Nelson Mandela, known affectionately as Madiba by the people of South Africa, passed away on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95. Mazdoor Ekta Lehar extends its deepest condolences to the people of South Africa, as well as the African National Congress at this great loss. His name will always be indelibly linked with the heroic struggle of the people of South Africa against the racist and fascist apartheid regime for their liberation.
The people of South Africa had to fight for more than 300 years to end colonial rule. After the end of the Second World War, British imperialism, whose colony South Africa was, maneuvered to hand over power to the white settlers who declared "independence" and established an apartheid regime that divided society according to color and race, denying the masses of people their political rights. The people who were black were deprived of all rights, forced to live in ghettoes and shanty towns, and faced daily humiliation and persecution. They rose repeatedly in revolt against these conditions, and South African armed forces unleashed the most brutal reign of terror on peaceful protestors, resulting in countless massacres of the anti racist and anti fascist fighters for freedom and national liberation. However, the courageous people of South Africa never gave up their struggle. The more the repression, the more the waves of resistance, courting martyrdom with the song of freedom on their lips.
Nelson Mandela was one of the main leaders of the African National Congress from the 1940's onwards. He was arrested and jailed numerous times for his political activities, before he was finally jailed for life in the notorious Robbin Island prison on the charge of sedition along with 27 of his comrades. The charge was that he had tried to organize the military wing of the African National Congress to overthrow the apartheid regime by force of arms. He was finally released after spending 27 years in prison. His release was a result of the powerful struggle of the South African people for freedom and end to apartheid, and the solidarity of the progressive peoples of the whole world with this struggle.
The British and US imperialists openly supported the apartheid regime, armed it militarily, and at the same time refused to impose economic sanctions on South Africa as demanded by the anti apartheid fighters. South Africa is a country which is richly endowed with precious mineral resources. The biggest British, US and European monopolies have had their claws deep into the South African economy. They benefited from the apartheid regime which guaranteed them maximum profits through the slave labour of the black workers, who were deprived of all rights. Furthermore, the Anglo American imperialists used the South African racist regime to protect colonial rule in neighboring countries of Southern Africa, which were also richly endowed with mineral resources.
The apartheid regime came to an end 20 years ago, and Nelson Mandela was elected as first president after the promulgation of a new Constitution which guaranteed equal political rights to all. This was a major victory not only for the South African people, but for all the peoples of the world who have fought against racism and colonialism.
Today, while apartheid has formally ended, the conditions of the working class and people, the vast majority of whom are blacks, continues to be terrible. The imperialists continue to dominate the economy and plunder it. The people of South Africa are now waging the struggle against capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination and plunder. Their struggle enjoys the full unstinted support of the working class and people of India, who are waging the same struggle.