January 8th Statements
Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the ANC
Today, January 8th, 1987, your organisation, the African National Congress, is 75 years old. Con sequently, we are honour bound to do more than observe an anniversary, because this is, for us and for all our people, a proud and historic Jubilee Year. The situation in Southern African is pregnant with the promise of epoch-making developments. It demands that we observe this Jubilee in extraordinary ways.
As we mark Jubilee Day, all.of us know that a new spirit is abroad. Something outside of our experience is approaching. 75 years of organised political struggle against colonial and racist oppression in our country have brought the oppressed and the oppressor alike very close to the moment of decision. Each and every one of us, South Africans all, has to decide whether we act in the present in defence of a terrible and outdated past or we engage in struggle for a future that we shall define together, as equals.
As we begin the New Year, we. greet you all in the name of the National Executive Committee of your organisation, the ANC. We salute you on behalf of the tens of thousands who cannot be with us today because they have perished in the struggle for freedom, or because they have had to withdraw to some place, near or far, the better to be able to continue to work for our liberation.
We salute the Founding Fathers of the ANC
We speak for all these, and for the entire people when we say– hail to all our heroes and heroines, living and dead, as we bring to a close the Year of the People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe. Hail to the young lions and all the patriots who have united in combat groups and confronted the enemy. Hail also to the glorious People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, which has just observed its 25th anniversary. Let the solemn notes of the Last Post sound in tribute to the martyrs who have surrendered life itself in order to secure for all of us freedom, democracy and peace.
On this day, we salute also the founding fathers of our movement- -the peoples of Southern Africa as a whole–who set up the ANC as their instrument to secure our emancipation and to contribute to the liberation of Africa in its entirety. Tanzanians and South Africans, Mozambicans and Namibians, Angolans and Zimbabweans, Zambians and Batswana, Swazis and Basotho have since constituted the bedrock on which our movement has grown from strength to strength. This, then, is Jubilee Day for all the embattled people of our region, who have combined as they did 75 years ago, to confront the iniquitous system of apartheid colonial and racist domination, in unity.
This great day, January 8th, stands as a watershed in the confrontation between liberty and bondage in our country, our region and our continent. To celebrate it must mean that we mount the biggest assault against the Pretoria regime to bring nearer the victory of the cause of all progressive humanity, namely the liquidation of the crime of apartheid and the total liberation of our continent.
Our country cries out for freedom now. Our region demands liberation and peace. The continent calls for justice and human dignity while humanity commands that liberty for all must reign supreme. No force, however well-armed, however stubborn and whatever its opinion of itself, can withstand the united might of these billions of people.
When the successors and the offspring of the Nazis took the reins of racist power 40 years ago next year, they thought, like their predecessors, that they had established a fascist domination which would last a thousand years.
The Noble Vision of 1912
By our actions, we must and will ensure that the apartheid republic is as short-lived as its founders were short-sighted. The arrogantly racist architects of the apartheid system thought the oppressed are not sufficiently human to rebel against the inhuman system they have imposed on our country. They thought the sub-humans could and would be kept in their place by brute force. By rising up in favour of justice, we have turned these maniacal dreams into a nightmare.
The noble vision of 1912 has become a formidable force before which the betrayal of 1910 and the crime of 1948 can no longer hold its own. The process of the emergence of an alternative power in our country has taken a deep and permanent hold. The house of iniquity which the racists constructed is disintegrating and crumbling into a heap of rubble. This historic development demands that we and the risen masses must deliver hammer blow after hammer blow until the entire apartheid edifice is completely demolished.
The apartheid regime of terror has lost political control over the overwhelming majority of the black masses of our country. These masses do not accept the authority and the legitimacy of the white minority regime. The people correctly recognise all the policies of the racist regime as efforts to defend and consolidate the apartheid system, whatever the guise in which the Pretoria regime might present these policies.
The masses of our people have been inspired enormously by the ideas and the perspective of a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa. It is in the realisation of this perspective that they see the fulfilment of their deepest aspirations.
Genuinely motivated by these considerations, they are taking their destiny into their own hands by engaging the enemy in struggle, in their millions. For this same reason, the people have daily been expressing their allegiance to the premier instrument of liberation they have created, the African National Congress, the democratic parliament of the people of South Africa. Hence they are also part of the mass democratic forces of our country and welcome our democratic organisations as among their true representatives.
Apartheid has lost Administrative Control
In many parts of our country you have given concrete form to that emerging alternative power by destroying the enemy`s structures of government and setting up organs of people`s power. The gains we have made in this regard have meant that the apartheid regime has lost its administrative control over us in many areas of South Africa. This is a development of immeasurable historical importance for the success of our revolutionary struggle. It has laid the basis for us to make a decisive advance towards our common goal.
We have, in previous years, spoken of mass revolutionary bases as a very important and central element in our strategic outlook. Our success in destroying the enemy`s administrative control over large areas of our country constitutes a high point in the struggle for the emergence of these bases.
The enemy realises that its loss of control spells doom for the apartheid system. That is why it has had to resort to military control. The imposition of a national state of emergency, half-way through the Year of the People`s Army and, later, the proclamation of the edict turning the press into a voiceless irrelevance, were elements of the programme to impose military control on the people, to rule by martial law.
This was part of the process which has already resulted, among other things, in the establishment of the so-called State Security Council, the use of the army in the countryside, the black urban townships as well as the schools and the creation of what the enemy calls Joint Management Centres. There is today hardly a country in the world that has to bear the level of militarisation the apartheid regime has imposed on our society.
We have obliged the enemy to fall back on its instrument of last and desperate resort–military dictatorship. Through struggle, we have forced the enemy to admit openly, and in practice, that finally its authority derives from the force of arms.
Part of our movement towards our democratic goal is represented by the fact that the noble vision of 1912 is also penetrating among our white compatriots. Increasing numbers among these are coming to realise that their security and their legitimate hopes for a happy future rest in the emergence of a democratic South Africa. The idea that social and political relations in our country must be defined according to ethnic and racial groups, with the white group in dominant positions, can no longer be sustained. If anything is `outdated`, it is precisely that idea.
The architects of the divisions, the privileges, the conflicts and the antagonisms of racism and apartheid, find themselves confronted with the reality that those whom this system has benefited for so long, have lost and are losing faith and confidence in its viability. Many of our white com patriots are feeling their way towards acceptance of the inevitability of the establishment of the non-racial order for which the majority of our people have fought for 75 years.
The organisers of the empire of racism know that what they consider their natural constituency is beginning to entertain sentiments that challenge the very reasons for the existence of the party of racism and fascism. The knowledge that they can no longer count on the unity of the white population and its attachment to the ideas and the practice of white domination, has given birth to deep-seated fears among the captains of the apartheid system.
They are terrified at the prospect of the black and white masses of our country coming together to say–we shall, as equals, compatriots and patriots, act as one, to bring the apartheid system to an end and foster the birth of a new South Africa. As surely as the regime of terror has lost its political control over the black masses, so also is it set to lose its political control over the white population. The day of the new Voortrekkers has come.
Truth has Triumphed
For too many a long year, racism and fascism in our country have presented themselves to the world at large as the epitome of `civilisation` in our region and in Africa. The most brutal reaction in the history of the colonial epoch has produced text after text to convince mankind that those who have perished in the struggle for human decency were but self-seeking individuals of no consequence.
On the other hand, the oppressors have strutted the globe, seeking to get racial domination, murder and genocide approved as human advancement. We who have struggled for 75 years, and more, to assert that all our people, both black and white, have a common right to life, liberty and happiness, have had to justify our existence and our cause. But we can be proud that, in the end, the truth has triumphed.
Never again shall racism and fascism successfully impose themselves on the world as the natural order of things in our country. The perpetrators of a crime against humanity no longer enjoy the false dignity and privilege bestowed on them as the legitimate government of our country. Humanity marches side by side with us in an unstoppable advance to suppress and punish the crime of apartheid.
Three-quarters of a century of turbulent progress, which have brought the frontiers of freedom to the borders of our country, require of us to live up to our historic mission. We must set our sights on victory, a victory that will enable Mother Africa to rejoice that she is liberated in all her parts, that she is free without qualifications, that at last she has reclaimed her integrity which she has not known since the days when she had to surrender her sons and daughters as slaves for export.
We have reached a critical moment in our long march to freedom. Our goal is in sight. We must reach out for it as an organised, disciplined and conscious force. Every battle we fight must become but a front in a generalised offensive against the retreating apartheid regime. Every demand we put forward in any front of our struggle must relate to and focus on the central objective of weakening the racists, to facilitate their downfall. We must, in our millions, unite in struggle and advance towards victory.
As we enter the decisive period ahead of us, we must aim for and achieve the greatest possible mobilisation, organisation and united action of the motive forces of our revolution. The masses of the black workers, peasants, youth and students, women, professionals–the entire oppressed people–constitute these motive forces which must engage the enemy in a united and uninterrupted offensive.
At the same time, we must pay the greatest possible attention to the mobilisation and activisation of the white population which should fuse with and become part of the motive forces of the democratic revolution. Our white compatriots have to learn the truth that it is not democracy that threatens their future. Rather, it is racist tyranny which poses a dire peril to their very survival.
We must unite all these forces, both black and white, around the democratic perspectives for which so many people have already laid down their lives. Once more, we reaffirm that in the new South Africa the people–all the people–shall govern. We shall, together, translate that fun- damental democratic principle into the practice whereby each person shall have the right both to vote and to be voted to any elective organ in the new united and non-racial South Africa.
The Revolution will Guarantee Individual and Equal Rights
For us, it is of especial importance that that new reality should reinforce and entrench what we are accomplishing now, in struggle: the building of a nation of South Africans. It must reflect and enhance our oneness, breaking down the terrible and destructive idea and practice of defining our people by race, colour or ethnic group. The revolution will guarantee the individual and equal rights of all South Africans without regard to any of these categories, and include such freedoms as those of speech, assembly, association, language, religion, the press, the inviolability of family life and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention without trial. For all this, the victorious revolution demands and must ensure thorough-going democratic practice.
For its own success, it imposes the obligation that all should be free to form and join any party of their choice, without let or hindrance. But as a people and a movement, we must state it clearly that democracy in our country cannot succeed if it permits the organised propagation of ideas of fascism, racism and ethnicity. Apart from our own experience, we cannot, in the name of democracy, tolerate the organised sustenance of conceptions which led to the Second World War and which have since been categorised and dealt with as a crime against humanity.
Of central importance also is the critical requirement that the new South Africa must guarantee the masses of our people freedom from hunger, disease, ignorance, homelessness and poverty. The democratic state will be representative of all the people of our country, and especially the ordinary working people who own neither land nor factories and neither the mines nor the banks. It will therefore be called upon to ensure that the wealth of the country increases significantly and continuously and that it is shared equitably by all the people to ensure their material and spiritual upliftment and well-being.
To achieve these objectives, the new democratic order will necessarily have to address the question of ownership, control and direction of the economy as a whole to ensure that neither the public nor the private sectors serve as a means of enriching the few at the expense of the majority. The transfer of power to the people must therefore be accompanied by the democratisation of the control and direction of the economy so that indeed the people share in the wealth of our country, for the common goal.
Black Danger and Red Peril
The racists in our country have been and are afraid of and hostile to this democratic political and economic perspective. To our demand that all our people must enjoy equal and inalienable human rights, the forces of reaction raise the spectre of a black danger and a red peril. The truth is that these proponents and defenders of white minority rule are enemies of democracy and have set themselves a life and death task of ensuring that never shall power pass into the hands of the people.
This is our experience, which spans three-quarters of a century. It includes many occasions when the representatives of our people, organised in the ANC, have offered to talk to the racist forces to reach a solution which would accommodate the interests of all the people of our country. It is therefore legitimate that on this historic Jubilee Day, we should put the question–is it possible today and in the future to enter into negotiations with self-confessed enemies of democracy with the aim of creating a democratic South Africa?
That question virtually answers itself. It points to one conclusion and one conclusion only. No negotiations are possible until all those concerned accept the need to create and build a democratic South Africa. That democratic transformation is the necessary condition for the solution of all the problems that face our country and our region.
This is an objective to which millions have committed themselves, for which many have perish ed, and for which we are prepared to die. It is one that we have always been prepared to attain by negotiation but which we are also determined to achieve, arms in hand, if the enemy compels us to fight our way through to victory.
The conflict in our country has been long an(l bitter. It has claimed too many lives already. While, for us, the numbers of those killed emphasises the urgency of bringing the confrontation to an end, our enemy calculates its strength and degree of success by the numbers of those it murders and massacres. The violence that our colonial and racist rulers have inflicted on us has never succeeded in forcing us to surrender our resolve to free ourselves. The need for us to take up arms will never transform us into prisoners of the idea of violence, slaves to the goddess of war.
And yet, if the opponents of democracy have their way, we will have to wade through rivers of blood to reach our goal of liberty, justice and peace. Of this they boast with the demented glee of a manic killer. Despite these boasts, we shall fight on until the democratic revolution triumphs, whatever the cost to ourselves.
As we mark the 75th Anniversary of our movement, we reiterate our commitment to seize any opportunity that may arise, to participate in a negotiated resolution of the conflict in our country. This we would do in the interests of the masses of our people and those of Southern Africa as a whole, with the specific aim of creating a democratic, non-racial and united South Africa.
Let those in our country who, in the face of our mounting offensive, have started talking about negotiations, commit themselves publicly to this perspective. In addition, and of decisive importance, they must demonstrate by practical deeds their commitment to this objective as well as their acceptance of a rapid and irreversible process leading to the emergence of such a South African society .
Those to whom we address this message, as well as their friends and allies internationally, know exactly what they have to do. They know what practical steps they are obliged to take for the masses of our people and the world community to accept them as a political formation that has abandoned the doomed concept and practice of white minority domination, in all its guises–a grouping with whom it would be possible, and indeed necessary, to negotiate.
What is to be Done?
The objective for which our forebears established the ANC, the total liberation of our continent, still awaits its accomplishment. We are called upon to build upon what the peoples of Africa have achieved, among them ourselves. What, then, is to be done`?
As we have already said, we must unite in struggle and together advance towards victory. One of the principal tasks we face in this regard is that we should continue and escalate our offensive to smash the organs of apartheid state power and construct organs of people` s power in their place. Our objectives must be to create mass revolutionary bases in all black areas throughout the country and to mount a strategic offensive against the enemy in its strongholds in the towns and the cities.
The campaign to make the country ungovernable and apartheid unworkable must result in the emergence of these bases which must be characterised by a number of features. One of these is that the masses of the people should not only have a high level of political consciousness but should also be active in the struggle to liberate themselves. Furthermore, the people should be organised into mass democratic organisations which must ensure their mobilisation and activisation.
It is also vital that each mass revolutionary base must have its combat forces which will act both to defend the people and to mount armed attacks against the enemy beyond the given area and throughout the country. These forces, organised in and under Umkhonto we Sizwe, must necessarily be based among the people and drawn from the people themselves. They must be inspired by the sole objective of acting against the racist regime in furtherance of the aim of engaging in People`s War.
Of central importance also, is that each mass revolutionary base has to have strong underground units of our movement, the ANC, to enable it to exercise its vanguard functions as we mount a new assault against the apartheid regime. As we have said before, the organised structures of the ANC must themselves continue to enjoy the complete confidence of the people exactly because they are composed of our best sons and daughters who have no other purpose than to serve the masses.
We Have Made Advances
In many parts of our country, we have already made important advances towards the creation of these mass revolutionary bases. We have destroyed many of the enemy`s organs of apartheid rule. The masses of the people have played a central role in this process as active participants in the struggle for their own liberation. We have also succeeded to create mass democratic organisations representative of these conscious and active masses, ranging from street committees to Cosatu, the UDF, the NECC and their affiliates and other democratic formations.
We also formed mass combat and self-defence units which have played an outstanding role in destroying the enemy`s organs of government and acting in defence of the people. But as serious revolutionaries, we must carefully analyse our strength and weaknesses, discover our mistakes and correct them.
In this regard, we must say that we have not progressed as far as we can, and must, in relation to the tasks of strengthening and expanding the ANC and the People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, inside the country. We must attend to these issues with even greater persistence than in the past.
The central task that faces us is to mount the most concerted assault on the apartheid regime, despite the desperate resistance of the enemy. This requires that we organise large political and military forces that are united politically and organisationally and mobilised around the same tactical and strategic goals. We call on all revolutionaries to attend to this task as a matter of strategic importance.
We must accordingly make a careful assessment of the situation in the country to determine the progress we have made and the ground we still have to cover. Where necessary, we must con- solidate our gains, strengthen the street and area committees and other alternative structures, expand and stabilise the mass organisations, reinforce the combat units and broaden the influence of our vanguard movement, the ANC.
In some areas, both in the towns and the countryside, including the Bantustans, we are still faced with the task of destroying the racist government apparatus and making the advances we have achieved elsewhere. We urge the revolutionary forces to use the resources at our disposal to engage the enemy in these areas as well.
Work to Achieve Unity
During this past year, the enemy took fright at the progress we had made to destroy its political and administrative control of the people. It was especially worried at the level of unity we have achieved, which enabled whole townships and villages to act as one cohesive force. The racists were concerned that, despite all their efforts to divide the people, our movement had succeeded to weld our people into this one cohesive force. They therefore tried once more to set us one against the other, to increase the size and raise the level of activity of those groups that it recruited from among the black people to act as the auxiliary forces of the apartheid system.
These enemy activities once more emphasise the strategic importance of the unity of the black masses, the principal motive force of our revolution. As we mark our 75th Anniversary, we must draw attention to the decisive importance of ensuring the conscious and unbreakable unity of the struggling people.
We have to achieve the broadest possible political and organisational unity between the workers and the students, the women and the youth, the urban and the rural masses, the old and the young; African, so-called Coloured and Indian. No elements from among ourselves should seek to impose their views on others. We should rely on political work to organise and mobilise the masses of the people into united action. In this way, we will ensure that we defeat the enemy`s efforts to divide us and frustrate our advance towards victory.
We need that unity within the mass democratic movement itself. This movement has grown in struggle into a formidable force. It is the pride of our people. These masses expect correctly that it will continue to carry out its tasks as we march to victory. For this to happen, the mass democratic movement needs to maintain and enhance its own unity around a democratically agreed programme of action with clearly set tactical and strategic objectives.
We should therefore take all necessary measures to entrench, within the ranks of the mass democratic movement, the depth of unity which our movement has worked for, for three-quarters of a century. We must combat all manifestations of factionalism, revolutionary arrogance and individualism. At a time when the enemy is working to hit back and crush us, any disunity among our ranks can only serve the interests of the forces of reaction.
The Role of the Working Class
In this coming period, the revolutionary contribution of the working class to the common struggle will be of even greater importance than in the past. The workers will have to raise their level of participation in all spheres of our struggle, at the workplace and in the community, in the political as in the military confrontation. The better to be able to carry out these tasks, we must work hard further to build and strengthen the democratic trade union movement. The unorganised workers must be drawn into the trade union movement and all the organised should unite under the umbrella of Cosatu. As we have said in the past, we do not believe there can be any obstacles so formidable that they can act as a barrier blocking any democratic union from joining Cosatu.
We salute the workers of our country especially for the outstanding struggles they waged in the past year, among others, the May Day and Youth Day general strikes and the campaigns for the release of political prisoners and detainees. These actions confirmed the political maturity and the leading role of the workers. We must build on these gains, emphasising the unity of the working class, its forward role in our struggle and the need for it consciously to make the necessary sacrifices to secure the liberation of our. people as a whole.
The Rural Masses
The rural masses have taken important strides to organise themselves. The level of mobilisation and the extent of revolutionary activity that these heroic fighters have attained is one of the most important achievements of our broad movement for national liberation in the recent past. We should never forget that our people in the countryside were the first this century to raise the banner of armed rebellion–during the Bambatha Uprising and later in Pondoland, the Transvaal and elsewhere.
At the founding conference of our movement 75 years ago, they were represented by those traditional rulers who enjoyed their confidence because they had not yet been corrupted, as some are, by the monthly salaries that the apartheid regime now hands out to administrators of the Bantustan system. Today, these masses are representing themselves in the common struggle through their own activity. We must reinforce this development to ensure that the rural areas are organised and further activised, as in KwaNdebele and Lebowa, to enable them to clear the countryside of all apartheid institutions of power, including the Bantustans, to join the armed struggle and to repossess the land as part of our nationwide advance towards victory.
Let Our Children Go!
Our glorious youth and students have continued to hold high the banner of struggle. To them we extend the warmest tribute and the revolutionary admiration of our entire people. Because they have dared to fight for and bring our emancipation so near, our youth have become eminent targets of the enemy`s forces of repression. We must wage an unrelenting campaign and demand of the apartheid regime to Let our Children Go!
For the battles ahead, the mass organisations of the youth must be strengthened. from the base upwards, from local units to national structures. Of major importance is the need continuously to attend to the issue of raising the calibre of the leadership of the youth, to impart to them the skills that are necessary for them to carry out their tasks as the shock troops of the revolution. It is also vital that we further reinforce the unity of the black youth as a whole and strengthen the integration of the youth struggles with the broad democratic movement.
To the youth, the young lions of our revolutionary struggle, we address a special word. Dear comrades, you who have paid such a high price to bring us to where we are today, have a respon- sibility to fight on with the same boldness, bravery and determination that you have shown. You are right to be impatient for victory. You are justified to seek that all those who share a common interest in liberation should act with the same tenacity that you have displayed. You are correct to demand victory now.
The victory we seek is one that will be brought about by our people as a whole, in the interests of the entire people. In part, you must therefore act as the yeast, to energise and dynamise the people as a whole and act together with, and not separate from them. You must act as a disciplined revolutionary force which can move ahead, if needs be, but is, at the same time, committed to the strategic and tactical perspective of united mass action, as distinct from militant but unco-ordinated actions by different groups, at different times and places.
Therefore you have a responsibility to seek unity and to work for unity. You must be the best representatives of democratic practice within your own organisations and in the mass movement at large. We are fighting to have a people`s government, elected by and accountable to the people. Our organisation must assume the same character. In our conduct, we must never seem to be ac ting contrary to the understanding of what the masses of the people see as their interests.
Our Task is to Win the Revolution
These are the guidelines that must instruct our behaviour over such questions and the people`s courts and the education crisis. With regard to this crisis, we have to proceed from the position that this is a national issue requiring the united action of the students, teachers and parents–indeed the united attention of the entire revolutionary movement. Any action we take must represent the united view of all these forces, democratically arrived at. And we must proceed from the position that our task is to win a revolution.
The school, the college, the university is for us more than a place for formal education. It is also our assembly point, the location at which we marshal our forces, organise them and take the opportunity to give the order of the day. We must fight the enemy for the right to be at our respective institutions of learning, within which we should build and organise our democratic structures and within which we should introduce the system of people`s education which is a decisive element in the future of our country and people.
To return to school must therefore be seen as a revolutionary act which puts us in a better position further to advance the struggle for a people`s education in a society in which we, the people, shall govern. How difficult this struggle is, is of course, epitomised by the fact that, as nowhere else in the world, we have heavily armed soldiers and police inside and outside our classrooms trying to deny us the right to learn and teach, and attempting to impose on us a surrender we will never accept.
Mothers of the Nation
The mothers of the nation, the womenfolk as a whole, are the titans of our struggle. The oppressors and the exploiters see in black womanhood nothing but the calloused hands of the washerwoman, the cleaner, the agricultural and factory worker: their white sisters are themselves domesticated possessions kept as objects for reproduction. Our revolutionary movement has long recognised the fact that an oppressive social order such as ours could not but enslave women in a particularly brutal way. One of the greatest prizes of the democratic revolution must therefore be the unshackling of the women.
The revolutionary masses therefore expect of our womenfolk miraculous deeds which will help simultaneously to liberate our people in their entirety and to emancipate the women themselves. For us, the true representatives of our women are such giants as Queen Regent Labotsibeni, Charlotte Maxeke, Olive Schreiner, Lilian Ngoyi, Ida Mntwana, Victoria Mxenge, Nomkhosi Mini, Thandi Modise, Theresa Ramashamola and Marion Sparg. We call on the women of our country to reproduce themselves in the mould of these heroines, to build and strengthen their democratic organisations and to raise the level of participation of the millions of our women in the struggle for our liberation.
Black mothers have to live with the agony of having to bury their children every day. Too often they have to search for their sons and daughters who have perhaps been arrested or perhaps disap- peared forever without trace. Across the barricades, the white mothers see their children transformed and perverted into mindless killers who will not stop at murdering the black unarmed, but will surely turn their guns on the very mothers who today surrender their sons willingly or unwillingly to the South African death force. These black and white mothers must reach across the divide created by the common enemy of our people and form a human chain to stop, now and forever, the murderous rampage of the apartheid system.
The enormity of the crime of apartheid and the physical threat it poses to the lives of millions of people throughout our region, demands of our religious community that its institutions must at last transcend their temporal limitations. The evil which holds us in bondage will neither be wished away nor talked or shamed out of existence.
For the religious institutions truly to honour their sacred mission, must surely mean that they act now, together with the democratic forces of our country, to vanquish this evil. Let it never be said that when the moment of truth came, those who had the possibility to lead their fellow worshippers into action failed to do so, and thus negated the very essence of their calling.
Once more, we make an appeal to those among the black people who find themselves in the service of the enemy of all the people of our country, to turn their backs on the oppressors. Whatever you are paid to do, soldier or policeman, clerical worker or administrator of some ethnic or racial institution, so-called moderate or vigilante; African, so-called Coloured or Indian, the moment when you have to choose has come. Either you, too, go down with the doomed apartheid system or you live on, a hero or heroine among your people, a proud combatant for the assured democratic victory, never again to carry the lifetime badge of shame of a traitor and a sellout. The blood of the oppressed should no longer stain your hands.
Take the War to the Enemy.
We must move forward towards victory. Therefore we have to take the war to the enemy. We must attack the forces of apartheid in the areas where their power is concentrated, striking powerful blows at the enemy`s military, economic and administrative structures and resources. All the revolutionary work we do should be directed to ensure that we utilise the strength we have ac cumulated to carry out this strategic offensive in a determined manner, on a nationwide basis. We must create the situation when the enemy will no longer have the possibility to withstand our assault.
The nature of the tasks we have to carry out imposes special obligations on the underground structures of the ANC and on Umkhonto we Sizwe. In the 75 years of its fighting existence, our movement has established its place as the force that has led the people as a whole under widely different conditions, but always correctly and consistently, towards final victory. In the new situation with the new tasks ahead of us, we are certain that your movement, the ANC, will live up to its responsibilities.
And so will your army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, whose 25th anniversary we have just observed. The objective to transform our armed offensive into a People`s War remains one that we must pursue with the greatest vigour. This is especially important in the light of the strategic tasks that we have just been discussing. Our mass military offensive must aim to increase the number of casualties among the enemy`s armed forces, to disperse and reduce these forces, make it increasingly impossible for them to defend themselves and undermine the material-economic base which enables the apartheid regime to maintain itself in power.
In the process of this, we must ensure that we build up our combat forces truly into a People` s Army in its national and social composition, in its size, effectiveness and the nature of its operation. It must continue to distinguish itself from the apartheid death forces by the bravery of its combatants, its devotion to the cause of liberation and peace and its refusal to act against civilians, both black and white. But the People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, must in all its elements, act boldly against the apartheid enemy and create the conditions when our superior forces will finally overrun and overthrow the apartheid regime of terror.
Our country is steeped in the worst crisis ever. The apartheid regime, and solely this regime, is responsible for this situation. The crisis will not end until the racist regime is removed from power and replaced by a government elected by all our people. The white population of our country, from whom the apartheid regime claims to derive its authority, has a heavy responsibility to join the majority to bring about this result.
We have been encouraged in the recent past by positions taken by important sections of the white community to break out of the stranglehold of the ideology and practice of white supremacy. The trade unionists, students, business people, religious leaders, women, politicians, academics and others who have begun to make this movement forward will need to move faster and further than they have. The rapidly worsening crisis situation in our country demands this.
It demands that our white compatriots should make a clean break with the past and themselves declare war on racism as the enemy of all the people of our country. It requires that they unequi- vocally reject the ruling group as unrepresentative of them, a cabal whose only interest is to continue to rule without regard to how many of our people, both black and white, have to die in the process. The call of the day is that both black and white should come together in a massive democratic coalition to oppose the racists and to struggle side by side, as equals, for the birth of the new South Africa.
Our white compatriots should thus join the majority of our people to render unworkable the apartheid organs of government within the white areas themselves. Manoeuvres such as those represented by the new-styled Provincial Councils, the Regional Service Councils and the so-called Natal Indaba are nothing but manoeuvres. All white patriots have a responsibility to participate in the concerted attack against the sensitive points of the apartheid system in the towns and cities. These fellow South Africans know that, in the face of the undisguised dictatorship exercised through such agencies as the State Security Council and the Joint Management Centres, they have no `democracy` to defend but an actual military tyranny to overthrow.
We take this opportunity to salute the white youth who have continued to wage a very important struggle against compulsory service in the racist army of repression and aggression. It is vital that this campaign should continue and grow, to deny the oppressors the war machine through which they wish to reduce our country and region into a wasteland. We must also continue to work to win over to the side of democracy as many of the enemy soldiers as possible.
People`s Sanctions Now!
Compatriots, in your name we salute the nations and the peoples of the world who have over the years, and especially in the recent past, responded so well to our appeals to isolate apartheid South Africa and to render all-round assistance to the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement of our country.
As we mark our 75th Anniversary, we can truly say that we have broken through a critical barrier in terms both of world understanding of what is to be done about the apartheid system and the unwillingness of the international community to act. The conditions therefore exist that, in the current period, this community should impose both unilateral and universal comprehensive and mandatory sanctions against racist South Africa. Where governments refuse to act, the public at large should respond with people`s sanctions. Now is the moment for deeds and not words.
One of our greatest achievements is that we, the oppressed, have succeeded to build an alter native and indestructible system of international relations between our people and those of the rest of the world. It is a system of relations based on the noblest of human aspirations for a world of peace, friendship and co-operation among free peoples. It is an element in a new world order which shines as a beacon on a mountain top.
In its permanent light, all can see clearly the nasty brutishness of the external relations which our oppressors have sought to maintain–relations based on racial superiority and domination, aggression, war and murder, underhand dealings and the perpetual lie. The hour has come when the world, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, France and other major Western powers, must finally say no longer will they associate themselves with and encourage the pursuit of such relations and the commission of these crimes. Surely the time is upon us when the democratic movement of our country should everywhere take its place as the rightful representative of our people.
The peoples of Southern Africa are locked in the final stages of mortal combat with our common enemy. In action, our region is doing what it can and must to realise without further delay the hopes and the aspirations of the patriots and the masses who established the ANC 75 years ago. The sacrifices the peoples of Southern Africa are willing to make for liberation, justice and peace are truly inspiring. More than ever, the international community should give all-out support to all the peoples of our region as part of the world offensive against the apartheid system. It is equally imperative that the democratic forces of our country should themselves mount a vigorous campaign against the wanton acts of aggression committed by the Pretoria rulers against the neighbouring countries.
In Samora Machel–A Towering Giant of the African Revolution
The late President of the People`s Republic of Mozambique, Samora Moises Machel, and others who have been murdered by the Pretoria regime and its agents, will forever remain examples of that steadfast refusal of the peoples of our region to surrender to racial and colonial domination, fascist tyranny and state terrorism. Samora Machel was a towering giant of the African Revolution. He dedicated his life to our own liberation. His ideas and his deeds are a material force in the struggle for our emancipation. The blood he shed on our soil is and will forever be a fountain of freedom for all our people. On this historic day we make an undertaking to the brother people of Mozambique and our entire region that, at Mbuzini, where the fellow-combatant, Samora Machel, lost his life, we shall erect a monument that will symbolise the common suffering of the people of Southern Africa, a tribute to their heroism and a solemn affirmation that we share a common destiny of liberty, peace and social progress.
Long Live SWAPO
We extend our militant greetings to the brother people of Namibia and their vanguard organisation, SWAPO. Our movements have the common obligation to lead our respective peoples in the confrontation with the last bastion of racist tyranny on our continent. The historic advances made by our Namibian comrades-in-arms are a factor of decisive importance to our struggle. We too must contribute to the just cause of the Namibian people by intensifying our offensive in our sector of struggle. Together we will win. In a similar manner, we greet also our allies in the struggle, the PLO, the Polisario Front, the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front, Fretilin, their respective peoples and others who are fighting for their genuine national emaciation and the consolidation of their independence.
We salute the OAU and the people of Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement, our friends in the world socialist community, in the Nordic and other European countries and in North America. We greet also our allies in the world anti-apartheid as well as the peace movement. Together with all these forces we shall advance inexorably towards victory.
Many of our leaders have been held hostage by the apartheid regime for almost a quarter of a century now. Since they were captured and illegally imprisoned, they have been joined by thousands of others, young and old, women and men, patriots drawn from all the racial groups in our country as well as some internationalists originating from other countries. The continued imprisonment of all these is a grievous offence against justice, an intolerable challenge to all who love freedom. We all must strive harder to secure their immediate and unconditional release so that they can make what will be an inestimable contribution to the liberation and the reconstruction of our country.
Through our sacrifices, we have advanced close to our victory. We have both the will and the organised forces to move ever nearer to success. The enemy of the peoples has no possibility to recapture the strategic initiative. This situation, which we ourselves have created, demands of us that we seize the time. It obliges us to take the battle to the enemy, to advance in the attack.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee of your movement, the African National Congress, we proclaim this, our historic 75th Jubilee Anniversary, the Year of Advance to People`s Power. Let us all, young and old, black and white, political activist and armed combatant, unite in a concerted offensive against the apartheid regime in the town and the countryside. Let us act to corrode the political, economic, military and administrative power base of the racist regime, and thus take a giant and strategic step forward towards the capture of power by the people.
Score new victories during the historic Year of Advance to People`s Power! Guarantee our victory by advancing in the attack!
Long live the 75th Anniversary of the ANC!
Matla ke a Rona!