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The Limits of Black Political Empowerment: Fanon, Marx, 'the Poors' and the 'new reality of the nation' in South Africa

Nigel Gibson


In an earlier paper, written in reaction to those who argued that the

African National Congress (ANC) had no alternative but to implement

neoliberal economic policies in the context of the ‘Washington

Consensus’, I discussed the strategic choices and ideological pitfalls

of the ‘political class’who took over state power in South Africa after

the end of apartheid and implemented its own homegrown structural

adjustment programme (Gibson 2001). Much of this transition has

been scripted by political science ‘transition literature’ and much of it

is proactive, mapping out what should be done to establish a ‘pacted’,

‘elite’ democracy overseeing neoliberal economic policies (O’Donnell,

Schmitter & Whitehead 1986). From another vantage point, I

argued that Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is perhaps one

of the most perceptive critiques of the transition literature available.

This paper continues the discussion.

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