Danny Schecter, news director of WBCN radio and Nieman Fellow, said last night that "angry disruptive activity" on the part of Americans is needed to influence United States policy towards South Africa.
"The one thing U.S. foreign policy makers don't want is a repeat of the Vietnam anti-war movement," Schecter said. Addressing a group of about 35 at Adams House, the "news dissecter" added, "People in this room have more power than they know to influence policy."
In a 40-minute speech, Schecter said there are frequent distortions in American reporting on South Africa, and outlined the history and approach of American government policy in the region.
"There's no indication that there'll be anything but cosmetic changes in U.S. policy," Schecter said. "At best we can expect more statements made under pressure from Carter, mild economic measures like Citibank's withdrawal of government loans, with Andy Young running around claiming credit, and continuing to believe that U.S. corporations are the key to the achievement of justice."
Discussing the history of the U.S.-African economic relationship, Schecter said the U.S. developed its economy with imported African slave labor. "African underdevelopment is due in part to the development of the U.S.," he said.