Andrew Donaldson writes on the Red-Shirt indignation at being compared to their Brown-Shirt predecessors
A FAMOUS GROUSE
THEY’RE making a fuss, so I suppose we must say something about the EFF’s unhappiness that their recent behaviour has been likened to that of Nazis by the Democratic Alliance. They claim this is disrespectful for two reasons.
Firstly, it was the Western Cape’s DA leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, who suggested that, while the Nazis had the Brownshirts, Adolf Hitler’s paramilitary thugs, the EFF has the Redshirts, their “fighter command” unit.
This is very wrong, according to the EFF. Madikizela is black and therefore has no agency within the DA but is instead the unwitting zombie puppet of the white devils. Why he doesn’t know any better is perhaps due to the dark, wizardly arts of Helen Zille, the DA’s federal chair.
In an “ironic” development, the Redshirts say Madikizela will now “take the fall for what is essentially the regressive ideology of the DA. He was used to spew these hateful and insensitive comments, and then made to take responsibility for it.”
Such is the thinking that festers beneath the red beret, the all-too flippable lid.
Secondly, and more to the point, it was disrespectful of the DA to call out the EFF’s protest action at Brackenfell High School on the anniversary of the pogrom against Jews by the Brownshirts and civilian mobs throughout Nazi Germany on November 9 and 10, 1938.
“In the DA’s desperation for relevance, and a desire to capture its lost white-voter base,” the EFF said, “they cheapen the memory of Kristallnacht and the painful memory of the Holocaust. The DA does this in order to stoke swaart gevaar and to paint black people as a threat. It is an illogical comparison that spits on the memory of one of humanity’s most painful eras.”
In her reaction to the “racist matric party” farce, Zille sprang to Madikizela’s defence with a well-worn aphorism: “Those who will not learn from history will be lucky to even get through the Standard Grade paper.”
Actually, no, she didn’t put it quite like that. That’s an old school joke, from the days before the introduction of the Angie Motshekga 30 per cent discount matric.
But, and moving on, Zille did point out the similarities between the Weimar Republic and present-day South Africa. As she put it, “It is time to restate an inconvenient truth about history.” To wit, and in a nutshell: the Redshirts are following a Brownshirt blueprint.
However, it’s not Kristallnacht that comes to mind here, but the Beer Hall Putsch, the failed attempt by Hitler and his followers to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, on November 8 and 9, 1923. Hitler’s ensuing treason trial was widely publicised and gave him a useful platform to air his beliefs. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, where he dictated Mein Kampf to fellow prisoners Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess.
Hitler was released on December 20, 1924, after serving just nine months. Prison had however given him pause to rethink his tactics, and he redirected his focus on obtaining power through propaganda means, rather than revolution or force. A perverse mythos was now introduced to a hate-filled ideology. The 16 Hitler supporters who died in the putsch were lionised as the party’s first blutzeuge, or “blood witnesses” – martyrs whose “supreme sacrifice” would be avenged on the 15th anniversary of the failed coup during Kristallnacht.
The Effniks, on the other hand, continue to draw on their own beer hall braggadocio. For all their revolutionary bluster, their violent demonstrations against retail chains like H&M and Clicks are episodes of farce more than force. Kicking over mannequins in department stores and throwing hair products off shelves are not acts of liberation but vandalism.
It was different at Brackenfell. This is not one of those genteel Cape Town suburbs like Rondebosch or Constantia, the leafy enclaves of Peninsula privilege. Instead, it is a no nonsense, hard scrabble place, full of blue collar types who know the business end of a monkey wrench. It’s easy to think of them as narrow-minded bigots, as so many commentators do. But, unlike “racist” dummies in shop windows, they do have a way of stating their case in an emphatic manner. They were never going sit idly by while the EFF mounted an illegal demonstration outside the school where their kids were writing matric.
Madikizela said in his statement that it is “unfortunate that some community members” acted the way they did: “Violent confrontations will do nothing to advance rational analysis, which is more needed in South Africa today than ever before. If we are to prevent people taking the law into their own hands, the police must do their job properly. It was the job of SAPS to prevent and disperse the EFF unlawfully gathering outside a school and seeking to infringe on the rights of private citizens.”
He is correct, but here at the Slaughtered Lamb (“Finest Ales & Pies”), the neologists have been busy: brackenfall (verb), to suffer as a result of a rash course of action, to bite off more than one can chew. Hence brackenfallen, those who have come to grief as a result of some brackenfolly.
As for the EFF, well, they’re not Nazis. But their behaviour is repugnant, a toxic blend of unabashed racism and thuggish fascism dressed up as socialism. They are frauds.
The devolution is coming!
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club this week, the Western Cape leader of the Freedom Front Plus, Corné Mulder, expressed his support for a referendum on the province’s independence. The secession movement is growing at an astonishing rate – and with good reason. “Without independence,” he said, “the Western Cape has no prospect of ever realising its political will; the Western Cape will be sentenced to lifelong imprisonment in an open democracy within an arbitrary colonial construct, where a majority will continue to dominate minorities.”
This is welcome news. But while Mulder spoke enthusiastically about the agendas of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group and CapeXit, he made no mention of the Radical Spesbona Devolutionary Front and their work. This is partly because the front’s uncompromising brand of anarcho-slackism effectively excludes such formalities as an agenda, and partly because we’re tired of explaining that an independent Spesbona will in no way be like another Orania. We’re far too lazy and laid back for that salt of the earth stuff. Besides, our blood is Chenin. We don’t waste it.
In the running
Ladbrokes, the UK gambling chain, has opened a book on the next US presidential election. At the time of writing, it was offering odds of ten to one that Donald Trump would be voted back into office in 2024. Hope does, of course, spring eternal for those holding out for a dramatic reversal of fortune care of the courts, but these are not bad odds; Trump is the third-placed favourite, behind Kamala Harris (four to one) and Joe Biden (seven to two).
Other notables in the running include Mike Pence (16/1), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (20/1), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ivanka Trump (both 25/1), Michelle Obama (33/1), Kanye West, Meghan Markle (both 50/1), George Clooney, Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Beto O’Rourke (all 100/1), Elon Musk and George P Bush (rank outsiders at 200/1).
Those considering a flutter may wish to consult the Mr Men series of children’s books by Roger Hargreaves. According to The Times, it was another children’s author, Brydon Coverdale, who first noticed, four years ago, the correlation between US presidents and the sequence of Hargreaves’s blobby creations.
Trump, for example, is the 45th president and the 45th Mr Man is Mr Rude. The 44th is Mr Cool, Barack Obama, and the 43rd, Mr Cheerful, George W Bush. Going back further, the 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, coincides with Mr Strong, and Ronald Reagan is the 40th, Mr Brave. Grover Cleveland, the only president to be returned to office after being voted out, is Mr Bounce. Fittingly, the 46th in the series is Mr Good. The 47th, however, is Mr Nobody, which suggests, according to Coverdale, that Biden’s successor may not even be a Mr.
Fears are meanwhile growing that, in order to assuage his hurt feelings, we will be forced to pretend, for a few weeks at least, that Trump actually won the election. There are suggestions that this would make for a peaceful holiday season, free of conniptions, sulking and tossed toys. God knows, we do need one, what with the train smash of a year we’ve endured. But not like this. Expressions of peace and goodwill to all mankind would surely ring more sincerely with the lancing of this sullen boil.
Another golfing legend
Interviewed ahead of the Masters, Gary Player told the Bunkered podcast of his unease that the tournament would have no spectators because of Covid-19 restrictions. “This year is going to be a little anti-climactic with no people there,” he said. “I get kind of confused with this because they’re allowed to all get together in their thousands and demonstrate and burn buildings and churches and kill people. They’re all allowed to get together – but you’re not allowed to get together at a golf tournament. It’s very confusing to me what’s going on.”
Poor man. Player is 85, but age has nothing to do with his confusion. He’s been like that for decades now.
Mary must fall – or get a trim
A memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th Century author and radical who promoted the rights of women, has been unveiled in an Islington, north London park, but feminists don’t like it. They’re unhappy artist Maggi Hambling’s work features a nude female form. And quite an attractive one at that.
The writer Tracy King tweeted, “There is no reason to depict Mary naked unless you are trying to be edgy to provoke debate. Statues of named men get to be clothed because the focus is on their work and achievements. Meanwhile, women walking or jogging through parks experience high rates of sexual harassment because our bodies are considered public property.”
There’s been lots more in that vein on social media. But Hambling, who has been described as an elderly lesbian with a naughty streak and a politically incorrect maverick, has responded that the figure rising “from a swirling mingle of female forms” is not meant to be Wollstonecraft but a dedication to her inspiration.
The artist’s maquette, which won her the commission, featured a smooth and featureless torso, like a Barbie doll’s. Imagine then the surprise when the finished product was unveiled: a buff 21st century gym bunny with perky nipples. But the most startling detail of the statue is its luxuriant pubic bush. It is an unruly, unkempt mop, untouched by the grooming salons, and resembles a small furry animal. Mrs Donaldson suggests that my alarm is understandable because men have a primordial fear of women’s fertility. Or some such.
For all this, there is an upside: sales on Amazon of Wollenstonecraft’s 1792 work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, have soared. Plus, as columnist Janice Turner has pointed out in The Times, “young feminists have a new role model who refuses to wax … and there’s potential fun in dressing up this naked figure to echo political events. Feminists could make her a pussyhat, suffragette costume or Kamala Harris white trouser suit. Just rename her the Manneken Pissed Off.”
That would annoy most women, being labelled “a little man”. But we get the idea.