BEHIND THE NEWS NOVEMBER 1978
Those who accept as true the ostensible reasons for the present hostility (against Southern Africa) can be said to be in the infancy of understanding, like little children who believe that babies are brought by storks or grow in cabbage patches……
We know of no more effective antidote to the demoralizing poison of current Liberal-Communist propaganda than a study of our national history, for we find the closest imaginable similarity between what is happening today and what was happening in the period immediately preceding the Boer War.
These two paragraphs, taken from the lead article in last month’s issue of BEHIND THE NEWS, call for some amplifications, for such has been the suppression and falsification of South African history that few people will have noticed the similarity. So let us consider a few examples.
The causes of hostility. There is no need to expand on all the ostensible causes of the present undeclared war in Southern Africa. These have to do with what President Jimmy Carter would call “human rights”. Today the people for whom innumerable hearts are said to be bleeding are the Bantu or Negroes of Africa, whose main “grievance” is the lack of voting rights.
Before the commencement of the Boer War it was the “human rights” and “voting rights” (franchise) of the foreigners or “outlanders” in the Transvaal Republic which were the ostensible cause of the hostility and pressure. This brief extract from WITH RIMINGTON IN SOUTH AFRICA, written by an Englishman, L. March Phillips, who served as an officer in Rimington’s Scouts, speaks for itself.
“As for the uitlanders and their grievances, I would not ride a yard or fire a shot to right all the grievances that were ever invented. Most of the uitlanders (that is miners and working men on the Rand) had no grievances. I know what I am talking about for I have lived and worked among them. I have seen English newspapers passed from one to another and laughter raised by the TIMES telegrams about these precious grievances. We used to read the London papers to find out what our grievances were and very frequently they would be due to causes if which we had never heard. I never met one miner or working man who would have walked a mile to pick a vote up the road, and I have known and talked with scores and hundreds. And no man who knows the Rand will deny the truth of what I tell you.”
The War in South Africa
Then we have the opinion of J.A. Hobson, a brilliant British journalist who travelled extensively in South Africa shortly before the outbreak of war. How significant that Hobson’s book THE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA – ITS CAUSES AND EFFECTS is not even mentioned in any standard history of South Africa!
A copy of the book in the Africana section of the Durban Municipal Reference Library, had evidently not been consulted once in 78 years, for some pages were still uncut!
As author of a number of other books, including THE EVOLUTION OF MODERN CAOITALISM and JOHN RUSKIN, SOCIAL REFORMER, Hobson enjoyed high status in British academic circles at the time.
So, what did Hobson have to say about ostensible grievances which were called on to justify British armed intervention in the Transvaal Republic? Here is a quotation from a chapter entitled A GENERAL ESTIMATE OF GRIEVANCES, supported by a mass of evidence in other chapters:
“The conclusion imposed by a perusal of despatches is that the franchise was a pretext, an object so little desired that, when offered in a form to which no further exception could be taken, it had to be accepted in a fashion which could only be understood as refusal. The unreality of the demand for redress of Outlanders’ grievances, and for the demand for a franchise as a means of this redress, stands out in strong relief as we follow the course of events from early summer into autumn, and watch the deposition of the Outlanders’ grievances in favor of the larger real issue which was all the time assuming shape and vigor in the background – the issue of a British Empire over South Africa south of the Zambesi – and north, too, as soon and as far as is desired.”
Another highly authoritative observer of those times was Lieut-General Sir William Butler. But who was General Butler? Ask South Africans who have studied South Africa history, even at university level, and most of them would have to confess that they never heard of him before. His name barely qualifies for a brief mention and a footnote in histories approved by the establishment.
Believe it or not, this man whose name has with almost complete success been erased from the annals of South African history, was Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in South Africa and was acting High Commissioner at Cape Town during Alfred Milner’s visit to England shortly before the outbreak of the Boer War!
Surely, then, what he stated in his dispatches as Acting High Commissioner about the ostensible causes of the war so soon to follow should be of importance to historians! But no – a copy of Butler’s AUTOBIOGRAPY has also been found with many of its pages still uncut.
Obviously this honest and patriotic Briton was not impressed by reports of all the Uitlanders’ grievances, for he wrote in a letter to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Colonies on December 18, 1898:
“All political questions in South Africa and nearly all the information sent from Cape Town to England, are now being worked by what I have already termed a colossal syndicate for the spread of systematic misrepresentation……”
In his autobiography he wrote as follows about the Bloemfontein conference of May 31, 1898, where Milner presented President Kruger with Britain’s “final demands”.
“The franchise question had been selected by the Colonial office as the test subject. If the franchise was refused to the Uitlanders, war would have followed at once; if, on the other hand, the franchise was given to the extent demanded – a five years’ residence in the Transvaal – then the destruction of the Boer Republic would only be a question of a few years, or perhaps a few months, with the South African League always present to manipulate the scheme and agitate for rebellion. But, of the two courses, that of the out-and-out refusal of the franchise was the most desired by the Raiders.”
To Milner’s disgust President Kruger yielded to the demand for franchise based on five years’ residence, so more conditions had to be added to make sure that there could be no settlement except on terms which meant nothing less than total surrender.
Now isn’t that much the same as what has been happening in the negotiations between the Western powers and the South African Government over South West Africa?
The source of all the enmity. Here again, there is close similarity between the real power wielders who launched the Boer War and those at present exerting ever-increasing pressure on South Africa.
The Opinion Makers
L. March Phillips leaves us in no doubt about the identity of the real trouble-makers in the Transvaal:
“The Uitlanders the world has heard of were not these (the foreign miners and other workmen), but the stock exchange operators, manipulators of the money market, company floaters and gamblers generally, a large percentage of them Jews. They voiced Johannesburg, had the press in their hands, worked the wires and controlled and arranged what sort of information should reach England. As for the grievances, they were a most useful invention and have had a hand in the making of many a fortune. It was by these that a feeling of insecurity was introduced into the market which would otherwise have remained always steady. It was by these that the necessary and periodic slump was brought about. When the proper time came grievances such as would arrest England’s attention and catch the ear of the people were deliberately invented …..Not a finger would I raise for these fellows.”
J.A. Hobson devotes an entire chapter of his book to an examination of the power wielders in the Transvaal who exerted a preponderant influence in financing and stirring up the agitation and subversion which led first to the Jameson Raid and later to the Boer War.
It was difficult to state the truth about British doings in South Africa, explained, without seeming “to appeal to the ignominious passion of Judenhetze.” Nevertheless, a plain account of personal and economic forces at work in the Transvaal was needed, he said, and must not be shirked. For the purpose of this article, his summing-up at the end of the chapter will have to suffice:
“We are fighting in order to place a small international oligarchy of mine-owners and speculators in power in Pretoria. Englishmen will do well to recognize that the economic and political destinies of South Africa are, and seem likely to remain, in the hands of men, most of whom are foreigners by origin, whose trade is finance and whose trade interests are not British. This international oligarchy may be better for the country and the world than the present or any other rule; and England may be performing a meritorious world-service in establishing it. But it is right for us to understand quite clearly what we are doing”.
Did Cecil Rhodes understand that it was not he who was using this alien oligarchy but the alien oligarchy that was using him and his chauvinist British imperialism? Could he have imagined that one day these same international financiers would destroy the British Empire and concentrate their destructive powers on Rhodesia, that small country that was to have been his lasting memorial?
Behind the Scene
Now compare what Hobson wrote in 1900 and what Eliot Janeway of the WASHINGTON STAR wrote in 1976: “The Afrikaner establishment is prepared to accept the reform programme of the liberal mine-owners, real estate developers and press magnates based in Johannesburg – most of whom are not Afrikaners but Jewish”.
General Butler identified the same “train-layers” who were setting the political gunpowder, for he wrote as follows to the War Office in June 1899:
“If the Jews were out of the question, it would be easy enough to come to an agreement, but they are apparently intent upon plunging the country into civil strife…indications are too evident here to allow one to doubt the existence of strong undercurrents, the movers of which are bent upon war at all costs, for their own selfish ends. It has been my aim since I came here to keep myself clear of this gang. They brought many of our people into their slime and grime a few years since…..”
Alas the press: As for the role of the newspapers, the parallel is even closer, if that is possible. It was then, as General Butler remarked “a colossal syndicate, for the spread of systematic misrepresentation” and it is the same today, the only difference being that it is today vastly more powerful, being armed with two new and most important media of communication in radio and television. Writes General Butler in his autobiography:
“No one knew better than I did all that we had suffered from false information during the preceding quarter century. It had been the root of all our past trouble. Now, all at once, I was brought face to face with this old evil, multiplied to a degree I could not have imagined possible, no longer sporadic, but systematized, gigantic, unscrupulous, powerful in means of execution; directed to one end, that end fraught with possibilities of the gravest kind”.
In a chapter headed A CHARTERED PRESS, Hobson discusses the background of South Africa newspapers “owned, controlled and operated by a small body of men with the direct aim of bringing about a conflict which shall serve their business interests”. They included newspapers whose names are still with us; the Cape ARGUS, the CAPE TIMES, the DIAMOND FIELDS ADVERTISER, The Johannesburg STAR, the BULAWAYO CHRONICLE, the RHODESIA HERALD (recently renamed THE HERALD).
“What I have been describing”, writes Hobson, “is nothing else than an elaborate factory of misrepresentation for the purpose of stimulating British action. To those unacquainted with the mechanism it may seem incredible that with modern means of communication it has been possible to poison the conscience and intelligence of England. But when it is understood that the great London press receives its information almost exclusively from the offices of the kept press of South Africa, the mystery is solved”.
Have we forgotten that a Press Commission set up by the late Dr. Verwoerd found that nearly all the propaganda poison used against South Africa by the foreign press actually originated in South African newspaper offices?
South Africa’s principal English-language newspapers are owned and controlled by the same financial oligarchy that used them so effectively before and during the Boer War and their influence is as insidious as ever. There can be no doubt where they stand and what kind of influence they continue to exert as once again the war clouds gather.
History repeats itself, but never exactly. So what is the important difference between the situation then and the situation now? The answer is that in the Second Boer War the Afrikaner stood alone, whereas today the Afrikaner-speaking and the English-speaking South Africans know very well that they are in it together against the same old enemy.
_____________________________________________________________________________________I am glad that it is no longer necessary to elaborate on what Communism is and what tactics it uses. Let us stress only one thing: you will never understand or successfully combat Communism if you regard it merely as socio-political theory or even an atheistic materialistic philosophy. It is far more than that. It is predominantly a diabolic conspiracy against the Christian religion and the best fruits of our Christian Western civilization. – DR. J.D. VORSTER.
THE GRAND DESIGN
Great events portend for Africa, but I do not think they will take the shape of the spontaneous, localized ‘Native war’ feared by so many who have examined the future with misgivings. Africa is now a king piece in the game and a great hand hovers over it; the hand which built Johannesburg on feet of gold and buried the gold at Fort Knox, which reaches down for mining labor into the loneliest kraal, which spread the Communist area, by arms and not by conviction, from the center of Europe to the Pacific, which set upon the political Zionists in Arabia. The future, for Africa, will be absorbing to watch. In the final throws of the great twentieth-century game, it has been added to the stakes.