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Liberation and Democratization

The South African and Palestinian National Movements

1999
Author:

Mona N. Younis

Liberation and Democratization

The first comprehensive comparison of two of the century’s most important liberation movements.

Arising in the 1910s and emerging as legitimate governing bodies in the 1990s, the South African and the Palestinian national liberation movements have exhibited remarkable parallels over the course of their development. The fortunes of the African National Congress and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, however, have proven strikingly different. How the movements, despite similar circumstances and experiences, have arrived at such dissimilar outcomes is described in Liberation and Democratization.

This book is remarkable for casting its argument within a theoretical framework which combines the insights of social movement theory with both a Marxist class analysis as well as with the more current and abstract theories of social resources and assets.

Gershon Shafir, University of California, San Diego and editor of The Citizenship Debates

Arising in the 1910s and emerging as legitimate governing bodies in the 1990s, the South African and the Palestinian national liberation movements have exhibited remarkable parallels over the course of their development. The fortunes of the African National Congress and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, however, have proven strikingly different. How the movements, despite similar circumstances and experiences, have arrived at such dissimilar outcomes is described in Liberation and Democratization.

Younis traces the evolution of the movements, from early domination by elites to the ascendancy of mass-based forces in their last phases of expansion. She shows how this latest shift, accompanied by a democratization of the process of liberation, made the movements more effective in the 1980s. Liberation and Democratization also identifies dissimilarities—the balance of class forces and resources—that led to the A.N.C.’s greater success relative to the P.L.O.’s achievements.

The first comprehensive comparison of two of the most significant liberation movements of this century, Younis’s work brings to light problems and dynamics that will remain at work well into the future.

Liberation and Democratization

Mona N. Younis is the program officer for the International Human Rights Program and Peace and Security Program of the New York-based Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.

Liberation and Democratization

This book is remarkable for casting its argument within a theoretical framework which combines the insights of social movement theory with both a Marxist class analysis as well as with the more current and abstract theories of social resources and assets.

Gershon Shafir, University of California, San Diego and editor of The Citizenship Debates

A useful discussion of the strengths of the ANC and its eventual political triumph.

African Studies Review

Mona Younis has given us a powerful example of how comparative historical analysis can explain why social movements may succeed or fail. The fine quality of this study should make it one of the most popular volumes in its series and a useful case study for courses in comparative politics. One of the strongest contributions to the small but growing literature on Israel and South Africa.

Journal of Palestine Studies

In Liberation and Democratization, Mona Younis compares the South African and Palestinian national liberation movement. The comparison yields a powerful and persuasive thesis regarding the success and failure of the African National Congress and the Palestine Liberation Organization, respectively, to achieve their stated goals. Younis’s analysis is original and cogent, and her sophisticated use of class analysis is helpful in understanding the different outcomes of the two national struggles.

International History Review