Beware Of South Africa’s Camouflaged And Reactionary Privileged Black Middle Class By Cheryl Roberts

17 Feb

In his fantastic intellectual and clear thinking writings, Karl Marx warned us about the ‘middle class’, that class of people with privileges who can and do waiver between the upper/elite privilege class and the upper working class, that class of people in the middle who never know where they stand but take sides according to their middle class benefits and interests.

The class privileges and elitisms of the black middle class, rich and wealthy and white people as a bloc of white privilege is disgusting, especially when these middle class and elite groupings of people call out resistance behaviour by disadvantaged students as being ‘negative’, ‘wrong’, ‘unthinkable’ and ‘damaging’.

It irks me when the middle class and elite, from their comfortable zones of their suburban homes and social media and most times bored and uninteresting relationships and marriages take to social media and scream out against student resistance against a higher education system which does all it can to keep out struggling students from the corridors of higher and formal education.

I’m not saying that they should not be speaking out. I’m calling out how they call out and emphasise on the negatives of the resistance and protests.

South Africa’s unequal and economically divided society has been exploded into reality by the student resistance of 2015. This resistance is ripe for revolutionary change to take hold, for people’s protests to widen with more community participation, to escalate against government and administrations which serve to entrench elitism and advance the rich, wealthy and privileged.

I’m not saying that we must lay our lives down for regime change. What I’m saying is that our democratic government has failed people’s needs; the people who voted it into power and gave it the mandate to implement the Freedom Charter.

To come back to the student protests and resistance….…..Why do middle class, rich and privileged people assume they have the right to comment about resistance aimed at the working class and struggling student? The privileged and middle class were nicely living, earning comfortable and sometimes very high salaries, their children were being educated at private and expensive schools and they managed to fund their higher education. All this being done amidst struggling and disadvantaged students being excluded from admission, being turned away and having their results kept on hold.

Did the elite, privileged and middle class speak out on behalf of the working class students? No, they did not? They kept quiet, assuming all was well because all was quiet. Or so it seemed. Then exploded the student protest against higher education institutions and the privileged, after tentatively supporting the students calls for less expensive fees

began to go quieter again. But the student resistance continued because their demands and grievances were not being answered and struggling students were still struggling.

When you attack behaviour and actions of the student resistance do you really understand and acknowledge the structural limitations placed on financially struggling – this means black – students? Were you not a struggling student just about 20 or 20 years ago during the harsh apartheid era? Did you not participate in student protests against ‘the system’? And why are you calling out the student resistance  of 2015 and 2016?

The answer is obvious! It’s because you have attained a comfortable life and status position in society and in your life that you think you can call out from your black middle class ivory tower the wrongs of struggling students.

Universities are using vicious security on campuses to sometimes ‘protect’ and sometimes to brutalise students but the black professional sector and middle class and wealthy and white privilege wake up from comfortable beds and homes and condemn only the student’s negative behaviour. There’s nothing more damaging than such reactionaries who have acquired upward progress in neo liberal South Africa screaming at the struggling students, here on social media. You’re just exposing your middle class and elite position in society.

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