Look out for rehabilitation of ANC 

At the turn of the century, Colin Crouch identified a “new” phenomenon he dubbed post-democracy.  The simplest definition of this term is democracy of the few or selective democracy. I call it truncated democracy – stops or starts as and when desired. 

Writing satirically of the 1917 Russia Revolution, in this work, Animal Farm in 1945, Eric Blair aka George Orwell best encapsulates this post democracy phenomenon as “all are equal but others more so – ad lib”. 

The more things change the more they remain the same. 

This “new” phenomenon best finds expression in the events of the past 10 years in America. 

While the rest of the world defines a -riot as violent disorder by a group of people, in this part of the world and depending on the politics of the rioter, it’s either a summer of love or insurrection. 

In 2018, Georgia Gubernatorial runner Stacey Abrams charged that her opponent had rigged the election by denying others a vote. 

In 2020, Donald Trump alleged widespread election rigging in the race for the White House won by Joseph Biden Jr. 

If you don’t follow American politics, you don’t know about Abrams’ election denialism but do of Trump’s – you equally don’t know that the longest election denialism in America occurred between 2016 and 2020 and involved allegations about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and prostitutes in a hotel room. 

Why you don’t know about the other two, is the function of post democracy. 

The intersection between election denialism and post democracy in this American example is important for us here in South Africa because of this quote “without proof” or “without evidence”. 

A feature of post democracy is the abrogation by the elites of definitions. 

The rulers and their proxies must approve of one’s politics before they are allowed to partake of democracy. 

So when for four years almost half of America blamed Putin for the election of Trump as president, the media was in the forefront of spreading the allegation even after it was proved false. 

When Abrams made the allegations of a fixed election, not a single journalist would qualify her claim with “without producing proof”. 

Yet, two years later when Trump made similar rigged election claims, every time he said it, a journalist would feel compelled to add “without proof”. 

What makes a bias well done a difficult animal to prove is precisely this, it is true. 

Because the art of post democracy is subversion, truth becomes the casualty. 

When the media decides when the truth needs to be told and when not, this is post democracy in action. 

Recently here in South Africa, a political party proclaimed the election stolen. 

Journalists quickly added this America-made “without evidence” proviso to cast a pall of doubt on the statement. 

Surely a journalist should not be so quick to doubt an allegation made by 27 participants in the election? And an honest journalist would repeat this same proviso in reference to everything else they doubt, including the same allegation from the other 26 parties, no. 

But that won’t happen, will it? 

For a long time, journalists in South Africa have been accused of fudging the line between journalism and politicking – specifically oppositionist politicking. 

It has been difficult if not impossible to take the accusers seriously because of the truth of the statements. 

Has the ANC done a good job running SA? No. So when the accusation came that journalists were oppositionist, it was “obviously false” because what they were saying was true and therefore good journalism. 

But something fascinating happened on June 1 – the ANC lost the majority and a few days later, decided to open governance to multi-parties. 

I cannot wait to assess for myself the veracity of that claim. 

How it will become obvious is in how the ANC will be portrayed in the media now that it is in a governance partnership with the opposition. 

If the media told a story of an ANC bad for the country on May 27, it must tell a story of an ANC bad for the country on June 27 unless something happened in the intervening period to cleanse it white. But if this was politics all along, the ANC on July 27 will be snow white. 

Someone new will become the devil because… subversion. 

If you suddenly don’t hear every day that the ANC is bad, you must know that all those people who said the media had taken a oppositionist stance to the ANC were telling the truth. 

I would hate for this to be correct because it would mean, of all people, Gwede Mantashe was right. 

The bloke is already pompous enough, he doesn’t need to be right too. 

The sound of that word is so Gwede Mantashe, isn’t it?  

  • Mzwandile kaBizokwakhe is a columnist at large with too much time on his hands to think silly things

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