The Unstable Terrain of (Auto)Biography in <i>The Struggle</i>

Monday, 17 February, 2014 - 15:00

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One speaks of biographies and autobiographies in the struggle against apartheid. The struggle drew on anti-apartheid dances in Bristol, instruction in Odessa and Cairo and Angola, Swedish and Soviet taxpayers, as well as the blood, incarceration, and exile of thousands of South Africans. To italicize struggle, certainly not to use quotation marks, is to emphasize the essential nature of this concept: struggle is about trying. The term, occasionally modified (needlessly) as “protracted struggle,” is very different from “our organization” or “movement,” not to mention “mass democratic movement” (MDM), the terms used to characterize the who, the subject assaying. Struggle says there is an effort, of a political nature, to achieve a negation: no more (racist laws). Not only is the category of the doer very capacious, indicating both the donation of life itself and an evanescent alliance of forces, but even the nature of the immediate target — public opinion, state power, time, government strategy — is left undeclared.

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