Biko, Mandela & Obama Hero: Psych: Frantz Fanon: Breivik's violence liberated his colonized mind, upon the rotting corpses of the settlers?
“Violence is man re-creating himself.” ― Frantz Fanon
“Mastery of language affords remarkable power.” ― Frantz Fanon
Norway's Support for ANC's Right to Violent Liberation: ‘Nationalists Fighting for the Right to Rule their Country’
Andrea Muhrrteyn | Norway v. Breivik | 17 June 2012
Frantz Fanon (July 20, 1925 – December 6, 1961) was a Martinique-born French psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and writer whose work is influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory and Marxism. Fanon is known as a radical existential humanist thinker on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization.
Fanon supported the Algerian struggle for independence and became a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. His life and works have incited and inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.
For Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth, the colonizer's presence in Algeria is based on sheer military strength. Any resistance to this strength must also be of a violent nature because it is the only 'language' the colonizer speaks. Thus, violent resistance is a necessity imposed by the colonists upon the colonized. The relevance of language and the reformation of discourse pervades much of his work, which is why it is so interdisciplinary, spanning psychiatric concerns to encompass politics, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and literature
Frantz Fanon inspired among others Mandela (A Land Ruled by the Gun) and Steve Biko's concepts of Black Consciousness. Fanon is considered one of the twentieth century's most important theorists of revolution, colonialism, and racial differences. His book Wretched of the Earth was considered the Handbook for the Black Revolution, and considered a classic alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Wretched of the Earth provides an analysis of the psychology of the native: or as Fanon refers to the 'colonized mind' and how liberation can only occur by means of “violence on the rotting corpse of the settler”. Wretched of the Earth had a major impact on the anticolonialism and black-consciousness movements around the world.
American president Barack Obama cites Fanon as an intellectual influence in Dreams from My Father (pg 100-101): “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout,I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night,in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society's stifling constraints. We weren't indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.”
“And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For him there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization a simply a question of relative strength.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.”
― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“I wish to be acknowledged not as Black but as white . . . who but a white woman could do this for me? By loving me she proves that I am worthy of white love. I am loved like a white man. I am a white man. Her noble love takes me onto the road of self realization—I marry white culture, white beauty, white whiteness. When my restless hands grasp those white breasts, they grasp white civilization and dignity and make them mine.” (1952:188)
-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Adam Shatz: 'Frantz Fanon': The Doctor Prescribed Violence
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (48:19)
When the third world was the great hope of the international left -- three very long decades ago, in other words -- no book had a more seductive mystique than The Wretched of the Earth. Its author, Frantz Fanon, was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who had become a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. He was black, dashing and, even better, a martyr -- succumbing to leukemia at the age of 36, a year before Algeria's independence in 1962. Fanon was hardly alone in championing the violent overthrow of colonialism. But his flair for incendiary rhetoric was unmatched.
If The Wretched of the Earth was not “the handbook for the black revolution,” as its publisher boasted, it was certainly a sourcebook of revolutionary slogans.
(Eldridge Cleaver once said that “every brother on a rooftop can quote Fanon.”) “Violence,” Fanon argued most famously, “is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” This was mau-mauing with Left Bank panache. Not to be upstaged, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in his preface, “To shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time.”
[He concludes] In Algeria, as in most of Africa, independence was no sooner achieved than it was confiscated by generals, bureaucrats and economic elites. Although Fanon remains indispensable for his writings on race and colonialism, his utopian program for the third world has gone the way of the colonial empires whose doom he foretold. [Source]
The Wretched of the Earth: Handbook for Black Liberation by Cleansing Violent Revolution
Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power; the "thing" which has been colonized becomes man during the same process by which it frees itself…..
The native who decides to put the program into practice, and to become its moving force, is ready for violence at all times. From birth it is clear to him that this narrow world, strewn with prohibitions, can only be called in question by absolute violence.
.... The settlers' town is a strongly built town, all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly lit town; the streets are covered with asphalt, and the garbage cans swallow all the leavings, unseen, unknown and hardly thought about.[…] The settler's town is a well-fed town, an easygoing town; its belly is always full of good things. The settlers' town is a town of white people, of foreigners.
The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town, the Negro village, the medina, the reservation, is a place of ill fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where or how; they die there, it matters not where, nor how. It is a world without spaciousness; men live there on top of each other, and their huts are built one on top of the other. The native town is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire. It is a town of niggers and dirty Arabs. The look that the native turns on the settler's town is a look of lust, a look of envy; it expresses his dreams of possession—all manner of possession: to sit at the settler's table, to sleep in the settler's bed, with his wife if possible. The colonized man is an envious man. And this the settler knows very well; when their glances meet he ascertains bitterly, always on the defensive, "They want to take our place." It is true, for there is no native who does not dream at least once a day of setting himself up in the settler's place.
.... In the colonies, the foreigner coming from another country imposed his rule by means of guns and machines. In defiance of his successful transplantation, in spite of his appropriation, the settler still remains a foreigner. It is neither the act of owning factories, nor estates, nor a bank balance which distinguishes the governing classes. The governing race is first and foremost those who come from elsewhere, those who are unlike the original inhabitants, "the others."
The destruction of the colonial world is no more and no less that the abolition of one zone, its burial in the depths of the earth or its expulsion from the country.
In the colonial context the settler only ends his work of breaking in the native when the latter admits loudly and intelligibly the supremacy of the white man's values. In the period of decolonization, the colonized masses mock at these very values, insult them, and vomit them up.
For the native, life can only spring up again out of the rotting corpse of the settler. This then is the correspondence, term by term, between the two trains of reasoning.
.... But it so happens that for the colonized people this violence, because it constitutes their only work, invests their characters with positive and creative qualities. The practice of violence binds them together as a whole, since each individual forms a violent link in the great chain, a part of the great organism of violence which has surged upward in reaction to the settler's violence in the beginning. The groups recognize each other and the future nation is already indivisible. The armed struggle mobilizes the people; that is to say, it throws them in one way and in one direction.
The mobilization of the masses, when it arises out of the war of liberation, introduces into each man's consciousness the ideas of a common cause, of a national destiny, and of a collective history. In the same way the second phase, that of the building-up of the nation, is helped on by the existence of this cement which has been mixed with blood and anger. Thus we come to a fuller appreciation of the originality of the words used in these underdeveloped countries. During the colonial period the people are called upon to fight against oppression; after national liberation, they are called upon to fight against poverty, illiteracy, and underdevelopment. The struggle, they say, goes on. The people realize that life is an unending contest.
We have said that the native's violence unifies the people. By its very structure, colonialism is separatist and regionalist. Colonialism does not simply state the existence of tribes; it also reinforces it and separates them. The colonial system encourages chieftaincies and keeps alive the old Marabout confraternities. Violence is in action all-inclusive and national. It follows that it is closely involved in the liquidation of regionalism and of tribalism. Thus the national parties show no pity at all toward the caids and the customary chiefs. Their destruction is the preliminary to the unification of the people.
At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect. [(PDF)]
Robert C. Smith: Fanon and the Concept of Colonial Violence
Fanon departs most sharply from Marx in his understanding of the functions of violence in the revolutionary process. Violence was not key to Marx’s analysis of revolution; he agreed that violence would probably be necessary because the bourgeoisie would in all likelihood resist its demise violently; however, he did admit the possibility of nonviolent revolutionary change in certain advanced industrial societies, notably the United States and Britain.
Thus, although Marx expects violence to be a part of the revolutionary process, he does not consider it historically necessary nor does he make the concept central to his analysis. For Fanon, the exact reverse seems to be the case. He argued that violence was indispensable in the decolonization process, a categorical imperative, without which one could not talk of revolution—or at least one could only talk of it.
In his essay, “Toward the Liberation of Africa,” he writes: “Violence alone, committed by the people, violence organized and educated by its leaders, makes it possible for the masses to understand social truths and gives the key to them. Without that struggle, without that knowledge of the practice of action, there is nothing save a minimum of readaptation, a few reforms, at the top, a flag waving: and down there at the bottom an undivided masses still living in the middle ages, endlessly marking time” (1967:118).
To understand Fanon’s insistence on the absolute necessity of violence, one has to understand that violence is more than a mere political method or tool to force the removal of the European oppressor; for Fanon, it is a vital means of psychic and social liberation. He writes, “Violence is man recreating himself: the native cures himself through force of arms.” Thus, unlike Marx, Fanon seems to imply that even if the colonialists peacefully withdraw, the decolonization process is somehow aborted, that liberation is incomplete—the native remains an enslaved person in the neo-colonial social system.
The native’s inner violence remains pent up, unexpressed and is likely to explode in renewed inter-tribal war, civil war, coups or other forms of post independence civil violence, deprived of its only viable outlet—the settler. Thus, the function of violence is only incidentally political; it’s main function is psycho-social. He writes: “The native’s weapon is proof of his humanity. For in the first days of the revolt you must kill—to shoot down a white man is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time: (1963:71).
Fanon seems to have reached this conclusion from generalizations drawn from case studies of the psyches of the oppressed and the oppressor in Algeria. From this psychoanalytic work he “desired” certain assumptions about the nature of colonialism, and liberation. First, he assumed that colonialism, by nature, is violent.
Fanon writes: “Colonialism . . . is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence. The policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action, maintain contract with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that government speaks the language of pure force. The intermediary does not lighten the oppression nor seek to hide the domination; he shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native” (1963:91).
He further argues that colonialism creates in the native a perpetual tendency toward violence, a “tonicity of muscles” which is deprived of an outlet. Hence, the phenomena of “Niggers Killing Niggers on Saturday Night.”
Here he seems to imply that this violence is inevitable, that it must be expressed if the colonial personality and society is to be free. He argues that it is incorrect to view this violence as the effect of hatred or the resurrection of savage instincts.
On the contrary, he suggests that, given the colonial context, it is the only way the “wretched of the earth” can be free.11 For Marx, violence served no such purpose; and here, Fanon is probably more Sorelian than Marxist.12 Indeed, Marx probably would have recoiled in horror at Fanon’s violence thesis. Yet, one must remember that Marx was dealing with an alienated personality, Fanon with a dehumanized one. At the level of colonized individual, Fanon writes: “For the native, life can only spring up again out of the rotting corpse of the settler” (1963:43).13 [NTurner]
Elleke Boehmer: Nelson Mandela
The Black Elite's Curriculum:
The chapter will end by considering [Mandela's] growing susceptibility to arguments in favor of active or armed resistance, as eloquently articulated in 1950s Africa by Martinique-born, Algeria based anticolonialist Frantz Fanon -- as well as by revolutionary elements within the SACP. …
[..] To guide his organisation in making its difficult decision Mandela read widely in the literature on war and revolution available to him, including Mao Tse-tung, Louis Taruc, and Clausewitz. Yet in the various biographical accounts of this time there is one glaring omission from the reading list: the name of the Paris-trained Martiniquan Frantz Fanon, easily the most important post-1950 theorist of anti-colonial violence, who had already drawn wide attention in francophone Africa.
For the ANC, the Algerian freedom struggle against the local white settler regime had for some time been perceived to exhibit strong parallels with South Africa's. On Mandela's African travels he came into contact with Front de Liberation Nationale officials who had fought for the independence of Algeria, recently won, for whose left-wing Fanon had served as an angry spokesperson. At Oujda in Morocco, an Algerian military base close to the border, he heard Ahmed Ben Bella the guerrilla leader, soon to be first President of an independent Algeria, rally his troops and call for the fight against imperialism to be extended across Africa.
In this context, though Mandela never mentions Fanon by name, it is difficult to believe that he did not feel in some capacity the transformative force of his ideas. ... Fanon's approach to the overthrow of imperial power, based on his time working as a psychiatrist in revolutionary Algeria, was bracingly combative: the colonized, he believed, should resist the coloniser to the death, with violence; their entire sensibility should be focused on this rejection.... There is no doubt that, some ten years on from the ANC's move to arms, Steve Biko's BCM, with its outright rejection of white values, demonstrated a clear debt to Fanon's fiercely nationalist and anti-colonial manifesto The Wretched of the Earth (1961).
[..] In his first international speech, A Land Ruled by the Gun, given at the January 1962 PAFMECA (later OAU) conference in Addis Ababa, Mandela sought to justify the ANC's controversial turn to violence, its "sharpening" of its "less effective" political weapons. Like Fanon in his polemical address in support of anti-colonial violence given to the 1958 All-Africa People's Conference, Mandela gives a careful exposition of the stages of increasing violence the African majority has suffered. As part of this exposition he suggests, as famously does Fanon, that the colonized system's pervasive "atmosphere of violence" is the creation of the colonizer alone, and that in this situation the colonized has no choice but to reject the system absolutely. Any compromise or attempt to come to terms will simply reinforce oppression: "only violence pays." Mandela's summary of South Africa's anti-imperialist struggle builds gradually toward a short, uncompromising paragraph encapsulating the injunction that "hard and swift blows" need now to be delivered.
Strategically framed as a response as a response to Mark Antony-- like rhetorical question concerning what role freedom movements should take against the state's "multiple onslaughts" -- "Can anyone, therefore, doubt the role that the freedom movements should play in view of this hideous conspiracy?" -- Mandela's charged language is at this point distinctly reminiscent of Fanon. Fanon's own 1958 conference speech, given as a riposte to Kwame Nkrumah's influential advocacy of Positive Action stopping short of violence, had been unequivocal in making its central point: the natives violence was not merely necessary but self-transforming. (The speech, which cited Sharpeville as a reminder of colonialism's overkill, was developed into the chapter "Concerning Violence" that forms the core of The Wretched of the Earth).
Published in French, a language Mandela could not read, The Wretched of the Earth did not appear in English translation till 1965, by which time he was already in prison. Yet, as these parallels suggest, it seems likely that he would on more than one occasion on his African tour, most probably in Addis Ababa as well as Morocco, have been exposed to Fanon's ideas, even if at several removes. He explicitly refers both to the 1958 Conference and to Nkrumah's defensive 1960 Positive Action conference in A Land Ruled by the Gun: he would have known about the debates that had taken place at both venues. In this context it seems fitting that MK with Mandela at its head was established in 1961, the year of The Wretched of the Earth. [G.Books]
Mandisi Majavu: The Essential Steve Biko:
In all Biko's work and statements, the Frantz Fanon influence can be detected. Even the concept of a black consciousness in liberating black people from their own psychological oppression is a cornerstone of Fanon's argument.
Be that as it may, Biko was undoubtedly the most articulate spokesperson for black people during the early 1970s. He could pinpoint problems black people were facing in this country at that time - their own feelings of inferiority and self-hate. [SA.Info]
Thomas K. Ranuga: Frantz Fanon and Black Consciousness in Azania (South Africa):
“The black is a black man; that is, as a result of a series of aberrations of affect, he is rooted at the core of a universe from which he must be extricated. The problem is important. I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of colour from himself.” -- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
The emergence of the Black Consciousness philosophy in the late 1960s is one of the most important ideological developments ever to take place in the evolution of African political thought in Azania. This philosophy surfaced at a time when above-ground black political activities were virtually nonexistent in Azania following the banning of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) by the white racist government in 1960. It was at this critical historical juncture that the alienation of black youth from dominant white society found concrete expression in the categorical rejection of white liberal leadership by the newly formed all-black South African Students Organisation (SASO) which laid the foundation for and became the cradle of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) of Azania. The founders of SASO advocated the adoption of a radical political ideology which, in addition to its deep roots in orthodox African nationalism, borrowed major elements from the revolutionary writings of Frantz Fanon. It is the purpose of this analysis to show the dynamic link between the radical ideas of Frantz Fanon and the philosophy of Black Consciousness as propounded and effectively articulated by Steve Biko, the black militant who has come to be known as the father of Black Consciousness in Azania. The major ideas to be focussed upon pertain to political consciousness, the role of white liberals in black liberation movements and the crucial question of total liberation.
The Colonized Mind
Partly because of his training in psychiatry and partly because of his personal involvement in revolutionary activities, Fanon was greatly preoccupied with and deeply distressed by one major legacy of colonialism and imperialism, the paralyzing inferiority complex of blacks and their abject idolization of whites as their role models. His writings were aimed principally at galvanizing the physically and mentally colonized people of the Third World to rise up and retrieve their self-esteem, dignity and freedom and thus resume their rightful place as respectable members of the World community. His major analytical focus was the mind or consciousness as the repository of crippling fears and debilitating complexes. Blacks had to realize that the fear of whites and the attendant inferiority complex were direct products of the colonized mind. [JSTOR]
Tor Sellström: Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa: Solidarity and Assistance
Black Consciousness Before Soweto [Uprising]
Largely inspired by the 1960’s black power movement in the United States – but also by the writings of Frantz Fanon and the policies of Julius Nyerere in Tanzania – the philosophy of black consciousness was developed towards the end of the decade by Steve Biko, Barney Pityana and other young black university students of the post-Sharpeville generation. As stated by the former BCM activists Mokoape, Mtintos and Nhlapo,
[t]he cornerstone of Biko’s thinking was that black people must look inwardly at themselves, reflect on their history, examine the reasons for past failures and ask themselves […]: ‘What makes the black man fail to tick?’
Emphasising assertiveness and self-esteem, under the slogan ‘Black man, you are on your own!’ black consciousness maintained that the oppression of blacks was both psychological and physical, respectively described as ‘Phase One’ and ‘Phase Two’.
During an initial period, the efforts focused on the psychological aspects…… While it was relatively uncomplicated to address ‘Phase One’, it was considerably more difficult – and in the longer term divisive – to approach ‘Phase Two’. This required a clear strategic objective and definite tactics with regard to alliances and methods of struggle. Mokoape, Mtintso and Nhlapo have recalled how
The questions relating to ‘Phase [Two]’ went largely unanswered […] in BC[M] circles.[I]t was often stated that when the time came, ‘the people will decide’. However, within informal sessions there was a strong recognition of the need for armed struggle. Yet, even those who agreed that this was an absolute necessity were still baffled by the ‘how’.
[Steve Biko makes numerous attempts to schedule meetings with the PAC and ANC, to give military training to BCM members]
As Pityana later noted: “Steve Biko would have come out of South Africa to try to bring some order into the situation and encourage people to have a creative relationship with the ANC.. […] [E]specially the situation among BC[M] people in Botswana was very bad. There were lots of factions and it was necessary that those who really did want to get involved in armed combat could be trusted. Steve would have explored the possibility of BCM engaging in open political struggle internally in South Africa and of letting those who wanted to be involved in armed struggle do so through ANC. Essentially that is what he was going to explore.(Interview with Barney Pityana, pp. 188-89)
Finally, a third – for the apartheid regime potentially much more ominous – meeting was in utmost secrecy planned to take place in Gaborone, Botstwana, in early September 1977. It was not only to involve Biko and Tambo, but also Olof Palme, the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party. It would have brought together South Africa’s foremost internal black politician, representing the post Sharpeville generation; the head of the strongest liberation movement, commanding a sizeable military force; and the representative of a leading donor country, also acting on behalf of a powerful international political community. As later stated by the South African security officer Craig Williamson: “That was bad news” [(PDF)]
Norway's Support for ANC's Right to Fight / Violent Liberation: ‘Nationalists Fighting for the Right to Rule their Country’
Tore Linne Eriksen: Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa
At the UN Assembly in 1972, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vårvik found it frustrating to vote for weak UN resolutions regarding Rhodesia, and had urged the other Nordic governments to vote in favour even of resolutions asking Britain to bring the Rhodesian rebellion to an end “by all means possible” and similar wordings. In doing so, Vårvik followed in the footsteps of Finn Gustavsen’s argument presented years earlier, that one should not only vote for what seemed realistic, sometimes one ought to vote simply to be heard. Norway did not want to legitimise the use of violence, but sought to establish the liberation movements’ right to fight for their cause, very much in the same way it had been a moral imperative to fight the German occupation of Norway during World War II. The other Nordic countries, Iceland excluded, were however most unwilling to change their positions in 1973.
Not only did Norway face strong, Nordic resistance, Norwegian views were, not surprisingly, opposed by the British delegation at the UN. Under this combined pressure, Norway gave in and resumed to the traditional position of abstention on these resolutions. This is one of the rare cases in this period where Norway went further than the other Nordic countries. Over the years though, this changed, and in the late seventies the Nordic countries abstained or voted in favour of such resolutions.
In addition to these diplomatic efforts, the Norwegian government extended humanitarian assistance to the liberation movements. While a touch of Cold War in Southern Africa was felt more strongly in many Western capitals, the Labour Party government from 1973 and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued that the escalating hostilities should not be seen in such a context. The liberation movements should not be labelled “communist” or “non-communist”, they were nationalists fighting for their right to rule their country. The funds allocated to the liberation movements rose steadily from a mere NOK 200,000 in 1974 to NOK 8 million in 1979.
With the exception of a single grant to the Muzorewa-led United African National Council in 1977, the funds were equally divided between ZANU and ZAPU. In the period 1977–1979 NOK 20 million was extended in direct support to ZAPU and ZANU.
The Church of Norway’s step towards more politically oriented work on human rights came as a result of actions taken by WCC and LWF. In 1968 the WCC presented the idea of a new Study Programme to Combat Racism (PCR) at the General Assembly in Uppsala. It was also proposed that the WCC should establish a fund to provide economic support for the liberation struggle. The next year WCC Central Committee at their meeting in Notting Hill decided to establish both the PCR and the Special Fund. The president of FRELIMO, Eduardo Mondlane, was invited to speak at the meeting, but he was killed by a car bomb shortly before. The speech was instead given by Oliver Tambo, the acting president of the ANC. The Norwegian bishop Kåre Støylen was a member of the Central Committee, and voted in favour of both the PCR and the Special Fund.
In 1970 the Executive Committee of the WCC granted USD 200,000 to nineteen different liberation movements of which fourteen operated within Southern Africa.
The conditions were clear; the money could only be used for humanitarian purposes, and not in the violent struggle. But at the same time WCC accepted that some liberation movements could be forced to use violence in situations where all other means had been shown to be in vain.
As we know, the WCC Programme to Combat Racism and the financial support to the liberation movements caused an internal debate in the Church of Norway in 1969–70. After the WCC-PRC meeting in Lusaka in 1987 the same debate arose again. Both the president of ANC, Oliver Tambo, and the SWAPO President, Sam Nujoma, addressed the conference, together with the chairman of PAC, Johnson Mlambo. The Lusaka meeting recognised “that the people of South Africa and Namibia, who are yearning for justice and peace, have identified the liberation movements of their countries as the authentic vehicles of their aspirations for self-determination.”
Even though the WCC only gave humanitarian assistance, the conference accepted that the liberation movements in critical situations chose to use violence.
In Norway the Lusaka statement led to renewed debate on the use of violence, and CEIR arranged a seminar to discuss this matter. CEIR also adopted a resolution supporting the Lusaka-statement:
The statement further acknowledges that the South African and Namibian people have designated the liberation movements as their legitimate tools in the fight for self-determination, justice and peace. CEIR accepts and affirms these movements as representative spokesmen and instruments of the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. As representative expressions for the will of the people these movements must themselves be responsible for choosing what means to employ. It will remain the primary task of our church to help ensure that all possibilities for non-violent solutions are explored, while we at the same time can understand that the oppressed party finds itself forced to resort to armed resistance in the course of the liberation struggle.The Lusaka statement was also discussed at the conference at Gran where the Nordic churches and their partner churches in the SADCC region discussed what kind of concrete actions should be taken to follow up their commitments from Lusaka.
In 1988 ANC opened an office in Oslo. From now on much of the contact between the church and ANC was handled by this office. Contact was frequent between CEIR’s secretary-general and ANC’s representative in Norway. This helped the church to understand ANC’s views on political developments during the negotiation process. CEIR’s close relations with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs helped ANC to get access to high rank politicians in Norway.
“The Old Boys’ Network”
The co-operation between the Ministry and CEIR went in a new direction from 1984. From that year onwards the amount of money and the number of projects increased substantially. The reason was partly a need to support the struggle in South Africa that was felt when Tutu came to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. But more important: that year Bjarne Lindstrøm was appointed general consul in Cape Town. He did not bother much about the rules of diplomacy, but turned the Consulate into a “secret base” for Norwegian financial support to political opposition groups within South Africa. This was done in mutual understanding with the government back home. However, it was not until after 1994 that the parliament got to know the details of the role the Consulate had played. [(PDF)]
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