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Contradiction, conflict and convergence of class and nation in black South African politics, 1925-1985

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Title: Contradiction, conflict and convergence of class and nation in black South African politics, 1925-1985
Author(s): Mahali, Vincent Philani
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Crummey, Donald E.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): History, African Political Science, General
Abstract: As the history of South Africa has been a history of race relations, involving, as it did, the domination of blacks by whites, nationalism, the reaction to this domination, occupies a special position in the history of the black struggle. Yet the history of national liberation in South Africa cannot be complete without socialist intervention, even though, historically, the national struggle and the class struggle are separate and sometimes antagonistic modes of political intervention. This dissertation examines the discourses of nationalism and socialism, as they apply to the South African liberation struggle.The African National Congress (ANC), directing the national revolution, was a racially homogeneous organization fighting for the interests of the entire black population--rather than a particular class. The South African Communist Party (SACP), on the other hand, played down racial differences in favour of class solidarity. Racialism, which in the 1940s and 1950s, the official policy of the government, helped create the ANC-SACP alliance. It enacted laws expropriating land and forcing blacks into cities, creating a huge reservoir of black workers. From this urban proletariat the ANC acquired its power base, implanting within itself some seeds of socialism. Racial legislation deliberately stunting the black bourgeoisie further enhanced this.Racialism prevented the white workers from sharing industrial and political organization with black workers, thus depriving the Communist Party of white proletarian support. Thus, the Communist Party had to shift its loyalties to the black masses. This meant that its ideological orientation had to be primarily nationalist rather than class. As members of a privileged race, whites were able to assume leadership positions within the liberation movement, which enabled them both to subvert African nationalism, and sing its virtues. In exile they smothered the ANC, helped by the Soviet Union and eastern European countries. The irony is that if the ANC had remained a purely nationalist organization, like its Pan Africanist Congress and Black Consciousness Movement counterparts, it probably would never have survived the rigours of life in exile.
Issue Date: 1996
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/20631
ISBN: 9780591088656
Rights Information: Copyright 1996 Mahali, Vincent Philani
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9702594
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9702594
 

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