The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) in a post– 1994 South Africa : a reconstruction, interpretation and evaluation of this revolutionary ideology
Venter, Jan Charl Marthinus
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The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is the central ideology of the governing tripartite alliance consisting of the ANC, the SACP and COSATU. In this class alliance that was formed in the struggle against apartheid, Communists, Socialists, (black) nationalists, Neo-liberalists and Pan-Africanists were to a certain degree united against the enemy of “colonialism of a special type” (apartheid in the vernacular of the NDR) and its exploitational economic legacy. From 2005 onward serious divisions within the once monolithic broad liberationist church became evident, and in 2007 at the Polokwane conference neo-liberalism (the “1996 class project”) was purged in favour of a more stringent and more socialist interpretation of the NDR. In 2012 the call went out for a “national democratic society” in South Africa in accordance with the basic principles of the NDR which will rely on an active citizenry, incorporated on all levels in (political) party structures and functions. This party (the ANC) and its associated activities are seen to be the gateway to development, health care, education and sustainable and safe communities. This principle is borrowed from Mao Zedong’s China where the “Mass Line” principle was first developed, and so the “cadre deployment strategy” that has such an impact on every bureaucracy in South Africa actually comes from Vietnam of the 1950s. As such the NDR is a “compendium of ideological principles.” It is vitally important that this ideology and its antecedent ideologies and theories, as well as the various schools of thought within the NDR, be analysed in order to provide insight into the decisions the government of South Africa takes, as well as into tripartite alliance politics, faction politics within the broad liberationist church, and policy decisions ranging from Southern Africa to the UN; from economic policies and possibilities of nationalisation of mines and other industries to military decisions and arms scandals. It is therefore the goal of this thesis to present a reconstruction, interpretation and evaluation of the National Democratic Revolution as ideological framework in the post-1994 South Africa. In support of this problem statement the central theoretical statement presented by this thesis is that the NDR forms the fundamental ideology of the ANC, the tripartite governing alliance in South Africa and the associated broad church. Herein a vision of the unjust past, the unacceptable present and the utopian future is developed, consisting of a hard core of fundamental assumptions and an adaptable context of application which, like a living organism, adapts all the time to a changing environment that will eventually dominate South Africa politically in theory and practice. The problem statement of this thesis is investigated in Chapter 2 by the reconstruction of radical thinking as an ideological framework; In Chapter 3 by the reconstruction of the ideologies and theories that contributed to the formulation of the NDR; in Chapter 4 by the reconstruction and interpretation of the development of the NDR within the South African historical context; in Chapter 5 by the reconstruction and interpretation of the NDR and its analytical dimension; in Chapter 6 by the reconstruction and interpretation of the NDR and its normative dimension; in Chapter 7 by the reconstruction and interpretation of the NDR and its the strategic dimension, and in Chapter 8 through the provision of an evaluation of the ideology of the NDR as well as short scenario perspectives on the future of the NDR. During the investigation described above several important factors came to light. Arguably the most important of them, described in Chapters 4 and 8, deals with paradigm shifts and the possible future(s) of the NDR. In this regard it is important to note Blade Nzimande’s (2006) assertion: “the character, content and direction of the NDR are of fundamental importance to our alliance”. This thesis proposes that the character, content and direction of the NDR are of fundamental importance to all having a substantial interest in South Africa.
- Humanities