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Durham e-Theses
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Organized non-violent rejection of the law for political ends: the experience of blacks in South Africa

Carter, David (1978) Organized non-violent rejection of the law for political ends: the experience of blacks in South Africa. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The study sets down and assesses the record of organized militant non-violent rejection of the law for political ends by Blacks in South Africa. Its approach is historical. The study is intended to help meet a lacuna in South African historiography; it is thus not primarily concerned with the theory of non-violent resistance. The study focuses on the three main instances of sustained non-violent resistance in South Africa. The "Satyagraha" campaign of 1906-1914 led by M. K. Gandhi; the "Passive Resistance" campaign of 1946-1948 and the Defiance of Unjust Laws-(1952-1953). To permit comparison, each phase is examined under the same headings background; aims; planning and organization, leaders and participants, resistance, reaction. At its proscription in 1960, the African National Congress (ANC), and its Indian counterpart, had not succeeded in stemming the flow, let alone reversing the tide, of racial legislation. There was, as a consequence, disillusionment with the (non-violent) tactics on which the Congresses had traditionally relied. Moreover, the commitment of the Congress leadership and its organizational ability were called into question. This study seeks to redress the balance, in the belief that the shortcomings in tactics and organization have been allowed unduly to overshadow the real achievements of the resistance campaigns and those who led them. The progress made was essentially of a "preparatory" nature. The leaders succeeded, in difficult circumstances, in involving large numbers of people, of diverse background and persuasion, in co-ordinated political activity, in many cases for the first time, with important longer-term implications within and outside South Africa. Militant non-violence has played a crucial role in black political development in South Africa, it has a continuing relevance there in conjunction with violent tactics and international pressure in bringing about fundamental change.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:34

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