Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Africa's Black Hitlers (1975)

From the December 1975 issue of the Socialist Standard
On June 11 The Guardian printed a full-page article by one of their African “specialists” called John Hatch. The sub-heading is illuminating: “Tanzania is the model for a participatory democracy that is based on one political party but avoids dictatorship.”

So we can start with a forthright statement. The Guardian are lying hypocrites. Not only are they hypocrites in that they profess to be upholders of freedom and democracy which they clearly are not. They also are inverted racialists too because, despite all their constant preaching about the poor blacks in South Africa (and the blacks there are vilely treated, right enough), they know full well that they could not possibly defend the dictatorships in Tanzania and the other wretched countries described in the article if the victims were white Englishmen or Germans. What they are saying (whether the idiots know this or not) is that it is perfectly all right if a black dictator stamps his rule on an African country and fills his prisons with his political opponents. Real democracy is not for them. They are only ignorant blacks.

At the top of the page are pictures of smiling democratic dictators: “Nkrumah (his party failed him): Nyerere (no dictator); Kaunda (seeking social equality); Stevens (unity through agriculture).” Well, they have all got good reasons to smile except Nkrumah, (who is dead and was probably the worst of them all). They are sitting on the pile of suffering black humanity, and it must make them smile even more to know that the Hatches and the Guardians of the western press are so obliging in apologizing for their regimes and seeing that there are no Orwells around to demonstrate the Newspeak and Doublethink which can tell intelligent readers of the Guardian (all lively minds, they tell us) that dictatorship is democracy if it is black. And the dictators get their propaganda on the cheap. Just a spot of red-carpet treatment for all the “progressives” of the west will fill the leftist press with everything except the one thing that should infringe their much-vaunted principles: How many political prisoners are rotting in the gaols of black “independent” Africa? How long have they been there? Are they ever going to get out? In all the thousands of words in the Hatch page, not a word about these poor devils.

Hatch starts his article with a flourish by giving a quotation from a speech by Nyerere, the darling of them all. “I am now going to suggest that where there is one party, and that party is identified with the nation as a whole, the foundations of democracy are firmer than they can ever be where you have two or more parties . . .” Hatch gives his seal of approval to this: “This virile commendation of the one-party state was given by Nyerere in 1963.” This expert in virility realizes, of course, that the above is the same as spewed out by Hitler, Musso and Co, and goes on to admit that people might well ponder the resemblance between white fascist swine and the black fascist swine whom these lively minds must now worship. All he is doing is the political equivalent of “find the lady”: he is referring to Hitler & Co. to bemuse the lively minds into thinking that this objection to the African Hitlers had been dealt with. It just isn’t.

Why not allow the Africans a multi-party system, which is what we understand as one of the fundamentals of democracy in normal parlance as distinct from Guardianese? Hatch deals with that one too. He gives a number of reasons, all fraudulent to a degree, and too tedious to demolish in full detail here. Hatch opens on this one: “Tanzania offered unique advantages for the establishment of a healthy, democratic, one-party state”. No explanation how this can be healthy for those who wish to oppose the alleged non-dictatorship of Nyerere. Perhaps Hatch would like to spend a few weeks in one of his hero’s healthy gaols (what’s a few weeks among friends?). And what would happen to the health of any black worker who ventured to suggest that the wealth they produced should not be stolen by the Nyerere thugs on top of the heap? Another reason is that “Nyerere has always been a convinced democrat”. Now isn’t that just ducky? It must be so comforting for the political prisoners — and to the others outside who would like to say boo to a Hatch goose but daren’t because they know that a democratic gaol is waiting for them — to know that Nyerere calls himself a democrat. Marvellous what you can do with words. Another choice example comes immediately afterwards: “Moreover, Nyerere does not refer to the State, but only to the Nation.” So, the non-dictator uses the powers of oppression of the state — and what a state! — but it’s all right, O lively minds! He doesn’t call it a state. He calls it a nation. And that makes everyone feel better, doesn’t it? But the punch line is still to come: Nyerere tells us that his one-party “will be a mass party through which anyone who accepts TANU’s basic principles can participate in the process of government”. This is the sort of trash that presumably satisfies Hatch and The Guardian.

It is worth while mentioning that only a few days ago (i.e. long after the date of the Hatchpiece) the paper ran a leading article in which they actually stated that the regimes of Nyerere, Kaunda and, ye gods, Mobutu, were based on justice. Now the first two have been darlings of the left for years and it is as useless to expect the truth in relation to them as it was to get the truth about Stalin accepted by The Guardian and New Statesman in the ’thirties and ’forties. But the admission of Mobutu to the ranks is something new. I have no private information and the news I get is derived from The Guardian itself. So it would be in that very paper that I read a little story about Mobutu’s justice. A ceremony took place on the lawn of the Presidential palace in Zaire (it may then have still been called the Congo). Certain black politicians were brought before President Mobutu (who elected him President by the way? You must be joking) — trussed like chickens. As part of the act of justice, they were then beaten up before Mobutu’s very eyes. And after they had learned whatever lesson that part of the act was meant to convey, they were then strung up in public. Justice, Act III, I suppose. And our own dear old lady of Gray’s Inn Road, which would probably be voted the greatest newspaper in the world (if you want to get into university and they ask you what you read, tell the Prof. The Guardian and you’re halfway home), is happy with this justice. But, presumably, only for blacks; we couldn’t really have editors strung up at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

It is pertinent to mention an item of news reported in the same old Guardian date-lined Nairobi, June 12. This independent black state of Kenya is run by another darling of the left, who built up a great following of “progressives” like Lord Fenner Brockway (from a base in Manchester, of all places), Jomo Kenyatta. He too runs a one-party state, an empire of graft and corruption which makes Chicago seem like the New Jerusalem. But it seems from the report that within the governing circles there is the occasional silly fellow who objects to some of the things going on. One such MP, who had become rather a nuisance in his criticism, was simply murdered by Kenyatta’s police. Mau Mau, where are you now?

Where does all this point to? The usual way. If the workers of the world, black, white and any other colour, want a world worth living in, it is there for the taking. But they must form their own opinions about the system they live under; and the system they can have when they have thought about it and want it. Meanwhile, they must learn to see the grotesque fraud which is perpetrated at their expense by the ruling classes of all countries and their jackals in the press. Till they can see that, batten down all Hatches.

L. E. Weidberg

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