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The ever-deepening and in fact unprecedented socioeconomic and political crises in SA, in which the devastating legacy of our history for the black majority has combined with the negative effects of neoliberalism in the purportedly “post” apartheid period since 1994, must serve to reshape liberalism and its likely future. Of that there must be not an iota of doubt, so very clear is the magnitude and contours of our multifaceted crises which is incontrovertibly systemic in nature.

Liberalism has essentially dominated oppositionist political history from the time of the old Cape slave colony, having had its origins in the remedial work of the British missionaries, led by its best-known representative then, John Philip. It was pivoted upon a strong opposition to slavery and racism in politics, public life and society at large, and an equally strong and abiding principle of respect for individual, civil and civic rights, including the right to political organisation, protest and...

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