Striking miners shot in South Africa 2

Yesterday, August 17, the South African police opened fire on striking miners, killing 34 and wounding 78 according to press reports.

The incident recalls another South African miners’ strike which began way back in December 1921, when the gold-mining companies reacted to a drop in the world price of gold by lowering the wages of white miners, and, in defiance of the color bar, proposed to employ black miners in the more skilled jobs that the whites held to be their prerogative.

Under the leadership the Communist Party the strike escalated into a violent revolt.

The slogan of the Communist Party was: “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa”.

In March 1922 the prime minister, Jan Smuts, called out the army and air force to crush the uprising. With the use of heavy artillery, tanks, and bombing from the air he succeeded. More than 200 men were killed.

The political outcome was that trade unions for whites only were recognized, and the color bar was reinforced.

Blacks were kept in poverty. There was no way they could rise by their own effort. The system of apartheid, which was to be entrenched in law some twenty years later, was launched by the demand of the Communist Party.  

The present strike, put down with guns, began with a dispute over wages.

The miners were armed with spears and machetes. The police say some had guns, but that remains to be ascertained.

Will the world that claims to abhor apartheid (as it should), also condemn a massacre of black miners under the predominantly black and leftist government of post-apartheid South Africa?

Why do we hardened skeptics doubt it?

  • gerasimos

    I remembered from my high school history classes about the Miners strike in 1921 and decided to do a bit of internet research when I cam across your site. How ironic is it that the ANC is the ruling regime in almost identical circumstances as in 1921? Do you think ignorance of the 1921 strike is due to the a lack of text books at schools.

  • liz

    I guess the black leftists of South Africa are as ignorant of history as those in our country, including our president.