Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Thomas, Jan E.
Johnson, Jennifer L.
What is the role and legitimacy of former social movements in democratic societies? How do their pasts as movements influence them as political parties or trade unions? I examine the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and the Solidarity movement in Poland Ì¢ two social movement organizations (SMOs) that have entered into formal politics as parties after overthrowing the former non-democratic regimes. This paper is based on interviews with current and former activists, supporters, and members of these movements, party and union employees and officials, political analysts, and academic experts in both countries. It was necessary for both the ANC and Solidarity to enter politics as they were the dominant opposition to the past regimes and both transitions relied on these movements to create order and unity. The ANC party has been significantly shaped by its liberation movement past, and in several ways this history has limited the partyÌ¢ s accountability. Despite its electoral advantage, the ANC has not lived up to public expectations during its time in office. The political parties that came out of Solidarity were short lived and prevented the union from promoting workers rights. Now that Solidarity is operating solely as a union, it has begun to rebuild its legitimacy in Polish society. These results demonstrate the complicated role of emotions in determining social movement outcomes.
Gunby, Kate, "The role and legitimacy of former liberation movements in democratic societies: a comparative study of South Africa and Poland" (2009). Honors Theses. 75.