Tag Archives: Liberalism

Why South Africa continues to grapple with the L-word

So there I was, propping up a barn in Sweet Auburn, Atlanta. I was in town for a conference about racial justice (or the lack thereof) with my Consciousness Café colleague Keke. Two days before, Donald Trump had been elected president of the US, and the conference was a churned-up sea of angry, bewildered activists….

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The theoretically bankrupt intifada against liberalism: A response to Jared Sacks

In case you didn’t get the memo: liberalism is passé. Society’s (imagined) love affair with liberal politics is over, and you’re supposed to be cheering the advent of a new polity: the rise of “radicalism” as the new descriptor of choice, one to be employed by a million student activists and thought leaders in their…

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What is ideology?

Those of us who were studying at the time of the great “cold war” tussle between the superpowers would remember that, at that time, one thought of ideology as a more or less coherent system of ideas that demanded a way of living, or certain actions in accordance with those ideas. So, for example, communism…

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Maimane and the Constitution

In the most direct test of Mmusi Maimane’s understanding of constitutionalism and liberty, the DA’s heir-presumptive has been found wanting. Maimane is widely reported to have stated that he would allow issues like the death penalty and gay rights to be determined by the vote. Understandably, this has caused much upset, among Maimane’s supporters particularly….

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The intimate and unbearable shackles of racism

You know this scene all too well: you’re in a supermarket and the person in front of you whispers a racist epithet under their breath. Apparently black shop clerks are to blame for shopping rush hours. Or you stumble into a serious debate where accusations of racism are used as a distraction to shut down…

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The trouble with liberals

The word liberal traces its history back to the Latin liber, which means “free”. Author and founding member of the Liberal Party in South Africa, Alan Paton, described this body of thought as such: “By liberalism I don’t mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean a generosity of spirit, a tolerance…

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The liberal project and DA discontent

Those interested in the DA or inadvertently exposed to it would be aware of an on-going, often heated, discussion about the ideological underpinnings of the party and its political future. Contributors have included Gareth van Onselen (and again), DA executive communications director Gavin Davis and former party leader Tony Leon. There were also two pieces…

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Blade Nzimande, the new Juju

Communism, as formulated by Germans Marx and Engels in their industrialised continent far from the African situation, is seminally Eurocentric. When the South African Communist Party was founded by white, middle class manufacturers and merchants, disproportionately Jewish, Soviet leaders felt blacks weren’t yet advanced enough for Communism. During the 1921 Rand Revolt, the communists were…

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ANC conservative nationalism and ambidextrous politicians – Open Letter to Phillip Dexter

Dear Dr Dexter, The formal style of address may seem cold and harsh but I cannot bring myself to refer to you as comrade or Phillip, as I have always done. The man who sat so smugly next to Marius Fransman yesterday, singing the praises of the ANC was not the one I fought alongside…

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