The ANC and capital: aspirations to hegemony

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)


School of Arts and Humanities


Hale, B. (2016). The ANC and capital: aspirations to hegemony. In Africa: Moving the boundaries 39th AFSAAP Annual Conference (pp. 52-59). Available here


Recent years have seen a worldwide crisis of confidence in economic systems, elected leaders and state structures. This is especially acute in South Africa where confidence in the African National Congress (ANC) has been fatally undercut by corruption scandals, economic stagnation, and state failure. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (NUMSA) departure from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and ongoing attempt to create a United Front opposed to the government presents a new challenge to the ANC by an independent union. A Gramscian view of this situation understands these organisations as counter-hegemonic movements emerging organically from the articulation of subaltern class-consciousness. This paper contends that the ANC is operating an unstable hegemonic project through the vehicle of the South African state. However, bias toward key blocs of capital in economic policy, incompatible with the needs of the population at large, has made it increasingly untenable. Despite this “organic crisis” the ideology of neoliberalism underwriting this hegemonic project has deeply penetrated common sense understandings. This paper is a work-in-progress; research is still being undertaken and interviews are undergoing further analysis.

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