The Boer War

Fri Oct 22 07:20:02 MDT 1999

>>> Russell Grinker <grinker at> 10/22 1:46 PM >>>

>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.
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.

Tahir: There is always rivalry among imperialist powers,
but, to use Mao's terms, one should never lose sight of the
principal contradiction, i.e. between the oppressed people
and imperialism - my thesis here is that both Boer and Black
were oppressed by British imperialism - although this may
have been 'overdetermined' at certain points by the
contradictions amongst imperialist powers themselves (and
even amongst the various oppressed peoples too).

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.

Tahir: Yes, and this demonstrates the dual oppression that I

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

Tahir: So much has been made of this one slogan! Do you even
know how many times it was displayed and by how many people?
The only reason why this slogan has been so often mentioned
is because it is routinely quoted as a way of trying to
discredit the CPSA. Are you saying that the strike of the
white workers was not an anti-capitalist one? Do
contradictions amongst the people negate the fact that their
struggle is essentially anti-capitalist? Do you know that
these striking workers were bombed by the government and
that the leaders went to the gallows? The racial form
obscures the anti-capitalist essence here.

Lenin was only wrong in that the revolutionary ideology in
SA, particularly its non-racial aspect, was only weakly
developed at that time, and for that reason would not have
resulted in successful revolution. But that it was an
anti-capitalist revolt, and therefore indicative of a much
broader resistance to capitalism surely cannot be doubted.


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