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Participation in the History of ANC Democratic Thought

  • Heidi Brooks
Chapter
Part of the The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy book series (PSTCD)

Abstract

This chapter lays the contextual foundations for this study of ideas. Recognising that the influence of the ANC shaped both the struggle for democracy and the society it fought for, it provides an overview of the movement’s ideological lineage and democratic thinking prior to 1980. With a focus on its ideas about popular participation, the chapter traces the influence of liberalism, trusteeship, African Nationalism and Marxism. Recognising that the term ‘participatory democracy’ was not yet a feature of ANC discourse, it draws out the ideas and practices which began to shape its envisaged role for ‘the people’. Although the ANC’s reconstitution as a mass movement from the mid-1940s is a familiar history, it’s significance for this book lies in the foundations it lay for a more central role for ordinary people in processes of change. The origins of contemporary ideas about mass participation, mobilisation and organs of self-government can be traced to these earlier decades. The chapter also introduces the concept of ‘vanguardism’ which came to characterise ANC political culture from the 1960s onwards. The interlinking of the vanguard movement with the development of participatory democracy is a central thread carried through the subsequent chapters.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Brooks
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Political and International StudiesIIE MSAJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Centre for Social ChangeUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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