National Day of Protest, 1950

ANC STATEMENT

Issued by the National Executive Committee of the ANC at an emergency meeting on 21 May 1950.

An emergency meeting of the National Executive of the African National Congress was held at Thaba 'Nchu on Sunday, 21 May 1950, to discuss the attitude of the African National Congress to the Unlawful Organisations Bill now before parliament, and to consider ways and means of organising and directing the opposition of the African people to the proposed legislation.

It was unanimously decided to issue the following statement:

  1. Although the Unlawful Organisations Bill purports to be directed against Communism in general and the Communist Party of South Africa in particular, the ANC Executive is satisfied, from a study of the provisions of the Bill, that it is primarily directed against the Africans and other oppressed people, and is designed to frustrate all their attempts to work for the fulfilment of their legitimate demands and aspirations. The Bill is a further example of the determination of the white people of this country to keep the African in permanent subordination. It goes without saying that the African people are equally determined that they are not going to remain in that position forever. The ANC is resolved to oppose this and other measures of a similar nature by all means at its disposal.
  2. As a first step it was agreed to launch a campaign for a National Day of Protest. It is suggested that, on this day, to mark their general dissatisfaction with the position in this country, the African people should refrain from going to work, and regard this day as a day of mourning for all those Africans who lost their lives in the struggle for liberation. The actual date on which the protest will be held will be announced in due course. Preparations for the day will, however, commence immediately.

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