Political Ideologies

Topics: African National Congress, South Africa, Ideology Pages: 6 (2403 words) Published: March 4, 2013
Ideology defined by Heywood would be: A set of more or less coherent ideas that provide bases for organized political actions. Its central features are an account of existing power relationships, a model of a desired future, and an outline of how political change can and should be brought about. (2007: 68) This essays main focus will be discussing the main ideologies and focuses of the two leading political parties of South Africa. The African National Congress or ANC and the Democratic Alliance also known as DA. An important insight into both their ideology will be gained by analysing how both parties political powers are reflected in the economic sector and society and to which extend their ideologies effect both of these sectors. This is particular important as a political parties ideology should always change society and with that change improve it. “Political ideology is one of the most frequently used concepts in the social sciences, yet has a variety of meanings. Ideology is of course a theoretical construct. It only becomes meaningful when it is given an operational definition. For the purposes of this paper political ideology links beliefs about facts or values and attitudes about issues, positions, policies, and actions. A state's political ideology is defined as the aggregation of the ideological preferences of a state's voting population on a wide variety of issues (political, social, foreign, and economic).” 2 (Medoff, 1997: 1)

African National Congress (ANC)
Ever since the Apartheid era ended in 1994 the African National Congress or more commonly known as the ANC, has been the predominant party in South Africa, winning all presidential elections ever since. Having 264 out of 400 national assembly seats and being the ruling party in eight out of the nine South African provinces. This quickly shows that the ANC is not only a very powerful South African political party, but also through its tremendous size the most influential one, which make its ideologies especially important to anyone trying to understand the South African political system. So let’s take a look at the 2009 released national elections manifesto. Already on page 2 of the ANCs election manifesto we can find some of the ANCs principles and ideologies. “The ANC has always stood for basic democratic principles that include: A constitution which guarantees human rights for all, the right to a minimum standard of life, including access to education, social security, health care, food and water. The right to all people to elect a government of their choice in regular, free and fair elections...” (3) (National Elections Manifesto, 2009) Other points cover freedom of religion, a fair justice system, equality and freedom from discrimination on racial or sexual grounds, worker rights, and freedom of association and so on. As we can already see in the introduction the ANCs basic principles the ANC already calls itself indirectly a democratic orientated party (“stood for basic democratic principles”). Then in their actual principles many other idealistic beliefs can be found. Such as Liberalism which according to Heywood (2007:45) can be seen a “meta-ideology” meaning we will be able to find traces of liberalism in most other political parties as well. Within the ANCs basic democratic principles the following reflects a liberalistic orientated ideology: Equality, which according to Heywood (2007: 46) states that every human being is born equally and therefore we all have equal rights and entitlements, legal quality and political quality. If we now take these points and compare them to the ANCs basic principles as states above many are reflected in it. Such as “A constitution which guarantees human rights for all”; “a fair justice system”; “The right to all people to elect a government”. So already under Heywood’s equality definition, many of the ANCs key principles find a reflection in. Under toleration also some principles are...
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