The Republic of South Africa and the Rhodesia Coalition

by Coalition to Stop Rhodesian Imports
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Undated, second half of 1974?
2 pages
Type: Policy Document
Coverage in Africa: South Africa, Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
This document was apparently an internal discussion paper of the Coalition to Stop Rhodesian Imports. It discusses a political basis of unity and whether and how to extend the boycott to South Africa.  With the accelerating withdrawal of Portugal from its colonies, the role of RSA as a stronghold of imperialism and its record of oppression of black people are much greater and longer than Rhodesia. Although Rhodesia has emerged dramatically as a racist power and the armed liberation struggle there is on a higher level than in RSA, the UN has similarly condemned and sanctioned RSA, and Rhodesia’s survival largely depend on RSA support. Virtually independent in energy production due to massive coal reserves and oil-from-coal conversion plants, RSA is Britain's second largest trading partner. Its national ruling class owns a substantia part of domestic industry, and RSA has the facilities to manufacture its own armaments, which Rhodesia lacks. RSA has been unstinting in providing men and arms to Ian Smith and to the Portuguese colonies in order to prevent the armed struggle from reaching its borders or having a haven just across them. It is thought that RSA encouraged a settlement with ANC in Rhodesia and is perturbed at Smith's "extremism"; facing the reality of black rule, RSA may be putting more effort toward developing a puppet black government in Rhodesia, despite Smith's protests. The paper describes Rhodesia as a hand of South Africa's arm and brain; it therefore suggests that limiting solidarity work to Rhodesia is opportunist, and it could appear as less worthy of support and less serious to that part of the community which seriously supports African liberation. Expanding the boycott to South Africa will be more difficult because of the tremendous quantity of goods coming from RSA, and the longshoremen will have to be centrally involved in this discussion. A boycott might focus on particular shipping companies which handle RSA freight, boycott of specific strategic items, or refusal to handle some U.S. exports to RSA. The document mentions UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence), Verwoerd, Caetano, U.S. investment, military rulers such as Amin, industrial sector, and internal educational responsibilities of the Coalition.

Used by permission of former members of the Coalition to Stop Rhodesian and South African Imports.
Collection: Vincent Klingler papers