A revolutionary recants

Jeremy Gordin writes on his defenestration by his old comrades of the FGKPD

I won’t lie to you: recent days and nights have been extraordinarily difficult for me.

Though I obviously can’t be 100% certain, I feel even worse than Gregor Samsa, who woke one morning to find himself transformed into a huge cockroach, and no one, not even his parents or beloved sister, gave a damn.

The reason for these miserable days is that I have been schlepped before the Integrity Commission of the Fishcake Gordin-Kropotkin Parkview Decembrists (FGKPD), hauled there by my own comrades – can you imagine? – by my (now former?) fellow cadres and friends in the underground revolutionary group that I (used to?) chair.

The FGKPD, an independent, democratic socialist organisation devoted to the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), will now most probably also drop my name from its name, consigning me to the Gehinnom of shame and oblivion.

Clearly, I’m not as tough as I pretend to be. If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you take me before a tribunal, do I not have recurring nightmares about a dank cell and orange jumpsuit?

Although, to quote the recent words of our Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, “I know I’ve always been a bit naughty and enjoyed a giggle” – I also know in my heart of hearts that I’m not the monster I’m now portrayed to be. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Yet people have stopped talking to me or sending me emails and WhatsApps. No one greets me on the streets. No one comes near me when I dare take coffee and cake at a local hostelry. Even my own family members look at me as if I’d been nabbed propositioning a sixteen-year-old; as do my tobacconist and local pharmacist, and the forementioned hostelry owner, even while they continue pocketing my money. This, alas, is how Capitalism operates.

Initially five (5) charges were levelled against me. But I managed to persuade the FGKPD Integrity Commission to issue a nolle prosequi for two of these, i.e., the Tribunal eventually agreed to certify that it would not prosecute me for the first two charges. However, other people can, and probably will, seek to bring private prosecutions against me.

Let me begin by describing the first two charges even if they’re nullified, so you can get a taste of what I have faced.

No. 1. I was charged with bringing the FGKPD into disrepute by having some 50 years ago written so-called romantic poems which not only praised “female pulchritude” but also exalted the act of sexual congress with selected members of the female gender.

Although one contemporaneous literary critic referred to these poems as “particularly gentle,” this evidence was, given the critic’s gender, found to be inadmissible.

The Tribunal stated that, in the light of present cultural values and mores, my having written such poems, albeit aged 17, was clearly disrespectful, sexist, contra present national efforts aimed at battling the scourge of GBV, tantamount to hate speech, and also unbecoming for a 70-year-old leader of the FGKPD.

No. 2 [A charge some impimpis and whistle blowers had clearly been “saving up” for years]. The commission’s Evidence Leader (EL) wanted to know what – when I was previously employed by various media groups – what in heaven’s name had impelled me to insist on always telling the so-called truth, especially inside the various media groups (“internally”), and what in particular had driven my outlandish refusal to accept brown envelopes or any facsimiles thereof.

The EL noted that, although so-called veracity and spurning bribes were considered worthwhile in terms of some artificial Western or European constructs or tropes, someone properly devoted to transformation and revolution would have understood that s/he first had to do whatever was necessary to bring him- or herself to power, precisely so that s/he could eventually see to it that transformation and revolution were ultimately achieved. No omelette without breaking eggs.

As I said, however, it is the “second tranche” of three (3) charges which the FGKPD intends to pursue against me that are far more serious.

No. 1. It is alleged that I have publicly concurred with the reactionary view that our country is teetering on the brink of a full-on energy disaster or has in fact just about toppled over the brink.

Moreover, I have also allegedly taken my cue from some “intellectual” named Swilling – “When we hear the word intellectual, we reach for our guns,” the EL remarked – and I have thus even gone so far as to make the swill-like claim that some of the countless difficulties now besetting Eskom are evidently rooted in the ANC government’s immediate past, i.e., at three crucial “decision points” – 1998/9, 2015-17 and 2019 – and I have also been heard agreeing with this Swilling that these “points” may be parsed as follows.

(i) In 1998, the government approved the White Paper on Energy, which made it clear that unless new generation capacity was procured by 1999, there would be an energy shortage by 2008. Yet the ANC government, led by the all-knowing Thabo Mbeki, did nothing.

(ii) From 2015-2017, Eskom CEOs Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko refused to sign the Power Purchase Agreements for apparently “shovel-ready” renewable energy projects. At the time, our then wise president Jacob G Zuma wished to implement an agreement signed with Russian president Vladimir Putin to build us a Russian nuclear fleet. Though Zuma was unfortunately foiled by counter-revolutionary/capitalist forces, neither Molefe nor Koko ever managed to find where their respective Montblanc pens were hidden.

(iii) In 2018, Gwede “Tiger” Mantashe was appointed minister of mineral resources and energy. In 2019, he was advised that if he wanted, as he surely did, to curtail so-called load shedding, he should clear the way for the procurement of large quantities of renewables. Instead, being sagacious and a visionary, he kept reiterating the need for, and viability of, coal-fired and nuclear power.

No. 2. [No doubt as a consequence of surreptitious recordings,] It is alleged that I have on a number of occasions personally expressed the desire, were it possible, to throttle Vladimir Putin to death with my own hands. Moreover, it is alleged, I have also loudly expressed the view that, whichever way you slice or dice him, and whatever one’s political views might be, Putin is clearly a consummate poes.

Notwithstanding the potential violence and vulgarity of these utterances, the EL stressed that the Tribunal had taken into mitigatory consideration that I voiced such sentiments after viewing (on TV) pulverized buildings, crying infants, and dead bodies in the Ukraine, as well as hearing Putin himself threatening to use nuclear weapons to protect land he had himself arranged to be stolen.

Nonetheless, the Tribunal holds, my conduct was unbecoming, petite bourgeoisie, and colonialist and has brought the FGKPD into serious disrepute. I am given to understand a letter was dispatched to the FGKPD general-secretary by international relations minister Naledi Pandor – and indeed delivered by a Cuban consultant on a bicycle (no “carbon footprint”).

No. 3 [It seems that not only have I been electronically “bugged,” but my desktop computer has been ransacked]. The EL stated that a painstaking analysis of my “secret and heretical writings” indubitably demonstrated that I had lost faith in the various practical applications, and possibly even the intellectually scintillating core theories, of Marxism/Communism. In the view of the commission, this third charge is the most serious I face.

The EL said she was familiar with John Donne’s adage, “Thou knowest this man’s fall; but thou knowest not his wrestling”. Nevertheless, she continued, “your fall – even if based on your alleged exhaustive perusal of countless political and historical texts pertaining to the last 105 years or so, from Marx to Poulantzas, as well as the ongoing study of current events – your fall is, I must say, absolutely appalling and disgusting – especially when we know that you are not unaware of the damage western Capitalism, the mainstream media, and the US in particular have done to the people of this country and Ukraine.

“Your forefathers and mothers,” she added, “who found spiritual sustenance, if nothing else, in The General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania and perhaps even in certain organisations in this country [‘We never, as you know, reveal our membership lists,’ she said] must be spinning in their graves. Be ashamed.”

There you have it, readers; this article, then, is an unashamed cri de cœur, a cry from the heart. I am indeed deeply trammeled; I am not even certain if this article will make it safely to Politicsweb, it could be intercepted.

Still, I shall soldier on. Like Rassie Erasmus, I am staunch. I remain committed to not being selfish and, despite my troubles, I continue to think of my fellow citizens.

For if this is the storm that I must weather – and if (as might just be possible) the FGKPD, its Integrity Commission, its Evidence Leader, and its charges are but figments of septuagenarian fantasy – well, imagine then what it would be like to be an ANC member or fellow traveller in this day and age, a real flesh-and-blood person with a family, who has resolved to peer beyond the bullshit curtain and look rationally and honestly at the so-called government and at the lives of most people in the beloved country.

Imagine what he or she would have to go through. Imagine having to face, honestly and with integrity, the toughest Tribunal of all, one’s own heart and mind, one’s own conscience.