Information Bulletin of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party 2006


1. The Green book was a report of a Commission appointed by a joint meeting of the NEC and Revolutionary Council in Luanda between 27 December 1978 and 1 January 1979. The commission, headed by President Tambo. Included Cdes Thabo Mbeki, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Joe Gqabi and Joe Modise, with some of its sessions joined by Cde Mac Maharaj.

2. See Atonio Gramsci, Selections from Prison Notebooks, [SPN] Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1971, p.239.

3. The key foundation text is Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Antonio Gramsci’s SPN; and Nicos Poulantzas’s concrete application of Bonapartism in several of his writings - but particularly in Fascism and Dictatorship, New Left Books/Verso, London, 1974. There are numerous other Marxist writings that touch upon the topic, including occasional references by Lenin to Marx’s study of Napoleon III. There is also an extensive secondary literature, interpreting and debating Marx and Gramsci on the subject.

4. While the absolutist state is associated with an “equilibrium” between bourgeoisie and the landed nobility, and Bismarckism is seen as a hybrid of both of these.

5. See Andrew Nash, “Mandela’s democracy,” in Thabo Mbeki’s World, the Politics and Ideology of the South African President, ed. Sean Jacobs and Richard Calland, University of Natal Press and Zed Books, 2002.

6. cf. Jeremy Cronin, “Sell-out, or the culminating moment? Trying to make sense of the transition,” University of the Witwatersrand, History Workshop, July 1994.

7. William Mervin Gumede, Thabo Mbeki and the battle for the soul of the ANC, Zebra Press, Cape Town, 2005

8. See, for instance, Emir Sader, “Taking Lula’s Measure,” New Left Review 33, May-June 2005. Interestingly Sader also invokes the concept of bonapartism (see p.79) to capture the principal line of evolution in Lula’s presidency.

9. The term “third way” was developed by Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratisation in the the Late Twentieth Century, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

10. Seme, “The Regeneration of Africa,” in From Protest to Challenge, ed. T Karis and GM Carter, Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, California, 1972. The Seme document won a public speaking prize at Columbia University in the US, and was first published in The African Abroad in 1906.

11. For an excellent close textual and historical analysis of Seme’s politics, see Chris Dunton, “Pixley KaIsaka Seme and the African Renaissance Debate,” African Affairs (2003), 102, 555-573.

12. In the US, the neo-conservatives, associated with the George W Bush jnr administration, have from their own right-wing positions, increasingly critiqued the notion of a global wave of democratisation - preferring Huntington’s new concept of a “clash of civilisations.” See, inter alia, Robert D. Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy, Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War, Random House, NY, 2000. For a more liberal critique of the transitions to democracy paradigm, see Thomas Carother, “The end of the transition paradigm,” Journal of Democracy, vol.13, no.1, Jan 2002, pp.5-21

13. The disavowal of the parasitic and comprador character of this favoured new BEE elite is one of the reasons why the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe, rooted precisely in capitalist parasitism, has proved so difficult for the Mbeki project to digest and articulate.

14. Conflict and Governance, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 2005.

15. Ibid.

16. See “Water pilot project is a failure, says city,” Cape Argus, Oct 4, 2005.