The African National Congress and the Regeneration of Political Power

People, Party, Policy
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Dimensions and Pages: 235x155 mm, 512pp
  • EAN: 9781868145423
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 320.00

In the twenty years of transitional and democratic politics in South Africa, Susan Booysen constantly traversed two worlds, as direct observer and analyst-researcher. First, there is the world of the African National Congress (ANC), in which there is a sense of representation of the people in the contexts of elections and modern government. In ANC
parlance, this is the time of the ‘national democratic revolution’ and there is continuous progress.

The other world is that of critical observation and analysis. Here the observer-researcher negotiates the route between counter-truths, assessing how the ANC’s hegemonic power project of close to a century has materialised in the period of government power. It is a shifting target that is being analysed. The ‘answers’ are often at variance with the officially-projected ANC perspectives.

The ANC and the Regeneration of Political Power straddles both worlds, but is unapologetically analytical. It builds on the empathy of understanding the struggles and achievements along with deferred dreams and frustrations. It moves to analyses of power, victories, strategy, engineering, manipulation, denials and corrections, obfuscation … and causes for celebration. Anchored in this world, the book focuses on discerning the bigger picture, which transcends the daily and monthly variances of who is in power and who in favour with those who are in power.

Booysen has constructed the book around the framework of political power. Her analysis focuses on how the ANC, in twenty years of political power, has acted to continuously shape, maintain and regenerate power in relation to its internal structures and processes,
opposition parties, people, government and the state.

The chapters are all anchored in ongoing research and monitoring over this period, sometimes from the sidelines, but at other times with one foot in the political sphere.

In 2011 the power configurations of and around the ANC are converging to deliver a present that holds vexing uncertainties. By dissecting contemporary power dimensions and comparing them with what has gone before, Booysen explores the construction of the political power ‘complex’ of the ANC. In so doing she offers insights into how South African politics, which is in many ways synonymous with the politics of the ANC, is likely to unfold
in years, possibly decades, to come.

Table of contents:
SECTION 1 ANC movement-party in power
Chapter 1 Introduction: ANC pathways to claiming, consolidating and regenerating political power
Chapter 2 From Polokwane to Durban to Mangaung – aluta continua

SECTION 2 ANC power and the power of the people
Chapter 3 The ANC and the multiple faces of people’s power
Chapter 4 Power through the ballot and the brick
Chapter 5 Public participation – the power of cooperation, complicity and co-optation

SECTION 3 ANC in party politics and elections
Chapter 6 Electoral power to the ANC – liberation, consolidation, expansion, decline
Chapter 7 Floor-crossing and entrenchment of ANC electoral supremacy
Chapter 8 Demise of the (New) National Party – ultimate ANC victory
Chapter 9 Congress of the People (Cope) – countered and cowered by the ANC

SECTION 4 ANC and state power
Chapter 10 State institutions as site of struggle in the ANC wars
Chapter 11 The South African presidency between centralisation and centralism
Chapter 12 Policy, succession and the contest for ‘a turn to the left’
Chapter 13 Governance and critical conjuncture for the ANC

SECTION 5 Conclusion

Susan Booysen is a political analyst and commentator who is currently based at Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management.

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