Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 7. 1969.
The New Fascism
The New Fascism
Thirty years ago there were two fascist states — Italy and Germany, with one rather paltry hanger-on, Spain. And at that time, in 1939, Europe was sliding into a war that would engulf half the world, and in the process, two of those fascist states.
Now the sole survivor. Spain, has been joined by friends again, for her supporters in the United Nations and elsewhere are the new "free" states of independent Africa, who have adopted the ideals, the aims and the system of European fascism.
The ideals are those of racial superiority, the aims are expansionism and the welding of homogenous nations used to the pleasures of power, and the system is that hallowed by Mussolini and Hitler—the one-party state, with suppression of all dissident factions.
Feelings of racial difference may manifest themselves in the apparently trivial, but it is the philosophy behind them that should concern us. Hitler's "Strength through Joy" maidens bounced about in attenuated shorts, showing off those clean-cut and healthily Aryan young limbs: Zambia's young women have been forbidden the use of mini-skirts— a "decadent Western fashion".
The methods of enforcement were similar; Hitler's Brownshirts clipped the non-Aryan curls from the heads of those German Jews unfortunate enough not to have cultivated a Siegfried/Brunhilde hairstyle, while young Zambian militants have been reported removing with the aid of violence those manifestations of European depravity, the mini-skirts.
Thirty years and more ago. Jews who happened to have been bom German citizens were being persecuted. Government-subsidised propaganda campaigns pointed out that the lews were an economic threat to the "natural" inhabitants, and they must therefore be disposed of.
Africanisation sounds much the same as Aryanisalion, and the results are also the same. This time the victims are those who happen to be of Asian descent, whether they are citizens of their countries of residence or not.
There are, or were, about 180,000 Asians in East Africa. Their tragedy is that their colour is the wrong one. By the logic of independence, a brown skin is not allowed behind the counter of a shop in black Africa.
Kenya's new trade licensing laws, applied early this year, are expected to drive out at least 30,000 Asians. 12,000 of them have already opted for Kenyan citizenship, but the laws are being used against them, just the same.
The parallel with the Jews is too close for comfort. Asians in East Africa have been a successful, well-endowed minority, a minority that compounded the villainy of being successful by keeping to itself. As a consequence, they are, as the Jews were, envied and mistrusted by the majority.
As the Jews did in Germany, so the Asians, by their success, have contributed enormously to the advancement of their countries. All this is being forgotten, as even the German-Jewish Nobel prize-winners were forgotten, for the new black fascism of Africa is taking over—and who knows when a "final solution" will be ordered?
Thirty years ago the rallying cry was: "Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuhrer!" Just a few short years ago the school children of Ghana were being taught to chant, "One people, one race, one leader", but the leader was Kwame Nkrumah, otherwise known as the Redeemer, not the late Herr Hilter.
Hymns glorifying the life, sufferings and teachings of Our Lord Kwame were easy to come by; the judicious transposition of "Kwame" with "Jesus" enabled the day to start with the old familiar tunes, but this time the object of devotion had actually come down to earth.
Thirty years ago the storm troopers were rounding up the few Protestants and Catholics who dared to oppose the new god, today the remnants of Alice Lenshina's Lumpa sect, whose sole crime was that they did not want to vole; are in prison or in exile. The Nazi's forced the Polish Jews into the Warsaw ghetto, and then exterminated them: The Zambians waited until as many of the Lumpas as possible were in a large church, and then set fire to it, machine-gunning the survivors.
Thirty years ago, everyone knew what a "one-party slate" was: it was either fascist or communist. These days, however, the concept has attained respectability. It is the "African solution" to the problems of democracy. Let us consider part four of the Arusha Declaration, President Nyerere's pale imitation of Mein Kampf.
"The membership clause in the TANU constitution must be closely observed. Where it is thought unlikely that an applicant really accepts the beliefs, aims and objects of the Party, he should be denied membership. Above all it should always be remembered that TANU is a Party of Peasants and Workers."
Read NAZI for TANU (Tanganyika African National Union), and who would know the difference? There is the answer to the liberal apologist's belief that African one-party rule genuinely replaces the freedoms inherent in a multi-party system.
The one-party slate in its African form is elitist and oligarchical, designed to perpetuate the rule of a tribe or a particular alliance. He who is outside can never get inside the decision-making group, indeed, in the more sophisticated examples of this slate he can be excluded from almost any kind of gainful employment.
Where there is not a formal directive embodying a one-party state, it is easy enough, with the weapons of fascism, to enforce in practice. Intimidation, violence, even murder, are the tools with which the ruling parties "persuade" their opponents not to stand for election—where elections are still held.
"Freedom" or "independence", call it what you will, allows everyone in an African stale to vote—once. Nowhere is this cynical, but unhappily true, statement more obvious than in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Tanzania we have considered briefly.
The tentacles of TANU, the party which, since 1964, has been the sole repository of power in Tanzania, reach everywhere as the barriers between civil service and politician are eroded, and as the purely technical training of the specialist cadres in the community becomes more and more confused with the ideological aspects.
Kenya has gone about the implementation of its dictatorship in a more placid way. A second party is allowed, and the Kenya People's Union (KPU) can provide some opposition, on paper, to the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU). But it is a profitless and unrewarding exercise.
In May 1968 the Attorney-General of Kenya announced in Parliament that it was government policy for chiefs to be elected by popular vote in areas where KANU was in the majority. However, just to prevent any mistakes being made, in those areas where the KPU appeared to dominate, chiefs would be appointed by the government.
The Vice-President, Daniel arap Moi, put it even more clearly when he said that civil servants should automatically be KANU supporters, as their duties were to implement the policies of the KANU government!
Matters were taken to their logical conclusion in July 1968 at the local government elections. The people were spared the time and effort required to cast their votes, for all the nominations of KPU candidate were rejected by the returning officers. With no opposition, who needs an election?
No permits are granted to KPU leaders to speak at political meetings. That this is an effective gag is shown by the fact that the deputy leader of the KPU, Bildad Kaggia, received a jail sentence in April 1968 for speaking without such a permit.
Uganda, after the usual post-Independence revolution, which in this case happened in 1966, has not bothered to hold any elections since, and shows no indication of asking for any popular mandate for the somewhat violent constitutional changes which have taken place.
It is a simple mailer for President Obote: as long as the status quo remains, he has a majority, and he would be a foolish fascist who voluntarily endangered his majority.
More Africans have died in Nigeria than have Vietnamese since the French left Indo-China. Almost two million black Africans are now homeless refugees, in flight from warfare and tribalism.
The situation is now so bad that one in every 150 black Africans is a refugee.
Independence for Rwanda in 1962 resulted in 160,000 Watutsi fleeing to Uganda, the Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, or Kenya.
Seven years of civil war in the Sudan have forced 160,000 black Africans from the southern Sudan into Chad, the Central African Republic, the Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopa. The Moslem Arab rulers of the Sudan are waging what has become a war of extermination against the indigenous negroid Christians of the country.
There are believed to be about 600,000 people attempting to survive in the Biafran refugee camps.
30,000 Eritreans have fled from Ethiopa to the Sudan: the Ethiopian government is bombing their villages, while at the same time her ambassador to the United Nations denies that there are any such things as refugees from Ethiopa.
In the wake of religious persecution. 20,000 members of the Lumpa sect have left Zambia for the Congo. After the machine-gunning of many of their number, they are somewhat sceptical about offers from Zambia to take them back.
And all these are what Diallo Telli, the secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity called "the victims of colonialist and racist repression in southern Africa"! It must here be admitted that this ingenuous statement has not yet been clarified.
This is no mere listing of atrocities, with black Africa, government by government, claiming its incredible total of deaths. It is too easy to contrast the occasional, but none the less tragic, killing in South Africa or Rhodesia with the millions dead and dying in the Congo and Nigeria.
What must be realised is that the states of independent Africa which most stridently call for a new holy war, of black against white, are suffering from the same sickness that made Germany think that the "final solution" to the Jewish question was, in reality, a solution to anything at all. Fascism contains within it, as Marx once said hopefully of another system, the seeds of its own destruction.
President Kaunda of Zambia must call for war against Rhodesia, and promise his people immense benefits. If he did not, they might start demanding the rights and benefits they lost, or were promised and never gained, with independence.
President Kenyatta of Kenya must point to the "threat" his country faces from the Asian settlers, for just the same reasons. "Confrontation" as a multi-purpose pill la act as a pallative — for it cannot cure — is as useful to Africa as it was to Indonesia.
And everywhere the people starve.
In New Zealand, we face a difficult decision. Some would say that we should cut off all contact with the new forces of tyranny in Africa, that we should sever all sporting, cultural and social relations with most of Black Africa.
The same people would say that we should demonstrate against those Zambians, Tanzanians and others at present in New Zealand. They would have us carry placards saying "Go Home Fascists", and similar slogans.
The people who advise this may be right. After all, those black Africans who are here in New Zealand, many of them assisted by our government, are here because they are judged to be "suitable" by their own governments.
They belong to the right political groups, and they are the inevitable heirs to power when they return home. Perhaps they are so contaminated with fascism that there can be no point of contact between them and New Zealanders.
I would like to think that this is a short-sighted view. Perhaps we can influence, in our own way, the government of these countries to some small degree.
If we can show, by example and by constant communication that democracy can work, we may be answering those who allege that fascism is the only way for Africa. We, as students, in a community dedicated to advancement through the processes of learning, have a special responsibility in this matter.
We have led the way in attempts to communicate, to indulge in some sort of meaningful dialogue, with groups of people considered to be almost in human by many of our countrymen. The People's Republic of China is an example: the New Zealand Student's Association has sponsored several tours of this country, now almost closed to the West, in a determined effort to give al least some people the chance to seek the face behind the mask.
It would be a pity if we were to do less in the case of black Africa.