Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela: Terrorist and Communist

I was teaching yesterday, in the early afternoon, and at the end of the class a student came up and asked if I'd seen the news that Nelson Mandela had died. I had not, but of course immediately realized the significance of the news, and I mentioned to the student that Mandela leaves a "tremendous legacy."

I shortly went on the web and clicked on the New York Times' obituary, "Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95." And it's pretty much what you'd expect. Mandela was an outsized historical figure, blah blah. How could he emerge from 27 years in prison without bitterness and anger, blah blah?

No doubt he was one of the most important historical figures of the 20th century --- and interestingly, folks online yesterday placed his legacy as somewhere between Vladimir Lenin and Vaclav Havel. That sounds about right, although the main priority here is for people to look beyond the whitewash, to understand Mandela as a deeply flawed individual who was hardly the saint that the leftist culture has so effectively manufactured.

Here's the tweet yesterday from the Communist Party of the United Kingdom:

We know that Mandela, in his membership with the African National Congress, was a terrorist and Communist, even though his ties to the Moscow-led revolutionary world program were disguised at the time. Here's Telegraph UK from last year, "Nelson Mandela 'proven' to be a member of the Communist Party after decades of denial." (And see the fascinating contemporary piece from Thomas Karis, at Foreign Affairs, "South African Liberation: The Communist Factor." Also, here's a communique from South African Communist Party Leader Joe Slovo from 1989, "Message by Joe Slovo, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, to the Soweto rally for the released ANC leaders.")

In any case, it's no surprise that we're seeing overwhelming acclaim for Mandela's legacy from the left and the right, although it's pretty pathetic that even so-called conservatives are attempting to tamp down the meme that Mandela was a Communist.

And for more on that, read Robert Stacy McCain, "‘Unspeakable Atrocities’."

Plus, don't miss Kathy Shaidle's piece from earlier this year, "Raining on the Nelson Mandela Parade."