South Africa: Writing the 2019 Elections - Apartheid Is Dead, Long Live Capitalism

analysis

The Capitalist Party wants to establish a conservative and distinctly illiberal society. The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party is opposed to capitalism, and will fight for a distinctly illiberal South Africa. They form the book-ends of the political spectrum that place capitalism at the centre of everything they do. In the meantime, everyone else seems to be whirling devilishly to recitations and incantations of race, identity, ethnicity and other imaginaries.

For the best part of the past 25 years, South African politics, at least as framed by electoral politicking, has been about addressing the legacies of apartheid, with rewarding the legatees of that iniquitous system with a better material life, and restoring their dignity. These processes have, for the most part, been successful, though they remain by no means complete.

Stark inequalities remain, and very many of them are consistent with the racial divide of past politics. But there's a new game in town. It goes something like this: apartheid is dead, and depending on where you sit or stand, capitalism is either the solution to all the country's woes, or the problem. This seems like a veritable attempt at recovering ideological traditions lost in the carnage of 20th century ideological...

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