The world is ruled by private corporations. These entities are mainly registered as public companies although there is nothing public about them and are commonly referred to as international companies although they belong to few European tribes. The hegimony of white supremacy asserts that international means Caucasian while others are regarded as subjects.

The primary functions of these institutions are to pay more than expected dividends to shareholders and expand market share. These functions can only be sustainable under a corporate friendly legal framework and therefore puppets governments are necessary tools to create conducive environment for these corporations. As such these companies demand ‘investor’ friendly environment which simply put means subordinating citizens and national interests to interests of a few shareholders. Elements of this pro-investor environment include market reservation, anti-competitiveness practices, tax breaks, public funded guarantees and excellent free infrastructure.

The fresh perspective on the form and nature of an enterprise requires external and internal designs. The external initiative, including environmental regulation of the market to dislodge the hegemony of international corporations (through series of pro-worker controlled enterprise legislation and active program of action for their promotion) include tax incentives, anti-competition busting interventions, revolutionary procurement policies and well resourced law enforcement against deviations from the desired legal framework.

The more complex part is formulation of the internal components of worker owned and controlled enterprises. Factors that make this obvious route to fail include the fact that the working class has not produced its own leadership and is generally led by aspiring middle class or labour aristocrats who have interests and agendas that are opposed to the working class struggle.  Instead of changing the designs of the exploitative class there is a tendency of filling the master‘s shoes through maintenance of same structural relations and policy design of former exploiting ruler.

The internal dynamics of a future enterprise provide for equitable if not equal pay for equal labour units. There must be clear delegation of authority and an effort must be made to avoid delegation to one individual showmanship or feudalistic tendencies as is the case in most cooperatives, trade unions and civic society organizations.

Internal accountability and governance matters must be documented, practiced and consistently audited for compliance and adequacy to protect collective interests over individual greed and ego. Accountability of one decision and action should apply to enterprise leadership and shop-floor supervision as much as it does to front line, administrative, logistics and production workers. It must not be a taboo to dismiss according to strictly defined procedure, those workers who show tendencies that are not aligned to collective good and interests.

One wiseman once said that problems can be solved within the same paradigm that created them. The resurrection of Africa economic and social might lies in tapping a different approach to ownership and control of the means of production. There will be no victory against imperialism without the destruction of corporations since the root of colonialism of sixteen and seventeen century in Africa, Asia and America was propelled by corporations, not by European governments.

By Sbusiso Xaba


  1. sbusiso xaba raises valid points in his article. he is frustrated that pan africanist organisations over-indulge in history resulting in failure to design the future. i can understand sbu’s frustration however, history is the present, past and future. for us to chart the future we must reconcile the present with the past. it could be those who lead pan africanist organisations suffer from a paucity of foresight and vision. a leader should solve problems and not create them, grow the organisation he/she leads and not stunt its growth. a leader emerges and does not impose him/herself on the people he wants to lead. if a person wants to lead an organisation then they must know where they want to take that organisation. if people elect radarless and clueless leaders then they deserve those leaders and the organisations they lead. keep up the good work, sbu!

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