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Open Access ‘Wij waren nette mensen, wij gooiden geen stenen’ : De discussie over de solidariteit met gewelddadig verzet tegen apartheid in de eerste Nederlandse anti-apartheidsbeweging: het Comité Zuid-Afrika (1960-1971)

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‘We were fine people; we did not throw stones.’ Debates in the early Dutch anti-apartheid movement about solidarity with violent resistance to apartheid in South-Africa

In 1956 the first Dutch anti-apartheid movement, the Comité Zuid-Afrika (CZA), was found. Following the example of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, the CZA modelled itself as a politically representative moderate movement that was based on solidarity with the oppressed black population in South-Africa. As this article shows, the meaning of this solidarity became fiercely contested within the movement after the African National Congress (ANC) shifted from non-violent action towards armed resistance in the wake of the Sharpeville bloodbath in 1960. Following David Featherstone’s conceptualization of solidarity as a ‘relationship’ that is not a static given, this research shows that solidarity was constantly being contested and redefined in debates between individual members of the CZA. Within the movement many feared that solidarity, once declared, was by definition unconditional. The CZA eventually defined its relationship of solidarity with the ANC as support for non-violent resistance only. Its successor, the Anti-ApartheidsBeweging Nederland (AABN), which like other international anti-apartheid movements in the early 1970s was led by younger and more ideological activists, defined solidarity as unconditional. This different understanding of solidarity made this second generation of anti-apartheid activists participants in the violent resistance against apartheid.
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Keywords: anti-apartheid; political violence; social movements; solidarity; transnational activism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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