Category Archives: communism (Africa)

The shoe is on the other foot

The post-colonial looting of Africa (the kind that follows the outdated, colonial kind)

In South Africa, Dalrymple is invited to dinner at an industrialist’s house, in the kind of property that on its periphery resembles

an armed camp.

Among Dalrymple’s fellow invitees are important figures in the African National Congress. He speaks to one leader, a communist. The man wears

a sharp and expensive Italian suit.

The man sticks to the party line, but Dalrymple guesses that his thoughts and feelings are

more aligned with crony capitalism than with the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The man’s shoes are

of fine lizard skin, with gilded trimming — more for ornament than use, their soles paper-thin; beautifully made. They can be worn only in the most luxurious of environments; a gravel driveway would ruin them. They are the kind of shoes that Russian oligarchs buy at a cost of thousands in the most expensive shopping street in Zurich.

Seek ye first the political kingdom

and all things shall be added unto you

So said Kwame Nkrumah, first president (1960-66) of independent Ghana, also winner (1962) of the Lenin Peace Prize.

Dalrymple writes that Nkrumah sought and found the political kingdom,

and within a few years his formerly prospering country was bankrupt, obliged to spend several decades trying to recover from his short reign.

Dalrymple points out that

within quite a range of circumstances, purely political action, however necessary it might sometimes be, does not produce the happy economic results expected of it. Prosperity for whole nations or large groups of people cannot simply be conjured by political fiat from a total economic product that already exists. The people themselves must have the attributes necessary to prosper; and no amount of political posturing by their leaders, whether they be self-appointed or democratically elected, will give them those attributes.