The United Democratic Front (UDF) : a case study of democratic organisation, 1983-1987.
Houston, Gregory Frederick.
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This study, using the theoretical basis of the writings of Lenin and Gramsci on revolutionary theory and praxis, traces the formation, policy and aims, membership and structure, and practices of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and selected affiliate organisations during the period 1983-1987. The central problem investigated is the relation between revolutionary theory and praxis and the aims, policies and practices of the UDF and its affiliates. More particularly, in what respects does the formation of the UDF and revolutionary developments thereafter meet the strategic and tactical requirements of Lenin and Gramsci's theories of revolutionary strategy? It is argued that the formation of the UDF, and revolutionary developments during the period of review, conformed to the strategic and tactical requirements of a Leninist-Gramscian model of revolutionary praxis in the following way: the general drive to establish mass-based community organisations (increasing the complexity of civil society by establishing mass organisations); the formation of the UDF in August 1983 (creating a historical bloc in opposition to the ruling bloc during the phase of democratic struggle); and the development and spread of a common national political culture based on resistance to apartheid (expanding the revolutionary consciousness of the masses). During the period under review, the UDF-Ied opposition to apartheid resulted in the organisational and ideological penetration of the Front into almost every major sector of black civil society. The major forces behind the increasing political and ideological leadership of the UDF were the affiliated civic associations, trade unions, student/youth and women's organisations. These organisations played a central role in mass mobilisation and organisation and the spread of revolutionary consciousness throughout black civil society.