Abstract

After World War II, South Africa, swimming against the tide of history, attempted to annex the adjacent international mandate of South West Africa (present-day Namibia). Pretoria was confi dent of UN approval for such an unprecedented move—too confident, as it turned out. Into the breach—and into the United Nations—stepped an unlikely duo, the Reverend Michael Scott and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to stop the absorption of 350,000 Africans into a white-supremacist state. This seemingly odd couple—a maverick, communist-leaning Anglican minister and a staid, staunchly anti-communist bureaucratic organization—launched a skillful assault in the UN to strip the veneer of legitimacy away from South Africa's annexationist scheme. Within the span of five years, the NAACP and Scott had carved out the political space and established the right of nongovernmental organizations and individual spokesmen to penetrate the boundaries of national sovereignty, speak before an international audience, and in the process reshape the UN, despite its founders' intentions, into an arena that could incorporate the voices of the stateless and the dispossessed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 297-325
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-29
Open Access
No
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