A banner was doing the rounds on social media recently. It asked a simple question: “Do you know which economic policy you are voting for?” The poster was shared on social media by members or supporters of the EFF. It was a remarkable question for at least two reasons. First, beyond generalised populist or ideological statements that seek to manipulate emotions — which is precisely what populist rhetoric does — the EFF has rarely stated, in detail, what its economic policies would be. The only certainty is that it is a “Left, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement”. Saying something like “everyone will have a job” or “nobody will be retrenched” is not an economic policy. These are all rhetorical devices that draw on motivating myths about African greatness that existed “before the white man came” or that dreadful idea of “decoupling” Africa from the global political economy. Also, returning the land to its “rightful owners” is not an economic policy. The EFF’s most explicit s...

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