THE SULLIVAN PRINCIPLES: NO CURE FOR APARTHEID A public statement

Notes and Documents
(16/80)
by American Committee on Africa, United Nations Centre Against Apartheid
New York, New York, United States
May 1980
Publisher: United Nations
10 pages
Contents: The Sullivan principles are not an action but a reaction • Sullivan principles do not and cannot change the structure of apartheid • The Sullivan principles cannot significantly alter black working conditions quite apart from whether they will alter apartheid • The Sullivan principles allow a continuing flow of aid to South Africa's white regime • While United States investment in South Africa has increased greatly in recent years conditions for South Africa's black majority have worsened: the Sullivan principles will not alter this trend • Many Africans believe that withdrawal, not signing the Sullivan principles or any other code of conduct, is the only appropriate step for foreign investors • Signers of the public statement on the Sullivan principles • The document says this statement was released at a hearing organized by the Special Committee Against Apartheid on March 24, 1980. The statement says public debate on the issue of whether United States companies should do business in South Africa continues to grow; the Sullivan principles, a voluntary business code of conduct initiated by the Reverend Leon Sullivan, have become an important element in this debate. The statement says signers of the six Sullivan principles pledge to support a series of workplace reforms in South Africa, including the ending of segregation in locker and dining facilities; the provision of training and advancement opportunities for blacks; and the payment of equal wages for equal work. The statement says the principles were signed originally in early 1977 by 12 major United States firms, among them Ford, Mobil, General Motors, IBM and Union Carbide; additional companies later added their endorsements, bringing the current total of signers to more than 130. The statement says the nationwide uprising which began in Soweto in 1976 signaled a new stage in the struggle for freedom in South Africa; for long months thousands of young black men and women risked death, defying police guns, dogs and tear gas to demand an end to apartheid; many died under torture or in prison; in large part due to the events which began in Soweto, public indifference regarding the role of United States corporations ended; university students began calling for divestment of stock in companies doing business in South Africa; many churches, unions, and members of the black community demanded an end to bank loans and corporate investments by United States firms; called to account, the corporations felt obliged to justify their continued presence in South Africa. The statement says confrontation is inevitable if true change is to occur. Non-segregation in the workplace - the first of the Sullivan principles -is the least of the objectives of black South Africans. The statement says they demand real political power: the right to vote, make laws, shape the economic future of the country. The statement says Africans want to be free to live with their families where they choose, and to walk the streets without worrying that policemen will arrest them for infractions of the pass laws; Africans are not struggling and dying to reform apartheid; they want nothing less than the abolition of the system. The statement says in early 1979 the Fluor Corporation of California announced that it had received a $2 billion contract to expand an oil-from-coal plant it has been building for the South African Government; this plant is needed because all the major oil-producing countries, most recently joined by Iran, have cut off oil supplies to South Africa, which has no oil of its own. The statement says General Motors and Ford continue to supply trucks and other vehicles to the police and military, and defend their right to do so; South African laws require that all foreign companies co-operate with the South African military when required. Contingency plans prepared by GM officials in South Africa indicate that GM's total operation would be taken over by the Defence Department in a time of emergency. Signers of the public statement are: Mia Adjali, Executive Secretary, (Women's Division) United Methodist Office for the United Nations; Dr. Gerald Bender, Professor, University of Southern California; Reverend Isaac H. Bivens, Assistant General Secretary for Africa, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church; Hon. Julian Bond, Georgia State Senator; Hon. William H. Booth, Justice, New York State Supreme Court; Reverend Bossie, S.C.J., Priests and Brothers of the Sacred Heart; Reverend Arie R. Brouwer, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America; Ramsey Clark, Lawyer; Hon. John Conyers, Jr., Member of Congress; Reverend Charles W. Dahm, O.P., 8th Day Center for Justice; Ruby Dee, Actress; James Farmer, Executive Director, Coalition of American Public Employees; Moe Foner, Executive Secretary, District 1199, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees; Carlton B. Goodlett, M.D., President, National Black United Fund; Dick Gregory, Author, Lecturer, Entertainer; Peggy L. Halsey, Women’s Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries; Reverend Donald Harrington, Senior Minister, The Community Church of New York; Robert L. Harris, President, National Bar Association; Charles Hayes, International Vice President, United Food and Commercial Workers, AFL-CIO; George M. Houser, Executive Director, American Committee on Africa (ACOA); Reverend M. William Howard, President, National Council of Churches; Sr. Regina Murphy, et. al., Intercommunity Center for Justice and Peace; Dr. Lenard Jeffries, Chairman, Department of Black Studies, City College of City University of New York; William R. Johnson, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Reverend Tracy Jones, General Secretary, Board of Global Ministries of United Methodist Church; William A. Jones, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Charles R. Lawrence, President, House of Deputies, General Convention, The Episcopal Church; Dr. Tilden LeMelle, Professor, Hunter College, CUNY; Robert Van Lierop, Director, Mozambique Film Project; Edgar Lockwood, Director, Washington Office on Africa (WOA); William Lucy, President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU); Sr. Barbara Lupo, M.M., and Reverend John Collins, Co-Directors, Clergy and Laity Concerned; Sr. Mary Ann McGivern, SL, Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment  Lois Miller, Associate General Secretary, World Division of the Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church; Robert W. Neff, General Secretary, Church of the Brethren; Frederick O’Neal, President, Associated Actors and Artists of America, AFL-CIO; Sr. Nadine Ostdick, Provincial School Sister of Notre Dame; Walter L. Owensby, Director, Inter-American Design for Economic Awareness; Canon Robert C.S. Powell, Director, Africa Office, National Council of Churches; Randall Robinson, Executive Director, TransAfrica; Reverend Lawrence Rich, Associate Director, Passionist Social Concerns Center; William F. Shulz, Executive Vice President, Unitarian Universalist Association; Dr. Ann Seidman, Professor, Clark University; Stanley K. Sheinbaum, Regent, University of California; Jacob Sheinkman, Secretary-Treasurer, Amalgamated Clothing and textile Workers Union, AFL-CIO; Leon Shull, National Director, Americans for Democratic Action; Timothy Smith, Executive Director, Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility; Hope R. Stevens, Co-Chairperson, National Conference of Black Lawyers; Robert C. Stover, Attorney; Hon. Percy E. Sutton, Chairman, Inner City Broadcasting Corp.; Dr. James Turner, Director, African Center, Cornell University; Reverend Richard E. Ullrich, Co-Ordinator, Office of Justice and Peace, The Marianists (New York Province); Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker, Secretary General, International Freedom Mobilization; Reverend James Weatherby, Operation PUSH, Human Service Counselor; David Wiley, Director, African Studies Center, Michigan State University; Sr. Patrice Wolf, RS.M, Co-Chairperson, Coalition for Responsible Investment; and Sr. Arlene Woelfel, School Sister of St. Francis.
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).