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I due Mandela

In Da altri media on 14/12/2013 at 09:45

THE TWO MANDELAS

di B. Fogel

da Jacobin

In the course of his lifetime, Nelson Mandela saw his elevation in the West from terrorist to secular sainthood. The world’s media continues churning out headline after headline on his life and legacy as the world, remembering him as one of the exemplary moral figures of the 20th-century alongside the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Mandela is lauded as a hero by everyone from Lindsey Lohan to ex-apartheid apologists like British Prime Minister David Cameron. Yet he wasn’t a pacifist, a tame advocate of nonviolence, an non-ideological figure of singular moral righteousness. He was an exemplary revolutionary, fueled by political commitment.

Yet while Mandela was certainly a “great historical figure,” too many of the obituaries and tributes published so far have been unable to move beyond hagiography or platitude. Far too little critical reflection on his actual political legacy or analysis of the nature and dangers of the Mandela mythologies has been written so far. The image of a progressive “rainbow nation” generally on the right track invoked in many of these pieces bares little relation to the actual social realities of post-apartheid South Africa.

The truth is that in South Africa much of what constituted apartheid still exists, enforced no longer through the laws, decrees and brute force of the state, but by new forms which reproduce themselves through the market. It from this basis that an honest assessment of Mandela’s legacy must begin from, but in order to do this one needs to separate Mandela the myth from the actual Mandela.

There were really two Mandelas. The first Mandela, is that of the revolutionary, the lawyer, the politician, flaws and all. The second Mandela is a sanitized myth: the father of the nation, the global icon beloved by everyone from the purveyors of global humanitarian platitudes to even the erstwhile enemies of the African National Congress. This Mandela is removed of his humanity and touted as an abstract signifier of moral righteousness.

The first Mandela was willing, along with tens of thousands of others, to lay down his life in the struggle against a racist system. He was a lifelong anti-imperialist who never hesitated to stand up to the US on matters of foreign policy, and never ceased in his solidarity with the Palestinian struggle or with countries like Cuba who stood as allies in the struggle against apartheid.

This Mandela was a brilliant strategist. He was able (alongside others, like Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede) to transform the ANC into a mass political organization through the African National Congress Youth League in the 1940s and 1950s through the and the defiance campaigns of the 1950s. After his release from prison, he was able to again pivot the ANC from a liberation movement to a modern political party. Both were remarkable achievements. And, of course, he served as the moral icon of the anti-apartheid movement, a bearer of remarkable symbolic power — power that was later co-opted by the very people and institutions he fought against.

Mandela is often invoked in the international discourse of rights and leadership as a wholesome leader. His actual political history, which ranges from his early anti-communist black nationalism to his later embrace of non-racialism and more radical vision of nationalism, as well as his stint in the South African Communist Party (SACP), goes unremarked. This includes his early political views on the necessity of nationalization (something he only dropped in the early 1990s), his harsh critique of racial injustice during apartheid, and his essentially revolutionary politics.

Take this expression of his politics from around 1960:

I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organization of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation.

Or this denunciation of non-violence, made in the context of the adoption of the armed struggle by the ANC in 1961:

 There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people.

Mandela was never the benevolent grandfather presented in his post-apartheid representations. But the Mandela most know is the second Mandela, the Mandela of reconciliation, the man who pulled South Africa from the brink of civil war and entered into a compromise with the Nationalist Party that resulted in the National Unity government after the ANC’s victory in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. It is the Mandela represented in post-apartheid sentimentality in films like Invictus, clad in the South African rugby team captain’s jersey at the Rugby World Cup Final, proclaiming that whites have a place in the new South Africa. (In the more recent Long Walk to Freedom, he is portrayed as saving South Africa from the radicalism of his comrades.)

He is seen as a rare example of “good leadership” in Africa because he voluntarily stepped down from power, leading to the construction of a foolish binary between the South African path of democracy and economic stability (Mandela) and the Zimbabwean path of radical policies and authoritarianism (Mugabe) mentioned in many remembrances in recent days.

In South Africa today, Mandela’s legacy is characterized by one central contradiction. The country is a pluralistic liberal democratic state in which the black majority enjoys full citizenship — a state in which a constitution enshrines both human and socioeconomic rights. Yet South Africa is one of the most starkly unequal societies in the world, with an unemployment rate near 40 percent and an economic system which still traps the majority of black South Africans in poverty or unskilled low wage work.

The formal laws, decrees and regulations which formed apartheid may have been removed, but the free market is almost as effective a mechanism for ensuring that the geography and economic structure of apartheid persists. The structure of the bantustans remains intact in large swathes of the country. These parts of the country remain undeveloped “labor reserves” in which millions of South Africans live under the tyranny of patriarchal customary law enforced by “traditional leaders,” mostly invented by white apartheid authorities as “black tradition.”

Too often, Mandela’s own tenure as president is glossed over as some sort of miracle period in which he was able to unite black and white; his own political successes and failures in his one and only term go unexamined.

Many of these failures can be traced to the neoliberal economic trajectory of the country initiated by the National Party in the 1980s and deepened and entrenched through the Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) policy package introduced in 1996, pushed by the IMF and World Bank GEAR saw the introduction of a self-imposed austerity regime justified as necessary in order to pay back debt accumulated by the apartheid state. GEAR was pushed by Western powers, the IMF and World Bank, technocrats within government (many inherited from the previous regime), and a powerful faction of the ANC headed by ex-president Thabo Mbeki and ex-finance minister Trevor Manuel.

It saw the mass privatizations of state owned companies, the commercialization of the delivery of basic services. In a more general sense it saw the emergent language of universal citizenship produced by the liberation struggle replaced by a conception of citizenship as tied to one’s own participation in the formal economy. The citizen has been replaced by the “stakeholder.”

The ANC adopted GEAR partially because it was under pressure from international powers and capital and was threatened with exclusion from the World Trade Organization if it pushed for a more radical redistributive agenda; but also because the dominant faction of the ANC believed in the ability of the market unleashed from its apartheid shackles to restructure South African society and bring blacks into the formal economy, thus empowering them.

The ANC, to which Mandela committed his life, has descended into a thick morass of social conservatism, neoliberal technocracy, patronage networks, corruption, and increasingly authoritarian politics. The party lacks any sort of unifying narrative or future vision for the country. Its image as a progressive force on behalf of the poor and working class remains purely rhetorical — rhetoric that has grown increasingly hollow in the wake of the 34 murders of striking miners committed by police (acting in tandem with senior figures in the ANC, particularly ANC deputy president and ex-union leader Cyril Ramphosa) at Marikana last year.

The ANC’s continued mass support is mostly linked to its use of the pathos of the liberation struggle (in particular, the figure of Mandela), the political deficiencies of the opposition parties, the dependence on millions of black South Africans on the state for access to the formal economy, and the success of its social grant program, which now reaches over 18 million.

In another narrative, Mandela is identified as the arch-betrayer, the man who sold out black South African’s liberation and the South African path to socialism. The man who sold out the ideals of the liberation movement to white capitalists and the national party, the man who saw it more necessary to reconcile and embrace white South Africa rather take on the old elite and their allies.

This narrative is closely tied to the Stalinist influence within the ANC in the form of the concept of the National Democratic Revolution, in which a bourgeois nationalist revolution is seen the first necessary struggle, before the real struggle for socialism can begin. In this narrative the state is seen as a blunt instrument, socialism can be achieved only if the right people are in charge. But this narrative never engages with both historical lessons of “actually existing socialism” or experiments in “African socialism,” it never deals with the fundamental contradiction between nationalism and socialism.

But both of these narratives fall into the category of analyzing Mandela not as the person he was, but through the lens of the mythology surrounding him — operating in the symbolic rather than historical realm.

The compromise with the National Party and white capitalists was always the strategy of the ANC. At no point during the armed struggle did the organization consider the overthrow of the apartheid state’s military a real possibility. The betrayal narrative spun by much of the Left, operating both from within the congress and without, is too conspiratorial, and reinforces the grand historical agency assigned to Mandela.

Although certainly Mandela’s late night hotel room conversations with South African capitalists like ex-Anglo-American CEO Harry Oppenheimer and trips to Davos had a large role in influencing his gradual embrace of the market, the likes of ex-president Thabo Mbeki and Trevor Manuel, South Africa’s finance minister at the time and architect of GEAR, played a far greater role in the neoliberal trajectory of South Africa than Mandela. It is a mistake to lay the blame completely at Mandela’s feet rather than at ANC’s inability to politically maneuver during the period of post-apartheid economic negotiations.

As another great South African revolutionary and fellow Robben Island prisoner Neville Alexander, who passed way last year, pointed out back in 1999 in an interview with PBS:

[The ANC doesn’t] believe … that we can overthrow the apartheid state. They believe that we’ve got to compel the apartheid ideologues and strategists to come to the negotiation table.” … He recalled the fact that [Ben Bella], the Algerian leader at the time, had told him when he had been in Algeria, that they should not try to overthrow the apartheid state, because they would not be able to do so. That it would be strategically wasteful of lives, time, [and] energy.

The pernicious image of Mandela as the savior who descended from Robben Island to liberate South Africa in 1990 persists. It is central to the sentimentality surrounding the ANC — and is key to their hegemony. It is also central to capital’s post-apartheid mythology of South Africa as a post-racial society in which moral worth and social position is no longer measured by race, but by market value or productivity. Mandela had redeemed the nation of all of its past sins, and 1994 signified a total break with the past.

The beatification of the leaders of a liberation struggle to “founding father” status sometimes only becomes apparent with time. It progresses beyond mere distortions of the past to the promotion of a history in which those who took up struggle are robbed both of their actual role and their collective agency. It was the black trade union movement, the hundreds of thousands mobilized through the United Democratic Front and its affiliates, and the civic movements who took to the streets, occupied mine shafts and fought the police, who freed Mandela.

This big man history of liberation, is closely tied to the ANC and Mandela, demobilizing a highly politicized society and bring the mass movements of the 1980s under the direct control of the ANC leadership. This process was the transformation of the ANC from a liberation movement into a political part in the early 1990s. Part of the reason for this was to prevent mass opposition to the economic compromises that the leadership would make with capital and the Nationalist Party. In particular the ANC needed to be able to prevent mass opposition to the economic path they followed in the trade union movement. The result of this in Franz Fanon’s words was that “the people are expelled from history … and sent back to their caves.” Or more specifically the idea that people should wait passively for the ANC to deliver, once freedom had been attained.

Any transformative left project in South Africa located outside of the ANC, needs to be able to tap back into the consciousness and legacy of the mass movements of the 1970s and 80s and be able to challenge the narrative of messianic liberation tied up to the Mandela mythology.

Respect, mourn, and take inspiration from Mandela. But don’t succumb to the mythology surrounding his legacy. It is too susceptible to becoming impervious of criticism. To allow Mandela the myth to remain intact is to allow for the dynastic and religious forms of nationalism, like the one surrounding Gandhi and Nehru in India.

It’s a tale that provides cover for capital and locks the political imagination of South Africa into an understanding of politics in terms of an eternal present, rather than allowing for the urgent duty of reimagining alternatives and engaging once more in the tradition of mass tradition which freed Mandela in the first place. Mandela shows us that individual courage, collective solidarity and revolutionary commitment can bring about change, but at the same time South Africa’s liberation struggle is far from complete.

Le sconfitte di Mandela

In Da altri media on 14/12/2013 at 09:45

In occasione dell’ultimo saluto a Mandela pubblichiamo 2 pezzi un po’ fuori dal coro usciti sulla New Yorker e su Jacobin. Entrambi si concentrano sugli insuccessi, invece che sulle vittorie di Mandela, un argomento che sembra tabu’ in Occidente ma ben presente nelle menti – e nelle vite – di molti Sud Africani. La vittoria politica dell’ANC è stata seguita da una sostanziale sconfitta economica, con le strutture di proprietà e controllo dei mezzi di produzione rafforzate nelle mani dell’elite bianca. Il risultato è un livello di diseguaglianza assolutamente intollerabile anche per un paese in via di sviluppo. Forse, allora, è il caso di parlare di due Mandela, come fa Jacobin: il rivoluzionario e lo statista. Nei commenti di questi giorni, come abbiamo sottolineato su questo blog, è prevalsa la commemorazione del secondo – che ha pacificato il paese ma anche che non ha messo in discussione le strutture economiche ereditate dal regime dell’apartheid e si è piegato senza colpo ferire al neoliberismo di FMI e WB (come per altro egregiamente illustrato da Naomi Klein in Shock Therapy). Noi invece, preferiamo il primo Mandela, il rivoluzionario che ha combattuto, quello che non si piegava.

MANDELA’S MIXED ECONOMIC LEGACY

di J. Cassidy

da New Yorker

As is the custom these days when great figures die, the beatification of Nelson Mandela has been immediate, overwhelming, and, here in the United States, not a little ironic. Long regarded by the U.S. intelligence services as a seditious figure, and even a terrorist threat, he has been recast as a world-historic freedom fighter, the heir to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King. Speaking at his memorial service on Tuesday, President Obama said to the crowd, “His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.”

Obama’s speech was a moving one, and Mandela deserves the tributes. He negotiated a peaceful transition to democracy, which few had thought possible, and his forbearance and dignity will stand forever. But his legacy is more mixed than some of the eulogies suggested. Almost twenty years after he became its President, South Africa is effectively a one-party state, ravaged by high levels of inequality, corruption, and crime. Inside the country, a lively debate is taking place about the path on which Mandela placed it, and whether other courses might have been available.

From the left, there are suggestions that Mandela, in reaching a political agreement with the apartheid regime, gave too much away to the white élites, leaving in place a grossly inequitable economic system that excluded the majority of the indigenous population from sharing in South Africa’s vast mineral wealth. From the disillusioned center, there are complaints that the great leader, once he became President, in 1994, showed little interest in administering the country, allowing his colleagues in the African National Congress to divide the spoils among themselves. And from the right, there are criticisms that Mandela and his successors never really understood economics, or the power of the market.

These criticisms shouldn’t be taken too far. By the standards of many post-colonial African countries, South Africa hasn’t fared too badly. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund pointed out that G.D.P. growth has averaged 3.3 per cent a year since 1994, and inflation-adjusted per-capita income has risen by forty per cent. More than half of the population receives some form of social assistance, and the poverty rate has fallen by ten percentage points. But that same I.M.F. report reveals some of the problems plaguing the country.

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South Africa remains one of the most unequal places in the world. The richest ten per cent of its households pocket about sixty per cent of total income. As the chart shows, its Gini coefficient—a standard measure of economic inequality—is even higher than those in highly unequal South American countries such as Colombia and Brazil. South Africa also has a chronic unemployment problem. A quarter of the population is jobless. If you count discouraged workers, the tally rises to a third. And that figure doesn’t include millions of poor people, many in rural areas, who are outside the workforce.

Moreover, some reports question whether the poverty rate is falling, as the I.M.F. claims. A recent survey by Afrobarometer, an independent research project, found that between 2002 and 2012, the rate increased. The survey also found that about three in ten South Africans experienced water shortages at some point in the past couple of years, and about one in ten experienced them many times, or always.

Undoubtedly, some blacks and other non-whites have done very well in the post-apartheid regime. To see this, you just have to walk around a shopping mall in Johannesburg or Cape Town. But the gaping economic fault lines are still largely based on skin color, much as they were under apartheid. In the words of the I.M.F., “Notwithstanding the rising black middle class, wealth, land, education, and health outcomes remain unequally distributed along racial lines.”

Levels of residential segregation remain very high. The segregation is no longer legally enforced, but the glaring economic divide means that it doesn’t have to be. Most non-whites can’t afford to move into white areas. Many of them still lack a basic education. All too many of them still live in townships that are plagued by crime and other social problems. (A new World Bank study of these townships shows that crime is so rampant, it acts as a big deterrent to legitimate economic activity.)

To what extent, if any, can Mandela be held responsible for this state of affairs? South African left-leaning historians and commentators are reëxamining the transition process that took place between the mid-nineteen-eighties, when Mandela started negotiating with the white authorities from his prison cell, and his accession to power, in 1994. In its Freedom Charter, which dates back to 1955, the A.N.C. had committed itself to public ownership of natural resources and redistribution of white-owned land. But in return for the promise of free elections, these demands were quietly put aside.

One critic of the transition process is Sampie Terreblanche, a veteran economic historian who argues that Mandela and other negotiators from the A.N.C. made a series of deals that strengthened the big, white-owned mineral companies, which dominated South Africa’s economy—he refers to them as the “minerals-energy complex”—thereby robbing the nascent post-apartheid state of the resources it would need to tackle poverty and inequality. “The elite compromise—or the elite conspiracy—reached between the corporate sector and a leadership core of the A.N.C. before 1994 exonerated white corporations and citizens from the part they played in the exploitation and deprivation of blacks,” Terreblanche has written. “It also enabled whites to transfer almost all their accumulated wealth almost intact to the new South Africa.”

This argument assumes that the A.N.C. government could have nationalized, or taken a substantial stake in, the mining and energy companies without precipitating a civil war, something that might well not have been possible. It also assumes that the new government would have done a decent job of running the companies efficiently, which has proved beyond other African countries. Still, even some of Mandela’s former colleagues in the A.N.C. now believe that the party, in bargaining with the government of F.W. de Klerk, didn’t push hard enough. “At that time, the balance of power was with the A.N.C., and conditions were favourable for more radical change at the negotiating table than we ultimately accepted,” Ronnie Kasrils, who served as South Africa’s intelligence minister from 2004 to 2008, wrote in the Guardian earlier this year. “It is by no means certain that the old order, apart from isolated rightist extremists, had the will or capability to resort to the bloody repression envisaged by Mandela’s leadership. If we had held our nerve, we could have pressed forward without making the concessions we did.”

Of course, it is easy to criticize in retrospect. The new government took over an economy that had been hard hit by foreign sanctions and an international disinvestment campaign. In embarking on a moderate and gradualist path, Mandela and his economic advisers insured that a multiracial and democratic South Africa would receive much-needed economic aid from the World Bank and the I.M.F., as well as individual countries like Britain and the United States. (It is now the ninth-biggest recipient of U.S. aid, receiving about seven hundred and fifty million dollars a year.) In leaving the existing economic structure largely intact, the new government was also able to rely on steadily rising tax revenues, which financed spending on new houses, schools, and electricity and water systems—most of them located in non-white areas. Steady growth paid for a big expansion in welfare programs, too.

Many international firms that had left the country during the last years of apartheid returned, and they brought some capital with them. Over time, the amount of foreign direct investment in South Africa has increased sharply, particularly from Britain and other European countries, but also from Asian countries such as China and Malaysia. Such was the level of overseas interest in South Africa that, in 2010, four powerful emerging countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—invited it to join the-called “BRIC” block. In 2011, President Zuma even flew to China to attend his first summit of the “BRICS.”

Since then, though, the South African economy has been hit by the aftermath of the global financial crisis, which greatly reduced international capital flows, and a wave of strikes for higher pay—a sign of the widespread resentment that growth is being shared unequally. Last year, the A.N.C.’s youth wing started a campaign to nationalize mines and banks—the very policy that Mandela had repudiated in 1994. The government of President Zuma rejected these demands, reaffirming its support for the basic bargain that Mandela made with white business interests, but tensions remain high.

The value of the rand has fallen, and foreign investors are nervous. In the words of Daniel Mminele, the deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, they “seem to query whether the growth prospects of South Africa will be sufficient to meet, over time, the economic aspirations of its citizens and, in so doing, cement public support for the stability-oriented macroeconomic policies which investors have regarded as a constant of the political landscape since the advent of democracy in 1994.”

Meanwhile, many South Africans believe that the country is being held back by a government that, over the years, has turned into an inefficient and self-serving clique. Witness the booing that greeted President Zuma at Tuesday’s memorial service, or read the searing critique published in the London Evening Standard on the same day. It comes from R.W. Johnson, a South African historian and journalist who returned to his native land from a teaching post at Oxford shortly after Mandela became president:

The country has become utterly corrupt under A.N.C. rule. After all, Zuma’s palace at Nkandla tells one how the President behaves. Civil servants, teachers, and the police are all massively corrupt. Community riots against poor service delivery occur once every two days. Mandela may join the A.N.C. up in heaven—but the party down below seems hell-bent.

Once again, it’s an open question how much responsibility Mandela bears, if indeed any. He must have known, during his own term of office and during the period of his retirement that cronyism and corruption were becoming big problems. But, faithful to the last to the A.N.C., he largely refrained from any public criticism.

Perhaps, as Bill Keller wrote in his long and eloquent Times obituary, it is too much to ask that Mandela, having delivered one miracle in the transition to democracy, could summon up another in the form of good government and shared prosperity. Now that he has gone, it will be up to his countrymen to fashion a proper legacy. Until that happens, though, we should be clear-eyed—as he always was—about the reality of the situation.

Amandla, Mandela!

In Internazionale on 06/12/2013 at 20:12

Force is the only language the imperialists can hear, and no country became free without some sort of violence

…..we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy

Continuiamo a ricordare Mandela e la sua lotta. Perche’ di lotta si è trattata, e la lotta è sabotaggio ed è anche violenza. Madiba non ha mai rinunciato alla violenza e per questo è stato in carcere. E la lotta di tanti sudafricani è stata quella della ribellione all’apartheid, opponendosi con tutti i mezzi al governo razzista di Pretoria. Per questo li chiamavano terroristi. Non c’è da sorprendersi: erano banditen i partigiani – Priebke lo ha pensato fino alla fine dei suoi giorni, e purtroppo tanti con lui. Era terrorista Arafat che lottava contro l’oppressione dei Palestinesi. E terrorista era, appunto, l’African National Congress.

Gente che non si è piegata. Che come nel finale di un Mondo a Parte – un film da vedere se si vuole veramente capire il Sud Africa di Mandela, altro che Invictus – tira una pietra contro gli oppressori. Forse è il caso di ricordarsene mentre milioni di persone sono costrette ad abbassare la testa. Ricordare Mandela, oggi, è ricordare che bisogna lottare e non piegarsi.

Ma non tutti possono piangere Mandela

In Internazionale on 06/12/2013 at 01:02

I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.

Un giorno di lutto mondiale, praticamente. Ogni persona che si rispetti, o che si voglia far rispettare, oggi piange Mandela, il padre del Sud Africa, l’eroe della lotta contro il razzismo, l’apartheid.

Era qualcosa di più, però, Mandela, anche se è comodo dimenticarselo ora. Era un eroe africano che lottava per l’emancipazione del suo paese e del suo continente. Emancipazione dal gioco bianco, europeo, imperialista. Non possiamo dimenticare che nel bel mezzo della Guerra Fredda – quella guerra oggi celebrata senza mezzi termini come la battaglia del bene contro il male, della libertà contro l’oppressione, della democrazia contro la dittatura – Mandela era considerato uno dei cattivi. Era un cattivo che lottava contro gli interessi delle democrazie occidentali e dei loro lacchè afrikaneer.

Nessuno ricorda come gli USA e soprattutto la Gran Bretagna fossero i principali sponsor del regime di Pretoria, finanziandolo con investimenti diretti, opponendosi per decenni alle sanzioni internazionali su cui tutto il resto del mondo era d’accordo. Non è bello ricordare ora come gli Stati Uniti usarono il Sud Africa e le sue truppe nella loro lotta per il controllo dell’Angola. E’ facile dimenticarsi che negli anni 80 Ronald Reagan mise l’African National Congress nella lista delle organizzazioni terroristiche. E Margareth Thatcher fece altrettanto. Diversi membri del suo partito – quel partito che oggi piange Mandela – fecero anche peggio: terrorista nero, lo definì Terry Dicks, parlamentare Tory; bisognerebbe sparargli, rincarò la dose il suo collega Teddy Taylor. Mentre la federazione giovanile dei Conservatori, in quegli anni presieduta da David Cameron, se ne venne fuori con dei simpatici adesivi con la scritta Hang Mandela – Impiccate Mandela.

Mandela era un amico dei russi, forse un pericoloso comunista. Lottava per la libertà, ma la libertà in Occidente è sempre stata a sovranità limitata: andava (va) bene solo quando è conveniente per noi. Se no andavano – vanno! – bene i Pinochet, i Botha, i peggio gaglioffi del mondo. Basta che difendano i nostri soldi, il nostro stile di vita. E mal che vada, come ha chiosato lo stesso Madiba, possiamo poi sempre salire sul carro dei vincitori, far di Mandela una icona mondiale, anzi, una icona dei valori occidentali. Come è stato fatto per Ghandi, un altro che ha lottato contro l’Occidente, salvo poi diventare un simbolo universale ed ecumenico.Piangerlo ora che è morto e non è pericoloso, dopo averlo combattuto come terrorista quando lottava per la libertà e la democrazia.