The Boer War

Russell Grinker grinker at
Fri Oct 22 05:46:41 MDT 1999


>But none of this makes any sense unless one realises that
>the Boer struggle was indeed an anti-mperialist one, which
>is a controversial thesis, even a startling one to some.

I think a bit of care is needed here.  It wasn't merely the
"anti-imperialist" threat of Boer resistance that was important. A major
reason for Britain's war against the Boer republics was its concern that
imperial Germany might get a foothold on the sub-continent.  President
Kruger's attempts to get an outlet to the sea fitted in nicely with
Germany's desire to establish a port in Southern Africa.  While not wishing
to make any distinction between the two imperialist powers, it must be
appreciated that German manoeuvres were an important additional factor in
Britain's war on the Boers.

People on the list might be interested to know that the centenary of the
Boer War is currently being officially celebrated in South Africa.  This is
proving quite controversial in some quarters with people making the point
that it was never "our" war and was purely a white matter.  The government
line is that a large number of "hidden" black participants also died in the
war, mainly dragooned into service by either the Boers or the Brits.
Thousands of conscripted black people did indeed die in the War, many
starved to death in British concentration camps or during various sieges
when they were the first to be denied provisions.

An interesting additional point on historic struggles down here:  in 1922
Lenin erroneously believed that the white working class Rand Revolt [Slogan:
"Workers of the World Unite and fight for a white South Africa!] was yet
another in the string of revolutionary outbreaks around the world at that


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