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Nelson Mandela And Campus Activism In The United States

By Alyssa Rosenberg on December 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

"Nelson Mandela And Campus Activism In The United States"


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Nelson Mandela

CREDIT: Theana Calitz/AP Images

Foreign Policy’s Dan Drezner and I sat down on Monday to blog heads about a whole bunch of things, including our complicated feelings about Love Actually and our disagreements about House Of Cards. But I wanted to highlight our diavlog as part of our ongoing conversation about Nelson Mandela here on the blog, because of the first part of our conversation, in which we discussed when Nelson Mandela first became a significant part of our political consciousnesses:

There’s a lot of talk about campus activism and the Vietnam War, but the anti-apartheid movement, and specifically, campus actions to get universities to divest from South Africa seem to me to cast a very long shadow over contemporary student activism today. I know the way that my college reacted to a tent city set up by divestment advocates shaped students activists’ tactical thinking while I was in college. And obviously calls for divestment have become a major tactic to try to leverage the endowments of some of America’s richest universities to any number of political ends. It’s a difficult part of Mandela’s legacy to pin down, but I’d be curious how many folks working and writing in politics today had their sense of politics and tactics shaped by the anti-apartheid movement, even if, like me, they were just children when Mandela was released from prison.

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