Andrew Kenny
2 minute read
3 May 2016
9:00 am

Free the workers

Andrew Kenny

The most famous champion of May Day was Adolf Hitler.

Andrew Kenny.

The bleak farce of May Day or, even more hypocritical, “Workers’ Day”, was repeated on Sunday. I wonder what our unemployed people, 35% of the working-age population, thought about it.

The most famous champion of May Day was Adolf Hitler, the Nationalist Socialist who took power in Germany in January 1933. One of his first acts was to declare May Day a public holiday.

He made resounding speeches praising the workers and then proceeded to remove their rights (although he did end unemployment). But at least he wasn’t a roaring snob like Lenin, Mao, Castro and our very own Julius Malema.

He, like them, tried to get as far away from the working classes as he could. But unlike them, he didn’t despise them. Malema, SA’s greatest hypocrite – in a fiercely contested terrain – showed his contempt for ordinary black workers at his EFF rally last week. Bloated and gorged with bourgeois wealth, he sends his own child to a privileged school that working-class parents cannot afford.

He attends private hospitals, with no chance of bumping into working-class patients. And then he appears in his ludicrous red uniform and pretends to support the workers. Disgusting, yes.

Unusual, no. Malema is a minor, if rather spectacular figure, in a horrible tradition of rich socialist hypocrites who cause harm to workers and, still more, the unemployed.

Our wicked labour laws, which shut poor people out of the formal economy, were drawn up by rich politicians, rich academics, rich lawyers and rich trade union bosses. They are largely responsible for our unemployment. Consider a poor, unemployed black man, Mr Shezi.

The hypocrites don’t mind if he starves to death, or if he gets R100 a month in the informal sector, or if he collects R350 a month for a grant for his child. But suppose another poor man, Mr Malinga, offers him a job at R4 000 a month in a sector where the rich have decreed that the minimum wage must be R4 500.

Then they will shout and refuse to allow him to take the job. They would rather he went hungry. The solution to our awful unemployment is simple. Liberate the workers. Let them decide what job offers they want to accept. If Mr Malinga offers Mr Shezi a job, let nobody stand in their way – let alone rich hypocrites pretending to protect the workers.