Whatever happened to ideological thinking


Someone really got me thinking. I’m referring to one of the sons of this soil, who recently called, expressing concern as to what we in Namibia actually base our approaches on to many of the challenges we face. Call him an ideological friend.
His concern was obvious, because one could see and sense that he was genuinely concerned about the country’s wrestling right, left and centre with many of its socio-economic ills, without in the first place really understanding their root causes.
I could immediately see and understand what he was driving at. Simply put, he was trying to alert me, if not the whole country, to the fact that our leaders, if not the country at large, are bedeviled by many socio-economic ills, most of which cannot solely be deposited at the door of post-independence modernity.
On the contrary some of the challenges, if not a majority of them, are an inherent legacy of colonialism, and its antecedent, capitalism. Indeed, colonialism has never been intrinsic to Namibia.
Namibia was never occupied and colonised with occupation and colonialism as reasons or ends in themselves, but as means towards an end; that end being the exploitation of the natural resources of this country.
To provide smooth and plain sailing for such exploitation, it was indeed necessary that the indigenous people first be subjugated, their land occupied and their properties confiscated and alienated – all in the name of the sanctity of private property and capitalism.
It was exactly because of the realisation of the exploitative nature of colonialism and of course its progenitor, capitalism, that freedom fighters could not but embrace various concepts which had in mind to rid their countries of this twin evil: colonialism and capitalism. Hence concepts such as socialism, communism, Ubuntu, Harambee, Ujaama, you name them.
Given such oppressive and exploitative relations of production, which underlined many a political system, including apartheid, African liberators – and liberators the world over – could not see, to paraphrase Kwame Nkrumah, the political kingdom as an end in itself.
Hence the concept of social revolution, meaning the taking over of the political reigns first, followed by a radical transformation of the pertaining economic system.
In the same vein one cannot but be aware that the Namibian liberation movements, foremost Swapo and Swanu, were not quite free from any ideological posturing. Latter-day history seems to be suggest that the embrace of socialist ideology by the said liberation movements was little more than a convenient ideological embrace and toying with ideologies, like Marxism and Leninism.
To give these liberation movements the benefit of the doubt that theirs may not have been mere ideological posturing, one cannot but ask to what extent these liberation movements – which today seem no more than mere liberal political parties – have been serious agents of socio-economic change?
Not only this but to what extent the socialist ideologies they once espoused, are and have been guiding them in analysing and understanding the various post-colonial challenges Namibia has not only inherited, but which seem to have become elastic by their margins?
More often than not our political principals and veterans have been alluding to the second phase of the struggle: the struggle for economic emancipation. Never has the question ever been posed if such emancipation can ever be achieved under the inherited system of exploitation, the reigning capitalist system, which has remained intact.
Neither has there ever been any mention by these principals, let alone any reform of the capitalist system in Namibia, if not its complete overhaul. Perhaps true to their ideologues they may be waiting for the withering away of the State, a la Lenin, and the eventual demise of the whole capitalist system.
That is, if the complete overhaul of the system were not a mere utopia as the capitalist apologists, reformists and adherents would make us believe. Namibia’s economic system is loosely described as “a mixed economy”, but it has never been an issue, let alone subjected to seriius debate, if only for the sake of removing ambiguities and subjecting the system to ideological scrutiny.
Given this continuing trajectory, is it any wonder that while every effort may have been expended in dealing with the legacies of colonialism and capitalism, we seem to have been making little headway in terms of addressing the many challenges of our socio-economic system, which, there is no denying are rooted in the capitalist system, its mode of production and its attendant decadence?
Today we have some of our citizens labelled and defined by various terms, such as marginalised – whatever this may mean in our post-colonial and post-independence parlances. Marginalised by whom and why should a society continue to marginalise some of its own?
Is such a marginalisation inherited and created in the post-colonial and post-independence era? People are referenced as poor, whatever this may mean. Were hey born poor? Have they fallen into poverty or have they been made poor? If so, by who and by what socio-economic system?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here