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Posted by on Oct 1, 2010 in Business, Featured, Politics | 0 comments

Posturing For Position – The Fine Art of Negotiating Bullshit

[Prepare yourself, it’s going to be a long one…]

Are South African socio-political nobodies busy posturing for position? With local and national elections imminent, there seems to be a rash of “I am so desperate to be recognised I’ll say anything just to get a couple of column inches” people making all manner of questionable pronouncements lately.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the past few weeks of people most of us have never heard of, representing organisations that at best are only marginally known, releasing statements of such deeply flawed logic that I truly fear for the political future of this beautiful country.

Equally disturbing is the fact that most of these people profess to be from organisations that openly subscribe to the principles and policies of socialism and who push the boundaries of our democracy through advocacy of a socialist manifesto and agenda.

The only rational reason that I can see for these public utterances is that those that are making them are trying very hard to be noticed by the powers-that-be, possibly with the aim of securing a comfortable ‘deployment’ in the not too distant future.

Azayo and the Right to Braai

AZANIAN YOUTH ORGANISATION- (AZAYO)First we had Azayo – the Azanian Youth Organisation – suggesting that ‘Braai Day must be scrapped because it serves narrow white commercial interests’. These sorts of expressions are a hallmark of those that want to be noticed. They use the most obscurely structured words and pepper their statements with ridiculously grandiose phrases in an effort to make themselves sound significantly more intelligent and worldly-wise than they are. I mean, what exactly are “narrow white commercial interests” anyway? And what the heck has any of it got to do with charring dead meat over an open fire? The language of the bullshitter is the language of socialist political schools of indoctrination.

They go on to suggest that ‘this [Braai Day] is largely perpetrated by the white section of the South African society which is opportunistically using this national day of importance as a braai day’. This sweeping statement, designed to polarise and discredit one very small section of South African society, is then immediately followed up with the view that the youngsters are ‘further disappointed that other sections of society, like the black middle class, were "blindly" following the trend’. Uhh… isn’t that sort of contradictory?

And are they suggesting that the black middle class, a somewhat larger section of our society it must be said, are unable to make their own decisions? Because that’s what it sounds like they are saying. There are masses of middle class blacks ‘blindly’ following the whities like sheep. To have a braai. Right.

What follows in the Azayo nonsense then is another typical BS indicator – the challenge or demand for your point of view to be heard, acted on and taken as the only option. In other words, to hell with anyone else’s opinion, ours is the only one that makes sense, and we insist that you take it seriously. The unspoken threat is always close to the surface but never obvious – the plausible deniability strategy. In AZAYO’s case it’s this: ‘The organisation calls on Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana to act against Braai Day.’ Say what!?

A national minister, probably enjoying a nicely grilled T-bone steak herself, must interrupt her lesbian art appreciation sessions to act against a minor, un-official, private initiative geared towards community building?

Can I get a BS? Oh yeah!

Azayo don’t have a website or even a webside. As one of their 267 Facebook fans suggests, they need to ‘put our heads together for an AZAYO webside. [because] that small link in AZAPO webside is not enough’. Their Facebook fan page will however provide you with some basic information about the group. They are a “youth organisation drawing its membership from black youth between the age of fourteen (14 yrs) and thirty five (35 yrs)” – we need both the words and the numbers for clarity and to avoid any age-related issues.

One of their chief aims is to ‘to work towards the total transformation of the present system in this country, and the ushering in of an anti-racist, Socialist Republic of Azania’. Come on guys. A socialist republic? Really? You can do better than that surely.

Cosatu (Western Cape Branch only) and Walmart

BBF-Massmart Next up we have (the Western Cape branch) of the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions – Cosatu. Again a little known spokesperson issues a poorly worded statement, laced with veiled threats and ridiculous posturing. All because the worlds largest company, Walmart, is considering spending the not unworthy sum of R30-billion Rand on purchasing local retail company Massmart.

They open with their first effort at applying to old “bullshit baffles the brain” gambit: ‘We are alarmed that we are even considering an offer from Walmart to take over key strategic national companies in South Africa’. First off Cape comrades, “we” have nothing to do with it. As in “…alarmed that we are even considering…”. It has nought to do with you, you arrogant bunch of posers. Unless you hold shares in Massmart, the consideration of the purchase offer is entirely none of your business.

And with that rather dated hammer and sickle tendency prevalent in your manifesto, I’m guessing that the buying and owning of shares might not really enhance your socialist struggle credentials all that much. Or are you another of the closet capitalists that keep popping up all over the country?

Go on, you can tell us how much you love the filthy lucre. And how amassing as much of it as possible without the unwashed proletariat masses knowing about it is your secret passion. We won’t tell. Promise.

Oh, and how do you justify Game, Dion, Builders Warehouse and Macro being “key strategic national companies” anyway? What is so key or strategic about them? Just because a bunch of ministers, DGs, MECs, cadres and comrades all get their HD flat-screens from Dion Wired, their mansion expansion materials from BW, and the supplies for their 3 tavern and spaza shops from Makro does not make these stores key strategic companies.

Or maybe you are all getting a bunch of cushy kickbacks through your purchases that you’re concerned Walmart may not be too keen to keep in place for you when they are in charge?

Then follows the expected veiled threat and demand for action – ‘We will oppose the setting up of any Wal-Mart stores in the Western Cape. We call for urgent national action from government to investigate this hostile move by Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is not welcome in the Western Cape.

They are not invading the V&A Waterfront and the Winelands you numbskulls. What is so hostile about their move? Can you feel it? Yeah, uh huh that’s the scent of ripe bullshit just there.

Can I get another BS? Oh yeah! Hallelujah!

A fair price offered at about 10% above the share price as at the close on Friday. A commitment to foster growth and development. An opportunity for South Africans to join about 2 million other global Walmart employees in a company that produced revenues of over $400-billion in 2009.

You know what I suggest you do when Opportunity comes a-calling? You open the door wide, grab her by the hips, pull her in close and give her a toe-curling welcome kiss. Even slip a little tongue in there to sweeten the deal if you can.

But no, how do our friendly unionists approach things? With a litany of “…we will oppose…, …is not welcome…, …urgent action…” Yada yada yada. Bla bla bla. And a large pile of kaka too. That ain’t no way to treat a suitor. Off to finishing school with you.

Cosatu add insult to injury by introducing another of the bullshit artists’ ploys: the baseless and unsubstantiated insinuation delivered without any concern for imparting factual information, or for supporting statements with evidence.

They note in their statement that as if it were an unquestionable matter of documented fact that ‘…companies whose practice it is to abuse workers rights are not welcome in South Africa. Wal-Mart was notoriously anti-union and an affront to workers’ rights wherever it operated. The undermining of rights in one chain of stores will force non-compliance in other chains of stores and put South Africa on a downward spiral in terms of labour law compliance.

Holy underpants Batman! The power that these Walmartians have. They are going to come in here with that anti-union tendency, touch us on our studios, and shoot at us with their capitalist green death rays. And virtually overnight the very fabric of our glorious reign as the leading swindlers of workers’ membership contributions is going to be swept out from under us. It is so unfair. Boo hoo.

Sanco and the Treasonous Media

And now we get Sanco – the South African National Civic Organisation. Another bunch of lesser-known socialists with an equally idiotic logo and manifesto playing homage to the defunct and denounced hammer and sickle and Little Red Book brigade.

I wonder, do these organisations’ National Spokespersons really think these things through before putting pen to paper and finger to keyboard?

The case in point: In a statement released yesterday by Sanco, spokesperson Dumisani Mthalani had these words of deep insight to share in relation to the ground swell of opposition to the ANC-led efforts to pass the Access to Information Bill into law: ‘For the media to cry foul about this piece of legislation, is disingenuous and borders on treason because it is the same media which after exposing sensitive information, refers to our country as a banana republic’. Say what one more time please?

To question the constitutionality of a piece of legislation that will seriously hinder not only media and press freedom but also will have a direct impact on my rights to freedom of information and speech is disingenuous and borders on treason?!

Oh pish posh old chap. I getting a whiff of something that’s starting to smell very familiar now. Yes, it’s our old friend Big Fat Pile Of Stinking Crap.

Come on now and I gimme one last BS! Sing it loud brothers and sisters!

More of the same from the Sanco ‘webside’ – yes they actually do have one all of their own. It’s crap, but at least it’s there. ‘SANCO is the direct product of the proud civic tradition of the South African Black population. Throughout, their struggle against apartheid, the Black people of South Africa organised themselves into community groupings that simultaneously fought for a qualitative change in their social and community lives, the so-called ‘bread-and-butter’ issues, whilst tackling the overall political issues of apartheid.

The front page of the site contains the latest news – a sum total of 3 articles, all poorly written, all very short, all very insignificant. Methinks that maybe Sanco is a little grumpy with the media for not carrying their fantastic Press and Media Statements, and that has prompted this latest little hissy fit of theirs. Shame, poor baby. Feeling left out?

A couple of quick notes for Dumisani: first off let’s touch on the matter of treason. Treason is basically (I’m keeping it basic because of that old 25% for English issue) defined as a “Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.” How does that definition equate to journalists (or anyone else for that matter) who oppose the introduction of this new Bill?

Perhaps you want to take a look at those dodgy Azayo’s up there… they’re plotting to replace the present government with their own bunch of Azanians and they are even going to change the name of the country. Surely that’s a heck of lot more treasonous?

Those who oppose the Bill are in fact being anti-treasonous as they are striving to uphold the Constitution of this country in a struggle against a tyrannical quasi-dictatorship that would rather take us all the way back to the 1940s and the National Parties’ BS laws, than accept that the media is a fundamental instrument in rooting out and exposing the ills of maladministration and corruption that plague the halls of government and public service at the moment.

[Please discuss this lengthy, single sentence topic amongst yourselves and prepare a short presentation for the group. In the meantime we’ll move onto an old pot calling the kettle black issue.]

You yourselves as Sanco, just last of last year (okay, back in 2001) put out a lovely document called The Constitution of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) as Amended and Adopted by the 3rd National Conference – April 2001.

Now you can’t go deny any knowledge of this – it is there right on your webside as a fancy high tech PDF file. Right in the beginning of this document you say this: “We, the South African National Civic Organization (“SANCO”), pledge our commitment to a unified, democratic, non-sexist, non-racist, nonexploitative [sic] South Africa based on the freedoms, rights and values enshrined in the Bill of rights of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”

That’s the #1 thing in your own constitution. Big props for that. Putting the important stuff up front, on top. That’s the stuff of patriots. Not like those bloody agent media whores who you label “unscrupulous” journalists who “lack patriotism”.

You may however want to take a quick refresher training class in the Bill of Rights and revisit the freedoms, rights and values enshrined in it. Whilst the whole document is a moving tribute to the struggles that we as a nation have overcome in our quest for freedom, I think you may want to especially consider sections 16 and 32 of the Bill of Rights:

Section 16: Freedom of expression

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes ­
    1. freedom of the press and other media;
    2. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
    3. freedom of artistic creativity; and
    4. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

Section 32: Access to information

  1. Everyone has the right of access to ­
    1. any information held by the state; and
    2. any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.

Now you want to tell me again exactly who is being unpatriotic here? The tenderpreuneurs and their cronies desperate to hold onto and hide the ill-gotten gains of corruption and theft behind a wall of supposed national security and secrecy. Or the free-thinking upstanding patriotic citizens of this country who can smell bullshit from a mile away?

[Told you it was going to be a long one. I shat you not.]

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