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This chapter sets out to describe both the biographical and theoretical inspiration for Making Freedom. Raised in an anti-apartheid activist household, the author notes that under apartheid support for individual activists became as important as support for organizations. This attention to individuals stemmed from what some donors and facilitators perceived: that the long-term success of the struggle rested on the development of the living conditions of those on the front lines of South Africa’s revolutionary war. The struggle’s focus on life’s material conditions profoundly affected the author’s understanding of the “political” as emanating from the domestic sphere, even in such small acts of defiance as the building of homes and livelihoods. The chapter also argues that Marxist humanism, while essential to the book’s central argument, cannot by itself articulate the forms of struggle in which squatters engaged to defy the racist biopolitics of the state.

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