Briefly describe the Anti- Apartheid Movement.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was a name given to the British Organization that sought to voice opposition and dissent to the practices of apartheid by the South African government.  In a unique move, the organization recognized that political dissension was impervious to the South African government. In this, it was remarkably radical for its time in advocating an economic boycott against South African made goods.  The AAM  understood that over time, the economic sanctions of consumer boycotting South African made goods would hurt indigenous business, most of which refused to acknowledge the problem of apartheid anyway, and bring pressure to bear on the South African government for change.  Consider its message to consumers in 1959"

We are not asking you, the British people, for anything special. We are just asking you to withdraw your support from apartheid by not buying South African goods.

From this point, the AAM actively campaigned against the South African government.  In a real interesting move, the organization recognized that Western governments, notably Britain and the United States, did not share their zeal in fighting the South African government.  This collusion of business and political interests caused the organization to appeal directly to the United Nations and other organizations through which direct consumers and people were reached.  It was very insightful and represents stinging rebuke of their own governments' practices of doing business with the business leaders and political leaders of South Africa.  Through its consistent and continual efforts, pressure was brought to bear and while the AAM might not be directly responsible for the fall of apartheid, it must be credited with recognizing the need to demand change and fight for this call in a manner that reflects commitment and passion towards a powerful cause.

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