The 2012 ILRIG April Conference


National Liberation and its significance today
The 2012 ILRIG April Conference
Community House, Salt River, Cape Town
20-21 April 2012

Since 2007 when ILRIG hosted the Annual Rosa Luxemburg Seminar, ILRIG has been hosting annual conferences in April – specifically Internationalism, Then and Now in April 2008 and New Forms of Organisation Conference in April 2009, the Global Economic Crisis in 2010 and What is the SA Social Formation in 2011. The next in the series of Annual Conferences will be in April 2012 which is a year of great historical significance in South Africa.

It is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the African National Congress (ANC), founded in 2012 as Africa’s oldest national liberation movement, and thus it is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of national liberation today, when the ANC is now the government of the day and yet acknowledges that in its own words, and in the words of its Alliance partner – the National Democratic Revolution is still incomplete.      

2012 will be the 18th year of the achievement of democracy in SA. But in that time, instead of the mass struggles of the 1970s; 1980s and early 1990s leading to radical transformation we have seen a decline in the extent and depth of those struggles and the triumph of a neo-liberal order. South Africa has joined the BRICS as an aspiring power, South African corporations have become global players, the composition of the ruling class is still overwhelmingly white and we are now the most unequal society in the world. At the same time we have an ex-liberation movement in government, carried there by the struggles of a black working class majority and with a ruling Alliance which includes the biggest trade union federation and a long standing Communist Party.

More recently we have seen the rise of movements and community-based activists who have waged struggles quite relentlessly for some 5-10 years – serving as a source of optimism and renewal on the left and yet not galvanising into a social force capable of speaking in its own name, let alone challenging the neo-liberal order. We have also seen a readiness of some organised workers to strike and test the limits of the partnership that comprises the ruling tripartite Alliance. But is South Africa’s heightened inequality – broadly acknowledged as being along similar racial lines to the apartheid configuration – a sign that the “national question” has not been resolved under neo-liberal capitalism?  Is South Africa today a failed national liberation struggle?

These questions assume a broader dimension in the context of uprisings in the North African and Arab world where local tyrannies and monarchies were aided and abetted by imperial forces for many years and which are now experiencing what are called new waves of national liberation struggles. Past such national liberation struggles – notably in Morocco at the turn of the 20th century – were the subject of debates within the pre-WW1 German Social Democratic Party, of which Rosa Luxemburg’s voice was a significant contribution.

So is the national liberation project complete or not? Has the term lost all visionary and explanatory meaning under global capitalism? What does this mean for activists today in the year of the 100th anniversary of the ANC?   
The conference will consist of two components:
1.    Inputs by speakers on the basis of draft papers submitted by interested activists and analysts – South African and international, as well as by ILRIG
2.    Workshop and parallel sessions in which ILRIG facilitates engagement – using educational methodologies – around issues raised.  
To this end ILRIG is inviting papers from interested persons.
§  Expressions of Interest should be submitted by 10 February 2012
§  Abstracts of papers should be submitted by 17 February 2012
§  Final papers (after selection) must be submitted by 13 April 2012

All communication must be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

After the Conference the papers will be published in an annual journal to be edited, published and distributed.  
We look forward to hearing from you,
Conference Organiser

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Day 1: Friday 20 April



MORNING 1: 10.00 – 13.00


09.00 – 10.00Coffee and registration


10:00 – 10:15Welcome and Overview of Aims of Conference


Roger Ronnie, SAMWU & ILRIG Board


10.00 – 13.30Plenary


Theme:Historical perspectives

Chair:Shawn Hattingh



10.30 – 11.30Historical perspectives:Leonard Gentle Antimonies of the liberation movement (1912-1960) MP Giyosi

Elija Loza Judy Kennedy (facilitator)

Imam HarounMichael Blake (facilitator)

Neil AggettMthetho Xali (facilitator)



12.00 – 13.00Developmental state? The evolving security architecture Irvin Kinnes

The post-Apartheid state: Developmental or Neoliberal?Vishwas SatgarNational liberation: The gender dimensionNandi Vanqa- Mgijima



13.30 – 14.00LUNCH


AFTERNOON 1: 14.00 – 17.00


Theme:Capitalism and the national question

Chair:Michael Blake


14:00 – 15:30Uneven & combined development and the national questionGreg Ruiters

At the heart of the class struggle: Confronting FinanceNicolas Pons-Vignon



15.30Parallel Sessions

Chairs:Nandi Vanqa-Mgijima; Mthetho Xali; Shawn Hattingh


Elija LozaNational liberation and its significance todayOscar van Heerden

Imam HarounThe women’s power group and national liberationKoni Benson

Neil Aggett Britain and identity politicsPervaiz Khan


17.00 – 17.30Plenary Announcements


Day 2: Saturday 21 April



MORNING 2: 10.00 – 13.00


Theme:SA and National Liberation Today


Chair:Mthetho Xali (ILRIG)


10.00 – 12.00Understanding the ANC’s turn to neoliberalismAndile Mngxitama

Where have all the stages gone?Ari Sitas

Alliance politics and the NDRDevan Pillay


Elija LozaJudy Kennedy (facilitator)

Imam HarounMichael Blake (facilitator)

Neil AggettShawn Hattingh (facilitator)



Chair:Nandi Vanqa-Mgijima


12.00 – 13.00Testing the depths of national liberationClaire Seruti

No social revolution, no national liberationDale Mckinley

Reflecting on the meaning of national liberation today Judy Mulqueeny


13.00 – 14.00LUNCH


AFTERNOON 2: 14.00 – 17.00


14.00 – 16.30Plenary


Theme: So what are we saying? Drawing the threads together


Chair:Leonard Gentle


14.00hrsPermanent renewal of a post-liberation politicsMazibuko Jara

The democratic counter-revolutionShaheen Khan

The law of value in National LiberationMandla Sishi


16.45 – 17:00 Concluding Remarks and Thanks

Sound Channel

Workers World News

Series: Debating Brazil

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