by John Millington
Editor, Daily Dreadnaught
The Dreadnaught wishes Nelson Mandela a very happy 94th birthday today.
Like so many born in the 80’s, the anti-apartheid struggle was my first experience of politics.
I remember the marches and meeting members of the ANC and the armed wing following the defeat of apartheid.
Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary. For me from a young age, this was obvious and he along with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were my first childhood heroes.
However as time as gone on, everyone has wanted to jump on the bandwagon and claim Nelson Mandela as “their man.”
Some might say, as a beacon of peace and change he does belong to everyone.
But it is worth remembering a few facts that almost never get mentioned when he is referred to in the British media:
– Margaret Thatcher labelled him a terrorist
– Amnesty International refused to lend him support while he was in prison due to the fact he advocated armed resistance in a country where there was no democracy for black South Africans.
– He forged close ties with the labour movement and the Communist Party of South Africa with his best friends during the political struggle being leading Communists including Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu and Joe Slovo
– He singled out the former Soviet Union and its peoples for their an unswerving support during the anti-apartheid struggle
– In several political speeches Mandela has made pro-socialist references and many argue that the original ANC charter was a socialist one.
– He was leader of MK -spear of the Nation (armed wing of the ANC) and helped along with others to organise guerrilla insurgency campaigns against apartheid military targets.
Nelson Mandela is a people’s champion but a champion for people who are downtrodden and oppressed. He is not for those in high office in capitalist countries or middle class do-gooders who sail through life giving to charity and who want to tinker with the system.
He is our man and we should claim him.