[Debate] (Fwd) New resource: Encyclopaedia of SA (Johnson/Jacobs)

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Apr 20 17:53:36 BST 2012

    South Africa from Origins to Present in Krista Johnson and Sean
    Jacobs'/Encyclopedia of South Africa/

by Adele on Apr 19th, 2012

Encyclopedia of South Africa 
<http://bookslive.co.za/bookfinder/ean/9781869142230>Edited by Krista 
Johnson and Sean Jacobs, the/Encyclopedia of South Africa/ 
<http://bookslive.co.za/bookfinder/ean/9781869142230>is an 
authoritative, comprehensive reference work which covers South Africa's 
history, government and politics, law, society and culture, economy and 
infrastructure, demography, environment, and more, from the era of human 
origins to the present.

Nearly 300 alphabetically arranged entries provide information in a 
concise yet thorough way. In addition, a series of appendixes present a 
wealth of data, including: a chronology of key events, major racial and 
apartheid legislation since 1856, heads of state (with party 
affiliation) since 1910, provinces and major cities, government 
structures, and current political parties and representation in 
parliament. Photographs enhance the text.

Members of the encyclopedia's International Advisory Board are R Hunt 
Davis, Jr, Sandra Klopper, Shula Marks, Dominique Malaquais, Barney 
Pityana, Zine Magubane, and Peter Limb.

"Contributors present concise and pertinent information needed to 
understand and study a country that has undergone tremendous changes 
from its struggles with colonization, apartheid, independence, and 
post-independence...Highly recommended."/-- Choice/

"The/Encyclopedia of South Africa/offers a well-rounded overview of the 
country -- its history and politics, as well as social and cultural 
phenomena -- in all of its diversity and complexity...It is a strong 
contribution to the field."/-- Marion Frank-Wilson, Herman B Wells 
Library,Indiana University <http://www.indiana.edu/>/

_About the editors_

*Krista Johnson*started her studies in South Africa and now holds a PhD 
in Political Science fromNorthwestern University 
<http://www.northwestern.edu/>, Evanston, Illinois. She currently holds 
the post of assistant professor of African studies atHoward University 

*Sean Jacobs*, originally from Cape Town, South Africa, holds a PhD in 
Politics from theUniversity of London <http://www.lon.ac.uk/>and a MA in 
Political Science from Northwestern University. He is currently 
assistant professor of international affairs atThe New School 
<http://www.newschool.edu/>. He is co-editor of/Thabo Mbeki's 
World/(Co-published by UKZN Press and Zed Books, 2002).

_Book details_

  * /Encyclopedia of South Africa/edited by Krista Johnson and Sean Jacobs
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781869142230
    *Find this book with BOOK Finder!


A draft version of one of the entries:

*Political economy traditions in South Africa*

By Patrick Bond

Forthcoming in the /Encyclopedia of South Africa/ (edited by Sean Jacobs 
and Krista Johnson), Boulder, Lynne Rienner

The study of South African political economy has an extraordinary set of 
lineages. There remains in political economic research an excellent 
potential for praxis-based scholarship and for revitalizing what was 
once a world-leading intellectual tradition, even if there is not a 
single program in a tertiary educational institution that carries its name.

Taking a longer view of economic and social relations, the various South 
African traditions of radical political economy were always infused with 
concern about race, geography and also, increasingly, gender and 
environment. All came together in studies of /superexploitative/ 
capital-labour relations that underpinned apartheid. While fierce 
debates between radicals and liberals (whether Weberian or 
modernisationists) motivated 1960s-70s political economic studies, these 
matters go much further back as research problems, as they draw upon 
longstanding concerns within Marxism aboutsuperexploitation.

The origins of British capitalism, after all, were in 'primitive 
accumulation', the initial capitalist strategy of dispossessing 
non-capitalist spheres of social life, most famously in land enclosures 
which forced peasants into the proletarianisation process. But in South 
Africa the use of political power to dispossess black people of their 
livelihoods, so as to compel them into wage labour relations, entailed 
durable extraeconomic, crudely racist methods which were not just a 
once-off initial condition for primitive accumulation.

For researchers of South African political economy during the 20^th 
Century, the idea of superexploitation was a way to understand an 
ongoing history of extremely biased accumulation, combining capitalism 
and non-capitalist sites of work, of life and of nature. This process of 
'uneven and combined development' can be identified not solely on the 
basis of exploitation (surplus value extraction) at the point of 
production -- the main point of Marx's /Das Kapital -- /but instead in 
relations between market and non-market activities. It is here that an 
'articulation of modes of production', between capitalism and 
non-capitalist systems is also of great relevance on the world stage today.

Racial restrictions were initially considered by political economists 
primarily as power relationships. As an early Trotskyist, Moshe Noah 
Averbach (1936, 131), explained, migrant labour would 'prevent the 
formation of a stable, hereditary urban proletariat which would become 
used to the traditional methods of organisation and struggle -- trade 
union and political -- of the city working classes.' But the Chamber of 
Mines also recorded how the 'cheap labour' system was crucial to their 
profitability (in official testimony to a 1944 government commission): 
'the mines are able to obtain unskilled labour at a rate less than 
ordinarily paid in industry... otherwise the subsidiary means of 
subsistence would disappear and the labourer would tend to become a 
permanent resident upon the Witwatersrand, with increased requirements' 
(cited in Wolpe, 1972).

Labourers also began generating their own analysis of this kind of 
political economy. Amongst urban black African workers, intellectual and 
political figures, there were exceptional speakers in the revolutionary 
tradition -- e.g., C.B.I. Dladla, Dan Koza, Isaac Bongani Tabata, T.W. 
Thibedi -- whose arguments have only sporadically been recorded. At the 
same time, the South African Communist Party (SACP, 1989) developed the 
theory of 'colonialism of a special type' (CST). Drafted by leading 
Johannesburg Communist Mick Harmel, CST was officially adopted during 
the early 1960s, and represents an internal version of dependency 
theory. According to the most widely-circulated analysis, 'The South 
African capitalist state did not emerge as a result of an internal 
popular anti-feudal revolution. It was imposed from above and from without.'

But because the CST framework implied that the underlying dynamic of 
South African political economy was not capitalist, it came under 
repeated questioning from left intellectuals. New generations of 
political economists added several other branches of Marxian analysis: 
Harold Wolpe's articulations of modes of production argument during the 
early 1970s; neo-Poulantzian 'fractions-of-capital' analysis during the 
late 1970s; the concept of 'racial capitalism' during the early 1980s; 
the Social History school of the 1980s; French regulation theory (and 
'Racial Fordism') during the late 1980s; and the 'Minerals Energy 
Complex' from the mid-1990s.

The central concern remained race/class at the point of production. 
Although more and more workers began living permanently in cities near 
manufacturing jobs, there was still a large supply of migrant labour. 
 From 1948 through the 1970s, 3.5 million people were forcibly removed 
onto the reserves, which could simply not handle the environmental 
demands placed on them. What Wolpe did not express was how gendered the 
process became. The migrant 'tribal natives' did not, when they were 
young, live under a system that required companies to pay their parents 
enough to cover school fees, or pay taxes for government schools to 
teach workers' children. When sick or disabled, those workers were often 
shipped back to their rural homes until ready to work again. When the 
worker was ready to retire, the employer typically left him a pittance, 
not a pension that allowed the elderly to survive in dignity. From youth 
through to illness to old age, the subsidy covering child-rearing, 
recuperation and old age was provided by rural African women.

The economic functionality of apartheid was, for Wolpe, a logical and 
necessary outcome of the post-war development of South African 
capitalism.But there was ample room for contesting Wolpe's chronology 
and understanding of the dynamics of capitalism. Historian Martin 
Legassick's (1974) work on the increasing capital intensity of 
manufacturing offered a more fertile direction of inquiry, and a 
critique emerged of the chronological argument about capitalism and 
apartheid. In a subsequent book, Wolpe (1988) backtracked substantially 
from the earlier position that apartheid was necessary to capitalist 
development, and instead agreed with critics that central aspects of 
their mutual evolution were contingent.

 From the mid-1970s, international trends in historical materialism 
?especially the success of Althusserian and Poulantzian structuralism 
?began having a larger impact on South African political economy 
research, via the University of Sussex. There emerged a fascination with 
which 'fractions of capital' controlled the state at particular moments 
of political change. Although the various fractions became increasingly 
blurred by the 1960s as South Africa's big mining finance houses 
diversified into manufacturing and services, several leading neo-Marxist 
researchers identified prior distinctions between capitals in terms of 
their sector of production (mining, manufacturing or agricultural), 
their location within the circulation of capital (industrial, financial, 
commercial, landed), or their 'nationality' (Afrikaner, 
English-speaking, foreign) (e.g., Davies 1979). According to some 
critics, however, the Poulantzians' focus on fractions of capital 
highlighted questions of state power but distracted from the capital 
accumulation process and capital-labour conflicts.

With an upsurge in protest beginning with the Durban labour movement in 
1973, and with the economic slowdown beginning around 1974, political 
economists' attention turned from aspects of apartheid-capitalist 
stability and control, to instability and crisis. The theory of 'racial 
capitalism' was invoked to link the political and the economic. As 
explained by John Saul and Stephen Gelb (1981), 'From the late 1960s, 
the growing saturation of the white consumer market limited not only 
sales but also the ability of the manufacturing industry to benefit from 
economies of scale.' On top of new-found worker militancy beginning in 
1973, Saul and Gelb identified the shortage of skilled labour as a 
crucial weakness created by the apartheid system's colour bar and Bantu 
Education policies. These shortages became acute by the early 1970s. In 
addition, as Charles Meth (1991) posited, overaccumulation of capital 
also set in, reflecting the saturation of local consumer and capital 
goods markets, simultaneous to similar problems at the world scale.

The fractions and racial capitalism perspectives were most harshly 
criticized, starting in the early 1980s, by a Thompsonian school of 
South African social history which prided itself for looking at society 
and economy not from the top (state and capital), but from the very 
lowest levels of the voiceless majority. Charles van Onselen (1996) did 
the most publicized work in drawing out detailed empirical information, 
although the social historians' aversion to theory was criticized by 
Mike Morris (1988). Indeed, no matter how rich and interesting the 
particularities of the social history case studies proved, they added up 
to very little that was generalisable for the purpose of answering the 
larger questions of capitalist development. The broader theoretical 
discourse about race and class in South Africa seemed to peak in the 
1970s, and with rigorous detailed probing underway in the 1980s in the 
context of the search for specificity, research into the nature of the 
mode of production tailed off markedly.

By the late 1980s, the larger questions were again placed on the agenda. 
It was a time when South Africa's capitalist class demanded, perhaps for 
the first time, an end to formal apartheid. The reasons for this are 
closely related to economic stagnation and financial crisis, but what 
was disconcerting was how dramatically this shook many political 
economists who, earlier, so profoundly rejected the liberal thesis that 
apartheid and capitalism were incompatible. As Gelb (1987) put it, 
radicals must 'develop a substantial and consistent analysis of capital 
accumulation which preserves their view of the earlier relationship 
between apartheid and capitalism, explains the transformation from long 
run apartheid boom to economic crisis and then analyses the crisis 
itself.' To that end Gelb introduced the French Regulation Theory of 
Lipietz, Aglietta and Boyer to dissect the relative stability of South 
African capitalism from 1948 through the early 1970s. In honour of a 
phrase coined by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, 'Fordism' 
(signifying the symbiotic relationship between mass production and mass 
consumption, the product of Henry Ford's assembly line and $5/day 
wages), the French considered this linkage as the basis for a 
full-fledged 'regime of accumulation.' South African 'Racial Fordism,' 
as Gelb termed it, could not succeed in linking black producers with 
white consumers. Others used the idea of 'peripheral Fordism' to reflect 
the partial linkages to the world economy.

The task for the regulationists - whether relying upon internal or 
international causality - then became how to stitch together a new set 
of 'post-Fordist' institutions and assist in the process of 
kick-starting capitalist growth. Wage restraint, productivity quid pro 
quos, social contracts and even Taiwan-style export-orientation were 
advocated by Gelb and other economists connected to the Economic Trends 
Group 'Industrial Strategy Project. At the same time, however, 
Regulation Theory lost momentum internationally, and after 1991 there 
were no further major academic works published in this tradition.

Ben Fine and Zav Rustomjee (1997, 21) cautioned, 'The relationship 
between abstract theory and empirical application is not unique to the 
study of South Africa. But the virulent form taken by its racism within 
the bounds of a predominantly capitalist economy has cast considerable 
doubt on the simple expedient of examining South Africa's development in 
terms of hypotheses derived from ready-made analytical frameworks.' 
Their own approach was relatively institutionalist, by identifying the 
nexus of a Minerals-Energy Complex around which accumulation, state, 
labour relations and other economic phenomena could be understood. 
Within a decade, Fine (2008) addressed the post-apartheid political 
economic nexus in terms of financialisation, as 'macroeconomic policy 
has been designed to /manage /the capacity of the South African 
conglomerates to disinvest'.

         In contrast, leading ANC intellectuals - such as Thabo Mbeki (2003) and Joel Netshitenzhe - justified the neoliberal economic policies they inherited and amplified, arguing that South Africa was suffering from 'two economies', and as for those left out, 'Of central and strategic importance is the fact that they are structurally disconnected from our country's "first world economy".' Yet there remain many structural/connections/  still reminiscent of older labour migration systems, as SACP youth leader David Masondo (2007) observes: 'A combination of unreconstructed vulgar Marxism and modernization theory have provided conceptual basis for contemporary neoliberalism, which is dressed up as the "first economy" drawing in the "second economy" to a successful market process.' Moreover, warns Masondo, 'The CST and its National Democratic Revolution (NDR) strategy is also used by some in the ANC to justify the current neoliberal incorporation of the emerging black bourgeoisie into the structure of capital accumulation.'

       With growing SACP and Cosatu critiques of Two Economies political economy, Netshitenzhe (2006) became aggrieved by 'the ideological bloodletting that sometimes accompanies policy making. It would be better if we could leave all our "isms" at home when rethinking policy.' The SA Communist Party (2006) replied, 'The point is to reflect critically upon our reality and our engagement with it, in order to unify ourselves around the most effective strategic and programmatic interventions. We need to be practical, but being practical does not mean being merely pragmatic, still less anti-intellectualist. Theory does matter, and we do need to constantly re-visit our "isms".'



Davies, R. (1979), /Capital, State and White Labour in South Africa, 
1900-1960/, Atlantic Highlands, Humanities.

Fine, B. (2008) "The Minerals-Energy Complex is Dead: Long Live the MEC?",
Amandla Colloquium, 

Fine, B. and Z. Rustomjee (1997), /The Political Economy of South 
Africa/, Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand Press.

Gelb, S. (1987), 'Making Sense of the Crisis,' /Transformation/ 5.

Legassick, M. (1974), 'South Africa: Capital Accumulation and Violence,' 
/Economy and Society/, 3.

Mbeki, T. (2003), 'Letter from the President: Bold Steps to End the Two 
Nations Divide', /ANC Today./ 26 August. www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/anctoday 

Meth, C. (1991), /Productivity and the Economic Crisis in South Africa: 
A Marxist View/, Working paper, Durban, University of Natal Department 
of Economics.

Morris, M. (1988), 'Social History and the Transition to Capitalism in 
the South African Countryside,' /Review of African Political Economy/, 41.

Netshitenzhe, J. (2006), 'Deepening Class Inequalities seen as major 
social Challenge for SA', /Business Day/, 27 June.

SA Communist Party (1989), /The Path to Power/, London.

South African Communist Party (2006), 'Is the ANC leading a National 
Democratic Revolution, or Managing Capitalism?', Johannesburg, 

Saul, J. and S. Gelb (1981; 1986), /The Crisis in South Africa/, New 
York, Monthly Review.

van Onselen, C. (1996), /The Seed is Mine: The Life of Kas Maine, A 
South African Sharecroper, 1894-1985/, Cape Town, David Philip.

Wolpe, H. (1972), 'Capitalism and Cheap Labour Power,' /Economy and 
Society/, 1.

Wolpe, H. (1988), /Race, Class and the Apartheid State, /Paris, UNESCO.


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