The creation of a mass movement: Strikes and defiance, 1950-1952

Lodge, Tom
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During the 1940's under the stimuli of industrial action, communal protest and passive resistance and an increasingly repressive social and political climate, the African National Congress's leadership had reached the point of embracing a strategy based on mass action : the strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience entailed in the Programme adopted in Bloemfontein in 1949. The form this programme would assume was indefinite : the Programme of Action was a statement of principle rather than a detailed strategem. But the months following the December conference allowed little time for careful planning. In 1950 the Government began its first major offensive against organized African opposition : the Suppression of Communism Act was directed not solely at the Communist Party and left-wing multiracial trade union groupings; it sanctioned the persecution of any individual group or doctrine intended to bring "about any political, industrial, social or economic change ... by the promotion of disturbance or disorder, by unlawful acts" or "encouragement of feelings of hostility between the European and non-European races of the Union.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented August 1981
African National Congress , Political strikes. South Africa , Passive resistance. South Africa , South Africa. Politics and government.1948-1961.