Help Free South African Political Prisoner
by Stanley Fischer, Bill Henning, Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid, The Labor Institute, Labor Notes
Denver, Colorado, United States
Undated, about June 1987
Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid, The Labor Institute, Labor Notes
The mailing says Amon Msane, a member of the Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers of South Africa and chief steward at the 3M Company's plant near Johannesburg, was arrested at 1:00 am February 19 in front of his wife and children. Msane was taken to Modderbee Prison outside of Johannesburg where he is currently being held. The mailing says Msane is well known in the U.S. for his work in building international ties between workers in South Africa and in the U.S. In February 1986, he led a walk-out of 300 Black workers at 3M's South Africa plant in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters at the 3M plant in Freehold, New Jersey, whose plant was closing. After this strike, Msane toured the U.S., speaking about the need for international solidarity; when he returned to South Africa he was arrested and held for four weeks until an international campaign resulted in his release. The mailing says last November, Msane returned to the U.S. to speak at the Labor Notes conference in Detroit; many of Msane's supporters believe that this second arrest was the result of this second visit. A number of things are being done to secure the activist's release. Letters are being sent to the 3M Company; Amnesty International has taken up his case, and a coalition of religious and labor leaders in St. Paul, Minnesota (3M's home town) is trying to meet with the company to discuss the situation; resolutions were brought to the 3M's stockholders meeting on May 12 calling for the company to intervene on Msane's behalf. The mailing asks people to write the 3M Company to ask that it pressure the South African government to release Msane, write the South African embassy to demand Msane's release, publicize his arrest in union newsletters and among co-workers; and get local unions to pass a resolution or circulate a petition supporting Msane. The mailing discusses Allen Jacobson and Ambassador Herbert Beukes.
Used by permission of Bill Henning and former members of the New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid.
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root