The USA broke Afghanistan, now it must own the mess.

The USA Bugs Out

By Phil Hall and Tony Hall

The decisive battle that the USA has lost is the battle to rebuild Afghanistan and win hearts and minds. Let’s start by injecting a little historical memory into these farcically simplistic and convenient narratives of invasion, counter invasion and withdrawal. ‘We tried. We came in to rescue women and girls.’ Really?

We crossed the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan in 1976. The names of British soldiers were set into the rock of the pass in brass plaques. Churchill, the aristocrat who hid under a commoner’s name, when he was a young subaltern, a lieutenant in India, said of the Afghans – before running away from them:

“The danger and difficulty of attacking these active fierce hill men is extreme. They can get up in the hills twice as fast as we can, and shoot wonderfully well with Martini Henry rifles. It is a war without quarter. They kill and mutilate everyone they catch and we do not hesitate to finish their wounded off. I have seen several things which have not been very pretty since I have been up here.”

From the letters of Winston Churchill

We were the fighters, a former Afghan Mujahadin told me, who centuries before slaughtered our wives and children before going off to fight the Golden Horde; there was nothing left for us to lose. We are the men who defeated the USSR’s elite fighting force, the SpetsNats, the best in the world.


The Halls by a river near Herat in 1976, photo credit Eve Hall

When we passed through Afghanistan in 1976, it was still part of the hippy trail. I remember its fast, clear, pebbly rivers. I remember beautiful, unveiled women. As a joke, a young soldier at a petrol station pretended to run me through with his bayonet.

After the Second World War, Afghanistan was gradually pulled into the orbit of the Soviet Union. After all, Afghanistan was on its border. The idea was to ‘bring it along’, as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were brought along.

From the late 50s onwards, the former Soviet Union positively indulged regional identities, and, at the same time in its clunky and unsubtle way, unenhanced by the exquisite weaponry of PR, the USSR encouraged equality of opportunity for women, secularism, public works, and the rest of what was commonly and clumsily associated with progressive society.

The world in 1970 was going into the last phase of a long period of standoff, if not balance, between post-colonial, state mediated capitalism, and giant state socialism. The Soviets had a stake in Afghanistan’s stability. The USA, on the other hand, developed an interest in its instability.

Afghanistan was trying to play regional Soviet involvement off the long distance strategic opportunism of US foreign policy. Half the highway we drove over, the one that crossed the country, was paved by the Soviets and the other half was paved by the United States government. You could actually see the join. The different types of road surface met in the middle of the country.

The bellicose US agent in the region was Pakistan and, with its help, the US plan was to first destabilise Afghanistan and India and then use any opportunity that arose to try to bring both countries into the western sphere of influence, out of the semi-neutrality they had enjoyed until then.

In 1976, there was no war in Afghanistan and all the women did not wear hijabs. Kabul was a nice peaceful city. The western flower children, in search of enlightenment in India, passed through Afghanistan on their way. They read in Lonely Planet that the Afghans were so hospitable that they would look after foreign guests for weeks expecting nothing in return. Some hippies stayed for months. Still, in their hospitable fashion, the poor Afghan farmers hosted them.


The broadminded King Zahir Shah in 1963, photo Afghan govt.

The Afghan king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, was a reformer, He liked western ideas and liberalised Afghan society. He is quoted as saying:

I am “not a capitalist. But I also don’t want socialism. I don’t want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don’t want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place.

But land reform was important to farmers and there was no sign of it. The king was removed in 1973 in a coup by his cousin Mohammad Daoud Khan. Still no land reform came.

In April 1978, according to John Ryan, the army intervened after demonstrations. The Afghan government stood down and the army took power. Noor Mohammed Taraki, a Marxist university professor, became president. This, even the CIA has admitted, was without the involvement of the USSR. The vital point, however, is to remember that the Marxist government in April 78 came about through a totally indigenous change, that good things happened under Taraki’s leadership, and that, for most Afghan people, bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

Although the takeover was not part of a democratic process, John Ryan, a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg who was in Kabul in 1978, wrote:

it is important to understand that if the U.S. had left the Marxist Taraki government alone there would have been no army of Mujahideen.

In an article written in 2006, Ryan, describes how he perceived the popularity of the new Marxist government:

Labour unions were legalized, a minimum wage was established, a progressive income tax was introduced, men and women were given equal rights, and girls were encouraged to go to school. On September 1, 1978, there was an abolition of all debts owed by farmers. A program was being developed for major land reform, and it was expected that all farm families (including landlords) would be given the equivalent of equal amounts of land.

The immediate response of the USA was to oppose the new Afghan government, and it started training conservative Muslim opponents to the regime, bringing into the fight the USA’s Muslim Arab allies from the Gulf region to participate in the process of the destabilisation and Islamisation. This was a terrible mistake. The USA should have pushed for a democratic election and not immediately tried to organise a coup d’etat.

Story after story in the western media, on the TV channels, on the covers of Time and Newsweek, throughout the whole of the establishment press, commended the brave mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet-backed regime.

Afghanistan had been turned by the USA from a relatively secular country where women had some freedom and the right to an education, into a misogynistic, warring hellhole.

In the second half of the 70s, capitalist exploitation and speculation, and religious extremism, were operating globally, feeding off each other – with socialism so left out, and secular nationalism so constantly slapped down that almost the entire geo-political stage was taken up by two mad, ungovernable forces pitted against each other. Criminal Lunacy Sans Frontieres.

The key to the US strategy of destabilisation was to plant an agent provocateur in the Afghan government. That agent provocateur, according to Afghan Marxists, was Hafizullah Amin who had been, allegedly, recruited by the CIA when he visited the USA. He was given the job of working inside the Afghan government to alienate Afghan society and, especially, the traditional minded Muslims in Afghanistan. He became the defense minister. He had Taraki killed in September 1979 and Amin rooted out Taraki’s supporters.

The Soviets were invited in by Babrak Karmal in 1979 to get rid of Hafizullah Amin. The involvement of the USSR was a desperate and ill advised measure. They engaged in an unwinnable war of attrition. The Soviets were unlikely to succeed in the face of the 40 billion funding organised by the Pentagon and with the participation of 30,000 non-Afghan fighters joining a global jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Perhaps Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, Brzezinski, was inspired by John Buchan’s novel Greenmantle, to harness Islam as a political force. In doing so, he released a terrible Djinn that still haunts the world.


Afghan anti-Mujahidin militia fighter in the 1980s, photo credit Afghan govt.

The Soviet withdrawal, when it came, was greeted with great cheers by the Western media. But there were no cheers when the USA’s chickens came home to roost and extremists took over the capital three years after the Soviet withdrawal. The mujahadeen won out and conquered Kabul in 1992, killing the Afghanistan president, Mohammad Najibullah, horribly. torturing him to death and castrating him and hanging his body from a lamp post. The Taliban gained ascendency in 1996.

However, the fact that it took the Taliban so long to overturn the government, in the end, is testimony to the fact that there was still strong opposition to them.

We know what happened next. The most misogynistic government in modern times took over. There are so many horror stories about Taliban rule, but I remember one story in particular. A young Afghan refugee told me that she and her whole family were in their house in Kabul and that the bullets were whizzing through the mud walls. Her aunt was nine months pregnant. They couldn’t take her to hospital because the Taliban were outside. The aunt died in agony in childbirth. The young woman swore at that moment that she would become a doctor and she told me that she now hated all men, and in particular, bearded men. She was as good as her word.

Afghanistan had been turned by the USA from a relatively secular country where women had some freedom and the right to an education, into a misogynistic, warring hellhole.


The strategists in Chief in President Carter’s government were Holbrooke and Brzezinski

Brzezinski encouraging the Mujahadin to fight

In this light it is interesting to read an extract of Brzezinski’s responses in an interview given in Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998.

Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Question: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

In terms of responsibility for the outcome of the situation in Afghanistan, Zbigniew Brzezinski was the secretary of state but Richard Holdbrooke was the Assistant secretary of state. Zbigniew was the self proclaimed ‘Architect’ of the policy designed to support the Mujahidin and put the Soviet Union under pressure but Holbrooke was the constructor. The builder, the doer. He probably built the key alliances. Later Holbrooke was hired by Obama to deal with Afghanistan and Iraq.

The effect of 9/11

In the second week of September, 2001, large numbers of innocent occupants were killed in the bombing of big city buildings in New York at the instigation of Islamist terror groups run and financed by Arab Muslims.

Responding to a wave of anger and revulsion, staring at the prospect of a centre that could not hold, of a state no longer able to protect its citizens, the President of the USA ordered his armed forces to move in and to bomb and blast the perceived source of the terror located in Afghanistan.

NATO, a cold war organisation well past its sell by date after the fall of the Soviet Union, intervened in Afghanistan in the wake of the US decision to attack. The Tony Blair and George W. Bush governments bypassed the UN and ignored the wishes of Germany and France. Was this the opportunity for a reset? Would the USA be able to make up for the past and, finally, establish a legitimate democracy and help an Afghan government defend the rights of women?

I taught a woman in the government of Muhammad Karzai in who was in charge of the social programme and had a huge budget in 2005. Her remit was to focus particularly on helping boost income generation for Afghan women. Most of the money came from the US but it was guaranteed by the world bank. She was hopeful. She was working as hard as she could to bring about change and making some headway despite resistance from the extremists. This was in 2005.

Growing nationalism in Afghanistan

But what also seems to be ignored and revised now that it is no longer part of Holbrooke-think, is the extent to which the rejection of the Soviets created a legitimate sense of nationalism. Is nationalism under-estimated as a force in Afghanistan and Islam overestimated. Who were the nationalists?

There can be no such thing as Afghan nationalism, it doesn’t exist, sputter the left-liberal historians, look, there are many tribes in Afghanistan and they occupy different areas of a so-called country and they have been at each others throats since time immemorial with the Pashtuns as the dominant tribe. The Americans are trying to create a nation that never existed. So called Afghan nationalism is Pashtun nationalism.

Warning bells ring. The influential historian Ernst Gellner oversimplifies when he defines the formation of national identity and emphasises different kinds of homogeneity. The consequences of this analysis have been disastrous in places like Yugoslavia, justifying the splintering of countries into component parts by meddling outside forces.

Nationalism, not just religion, drives the forces currently arrayed against the US and the Afghan government.

On close examination, Gellner’s approach is laughable. Look at countries like India and China. They are not homogeneous, they shouldn’t exist. Was the Soviet Union a country? If it wasn’t a country, then why is China considered to be a country? Why can’t different groups of Afghans see themselves not only as members of a tribe, but as members of a nation, too.


Ahmed Sha Massood, a nationalist leader

One of my students, an Afghan in his 20s, said that he was a follower of Sha Massood. Ahmed Sha Masood had been instrumental winning the cruel war of attrition against Soviet Forces. He had been an ally of the United States in the late seventies and 80s. He was assassinated by Al Qaeda on September the 9th 2001. This former supporter of Sha Masood, remarked that, with the presence of US forces and the failure of the government they supported, the issue was rapidly transforming into a nationalist war against a foreign invader. The Taliban were not the main problem now. He said, the USA should leave. Nationalism, not just religion, drives the forces currently arrayed against the US and the Afghan government.

The question is not whether Americans or British historians think that Afghan nationalism exists, or whether the concept, prior to their year zero strategy, was real enough. The question is do Afghans think there is such a thing as Afghanistan? Apparently they do!

The Taliban Cartel invokes nationalism and Islam

In addition to the nationalistic clarion call to get rid of the foreign invader, it became clear that another force was in play; the drug trade. The Afghan Chief of Intelligence, Amrullah Salah, was forced to resign by Hamid Karzai. The reason was he exposed a $500 million drugs deal that Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai carried out of Bagram airbase – with the approval and involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.

At that time Amrullah Salah, the chief of Afghan intelligence, was arguing for a greater US military aid and more constructive cooperation and engagement from the USA; more support in getting rid of the Taliban. His appeals were ignored.

Taliban drug lords travel to Dubai to live high on the hog.

A UN report that came out during that period explaining how the Taliban were now deeply embroiled in the drug trade. The stories go that Taliban drug lords travel to Dubai to live high on the hog; to gamble and sleep with women and men and luxuriate in all that sinful western consumer society has to offer, while their foot soldiers, peasant fighters, are duped into fighting a patriotic religious war.

Taliban foot soldiers are paid around $500 a month. This is a lot in a country with so much subsistence level poverty. A substantial part of what these foot soldiers do is protect the drugs and arms trade. Attempts by US strategists to find substitute crops like saffron for Afghan farmers, and replace poppies, have failed.

On the one hand, there is the legitimate nationalist yearning for Afghanistan to be free of foreign interference. On the other hand, the USA is facing an unwinnable war against an international drug cartel that hides behind the increasingly flimsy disguise of fundamentalist Islamic ideology.

This doesn’t harmonise with the simplistic clash of civilizations story that the BBC and other influential outlets rely on to explain the current situation and the reasons for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

There are other complicating factors. There is the problem of the ineffectiveness of US and Afghan government troops; a territorial army man, tall and fit, a family member, went to train the Afghan police. He pointed out when he went he witnessed drug taking in the British army. He said drug taking is a big problem in the US army and in the Afghan army, too. Drugs bring corruption.

Drugged up and disillusioned soldiers offer little resistance to a determined enemy,  especially a determined enemy with both nationalism and Islam on its side and an enemy who pays ordinary Afghan farmers a good wage to fight.

Moreover, there are also bad, trigger-happy elements that discredit foreign involvement in Afghanistan, elements within the private military contractors – the companies which constantly change their names,

I met young European men about to go to Afghanistan in 2011 to fight. I asked them why. They told me.

‘To be a soldier and go to battle and kill people is part of what it means to experience the fullness of manhood.’

In its desire to undermine the Soviet Union and get strategic control of Afghanistan, the USA shattered the country. Now, despite desperate pleas from the Afghan government – corrupt as it may be – after all the damage US foreign policy has caused that country, the USA is withdrawing its ineffectual troops and abdicating from its responsibility to clean up the mess it has created over decades. It has decided to leave Afghan women and Afghan secular society to the mercy of the Taliban.


Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.


Tony Hall initially worked as a reporter at the Johannesburg Star. He joined the Congress of Democrats after Sharpeville along with his wife Eve Hall. He interviewed Nelson Mandela in hiding. Tony Hall was the first journalist to be banned from a major newspaper in South Africa when, after interviewing Potlako Reballo on a forthcoming insurrection, he was questioned and refused to give information to police.

Tony went into exile in Kenya and worked on the Daily Nation. He wrote the column ‘On the Carpet. However, when Tony helped to drafted the platform of KANU his involvement with KANU was discovered, he was fired from his job as the communications officer for the East African Community, and he and his family were forced to leave the country.

In the United Kingdom Tony worked for Oxfam and then moved with his family to Tanzania to work as Training Editor for The Standard with Frene Ginwallah. From there Tony was appointed Oxfam information officer for East Africa and was the first to reveal to the world, the 1973 famine in Ethiopia. After Ethiopia Tony and Eve shared the job of Oxfam Information officers in India.

After India Tony Hall worked as an editor of international Newsmagazines focused on the Middle East for eight years. Then he left to join his wife in Somalia where he worked for UNDP starting IMR, a trade magazine. He trained a team of Somali journalists to run the magazine.

In the late 80s Tony and Eve were in Harare. Tony was Editing the Magazine Africa South and East under the aegis of editor-in-chief Govan Mbeki. It was at this time that Mandela was released and Tony and Eve were unbanned. Africa South and East moved its headquarters to Yeoville. When Allister Sparks resigned as head of Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, which he founded, Tony Hall was offered a senior management job at the institute, however, once again, he left to join Eve who was working in Addis Ababa. There Tony become the Communications Director of the Economic Commission for Africa, a branch of the UN.

The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism

Toxic, global, corporate capitalism must be called to heel.

By Phil Hall

My father, Tony Hall, a globe trotting journalist and editor of international news magazines, a socialist and political activist, believed in the virtues of elitism. He believed in rule by enlightened elites. But don’t we all? Of course he said this sotto vocce. There were elements of Leninism in my father’s elitism and, perhaps, an over-romantic vision of the role of peasants’ and workers’ Soviets. Don’t forget, this Platonic, Soviet vision of an enlightened and just society electrified the entire world in the first quarter of the 20th Century.


Tony Hall in Ethiopia in 1973. He alerted the world to the famine taking place there


For Tony hall, enlightened elite meant ‘Goodness’. It meant a democratic socialist elite operating in a socialism where capitalism had been dethroned, though not necessarily completely rooted out. At heart, Dad believed in a society where decisions about the public good were taken by good people working in government, people who did not not cow-tow to the machines of corporate profit-making.

Are we really lions lead by donkeys?

Some of the people I know and associate with are lions. Generally speaking, they are intelligent, educated, moral and competent. They are good. If you are reading this, you might be one of them. The concept of an enlightened elite is a broad one. There is plenty of room for many tens of thousands of people to participate as a member of a well-intentioned, governing elite.


Farmers’ protests in India, photo by Randeep Maddoke

No one wants to be lead by donkeys, or dangerous buffoons like Boris Johnson. But who imagines that the Naxalites (or the Sikh farmers) can govern in India? Who thinks the Zapatistas should rule in Chiapas, or Sendero Luminoso in Peru? Who agrees that certain key Brexit voting communities in the north should be the ones to decide the future of the UK.

… this Platonic, Soviet vision of an enlightened and just society electrified the entire world in the first quarter of the 20th Century

In academia, we are asked to judge Plato’s government of philosophers as a terrible thing. It is not. In part, the criticism of this idea is because of a growing misanthropy and distrust, and lack of faith in humanity. Faith in humanity has been eroded by memories of historical atrocities and injustices, memories that remain fresh. It has also been eroded by new atrocities and injustices that continually remind us of how far we have to go.

Also, Plato’s idea that philosophers should govern is opposed because it goes against the prevailing ideology. Rational philosophers in government would not leave so much of their decision making to the so-called ‘wisdom of markets’. They would oppose the selfish intentions of the reigning global, capitalist olygarchy.

But, at root, most of us, I think, do believe Plato is right; all of us perhaps except for a few immature, embittered, despairing, half-baked intellectuals who arguing for chaos; for childish versions of anarchism, or dog-eat-dog right wing libertarianism.

No one is saying we need Blairite technocrats again, flunkeys at the service of the rich, but we should argue strongly for a competent, educated, experienced, elite; one that properly represents the interests of the entire society, an elite that represents that society in a global community that has shared problems and aspirations. Let’s not pretend that the least educated, most victimised people know better. Remember, ‘the people’ voted Brexit.

The existential threats that face humanity – many of which have been exactingly defined by Nick Bostrom – are enough to defeat any argument for a more ‘natural’ arrangements of governance.


Long live the courage, work and intellect of the Soviet people. 1962

What was communism good for?

Communism is good at winning world wars. It is good at undertaking ,and completing, big projects like the building of great dams, or sending humans into space. It works where a concerted effort has to be made. Communism, of the sort we have experienced, is a system which can build pipelines in record time. It provides people with a fair degree of equality, with free health care, social protection, jobs, a vast quantity of shitty social housing and plenty of rubber stamped low and high culture.

Communism, in places like the former USSR and Cuba, freed people from an all-consuming addiction to products; that horrible fetishism. In so doing, it allowed people to assign their own value to things.

Communism removed some of the alienation people in capitalist societies still feel when almost every aspect of human existence has been commodified, every emotion employed to manipulate and meaning reduced to status. State socialism brought us closer to our fellow humans and to nature in a community of equals. You need to have experienced communism properly to understand that last statement in your gut. Disregard the miasma that surrounds communism’s memory, study it, study its history and understand it for what it actually was.

The tourists who used to visit communist countries – even when they were not socialists themselves – would feel that something was qualitatively different about that society; they would feel that there was something new, fascinating and wonderful about Cuba, for example, but they didn’t fully understand what it was that they were sensing.

The existential threats that face humanity … are enough to defeat any argument for any more ‘natural’ arrangements of governance.

Despite its advantages, clearly this form of  communism was moribund. It was destined to die because decision making almost always flowed downstream and never upstream. Few people had agency within communist societies apart from the leadership of the party. Individualism was discouraged, or even severely punished. There was little or no accountability for the ecological messes bureaucrats caused, or for the failures in supply, or for the small and the vast abuses of power, or for the stultifying boredom of it all. Perhaps the worst feature of that bureaucratic society was that it was a perfect place for corruption and decadence to flourish.

… in 1991 the shit hit the fan for the former USSR.

Top-down communism ran out of steam. All the life has drained out of it. If you had opened the gates in the USSR most of the talented people would have run away. Fortress communism is not a viable economic and social system for human beings because such a system, to be successful, needs an enormous amount of civic participation, democracy and free and critical thought. There was little of that in the old USSR.

Within fortress communism, it is true that people were provided for, but they only had freedom where there were gaps in control. The USSR gradually became a zombie society. No moral, intelligent human being can argue the case for such a society convincingly.


Phil and Tere in Kiev in 1991

In this respect, my father and I parted company. While he was merely a fellow traveller, I actually travelled. I did a degree in Russian and studied and then worked in the former Soviet Union. ‘OK‘, I can hear some of you comment, ‘Perhaps your class allegiance is suspect. How typically middle class you are!‘ Certainly, I am no expert. But in 1991 it didn’t matter anyway, because the shit hit the fan for the former USSR.

Individual agency is a virtue of capitalism

Capitalism has the great virtue in a social democracy of giving the gift of agency to almost anyone who lives its centres. By centres I mean places in Europe, Japan, Korea, the USA and Canada and Australia and New Zealand. This gift of agency also holds for many developing, capitalist countries, too on the periphery.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn and then Keir Starmer ignores this capitalist, entrepreneurial dimension of the former working class.

You cannot deny that people want to have control over their own lives and they want to be free to express themselves and to be creative. Capitalism is much better at this than socialism. Remember, many of the so-called working-class in the north of England don’t want to work in mines or factories any more. Instead, they aspire to being their own bosses and starting their own micro or small business. Yes, they were a part of the working class, but they don’t want to be any more and they won’t vote Labour. For many of them it is not really because they feel Labour has failed them, rather they now have the instincts of the petite bourgeoisie on the make. They have different aspirations to the working class – paying taxes is a bind. There are far more real working-class people – as defined in terms of relations to production – in the immigrant communities.



Going to Work (1943), commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn and then Keir Starmer ignores this capitalist, entrepreneurial dimension of the former working class. They see Northerners and ‘the poor’ as all being petitioners to the state with their begging bowls stretched out.

In the past, before the war, the UK had a vast servant class, but no one wants to be a servant any more unless they have to be to survive, just as few people want to work in factories and mines now.

… before the war, the UK had a vast servant class, but no one wants to be a servant any more unless they have to be to survive, just as few people want to work in factories and mines now.

Capitalism, especially in its more enlightened centres, allows for a degree of individualism. There is always a wonderful shamanic element to the person who has a great idea for a new product, or a service. These are artists, of a sort.

Then there are the welcome opportunists: the Indian shopkeeper who opened on Sundays in a small town in the 1970s, whose child is now a doctor working for the NHS. There is the woman who sells cold drinks on a hot day, or hot drinks on a cold day. There is the person who does your nails so well, or your hair. There are the less beloved, the plumbers, carpenters and electricians. The owner of an enormous road haul truck. The traveller who discovers the delights of Pitaya fruit, stealing it away to his own country, calling it by another name: ‘Dragon Fruit’. There is the Bengali restaurant in Brick Lane. Even the Stone cold profiteers have a part to play, they are the ones who bring Coca Cola to some wooden duka in the driest refugee camp in Somalia. Bless ’em.


The first Costa Coffee shop in Vauxhall, now owned by Coca Cola

Are Nando’s and Costa Coffee really evil?

What should be the limits to growth of an enterprise that puts so much effort into trying to divine the needs and wants of other people, and into supplying them.

There were articles in The Guardian years ago by people who wrote about the evils of Nandos and Costas. This may confuse you. Why are Nando’s and Costas evil? They are chains, you see. They clone the high streets, you see. But who has the right to put limits on that success? Who decides when Nando’s and Costas stop being wonderful little shops and start becoming part of threatening corporate empires?

We can agree that Starbucks is not the best of companies, Unilever and Proctor and Gamble are worse. We get murkier and murkier. Think of the Kochs, Nestle, Goldman Sachs, Exxon-Mobile and BAE Systems; all of whom seem to have very little to recommend them.

… corporations can kill, maim or harm millions in their search for profit.

Ruthlessness in the search for profit affects everyone badly. There are cigarette manufacturers who kill, armaments manufacturers who kill, car manufacturers who kill, chemical companies that produce opioids, oil companies that alter the climate, tech companies that produce mass surveillance software. Corporations kill, maim, or harm millions in their search for profit, their purpose is not just to sell spicy chicken and strong coffee to passers-by.

In the darkest part of the corporate webs are the pirates and economic rapists, the evil shape shifters: Blackwater, Rentokil and Rio-Tinto Zinc. What do they call themselves these days? Then there is organised crime. Organised crime which launders its money through all of these legitimate networks.

When it comes to meteorites, global warming, pandemics and the negative consequences of global corporate capitalism, we need powerful, enlightened, democratically accountable elites to take control and make rational decisions and carry out actions that are in the interests of society.


Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.

Between belief and reality: a personal reflection on Tony Hall’s 2020 Vision for Southern Africa

Dale T McKinley

(For ARS NOTORIA)

A prefacing note: On 31st January it will have been exactly 13 years since Tony Hall passed away here in South Africa. A bit over a year before his passing, Tony penned a 14-page document that he titled, ‘2020 Vision for Southern Africa’ . While the document did get circulated amongst smaller groups of Tony’s family, friends and comrades it was (to my knowledge) never published anywhere and has not been formally engaged/responded to, publicly. Late last year, Tony’s eldest son Phil asked me to write a piece on the document given the arrival of 2020 and the approaching anniversary of his father’s passing. I am more than happy to offer this brief engagement with Tony – in the same vein that I engaged him in person after he had provided me with a copy in 2007. May Tony’s soul continue to rest in peace and his spirit continue to live on in the thoughts and actions of the many whom he influenced and touched.


Tony Hall was a giant of a man; not just because of his imposing physical presence but more importantly because his was a principled, committed and loyal life. A significant part of each of those life attributes were given over to the organisation that Tony (and his life-long partner Eve) joined just after the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960 – the African National Congress (ANC).1

That ANC journey had begun for Tony when, as a young journalist with the Rand Daily Mail, he interviewed Nelson Mandela and covered the Treason Trial in the late 1950s. Soon, Tony and Eve’s home became a (secretly renowned) gathering place for movement leaders. Not surprisingly, this and other activities resulted in the apartheid authorities ‘listing’ the two

This foundational and life-long journey with the ANC, infused with all its attendant political, ideological and organisational characteristics, is absolutely central to understanding and interpreting the core content of Tony’s ‘2020 Vision’.

as members of a banned organisation. As opposed to the high probability of being arrested, tried and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, they packed up their belongings and, along with their three young boys, went into exile. It was to be 26 years before they would return home.

During those 26 years spent in Africa, Asia and Europe, Tony maintained his membership in and active support for, the ANC/Congress Movement. This saw him forge close relationships with many leaders and activists within the ANC and in other Southern African national liberation movements (NLMs) such as Mozambique’s FRELIMO and Angola’s MPLA, as well as volunteer as the production editor of the ANC journal Sechaba while in London. From the time that Tony returned to South Africa in 1990 until his passing, both he and Eve remained active members of the ANC through their local branches.

he [Tony Hall] always believed that there were enough good people in the ANC, particularly amongst the broader and older generation leadership to, as the document puts it, “return to the transformation of society, to lay the base for completing the emancipation of the people”

This foundational and life-long journey with the ANC, infused with all its attendant political, ideological and organisational characteristics, is absolutely central to understanding and interpreting the core content of Tony’s ‘2020 Vision’. Simply put, despite his increasing criticisms of the behaviour of some individuals and component parts of the ANC as well as of certain socio-economic policy choices made by the ANC-run post-apartheid government in the last few years of his life Tony, at heart and in practice, remained an ANC loyalist. The same applies, even if less directly and experientially, to other liberation movements in Southern Africa (most especially FRELIMO).

As my many conversations and debates with Tony serve to further confirm, he always believed that there were enough good people in the ANC, particularly amongst the broader and older generation leadership to, as the document puts it, “return to the transformation of society, to lay the base for completing the emancipation of the people”. Indeed, Tony locates his ‘2020 Vision’ in a “duty” of the ANC and associated Alliance2 leadership, who he believed still had the necessary moral authority and willingness to effect the needed changes. His plea to these leaders in the ‘2020 Vision’ is that they must act accordingly and do so immediately, through example and action.

Tony locates his ‘2020 Vision’ in a “duty” of the ANC and associated Alliance2 leadership, who he believed still had the necessary moral authority and willingness to effect the needed changes.

The ideas and policy recommendations that make up the majority of the document reflect both Tony’s own political-ideological and organisational journey as well as this ANC-specific leadership framing. More particularly, they reflect a positionality embedded in three decades of an exiled ANC (alongside other liberation movements in Southern Africa in the first two of those decades) in which a relatively small group of leaders (some of whom were in prison and/or underground in South Africa) took centre stage and amongst which a post-independent, ideological ‘middle of the road’ social democratic liberalism was preeminent.

They also reflect a hearkening back to a time in Sub-Saharan Africa when a strong, centralised state (run by ex-liberation / independence parties) driving a nationalist developmental agenda was seen as the preferred post-independence ‘model’ of governance. Further, they are largely embedded within certain ‘historic’ and core strategic and policy documents of the ANC such as the 1955 Freedom Charter, the 1988 Constitutional Guidelines and the 1993 Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

The ideas and policy recommendations (…) are largely embedded within certain ‘historic’ and core strategic and policy documents of the ANC such as the 1955 Freedom Charter, the 1988 Constitutional Guidelines and the 1993 Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

This is clear in Tony’s socio-economic proposals where he calls for the adoption of a Keynesian economic model (referenced by the restoration of the RDP) that incorporates, among other things:

  • a “capitalist/free enterprise market” with increased taxes for the rich and corporates
  • “public oversight” of the economy with necessary regulations and “public ownership” of state-owned enterprises (SOEs)
  • “nationalisation of all mines” with 55 % state ownership
  • the continued free movement of capital overseas and allowance for the holding of foreign personal accounts
  • a basic income grant for “all adult South Africans”
  • public ownership and delivery of essential services along with free basic services such as electricity and water to those who are officially categorised as “poor”3

Reflecting his embrace of the generally collegial as well as support and solidarity networks that existed in Southern Africa during the period in which various national liberation and more immediate post-independence struggles were waged, Tony proposed the “free movement of all SADC-born citizens in South Africa”. And yet in parallel, the underlying and often exclusionist nationalisms of those movements and struggles is also reflected in his proposal that “all illegal immigrants (should) be either deported or allowed to apply for 2-year work permit” and further, that “citizens only (should) own houses and land”.

Tony proposed “walls of remembrance … to acknowledge those who died in the struggle” as well as “special support for MK veterans”.

Consistent with that embrace, are Tony’s proposals in the sphere of culture and on foreign policy. In respect of culture, they further reflect the centrality of the ‘struggle years’ and a view in which the history of that struggle should be ‘told’ through formal remembrance and affirmation of those involved. Besides the naming of urban streets after ‘struggle heroes and martyrs in both SA and region as well as international supporters”, Tony proposed “walls of remembrance … to acknowledge those who died in the struggle” as well as “special support for MK veterans”.

The proposals on the foreign policy front retain and strengthen the embrace. First up is the dual call to “start negotiations for all SADC members to form the Federation of Africa South and East (FASE)” and, for the establishment of the ‘Southern African Liberation Movements Association (SALMA)’. Amongst other things FASE and SALMA will ensure that all member countries “follow a social charter and coordinated economic policies and allow free movement of people and trade”, where no party/government leader is “to serve more than two five-year terms” and where respective governments hold a majority “of all natural resources and infrastructure”. This is followed by more specific calls for the South African government “to renounce (the) neoliberal provisions of NEPAD4 and endorse an economic and social programme for Africa which returns to the provisions and strategies of the Lagos Plan of Action and the African Alternative Framework”. Added to this, the SA government should “strengthen relations with Russia” as well as South-South relations.

First up is the dual call to “start negotiations for all SADC members to form the Federation of Africa South and East (FASE)” and, for the establishment of the ‘Southern African Liberation Movements Association (SALMA)’

Even though some aspects of these proposals are no doubt informed by Tony’s critical appraisal of certain governance and policy performances of post-independent states in Southern Africa, they are more centrally, in context, shape and purpose, a nod back to the halcyon days of the continental Organisation of African Unity, more regional bodies such as the ‘East African Community’ as well as strong regional as well as international anti-apartheid and national liberation movements. That was a time when political solidarities and liberation party/movement connections were paramount, and where the dominant expectation was that once in state power, the NLMs would largely follow the promises of their stated democratic, socially progressive and internationalist politics/ideology.

While there are many other proposals in the document that are not mentioned here, their core thrust, and purpose is consistent with Tony’s historic positionality as earlier noted. It is that positionality that was imprinted on Tony’s political, ideological and organisational DNA. What this translated into was an understandable but ultimately contradictory relationship between belief and reality.

Although Tony very clearly saw – and was genuinely saddened by – the litany of governance failures, of ideological betrayal, of corruption and of personal moral degradation that had become so widespread across all ex-NLM parties and the post-independent states they ran, he still believed that it was possible for those same parties and people (most especially, the respective leaderships) to reclaim what he calls in the document, the “liberation project”. The fundamental problem though is that the reality had long destroyed the foundations for such a belief.

[Tony] still believed that it was possible for those same parties and people (most especially, the respective leaderships) to reclaim what he calls in the document, the “liberation project”

In this sense then, it is not that the ideas and policies contained in Tony’s ‘2020 Vision’ are to be dismissed. On the contrary, many of them speak directly to the “alternative” and the “dream” that both ordinary folk and liberation activists from the past and in the present embraced and continue struggling for. It is rather the vehicles that Tony remained attached and loyal to and which he saw as the ultimate carriers of the ‘Vision’ have, for a long time, simply not been capable of what he expects and asks of them. Indeed, even if there are some conjectural and individual part exceptions, those vehicles have, for an equally long time, become the main barriers to pursuing and potentially realising most of the ‘Vision’.

“socialism in our lifetime”. Regardless of the U-turns, the detours and the lost journeys, that is most definitely a vision worthy of new vehicles that can become a reality through our individual and collective ideas and practical struggles.

The document ends with the exhortation, “socialism in our lifetime”. Regardless of the U-turns, the detours and the lost journeys, that is most definitely a vision worthy of new vehicles that can become a reality through our individual and collective ideas and practical struggles. I have no doubt that Tony would agree.


1 At the time, formal ANC membership was only open to black Africans but in practical reality, its members were effectively constituted through a range of organisations. For example, the previously banned South African Community Party (SACP), the ‘Congress of Democrats’ and the ‘Transvaal Indian Congress’ among others, that fell under the umbrella of what was called the ‘Congress Movement’ and/or ‘Congress Alliance’. While the ANC was banned soon after the Sharpeville massacre, most of the remaining organisations in the ‘Congress Movement/ Alliance’ were banned in the ensuing two years.

2The ‘Congress Alliance’ has changed over the years to reflect shifting organisational realities. By the 1970s all of the previous ‘Congress Movement’ components, with the exception of the independent SACP, had been absorbed into the ANC in one form or another. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) formed in 1983, then become the third formal member of the ‘Alliance’ and after 1994, the South African National Civics Association (SANCO) became the fourth official member.

3This specific proposal – to essentially adopt a state managed means-test to determine who is and is not “poor”, was and remains highly controversial and a continuing point of serious opposition from most of the poor themselves

4 The ‘New Economic Partnership for African Development’ – this was adopted at the 37th Summit of the OAU held in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2001.


Dale T. McKinley is an independent writer, researcher and lecturer as well as research and education officer at the International Labour, Research and Information Group. He is based in Johannesburg, holds a PhD. in International Political Economy/African Studies and is a long-time political activist and has been involved in social movement, community and liberation organisations and struggles for over three decades. He is the author of four books and has written widely on various aspects of South African and international political, social and economic issues and struggles. Dale occasionally lectures at university level, is a regular speaker at various civil society and academic social and political conferences and events and is a regular contributor in the print media as well as commentator on radio and television.

How is the ANC Government measuring up?


A 2020 Vision for South Africa

A car arrived at Tony Hall’s funeral in 2008 with Aggie Msimang. It was sent by the ANC with a message of condolence from Jacob Zuma, ANC President, Kgalema Motlanthe ANC Secretary General, Sankie Mahanyele, Deputy Secretary General, Mendi Msimang, Treasurer General.

Aggie Msimang came to the three sons saying: “You can be assured that by tomorrow morning your father’s 2020 vision will be on the desk of every single ANC leader.” Did the leaders read it? As socialists, did they agree with the 2020 vision? To what extent have they achieved it?

Daring to dream, preparing to act Now is the mandate, now is the opportunity, now is the time. A Quixotic mix of policy guidelines and practical measures to remind us that there are alternatives

 there is a way.

by Tony Hall in 2008

It is the duty of the present generation of leadership, a very broad spectrum in itself – from exile, Robben Island, 1976, MK, COSATU, MDM, SACP and the Youth Leagues – to return to the transformation of society, to lay the base for completing the emancipation of the people. It cannot be left to the young people and coming generations, because they have not experienced the commitment, the sacrifice; they are drifting away from a sense of what national liberation means.

The leadership has time to restore and set all directions in place. It must start now. The situation requires moving away from wrong and dangerous steps, moving back to dynamic people-centred policies and actions. We can waste no more time on analysis and shocked revelations as a substitute for action. Never, since we became a democracy, has the political conjuncture been more openly and clearly described and outlined, in the organs of the ruling Alliance. Even within the mainstream media, often hostile to national liberation, there are clear critical analyses breaking through at times, of the runaway capitalism, elite empowerment and corporate dominance that is beginning to erode the liberation project.

Never has the popular mandate been stronger for resolute action towards meaningful socialist democracy. Never has there been, or will there be again, a collective leadership with a better historical record of commitment and sacrifice, energy and ability, to carry through what is already the most peaceful and massive social transformation in history.

Never has the need been more urgent to promote and complete the emancipation and cooperation of the people of South Africa, and the region.

Daring to dream, preparing to act.

In the following pages is a mix of indicative policy guidelines and practical actions, some in broadstroke, some in detail. Quixotic, eclectic, far from comprehensive, it is nonetheless informed by a vision that is attainable in practice – and crucial as the type of programme to rescue our society from greed and poverty.

Realising a 2020 vision for Southern Africa Immediate steps to be taken by a strengthened Tripartite Alliance of ANC, SACP and COSATU to complete the emancipation of our country and our region:


Economy

1. The Alliance to commit publicly to changing economic policy from monetarism to a Keynesian model, and to instruct Cabinet to act accordingly; endorsing:*

a) the commitment to a fair and open market, recognising the dynamic, innovative role free enterprise can play;*

b) free expression through varied and free – but not corporate-dominated – mainstream media, including public media; controls on advertising;*

c) commitment to strong government and public oversight, mediation and controls, to curb a free economy from becoming a casino economy.

2. Dismantle the GEAR type approach to the economy and restore the RDP.

3. Keep/restore the commanding heights of the economy including infrastructure and essential services, to the public sector, for example and specifically…

4. Restore the Steel industry to majority public ownership, compensating Mittal and other private companies on the basis of value after tax, and reduction of total compensation by the amount of extra profit made by charging ‘world prices’ plus transport, for locally produced steel.

5. Government and Unions each to make up 35 percent of Boards, 30 percent to be private sector owned.

6. Directors’ income in all forms to be strictly limited. This formula and these proportions to be followed in all case.

7. Renationalise Sasol, and reduce prices for petrol and diesel, compensating by value after tax, and reduced by amount of overpricing for the past five years.

8. Keep/restore Transnet, Telkom, Eskom and Water in the public sector.

9. Embark on a rehabilitation of national railways, and scrap the Gautrain project.

10. In stages, reduce SAA’s intercontinental operations and expand internal hub and regional services.

11. Nationalise all mines – gold, coal, platinum and others – to 55 per cent state ownership, with NUM providing 20 percent of directorships, government 35 percent.

12. Directors and executive incomes/expenses in all public sector or parastatal institutions to be capped.

13. All foreign investment to be for a minimum of three years, only half original investment to be returned if withdrawn before that.

14. Continue present arrangements with regard to free movement of capital, overseas/foreign personal accounts etc.

15. Allow free movement of all SADC-born citizens in South Africa, with residence subject to two-year renewable work permits until qualifying after ten years for permanent residence permits and/or dual citizenship.

16. Reciprocal arrangements to be negotiated with and between all SADC countries.

Preventative maintenance is the ultimate virtue

17. Present regulations/arrangements be continued with regard to entry/immigration for all other foreign nationals.

18. Illegal immigrants (excluding SADC-born citizens) to be registered, and either deported immediately, or allowed to apply for work/temporary residence permits, subject to certified offers of work for two years, or holding of funds adequate for family living and sufficient for professional/entrepreneurial activity for five years.

19. Negotiate within SADC for free movement of capital and lowering of tariff barriers between all member states.

20. Citizens only to own houses and land.

21. All foreign ownerships to be converted to 50-99 year leases.

22. Encourage all citizens who wish to emigrate to leave South Africa.

23. Encourage white and other citizens who wish to stay and contribute to the country to do so, with offers of jobs-for-skills, pensions, support for entrepreneurial activity and good education and equal career prospects for their children.

24. Encourage immigration on the Australian model for all foreigners with needed skills and capital.

25. All public works and parastatal/public sector institutions at national and local levels to increase job recruitment, and to reduce and strictly control tendering, consultant employment, outsourcing and sub-contracting.

26. Corporate and upper level income tax to be increased.

27. Tax breaks to be increased for companies with active training and empowerment programmes.

28. All national, provincial and local government salaries to be nationally prescribed, capped and monitored by central government.

29. All farms deemed to be productive, with farm workers paid and housed to basic minimum legal standards, are excluded from government takeover, subject to periodic (3-5 year) inspections.

30. Where land claims by clans or individuals are deemed to be valid, claimants are paid out from funds which would be otherwise used to train and equip them to farm productively.

31. Valid claimants with farming experience/skills are assisted through transfers of unused/government land, or willing-buyer/seller deals, training upgrades, credit schemes, farming cooperatives and agricultural extension schemes.

32. Conservation areas are excluded from clan takeovers.

33. A Basic Income Grant (BIG) be provided to all adult SA citizens.

24. Free light and water be provided for all legally recognised high density/low income and farm labour housing.

25. All RDP housing estates and legal settlements be provided, pro rata, with a park, a civic/community centre, sports fields, a library and a spaza/small store shopping centre; these all to be built as public works schemes, employing small building teams under strict public works supervision; tenders, where necessary, be administered under strict central government supervision.

26. Technical/vocational and IT training institutes be increased and facilities and staff upgraded throughout the country, being given high status in education.

27. In these institutes, in classrooms, municipalities, in Eskom, Telkom, Transnet and other public utility buildings everywhere, a large slogan is put up:MAINTENANCE IS NEXT TO GODLINESS.PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE IS THE ULTIMATE VIRTUE.

Culture

1. South African film, theatre, art and culture production to receive full subsidies.

2. All violent ritual, from unhygienic male circumcision and all female circumcision, to witch hunting, hut burning, casting bad spells and use of body parts be banned outright and heavily penalized.

3. The history and origins of traditional practices in all South African communities be researched and libraries and museums established in all traditional homelands with collections and displays of literature, films, photographs, dance, art, crafts and artefacts.

Street names and monuments

1. Many street names in cities and major towns must be changed to do away with those of apartheid leaders and replace them with struggle heroes and martyrs.

2. It is timely to begin a major renaming exercise in time for the printing of new street maps for the many thousands of extra visitors and tourists during the World Cup period.

3. Johannesburg, for instance has some major streets and long highways with names of apartheid figures, from prime ministers to mere provincial administrators, on signs at every corner. Those to be replaced do not include such boer war generals or pre-apartheid leaders as Jan Smuts, Louis Botha, or General de Wet, or Dan Pienaar.

4. The names of DF Malan, JG Strydom, Hendrik Verwoerd, John Vorster and PW Botha should be restricted to minor streets in their birthplaces.

5. Lesser figures should appear nowhere, like Ben Schoeman and FC Odendaal, who named highways they ordered to be built, after themselves! They have had decades of undeserved prominence.It is high time that many more anti-apartheid heroes, and African heroes (mostly those deceased), be celebrated in major renamings:

6. The name of Mandela must not be tarnished by overuse at the behest of those seeking to occlude other struggle heroes. Outstanding among those still relegated or neglected after 12 years are:

Albert Luthuli

Oliver Tambo

Walter Sisulu

Bram Fischer

Robert Sobukwe

Steve Biko

Joe Gqabi

Ruth First

Lilian Ngoyi

Florence Mposho

7. Other liberation movement national leaders:

Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel, Agostinho Neto, Amilcar Cabral, Mario Andrade, Namibian, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara

8. Hosts of the liberation strggle:

Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda

9. Supporters of the liberation struggle:

Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed ben Bella, Gamal Nasser

Soekarno, Tito, Yasser Arafat, Nehru

10. African leaders:

Nnamdi Azikiwe, Murtala Mohammed, Thomas Sankara, Sekou Toure, Modibo Keita

11. Still to be publicly honoured are the many brave people who died for fighting apartheid, or had their moment of leadership in the apartheid era.

12. Those many whose names should be on streets, memorials, buildings around the country include (as they come to mind – you add others):

Solomon Mahlangu, Cassius Make, John Harris, Babla Saloojee, Ahmed Timol, Rick Turner, Neil Aggett, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mahauli, David Webster, Anton Lubowski, and so many others… Philip Kgosana at the front of the Cape Town anti-pass march, Tsietsie Mashinini, one of the 1976 Soweto leaders.Other leading anti-apartheid fighters to be honoured include JB Marks, Moses Kotane, Z K Matthews, Moses Mabida, Yusuf Dadoo, Jack and Ray Simons, Rusty and Hilda Bernstein, Jack and Rica Hodgson, Yusuf, Amina and Maulvi Cachalia, Dave Kitson, Harry Gwala, Alan Paton, Trevor Huddleston, Ambrose Reeves, Barney Desai, Cissie Gool (add your other choices…)

13. Some veteran South African freedom fighters have said that they don’t expect compensation for fighting in a good cause – but nor do they expect to be forgotten. There must be walls of remembrance around the country, as at least a partial redressing of the shameful neglect suffered by so many Umkhonto militants and other liberation soldiers – both the memory of those who died, and of those still living. The brief of the task force that has worked hard to find graves and identify missing militants, from the apartheid years, and from the third force killings, must be widened and strengthened, so that the name of every person who died or went missing in the struggle, appears in golden letters.

Some veteran South African freedom fighters have said that they don’t expect compensation for fighting in a good cause – but nor do they expect to be forgotten.

14. As MOTH (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) clubs and old age homes went up all over South Africa for (white) World War II veterans, and special suburban plots allocated, so MK and other liberation veterans must be registered and their families given pensions, and access to special community centres, clubs and site and service plots.

15. Corporates which were enriched by cheap labour through the years of white minority rule be called upon to finance these and other social initiatives.

Let the naming and renaming begin now!

16. There are whole suburbs in our cities with streets named after all Afrikaans poets and writers, or all Afrikaans artists. That is fine, but now is our time name other whole sets of streets after South African and African writers, musicians, artists, actors…of all races – and not just in settlement and housing estates, but major suburbs and cities.

17. Complete the research for names to go on the walls of remembrance!

Corporates which were enriched by cheap labour through the years of white minority rule be called upon to finance these and other social initiatives.

Law and Order

1. All accused of violent crime to the level of grievous bodily harm and more to be tried within three months, to be given no bail and if convicted, to receive mandatory long sentences.

2. All forms of gender and sex discrimination are outlawed, and full human rights protected, as in the Constitution.

3. Solitary confinement of prisoners to be banned.

4. Convicted prisoners to work 40 hours weeks at jobs useful to the economy and society, with an element of training for rehabilitation.

5. One major contributor to a culture of violence is the layer of hypocrisy and betrayal covering the recent past in our public life: that many people guilty of apartheid crimes of terror and murder, as leaders, as activists, walk free. Some self-admitted, like Craig Williamson, have profited in recent years from doing business in Angola, the same country in which in apartheid years his parcel bomb killed an ANC woman and her young son. Foot Soldiers of apartheid, again some self-admitted killers, are working for high salaries, effectively mercenaries in ‘security’ companies in occupied Iraq, and in parts of Africa. Adriaan Vlok, Wouter Basson, PW Botha, and so many others have not even come before a court.

The principle of amnesty for such people must be reconsidered, and their cases must be subject to fresh hearings.

6. Those working in these roles abroad must be subject to the full force of the law, amnesties withdrawn, and heavy jail sentences imposed.

7. Meanwhile hundreds, maybe thousands of Umkhonto veterans, are destitute – unknown and uncared for, let alone unhonoured for their commitment and readiness to sacrifice for liberation; some driven by despair to violent crime. So many of the victims of apartheid terror are still to be identified and named, let alone honoured.

Seek out and help these victims, and employ them for their training and experience, to identify and confront violent criminals, and to see that more and more security companies are formed without relying on apartheid veterans.

Region

As preliminary steps to consultations for broad-based reform in Swaziland and Zimbabwe…

Swaziland

1. A Constituent Assembly be set up, under UN/SADC supervision, monitored by the above HOST and DOPs team, to establish a full democratic system, with the king being given the status of a traditional leader, with salary and allowances, and with all ‘royal’ assets taken into the public sector.

2. A national referendum be held on Swaziland being incorporated as a province of South Africa.

Lesotho

1. On the next anniversary of the apartheid army’s raid on Maseru and killing of liberation movement activists and families in the 1980s, the SA President requests he make a state visit that day, on which a monument be unveiled to commemorate the sacrifice, and the Lesotho peoples’ hospitality to the liberation movements. In his speech

a) He pays tribute to the long and brave resistance of the mountain people under the Moshoeshoe dynasty against the raids of SA settler farmers and other invaders through the 19th century, their efforts and sacrifice in hosting liberation movement members through the apartheid era – and their contribution as migrant workers to the South African econoomy.

b) He apologises for South Africa’s share in the loss of lives and property in the SADC forces’ incursion into Lesotho in 1997, though it was at the invitation of the authority there.

2. He proposes talks to invite Lesotho to become a province of South Africa, and to hold a referendum to endorse this.

SADC

1. Propose negotiations for all SADC members to form the Federation of Africa South and East (FASE), as a nucleus for wider membership at a later stage within the framework of AU.

2. FASE states follow a social charter and coordinated economic policies, and allow free movement of people and trade within all member states.

Foreign Policy

some main guidelinesSouth Africa to act…

Bilaterally

Inter-regionally, within the SADC framework

In Africa, within the African Union (AU) framework

Internationally, as a member of the United Nations…as follows:

1. Form the Southern African Liberation Movements Association (SALMA) SALMA should be a treaty-based regional framework that brings together five of the most influential and sustained political movements in history, each of which not only brought their countries to independence and majority rule, but – in alliance against huge imperialist violence and pressure – continue to be the ruling parties of those countries, containing many of the cadres who fought the liberation struggle.They are ZANU (PF) of Zimababwe, MPLA of Angola, FRELIMO of Mozambique, SWAPO of Namibia and ANC of South Africa.

SALMA resolves at its founding meeting:* to honour those who died in their liberation struggles, through full historical research, including into the role of western intelligence, for widespread media and educational publication, and to look after the surviving veterans.

Together these countries contain considerable – even vast – wealth in natural resources, development and people.

2. SALMA resolves at its founding meeting:* to honour those who died in their liberation struggles, through full historical research, including into the role of western intelligence, for widespread media and educational publication, and to look after the surviving veterans.

a) to pledge that no party leader among these five countries will serve more than two five-year terms as head of government or party –

c) to restore/keep in the public sector, through majority government holding, all natural resources and infrastructure and public service industries.*

d) to place a moratorium on all short-term foreign investment.*

e) to ensure that none of their citizens are involved in illicit exploitation of Africa’s mineral and other wealth.*

f) to invite other SADC countries to join as SALMA associate members, provided they adhere to all the above terms.

g) SALMA to offer its terms as guidelines for future operations of AU.

South Africa (and SADC) in the African Union (AU)

1. The SA government renounces all those provisions of the New Economic Policy for African Development (NEPAD) which make it subject to the critique that Nepad is little more than a recolonisation of Africa and an extension of GEAR; and that Nepad’s vision is blurred by fixing its sights on increased global integration and rapid private sector growth as an answer to rising poverty, and by its failure to engage with Africa’s people to transform the continent.

2. Government endorses an economic and social programme for Africa which returns to the provisions and strategies of the Lagos Plan of Action and the African Alternative Framework.

The case graphically put in the Framework document:

“It is clear that simply sopping up red ink by cutting government spending and balancing imports and exports will not deal with African underlying problems…they have to be dealt with structurally. They are not purely economistic. They are political and social as well…The central principle of the Lagos Plan is that the worth of economic development is measured only by the well-being of the people.”

3. Government proposes that the AU Secretariat is headed by the most experienced international diplomats, such as Salim Salim of Tanzania, and Mohamed Sahnoun of Algeria.

4. All peace negotiations and peacekeeping initiatives within Africa be conducted through the AU, under the auspices of the United Nations.International relations

5. Government maintains strong diplomatic and trade relations with the European Union, particularly with its original core members and with the Scandinavian countries, and strengthens relations with Russia.

6. Strengthens South-South relations,particularly to the east, with Malaysia, India and Turkey,to the west, with Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia.

7. in the Middle East,suspends diplomatic and trade ties with Israel unless:

a) Israel guarantees as a preliminary step to return to its 1967 borders, return East Jerusalem to Palestine, and agrees to the right of return for Palestinians.

b) guarantees to remove all racist laws and religious discrimination – or returns to its 1948 UN-recognised borders, and if it continues as a racist state, is subjected to total sanctions and isolation as were Rhodesia and white South Africa.



Socialism in our lifetime


Tony Hall

Tony Hall was born in Pretoria in 1936. He went to Witwatersrand university and then went on to work as a reporter at the Star. He joined the Congress of Democrats after Sharpeville along with his wife Eve Hall and interviewed Nelson Mandela in Hiding. His wife, Eve, was jailed by the Apartheid regime. Tony Hall was the first journalist to be banned from a major newspaper in South Africa when, after interviewing Potlako Reballo on a forthcoming insurrection, he was questioned and refused to give information to police.

Tony and Eve went into exile in Kenya where both of them worked on the Daily Nation. Tony wrote the column ‘On the Carpet and Eve was the woman’s editor. However, at the request of Ruth First, an intermediary for Odinga Odinga, Tony drafted the platform of KANU. He was appointed Communications Officer for the East African Community, but when his involvement with KANU was discovered he and his family were forced to leave the country.

In the United Kingdom Tony worked for Oxfam and then moved with his family to Tanzania to work as Training Editor for The Standard with Frene Ginwallah as editor. From there Tony was appointed Oxfam information officer for East Africa and was the first to reveal to the world, the 1973 famine in Ethiopia. After Ethiopia Tony and Eve shared the job of Oxfam Information officers in India.

After India Tony Hall worked as an editor of international Newsmagazines focused on the Middle East for eight years. Then he left to join his wife in Somalia where he worked for UNDP starting IMR, a trade magazine. He trained a team of Somali journalists to run the magazine.

In the late 80s Tony and Eve were in Harare. Tony was Editing the Magazine Africa South and East under the aegis of editor-in-chief Govan Mbeki. It was at this time that Mandela was released and Tony and Eve were unbanned. Africa South and East moved its headquarters to Yeoville. When Allister Sparks resigned as head of Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, which he founded, Tony Hall was offered a senior management job at the institute, however, once again, he left to join Eve who was working in Addis Ababa. There Tony become the Communications Director of the Economic Commission for Africa, a branch of the UN.

Tony carefully selected and oriented his replacement and Eve and Tony retired to a nature reserve in Mpumalanga where they lived together for ten years until Eve’s death in October 2007 and Tony’s two months later in January 2008.

Tony Hall’s Interview with Yves Montand

Yves Montand in Nairobi in 1966

By Tony Hall

On the face of it it may seem strange for a film star to speak so much on politics. But for Yves Montand and his wife, Simone Signoret, one of the really distinguished couples in the world of serious entertainment, taking a stand on burning political issues is part of every citizen’s duty.

It is a view shared by many of their friends, such as artist Pablo Picasso, and the playwright Arthur Miller.

The name of Yves Montand is a household name in Europe as a singer, dancer and serious actor in films like the ‘Wages of Fear.’ In fact he needs very little introduction anywhere in the world.


Tony Hall: You are a top international star today. Did you have a difficult start in your career as an entertainer and a film actor?

Yves Montand: Yes and no…I come from a poor Italian peasant family. We moved to Marseilles when I was two years old.
I started to sing when I was 18 in the suburbs of Marseilles in the little bistros and cafes on Saturday nights. I must say it caught on quite well straight away.
No, there wasn’t much difficulty…but then I had some trouble finding song material and routines and to find my personality.
Because you see your personality doesn’t come just like that out of the blue. It comes from the people you meet and other external circumstances; you come across people who are simple and modest or people who are highly educated. It’s their influences which help to form your personality.

During the Nazi occupation, you had to be one thing or the other. I would call that a time for commitment. And when there is this situation you must take a stand – if you are man.

Q You have reached the heights in two directions – as an actor and as a ‘chansonier‘. Which achievement are you most proud of?

A Well in fact I do a one man show only every three or four years – I’m not a chansonier. I am a little fortunate because I can also do a play when I want to like The Crucible, which my wife Simone Signoret and I did . And two years ago I appeared in an American play called A Thousand Clowns.
It was a comedy, very funny and very strong. When I have this kind of play, or a wonderful story like we are doing now or like the last picture I made with Frankenheimer called Grand Prix…all the sequences were for real.
For a month we took driving lessons with a champion racing driver Jim Russell…when you have this kind of story, I prefer to make a movie.
Four years ago I made four pictures in America, but I don’t think they were successful – especially in Hollywood it’s very dangerous because they want to use you in Hollywood as the oo-la-la, l’amour toujour kind of Frenchman – you know the kind of thing.
Now I’ve stopped it, I don’t want to shoot in Hollywood any more – except that last picture, but we did the shooting in England, France, Belgium, Germany.

Q It was an international film?

A Yes, in Cinerama. I don’t know if the picture is good, but I can tell you the racing sequences are just fabulous.
I think motor races come over well on Cinerama. And Frankenheimer saw racing drivers as ‘the gladiators of our time’.’
It’s true because in every race somebody dies or is wounded. And the accidents you see in the picture are all real accidents, which happened many years ago.

How do you feel about what is happening in [Apartheid] Southern Africa?

Q Before we go any further into your present work, I’d like to go back to your past – and ask you if you were ever in the Communist Party?

A What are you? FBI or something…? No, I assure you I’ve never been in the Communist Party. But I was with the Left-Wing during the war, because they were the people who really fought.
At one point they brought out the Stockholm Appeal, like Bertrand Russell is asking for now on Vietnam. I don’t regret I signed that at the time.
I signed appeals for the Rosenbergs. I signed petitions for peace – for many things like that.
It wasn’t easy at that time, now it’s easy because many people are signing, everybody is doing something in every country, even in New York and Hollywood nowadays.
But in Paris it wasn’t easy to do. I don’t regret it. The only thing that changed me – not my mind, but it affected my conscience, was what happened in Budapest, in Hungary in 1956.
It seemed to me then that things were not so simple and so clear, and that in every movement you have contradictions; good and bad.
During the war my stance was very simple: You are with them or you are against them. During the Nazi occupation, you had to be one thing or the other. I would call that a time for commitment.
And when there is this situation you must take a stand – if you are man.
But when this condition does not exist, when the issues are not confronting you, you must see people as they are, and not consider a man an enemy if he is not of your class.
You mustn’t be a fool and sectarian about it.
For example, I am 80 per cent for DeGaulle. He is an intelligent courageous man. He is a brilliant politician. What we can criticise him for are things inside France. We need more housing, more hospital facilities, this sort of thing.
But for what the French represent and their relationship to the world – he is a fantastic man. We must take that into account.

But I was with the Left-Wing during the war, because they were the people who really fought.

Q How do you feel about what is happening in Southern Africa? I believe in this film you play the part of a journalist who goes there…

A I don’t like what’s happening. I tell you I am ashamed as a human being, to hear what goes on in South Africa. If a human being doesn’t have the same feeling, I don’t want to speak with him. This is what I was saying earlier. This is a clear issue, a point of fixation. You must be on one side or the other. You can’t say: ‘Oh well, you know I’m not involved in politics.’
That’s wrong, because when you pay your income tax, that is politics, right?…
It’s a coward’s position.
I don’t hesitate on this point – even if they shoot me. I don’t want to argue about this.

Q Do you allow your records to be sold in South Africa?

A I don’t know. This is a good point. It’s not my decision but my record company’s. I could speak to them about…I wouldn’t go there.
Take Spain. I refuse to go to Spain…The Russians are going there. They are doing business with them. I’m ashamed. Because for me Franco was held in power by Hitler’s Fascists. If the Spanish people voted for Fascism – OK.
All countries can elect the government they want, but in this case they killed people; they strangled the republic whose government had been properly elected. This is something I cannot accept. This may sound unreasonable – but I think convictions are very important in life.

Q Do you share the view of Jean Paul Sartre that selling arms to South Africa as France is doing, is an interference in the internal affairs of the country because it perpetuate slavery?

A Yes. Absolutely. I agree with Sartre. In fact we don’t have to sell these arms. But you see how complex the problems are, how many contradictions there are when the Russians make business with Spain – for a movie, can you imagine that?
OK, some people might say that after 30 years it is necessary to have normal relations. But take the Mexicans. Right up to the present they do not recognise Franco. For me, this is the right policy.

Ah, voila. When I sing Les Feuilles Mortes no Brassens, or Becaud or Aznavour will sing it after that.

Q I’d like to go back to your role as an entertainer…The French tradition in singing is very rich and strong. What we would call folk singing, where the words mean something, is widely popular in France. You are one of the big names, but where do you fit in to the tradition?

A Well, as I said I do a one man show, in which I dance and sing. But, for example George Brassens, a wonderful guy, is not an entertainer at all. He’s a wonderful poet, even comparable to Villon, so strong.
But he’s the kind of performer whose records you buy to listen at home quietly. On the stage you need a show. This is not an attack against my friend Brassens, whom I respect very much. Jacques Brel is another strong singer like this.

Q And yet even your own work…I mean you were the creator of ‘Les Fuelles Mortes’

A Ah voila. When I sing Les Feuilles Mortes no Brassens, or Becaud or Aznavour will sing it after that. And I can’t sing a song of theirs as they do.
You must create your own material. Although I have done one record which is a selection of the best songs of the last 20 years, I put in: Les Fuelles Mort, La Vie en Rose, C’est ci Bon, Under the Skies of Paris… I also put in one song of Charles Trenet, one of Becaud, one of Aznavour and so on…It’s a salute, a tribute.

Q What about pop singing in France, people like Johnny Halliday?

A No, Johnny Halliday is something to do with publicity. We don’t consider him a singer in the same way. He and even Francoise Hardy are more like glamour idols.
Dress them in some new fashions and they look fine and you can sell them to the youth.
Also they have good faces and they move very well on the stage. But when you are French and you call yourself Johnny Halliday you’re starting off on the wrong foot.
Francoise Hardy is better. She sings the British or American arrangement – but she sings typical French songs. She doesn’t take an American song and translate the words into French…
In America there are only a handful of people who can really move a big audience, like Danny Kaye, Sammy Davis Junior, like Sinatra, maybe Judy Garland – and now Barbara Streisand, of course.
Out of 200 million people only five entertainers can move an audience in this way. We must make this distinction between various entertainers.
In England there are the Beatles. In Europe though maybe not in England, they move only the youth. In France, Spain and Italy people still don’t understand the Beatles humour, their spirit.

No, Johnny Halliday is something to do with publicity. We don’t consider him a singer in the same way. He and even Francoise Hardy are more like glamour idols.

Q Do you appreciate the Beatles?

A Oh yes, very much. They sing very good songs you know. And I also like their movies. Because thy don’t take themselves seriously. They are not dupes. They laugh at themselves too.

Q In France one notices a sort of tremendous self satisfaction about French culture and history, almost a smugness…

A Oh yes, you are right, too much so: because we had in our country Zola, Voltaire, Pasteur, people think they themselves are Moliere, Zola and Voltaire…
But in fact as in every country I suppose, when you meet a good Frenchman he is really good – brilliant like Jean Paul Sartre, Alan Renais, the director, and other people not so well known.
But I think, like in every country, in my opinion in France you get 70% of the people who want to be against everything: religion, policies…but in fact they are very ordinary.
Also Frenchmen don’t open their hearts easily. You have to be patient. But when they give you their friendship then you know you have got it for good.

Q What do you think of what Andre Malreaux the Minister is doing in the French cultural world?

A Oh tremendous. He has opened a house of culture in every big city, even in the suburbs of France.Though of course, people are what they are, and perhaps not enough people use them.

Q You are a friend of Picasso?

A Yes, like many other people.

Q Do you know why he suddenly decided to accept the Lenin Peace Prize recently after refusing it for years?

A No, I don’t know…But don’t forget he is Spanish. Don’t forget that for Spanish people who fought in Spain they don’t care about what happened in Budapest or any other place.
They suffer from Fascism in their country. For him, even though his heart may be breaking, he sticks to one line, as with Vietnam.

Q Part of this film you are now making is set in Vietnam?

A Yes, we are going to do some shooting there. But it is something we try to be perfectly neutral about…
Maybe we won’t go. I don’t know yet.
It’s for the director to decide.
When I say ‘neutral’ I mean we forget the American position or the Vietcong position.
In making this picture we worry about what happens to the people in this situation. The human being is important whether one side or the other is right, in the meantime there is killing every day!

Q Have you been in any of the French Nouvelle Vague films? You seem to have been caught up in the Hollywood world in the last few years…?

A Oh no, the last picture I made was directed by Alain Renais who is only 29 years old – a masterpiece called ‘Un Homme et Une Femme.’
I simply do pictures which interest me because I think it is impossible to live in a glass house and say ” I’m just an artist living for my art. Don’t bother me with the rest of the world.”
If you say that you are just an idiot. I don’t want to carry the flag and shout slogans n art or in politics. It looks ridiculous…People might say, oh, it’s easy for him to take a stand.
In fact it’s not easy at all. I don’t mean in the present time, but in France in 1945 up to 1958, people wanted to kill you – just like that!

‘at that time to have answered: ‘No Sir I am not a Communist,’ was already a concession to the witch-hunters.’

Q Can you explain that?

A Well, don’t you remember OAS, for instance? That’s just one thing. During the days of big tension between East and West, in the McCarthy days, it wasn’t easy to speak out.
But in that time I felt one must take a definite position – not for the sake of any political party or anything like that, but for myself!
One day they asked us, my wife and myself, if we were Communists. I didn’t answer at that time and if you had asked me that question ten years ago m’sieu, I wouldn’t have answered you.
Because at that time to have answered: ‘No Sir I am not a Communist,’ was already a concession to the witch-hunters.
In fact we were never, never in the Communist party but the people who asked us were the wrong people – so we refused to say ‘No, we are not.’ You see what I mean?

Q Of course it is a very good point…Is the position about censorship in France better than it was six years ago? I mean the film ‘Le Petit Soldat’ was banned for a long time.

A Oh, but it is released now. The position is better, yes. But sometimes, it depends on the director.
When you make a film which is very strong meat you must take your courage in your hands and not go running to authorities for approval and you must make it good. Otherwise they kill you, the critics and so on.
We made what I think is a wonderful picture with Alain Resnais called ‘The War is Over’. It’s been released in Paris, New York and London…

Q How come your wife, Simone Signoret has been working in England so much lately?

A Well, she learned English as a teenager from a very comfortable family. She went to school until she was 18 years old. She is a very intelligent woman.
And one day they asked her to make a picture Room at the Top, and she has been working there a lot since…She prefers to work in France, but at that time, 10 years ago, it wasn’t easy to work. ..

Q You got to know Marilyn Monroe well when you starred opposite her in ‘Let’s Make Love.’ Did you see signs at the time that she was an unhappy person?

A Well, I don’t want to answer that question.
When we worked together it didn’t look like she wanted to end her life.
In my opinion it was an accident. She took too many pills, and as you know, if by accident you take one or two too many, you can die. ..I think it was a terrible loss.
She was a wonderful personality. I don’t know if she was a great artist, but we don’t care about that – like with Bardot – she was an extraordinary person, larger than life.
She just hit you…Pow…right on the nose. This is something you cannot explain….Thank God.

she [Marilyn Monroe] was an extraordinary person, larger than life. She just hit you…Pow…right on the nose. This is something you cannot explain….Thank God

Q Many commentators say that as a person she was the victim of image-makers and money-makers; that there were too many pressures on her,…

A No, I don’t agree with that. At one time I might probably have said yes – by political education. But I think it is wrong.
I’ll tell you something. I signed a Hollywood contract and I never made a film in Hollywood that was a big success. So I could perhaps be anti-Hollywood. But it isn’t like that.
In show business they are fantastic. They give to you the most that they can – I’m not talking only about money – to give you the best advantages.
If it doesn’t work -goodbye. And I think that’s right. It didn’t happen to me.
I was asked several times to make another picture, but I said no, show me the script…You see the last picture I made there was Sanctuary, from the book by William Faulkner, with Tony Richardson directing.
Now you cannot put Sanctuary on the screen just as it is written. So they changed it. But not only did they change it, they changed the love scenes. It doesn’t come over at all in the book, so why call the picture Sanctuary?
In the book the character is a small man. In the film he is a big tough guy with a lot of women working for him. Then in the film the girl comes from the bourgeoisie and they both find purity and salvation in their love affair. It’s nothing! Call the picture what you want, but don’t call it Sanctuary.

Q So you are finished with that kind of film now?

A Oh yes.

Q Was this the fault of Tony Richardson? You did say he was a good director.

A He is, yes – when he is working in his own country. I think it is like this with everybody.
Why are the Russian plays so fantastic when they go outside? It is because they are typically Russian.
Tony Richardson cannot work in America. He needs to be in England where he can work with people who understand what he wants without any trouble.
Look at Mademoiselle, which he made in French with Jeanne Moreau. It was a big flop.

Q Is there a film you would still like to make?

A Well, a film like Wages of Fear. It was a wonderful story. I think the stars were those trucks. And the relationships between those kinds of men was so interesting.
Also it was like a Greek Tragedy, where everybody dies…
But I also enjoyed Let’s Make Love. It wasn’t a complete success. But a good comedy with music and song is also very satisfying.
Yet it is more difficult to do well than a tragic picture.

Q The film, ‘Is Paris Burning?’ in which you and your wife make brief guest appearances, has been criticised for playing down Communist and Left-Wing resistance figures while emphasising the part played by Gaulists and by people who are now in government…

A No, I think the spirit of the film is very good. But obviously they couldn’t put everybody in.
Of course at that time, even the Communists were under the banner of De Gaulle. In the picture one of the first people to pick up a gun is a Communist guy – and he is very sympathetic.
But the leader was always accepted as De Gaulle. We can’t deny that.
At that moment when he came down the Champs Elysees, everybody was behind him.
The picture may not be so well done, but the truth is respected.


Tony Hall

Tony Hall was born in Pretoria in 1936. He went to Witwatersrand university and then went on to work as a reporter at the Star. He joined the Congress of Democrats after Sharpeville along with his wife Eve Hall and interviewed Nelson Mandela in Hiding. His wife, Eve, was jailed by the Apartheid regime. Tony Hall was the first journalist to be banned from a major newspaper in South Africa when, after interviewing Potlako Reballo on a forthcoming insurrection, he was questioned and refused to give information to police.

Tony and Eve went into exile in Kenya where both of them worked on the Daily Nation. Tony wrote the column ‘On the Carpet and Eve was the woman’s editor. However, at the request of Ruth First, an intermediary for Odinga Odinga, Tony drafted the platform of KANU. He was appointed Communications Officer for the East African Community, but when his involvement with KANU was discovered he and his family were forced to leave the country.

In the United Kingdom Tony worked for Oxfam and then moved with his family to Tanzania to work as Training Editor for The Standard with Frene Ginwallah as editor. From there Tony was appointed Oxfam information officer for East Africa and was the first to reveal to the world, the 1973 famine in Ethiopia. After Ethiopia Tony and Eve shared the job of Oxfam Information officers in India.

After India Tony Hall worked as an editor of international Newsmagazines focused on the Middle East for eight years. Then he left to join his wife in Somalia where he worked for UNDP starting IMR, a trade magazine. He trained a team of Somali journalists to run the magazine.

In the late 80s Tony and Eve were in Harare. Tony was Editing the Magazine Africa South and East under the aegis of editor-in-chief Govan Mbeki. It was at this time that Mandela was released and Tony and Eve were unbanned. Africa South and East moved its headquarters to Yeoville. When Allister Sparks resigned as head of Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, which he founded, Tony Hall was offered a senior management job at the institute, however, once again, he left to join Eve who was working in Addis Ababa. There Tony become the Communications Director of the Economic Commission for Africa, a branch of the UN.

Tony carefully selected and oriented his replacement and Eve and Tony retired to a nature reserve in Mpumalanga where they lived together for ten years until Eve’s death in October 2007 and Tony’s two months later in January 2008.

Tony Hall’s Interview with Nelson Mandela in Hiding

It was 1961, I was a reporter on the main SA daily newspaper The Star. The African National Congress had been banned by the white Apartheid government, and its leaders house arrested and not allowed to meet or speak publicly. Nelson Mandela, a Johannesburg lawyer, and one of the top leadership, had gone underground, slipped out of the country. He went to London, where he spoke in Trafalgar Square, to other capitals, and to Algeria, one of the countries which supported the ANC, and he addressed the Organisation of African Unity in Addis Ababa. The tour was to announce to the world that the ANC was alive and carrying on the freedom struggle, and by the end of it, Nelson Mandela was a very well known figure. .

Tony Hall & his children in 1963. His wife, Eve Hall, was jailed by the Apartheid regime

He then slipped back into the country, and in disguise, started on a tour of South African centres to mobilise ANC and support from all races for the calling of a National Convention to demand votes for all and a new constitution for majority rule.

In order to be able to move around the country he disguised himself as a chauffeur, complete with the old fashioned dark blue coat with brass buttons, and a traditional chauffeur’s cap. His “employer” grandly sitting in the back of the limousine, was a well known Johannesburg actor named Cecil Williams, who was a secret ANC supporter.

Before they set off on the national tour, I was contacted at my newspaper in Johannesburg by ANC friends and asked to come and interview him , at a secret venue. (They knew that, as a Congress movement member myself, I could be trusted not to reveal his hiding place, or leak it to the police.)

One afternoon, a few blocks from the office, I was picked up in an ordinary car, but with darkened windows, and driven to a small house in what were then the Indian suburbs. I was taken quickly into a very small room where the dignified figure of Nelson Mandela, already becoming known in the media as ‘the black pimpernel’, sat at a dining table. He nodded a greeting. As I sat down opposite him I pulled out my notebook, I was in awe. His bearing was so erect and commanding – as it is to this day, even in his old age – his coat so brushed and the buttons shining, his hair neatly centre parted as it was in those days. I remember thinking to myself, nobody could be fooled into thinking this man could be anybody’s underling.

He spoke of the plan for a three-day nationwide strike, about which the whole country was on tenterhooks, if the demand for a National Convention, and to work out a whole new deal for the people of South Africa, was not met. Johannesburg was tense with expectation.

I went back to the Star newsroom, my stomach turning with excitement at the coming front page story I had. But I promised that, beyond saying that the interview was at ‘a secret venue’, I would not try to report where it was or how he looked. – nothing that could give him away. I would report in detail only what he had to say.

He went on from there, ‘chauffeuring’ all round the country, holding one secret meeting after another to mobilise the leading people in the provinces, but making few more, if any public pronouncements direct to journalists…

…until one day, driving on the road near the Howick Falls in Natal, a following car pulled in front of them, armed men got out and arrested both Nelson Mandela and Cecil Williams. An informer had put the secret police on their trail. Cecil Williams ordeal ended in deportation to Britain. For Nelson Mandela, it was the beginning of his decades in jail.

A few months after my secret interview with Mandela, my wife Eve was arrested for promoting the objects of the banned African National Congress, and spent months in jail. She was then fined for ‘insulting’ the apartheid state president in a protest leaflet which she signed. We were both listed as members of a banned organisation, and could no longer work as journalists. We left as a family, with our three sons, to a life of exile, in UK and around Africa.

The first time I met him again was about thirty years later, at a birthday party in Johannesburg for the famous singer Miriam Makeba, who had become known as ‘Mama Africa’. It was one of those many parties for all of us, to celebrate coming back home, after almost three decades of exile. *


May 1961, The Star

Lawyer Mandela prophesies -This is the start of the head-on clash

Nelson Mandela, in the early 1960s, before he was sentenced in 1964 to life in prison for sabotage.

My undercover interview with Nelson Mandela while he was in hiding. The Star could not admit it was a “live” interview,” as he was banned from talking to the press. I carried out the interview with Nelson Mandela who was disguised as chauffeur, in a small room in an Indian suburb of Johannesburg.

By staff reporter Tony Hall

With the fluctuating changes in Native leadership caused by the banning, exile and imprisonment of one leader after another, it is difficult for even the best informed on Native affairs in South Africa to determine who are the dominant leaders of the Native masses and which man in particular is destined to become their leader-in-Chief.

Today Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, secretary of the African Council and chief organizer of the threatened anti-republic demonstrations timed for the end of this month., has assumed the mantle of official spokesman for the Native people.But even Nelson Mandela does not regard himself as leader of the people except in the sense that for the time being he is available to act and speak on their behalf.

Collective


“Native leadership.” he says, “is a collective leadership – a system forced upon the African people by the White authorities.”

Mr. Mandela, who was born at Umtata in 1918, is a member of the Tembu Royal House. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mpakanyisina Mandela. His father was eventually deposed as chief of the Mvezo Location, Umtata district.The present showpiece chief of the Transkei, 48 year old Chief Kaizer Matanzima, chairman of the Transkeian Territorial Authority, the man to whom the Hon. Hans Abraham , Commisioner-General, formally bows and doffs his silk top hat, is the tribal nephew of Nelson Mandela who, according to tribal custom, chose the chief’s first wife.

Tribal Post


Nelson himself, however, showed little respect for his tribal custom when it affected his own fortunes. As a young man he was being groomed for an important tribal post and a marriage to a daughter of his own royal house.

Recalling his early days, Nelson once described how he revolted at the idea of having his affairs arranged for him. “My guardian , the acting chief of the Tembus, was on the point of paying Lobola for the marriage when precipitated a grade A tribal crisis by objecting to the marriage.”In the resulting confusion I broke away and made a dash for Johannesburg, where I got a job with the City Council.”Nelson has one other relative of distinction. He is a tribal uncle to the Paramount chief of the Tembus, Sabata Dalinyebo, who recently led a faction in defence of the Transkeian Territorial Authority.

Law degree


Mr Mandela began his education first at Clarkebury and later Healdtown in the Eastern Cape. He went on to Port Hare University College and finally the University of the Witwatersand.He also studied with the University of South Africa – much of his studying was done part time.He finally graduated in law and became partner with Mr. Oliver Tambo, former deputy president of the African National Congress and now leader of the United Front in London, in a successful legal firm.

Nelson can be said to have started his political career at Fort Hare, where he distinguished himself by being elected to the students’ Representative Council and becoming vice-chairman of the Athletic Union.

Youth Leaguer


In 1940 he caused a strike at Fort Hare by resigning from the S.R.C in a protest against the decision by the authorities to curb the power of the council.By this time too, he had begun to take an interest in African affairs. By 1948 he was elected general secretary of the African national Congress Youth League – the enfant terrible of the congress movement.Four years later he became national president of the league and in the same year president of the Transvaal division of the African National Congress.That same year, 1952 saw the launching of the defience campaign against the Apartheid laws. Nelson Mandela was elected national volunteer-in-chief and led the series of defiance acts in Johannesburg.He was arrested, convicted under the Supression of Communism Act and sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for three years. Nelson Mandela, with his conviction, was well on the ladder of Native leadership.But in November 1952 his political career recieived the first inevitable setback. The then Minister of Justice, Mr. C. R. Swart, put a ban on him in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act to prevent his leaving the magesterial district of Johannesburg.

Mr Mandela’s political wings were now severely clipped. His conviction under the Supression of Communism Act made him a statutory communist and the ban on his movement extended to his association with th African National Congress from which he was ordered to resign.He was also banned from attending meetings for five years. This ban was later extended for a further five years and was expired in March this year, which made his attendance at the All African Conference at Maritzburg two months ago possible.

‘Time for action.’


In December 1951 Mr Mandela who was then the legal advisor to the African National Congress addressed a Bloemfontein conference.He said: “It is time for action in a revolutionary sense. There is a great need for a united Non-White front with Africans as its spearhead.” The immediate aims should be to disorganise the system of Apartheid to make it totally unworkable, to divide the Whites seriously, if possible, and to use the resulting situation to demand further democratic rights.”Today Mandela says of the planned demonstrations for the end of May: “This is the beginning of the head-on clash with apartheid.”Mr Mandela has however, time and time insisted that his policy is not anti-White. “I would be the first to protest at any descrimination by the African people agaisnt the White community.” he has said.

Treason trial


Late in 1956 he was arrested in the nation-wide police swoops that rounded up more than 200 suspects. From then on he has spent most of his time in court as an accused at the treason trial. He was one of those acquitted last month.

With his powerful frame (he weighs 235lb and is an accomplished boxer and physical culturist), he has what one of his friends described as “an animal magnetism that attracts the African masses like pollen attracts bees.”

He does not drink or smoke and devotes a great deal of his time to reading. He is an admirer of Winston Churchill as a forceful militant leader , although he does not admire all Sir Winston’s political theories. Mr. Mandela is keenly interested in the African youth and helps to organise boys clubs and athletic activity.


Tony Hall

Tony Hall was born in Pretoria in 1936. He went to Witwatersrand university and then went on to work as a reporter at the Star. He joined the Congress of Democrats after Sharpeville along with his wife Eve Hall and interviewed Nelson Mandela in Hiding. His wife, Eve, was jailed by the Apartheid regime. Tony Hall was the first journalist to be banned from a major newspaper in South Africa when, after interviewing Potlako Reballo on a forthcoming insurrection, he was questioned and refused to give information to police.

Tony and Eve went into exile in Kenya where both of them worked on the Daily Nation. Tony wrote the column ‘On the Carpet and Eve was the woman’s editor. However, at the request of Ruth First, an intermediary for Odinga Odinga, Tony drafted the platform of KANU. He was appointed Communications Officer for the East African Community, but when his involvement with KANU was discovered he and his family were forced to leave the country.

In the United Kingdom Tony worked for Oxfam and then moved with his family to Tanzania to work as Training Editor for The Standard with Frene Ginwallah as editor. From there Tony was appointed Oxfam information officer for East Africa and was the first to reveal to the world, the 1973 famine in Ethiopia. After Ethiopia Tony and Eve shared the job of Oxfam Information officers in India.

After India Tony Hall worked as an editor of international Newsmagazines focused on the Middle East for eight years. Then he left to join his wife in Somalia where he worked for UNDP starting IMR, a trade magazine. He trained a team of Somali journalists to run the magazine.

In the late 80s Tony and Eve were in Harare. Tony was Editing the Magazine Africa South and East under the aegis of editor-in-chief Govan Mbeki. It was at this time that Mandela was released and Tony and Eve were unbanned. Africa South and East moved its headquarters to Yeoville. When Allister Sparks resigned as head of Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, which he founded, Tony Hall was offered a senior management job at the institute, however, once again, he left to join Eve who was working in Addis Ababa. There Tony become the Communications Director of the Economic Commission for Africa, a branch of the UN.

Tony carefully selected and oriented his replacement and Eve and Tony retired to a nature reserve in Mpumalanga where they lived together for ten years until Eve’s death in October 2007 and Tony’s two months later in January 2008.


The first part of this article was originally in a letter to his Tony’s granddaughter, Lucy Eve Hall

From the forthcoming memoir: Eve and Tony

Extract originally published in The London Magazine

By Eve Hall

My heroine of very early days was Joan of Arc, whom I loved passionately. I dreamed of martyrdom and detested the English soldiers who burned her at the stake. 

Every Friday afternoon I used to wait for my mother outside my boarding school, buttoned up snuggly into my Petite Madeleine uniform, a double breasted navy coat with shining brass buttons, a sailor hat trimmed with white ribbons, and knee high white socks. I usually held a posy tightly in my sweaty little hand, to give my mother as she swooped down to kiss me. At the worst of war times in Paris people sold flowers and I always saved my little bit of pocket money.


Lisa, Eve great grandmother Rose and great aunt Tini

She smelt lovely, better than my favourite snow drops. Her soft blond hair tickled my neck, her velvet skin stroked me, her large blue eyes enchanted me. She was so beautiful and fair, and I was her dark little changeling. I wondered how she could love me, but love me she did. I had proof of this seventy years later when, peering at a photograph taken of me then, she said in a puzzled voice: “But I thought you were so beautiful!”

I usually had a gleaming white and gold medal pinned on my chest: best in my class again this week. But sometimes, I only wore a blue medal, second best, and I couldn’t bear the look of disappointment on her face then. Second merited “Good girl”, the white and gold “My wonderful clever girl”. I never got third class red.


Eve with her poupe, Pierre

Opposite the pensionat there was a huge field that the Germans used to launch barrage balloons. It was fascinating to see it float down, to watch the soldiers trample down the enormous spread of grey cloth flat, to see it gradually swell and slowly float into the air. I watched these different stages while my mother and my teacher spoke of my great future. My mother’s German accent wasn’t mentioned. The school staff had been told my history, that my German mother had been brought to France by my heartless French father, who had abandoned instead of marrying her. The poor thing, so young, so pretty. Strangely, neither my mother nor I were victimized or bullied in any way for our German connection, never called “sales boches” by teachers or pupils. She charmed effortlessly. None knew that my father was Jewish, but I believed it would have made little difference.

I knew my mother was German, and came from Germany, but no one seemed to speak badly to her or against her, although they patently hated Germany and all things German and spoke constantly about les sales boches. The German soldiers in the streets were feared and hated by all, including my mother. She was in a singular friendly German category of her own.

The teacher never mentioned my lack of appetite either. If my mother asked, she was reassured that I ate the butter and cheese my mother had got for me from the black market. It was probably through absent mindedness rather than malice that she didn’t say I gave away the food to keep my classmates, all quite older than me, well disposed. It was the custom to put the food brought by the girls on the dining room tables, so that all could share the meat and fruit pupils brought from the countryside, or butter and jam on the black market. But the teachers focused only on my grades and my exercise books, they had great plans  for my future and took no notice at all that I was malnourished and unhealthy.

I was one of the youngest girls in the school and younger by more than a year than any girl in my class. I remember little of the way I was taught – and I probably excelled at learning by rote. When a distinguished visitor appeared, I was presented to recite, to multiply, to conjugate, to sing (although in another school, in another country, in another language, I was asked unkindly to “mouth the words, don’t sing them” in music lessons). The visitor approved, the headmistress approved, my favourite teacher beamed at me. None saw that I was lonely and pining. Luckily, I liked learning and I worked hard.

My mother had great faith in this school. A lot of her salary as an interpreter at the local maternity hospital went to the school fees. I had a place there only because the mayor of our suburb was her close friend. But she worried that I slowly lost weight. I came back to the pensionat at the end of every weekend with a stomach well purged of worms and more and more butter and jam and pate that plumped up the girls in my dormitory. I didn’t mind that they gulped down all my food. I wasn’t hungry, and I warmed a little at the casual thanks they gave. Any bullying they meted out was casual, I was too small and young for them to be jealous of the petting and the praise the teachers gave me.

A bus, when it was running, took us home through the edge of the Bois de Boulogne?……..to Surennes.


Suresnes, the idea of Henri Sellier

Why there was war, and why who was on whose side, was surely puzzling for any seven year old child who chose to think about it, but it strikes me from the memoirs of those times that few did. I was probably the most confused child in France during the war. I knew that Germans, Germany and anything that was German was really and truly bad. I knew my mother was German, and came from Germany, but no one seemed to speak badly to her or against her, although they patently hated Germany and all things German and spoke constantly about les sales boches. The German soldiers in the streets were feared and hated by all, including my mother. She was in a singular friendly German category of her own.

To this singularity there was the confusion surely presented to all children in occupied France, We recognized immediately the drone of a friendly engine – American and English, its make, its capacity to harm. But, although we rejoiced, it was precisely when we heard those engines that the alarm sirens rang out and we hid in cellars and were terrified. On the other hand, when we heard the sound of a German plane, we hated it though we knew it meant us no harm.


Lisa and Eve as a top student in the Institut Port du Parc

The liberation of Paris added to my confusion. In those first few days my mother and I stayed at home, as everyone else did in the apartments around us. As I remember, the streets at first were eerily empty, with little noise except for shouts and shots of snipers. I remember that Madame Petit, in the flat below us, narrowly escaped death as she lay on her bed and a bullet whizzed over her head and buried itself into the wall. She was hysterically excited at her escape and came rushing into our flat to grab my mother by the arm and drag her to look at the bullet. She and my mother had quite a tussle before we could pushed her out the door promising to come “in a little minute”.

It was probably during these few days that my mother’s life was most in danger. The underground emerged, making flat to flat searches, looking for collaborators and spies. It was then that my mother was most at her  neighbours’ mercy. We were searches several times. In each case, a neighbour or two (presumably in the underground themselves) slipped into our flat, and spoke for my mother, gesturing her to be quiet.

As the members of the underground emerged, so did the abandoned German soldiers. My mother and I leant out of the window, along with our neighbours, booing and making farting noises. Until sniping started again and we ducked down. I remember all this distinctly as fun, with one miserable German soldiers squaking past on a bicycle with no tyres. I wonder, now, if my mother felt any pity for her miserable compatriots? Did she see them as compatriots then, after six years of dodging and ducking them?

A few friends arrived. Four or five of them came through with the British army, splendid in uniforms, far removed I suppose from the looks of the miserable refugees who had slipped through to England and Canada several years before. (They had better luck than the refugees from Austria and Czechoslovakia, who spent their war years in detention camps). A few came from America, Charley the most memorable guest.


Eve Steinhardt with friends

My mother and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating our evening meal of grey pasta. As my mother told it, Charlie came in and saw us and swept this miserable meal off the table and out of the window, crying the while, and starting unpacking goodies. He was a Captain, I don’t know what limits there were to his access to sweets, but I was the drooling envy of all the children in our apartment block.

My mother and Charley celebrated late into the night. Charley had brought a lot of whiskey. I sat on his lap and cuddled him sleepily for hours, thinking dreamily how wonderful it would be when I finally saw my father. We had just gone to bed, Charley in the spare bed in the sitting, me as usual with my mother in the bedroom, when we were woken up by several men of the underground. The men walked straight into our bedroom, looked around astonished at the litter. Is there anyone else here? Any arms? Said the leader gruffly?

My mother must have drunk too much whisky. “Come with me” she beckoned and led them to where Charley slept. I slid past them and into the bed next to Charley, terrified. My mother pointed to Charley’s revolver. Charley sat up, and swore at them energetically in French. “Sorry Captain” the leader said and they saluted as they jogged out. My mother heard one say to the others: “strange: he sleeps in bed with one child, and she sleeps in another bed with the other child.


Eve Hall Steinhardt

Eve Hall Steinhardt was born in Paris, France in 1935 of a German mother and an Austrian Jewish father. Her father escaped just before thee war leaving them behind in Paris. Some of Eve’s close relatives died horribly in German concentration camps. After moving to South Africa Eve married journalist Tony Hall and they both joined the ANC after Sharpville. Eve was jailed for her activism and Tony banned so they left with their three children to newly independent Kenya. Eve became the woman’s editor of the Daily Nation. In the UK Eve became a feminist and wrote and published articles on feminism. When the family moved to Tanzania she edited and published The Voice of Women for the ANC. When Eve moved to Kenya in 1973 she worked on assignments for Oxfam focusing on the position of women in African society. One of her assignments was to write a report on the situation of women in Somalia. She was given an assignment reporting on the famine in Maharashtra and subsequently in a job share with Tony Hall they reported on India for Oxfam and wrote articles for Oxfam news and national dailies in the UK as Oxfam’s Press officers for the subcontinent. In the UK, Eve worked for World University Services while she was doing her MA and from then on became a pioneering force for woman in in the International Labour Organisation. Her first assignment was to the refugee camps in Somalia in 1981. She was there for nearly ten years. Her next assignments were to Zimbabwe and Ethiopia and subsequently she became a senior consultant for the ILO throughout the region and beyond. On returning to South Africa, Eve got involved in activism again, joining her local ANC branch. In retirement Eve chose to live in a wild part of the South African countryside in Mpumalanga. She died of breast cancer in October 2007.

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