There was one central theme at that now infamous Polokwane 2007 leadership conference that elected Jacob Zuma president of the ANC. It was that the capitalist project was unravelling and the best evidence of this was the collapse of the US subprime market. His supporters in the trade unions and the SACP were pushing for the state to now play its leading role in the economy and to distance itself from the market-led policies of Thabo Mbeki. I remember that year as one of much uncertainty, as you had a major UK mortgage player, Northern Rock, alerting markets of its troubles. A year later it would be nationalised by the British government. US investment bank Lehman Brothers would also collapse that year. Capitalism was on its knees and its imperialist overlords in Wall Street had no idea how to save it. Western governments responded by increasing legislation on the world's big banks, nationalisation of some in Europe and a concerted push for the world's leading central bankers to ensu...

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