ABSTRACT

The most vital reminder of how the exercise of power by national liberation movements contradicts their former ideals is the durability of radical, often anti-imperialist narratives in times of political panic. It is then that the shrillest manifestations of liberatory rhetoric arise, attempting to disguise how the spoils of liberation are being devoured by corrupting neo-colonial forces both within and without the nation. It is then that the party must remind the society of the times it was profoundly rooted within the urgent drive to liberate a country from wide varieties of colonial repression. It is then, too, that international threats are conjured up (sometimes conjoined with ethnic fear-mongering), so as to distract attention from the party’s immediate failings. South Africa boasts amongst the world’s most vivid examples of this tendency, which can be termed ‘talk left, walk right’ (Bond 2006). The more the African National Congress (ANC) is threatened as the ruling party, the more this populist tendency will be given voice, just at the time when genuinely destructive neo-colonial forces – especially those in the financial markets insisting on fiscal austerity – amplify the society’s already extreme contradictions.