Monday, 27 October 2008

ANC potential split

Several high profile members of the ANC, the ruling party in South Africa, have seceded from the party and are looking at setting up a new political opposition. The events follow internal disputes which saw the replacement of its leader and president, and the resignation of much of the cabinet.

The split may be viewed in terms of a division which often happens in modern capitalist economies, where two major parties form that are broadly aligned with the right and left sides of the ideological divide in their countries. The division occurs in all major Western powers, for example, and even frequently occurs in state capitalist, directed economies.

Although there are some exceptions, many of the secessionists and critics are identified with more pro-business wing of the party, and many of the loyalists are identified with the more pro-distribution wing, all relative to South African norms. The events may be interpreted through personality clashes or tribal politics or responses to corruption, all of which have happened in recent times in South Africa. But the persistence of the right-left split across so many countries suggests that another occurrence in South Africa is at least partially driven by the same factors as elsewhere.

Here are two final observations. First, economic influence on political structures is always impressive to observe; second, the outcome would be helpful for South African democracy and help to calm the fears of many of its citizens.

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