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Guliwe, Thulani (2006) Civil Society and the State: Civil society at a crossroads. CCS Grant Report : -.

This research paper attempts to analyze the state of civil society in South Africa with a special focus on the emergence of the new social movements and their impact. The problems hindering collective action amongst civil society would be explored. The research would also unpack the contradictions between the rights discourse and legitimacy. Key to this research is the continuous antagonism between the new social movements and the government.

The emergence of the new social movements would be traced back in the mid and late 90s as a result of disillusionment with GEAR policy. The fragmentation of civil society and the existence of the Social Movement Indaba as a coordinating structure would be examined. The research would attempt to explore the positions on the so- called “Anti-Government civil society or social movements specifically on their approaches to the national general elections.

This paper assumes that social movements that are regarded as Anti-government would not compromise their positions during the oncoming general elections. Six contextual issues are discussed: the fragmentation of civil society before and beyond the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the impact of donor funding on civil society’s direction or positions, the newly emerged social movements alignment during the oncoming elections, the perceptions of other civil society organizations on the positions and the direction of the two prominent social movements in South Africa i.e. the Anti Privatisation Forum and the Landless Peoples Movement, the impact of the government Anti-Terrorism Bill on the effectiveness of civil society in South Africa and the assumptions around the formation of a leftist party.

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