Student Day at the S. African Embassy: 25th Anniversary of the Sit-in Movement February 1, 1985

by Student Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism
Washington, DC, United States
Undated, early February 1985?
1 page

This evaluation of student involvement on February 1, 1985, at the South African Embassy considers two conflicting interpretations of our first Direct Action -- success and disappointment. The action was successful in that we mobilized a large number of students from the D.C. area to support the South African people in a positive manner; the spirit and commitment exhibited by over 100 students in submitting to arrest speaks well to the level of student awareness about South Africa and U.S. involvement with this evil. Clearly, there is potential for future anti-apartheid activities in the D.C. metropolitan area conceived and carried out by students. In planning future actions, however, we must keep in mind the disappointments of February 1. The Free South Africa Movement was less than cooperative; the lack of a public-address system in addition to the confusion surrounding the press conference made clear their desire to stifle the independent student initiative and perspective. Also the parade-like atmosphere of the demonstrations have resulted in a ritualism and a sense of pointlessness; the students who were arrested experienced the process as boring. Students of the D.C. area can, however, restore momentum and redirect our energies towards the actors within our own society (i.e., banks corporations, and the Federal Government). We can provide to students, as well as the general populace, an understanding of the level of U.S. involvement with apartheid and thereby dramatize the necessity for an end to U.S. relations with South Africa.

Collection: Kathleen McShea Erville papers