The South African Communist Party (SACP) resolved at its recent 14th Congress to contest future elections in the country independent of the ANC, its dominant alliance partner. If implemented, the resolution would fundamentally change the governing tripartite alliance that’s been in place for more than 60 years. It was formed during the struggle for liberation and has governed South Africa since 1994. The other member of the alliance is the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Between the mid 1940s and 1950s, South African communists differed with their international counterparts in their interpretation of the role of class struggle in liberation politics. Despite fears that nationalism would invariably deliver a political settlement with little change in the material living conditions of the working class, the party tactically aligned itself with the Congress Movement, led by the ANC. It regarded the South African situation as “unique” and therefore requiring “more creat...

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