ABSTRACT

The Communist Party of South Africa disbanded in 1950, at the time of the Suppression of Communism Act, and had revived itself as the South African Communist Party in 1953. The South African Communist Party dividing line between the ‘real Marxism’ of the Soviet Union and the ‘armchair’ theorising of Western Marxism was breached, initially perhaps by the winds of glasnost blowing in from the Soviet Union, and then by political events within South Africa. The politics of independent trade unions of the 1970s and early 1980s is presented as the key to understanding resistance to neoliberalism at the turn of the millennium. Richard Turner’s contrast between Christian and capitalist human models in South Africa had simply avoided the question of nationalism. Federation of South African Trade Unions developed a critique of African nationalism, but its critique was fundamentally ambiguous.