SAR, Vol 9, No 1, July 1993
OF LINKS . . . AND LIBERATION
On numerous occasions over the past several years, SAR has registered the need to redefine the terms of solidarity that exist between supportive activists, Western and/or Northern, on the one hand, and southern Africans engaged in struggle on the other. As has been emphasized, we have come a long way from the days when support for liberation movements and "progressive regimes" provided an adequate rationale for southern African-related political work. Increasingly, the common circumstances - the negative impact of the globalizing imperatives of capital, the shared challenge of realizing the genuine empowerment of ordinary people - that bind together those at both ends of this relationship have permitted the development of new ways of defining our preoccupations and linking our activities.
At the centre of the current number of SAR are reports on two recent attempts to concretize further these "new terms of solidarity" in-the-making. The first is an account of the latest meeting of the fledgling South-South-North network (a previous meeting of the network was discussed in these pages in March, 1992), held in Harare, Zimbabwe. It highlights the range of issues of common concern that the delegates felt it useful to discuss together, and the mutual enlightenment that can flow from such an exchange. But it highlights, as well, the difficulties that arose as delegates - coming from very diverse contexts and with very different experiences behind them - sought both to address each other and to build institutions that could be expected to anchor their on-going relationships.
Both the difficulties and the opportunities inherent in this new kind of solidarity work were also apparent during the course of the second workshop reported on here. Held in Toronto, it brought together trade unionists from both South Africa and Canada to discuss "trade union responses to global restructuring." The latter is a complex issue and, as workshop participants quickly found, the most progressive and effective ways of addressing it are not self-evident. The terrain of "the new solidarity" is defined by ideologically-charged and eminently debatable questions, In consequence - and far more than was true of the "good old days" of relatively straightforward anti-apartheid solidarity - a fruitful exchange between Canadian and South Africans demands subtlety of understanding and a special tolerance for differences of opinion. But the rewards of such an exchange can also be great and, as their deliberations proceeded, trade union delegates - like their counterparts in Harare - were quick to acknowledge as much.
One other specific response to the newly emerging set of challenges posed by "the new solidarity" may interest SAR readers - since it is a response intended to speak, however modestly, to the imperatives of the current moment: having recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary, SAR 's parent committee, the Toronto Committee for the Liberation of Southern Africa (TCLSAC), has readied itself for the next twenty years not only by changing its address (subscribers and contributors take note), but also by changing its name! As it happens, the recognition value of "Tickle-Sack" - hard earned over the last two decades of "good works" - seemed too important to lose. But we did feel the need for a name more commensurate both with the current phase of developments in the region, and of our own undertakings. Enter, then, "The Toronto Committee for Links between Southern Africa and Canada": aka TCLSAC.
Of course, Southern Africa does continue to warrant "liberating," now as much as ever perhaps; since the continuing fall-out from destabilization and from the cruel imperatives of structural adjustment are helping to define a virtual recolonization of the region. Indeed, it is not difficult to see the vicissitudes of the latest rounds of the "peace processes" in Angola and Mozambique - so vividly evoked by Victoria Brittain, Pierre Beaudet and Judith Marshall in the trio of hardhitting articles that lead off the present issue - as merely the latest phase of the unresolved struggles for liberation from external dictate that we, in TCLSAC, have been supporting in "Lusophone Africa" throughout the twenty years of our committee's existence.
What has changed? As noted, it may be merely that we now see our own fates in Canada as being linked to such struggles in ways that are more closely parallel than we had previously acknowledged. The fact that it is difficult, as participants in the Harare and Toronto workshops discovered, to find the language most appropriate to conceptualizing and substantiating such linkages - as regards the most effective responses to globalization, for example, or the most promising practices of democratization - need not discourage us. So venal is the "New World Order" that ensnares us all, and so high the stakes that encourage us to work politically across national and racial frontiers to redress global problems, that this should merely encourage us to do it better the next time we meet.
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Southern Africa Report
Contents - Vol 9 No 1
"A Different Global Agenda:
New South/North Initiatives"
Editorial: Of Links . . . and Liberation - 1
War and Peace and War:
A Wrecker's Role: Unita and Its Friends - 3
by Victoria Brittain
War and Peace and War:
Angola: War Without End - 7
by Pierre Beaudet
Hamba Kali Chris Hani, 1942-1993 - 22
obituary by Nthoana and Mbulelo Mzamane
A Tale of Two Homelands - 25
by Janet Cherry and Leslie Bank
Women's Writing: What's New in South Africa - 30
by Cherry Clayton
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