STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE FIRST BANNING ORDERS UNDER THE SUPPRESSION OF COMMUNISM ACT, MAY 22, 1952(1)

It is against every concept of the rule of law and the principles of democracy and an act of sheer impudence for the Minister to call upon office bearers and leaders of democratic and lawful organisations to resign from office.

We have been elected in accordance with democratic procedure by the membership of our organisations and we are indeed proud and privileged to hold office in order to carry out the mandate of the people in a proper constitutional manner, very unlike the Government which is subverting the rule of law for the purpose of imposing an open dictatorship on the people.

It is extremely foolhardy for Mr. Swart to imagine that by removing some leaders from official posts in their organisations, he will manage to strangle the activities of these organisations. The Minister, with all the weapons of suppression at his command, cannot and will not suppress the activities of the masses of the people against injustice and oppression.

Warning

The warning is clear for the people to see - both white and non-white! Today, the whip of dictatorship is cracked down on the heads of the leaders of the Non-European people, tomorrow it will be the turn of the leaders of the trade union movement, and then all and sundry who do not see eye to eye with the policy of Dr. Malan's Government will find themselves the victims of the law of the jungle.

The first and fundamental task before the South African people, European and Non-European alike, is to stop the government before it is too late, and oust it from office. Firm and resolute action must be taken by the people now. Intra-Parliamentary struggle is played out, it is now for the masses of the people everywhere to act and express in tangible form their opposition to the anti-democratic actions of the government. It is not too late - it can and must be done. From the factories and workshops, from the homes and the farms the voice of the people must be raised. The Nationalist Government has made a farce of the rule of law and laws are no longer made for the maintenance of law and order and the good government of the country. Laws are now framed to impose the will of the fascist clique in power. Civil liberty, freedom of speech and movement and every principle of democracy are being ruthlessly crushed.

No Alternative

It is clearly the duty of every citizen to obey the laws of the State but when certain laws are made in defiance of the rule of law and contrary to the cherished principles of civil liberty, then these laws are bad, unjust and immoral and cannot be tolerated by the people. When all normal constitutional avenues for voicing the opposition of the people against unjust laws are brutally closed by the government, then the people have no alternative but to defy these laws.

It is in this context that the plan for the Defiance of Unjust Laws undertaken by the African National Congress and supported by the South African Indian Congress should be viewed and understood. If the United Party, !he Labour Party and the Torch Commando are in right earnest to save South Africa from fascism then there is only one way, that of building a firm alliance with the national organisations of the Non-European people on the basis of full democratic rights for all, in an all-out struggle to stop the Nationalist fascists. Any hesitation on their part to build this alliance will be a great and unforgivable betrayal of the future of South Africa.

The Non-European people are pledged through the decisions of the conferences of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress and the countrywide demonstrations of April 6th to implement the plan for the Defiance of Unjust Laws. The joint meeting of the executives of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress, which meets at Port Elizabeth on May 31, is called upon to meet the new situation fairly and squarely.

Stop Swart! Rid South Africa of Fascist Tyranny!

Act and Resist now! Black and white unite to oust the Nats!

Join the struggle for defiance of unjust laws!


1 From: The Guardian, Cape Town, May 22, 1952