Today’s generation of activists often hold up the anti-apartheid movement in the UK as an ideal example of how solidarity should function. It was organised and coordinated with direct reference to the ANC, with a clear view of the strategic role of the movement in the UK focused on UK institutional complicity with apartheid. However, the movement was fraught with difficult questions and internal struggles over issues of voice and representation. Of course the movement did not develop within a vacuum, it developed in the context of British society in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and intersected with struggles over race, class and gender within UK society.
Social movements, and in particular when solidarity is evoked, are often spaces for questions of identity and representation to be raised. Social movements can be vehicles for marginalised voices to find volume for the first time, and they can also be tools through which existing hierarchies are invoked for the sake of “unity” and “the cause”. In this session, we are particularly interested in these dynamics, with a specific focus on how issues of race, gender and class were negotiated in movement politics
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