Analysis

Soapbox: Why whites must vote for the EFF

Andile Mngxitama

The Economic Freedom Fighters are the only party truly set on redressing apartheid inequalities, and through that whites can finally find salvation.

The EFF seeks to end relations of coloniality and white supremacy through radical economic redress. (Gallo)

Why should white people vote for the radical new political party led by Julius Malema? The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) does not mince its words, it stands for the expropriation of land without compensation and nationalisation of mines and banks. EFF basically wants to end the 350 years of white domination that started with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. The white and black relations over this time have been defined by conquest and subjection of black people by a settler minority that has become an economic, political and cultural majority in a foreign land it has usurped.

Whites domination has been so complete that in South Africa,  that whites haven't even bordered to learn the native languages, instead they have forced blacks to learn white languages and as part of cultural domination even forced blacks to have white names for easy instruction as servants. In fact, in the eyes of whites blacks are impersonal mass of labour suppliers, we could all be Pieter, John or whatever the individual white wishes. Growing up in the old Transvaal now North West province, it was common occurrence that a random white would call a black they have never met before by any name they wished and the black would sheepishly comply to the erasure of their beings. Basically, whites could do as they wish with blacks, literally.

Jani Allan has asked me on Twitter to write her a letter, to try persuade her as a white woman to vote for EFF. As a Black Consciousness adherent, I generally have nothing to do with whites, I honestly believe that whites owe blacks such a huge debt they can never repay in full. But I also believe the responsibility for redress is a burden of black people alone. We blacks must determine what it would take to get reparations without regards to the feelings of those who benefited from our oppression.

Allan is the disgraced and ostracised one-time supermodel and influential Sunday Times columnist. She is currently in the USA, working as an overqualified waitress. Allan has been niggerised for her alleged romantic transgressions with the now late arch white supremacist Eugène Terre'Blanche​. Those old enough would remember the scandal of peeping through keyholes and tattered green underpants. Vile stuff of friends' betrayal and tabloid destruction of personalities.

The treatment Allan suffered is generally what the white world reserves for blacks, that is why I believe she has been temporarily niggerised, a little like what Hittler did with Jews, the holocaust is what defines whites relations to blacks since the begging of our encounter. Jews were “"niggerised", as the Afro-American scholar Cornell West says.

I have a weird sympathy with Allan, I believe she was punished as part of the general white psyche designed to shirk responsibility by sacrificing one or two whites to absolve the rest from blame. Allan’s association with Terre'Blanche was used as a mechanism to claim moral superiority so that collective accounting for the oppression of blacks is removed from view. She is basically a scapegoat. Anyway, it's almost four months since Allan asked me to write the letter. I know such a letter would be a futile exercise, the majority of whites will respond as all guilty people do, by denial and derision. I will be called a mad racist. But I think even then we must indulge whites sometimes, so that no one says I didn't know on the day of reckoning.

Whites must vote EFF because it's the only party that provides a path to salvation out of the terrible burden of unearned privileges of whiteness founded on the mass murder of blacks. The Khoisan were decimated from the surface of the earth by whites. Furthermore, the current wealth and relative security provided by suburban life while blacks are condemned to townships and squatter camps is a direct outcome of land theft and forcing blacks into a labouring class in the kitchens, gardens, farms and mines of white owners. Whites' wealth is created on the slave wages of blacks. Whites are the beneficiaries of genocide, land theft and are a group that lives off of the continued exploitation of blacks - what we can call the generational white curse. No white is immune or above this curse. The circle has to be broken so that new relations can be founded on a different foundation completely.

There is a truth that can't be shied away from forever: as long as there is no historical redress, whites will correctly be seen as usurpers. It doesn't matter how long they have been here, so long as they have the land and wealth and blacks are excluded then the curse shall cascade to generations to come. And every generation of whites shall try to perform its position as master as we see with the emergence of neo-Nazi groups at white universities by white children born after 1994. They believe they are the master race, and the material reality confirms this terrible belief. And why wouldn't they, when the only blacks they see are the cleaners, domestic workers and hungry desperate job seekers that come to their parents?

EFF seeks to end these relations of coloniality and white supremacy through radical economic redress. This is the only path to black salvation out of the indignity of poverty, dispossession and defeat. Ironically, the same path is the only way to break the white curse so that the status of whites as beneficiaries of theft and genocide can end. But whites have over the ages covered themselves in hypocritical justifications, including the absurdity that their relative comfort comes from hard work, when it has been blacks doing all the hard work. The denial runs too deep.

White supremacy breaks down class differences amongst whites. It creates white solidarity against reparations claims of blacks. It has been interesting to see how relatively poor whites, including those struggling to pay their rent and bonds would protest against land redistribution. These are landless whites. Land in South Africa is owned by only about 50 000 white families. Similarly, it has been a marvel to see how, on social media, whites have decided to stand with Johan Rupert, the global capitalist who owns large chunks of our economy against EFF. It is race solidarity that makes whites go against their best interests.

If whites read the EFF Manifesto without race prejudice (an impossibility) they would have seen that in fact, justice is good for all, more so when it redresses historical injustices. Without breaking the white curse, our children and their children and all our progeny shall be confronted with this ugly reality. It can be said that white supremacy has a massive blind spot and parties like the Democratic Alliance are exploiting it for short term gains. Black are a majority in South Africa, sooner or later they will claim their redress and lets us hope, like the poet Don Mattera, that it wouldn’t be too late for the whites' children whose fathers raped the sea and sand.

For whites to vote EFF is to vote for a shared future that works. But as we all know the privileged are not in the habit of voluntarily surrendering their power. This leaves the dispossessed with no option but to reclaim their lost land and dignity by any means necessary. Whites have the burden of whiteness, a burden that they have no immediate desire to shed. Blacks also have a burden to redress the past; it is a burden that can’t be tolerated much longer.

Andile Mngxitama is a commissar of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

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