The contradictions of community politics: the African petty bourgeoisie and the New Brighton Advisory Board, c1937-1952.

Baines, G. (1994) The contradictions of community politics: the African petty bourgeoisie and the New Brighton Advisory Board, c1937-1952. Journal of African History, 35 . pp. 79-97. ISSN 00218537

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Abstract

[From the introduction]: Current writing on urban African politics in South Africa has begun to recognize the significance of civic or vigilance associations and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the struggle against apartheid. Given the suppression of labour and political organizations by the state, they fulfilled a key role through the establishment of community structures which enabled mobilization to continue. But in the absence of representative political institutions, the state created its own bodies for urban African communities. These community councils or, before them, Advisory Boards have been widely perceived as 'institutions of the oppressor', and those serving on them condemned as ' collaborators ' or 'sell-outs '. But when we go beyond the rhetoric and examine the many contradictions of township politics, simple answers to the following questions are hard to find: Were people who served on such institutions necessarily co-opted by the authorities? Did they articulate the interests of their own class, the petty bourgeoisie, or were they representative of a wider constituency? Is it feasible that an institution with questionable legitimacy could be used to galvanize a community into action? Is it possible to capture such institutions to further strategic political objectives or should they be boycotted as a matter of principle?

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa, Port Elizabeth, New Brighton Advisory Board, urban politics, community politics, civic associations, vigilance associations, community councils, advisory boards,
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > History
ID Code:942
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:18 Feb 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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