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Fundraising, Not Frustration

Brass Tacks

By David S. Graham

THE CAMPUS anti-apartheid movement has become bogged down in the politics of divestiture, and it's time for committed members of the movement to adopt new goals which will have a material impact on the situation in South Africa.

The anti-apartheid movement at Harvard will not be able to carry-off divestiture because the Harvard Corporation holds all of the levers on the University's endowment. But that does not mean that campus activists cannot have any impact on apartheid. It only means that the leaders have chosen so far to focus the movement on unachievable goals. There are goals other than divestiture that campus activists can pursue which will have a much greater effect in South Africa than endless frustrated protests over the University's investment policy.

Two alternative goals suggest themselves: finding and publicizing easy ways for the average person in this country to affect apartheid, and organizing to provide the people in South Africa struggling against apartheid with the money, organization and media profile they need.

Specifically, that means the anti-apartheid movement should no longer be primarily a protest movement. An example of the kind of thinking, organizing, and money-raising that the movement could take on would be to raise money for a strike fund for Black unions in South Africa.

Helping skilled Black workers strike crucial industries--for example, bus drivers or mechanics--would do a lot more than just making a statement about the morality of the University's investment decisions. The South African economy is eminently susceptible to pressure from strikes and work stop-pages. Skilled Black workers are a large part of the workforce in scores of industries that crucial to the continued livelihood of white South Africans.

Another idea is even closer to home. President Bok has set aside $1 million to be used for educational opportunities for Black South Africans. Why not try to convince the University to use some of that money to help educate the South African refugee community--both at Harvard and in Africa? There are South African exiles and resistance groups scattered throughout southern Africa that are desperately in need of teachers, books and material aid. And if Harvard will not allocate funds to these groups, students can still support them with fundraising and publicity.

These specific proposals have their faults. The point is that the South Africa movement should change its focus. Instead of tilting at distant windmills to the casual indifference of their peers, student anti-apartheid activists could make a difference where it really counts.

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