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In recent years, as peace between Israelis and Palestinians has remained cruelly elusive, scholars and activists have increasingly turned to South African history and politics to make sense of the situation. In the early 1990s, both South Africa and Israel began negotiating with their colonized populations. South Africans saw results: the state was democratized and black South Africans gained formal legal equality. Palestinians, on the other hand, won neither freedom nor equality, and today Israel remains a settler-colonial state. Despite these different outcomes, the transitions of the last twenty years have produced surprisingly similar socioeconomic changes in both regions: growing inequality, racialized poverty, and advanced strategies for securing the powerful and policing the racialized poor. Neoliberal Apartheid explores this paradox through an analysis of (de)colonization and neoliberal racial capitalism.
After a decade of research in the Johannesburg and Jerusalem regions, Andy Clarno presents here a detailed ethnographic study of the precariousness of the poor in Alexandra township, the dynamics of colonization and enclosure in Bethlehem, the growth of fortress suburbs and private security in Johannesburg, and the regime of security coordination between the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The first comparative study of the changes in these two areas since the early 1990s, the book addresses the limitations of liberation in South Africa, highlights the impact of neoliberal restructuring in Palestine, and argues that a new form of neoliberal apartheid has emerged in both contexts.
About the Author
Andy Clarno is assistant professor of sociology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Through careful comparative analysis, Clarno undermines the popular misconception that Israel/Palestine and South Africa took divergent paths in the 1990s, with the latter becoming a model of post-racial freedom and equality. Instead, as he persuasively explains, the experiences and standards of living of poor Palestinians and poor Blacks in South Africa are similarly precarious and vulnerable to violence and marginalization. The theoretically rich ways in which Clarno explains apartheid in terms of neoliberal political economy will give the concept a far broader cache among scholars and activists than it currently has.”
— Lisa Hajjar, author of Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights
— 2018 Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award
“Neoliberal Apartheid is an exciting, highly innovative, thought-provoking, and powerfully argued analysis of socioeconomic inequality and the governance of social exclusion. Clarno’s study is grounded in an impressive ethnographic fieldwork, which has taken him from South African townships to Palestinian refugee camps, where he talked to a wide array of informants, from local residents to policymakers, political activists, business representatives, and local and international security personnel. The width and depth of Clarno’s research, combined with wide-ranging first-hand accounts of realities otherwise difficult for researchers to access, make the book a path-breaking contribution to the study of social change, political transitions, and security dynamics in highly unequal societies.”
— Franco Barchiesi, author of Precarious Liberation
“Clarno charts the rise of private security, ‘racial capitalism,’ and separation in both places over the last 25 years. Instead of claiming that Israel practices apartheid—and thus focusing on the similarities between South Africa of the 1980s and Israel today (itself a worthy debate)—Clarno demonstrates how South Africa shifted from constitutional apartheid to economic apartheid in the 1990s. Call it what you will, but the ground is fertile in Israel and Palestine for a similar shift in the future.”
— Tablet Magazine
“It is against that rich trove of reflection, penned by revolutionaries fighting for their lives, that Andy Clarno deliberately situates his important study of the post-Oslo/post-Apartheid systems in Palestine and South Africa, Neoliberal Apartheid. Clarno wishes to bridge political economy and modern settler-colonial studies. . . . Clarno’s ethnography beautifully and clarifyingly complicates a tendency in modern settler-colonial studies to sideline capitalism and imperialism.”
“Clarno presents a different perspective on settler colonialism and how this plays into the inequalities experienced by Palestine and South Africa at different ends of the political spectrum. . . . The often mentioned understanding of the Palestinian plight from the South African perspective is given a different dimension in this book. It is not merely a question of emulating a previous process, but of understanding limitations. For Palestinians, it means awareness of how settler-colonialism and capitalism need to be taken into consideration jointly. Clarno’s proposal is to redefine apartheid as something that ‘emphasizes the articulation between racism and capitalism.’”
— Middle East Monitor