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Mobilizing the Masses Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939-1958

ISBN-10: 032507030X
ISBN-13: 9780325070308
Edition: 2004
List price: $47.38
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Description: The Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) led Guinea to independence in 1958, advancing a wave of decolonization that ultimately swept across Africa. Schmidt attributes the RDA's overwhelming success to its ability to form a broad ethnic, class,  More...

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Book details

List price: $47.38
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication date: 4/21/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 6.10" wide x 9.20" long x 0.88" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

The Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) led Guinea to independence in 1958, advancing a wave of decolonization that ultimately swept across Africa. Schmidt attributes the RDA's overwhelming success to its ability to form a broad ethnic, class, and gender alliance, whose strength lay in its solid support among the non-literate masses. Key to the party's prowess was its focus on groups already engaged in struggle against the state: military veterans, urban workers, peasants, and women. It was their grievances that drove the nationalist agenda and their energies that were harnessed in the struggle for independence. The source of the party's strength was also the root of its greatest weakness. Disputes over ethnicity, class, and gender, and eruptions of ethnically based political violence, were a constant threat to the nationalist movement. Ultimately, it was the RDA's radical base that rejected junior partnership in the French Community, pushing the party leadership to endorse immediate independence. Based on previously unexamined archival records and oral interviews with rank-and-file RDA members, this book reinterprets nationalist history by approaching it from the bottom up. It illuminates the ways in which grassroots activists shaped the movement's vision, objectives, and strategies. The significance of Schmidt's work extends far beyond Guinea. It raises important theoretical and methodological issues that transform our understanding of anti-colonial nationalism in the non-Western world.

Elizabeth Schmidt is a contributing editor to the literary magazine Open City and poetry reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

Introduction History, Culture, and War: The Roots of Guinean Nationalism, 1939-1947
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: Military Veterans and the Postwar Nationalist Movement, 1940-1955
The Universal Worker: Organized Labor and Nationalist Mobilization, 1946-1953
Rural Revolt: Popular Resistance to the Colonial Chieftaincy, 1946-1956
Women Take the Lead: Female Emancipation and the Nationalist Movement, 1949-1954
Ethnicity, Class, and Violence: Internal Dissent in the RDA, 1955-1956
Independence Now: The Resurgence of the Left and the Move toward Independence, 1956-1958
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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