South Africa: What’s in a Name? White Monopoly Capital


The implication that monopoly capital is somehow ‘white’ and that this profoundly imprecise colour coding shapes the logic of capital accumulation in post-1994 South Africa is inherently racist, and even the ANC now acknowledges this. White Monopoly Capital contributes nothing analytically. But it does offer a lens through which to see connections between the understandings and strategies that shaped the SACP, the Cosatu and the non-SACP Left for more than half a century.

“What,” demanded an angry young questioner of Ronnie Kasrils, “is your view on White Monopoly Capital? The ANC says colour doesn’t count. I say Whiteness is an essential part of monopoly capital. What do you say?”

Kasrils was speaking at the Alternative Information & Development Centre’s launch of his latest book, A Simple Man. His answer surprised me, and, no doubt, his would-be interrogator as well: he had no problem with the term. He went further by saying that the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party, of which he had been a long-time member, was perfectly at ease with the concept and had been so for a very long time.

Here was Ronnie – who, at great personal risk during his long contribution to the…

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