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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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Alexander Motyl, Slavoj Zizek, Glyn Daly, Will Kymlicka, Nigel Gibson and G.A. Cohen

Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0231114311. Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0231121105. Reviewed by Roger Deacon

Conversations with Zizek, by Slavoj Zizek and Glyn Daly. Polity: Cambridge, 2004. ISBN: 0745628974 Reviewed by Richard Pithouse

Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship, by Will Kymlicka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0199240981. Reviewed by Laurence Piper

Frantz Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination, by Nigel Gibson. Cambridge: Polity, 2003. ISBN: 0745622615. Reviewed by Richard Pithouse

If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? by G.A. Cohen. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0674006933. Reviewed by Ben Parker