Jacobin Cautions Its Readers Not to Celebrate the Breakdown of South Africa

The Jacobin kindly reminds its readers that the catastrophic civic collapse of South Africa and extreme violence is a bad thing, not a good one:

Mass looting on this scale should be understood rather than celebrated by the Left. We need to acknowledge the underlying problems that create such looting rather than cheer it as spontaneous redistribution or popular agency. This type of romanticism is a symptom of a Left that is distant from its social base, lacking vision and a program. Absent a political direction, this type of spontaneous action tends to go toward very sinister directions in South Africa — and in this case, it has been weaponized by the Zuma faction.

That’s some fancy lecturing. Of course, since it’s not a “bread riot” (a phrase mentioned twice in the article), it’s not a good thing:

Though the events are still unfolding, and a significant amount of misinformation has circulated about them, we can hazard some initial analysis of it. This unrest cannot be categorized as a “bread riot” or a spontaneous outburst of collective rage from the oppressed. This began as a political campaign aiming to free Zuma and was launched by a set of actors including rogue security service members, Zuma’s sons and daughters, mafia elements, and other close Zuma allies — in other words, a faction of the ANC.

Oh yeah, it’s tribalistic and ethnic:

In the words of Unemployed Peoples’ Movement leader Ayanda Kota, the protests are “organized on tribalist, male chauvinist and ethnic bases.” They also have an ugly  xenophobic character , and reports indicate that foreign-owned businesses and foreign traders have been targeted.

Is burning stuff down okay as long as it isn’t male chauvinist or tribalistic or ethnically based? That’s kinda what the Jacobin implies. Salon said as much in 2015.

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