Swanu Manifesto Is Not Socialist [analysis]

SWANU should be congratulated for releasing such a fairly comprehensive manifesto a few months before the elections. Other political parties in the country should attempt to do the same.

That political organisation must also be commended for at least trying to raise the issue of socialism by calling their programme a socialist manifesto.

However, in the spirit of a democratic and constructive debate, there are many issues that should be discussed.

Certainly, the most glaring is the statement in the manifesto that “any reform will be lawful and remain faithful to the Constitution” – which entrenches private property – and the supposed socialist inclination of the document.

How can these two opposing trajectories be reconciled? The history of the socialist movement has shown that there is no parliamentary road to socialism as the blood-soaked example of Chile demonstrated so starkly. And with the manipulated neo-liberal parliament of today, this is even less likely.

So, it is not obvious how Swanu envisages the realisation of this socialist society.

There is nothing in the manifesto except the illusions about parliamentarianism. Not a word about mobilising the working class and how to do that. The reference to ‘revolution’ is clearly just idle talk a pretence of radicalism.

A class analysis is completely absent and a checklist of technocratic improvements seems to be the main focus of the manifesto. No compelling and different vision of the future of the country nothing about ending private property nothing about nationalising the corporations and banks. Why should the working class vote for Swanu? Because Swanu is going to administer the capitalist state better?

A notable limitation of the Swanu manifesto is its failure to adequately address the most important matter for the working class today, i.e. the unemployment crisis.

It is simply far-fetched to argue that a left-wing party can deal with unemployment by relying on the business sector by, once again, giving them tax reductions.

The vague reference to “massive infrastructure development projects” is not helpful as the capitalist Swapo government has been doing the same very unsuccessfully.

The Swanu manifesto does not show a real understanding of the nature of the unemployment crisis and even less of an ability to provide effective solutions. Where is the right to work?

The support for a 50-50 gender division is presented rather uncritically as the 50% of women will be dominated by the elite. We would expect a left-wing party to call for at least 80% working class women to make up the women’s list. There is also a g need to address other feminist questions such as easier divorce, reproductive rights, effective sex education, rights of lesbians, access to birth control, etc.

One of the worst indictments of the Swanu manifesto is its total silence on the ecological crisis when Walvis Bay would be submerged by the rising sea levels in the near future. To insist on industrialisation in the midst of the collapse of the earth is delusional. We must realise that every big decision must take cognisance of the ecological disaster.

The document also does not show any serious comprehension of the impact of neo-liberalism on education and health. To say that capitalism was abandoned at a Davos Summit or by Obama, shows the level of confusion of the authors of the manifesto.

So, it is not only disingenuous to continue to say that Swanu is the oldest political party in the country, but also that it is a socialist party. It is more appropriate to describe Swanu as a social-liberal party that is not interested in liberating the working class of Namibia but only in seats in a useless bourgeois parliament.

Source : The Namibian