Sunday 15 December 2013

The Beloved Country

From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the West as undemocratic and reactionary.

But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system.

The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world. I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country's system of justice.

I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fail to arouse my admiration.

Nelson Mandela, The Struggle Is My Life, 1986, p.177.

Every "Anglosphere" fantasist, South Africa is the standing contradiction of your delusions.

A Common Law jurisdiction with a Westminster parliamentary system complete with the monarchy, and with a large, in commercial and political terms initially dominant, British-descended population, became the apartheid state through the operation  of those mechanisms, and indeed ostensibly in order to protect them.

By the time that South Africa became a republic, everything was in place. In any case, America became a republic a very long time ago. Is America not part of "The Anglosphere"? Britain, including under the greatest Labour Government in domestic policy terms but one with an extremely disappointing foreign policy record, did nothing much to help the resistance to apartheid.

The recognisably Commonwealth Tory United Party colluded in it, and did not exactly have the best record on these matters from its own time in power. The other Old Dominions were themselves constitutionally racist at the time; to an extent, they still are. The United States was the land of Jim Crow, and of Cold War hysteria in relations with the wider world.

So Mandela and his partisans had to look to the Communist Party at home and to the Soviet Union abroad, because they had not been given the slightest succour, but rather the very reverse, by those with whom they shared a common educational, legal and religious culture.

To his dying day, could Mandela speak Russian? I am open to correction, but I should not have thought so. His legal training would have been in no way transferable to the Soviet Union, which was also not noted for its Methodists. There are Methodists in Cuba, but her legal system has never borne any resemblance to that of South Africa, and I doubt that, to his dying day, Mandela could speak Spanish, although, again, I am open to correction.

There are those sad souls in Orania. Where will they be in a thousand years' time? I feel a Doctor Who coming on: Planet of the Boers. But apart from them, the only people who dispute that South Africa is better off now than before 1994 are in the British Conservative Party.

To their roster of shame, we may add Bob Blackman, who was elected to the House of Commons only in 2010, for a seat which will thankfully return to Labour in any Conservative defeat. He remains wholly unapologetic that he blocked the necessary two-thirds majority to confer the Freedom of the London Borough of Brent on Mandela during his landmark visit to Wembley Stadium in 1990 for a concert broadcast in 60 countries to celebrate his release from prison.

Blackman even obtained an injunction from the High Court to prevent any recognition of the simple majority that such a conferral had received. Mandela did eventually become a Freeman of Brent by a unanimous resolution. In June of this year. Blackman continues to receive the Conservative Whip in the House of Commons, signifying and effecting the approval of David Cameron.

Such were the people who drove Mandela into the arms of the SACP and of the USSR. Frankly, as with the adoption of the armed struggle, what else were they supposed to do? And whose fault was it that they had been left with no other option? Snapping at their heels were those who, not without cause, are now most vocal in decrying the failure of the new South Africa to deliver the promised goods with sufficient speed or in sufficient abundance, the only criticism that is advanced internally, and one the factual basis of which is undeniable.

Those are the Black Nationalists, the Africanists, the Pan-Africanists. As previously in the PAC and in the Black Consciousness Movement, and as currently in Zimbabwe, their philosophy has become mixed up with Maoism, the most un-Marxian political position apart from Juche.

(The standing rebuke to Marxism is the complete failure of the Revolution ever to happen in the advanced industrial economies that alone are supposed to be able to produce it. Whereas it is at least attempted over, and over, and over again in the most underdeveloped places on earth. Therefore, the whole system has to keep being rewritten in order to make possible the Revolution in the places where it is already happening. Although on the general principles of the rural working class and the peoples of the developing world as more radical forces than are to be found in first-world cities, the Great Helmsman was onto something. But of that, another time.)

It was in order to contain and overcome violent hatred of whites and Indians, and usually also of Coloureds, that Mandela sought alliances national and international. While he was in prison, the ANC also sought such against the reception of Mao Zedong Thought among those who were already defined by that racism. Largely, it must be said, due to the disappointments visited by the ANC in power, bulwarks against such forces are now as necessary as ever.

"The Anglosphere" proved worse than useless last time. But the Soviet Union no longer exists. Where would it be this time? China as she is now? Saudi Arabia and Qatar? They are where the money is. Not that South Africa is going to fall apart after today's funeral. That was supposed to happen in, or very soon after, 1994, but it never did. It is matter of what holds South Africa together against the forces neo-Mugabism, which most people do not want, but which are unlikely to ask their opinion.

This time, we could step up to the plate. Britain cannot do so while the Prime Minister who tolerates the likes of Bob Blackman in his party. But Cameron will be gone from Downing Street, and Blackman from the Palace of Westminster, sooner rather than later.

Both as bearers of a different vision and as links to the wider world, the churches will be crucial. The absence of Desmond Tutu from Mandela's funeral is a healthy sign. He was an outspoken critic of the ANC both after and, although this is often forgotten, before it came to power.

He advanced critiques of its Marxist and terrorist tendencies as anything other than one of the apartheid apologists who used such terms as cover in the British media during that period.

The fact of his criticisms demonstrated that such could be advanced within the liberation movement, and demonstrate that such can be advanced in what we are still calling the new South Africa. In less happy lands, the punishment for such outspokenness is a great deal worse than non-invitation to a funeral.

Tutu's prominence has long obscured the relative smallness of the Anglican Church across the ethnic groups in South Africa, and we have all managed to forget how fiercely much of the white fifth of it opposed his appointment, first as Bishop of Johannesburg, and then as Archbishop of Cape Town.

Among both black and white South Africans, there are more Catholics than Anglicans. The white ones are overwhelmingly of Irish descent, whereas the Anglicans' ancestors were mostly English. And those Catholics, too, have dark corners of their history. The activities of the valiant Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban, and especially the attempted integration of Catholic schools, were bitterly contested by the self-styled South African Catholic Defence League.

Similar things can be said of Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Congregationalists and others. Obviously, that includes what was the Dutch Reformed Church and its Coloured and black "missions". But it also extends to the churches of black origin, which reworked the missionary teachings in terms that were always politically radical initially, but which at an institutional level could become very far removed from that heritage. Such bodies could sometimes make a point of insisting officially that they did not actively oppose the regime or those of the Bantustans, and at least occasionally of punishing ministers and members who did.

Across the board, there is a legacy, both of heroes whose example is to be emulated, and of villains whose example is to be eschewed. Nothing could be more important, both in the deployment of an alternative internal ideology, and in the inseparable cultivation of the necessary external ties, in order to prevent the descent of South Africa, even if only by default, into anything approaching a Greater Zimbabwe.


  1. In response to your post on the ANC and the Anglosphere.

    Please see the below.

    Firstly, Bob Blackman is an admirer of Mandela's turn away from violence who simply opposed the Labour Party exploiting him for a photo op. As is only right and proper.

    On to more serious matters.

    The Anglosphere, of course, refers to the only truly free civilisations ever to have existed on Earth.

    South Africa, of course, became an apartheid state precisely because she spurned all ties with Britain, the Commonwealth and the Monarchy and hence the Anglosphere.

    The bitterly anti-British National Party defeated the old United Party of Jan Smuts, (which had been pro-British) in the 1939-45 war.

    Balthazar Johannes Vorster, (who would later become leader of the Apartheid State) was interned by Smuts because of his noisy enthusiasm for Hitler, when Britain was fighting him.

    The Nationalists resented British domination, feared British immigration and wanted as little to do with the British Commonwealth as possible. They didn't even want to speak English.
    They organised a referendum to rid South Africa of the Monarchy.

    As to the ANC; the Tories and the US Republicans had no choice but to oppose sanctions and rightly feared the ANC getting power.

    Mandela was not the only leader of the ANC-and its training camps outside South Africa were often run by tyrannical militants.

    In South Africa, its armed wing Spear of the Nation necklaced opponents (a policy supported by Mandela's then-wife, who is still a prominent figure within it) and tortured and murdered blacks as well as whites.

    Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi had implored Thatcher and Reagan not to hurt the black population of South Africa through sanctions.

    40,000 Cuban troops were in Angola in 1986 (where the South African regime was an ally of the West)-while Mugabe was communizing Zimbabwe, and Mozambique and SouthWest Africa were leaning towards Soviet Communism.

    The South African Communist Party was more slavishly loyal to the Kremlin than any other Communist Party in the world at that time.

    Far from being pro-democracy (or anti-imperialism) senior ANC figures cheered on the Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia.

    If the ANC had taken over South Africa before the end of the Soviet Union, it would almost certainly have become a client of the Kremlin.

    Since South Africa occupies one of the prime strategic sites in the world, and produces large numbers of very valuable commodities, many of them militarily significant, this would have been a grave blow to the West during the Cold War.

    Once the Soviet menace was gone, and the West was no longer afraid of handing one of the world's most important countries to Moscow control, Mrs Thatcher played a significant part in the release of Mandela and the peaceful handover of power.

    The fall of the Soviet Union compelled the ANC to abandon terrorism in favour of peaceful compromise, since it knew it could no longer win a civil war without Soviet support.

    The history is far more complex than the story told by simple-minded 'Rainbow Nation' leftists who have clearly filled you with their rubbish, Mr Lindsay.

  2. Check basic dates. Apartheid predated the republic, which only just passed the all-white referendum (not without chicanery), whereas apartheid was hugely popular among whites, of both tribes, at the time.

    And check the record of the United Party. Which was undeniably pro-British, but that is the point. Look at Canada or Australia in the same period. Look at Australia now.

    Beyond a few sad Boer War re-enactors, no one, no one at all, in South Africa prefers the old order to the new. The Rainbow Nation, indeed. Not perfect. But a great success story. Whether you like it or not.

  3. I didn't say anyone prefers the old regime.

    I said Thatcher and Reagan were right to oppose sanctions before the Soviet Union's collapse, when South Africa was our ally against 40,000 Cuban troops and Russian weapons in Angola and the ANC was an Angolan-trained, Kremlin-supporting terrorist outfit that would have turned a strategically-important region into a North Korea-style Soviet satellite.

    When the Soviet Union was clearly finished, the ANC abandoned terrorism and switched to reconciliation.

    Not because they suddenly became nice guys. But because they knew they could no longer win through violence.

    When the Soviet Union was clearly finished, Thatcher played an instrumental role in aiding Mandela's release and the peaceful transfer of power.

  4. Further to my second comment.

    Just read this bit; "a great success story".

    Now that is just hilarious; there are more murders every day in South Africa now, than under apartheid (about 50 a day).

    Rape is more rampant than it has ever been there.

    What's that you say? Great success story? Are you joking?

  5. Further to my last three comments.

    Norman Tebbit said that he, like Mrs Thatcher, supported the peaceful transition to the new South Africa once the Soviet Union was finished-compelling the ANC to renounce terrorism, and averting any risk of it becoming a Kremlin client.

    We were right all along.

  6. I have put these up just to show people that you are illiterate. Funny how no one in South Africa agrees with you.

    All criticism there is that the Government is not left-wing enough (not left-wing at all, in fact), or not Black Nationalist enough (the appeal of which is precisely the results of the fact that it is not left-wing enough). Your position does not exist.

    I reckon that those murder figures and what have you are either just made up by the likes of the Telegraph, or else a consequence of now counting crimes against blacks, which didn't used to be recorded because they were deemed not to matter in your Golden Age.