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Remembering Nelson Mandela

14 January 2014

A small selection of reactions to the death of Nelson Mandela, along with some quotes from the man himself.

Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.

— Nelson Mandela, Letter from underground, 26 June 1961

Our long walk to freedom will continue until oppression and exploitation, war and hunger, ignorance and poverty are a thing of the past.

To this end, let us celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, defend his revolutionary legacy in the face of distortions and lies and intensify the struggle against imperialism. There is no better way we can honour this outstanding son of the African soil!

Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Khwezi Kadalie of the Marxist Workers School of South Africa, 15 December 2013

During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Nelson Mandela at his trial for sabotage and treason in Rivonia, 20 April 1964

In the life of every nation there arise men who leave an indelible and eternal stamp on the history of their peoples; men who are both products and makers of history.

And when they pass they leave a vision of a new and better life and the tools with which to win and build it.

— This tribute to South African Communist Party leader Moses Kotane by Dr Yusuf Dadoo in 1978 was used as the opening lines in the ANC’s tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign conducted by the USA against the socialist countries. They know that their independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the socialist camp but by the USA, which has surrounded their continent with military bases.

The communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism.

— Nelson Mandela, The Struggle Is My Life

If you supported the war against the Libyan Jamahiriyah and called Gaddafi a “dictator”, then shut up about Mandela.

If you don’t support socialist Cuba, then shut up about Mandela.

If you don’t support the struggle of the Palestinian people for national liberation, then shut up about Mandela.

If you don’t support President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF, if you think he’s a dictator and you don’t support the struggle to free the land, then shut up about Mandela.

If you don’t think that armed struggle is a legitimate tool in the hands of the oppressed to free themselves, then shut up about Mandela.

— Erich Struch, Chicago, via Facebook

Some say that it is impossible to acquire the great qualities of revolutionary geniuses like Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and that it is impossible to raise our own qualities to the same level as theirs.

But as long as party members work hard and earnestly, never allow themselves to be isolated for one single moment from the day-to-day struggle of the people, and make serious efforts to study Marxist literature, learn from the experiences of other comrades and the masses of the people, and constantly strive to steel and cultivate themselves, they will be perfectly able to raise their qualities to the same level as that of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.

— Nelson Mandela, How To Be a Good Communist

When Cameron latches on the Mandela bandwagon this week remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, who produced the “Hang Mandela” posters.

In 1989 Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on a anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm that was sponsored by Botha.

Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Madiba.

— Unknown author, via Tori Rae, West Yorkshire on Facebook

Fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights.

— Nelson Mandela, statement from the dock during the Riviona trial

I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth. But a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.

— Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom

Maybe the simplest demonstration of the hypocrisy and crocodile tears here is that Mandela and Gaddafi were close friends, and while Obama is declaring a day of prayer for one, he killed the other.

Or maybe it’s that British prime minister David Cameron, who is so saddened by Mandela’s death, spent much of 1985 distributing “Hang Mandela” posters. They’re mourning Mandela because they don’t dare not to, not because they want to.

— Daniel Sullivan, Dallas, via Facebook

Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro … Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice.

We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of a vicious imperialist campaign designed to destroy the advances of the Cuban revolution. We too want to control our destiny …

There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death. The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.

— Nelson Mandela, Speech at the celebration of the start of the Cuban revolution, 26 July 1991, Havana

During the conflict there was a close working relationship between Irish republicans and the ANC … the IRA provided practical training and advice and assistance with military operations to MK [Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation, the ANC’s military wing, founded by Nelson Mandela and others].

… the famous attack of 31 May 1980 on Sasal Oil Refinery near J’Burg was carried out with the assistance of the Irish Republican Army …

The British government at the time [1995] lobbied hard for Madiba not to meet me. And when it was clear that the ANC was determined and Madiba was determined that the visit should go ahead the British lobbied for no handshake or photograph. He ignored them.

Gerry Adams pays tribute to a comrade-in-arms in the Irish Dáil

If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.

Nelson Mandela condemning the imminent invasion of Iraq

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

— Nelson Mandela, Address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Pretoria, 4 December 1997

4 December 1997, Pretoria

Tata Madiba, no matter how much they try to use your name, no matter how much they want to bathe in your glory, we know that none of your gentleness, none of your humanity, and none of your integrity will rub off onto them, for they don’t possess gentleness, humanity nor integrity.

We know that you are on the side of the downtrodden, the oppressed and exploited.

We know that you will never abandon a single political prisoner, nor will you ever abandon a single fighter for justice and freedom.

— From Tata Madiba, we are ONE with you by ZK Kubu, South Africa

No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do.

Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi. They are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.

Nelson Mandela on his visit to Libya, which he made as soon as he was released from prison in 1990

The truth is that Mandela was above all else a freedom fighter and a leader of armed struggle against the apartheid regime and its imperialist backers.

He supported and in turn was supported by other freedom fighters the world over, from the IRA, Yasser Arafat’s PLO, Muammer Gaddafi’s Libya, to Fidel Castro of Cuba, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Agostino Neto of the MPLA, etc. – all of whom were branded as terrorists by the representatives of imperialism and its gigantic propaganda machine.

It is to the great credit and integrity of Mandela that he refused to turn his back on any of them, in spite of the pressure brought to bear upon him by imperialism.

Lalkar tribute to Mandela, January 2013

The ANC has a proud record of struggle and resistance to the efforts of successive white minority regimes to entrench this system and make it an everlasting reality defining the nature and functioning of South African society.

It is precisely that struggle which has changed the balance of forces to such an extent that the apartheid system is now under retreat. Through the struggles of our people the ban on the ANC has been lifted and we are able to meet in our own country today.

A regime whose ideology is based on a virulent anti-communism has been forced to unban our ally the South African Communist Party, and remove provisions from the law prohibiting the propagation of communist ideals …

We have suspended armed action, but we have not terminated the armed struggle. Whether it is deployed inside the country or outside, the Umkhonto we Sizwe has therefore a responsibility to keep itself in a state of readiness in case the forces of counter-revolution once more block the path of peaceful transition to a democratic society.

— Nelson Mandela, speech to the ANC Congress in Durban, 2 July 1991

Hamba Kahle, Madiba. Qhawe la ma Qhawe! (Go well, rest in peace, Madiba, hero among heroes!)

Gerry Adams, using the words originally used by Mandela to salute his friend and comrade Walter Sisulu

The goal of communism is a classless society based on the principle: from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. The aim is to change the present world into a communist world where there will be no exploiters and no exploited, no oppressor and oppressed, no rich and no poor.

Communists fight for a world where there will be no unemployment, no poverty and starvation, disease and ignorance. In such a world there will be no capitalists, no imperialists, no fascists. There will be neither colonies nor wars.

— Nelson Mandela, How To Be a Good Communist

Read more Mandela quotes on FightBack News

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