Nelson Mandela – “never a revolutionary, always a radical”Posted: January 12, 2014
02 January, 2014
The Editor, The Dominion Post
”Never a revolutionary, always a radical”. That is the description of Nelson Mandela’s political life by The Guardian Weekly (19 December 2013, Gary Younge). Or put another way, never a communist or socialist, but one who guided his nation through a significant transition.
One must ask the question whether Mandela would have been allowed to survive if he had been a communist or socialist. Often they are killed even if, or perhaps because, they gain strong support for action from a segment of the population.
This is a significant question for us today because the alternative which has been the dominant economic system for some time now, capitalism, is most responsible for the current process of destroying the planet. Since the financial crisis of 2007-08 has spectacularly succeeded in widening the gap between rich and poor, the term “unfettered capitalism” has arisen in the public consciousness to describe the current version of global capitalism. Pope Frances has used it recently describing capitalism’s contribution to the world’s ills.
Mandela embraced capitalism, survived, and led South Africa through a significant transition away from Apartheid, but where does that place South Africa in the search for a sustainable future which will be one without capitalism?