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Verwoerd’s Grim Plot – May 1959
14 June 2011, 11:21 AM

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“South Africa belongs to all who live in if, black and
white.”
– The Freedom Charter.

“All the Bantu have their permanent homes in the
reserves and their entry into other areas and into the urban areas is merely of
a temporary nature and for economic reasons. In other words they are admitted
as work-seekers, not as settlers.
– Dr. W. W. M. Eiselen, Secretary of the Department of Bantu Administration and
Development.
(Article in “Optima”, March 1959).

The two
statements quoted above contain diametrically opposite conceptions of this
country, its future and its destiny. Obviously they cannot be reconciled. They
have nothing in common, except that both of them look forward to a future state
of affairs rather than that which prevails at present. At present South Africa
does not “belong” – except in a moral sense – to all. 97 per cent. of
the country is legally owned by members (a handful of them at that) of the
dominant white minority. And at present by no means “all” Africans
have their “permanent homes” in the Reserves. Millions of Africans
were born and have their permanent homes In the towns and cities and elsewhere
outside the reserves, have never seen the reserves and have no desire to go
there.(1)

It is
necessary for the people of this country to choose between these two
alternative paths. It is assumed that readers of “Liberation” are
familiar with the detailed proposals contained in the Charter. Let us
therefore, as calmly and objectively as we can, study the alternatives
submitted by the Nationalist Party.

Partition

The
newspapers have christened the Nationalists’ plan as one for
“Bantustans”. The hybrid word is, in many ways, extremely misleading.
It relates to the partitioning of India, after the reluctant’ departure of the
British, and as a condition thereof, into two separate States, Hindustan and
Pakistan. There is no real parallel with the Nationalists’ proposals, for

India and Pakistan constitute
two completely separate and politically independent States,Muslims enjoy equal rights in
India; Hindus enjoy equal rights in Pakistan,Partition was submitted to and
approved by both parties, or at any rate fairly widespread and Influential
sections of each.

The
Government’s plans do not envisage the partitioning of this country into separate,
self-governing States. They do not envisage equal rights, or any rights at all,
for Africans outside the reserves. Partition has never been approved of by
Africans and never will be. For that matter it has never been really submitted
to or approved of by the Whites. The term “Bantustan” is therefore a
complete misnomer, and merely tends to help the Nationalists perpetrate a
fraud.

Let us
examine each of these aspects in detail.

“Bantu Self-Government”

It is
typical of the Nationalists’ propaganda techniques that they describe their
measures in misleading titles, which convey the opposite of what the measures
contain. Verwoerd called his law greatly extending and intensifying the pass
laws the “Abolition of Passes” Act. Similarly, he has introduced into
the current Parliamentary session a measure called the “Promotion of Bantu
Self-Government Bill.” It starts off by decreeing the abolition of the
tiny token representation of Africans (by Whites) in Parliament and the Cape
Provincial Council.

It goes on
to provide for the division of the African population into eight “ethnic
units- (the so-called Bantustans.)(2) These units, It is declared, are to
undergo a “gradual development to self-government.”

This
measure was described by the Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, as a “supremely
positive step” towards placing Africans “on the road to
self-government” (in his policy statement of January 27). Mr. De Wet Nel,
B.A.D. Minister, said the people in the reserves “would gradually be given
more powers to rule themselves.”

The White Paper

The scheme
is elaborated in a White Paper, tabled in the House of Assembly, to
“explain” the Bill. According to this document, immediate objects of
the Bill are:-

The recognition of the
so-called Bantu National Units and the appointment of
Commissioners-General whose task will be to give guidance and advice to
the units in order to promote their general development, with special
reference to the administrative field; The linking of Africans working
in urban areas with territorial authorities established under the Bantu
Authorities Act, by conferring powers on the Bantu Authorities to nominate
persons as their representatives in urban areas; The transfer to the Bantu
Territorial Authorities, at the appropriate time, of land In their areas
at present held by the Native Trust. The vesting in territorial
Bantu Authorities of legislative authority and the right to impose taxes,
and to undertake works and give guidance to subordinate authorities; The establishment of
territorial boards for the purpose of temporary liaison through
commissioners-general if during the transition period the administrative
structure in any area has not yet reached the stage where a territorial
authority has been established. The abolition of representation
In the highest – European governing bodies.

“Further Objects”

According
to the same White Paper the Bill has the following further objects:-

The creation of homogeneous
administrative areas for Africans by uniting the members of each so-called
national group In the national unit, concentrated in one coherent homeland
where possible; The education of Africans to a
sound understanding of the problems of soil conservation and agriculture
so that all rights over and responsibilities In respect of soil In African
areas may be assigned to them. This includes the gradual replacement of
European agricultural officers of all grades by qualified and competent
Africans; The systematic promotion of
diverse economy in the African areas, acceptable to Africans and to be
developed by them; The education of the African to
a sound understanding of the problems and aims of Bantu Education so that
by decentralisation of powers, responsibility for the different grades of
education may be vested in them; The training of Africans with a
view to effectively extending their own judicial system and their
education to a sound understanding of the common law with a view to
transferring to them responsibility for the administration of justice in
their areas; The gradual replacement of
European administrative officers by qualified and competent Africans; The exercise of legislative
powers by Africans in respect of their areas, at first on a limited scale,
but with every intention of gradually extending this power.

A Heavy Price

It will be
seen that the African people are asked to pay a very heavy price for this
so-called “self-government” in the Reserves. Urban Africans – the
workers, business men and professional men and women, who are the pride of our
people in their stubborn and victorious march towards modernisation and
progress – are to be treated as outcasts: not even “settlers” like
Dr. Verwoerd. Every vestige of rights and opportunities will be ruthlessly
destroyed. Everywhere outside the reserves an African will be tolerated only on
condition that it is for the convenience of the Whites.

There will
be forcible uprooting and mass removals of millions of people
(“homogeneous administrative areas” – see (a) under “Further
Objects” above.) The reserves, already intolerably overcrowded, will be
crammed with hundreds of thousands more people evicted by the Government.

In return
for all these hardships, in return for Africans abandoning their birthright as
citizens, pioneers and inhabitants of South Africa, the Government promises
them “self-government” in the tiny 13 per cent. that their greed and
miserliness “allocates” to us. But what sort of self-government is
this that is promised?

What Sort of Self-Government?

There are
two essential elements to self-government, as the term Is used and understood
all over the modern world . They are:

1. Democracy.
The organs of Government must be representative. That is to say they
must be the freely-chosen leaders and representatives Of the people, whose
mandate must be renewed at periodic democratic elections.

2. Sovereignty.
The Government thus chosen must be free to legislate and act as It deems fit on
behalf of the people, not subject to any limitations upon its powers by any
alien or internal authority.

Now
neither of these two essentials are present in the Nationalist plan. The
“Bantu National Units” will be ruled in effect by the
Commissioners-General appointed by the Union Government, and administered by
the B.A.D. officials under his control. When the Government says it plans
gradually increasing self-government, it merely means that more powers in future
will be exercised by appointed councils of Chiefs and headmen. No provision is
made for elections. The Nationalists say that Chiefs, not elected legislatures,
are “the Bantu tradition.”

There was
a time when, like all peoples on earth, Africans conducted their simple
communities through Chiefs, advised by tribal councils and mass meetings of the
people. In those times the Chiefs were indeed representative governors.
Nowhere, however, have such institutions survived the complexities of modern
industrial civilisation. Moreover, in South Africa, we all know full well that
no Chief can retain his post unless he submits to Verwoerd, and many Chiefs who
sought the interest of their people be fore position and self -advancement
have, like President Lutuli, been deposed.

Thus, the
proposed Bantu Authorities will not be, in any sense of the term,
representative or democratic.

The point
is made with pride by the B.A.D. itself in an official publication:

“The
councillors will perform their task without fear or prejudice, because they are
not elected by the majority of votes, and they will be able to lead their
people onwards … even though … it may demand hardships and sacrifice”(3)

A strange
paean to autocracy, from a department of a Government which claims to be
democratic!

Tuesday 14 June 2011 11:21

There was a time when, like all peoples on earth, Africans conducted their simple communities through Chiefs, advised by tribal councils and mass meetings of the people

No Sovereignty

In spite
of all their precautions to see that their “Territorial Authorities”
– appointed by themselves, subject to dismissal by themselves, under constant
control by their Commissioners-General and their B.A.D. – never become
authentic voices of the people, the Nationalists are determined to see that
even these puppet bodies never enjoy any real power of sovereignty.

In his
notorious (and thoroughly dishonest) article in “Optima” Dr. Eiselen
draws a far-fetched comparison between the relations between the future
“Bantustans” and the Union Government, on the one hand; and those
between Britain and the self-governing Dominions on the other. He foresees:

“a co-operative
South African system based on the Commonwealth conception, with the Union
Government gradually changing its position from guardian and trustee to become
instead the senior member of a group of separate communities.”

To
appreciate the full hypocrisy of this statement, it must be remembered that Dr.
Eiselen is an official of a Nationalist Party Government, a member of a Party
which has built its fortune for the past half-century on its cry that it stands
for full and untrammeled sovereignty within the Commonwealth, that claims
credit for Hertzog’s achievements in winning the Statute of Westminster, which
proclaims such sovereignty, and which even now wants complete independence and
a Republic outside the Commonwealth.

It cannot
be claimed therefore that Eiselen and Verwoerd do not understand the nature of
a Commonwealth. or sovereignty or federation.

What are
we to think, then, in the same article, when Dr. Eiselen, comes right out into
the open, and declares:

“The
utmost degree of autonomy in administrative matters which the Union Parliament
is likely to be prepared to concede to these areas will stop short of actual
surrender of sovereignty by the European trustee, and there is therefore no
prospect of a federal system with eventual equality among members taking the
place of the South African Commonwealth . . .”

There is
no sovereignty, then. No autonomy. No democracy. No self-government. Nothing
but a crude, empty fraud, to bluff the people at home and abroad, and to serve
as a pretext for heaping yet more hardships and injustices upon the African
people.

The Economic Aspect

Politically,
the talk about self-government for the reserves is a swindle. Economically, it
Is an absurdity.

The few
scattered African reserves in various parts of the Union, comprising about 13
per cent. of the least desirable land area, represent the last shreds of land
ownership left to the African people of their original ancestral home. After
the encroachments and depredations of generations of European land-sharks,
achieved by force and by cunning, and culminating the outrageous Land Acts from
1913 onwards, had turned the once free and independent Tswana, Sotho, Xhosa,
Zulu and other peasant farmers of this country into a nation of landless
outcasts and roving beggars, humble “work- seekers” on the mines and
the farms where yesterday they had been masters of the land, the new White
masters of the country generously “presented” the few miserable areas
that were left to remain as reservoirs and breeding -grounds for black labour.
These are the reserves.

It was
never claimed or remotely considered by the previous Governments of the Union
that these reserves could become economically self-sufficient ‘.national
homes” for 9,600,000 African people of this country. That final lunacy was
left to Dr. Verwoerd, Dr. Eiselen and the Nationalist Party.

The
facts are – as every reader who remembers M. Mbeki’s brilliant series of
articles on the Transkei in “Liberation” will be aware – that the
reserves are congested distressed areas, completely unable to sustain their
present populations. The majority of the adult mates are always away from home
working in the towns, mines or European-owned farms. The people are on the
verge of starvation.

The White
Paper speaks of teaching Africans soil conservation and agriculture and
replacing European Agricultural Officers by Africans. This is merely trifling
with the problem. The root problem of the reserves is .he intolerable
congestion which already exists. No amount of agricultural instruction will
ever enable 13 per cent. of the land to sustain 66 per cent of the population.

Industrial Development

The
Government is, of course, fully aware of this fact. They have no intention of
creating African areas which are genuinely self-supporting (and which could
therefore create a genuine possibility for self-government). If such areas were
indeed self-supporting, where would the Chamber of Mines and the Nationalist
farmers get their supplies of cheap labour?

In the
article to which I have already referred, Dr. Eiselen bluntly admits:

“in fact
not much more than a quarter of the community (on the reserves) can be farmers,
the others seeking their livelihood in industrial, commercial, professional or
administrative employment.”

Where are
they to find such employment? In the Reserves? To anyone who knows these
poverty-stricken areas, sadly lacking in modern communications, power-resources
and other needed facilities, the idea of industrial development seems
far-fetched indeed. The beggarly £500,000 voted to the so-called “Bantu
Investment Corporation” by Parliament is mere eyewash ,nd window-dressing:
it would not suffice to build a single decent road, railway line or power
station.

“Rural Locations”

The
Government has already established a number of “rural locations”
townships in the reserves. The Eiselen article says a number more are planned:
he mentions a total of no less than 96. Since the residents will not farm, how
will they manage to keep alive, still less pay rent and taxes, and support the
traders, professional classes and civil servants whom the optimistic Eiselen
envisages as making a living there?

Fifty-seven
towns on the borders of the reserves have been designated as centres where
White capitalists can set up industries. Perhaps some will migrate, and thus
“export” their capital to sources of cheap labour and land.
Certainly, unlike the reserves (which are a monument to the callous
indifference of the Union Parliament to the needs of the non-voting African
tax-payers) these towns have power, water, transport, railways, etc. The Nationalist
Government, while it remains in office will probably subsidise capitalists who
migrate in this way. It is already doing so in various ways, thus creating
unemployment in the cities. But it is unlikely that any large-scale voluntary
movement will take place away from the big, established industrial centres,
with their well-developed facilities, available materials and markets.

Even if
many industries moved, or were forced to move, to the border areas around the
reserves it would not make one iota of difference to the economic viability of
the reserves themselves. The fundamental picture of the Union’s economy would
remain fundamentally the same as at present: a single integrated system based
upon the exploitation of African labour by White capitalists.

Economically,
the “Bantustan” concept is just as big a swindle as it is
politically.

Self-Determination

Thus we
find, if we really look into it that this grandiose “partition”
scheme, this “Supremely positive step” of Dr. Verwoerd, is – like all
apartheid schemes – merely a lot of high-sounding double-talk to conceal a
policy of ruthless oppression of the non-Whites and of buttressing the
unwarranted privileges of the White minority, especially the farming, mining
and financial circles.

Even if it
were not so, however; even if the schemes envisaged a genuine sharing-out of
the country on the basis of population figures, and a genuine transfer of power
to elected representatives of the people, it would remain fundamentally unjust
and dangerously unstable unless it were submitted to, accepted and endorsed by
all parties to the agreement. To think otherwise is to fly in the face of the
principle of self-determination, which ip upheld by all countries and confirmed
in the United Nations Charter, to which this country is pledged.

Now even
Dr. Eiselen recognises, to some extent, this difficulty. He pays lip-service to
the Atlantic Charter and appeals to “Western democracy.” He mentions
the argument that apartheid would only be acceptable “provided that the
parties concerned agreed to this of their own free will.” And then he most
dishonestly evades the whole issue. “There is no reason for ruling out
apartheid on the grounds that the vast majority of the population opposes
it,” he writes. “The Bantu as a whole do not demand
“integration, a single society. This is the ideal merely of a small
minority.”

Even Dr.
Eiselen, however, has not got the audacity to claim that the African people
actually favour apartheid or partition.

Let us
state clearly the facts of the matter, with the greatest possible clarity and
emphasis.

NO
SERIOUS OR RESPONSIBLE LEADER, GATHERING OR ORGANISATION OF THE AFRICAN PEOPLE
HAS EVER ACCEPTED SEGREGATION, SEPARATION OR THE PARTITION OF THIS COUNTRY IN
ANY SHAPE OR FORM.

At
Bloemfontein in 1956, under the auspices of the United African clergy, perhaps
the most widely-attended and representative gathering of African
representatives, of every shade of political opinion ever held, unanimously and
uncompromisingly rejected the Tomlinson Report, on which the Verwoerd plan is
based, and voted In favour of a single society.

Even in
the rural area&, where dwell the “good” (i.e., simple and
ignorant) “Bantu” of the Imagination of Dr. Verwoerd and Dr. Eiselen,
attempts to impose apartheid have met, time after time, with furious, often
violent resistance. Chief after Chief has been deposed or deported for
resisting “Bantu Authorities” plans. Those who, out of
shortsightedness, cowardice or corruption, have accepted these plans have
earned nothing but the cow tempt of their own people.

Serious Misstatements

It is a
pity that, On such a serious subject, and at such a crucial period, serious
misstatements should have been made by some people who purport to speak on
behalf of the Africans. For example, Mrs. Margaret Ballinger, the Liberal Party
M.P. is reported as saying in the Assembly “no confidence” debate on
March 2:

“The
Africans have given their answer to this apartheid proposition, but of course,
no one ever listens to them. They have said: ‘It you want separation then let
us have it. Give us half of South Africa. Give us the Astern half of South
Africa. Give us some of the developed resources because we have helped to
develop them.” (S.A. Outlook, March 1959).

It is most
regrettable that Mrs. Ballinger should have made such a silly and irresponsible
statement, right towards, one fears, the end of a distinguished Parliamentary
career. For, in this instance she has put herself in the company of those who
do not listen to the Africans. No Africans of any standing have ever made the
proposals put forward by her.

The
leading organisation of the African people is the African National Congress.
Congress has repeatedly denounced apartheid. It has repeatedly endorsed the
Freedom Charter, which claims South Africa “for all its people.” It
is true that, occasionally individual Africans become so depressed and
desperate at Nationalist misrule that they tend to clutch at any straw, that
they tend to say: give us any little corner where we may be free to run our own
affairs; but Congress has always firmly rejected such momentary tendencies and
refused to barter our birthright, which is South Africa, for such illusory
“Bantustans.”

Correcting “The World’

In The
World of April 4, 1959, Mr. Duma Nokwe, Secretary-General of the African
National Congress, was made to appear to support the division of the country
into African and European areas provided there is consultation. Under the
heading “What leading Africans think of the Bantustan Proposal” he Is
reported to have said: “The Congress view Is that if the Government
desires a division of the country, It should be done in consultation with the
African People.”

Mr. Nokwe
has denied making this statement. According to him he was asked by a reporter
of this paper for his comments on suggestions made by Professor du Plessis that
a federation of Bantustans be established. Mr. Nokwe totally rejected the plan
put forward by Professor du Plessis as unacceptable.

He
informed the reporter that the correct approach would be the extension of
franchise rights to Africans. Thereafter a National Convention of all the
people of South Africa could be summoned and numerous suggestions of the
democratic changes, that should be brought about, including the suggestions of
Professor du Plessis, could form the subject matter of the Convention. The
reporter was then referred to a statement released by the Congress setting out
its attitude In full on these proposals.

Let The People Speak!

Here,
indeed, Mr. Nokwe has put his finger on the spot. There is no need for Dr.
Eiselen, Mrs. Ballinger or The World to argue about “what the Africans
think” about the future of this country. Let the people speak for
themselves! Let us have a free vote and a free election of delegates to a national
convention, Irrespective of colour or nationality. Let the Nationalists submit
their plan, and the Congress its Charter. If Verwoerd and Elselen think the
Africans support their scheme they need not fear such a procedure. if they are
not prepared to submit to public opinion then let them stop parading and
pretending to the outside world that they are democrats, and talking revolting
nonsense about “Bantu self-government.”

Dr.
Verwoerd may deceive the simple-minded Nationalist voters with his talk of
Bantustans, but he will not deceive anyone else, neither the African people,
nor the great world beyond the borders of this country. We have heard such talk
before, and we know what it really means.

Like
everything else that has come from the Nationalist Government It spells nothing
but fresh hardships and sufferings to the masses of the people.

Sinister Design

Behind the
fine talk of ,self-government” is a sinister design.

The
abolition of African representation in Parliament and the Cape Provincial
Council shows that the real purpose of the scheme is not to concede autonomy to
Africans but to deprive them of all say in the government of the country in
exchange for a system of local Government controlled by a Minister who Is not
responsible to them but to a Parliament In which they have no voice. This Is
not autonomy but autocracy.

Contact
between the Minister and the Bantu Authorities will be maintained by five
Commissioners-General. These officials will act as the watchdogs of the
Minister to ensure that the “Authorities” strictly toe the line.
Their duty will be to ensure that these authorities should not become ‘he voice
of the African people but that of the Nationalist Government.

In terms
of the White Paper steps will be taken to “link’ Africans working in urban
areas with the territorial authorities established under the Bantu Authorities
Act conferring powers on these Authorities to nominate persons as their
representatives in urban areas. This means in effect that efforts will be made
to place Africans In the cities under the control of their tribal chiefs – a
retrograde step.

Nowhere in
the Bill or In the various Proclamations dealing with the creation of Bantu
Authorities is there provision for democratic elections by Africans falling
within the jurisdiction of the Authorities.

In the
light of these facts it Is sheer nonsense to talk of South Africa as being
about to take a “supremely positive step towards placing Africans on the
road to self-government- or of having given them more powers to rule
themselves. As Dr. Eiselen clearly pointed out In his article In
“Optima”, the establishment of the Bantustans will not in any way
affect white supremacy since even in such areas whites will stay supreme. The
Bantustans are not Intended to voice aspirations of the African people; they
are instruments for their subjection. Under the pretext of giving them
self-government the African people are being split up into tribal units in
order to retard their growth and development into full nationhood.

The Chief Target

The new
Bantu Bill and the new policy behind it will bear heavily on the peasants in
the reserves. But it Is not they who are the chief target of Verwoerd’s new
policy.

His new
measures are aimed, in the first place, at the millions of Africans in the
great cities of this country. the factory workers and intellectuals who have
raised the banner of freedom and democracy and human dignity, who have spoken
forth boldly the message that is shaking Imperialism to its foundations
throughout this great Continent of Africa.

The
Nationalists hate and fear that banner and that message. They will try to
destroy them, by striking with all their might at the standard bearers and
vanguard of the people, the working class.

Behind the
“self-government” talk lies a grim programme of mass evictions,
political persecution and police terror. It is the last desperate gamble of a
hated and doomed fascist autocracy – which, fortunately, Is soon due to make
its exit from the stage of history.

Footnotes:

1. According to the 1951 census, trust land locations and
reserves accounted for only two and a half million out of a total African
population of, at that time, eight and a half million. A further two and a half
million, nearly, were on European-owned farms. The rest were mainly in urban
areas, with the Witwatersrand alone accounting for over a million Africans. (Official
Year Book 1956-57, p.718).

2. They are: North and South Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xosa
and Zulu.

3. “Bantu Authorities and Tribal Administration.” Issued by
the N.A.D. Information Service, Pretoria, 1958.

A New Menace in Africa – March 1958
14 June 2011, 11:17 AM

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A New Danger

Whilst the
influence of the old European powers has sharply declined and whilst the
anti-imperialist forces are winning striking victories all over the world, a
new danger has arisen and threatens to destroy the newly won independence of
the people of Asia and Africa. It is American imperialism, which must be fought
and decisively beaten down if the people of Asia and Africa are to preserve the
vital gains they have won in their struggle against subjugation. The First and
Second World Wars brought untold economic havoc especially in Europe, where
both wars were mainly fought. Millions of people perished whilst their
countries were ravaged and ruined by the war. The two conflicts resulted, on
the one hand, in the decline of the old imperial powers.

On the
other hand, the U.S.A. emerged from them as the richest and most powerful state
in the West, firstly, because both wars were fought thousands of miles away
from her mainland and she had fewer casualties. Whereas the British Empire lost
1,089,900 men, only 115,660 American soldiers died during the First World War.
No damage whatsoever was suffered by her cities and industries. Secondly, she
made fabulous profits from her allies out of war contracts. Due to these
factors the U.S.A. grew to become the most powerful country in the West.

Paradoxically,
the two world wars, which weakened the old powers and which contributed to the
growth of the political and economic influence of the U.S.A., also resulted in
the growth of the anti-imperialist forces all over the world and in the
intensification of the struggle for national independence. The old powers,
finding themselves unable to resist the demand by their former colonies for
independence and still clinging desperately to their waning empires, were
compelled to lean very heavily on American aid. The U.S.A., taking advantage of
the plight of its former allies, adopted the policy of deliberately ousting them
from their spheres of influence and grabbing these spheres for herself. An
instance that is still fresh in our minds is that of the Middle East, where the
U.S.A. assisted in the eviction of Britain from that area in order that she
might gain control of the oil industry, which prior to that time was in the
control of Britain.

Through
the Marshall Plan the U.S.A. succeeded in gaining control of the economies of
European countries and reducing them to a position analogous to that of
dependencies. By establishing aggressive military blocs in Europe, the Middle
East and Asia, the U.S.A. has been able to post her armies in important
strategic points and is preparing for armed intervention in the domestic
affairs of sovereign nations. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Europe,
the Baghdad Pact in the Middle East, and the South East Asian Treaty
Organisation are military blocs which constitute a direct threat not only to
world peace but also to the independence of the member states.

The policy
of placing reliance on American economic and military aid is extremely
dangerous to the “assisted” states themselves and has aggravated
their positions. Since the Second World War, Britain, France and Holland have
closely associated themselves with American plans for world conquest, and yet
within that period they have lost empires in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa,
and they are fighting rear-guard actions in their remaining colonial
possessions. Their salvation and future prosperity lie not in pinning their
faith on American aid and aggressive military blocs but in breaking away from
her, in repudiating her foreign policy which threatens to drag them into
another war, and in proclaiming a policy of peace and friendship with other
nations.

U.S. Offensive in Africa

American
interest in Africa has in recent years grown rapidly. This continent is rich in
raw minerals. It produces almost all the world’s diamonds, 78 percent of its
palm oil, 68 percent of its cocoa, half of its gold, and 22 percent of its
copper. It is rich in manganese, chrome, in uranium, radium, in citrus fruits,
coffee, sugar, cotton, and rubber. It is regarded by the U.S.A. as one of the
most important fields of investment. According to the “Report of the
Special Study Mission to Africa, South and East of the Sahara,” by the
Honourable Frances P. Bolton which was published in 1956 for the use of the
United States Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, by the end of World War II
United States private investments in Africa amounted to scarcely £150 million.
At the end of 1954 the total book value of U.S. investments in Africa stood at
£664 million.

Since then
the American government has mounted a terrific diplomatic and economic
offensive in almost every part of Africa. A new organisation for the conduct of
African Affairs has come into existence. The Department of State has
established a new position of deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs.
The Bureau of African Affairs has been split into two new offices, the office
of Northern African Affairs and that of Southern African Affairs. This
reorganisation illustrates the increasing economic importance of Africa to the
U.S.A. and the recognition by the governing circles of that state of the vital
necessity for the creation and strengthening of diplomatic relations with the
independent states of Africa. The U.S.A. has sent into this continent numerous
“study” and “goodwill” missions, and scores of its leading
industrialists and statesmen to survey the natural wealth of the new independent
states and to establish diplomatic relations with the present regimes.
Vice-President Nixon, Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic party candidate for the
American presidency in the last elections, and scores of other leading
Americans, have visited various parts of the continent to study political
trends and market conditions. Today, American imperialism is a serious danger
to the independent states in Africa, and its people must unite before it is too
late and fight it out to the bitter end.

Imperialism in Disguise

American
imperialism is all the more dangerous because, having witnessed the resurgence
of the people of Asia and Africa against imperialism and having seen the
decline and fall of once powerful empires, it comes to Africa elaborately
disguised. It has discarded most of the conventional weapons of the old type of
imperialism. It does not openly advocate armed invasion and conquest. It
purports to repudiate force and violence. It masquerades as the leader of the
so-called free world in the campaign against communism. It claims that the
cornerstone of its foreign policy is to assist other countries in resisting
domination by others. It maintains that the huge sums of dollars invested in
Africa are not for the exploitation of the people of Africa but for the purpose
of developing their countries and in order to raise their living standards.

Now it is
true that the new self-governing territories in Africa require capital to
develop their countries. They require capital for economic development and technical
training programmes, they require it to develop agriculture, fisheries,
veterinary services, health, medical services, education, and communications.
To this extent, overseas capital invested in Africa could play a useful role in
the development of the self-governing territories in the continent. But the
idea of making quick and high profits, which underlies all the developmental
plans launched in Africa by the U.S.A., completely effaces the value of such
plans in so far as the masses of the people are concerned. The big and powerful
American trade monopolies that are springing up in various parts of the
continent and which are destroying the small trader, the low wages paid the
ordinary man, the resulting poverty and misery, his illiteracy and the squalid
tenements in which he dwells are the simplest and most eloquent exposition of
the falsity of the argument that American investments in Africa will raise the
living standards of the people of this continent.

The
American brand of imperialism is imperialism all the same in spite of the
modern clothing in which it is dressed and in spite of the sweet language
spoken by its advocates and agents. The U.S.A. is mounting an unprecedented
diplomatic offensive to win the support of the governments of the self-governing
territories in the continent. It has established a network of military bases
all over the continent for armed intervention in the domestic affairs of
independent states should the people in these states elect to replace American
satellite regimes with those who are against American imperialism. American
capital has been sunk into Africa not for the purpose of raising the material
standards of its people but in order to exploit them as well as the natural
wealth of their continent. This is imperialism in the true sense of the word.

The
Americans are forever warning the people of this continent against communism
which, as they allege, seeks to enslave them and to interfere with their
peaceful development. But what facts justify this warning? Unlike the U.S.A.,
neither the Soviet Union, the Chinese People’s Republic nor any other Socialist
state has aggressive military blocs in any part of the world. None of the
Socialist countries has military bases anywhere in Africa, whereas the U.S.~.
has built landing fields, ports, and other types of strategic bases all over
North Africa. In particular it has jet fields in Morocco, Libya and Liberia.
Unlike the U.S.A., none of the Socialist states has invested capital in any
part of Africa for the exploitation of its people. At the United Nations
Organisation, the Soviet Union, India, and several other nations have
consistently identified themselves unconditionally with the struggle of the
oppressed people for freedom, whereas the U.S.A. has very often allied itself
with those who stand for the enslavement of others. It was not Soviet but
American planes which the French used to bomb the peaceful village of Sakiet in
Tunisia. The presence of a delegation from the Chinese People’s Republic at the
1955 Afro-Asian conference as well as the presence of a delegation from that
country and the Soviet Union at the 1957 Cairo Afro-Asian conference show that
the people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign
conducted by the U.S.A. against the Socialist countries. They know that their
independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the Socialist camp,
but by the U.S.A., who has surrounded their continent with military bases. She
communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of
Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism.

The
peoples of resurgent Africa are perfectly capable of deciding upon their own
future form of government and discovering and themselves dealing with any
dangers which may arise. They do not require any schooling from the U.S.A.,
which – to judge from such events as the Little Rock outrage and the activities
of the un-American Witch-hunting Committee – should learn to put its own house
in order before trying to teach everyone else.

The people
of Africa are astir. In conjunction with the people of Asia, and with
freedom-loving people all over the world, they have declared a full-scale war
against all forms of imperialism. The future of this continent lies not in the
hands of the discredited regimes that have allied themselves with American
imperialism. It is in the hands of the common people of Africa functioning in
their mass movements.

Tuesday 14 June 2011 11:17

The policy of placing reliance on American economic and military aid is extremely dangerous to the “assisted” states themselves and has aggravated their positions.

U.S. Offensive in Africa

American
interest in Africa has in recent years grown rapidly. This continent is rich in
raw minerals. It produces almost all the world’s diamonds, 78 percent of its
palm oil, 68 percent of its cocoa, half of its gold, and 22 percent of its
copper. It is rich in manganese, chrome, in uranium, radium, in citrus fruits,
coffee, sugar, cotton, and rubber. It is regarded by the U.S.A. as one of the
most important fields of investment. According to the “Report of the
Special Study Mission to Africa, South and East of the Sahara,” by the
Honourable Frances P. Bolton which was published in 1956 for the use of the
United States Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, by the end of World War II
United States private investments in Africa amounted to scarcely £150 million.
At the end of 1954 the total book value of U.S. investments in Africa stood at
£664 million.

Since then
the American government has mounted a terrific diplomatic and economic
offensive in almost every part of Africa. A new organisation for the conduct of
African Affairs has come into existence. The Department of State has
established a new position of deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs.
The Bureau of African Affairs has been split into two new offices, the office
of Northern African Affairs and that of Southern African Affairs. This
reorganisation illustrates the increasing economic importance of Africa to the
U.S.A. and the recognition by the governing circles of that state of the vital
necessity for the creation and strengthening of diplomatic relations with the
independent states of Africa. The U.S.A. has sent into this continent numerous
“study” and “goodwill” missions, and scores of its leading
industrialists and statesmen to survey the natural wealth of the new independent
states and to establish diplomatic relations with the present regimes.
Vice-President Nixon, Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic party candidate for the
American presidency in the last elections, and scores of other leading
Americans, have visited various parts of the continent to study political
trends and market conditions. Today, American imperialism is a serious danger
to the independent states in Africa, and its people must unite before it is too
late and fight it out to the bitter end.

Imperialism in Disguise

American
imperialism is all the more dangerous because, having witnessed the resurgence
of the people of Asia and Africa against imperialism and having seen the
decline and fall of once powerful empires, it comes to Africa elaborately
disguised. It has discarded most of the conventional weapons of the old type of
imperialism. It does not openly advocate armed invasion and conquest. It
purports to repudiate force and violence. It masquerades as the leader of the
so-called free world in the campaign against communism. It claims that the
cornerstone of its foreign policy is to assist other countries in resisting
domination by others. It maintains that the huge sums of dollars invested in
Africa are not for the exploitation of the people of Africa but for the purpose
of developing their countries and in order to raise their living standards.

Now it is
true that the new self-governing territories in Africa require capital to
develop their countries. They require capital for economic development and technical
training programmes, they require it to develop agriculture, fisheries,
veterinary services, health, medical services, education, and communications.
To this extent, overseas capital invested in Africa could play a useful role in
the development of the self-governing territories in the continent. But the
idea of making quick and high profits, which underlies all the developmental
plans launched in Africa by the U.S.A., completely effaces the value of such
plans in so far as the masses of the people are concerned. The big and powerful
American trade monopolies that are springing up in various parts of the
continent and which are destroying the small trader, the low wages paid the
ordinary man, the resulting poverty and misery, his illiteracy and the squalid
tenements in which he dwells are the simplest and most eloquent exposition of
the falsity of the argument that American investments in Africa will raise the
living standards of the people of this continent.

The
American brand of imperialism is imperialism all the same in spite of the
modern clothing in which it is dressed and in spite of the sweet language
spoken by its advocates and agents. The U.S.A. is mounting an unprecedented
diplomatic offensive to win the support of the governments of the self-governing
territories in the continent. It has established a network of military bases
all over the continent for armed intervention in the domestic affairs of
independent states should the people in these states elect to replace American
satellite regimes with those who are against American imperialism. American
capital has been sunk into Africa not for the purpose of raising the material
standards of its people but in order to exploit them as well as the natural
wealth of their continent. This is imperialism in the true sense of the word.

The
Americans are forever warning the people of this continent against communism
which, as they allege, seeks to enslave them and to interfere with their
peaceful development. But what facts justify this warning? Unlike the U.S.A.,
neither the Soviet Union, the Chinese People’s Republic nor any other Socialist
state has aggressive military blocs in any part of the world. None of the
Socialist countries has military bases anywhere in Africa, whereas the U.S.~.
has built landing fields, ports, and other types of strategic bases all over
North Africa. In particular it has jet fields in Morocco, Libya and Liberia.
Unlike the U.S.A., none of the Socialist states has invested capital in any
part of Africa for the exploitation of its people. At the United Nations
Organisation, the Soviet Union, India, and several other nations have
consistently identified themselves unconditionally with the struggle of the
oppressed people for freedom, whereas the U.S.A. has very often allied itself
with those who stand for the enslavement of others. It was not Soviet but
American planes which the French used to bomb the peaceful village of Sakiet in
Tunisia. The presence of a delegation from the Chinese People’s Republic at the
1955 Afro-Asian conference as well as the presence of a delegation from that
country and the Soviet Union at the 1957 Cairo Afro-Asian conference show that
the people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign
conducted by the U.S.A. against the Socialist countries. They know that their
independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the Socialist camp,
but by the U.S.A., who has surrounded their continent with military bases. She
communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of
Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism.

The
peoples of resurgent Africa are perfectly capable of deciding upon their own
future form of government and discovering and themselves dealing with any
dangers which may arise. They do not require any schooling from the U.S.A.,
which – to judge from such events as the Little Rock outrage and the activities
of the un-American Witch-hunting Committee – should learn to put its own house
in order before trying to teach everyone else.

The people
of Africa are astir. In conjunction with the people of Asia, and with
freedom-loving people all over the world, they have declared a full-scale war
against all forms of imperialism. The future of this continent lies not in the
hands of the discredited regimes that have allied themselves with American
imperialism. It is in the hands of the common people of Africa functioning in
their mass movements.

Our Struggle Needs Many Tactics – February 1958
14 June 2011, 11:07 AM

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by Nelson Mandela for Liberation
Liberation – a “Journal of Democratic Discussion”
– was published in Johannesburg
from 1953 to 1959.

On
political tactics, in particular the boycott weapon. By 1958 there was a close
working relationship between all the bodies forming the Congress Movement,
headed by the ANC and consisting also of the Congresses of the Indian and
Coloured peoples, and democratic whites, and the South African Congress of
Trade Unions (SACTU). This came to be called the Congress Alliance. The
organisation SACPO referred to by Mandela in this article is the Coloured
People’s Congress under its earlier name.

Political
organisations in this country have frequently employed the boycott weapon in
their struggle against racial discrimination and oppression. In 1947 the
African National Congress decided to boycott all elections under the Native
Representatives Act of 1936, as well as all elections to the United Transkeian
Territories General Council, generally referred to as the Bunga, to the
Advisory Boards, and all other discriminatory statutory institutions specially
set up for Africans. A year earlier the South African Indian Congress had
decided to boycott and had launched a resistance campaign against the Asiatic
Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act which, inter alia, made special
provision for the representation in Parliament of Indians in the Provinces of
Natal and the Transvaal and for the representation in the Provincial Council of
Natal of Indians in that Province. In 1957 the South African Coloured People’s
Organisation (SACPO) considered its attitude on the question of the election of
four Europeans to represent the Coloured people in Parliament, and decided to
boycott these elections as well as the election of 27 Coloured persons to the
Union Council of Coloured Affairs. The same year SACPO reversed this decision
and decided to participate in the parliamentary elections.

Apart from
such boycotts of unrepresentative institutions, boycotts of a different kind
have often been called by various organisations on matters directly affecting
the people. For example, in 1949 the Western Areas Tram Fares Committee
successfully boycotted the increased fares on the Johannesburg Western Areas
tram route. Similarly last year, and by means of the boycott weapon, the
Alexandra People’s Transport Committee achieved a brilliant victory when it
rebuffed and defeated the decision of the Public Utility Transport Corporation,
backed by the Government, to increase fares along the Johannesburg-Alexandra
bus route. The Federation of South African Nurses and Midwives is presently
campaigning for the boycott of all discriminatory provisions of the Nursing
Amendment Act passed last year. By and large, boycott is recognised and
accepted by the people as an effective and powerful weapon of political struggle.

Perhaps it
is precisely because of its effectiveness and the wide extent to which various
organisations employ it in their struggles to win their demands that some
people regard the boycott as a matter of principle which must be applied
invariably at all times and in all circumstances irrespective of the prevailing
conditions. This is a serious mistake, for the boycott is in no way a matter of
principle but a tactical weapon whose application should, like all other
political weapons of the struggle, be related to the concrete conditions
prevailing at the given time.

For
example, the boycott by the Indian community of the representation machinery
contained in the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act of 1946 was
correct at the time not because the boycott is a correct principle but because
the Indian people correctly gauged the objective situation. Firstly, the
political concessions made in the Act were intended to bribe the Indian people
to accept the land provisions of this Act, which deprived the Indians of their
land rights – a bribe which even the Indian reactionaries were not prepared to
accept. Secondly, a remarkable degree of unity and solidarity had been achieved
by the Indian people in their struggle against the Act. The conservative Kajee
Pather bloc worked in collaboration with the progressive and militant Dadoo
Naicker wing of the SAIC and no less than 35,000 members had been recruited
into the SAIC before the commencement of the campaign. Under these conditions
the boycott proved correct and not a single Indian person registered as a voter
in terms of the Act.

Similarly,
the 1947 boycott resolution of the ANC was correct, in spite of the fact that
no effective country-wide campaign was carried out to implement this
resolution. It will be recalled that at the time, in an endeavour to destroy
the people’s political organisations and to divert them from these
organisations, the United Party Government was fostering the illusion that the
powers of the Natives Representative Council, the Bunga, the Advisory Boards,
and similar institutions would be increased to such an extent that the African
people would have an effective voice in the Government of the country. The
agitation that followed the adoption of the boycott resolution by the ANC,
inadequate as it was, helped to damage the influence of these sham institutions
and to discredit those who supported them. In certain areas these institutions
were completely destroyed and they have now no impact whatsoever on the outlook
of the people. To put the matter crisply, the 1947 resolution completely
frustrated the scheme of the United Party Government to confuse the people and
to destroy their political organisation.

In some
cases, therefore, it might be correct to boycott, and in others it might be
unwise and dangerous. In still other cases another weapon of political struggle
might be preferred. A demonstration, a protest march, a strike, or civil
disobedience might be resorted to, all depending on the actual conditions at
the given time.

Tuesday 14 June 2011 11:07

In some cases, therefore, it might be correct to boycott, and in others it might be unwise and dangerous.

In the
opinion of some people, participation in the system of separate racial
representation in any shape or form, and irrespective of any reasons advanced
for doing so, is impermissible on principle and harmful in practice. According
to them such participation can only serve to confuse the people and to foster
the illusion that they can win their demands through a parliamentary form of
struggle. In their view the people have now become so politically conscious and
developed that they cannot accept any form of representation which in any way
fetters their progress. They maintain that people are demanding direct
representation in Parliament, in the provincial and city councils, and that
nothing short of this will satisfy them. They say that leaders who talk of the
practical advantages to be gained by participation in separate racial
representation do not have the true interests of the people at heart. Finally,
they argue that the so called representatives have themselves expressed the
view that they have achieved nothing in Parliament. Over and above this, the
argument goes, the suggestion that anything could be achieved by electing such
representatives to Parliament is made ridiculous by their paucity of numbers in
Parliament. This view has been expressed more specifically in regard to the
question of boycott of the forthcoming Coloured Parliamentary seats.

The basic
error in this argument lies in the fact that it regards the boycott not as a
tactical weapon to be employed if and when objective conditions permit, but as
an inflexible principle which must under no circumstances be varied. Having
committed this initial mistake, people who advocate this point of view are
invariably compelled to interpret every effort to relate the boycott to
specific conditions as impermissible deviations on questions of principle. In
point of fact, total and uncompromising opposition to racial discrimination in
all its ramifications, and refusal to co-operate with the Government in the
implementation of its reactionary policies, are matters of principle in regard
to which there can be no compromise.

In its
struggle for the attainment of its demands the liberation movement avails
itself of various political weapons, one of which might (but not necessarily)
be the boycott. It is, therefore, a serious error to regard the boycott as a
weapon that must be employed at all times and in all conditions. In this stand
there is also the failure to draw the vital distinction between participation
in such elections by the people who accept racial discrimination and who wish
to co-operate with the Government in the oppression and exploitation of their
own people on the one hand, and participation in such elections, not because of
any desire to co-operate with the Government but in order to exploit them in
the interest of the liberatory struggle on the other hand. The former is the
course generally followed by collaborators and Government stooges and has for
many years been consistently condemned and rejected by the liberation movement.
The latter course, provided objective conditions permit, serves to strengthen
the people’s struggle against the reactionary policies of the Government.

The
decision of SACPO in favour of participation in the forthcoming parliamentary
elections is correct for various reasons. The principal and most urgent task
facing the Congress Movement today is the defeat of the Nationalist Government
and its replacement by a less reactionary one. Any step or decision which helps
the movement to attain this task is politically correct. The election of four
additional members to Parliament, provided they agree with the general aims of
the movement and provided that they are anti-Nationalist, would contribute to
the defeat of the present Government. In advocating this course it is not in any
way being suggested that the salvation of the oppressed people of this country
depends on the parliamentary struggle, nor is it being suggested that a United
Party regime would bring about any radical changes in the political set-up in
this country. It is accepted and recognised that the people of South Africa
will win their freedom as a result of the pressure they put up against the
reactionary policies of the Government. Under a United Party Government it will
still be necessary to wage a full-scale war on racial discrimination. But the
defeat of the Nationalists would at least lighten the heavy burden of harsh and
restrictive legislation that is borne by the people at the present moment.
There would be a breathing space during which the movement might recuperate and
prepare for fresh assaults against the oppressive policies of the Government.

SACPO’s
struggle and influence amongst the Coloured people has grown tremendously, but
it is not without opposition and there are still large numbers of Coloured people
who are outside its fold. In order to succeed, a boycott would require a
greater degree of unity and solidarity than has so far been achieved amongst
the Coloured people. Prior to the December resolution certain Coloured
organisations had indicated their willingness to participate in these
elections. To boycott elections under such conditions might result in hostile
and undesirable elements being returned to Parliament.

In several
conferences of the ANC, both national and provincial, the view has been
expressed that the 1947 boycott resolution requires to be reviewed in the light
of the new conditions created as a result of the serious and dangerous attacks
launched by the Nationalists on the liberation movement. The political
situation has radically changed since. The political organisations of the
people are functioning under conditions of semi-illegality. Legal authorities
are refusing to permit meetings within their areas and it is becoming
increasingly difficult to hold conferences. Some of the most experienced and
active members have been deported from their homes, others have been confined
to certain areas, and many have been compelled to resign from their
organisations.

The
present Government regards institutions such as the Advisory Boards as too
advanced and dangerous, and these are being replaced by tribal institutions
under the Bantu Authorities Act. Platforms for the dissemination of propaganda
are gradually disappearing. Having regard to the principal task of ousting the
Nationalist Government, it becomes necessary for the Congress to review its
attitude towards the special provision for the representation of Africans set
out in the 1936 Act. The parliamentary forum must be exploited to put forth the
case for a democratic and progressive South Africa. Let the democratic
movement have a voice both outside and within Parliament. Through the Advisory
Boards and, if the right type of candidates are found, through Parliament, we
can reach the masses of the people and rally them behind us.

Exhibition devoted to Liberty
10 May 2011, 3:42 PM

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In Pursuit of Liberty: Legality vs. Justice examines three case
studies to illustrate the heroism, martyrdom and the ethical arguments that
informed freedom fighters – leaders and foot soldiers alike – in the liberation
struggle. The three ‘stories’ that form the focus of the exhibition
are: The story of the Rivonia Trial and the arrest of the MK High Command;
Solomon ‘Kalushi’ Mahlangu, his trial and execution; the Silverton Siege and
the Soekmekaar and Silverton trials.This exhibition is an attempt to initiate a
dialogue about the values and policies that influenced the oppressed.

They highlight the conflict between justice and legality during the
liberation struggle and show how freedom fighters on trial used the apartheid
courts as a site of struggle. They argued that the law was drawn up without the
consent of the majority; it was enforced to ensure the perpetuation of an
unjust system. A struggle would be waged to establish a new legal system that
would embody the values of a constitution that protected human rights and
non-racialism.

This exhibition is an attempt to initiate a dialogue about the values and
policies that influenced the oppressed, their leaders and their organisations,
and how this has shaped the values embodied in the new South African
Constitution.

Date: 14 June 2011
Venue: Nelson Mandela Foundation, 107 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg
Time: 16h00 – 18h30

Tuesday 10 May 2011 15:42

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