Racism is the first first pedestal the demagogue plants himself on. “The salient fact is that in both England and the US electorates have turned to charlatans peddling a set of poisons as medication with the toxic allure of whiteness at the centre,” – Richard Pithouse, Rhodes University, South Africa.
The #5 story in Africa this year is the mindpower among intellectuals that has gone into formulating the post-Trumpism New World. This hope for the future resides almost exclusively in Africa; it’s an African story. It makes sense, too, because if it’s true that many of our ails are linked to racism, who would understand this better than an African?
Before Trump, there was dos Santos, Kagame, Nguesso, Mugabe, Museveni, Biya and quite a few others. These are among the longest serving African dictators.
To a man they came to power through ethnic conflict, established power as unracist but secured power through ethnic networking and nepostism which grew into tightly wound ethnic states.
When they finally depart – however that might be – it’s not easy for anyone to fill their shoes. Their replacements – however they come to power – all seem at the start to be hopeful replacements for their police state predecessor. They sachet into power championing human rights and transparent democracy. But it doesn’t take long before all this goodwill ossifies with old habits.
They way this happens differs considerably but there is one common characteristic. They all espouse a freer market presuming it will release pent-up entreprenurship. And their downfall from a piteous point was predicted.
Richard Pithouse sees this as an inevitable, circular dynamic: Whether you begin with dictatorship or democracy doesn’t matter. Each presages the other. You’ll always end with dictatorship and the reason is precisely found in the so-called “freer market.” The problem is capitalism.
But not all capitalism is bad. Controlling it – through such measures as redistributing wealth with progressive taxes as several political administrations in Africa, Europe and the US tried in the last decade, could conceivably slow down the cycle long enough to make it durable.
But ultimately, according to these African analysts, the only way to get ride of racism is to get rid of capitalism.
The second important part to this story is that in places like South Africa, it appears that a near decade of horrible government a la Trumpism may be coming to an end next year. The lengthy suffering of the South African people with the “buffoon” normally considered their president may, in fact, be over in 2019 with a much more professional person.
If this holds true, then Africa also becomes the model for how we get out of the mess Britain and the U.S., for example, currently find themselves in. That answer isn’t simple but includes patience with the insane and relentless pursuit of wrongdoing with national law. Ultimately, I think it may work.
2017 may turn out to be the year of the roadmap to civility, stability and progressive government, all shown to us by Africa.