Philippines, Malaysian socialists: 'Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013, Mabuhay!'

By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines)

December 7, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa salutes Nelson Mandela, the great freedom fighter, who led the struggle to smash apartheid in South Africa. The dismantling of the political institutions of the apartheid state is a historic contribution of Nelson Mandela to the struggle of the international working-class movement.

Here in the Philippines, during the height of the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980s, we were inspired by our South African comrades-in-arms and Nelson Mandela. We understood then, that our struggles were interlinked and that the stakes were high internationally, for the outcome of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The defeat of the apartheid government, and the victory of the liberation movement in South Africa, was also our victory.

The current chairperson of PLM had the honour of representing the Philippines movement at the first congress of the African National Congress after winning power, in December 1994, where he met Nelson Mandela and had discussions with the South African Communist Party comrades. We, in the Philippines movement, were thus able to participate, albeit to a small extent, in the celebration of the victory of the South African liberation movement.

Several generations of activists were inspired by the heroic sacrifices made by this great freedom fighter for the struggle against racist oppression and inequality. Nelson

Mandela's life of struggle will continue to inspire generations to come.

Socialist Party of Malaysia tribute to Nelson Mandela

December 7, 2013 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) would like to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter and former president of South Africa, on his passing on December 5, 2013.

Mandela is the icon of anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Mandela dedicated his life to fight against the policy of apartheid implemented by white Afrikaaner nationalists and was imprisoned by the apartheid regime for over 27 years (1962-1990).

Mandela began his political activism during his student days when he joined the African National Congress (ANC). He became a member of the executive committee of the ANC Youth League when it was founded in 1944. Mandela rose to prominence during the Defiance Campaign in 1952. Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed-wing of ANC in 1961, together with the South African Communist Party (SACP).

During the Cold War, he was denounced by the establishment in the West as a “terrorist”, just because he was standing up for the cause of freedom and justice for South African blacks. It was Third World countries like Cuba and China that extended their support to the anti-apartheid struggle during the early days. Mandela was released from his 27-year imprisonment in 1990 when the anti-apartheid movement reached its height domestically and internationally. Mandela was elected the first black African president of South Africa in the first multi-ethnic democratic election in 1994.

The racial political apartheid in South Africa might have ended in the 1990s, yet there is a new kind of apartheid that has already developed and has haunted South Africa for the last 20 years, an economic apartheid fuelled by the neoliberal economic agenda. Privatisation of public services and the widening gap between the rich and the poor are as cruel as racial apartheid policies. The Marikana massacre which took place last year when the South African state colluded with transnational corporations to suppress the miners’ strike, has evoked the spectre of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 during the apartheid regime. There is still a long way to go for the struggle for social justice in South Africa.

The PSM stands in solidarity with the people of South Africa in their continuous struggle for social justice and equality. The anti-apartheid struggle of the masses in South Africa will always inspire us to keep up the fighting spirit.