Call to Conscience: Anti-Apartheid Action Network

by Howard Hawkins, Upper Valley Committee for a Free Southern Africa
White River Junction, Vermont, United States
Undated, about August or early September 1986
Publisher: Upper Valley Committee for a Free Southern Africa
1 page
Type: Policy Document
Coverage in Africa: Angola, South Africa, Southern Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The document says there is at least one issue in which mean spirit of Reaganism is being defeated; the issue is U.S. policy toward apartheid South Africa; and though we haven't won this issue yet, we are gaining ground; if Reagan had had his way, U.S. economic ties to South Africa would still be business as usual; but over the last two years, bills imposing limited economic sanctions against South Africa have passed Congress with so much support that Reagan has not been able to use his veto to prevent these limited sanctions; public pressure on Congress -- owing to the combination of heightened resistance in Southern Africa and heightened solidarity action for divestment and sanctions in American universities, cities, and states -- has proven irresistible. The document says Reagan's response has been to head off Congress by initiating his own still more limited sanctions by executive order, something he never would have done without the popular pressure for sanctions; Reagan did that last year and threatens to respond in the same way this year to sanctions legislation now making its way through Congress; earlier this year, Rep. Ronald Dellums bill for total trade and investment sanctions against the apartheid regime, which is what the liberation movements are asking us to demand from our government, passed the House of Representatives; the Senate passed a watered-down compromise in August, which will go to a joint committee in September. The document says what is more important than the limited sanctions against apartheid that have been won so far is that the anti-apartheid movement has succeeded in putting this issue on the national agenda to stay; we are beginning to change U.S. policy toward Southern Africa and now have the opportunity to change it fundamentally; the task from here is to organize and follow through. The document says there is still a long way to go, however; while some ground was being gained on the economic front, the U.S. entered into a military alliance with the apartheid regime to help South Africa-backed UNITA overthrow the government of Angola; $15 million has already been deployed by the U.S. for that purpose since last year when Congress repealed the Clark Amendment, a law which had prohibited U.S. military intervention in Angola since 1975; bills now before Congress would up this funding for the UNITA contras to as much as $50 million this year and administration officials have said they would like to go for $200-300 million next year if an Angolan contra aid bill passes this year. The document says the Call to Conscience is an effort to link up and coordinate the efforts of groups active in the anti-apartheid movement; the Call does not seek to form a new organization, but rather to be a network through which existing local, state, and national groups doing anti-apartheid work can consult and coordinate their efforts on a continuing basis; national organizations supporting this effort include the American Committee on Africa, American Friends Service Committee, Clergy and Laity Concerned, Free South Africa Movement, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Black United Front, National Political Congress of Black Women, TransAfrica, and Washington Office on Africa. The document says the Call to Conscience takes no sides in the debates among the different groupings of the liberation movement (i.e., ANC, PAC, Black Consciousness, trade unions, churches), but rather focuses on the demands that all elements of the liberation movement ask us to put forward in our solidarity work. The document says the basis for joining the network is a commitment to work for these demands: • the abolition of apartheid • the independence of Namibia • the full empowerment of Blacks in South Africa and Namibia, beginning with one person, one vote in a unitary state • the implementation of total divestment/disinvestment • the imposition of mandatory comprehensive economic sanctions • the prohibition of all U.S. collaboration with apartheid • non-interference and non-intervention in the frontline states. The document says organizing to pull the Call to Conscience network together began earlier this year; the intention has been to structure the network as democratically as possible and to make sure that local groups in the network can get their ideas and concerns dealt with at the national level; there is now an interim State Coordinator in every state and the network is ready to begin calling actions this Fail; the interim Coordinators at the local, state, and regional levels will be replaced or reaffirmed annually by the groups in the Call that make up their area; ideas and initiatives from local groups for consideration by the Call to Conscience National Steering Committee are encouraged; actions initiated by the Call to Conscience will be decided by National Steering Committee, which is made up of the 11 Regional Coordinators, the national liaison, a student liaison, and representatives from ACOA, AFSC, CALC, FSAM, NBUF, TransAfrica, and WOA. Emergency response actions, on the other hand, can be called by a smaller Call Group that is a sub-committee of the National Steering Committee. The document says any individual or group that is doing, or wants to do, anti-apartheid work and supports the seven demands listed above is urged to join the Call to Conscience and make the pledge to act in concern with the network when calls go out. The document discusses the ANC (African National Congress) and PAC (Pan Africanist Congress).
Used by permission of Howard Hawkins,
Collection: Hawaii Committee for Africa (Renee Furuyama & Joel Fischer collection)