South African Apartheid: Political Defiance Campaigns Against the Government

South African Apartheid: Political Defiance Campaigns Against the Government

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After the National Party won the elections of 1948 and introduced legislative measures for the promotion of apartheid, harsher political repression arose and led to increased organization among blacks. Before the 1940s, society was often overwhelmed by the numerous acts of rebellion that many blacks carried out in their daily lives; however, many black organizations refrained from visible remonstration of the National Party government. In the 1950s until the mid-1990s, the significant shift to new black political tactics that stressed open protest became a driving force in the fight against apartheid. This new defiance campaign was composed mainly of actions on a wide-scale level in which black political organizations and civic associations took a powerful role in staging protests and creating mounting unrest. The most significant were political activities; even activities that were originally non-political forms of defiance inadvertently became politicized, such as criminal behaviors prominently displayed by youth, squatter movements, and pass-law violations. Activities of political defiance included the organization of anti-apartheid parties such as the African National Congress, Pan-Africanist Congress, and United Democratic Front, and the politicization of labor unions and civic associations; constant government efforts were unable to suppress these actions. Black South Africans' acts of resistance, whether political or seemingly non-political, eventually united them in a massive fight against racial oppression which ultimately destroyed apartheid.
The National Party’s main goal when it came into power was to create programs to prevent the escalation of the “black peril” that the Smuts government failed to repress. Immediate...

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