The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Mandela: a human face for capitalism. The discussion was initiated by Fred.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!
Did Mandela really have a long walk to freedom - the title of his autobiography - or did he just walk round in circles as prisoners are wont to do? He was born into an ethnically divided and capitalist society which remained still more or less the same under his Presidency despite a variety of cosmetic changes which allowed the emergence of a ruling class of the black bourgeoisie. So much for freedom. So much for change, and so much for Christianity in practice. Its okay to love your neighbour as yourself, as long as your neighbour is reliably bourgeois. Is Christianity a bourgeois religion?
At one stage in his life Mandela was a terrorist, and got a number of people killed using bombs. He regretted this of course, but still did it. Had he been a Moslem rather than a Christian terrorist would society have been so prepared to "forgive" him? Though he had to serve a long prison sentence before he achieved forgiveness.
He's now regarded by many as being a "saint" and had a constant parade of celebrities at his door seeking photographs with him, on account of his saintliness of course, not because of a desire for further publicity on the behalf of his celebrity cronies. Isn't it strange that he never saw through all this hype - this savage parade of the alienated - or, if he did, never spoke up? But then as a good and saintly Christian, speaking out honestly - his honesty and integrity are his other great virtues - could in all honesty be appropriately repressed in the cause of not wishing to cause offfence. Another Christian virtue. It is under this same flag that his admiration for and uncritical acceptance of bourgeois democracy and the capitalist economy also go unchallenged. But then no President of any country is going to challenge either of these are they? Not even a saint.
We've had other saints with us in recent years. There was Pope John Paul 2. Revered for his services to the bourgeoisie in helping confuse and defeat the mass of workers in Poland, while a cardinal there, in the eighties. Rewarded with the papacy, he rushed to declare the holy Mother Teresa another saint, on the grounds of her services to the poor. These Teresa loved in the condition god made them in, not wishing necessarily to see them escape it, more to adjust to and accept it. She was against both contraception and abortion, thinking the. poor had a right to propagate themselves nonstop. Is Mandela saintly in this way? Probably not. His halo seems to emerge out of the forgiveness category. That is to say he forgave those who imprisoned him for so long after he had failed to blow them up.
Mandela has been sick and dying for a long time now. The media love it though it's a prolonged business. Some say he's already dead, or living only in a vegetative condition. This is probably maintained for the benefit of his very loving family and the state, who need to screw the last bit of usefulness out of the old mam before he finally departs: presumably to something better in heaven, being so honest and saintly.
Then what will happen? The thoughtful Stalin had Lenin mummified and put on public display as a way of demonstrating his own stalinistic love both of communism and its great progenitor. Will the bourgeoisie be moved to do something similar with Mandela. After all he spent his saintly life defending their cause, didn't he?