BIG cannot solve ills inherent to Capitalism!

Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

The headline in the New Era recently, reading “Govt says Big feasible”, could not but catch any one’s attention.

For two reasons. One because Yours Truly Ideologically has been following the Basic Income Grant debate closely. Without never at any point ever entertaining the notion and/or illusion that some time or the other historical epoch in Namibia, BIG would ever become the panacea for the workers and the downtrodden in Namibia.

Safe for being realistic that the exploited, until their deliverance from the capitalist system, nevertheless still need reprieve from the capitalist yoke, albeit temporarily. This is as much as it may pose a risk in so far as rendering the capitalist yoke bearable, delaying in the process, turning asunder the capitalist system. Also there is the unintended risk of those benefitting from such crumbles falling from the tables of the exploiters, embracing this seeming gesture from the government, thereby eclipsing and altogether forgetting the evil of capitalism and its inherent non- reformability, as opposed to its complete overthrow.

But Yours Truly Ideologically gives those who have been driving the proposal the benefit of the doubt. This is given their genuineness in view of their positive disposition towards an egalitarian, if not a socialist Namibian society. But seeing the headline lately, given the initial hesitancy of the Namibian government towards the BIG concept, I could not but venture a scrutiny of the article.

“The Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare believes the proposed universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) for unemployed Namibians between the ages of 18 and 59 is indeed feasible, albeit at the rate of less than N$400 a month,” read the article. Yours Truly Ideologically cannot and shall never in principle be against anything that genuinely strive to uplift the Namibian people, and to socio-economically empower them, especially the working class. Because of the conviction that radical socio-economic transformation, based of course on the ideology of Marxist-Leninism, is the only route towards meaningful socio-economic transformation in Namibia.

Also as pointed out time and again, there is a need to guard against artificial injections with minimal or cosmetic impact on the welfare of the masses, besides pacifying them and luring them into believing that indeed the current neo-colonial capitalist system in Namibia, after all, has a friendly face to it.

Which is what BIG in the final analysis may be all about. But of course one cannot, given the ideological disposition of some in the Economic and Social Justices Trust, the prime mover and the brain behind BIG, be oblivious to the immediate needs of those in dire need. Because ideally for someone who would wish for the working class to be unchained from their capitalist shackles, the unemployed being an important element thereof, nevertheless BIG should not be in perpetuity.

That would defeat the ultimate goal, which is the overthrow of the capitalist system. Equally, perpetual mass unemployment in Namibia, and thus an everlasting BIG, is not desirable. We need to find out why in Namibia we have continued to have near to a perpetual state of high unemployment. Obviously, this is unavoidable and natural to capitalism.

Thus it is imperative to address the fundamental issues rather than treating the symptoms. Because unemployment is simply a symptom of an ailing capitalist system, and no amount of cosmetic injections shall ever touch its fundamentals. It is from this, and only this perspective, that Yours Truly Ideologically has a fundamental and basic reservation with BIG.

Agitating instead for an ultimate solution to the fundamental problems of capitalism. Yours Truly Ideologically has the same fundamental reservation to BIG as with many cosmetic frameworks such as the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF), and its other previous superficial forerunner experiments, such as the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEP), the results thereof which remain ambiguous to this day, in terms of jump-starting in the least, a radical socio-economic transformation.

But is a radical socio-economic transformation, which is not based on socialist principles, but on the accumulation of wealth by a few selected pseudo-capitalists the ideal vehicle for the transformation of a highly unequal society like Namibia’s? Where the richer are getting richer and the poor poorer! Certainly not! And herein lays the fallacy of frameworks which are not informed by ideology and/or based on socialist principles. Not excepting BIG and NEEEF.

It is interesting to note that it is envisaged to sustain through BIG 1.2 million people. These are people who ordinarily should have been gainfully employed. And the irony and contradiction thereof, is that at one point or another taxpayers would be expected to fund the scheme through the adjustment of the tax system. Had it not been for the capitalist system, which has condemned the 1.2 million Namibians to unemployment, in an egalitarian economic order, a command economy, the wealth of the country would in one way or another be better commanded to take care of the 1.2 million unemployed.

These 1.2 million people are unemployed because the wealth of their country is not owned by them but also siphoned off to foreign countries, where it takes care of other nationals while Namibians themselves are condemned to poverty at worst, and at best drugged to depend on BIG.

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