitation.

Anarchists participated in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and national liberation struggles not only as a strategic move, but also based on principle. Colonialism and imperialism are rejected by anarchists for their coercive, discriminatory, and violently oppressive character. No one is entitled to impose their customs, languages and laws. The natives of each nation have the right to be separate, reject assimilation and state-managed multi-racialism. Oppressed nations need not recognise the existing state boundaries, which were imposed by the colonialists.

Anarchist participation in national liberation struggles was important to enlighten the nationalists. Nationalism aims to unite nations across racial and class divisions, and to create new national states. Nationalism therefore reproduces the evils of class and the state. Most struggles for independence were disappointing in result as they merely replaced foreign with local oppressors and contributed nothing towards the emancipation of the working class. Anarchists played their part in pushing national liberation struggles as far as possible, in the direction of an internationalist, anti-statist, and class struggle based, social revolution.

While African countries were struggling for national liberation, capitalism and colonialism were undergoing a stage of metamorphosis, there was transition from capitalism to a higher system. The imperial phase of capitalism simply transferred the antagonistic relationship between the wealthy and the poor onto the world stage. As capitalists pursued to maintain and even increase their profits, they exported to previously colonised nations. These poor peripheral countries were now integrated into the world economy as the new “proletariat” of the world. This is where the Marxist theory experienced severe limitations and limited most African leaders who had adopted Marxist socialism.

According to Karl Marx, capitalism- as dictated by its three laws- would come to revolutionary crisis and suffer internal class revolt, paving the way for the transition to socialism. But, capitalist nations avoided this crisis by expanding the pool of workers they exploited. The acquisition of colonies had enabled the capitalist economies to dispose of their unconsumed goods, to acquire cheap resources, and to channel their excess capital. This is how the capitalist nations succeeded in delaying their revolutionary crisis- by keeping the poorer nations underdeveloped and deep in debt, and dependent on them for manufactured goods, jobs, and financial resources.

Anti-colonial and national liberation struggles failed to bring about economic emancipation to the African multitudes because they preserved all elements necessary to expand capitalism into imperialism. As a matter of fact, political independence of African countries created a platform for widespread imperialism. Political sovereignty of Africans came with increased dependency and exploitation. Most African leaders who took over post-independence failed dismally to deal with the uneven development of society within their countries, surely they could not be expected to deal with uneven development at a global scale. Nationalism and statism provide imperialism with a platform for growth. To defeat imperialism, African leaders were supposed to pursue an internationalist, anti-statist, and class struggle based social revolution.

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Our Education System Deserves Annihilation

Tshireletso Mati

The current academic education system that puts emphasis on qualification at the expense of skill is a revolution against human advancement and it must be jettisoned. This cooperative education has in South Africa produced a mad population. The country is sitting with over 500 000 unemployed graduates as a portion of the 8 million unemployed individuals. The education that is bought in universities mostly through government subsidised loans is repulsive to the socioeconomic and political system within which it exists. It produces cohorts of automated bodies ready for an 8 to 5, Monday to Friday which involves absolutely no thought.

What is fundamentally wrong with our education system is that it is ineffectual. What we pay for is a transfer of ancient ideas, which have been developed into theories and systems that attempt to offer analysis of human existence. The ideas which are popularised in school were developed from thoughts that emanate from observation of society at the time of development of those ideas, some of the ideas have managed to bring forth changes to the society, developing it into what we are exposed to today. For human advancement to be in effect, we need to develop ideas based on our interactions with existing society in order to make concrete changes that will advance human existence. Hence education in its current nature can be referred to as a revolution against human advancement.

The education is also incompatible to the realism of the natural, social, economic and political systems which it analyses, explains and authenticates. Economics in its current nature is based on ownership of production, trade and industry, but when one goes to school to qualify in economics, they are not taught how to own, produce and trade, neither do they acquire ownership of anything palpable. An economist is essentially impassive and inert in the undertakings of ownership of production, trade, and industry as they unfold. Ownership of means of production, trade and industry are independent from school, most individuals who are located within the bourgeois class find themselves there as an effect of inheritance. It is unfortunate that the ownership of a R 350 000 costing university degree cannot be passed intergenerationally. Even if it can be passed on, it remains meaningless because it is abstract and impractical. It gives no capacity to produce or reproduce and therefore acts to the halt of human advancement.
There is no being equivocal in the fact that if the education system was expedient to human existence, professional teachers and lecturers would be found with ample exertion. Education is not a mode of social progress and/or reform, it fails to equip students with the necessary skills and tools to allow them to become effective agents of social change, specifically in unequal societies. What is the use of academic education when it cannot provide students the opportunity to become skilled citizens with the ability and capability to sustain human themselves and contribute to the advancement of society?

The education that is organised into curriculum is limiting and is a reproductive organ of divided labour that is a major component of the capitalist economic system. The contemporary education system is determined by the existential conditions of prior epochs of existence, immaterial to the existing circumstances. This means that prevailing global economics and politics can adjust, amend, transform and shape the education system but the education system can neither determine nor modify the global economic system because it exists in the current, an era which our education system is alienated from. This is why graduates are dependent upon those who own the means of production for employment in any industry. Even with abundant qualifications from any South African university, an individual remains fundamentally of no use to humanity because they are striped of the liberty of independent thinking for human advancement. Individuals with degrees are essentially certified and professional recipients of instruction, they are of use to the contemporary socioeconomic political system, only.

The transmission of knowledge in its current form must be rejected. Students are struck-off their natural proficiency and freedom of thought. Human advancement can only take place when simple ideas from an individual’s inquisitive discovery and sensory observation are combined to develop complex ideas. The current education system takes complex ideas which exist from antiquity and breaks them down into a curriculum of particular and reduced ideas which are taught in school. When simple ideas that have been reduced from a complex idea are handed down to students, the students become slaves of that idea because for them to make headway in education, they must reproduce smaller existing ideas to form an existing complex idea. Students’ minds are not regarded as producers of thought, but rather reproducers of ideas, an act that is immaterial, rendering students inert to existential transformation.
Education is pronounced by the imperialist system and its agents as a key to success. In the most unequal society in the globe, there cannot be an equal opportunity to learn. Only the thoughtless will anticipate success from education that is outside their dialect of communiqué, resource proprietorship and habitual environment. The narrative of education as the key to success must be equally annulled. Forthrightly, Education is the key to successfully obtaining a qualification and because qualifications are nothing but certificates that acknowledge the reproduction of antique knowledge, millions individuals who are supposedly educated shall remain within the contemporary socio-economic political system without the ability or capacity to change it. That is how more than half a million graduates in South Africa remain hopeless with the inability and incapability to sustain human themselves through finding employment and contribute to socioeconomic and political revolution to advance human existence.

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The Challenge of South Africa’s Inadequate Quantity of Higher Education

Tshireletso Mati

Higher education in South Africa is inadequate in quantity; the existing institutions of higher learning are insufficient to absorb the number of learners leaving high schools on an annual basis. It is therefore imperative that new institutions of higher learning be established. The department of higher education and training’s failure to ensure unimpeded access to higher education for all is surely a result not only of financial constraint-high cost of accessing university- it is also due to the fact that there is a deficiency of higher education institutions that exist given the country’s youthful populous.

South Africa is a country with a young population. Almost half of the country’s citizens are classified as youth by South Africa’s National Youth Commission Act of 1996 and the population dynamics are expected to remain as such for at least the next four decades. Despite all the above, there is not a fundamental solution put forward to address the question of limited universities in the country. The higher education institutions presented as alternatives are mostly privately owned, those provided by the government are incompetent and depraved. Even with a number of private institutions that is greater than that of public universities, and many TVET Colleges and SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) learnerships is various organisations, at any given moment, the number of individuals capable and available to embark on higher education by far exceeds the number of spaces available in the higher education sector.

The consequences of the limitations in higher education are aggravated by the country’s historical context. The difficulty of university accessibility is a burden that is primarily carried by the underprivileged Africans, particularly those of the female sex. The economic, social and spatial dynamics of apartheid intended to limit higher education to Europeans only. The number of universities in the country was meant for the minority, it makes absolutely illogical the expectation of existing South African institutions of higher learning to absorb a sum of that includes the even the majority.

The 26 public universities and just over 100 private institutions and colleges receive on an annual basis, applications that are more than twice the number of spaces available. Before Africans face the challenge of financing their studies, they face the horror of having to find a space in the higher education sector. For more than two decades the problem of access to South African institutions of higher learning has been attributed to primarily finances. This is however deception and a carefully controlled narrative used by the government in an attempt to evade responsibility.

Given the population of African youth in the country, the increased access to the country’s universities for Africans that accompanied by democracy following 1994 could not have possibly had an impact on addressing the antagonistic realities of the majority being allocated minimal resources at the expense of the minority. Two decades after the democratic dispensation, less than 15 percent of the country’s African (‘blacks’ with the exclusion of Asians) youth are in University. The percentage of European youth occupying spaces in South Africa’s universities is that of their African counterparts, fivefold.

South Africa’s public institutions of higher learning are facing a boom in applications. The number of applications received by the public universities surpasses the number of spaces available in the higher education sector to the extreme. More applicants are denied admission to the universities annually than the total population of university students in the country, consequently, the number of young people without access to university inevitably increases exponentially every year with more school leavers joining the rejects from preceding years.

South Africa has for the past two years experienced increasingly radical and militant student protests for fee free higher education. Countless local representatives and wardens of Anglo-American imperialism have cited degradation of quality as the paramount adversity in relation to the government ensuring means for free higher education. The latter is a regrettably erroneous analysis of the country’s higher education system. It is failure to conceive that finding an alternative mode of funding does not necessarily mean fewer resources will be available for higher education and that quality can only be compromised when universities are congested, without sufficient facilities and expertise: An issue that can be remedied by increasing the quantity of higher education in the country afore availing the necessary resources for higher education.

The post-apartheid government has only been able to increase the number of universities by a duo of newly recognised institutions in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, respectively. Not by any standards, this is miserable. Each university in the country has a carrying capacity of circa 35 000 students, this infers that South Africa requires an institution of higher learning for every 35 000 in the 20 million plus cohort of young individuals available to go to university. Given the limitations in the economics and politics of the country, it will be futile to attempt to avail a space in university for each citizen, but to increase the number of universities twofold in our lifetime is an objective that is within grasp…

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The Fall of South Africa’s Agriculture: Fading Socio-Economic Role Tenacity.

Tshireletso Mati

In a country that uses 80 % of its land for cultivation and as grazing land, given the physical conditions the country is exposed to, it would not come as a surprise to witness agriculture being a driver of growth in the economy. It was anticipated that following the democratic dispensation, South Africa would move towards agrarian reform as a way to grow the economy, secure food and create jobs for the millions of unemployed rural and urban inhabitants of the country. However, the changes that have taken place in the South African agricultural sector since 1994 have been rather atrocious. . Non-changes are also a contributing factor, specifically with regards to racial dynamics of ownership of land and other means of production. The changes occurred when the post-1994 government adopted policies which ensure deregulation of agricultural marketing and the liberalisation of trade, as well as the reduction of government support to the sector, acts which have rendered the sector unworkable.

Since the dawn of democracy, agriculture has declined to such an extent that its impact on the economy is almost negligible. The share of the sector has been consistently declining over time to the current level of below 3%. The decline is preordained based on the changes that occurred in the sector when the ANC led government took over in 1994. All fundamental changes that occurred promote the growth of monopolies and ensure the continued exploitation of the country’s agricultural resources by the minority that owns the country’s minimal arable land. The changes did not provide encouraging prospects for growth of agriculture unabridged or for emerging individuals or communities within the sector.

Perhaps the government regarded an investment in the modernisation of agriculture as unnecessary because the sector is susceptible to a natural decline as the economy would react to the inducement by Anglo-American imperialism which is disguised as modernisation. Since agriculture is closely linked to other sectors of the economy and economic development is currently closely associated with secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors of the economy, investment in economic activities that involve manufacturing and telecommunication undoubtedly initiates an interflow of capital along different economic sectors, however as much as the government did not invest in agriculture, it also invested not in any other sector. The government also did not view agriculture as a sector that could lead to increased capital in manufacturing or any sector of the economy. And despite acknowledging the succour agriculture offers in curbing unemployment in the country, the government also failed to maximise the potential to create jobs as well as combat poverty and hunger provided by agriculture.

While it may be a fact that agricultural productivity growth has a substantial impact on reducing poverty, South Africa has managed to experience a twofold adversity, where a combination of non-growth in productivity and job losses have resulted in agriculture having a minute impact on alleviating poverty in the country. South Africa has a dual agricultural economy, with both a modern commercial farming economy and traditional smaller scale communal farming economy-or rather not. Virtually all the product and market contributions of the agricultural sector to the South African economy are provided by the commercial agricultural sector, this is despite the numerous attempts by government to provide ways into the markets for local small scale producers.

The changes in policy were supposedly intended to remove the socialist control of agriculture prevalent under the National Party Government, but what they have done is to ensure the prevalence of exploration of the country’s agricultural potential by the few, for the few. The changes in policy were combined with the dismantling state support to farmers, resulting in the inability to compete for emerging farmers. As if the policies are not a disaster on their own, when combined with the fundamental dynamics of ownership of land, they afford a minority of white farmers who own all of the country’s arable land that is under irrigation the monopoly to fruitfully grow high-priced export crops such as deciduous fruits, grapes and citrus fruits. The government is principally responsible for the decrease in the area under production for staple low-priced crops such as wheat and maize. When combined with government endorsed and enacted low import tariffs, the agricultural sector of the country collapses, hence South Africa is a net importer of food in terms of volume.

Agricultural production is a labour intensive and predominantly rural industry, the country’s demographics and spatial dynamics give it a vital role to play in job creation and poverty alleviation. Reality is on the contrary- as farms become larger and more mechanised, employment in the sector is on the decline, particularly in the commercial sector. Black farmworkers and their livelihoods have also been put in jeopardy as employment in the commercial agricultural sector is mostly not permanent, leaving the workers vulnerable and insecure. The neo-liberal and anti-black policies of the government exclusively protects white farmers who are the sole benefactors of foreign exchange and profits generated from the country’s agricultural potential. Oh! They also protect with vigour the farmers in foreign countries who receive generous state subsidies and dump their products in South Africa- also white farmers anyway.

While white farmers relish the welfares of the country’s land, irrigation systems and free markets, the number of South Africans who experience chronic hunger is increasing. South Africa’s food security is mainly due to its capacity to import, especially staple foods. Proclaiming South Africa to be food self-sufficient is an unconcealed whopper. The right to food is enshrined in international laws and the Constitution of the country, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has a mandate to develop policies and programmes to afford South Africans the opportunity to be able to meet their basic food needs. Notwithstanding entirely the humanitarian rhetoric, the government ceases not to act as a protectorate of white monopoly with their attempt to approach land redistribution with peace and not justice. The difficulty faced by millions of South Africans in relation to food security is amplified by a lack of access to the means to produce food and further augmented by the rising food prices amid price fixing among white farmers as well as riling unemployment and poverty.

There is no further emphasising the fundamental role agriculture is ordained to play in a country, particularly a developing nation. In South Africa, continued white interest in the country’s agricultural productivity and espousal of neo-liberal, anti-black policies by the South African government has since 1994 failed to ensure significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product by agriculture, employment creation and food security. Without a radical plan to ensure that the country’s agricultural capabilities are maximised to the advantage of all citizens, the fruits which agriculture in South Africa bears will remain racially maldistributed and monopolised, leaving millions of- mostly black- South Africans under siege and entirely destroying imminent developments in the country’s agricultural production.
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The Fourth Industrial Revolution as a way to antagonise Imperialism

Tshireletso Mati

Throughout history industrial revolutions have played a significant role in changing how humans produce. With the inception of each industrial revolution came severe alterations in the global economic system. Industrial revolutions have served capitalism with an opportunity for expansion and development. The fact that the capitalist epoch is today in the imperialist stage can be attributed to previous industrial revolutions, which have allowed- directly and indirectly- capitalist nations to expand the pool of workers they exploit and create colonies of dependency which serve as markets. The fourth industrial revolution is one such change in society that seeks to strengthen capitalism and its inevitability must be met with great capacity to control its consequences.

The first industrial revolution began in the late 1700s in Britain and it is characterised by mechanisation of the textile industry. Production was increased exponentially by replacing labour-intensive hand weaving with cotton mills. This also decreased the cost of production. The second industrial revolution commenced in the early 1900s when mass production was intensified by the introduction of the assembly line. This was accompanied by development of electricity and the abandonment of coal in favour of oil. This was followed by the third industrial revolution, which is mainly based on the development of the internet. The convergence of software systems and communication technologies led to the paradigm shift from analogue to digital systems which are flourishing. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and it is advancing capitalism and imperialism as all other revolutions in industry have.

The fourth industrial revolution involves advancements in science and technology which have led to the development of machines with cognitive abilities meant to replace human beings as a source of labour. Artificial Intelligence is being added to the concoction of industrial revolutions and this is resulting in the disposal of human labour. This will alter the antagonisms that exist in the bourgeois-proletariat relationships in ways that Marx never conceived and as a result, the working class will be alienated from production. The fourth industrial revolution is an opportunity for capitalism to avoid crisis and internal class revolt in the same way imperialism has managed to transform capitalism to a higher system- monopoly.
The impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the livelihoods of the proletariat is great; factory workers across the globe will lose their function. The owners of the means of production will accept the fourth industrial revolution with joy because it reduces the number of workers in factories without negatively affecting production, thus increasing profits. For example, Adidas announced in 2016 that it is building a new shoe and clothing factory which will combine the latest digital technology, automation and new production methods, resulting in the use of intelligent robots for labour. This will take manufacturing back to Europe and lead to millions of working men and women in third world countries becoming unemployed as the manufacturing of shoes and clothes is generally outsourced to low-wage countries. The return of factory manufacturing to Europe will have no adverse impact on Adidas as the owners of the means of production.

In order to ensure that we minimise the adversity of the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, particularly in Africa, we need to get rid of capitalism and imperialism and replace them with a new socio-economic order:

The destruction of monopolies will rescind the relationship between the bourgeois and proletariat; it will as a matter of fact destroy capitalism because by disaggregating ownership from the hands of the few, the bourgeois class will seize to exploit the proletariat. This will ensure that companies can be able to reduce labour intensity without negatively affecting the working class. Those who are currently selling their labour to monopoly companies must share equally the means of production with the bourgeois class, in that way; the reduction of labour intensity will not have adverse impacts on one group and benefit the other. When Adidas is owned by all those who play a part in bringing about its productive output, the employment of robots will not negatively affect those who will be replaced by the robots because production will continue. This must not be mistaken for individuals owning individual robots and essentially benefiting from the worth of a single robot.

Capitalism is built on the exploitation of African resources, to this day, primary economic activities in Africa are wrought in a colonial and imperialistic manner. Africa’s natural resources have always benefited monopolies who continue to export them cheaply in order to actuate their manufacturing. Ownership of Africa’s land and mineral wealth must also be disaggregated from the imperialistic few so that the resources can benefit all to whom they belong. Africa must be host to both primary and secondary economic activities so as to get rid of the global division of labour. The global spatial dynamics of manufacturing are set out for Africans to be consumers of finished goods and services from elsewhere, this means that along being a source of food and raw materials, Africa is a dependent of monopolies and only serves as a market and investment outlet for monopolies. The strengthening of industrialisation in Africa will cure Africa’s dependency syndrome by ensuring that with or without human labour, Africa continues to produce for the benefit of all.

The fourth industrial revolution is here and with the reality of billions of people having to be replaced by robots, strategic mechanisms need to be put in place so as to minimise the impact of joblessness. The future is presenting us with an opportunity to debauch the exploiter-exploitee relationship that exists in all societies by removing the exploited, this is an immense step in the overthrow of the capitalist system which exists on a global scale as imperialism. Equal distribution of income generated by intelligent machines is the only way the present day proletariat will be is sustained as part of society. The fourth industrial revolution is inevitable and it must not be approached with hostility. Instead, necessary measures are required to ensure that society is able to adapt to and embrace fully the development of artificial intelligence, so as to use it to solve the global crisis created by capitalism and imperialism…

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The Essence of Rebellion

The Essence of Rebellion
Covert F7

Throughout history, any significant change in social order has been brought forth with the assistance of violent action. Violent action is necessary in the erection of new nation-states, particularly when the political beaurocratic system is deteriorating. Historically, disappointments in economic development, marginalisation and misdistribution of resources have encouraged leaders and movements to lead insurgent actions against the state and the entirety of the ruling class. Coupled with ‘terrorist’ deeds and guerrilla campaigns, insurgencies have gained popular support as a tool for radical social change, they have become the essence of egalitarianism and liberty. In a society like Africa, characterised by ferocious oppression and blatant injustices, rebellion is inevitable and desired to bring emancipation. For Africa to experience full emancipation, the force of imperialism must be opposed with force, arms with arms, anarchy with anarchy.

Anarchist violence is the only violence that is justifiable, the only violence necessary for the human race and the only violence that is not criminal. For Africa to exist peacefully alongside imperialist forces, peace must be wanted from both sides. Anarchist violence ceases when the need for resistance and emancipation ceases, it is not by any means violence for its own sake. Liberty has never been delivered on a silver platter, the elite can never voluntarily give up their privileges in favour of the millions of Africans who are famished and impoverished. Revolutionary violence modifies society, it transforms man and delivers a fundamentally new society. Violence is the highest form of political struggle, it has been a tool for colonisation and imperialism, surely necessary is a war on oppression and inequality.

The societal divides in South Africa are cumulating, combined with the post-apartheid character of the country, the door for insurgent action, guerrilla warfare and terrorist activities is open. Social unrests- pertaining to rising unemployment, unequal distribution of land and wealth, bourgeois control of the political structure and corruption in government- have become the order of the day. Ignorance of the popular dissatisfaction by the political leadership is a platform for the masses to be manipulated towards popular support for possible insurgent action against the government of the day, particularly when the youth is moving towards a radical and militant, leftist standpoint.

Nationalist ideas are frivolous in the wide-ranging ideological thought system. The fact that they play an immense role in galvanising popular support towards insurgent action is unsatisfactory, however they can emerge progressive if steered towards the desired direction through clarity in ideology. It must be understood that the registered grievances are shaped by a historical malady in which the grievances are merely symptoms. The tools of violent insurgency must be unleashed to integrate with the ideological clarity to establish radical revolutionary action, the clarity can also follow subsequent to the commencement of the revolutionary action, but not at halt. With this, the guerrilla war and acts of terror will be aimed at the real enemy, the African man ceases to rebel for petty things and against himself.

All imperialist states have been involved in wars for expansion into new areas for exploitation and to conquer their imperialist rivals. To- day these wars are taking new forms and strategies, some involving the African masses some not, what is fundamental is for the Africans to turn imperialist wars into wars against all oppressive and exploitative structures.

The African man is more valuable to self as a guerrilla fighter than a soldier in a war to expand his own exploitation. In proximity with possession of lethal weaponry must trail preparation for formation warfare. While imperialists loathe guerrilla war and order it as a form of crime and not war, the fruitfulness of the ‘crime’ is known to many from whom Africans can learn. The fighters must capture the fundamentals of guerrilla warfare as detailed by revolutionaries Mao Tse-Tung and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The threat of superior firepower posed by the state’s troops and any supplementary army must encounter sharp guerrillas who are acclimatised to the terrain, quick to attack and quicker to retreat, and always on the edge, ready to disrupt, loot and destroy that of the opposing force.

Imperative to successful guerrilla operations is a set of conditions which must be ensured on the ground in order to advantage the fighters. The population not in arms must actively support the guerrilla army, the enemy’s weaknesses must be identified and utilised to induce mistakes, and the enemy must be reduced to a somnolent and demoralised state. It is imperative that the population identifies with the movement, the must understand the futility of maintaining peace through being conservative in opposition to obtaining liberty through justice. The use of revolutionary violence, in addition to wilting the enemy, also conscientises the masses and rallies them behind the revolution. Efficient use of guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics guarantees political leverage. After all, the aim is not to rush into defeat and submission of the state’s military, the conflict must be maintained and controlled by the fighters until such a point where sufficient force is built, with the ability to defeat the government’s army in open battle. Despite building sufficient capacity of the guerrilla army, of fundamental importance is the masses rising and ensuring the abdication of government.

The government must always be exposed for its inability to protect themselves and state property. Terrorism is most valuable in this sense, particularly when used to exterminate noted leaders of the opposing forces who delight in repression. Victories and state weaknesses must be propagated sharply, with the intention to diminish support for the government and rally the masses. The morality behind terrorism must also be elucidated to the masses, despite the use of the term, labelling freedom fighters as terrorists is of imperialist and conservative forces. In view of the masses, the moral judgement is frivolous because imperialist moral viewpoints are vehemently rejected. Same goes with guerrilla warfare being labelled as criminality and any other act for which counter-revolutionary forces have appointed themselves as moral gods. International humanitarian intervention coordinated by the imperialist forces is most desired as it will stretch the revolution, bearing an internationalist posture. Intervention from imperialist states in Africa will prove effective in rallying the masses. Any action by imperialist coalitions increases condition and propaganda for resistance.

In establishing a society free of exploitation and oppression, revolutionary violence is beneficial. Intelligent utilisation of violence and propaganda combined with civic agitation from years of government failure is necessary to expose Africa and its masses to a transformed existence, free of oppression and exploitation. While revolt in Africa is inevitable and desirable, the struggle must in all manifestations espouse an internationalist and anti-authoritarian stance in order to successfully destroy the state and the class system which preserve and disseminate all exploitation and oppression.
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Counter Human Existence Ideas: Religion and God

Tshireletso Mati

Any idea that is out of human interaction with their milieus for the advancement of human existence preserves the war humans are waging on themselves as a way of life. The belief in god and Religion is one such idea and it must be condemned as it distorts life on earth as it is nothing more than an abstraction, a depravation of reality. The fact that Europeans aggressively and militantly used religion as a weapon against Africa shows that it is atrocious and mind numbing, bearing nothing but subjugation and oppression to the great African masses.

The belief in god destroyed completely the advancements in human existence in Africa. It took away African identity and like much vigorous dispossession, it took away the African man’s dignity. God destroyed human solidarity and liberty. In the present day, Africans live for a dogmatic idea and not through ideas emanating from their own thought. For as long as the idea of god has existed, it has never been advantageous for anyone from whom it is not patent.

The recognition of religion and god by African man is the approval of slavery and subjugation. African people are without a master in the absence of God, slavery is more proximate to god than his own son Jesus Christ. The security of a non-existent monstrous ideal is greater than that of millions of armed man, and it is what Europe has been enjoying with deterministic fantasies articulated as the word. When one believes that the existence of humans is subject to a superior being, they adopt an inferiority-complex that becomes totally entrenched in their thoughts that there is no thought outside a relationship of subjugation.

For millions of Africans who are marginalised from humanity, the fantasy of eternal life in heaven is a mirage that gives Europe a monopoly of insidious crimes against humanity. Religion is a means to organise and control African people, many Africans have ceased to believe in the idea of god but continue with the religious ways of life as insurance. There is no logical reason why an individual that is awaited by an eternity of purity can voluntarily sustain their life on Earth, a life of wrong and death.

Africans must ignore religion because god does not exist. In the context of African historical development, there is no better description of religion than Mikhail Bakunin’s “we fool you we rule you!”

The bible is only a manifesto for the lifeless, those who deny themselves the opportunity to think autonomously. The use of absurd sagas that fill the bible as praxis of life on earth is a complete denial of reason. There is not a single natural law that is unopposed. As ludicrous as belief in the word of god is, there is not any form of inanity that goes beyond eternal war on an enemy that does not exists. The first rebel and a former angel unfortunately cursed by god. Sure god failed to use his foresight as a warning that Satan would be unruly, but to punish generations of innocent human beings for one rebel’s failure to ignore human thought and interaction with their ambiance is demonstration of utter hostility towards human existence.

The gullibility with which Africans read the bible is disgusting, particularly because the ideas that are printed in the bible consistently urge people to find fault in themselves. Countless Africans abandoned their traditional historic ideas because they are presented as wicked superstitions, this is detrimental. African beliefs, morals and ethics were disposed as if their replacement would be scientific and not idealistic. For Africans, religion only aids with consciously coping in adverse conditions of subjugation without the consciousness of agony. Religion cannot contribute to the African man’s sustainability or development because it is a conservative force, it impedes social change.

The premise of the idea of religion is a non-egalitarian society, it is structured to maintain stability in uneven societies. There is no countering the reality that society needs collective solidarity, value consensus and harmony, but not at the expense of justice and freedom. Religion is commended for bringing forth ultimate values for humans to hold in common. These values are for both the oppressed and the oppressors and they have led to Africans loving Europeans more than they love themselves. The values offered by religion allow the oppressor’s position to be justified, social order is maintained because it is ordained by god. This is an insult to all Africans living in misery and suffering predetermined by god to fulfil the European man’s fetish of African blood, sweat and tears.
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Anti-SRC politics

SRCs are now considered to be statutory structures as provided for in the Higher
Education Act. They offer a variety of services to individual students and different
student groupings. In offering these services SRCs exercise political, economic and
administrative authority in order to manage the activities of student life. The SRC of
each institution also has a political responsibility to represent students in the decision
making bodies of the university such as senate and council.
The most common system used in constituting SRCs is representative democracy,
where students get to vote for their SRC. This is an illusion and only serves as a way
to legitimise the structures through making students think they are represented
sufficiently. This is deception because with this system in place, only a tiny section of
the student population concerns themselves directly with issues affecting their lives as
students. The system of a representative democracy in universities should not only be
rejected for its deceptive nature, its inherent corruptive character should also be
condemned.
When students vote for a particular representative, they are never in a position to
decide based on full knowledge of all issues involved. In order for students to vote in
a meaningful manner, they need to be fully conscious of the university’s political and
social dynamics and they must have time and facilities to reflect upon and discuss the
implications involved. The reality about SRCs is that they are used by universities to
legitimise decisions taken on behalf of students, in the interest of management and the
government.
Objection of the SRC system in its current nature stems from the fact that not only
does it express a false authority given to students, it also guarantees students
representation in decision making bodies, despite the fact that the university
management is in permanent control. So long as students have to protest for their
issues to be heard, even with the existence of SRCs, then it is clear that they neither
have a platform nor the required authority to make decisions about their lives.
The nature of the SRC in its current form makes it inherently reactionary, it tends to
create careerists from a group of young individuals who think they have power and
place themselves above the society of students. Most SRCs have a distorted
understanding of issues affecting students due to seeing things different to those on
the bottom. The common act of backsliding from issues affecting students is not due
to treachery, participation in council makes representatives see the world through the
lens of management.
Democratically elected SRCs always find themselves between two irreconcilable
worlds, the students’ world and the management’s world. This corrupts the
representatives as they are frequently quick to forget principle and student issues and
fall for comfort and benefits. Most universities apply the strategy of feeding student
representatives and controlling them. This is the same strategy that is used even to this
day by imperialists following the liberation of most African countries.
It is common for student movements to contest SRC elections and deploy SRC
representatives based on result. While this may be carried out in an organisationally fair manner, divisions tend to emerge, that often lead to battles to capture and retain
control of student movements. This can be seen in most universities, where members
of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) are in constant bitter conflicts for
control over branches. SASCO presents a clear example of how student movements
and representative councils can be stolen from the students whose interests they are
supposed to serve.
Being a member of the student representative council has proven to have the ability to
transform honest, hard-working, intelligent and well-meaning activists who get to be
elected based on respect and admiration. Once in position of leadership, elected
individuals tend to imagine themselves to be indispensable, the former activist
becomes removed from everyday problems of students and assumes the self-delusion
called a sense of superiority.
Given the existence of bureaucratic processes and closed meetings with management
in which leaders are staged to be making decisions on behalf of students, no matter
how democratic and procedural an organisation, the deployed will become indifferent
to students issues, except those issues that affect them directly. Like in the case of
SRCs, student movements like SASCO are degenerating as a result of absence of rank
and file control and accession to representation to those who allow themselves to be
captured and corrupted.
Student Representative Councils can be defined as vestigial organs of universities that
controls and makes decisions on behalf of students, for the benefit of the university
management and the state. On a number of occasions during the student protests
concerning university fees, SRCs have openly promoted political repression and
served as a means to delegitimise radical student activists. Representative’s tendency
of self-perpetuation and careerism usually emerges when meted with a dilemma. It
might be argued that not all SRCs are selling out students, but upon realisation that
the system is designed to deny SRCs expression in decision-making, SRC members
tend to seek personal security. In doing so, the SRC neutralises the work done by
activists in being the vanguard of the students’ movement.
With the current system that is provided for in the Higher Education Act clearly
failing students, the anti-SRC sentiments expressed above are not against collective
action to address student issues. Organisation of students in universities needs not be
centralised, coordination can take place in the form of decentralised federalism in
which students can channel their energies through mutual agreement within a
collective. In the face of resources commanded by university management and the
state, it is necessary to maximise the strength of the students. Students will only
experience true representation not through legitimisation of a minority, but
comprehensive representation through collective consensus of each student
community while still respecting contrary opinions present within these communities.
Only revolutionary student movements would be able to cope with this radical change
in the dynamics of student governance. Student movements must not be strengthened
with authoritarian power but through dominating spaces of decision-making with
revolutionary ideas. In that way, the ideas of the movement will not be centralised
among its members and those in opposition to it, the replacement of SRCs with
decentralised federalisms of collective mutual agreement of students will assist in dealing with the oblivious culture of university students. Revolutionary student
movements must never be shy to take their position as the vanguard of students, but
not practice direct leadership over the students. Student leaders must never see
themselves as a body separate from the students, but active agents within the
community of students.
It is therefore the responsibility of revolutionary student movements to advocate for
the abolishment of the SRC system of representative democracy which is conservative
and reactionary and call for students to be active in making decisions that affect their lives and future.