Stalinist ANC?

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Wed May 29 06:40:07 MDT 1996

On Wed, 29 May 1996, Hugh Rodwell wrote:

> Although Stalinist, not Maoist, the ANC provides a perfect example of this.
> Although its programme was clear about stagism and the continued existence
> of capitalist relations, the lack of clarity in people's minds relating to
> the counter-revolutionary aspects of the party led to false expectations of
> radical change to the advantage of the black workers. Though true to their
> programme, the ANC have proved treacherous to their people, and the same
> goes for other movements fighting on a Stalinist or Maoist programme.

Louis: What does it mean to call the ANC "Stalinist"? This is an abuse of
language that beggars description. Does the ANC have a "2-stage" theory?
First the bourgeois-democratic revolution, then the socialist revolution
or some such thing? The ANC has never been clear about anything except
ending racialism and instituting democracy on the basis of one person, one
vote. Any reference they have made to socialism has been merely a vague
salute to the notion that the needs of corporations in South Africa must
be weighed against the needs of the poor and working-class. Mandela and
Oliver Tambo are not Marxists and never pretended to be.

Now that Hugh has shifted his attention from the "petty-bourgeois
nationalist" Sandinistas to the "Stalinist" ANC, we have to wonder where
he will go with this one.

Nobody on the Marxist left at this point entertains any illusions that the
ANC is about to challenge capitalist rule in South Africa. This has led
small socialist groups to rail against ANC "betrayal". This is an
undialectical view of what has taken place. What must be weighed against
ANC faintheartedness in the face of the Afrikaner bourgeoisie is the
monumental change in the strategic and military relationship of forces in
Africa. The fact that the South African army is no longer free to roam the
continent acting as the gendarme of imperialism is nothing to sneer at.
This change was not accomplished through hat-in-hand appeals to the
Afrikaner. It was won through the armed struggle of African liberation
armies in combination with the Cuban army.

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