SASC Should Stick to Basics


To the Editors of The Crimson:

Upon arriving here at Harvard we were struck by the vigor and perseverance of the South African Solidarity Committee (SASC). Both of us find the system of apartheid despicable, and we felt respect for students advocating the eradication of such an evil institution. But our perception of SASC's goals have begun to change. We now wonder exactly what the goals of SASC are. Does SASC want to free South Africans from the chains of apartheid, or is there a further goal? It seems that SASC stands not only in support of oppressed South Africans, but also of other African groups. Suddenly under the umbrella of SASC activities come tributes to, among others, the current government of Angola and "freedom" forces lead by Nkomo and Mugabe--organizations whose goals include more than simple self-determination for the South African people.

The ultimate right of the South African people is self-determination. This is what we thought SASC stood for. It seems we may have been wrong. SASC appears to have its own ideology which transcends the anti-apartheid struggle. One need only look at SASC's recent collection drive for Zimbabwe refugees. By circumventing neutral international refugee organizations, which distribute supplies to all refugees without consideration of political orientation, and instead directly supplying one particular faction in an ideological struggle, SASC has made an implicit ideological evaluation of merit. Actions like this make it impossible for us to support SASC.

It doesn't make much of a difference whether or not two freshmen support SASC. But it seems a shame that anyone who opposes apartheid should be alienated by a group dedicated to the eradication of it. The South African people deserve all the help they can get; it is sad thing that they are denied the organized support of anyone due to the extraneous political beliefs of SASC.

With every mention of Chile, Vietnam, and Harrisburg, SASC opens a new argument. With every implicit opinion on matters other than South Africa. SASC clouds the issue. The issue is the enslavement of black South Africans. SASC must stick to the basic issue, only then will it garner the maximum support for the struggle against apartheid. Franklin McMahon '82   Mark A. Sauter '82