The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s

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9781431409716: The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s
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From the political ashes of the late 1960s, new and radical initiatives grew with surprising speed in the first half of the 1970s. The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s tells the story of a generation of South African activists who embraced and developed forms of opposition politics that had profound consequences. Within six short years, the politics of opposition and resistance had developed from an historical low point to the beginnings of a radicalism which would lead to the first democratic election in 1994. The book explores the influence of Black Consciousness, the new trade unionism, radicalisation of students on both black and white campuses, the Durban strikes, and Soweto 1976, and concludes that these developments were largely the result of home-grown initiatives, with little influence exercised by the banned and exiled movements for national liberation. 

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About the Author:

Glenn Moss was a student leader at Wits University in the 1970s. Detained and charged under security legislation in the mid-1970s, he was acquitted after a year-long trial. He went on to edit the South African Review and Work in Progress, head Ravan Press, and then work as a consultant to South Africa’s first postapartheid government.

Review:

"Just a short five or six years in the 1970s was all it took to take a stand and make a difference. Moss, from a Pretoria background- and all that stands for - was at Wits at the age of 17 with the grudging blessings of his apprehensive parents. His belief in multiracialism was to take a back seat in the face of rising Black Consciousness and the consequent conflict with the National Union of SA students (Nusaa) where he ultimately became president. It's a story about the emergence of a new voice, 'a much needed and engrossing personal account of the embryonic student and black trade union movement of the early seventies,' according to Barbara Hogan." —Shirley de Kock Gueller, Cape Times

"The New Radicals is a generational memoir, or rather a political memoir of a generation of white South African student radicals that came of age in the early 1970s through the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). This generation formed a key part of the emerging movements that awakened South Africa from the political slumber of the 1960s . . . Moss was a leading student activist at the University of the Witwatersrand, later in the trade union movement and one of the founders of such important labour-oriented left publications as Work in Progress and the South African Review. The book is largely based on his own memory and that of his comrades. Rather than being an exhaustive work of archival research, it is an account from the perspective of an active participant in the events described." —Benjamin Fogel, Journal of Asian and African Studies

"Moss begins with a campfire in April 1970, drinking Tassenberg with some student leaders, including the president of the South African Students Organisation, Steve Biko (beaten to death by the security police in 1977), political philosopher Rick Turner (assassinated in 1978), local Nusas leader Jeanette Curtis (assassinated in 1984) and her brother, Nusas president Neville Curtis (banned, exiled, died in 2007). Anyway, on that occasion, the 17-year-old Moss replied to a question from Biko, telling the black consciousness leader that apartheid had been successful in making it difficult for white people to interact comfortably with black people. Biko, who seemed to relish this answer, roared with laughter and lifted the first-year student into the air. This is the launch pad for the substance of the story – the challenge of black consciousness and why it was one of the factors that nudged the white student leadership into rejecting liberalism and exploring alternatives." —Gavin Evans, Mail and Guardian

"This is an engrossing account of how student politics came to change direction as the new radicals in the 1970s emerged and started questioning the too-easy assumptions underlying “protest politics.” The linkages between apartheid and capitalism came under scrutiny, protests appealing to the rule of law were challenged as apartheid law held brutal sway, multi-racialism was rejected in favour of non-racialism, and liberal approaches to political analysis came under attack as Marxist and neo-Marxist thought and reading slowly entered the wider discourse. The book provides a convincing and intriguing analysis of the new radicals by an insider, for Glenn Moss was a Wits SRC member and became SRC President in 1974." —Michael Savage, Wits Review

"It is often said that history, or rather history writing, is only kind to the victors. The ANC are regularly criticised for omitting the unsavoury aspects of the liberation struggle against apartheid from the public record. Furthermore, it is also contended that other opponents of apartheid in the history of opposition are not accorded their legitimate place in the struggle for non-racialism, democracy, and social equality. For instance, these would include the PAC, Black Consciousness, the Unity Movement, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, amongst others. The ‘victors’ do themselves and society in general a disservice by writing unidirectional and teleological accounts of the history of the struggle against racist oppression and exploitation, as they then set themselves up as the messiahs of the new society, leaving little room for democratic participation and contestation. . . . As Glenn Moss himself writes in his final chapter, ‘Political history has no natural beginning or end. Neither do the stories and memories which give texture and depth to interpretation. There are no real conclusions to what is a never-ending narrative, a process in which the past, present and future influence, and in turn are influenced by, each other.’" —Grahame Hayes, Transformation 85

"'God, how I miss the Cold War!' mutters M (played by Dame Judi Dench) in the 2006 James Bond ?lm Casino Royale. Tis line reverberated in my mind as I read a new book, The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s by Glenn Moss. Tough it would be obscene to say that one misses apartheid, there is much to learn of the state of the nation today by looking back to the 1970s, not at the state itself (an authoritarian monster) but at the dynamics of a diverse and creative internal opposition struggle that was slowly gaining in momentum." —Anthony Egan, the Journal of the Helen Suzman Foundation

"Glenn Moss invites us to think of students as agents who can determine their own political destiny. What has happened to South Africa’s white left? This question seems counter-intuitive — or no, it seems decidedly out of place in contemporary South Africa. After all, the nonracial mantra that sealed the national consensus of the Mandela presidency was intended to end the race-based politics that had marked apartheid’s tawdry path by drawing white people into the idea of a rainbow nation. But, with this consensus all but over, stories from the white left are increasingly being drawn to the fore. One such is The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s by Glenn Moss." —Peter Vale, Mail & Guardian

"This book brought me up with a jolt; it was hard to read at times. Not because it is badly written quite the reverse. It was difficult for me because it was walking into my past. Let me explain. I was born and brought up in Cape Town at the height of apartheid going to University in 1968. That first year was dominated by one event - a student protest against the failure of the University of Cape Town to confirm the appointment of Archie Mafeje in the Department of African Law. . . .Glenn Moss and his history teacher staged a tiny, two person protest in our support. Glenn (whom I later got to know) came to be a leader of the South African radical student movement, of which I was a part. This book traces the history of this movement. It was, mainly, a white movement: a revolt against the life and work of our parent’s generation and their collaboration with apartheid." —Martin Plaut, African Arguments

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Book Description Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. By the end of the 1960s, opposition to apartheid was in disarray. Yet in the space of a few short years. major and radical challenges developed that would set the country on a new path. This lively and original book tells the story of a generation of activists who embraced new forms of opposition politics that would have profound consequences. In the process it rescues the early 1970s from previous neglect and shows just how crucial these years were in the struggle to transform society. It explores the influence of Black Consciousness, the new trade unionism, radicalisation of students on both black and white campuses, the Durban strikes, and Soweto 1976, and concludes that these developments were largely the result of home-grown initiatives, with little influence exercised by the banned and exiled movements for national liberation. Seller Inventory # UGH9781431409716

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Book Description Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. By the end of the 1960s, opposition to apartheid was in disarray. Yet in the space of a few short years. major and radical challenges developed that would set the country on a new path. This lively and original book tells the story of a generation of activists who embraced new forms of opposition politics that would have profound consequences. In the process it rescues the early 1970s from previous neglect and shows just how crucial these years were in the struggle to transform society. It explores the influence of Black Consciousness, the new trade unionism, radicalisation of students on both black and white campuses, the Durban strikes, and Soweto 1976, and concludes that these developments were largely the result of home-grown initiatives, with little influence exercised by the banned and exiled movements for national liberation. Seller Inventory # UGH9781431409716

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