Is Namibia a Bourgeois State? : a Case Study of Michael Amushelelo

By Shivute Kaapanda [Think Tank Africa]

Learning from the recent social and political developments in the Namibian political space many who follow politics would have observed the working class mobilizations led by NEFF’s Commissar Michael Amushelelo who is currently a trending force and icon in Namibia as far as the awakening and mobilization of the working class struggle is concerned in Namibia.

The exploitation of workers in Namibia by the capitalist employers, more especially in the private sector, has escalated beyond ordinary.

The white compatriot capitalists who represent the minority Namibian population but own the larger chunk of the Namibian economy are the driving force in workers exploitation through wage exploitation.

The Chinese and the Indians are second and third to the whites respectively.

That capitalist whites, Chinese and Indians have Namibian politicians in their pockets is what has really kept many trade unions toothless and useless in fighting for the interests of the working class.

Those who disagree must be reminded of the Jack Huang’s of this world; the Stina Wu’s and many other handlers of Namibian politicians who give instructions on anything to politicians and nothing can happen against them.

One would argue that the arrival of Michael Amushelelo politics is necessitated by the decaying of Namibian trade unions who have abandoned their mandates to represent workers that they now are being run and bought by capitalist-handled politicians to watch workers being exploited.

Amushelelo has filled the political vacuum that would not have existed should trade unions been fulfilling their mandates as expected.

Therefore in understanding these societal dynamics of ruthless capitalism one would use tools of analysis such as (Marxism) Karl Marx and (Leninism) Vladimir Lenin to understand what Capitalism is and how we as Africans can break away from it using Michael Aushelelo politics as a case study.

Karl Marx was a German philosopher who wrote extensively on Capitalism and participated in the formation of communist league and organizations who were involved in mobilizing workers across Europe in their struggle to attain freedom; he authored a book called “das Capital”.

It is this guy Karl Marx out of which we speak Marxism, as a science or a philosophical way of understanding society, its development over history through ‘dialectical materialism’. It’s basically the science of understanding society and its relation to the means of production.

According to Karl Marx Capitalism is a class society in which people’s relationship to the means of production is mediated by means of classes: (The bourgeoisie/ Capitalists) – those who own the means of production, and the (Proletariat/ Working class) – those who do not own the means of production.

In this case those who do not own the means of production survive by selling their labour to the bourgeoisie/Capitalists so that they can work for long hours and be paid low wages as a means for the capitalists to take more through wage labour.

And by nature capitalists become the best exploiters, e.g. the owners of Bistro Café in Windhoek, the owners of Shoprite food retail chain, Pick ‘n Pay and Pep stores, Choppies, etc. Capitalists are not owners of little spaza shops in town or in the village, capitalists are proper owners of capital, owners of banks, private hospitals and insurance companies.

The working class is those through the labour market try to sell their labour and get robbed by the bourgeoisie, they are never paid the real pay. The proletariat/working class are those who cannot survive without going to work in government or private sector. Capitalism is the whole system that survives on the dispossession of workers through wage labour.

The working class is often those who do not properly own commercial land and cannot survive without working. With capitalism the wealth is owned and reproduced among the few, therefore pushing majority into poverty and hopelessness.

It is very difficult to have everyone rich in a capitalist system because how you become rich has nothing to do with how brilliant your business idea is, the rich have everything to do in monopolizing the wealth and capital.

It is therefore not a sustainable system because it leaves the majority of people in poverty and creates wage labour and suffering because all development is driven for profit maximization, by constant management of wages to get surplus value(profit), and therefore because of these contradictions Karl Marx recommends that the bourgeoisie be crushed by uniting and mobilizing the working class like Amushelelo is doing through his political programs to liberate themselves from the bourgeoisie so that they can free the wealth from the selfish capitalist hands into the hands of the majority.

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary who led a real working class revolution (the total overthrow of the capitalist society). In 1917 Lenin presided over a Russian working class led revolution that led to one of the first sustainable development eras in Russia.

Lenin realized that in order for the industrious society to exist it doesn’t necessarily need the bourgeoisie. And it does not need private profit individuals for development to happen.

In countries such as Namibia all the entities of the state such as the army, the police, the prisons and the courts are organized in such a manner to defend and work in the interest of the bourgeoisie, they are there to make sure that the private profiteering of the bourgeoisie is not interrupted.

Many have observed how the police was deployed in China town when activists protested on fake goods sold by the Chinese, and how the Namibian police has been instructed to intimidate and arrest Michael Amushelelo wherever he avails himself to mobilize the working class struggle.

In a bourgeois state the laws which govern society including the religion and the education system are made to guard the domination of profit interest of a profit system.

For example, in Namibia all cabinet ministers including the justice minister, the majority of parliamentarians, the Inspector General of police, the Chief of Defense and the General of prison services are all appointed by the president, therefore they all dance to the tunes and by implication are bouncers of the appointing authority which is very problematic given this democratic dispensation.

In answering the question whether Namibia is a bourgeois state, Vladimir Lenin therefore recommends exactly what Commissar Michael Amushelelo is practicing, that we need to mobilize the working class to dismantle the laws of private property and profiteering and democratize the state and use it as a developmental path for the people the same way it is done in Cuba and China or even more effectively.

– Shivute Kaapanda is a Namibian Author and Activist from Eyanda village. He authored a book titled “The Conscious Republic” published in 2020 and can be found on