Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blue is the new Black

I guess some people might be wondering why I have such a provocative title to this article. Just give me a chance and I will explain my reasoning to choosing it for my subject.

To get context on the title we have to go back to the Democratic Alliance`s early roots. Before the Democratic Alliance was called the Democratic Party.. the Democratic Alliance was known as the Progressive Party.

The Progressive Party was a liberal party started by Helen Suzman on the 11th of August 1959. It was one of the first (if not the first) political parties in South Africa calling for multiracial elections.  

The Progressive Party being a liberal party quickly found itself at loggerhead with the ruling conservative National Party. The PP opposed the dompass, the PP opposed detention without trial, the PP opposed forced removals... the PP opposed just about every single racist policy the Apartheid-loving National Party could think of.

Because the Progressive Party was a constant thorn in the side of the Apartheid government, the National Party did everything in their power to stifle and oppress the Progressive Party and its members.

It was a small joke in the Progressive Party to welcome members of the Secret Service Branch to their political gatherings as there were always Apartheid Secret Service members in the groups.

The National Party spent a lot of time and resources demonizing the Progressive Party and its supporters. For instance, it was no secret that the Progressive Party was slightly left of center (actually by today's measurements they would be considered classical liberals and very centrist).

However because the Progressive Party was supporting multiculturalism and multiracial elections, the National Party painted the Progressive Party as "Pink-footed commies". You must remember that at the time communism was a major threat to civilization and being labeled a communist back then was akin to social character assassination.

It was very hard being a member of the Progressive Party in the early days.  Not only were you called a communist by the ruling party but the National Party also polarized the white population against the Progressive Party. They labeled supporters of the party as, "race traitors".  The Apartheid government did everything in its power to demonize members of the the Progressive Party.

The National Party painted the Progressive Party as an anti-white, black/communist-supporting party that wanted to destroy the fabric of society with their alien multicultural plans.

It was hard to wear a Progressive Party shirt. You would walk down the street and because of the nature of Apartheid government you would have members of your own culture and racial group spitting at you and hating on you.

The brave men and women that stood by their liberal principles did not back down. And it is thanks to them that the Democratic Alliance is as strong as it is today.

This brings me to the the subject of my article, "Blue is the new Black". I work with a lot of Democratic Alliance Youth and I am currently working my way through various political party platforms with them. Most of the black youth I work with are smart, intelligent, determined people who believe in creating an Open Society for All.  They are awesome liberal people who just want to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.

However, our black members find themselves in a similar situation to what liberal whites experienced during Apartheid.

The corrupt African National Congress is doing everything in its power to paint the Democratic Alliance as an Apartheid-supporting right-wing conservative party. The ANC is telling its voting base that if you vote or support the Democratic Alliance you are a "race traitor" and are working to bring back an Apartheid state.  Obviously nothing could be further from the truth.

The ANC are actively working against DA members all the time. There is not a conference or workshop that I attend that does not have one or another type of horror story.

In the Eastern Cape where I live, our Democratic Alliances (almost all of them) get constant death threats. The ANC are moving through rural communities trying to polarize the population against DA members. In more than a few cases we have had to organize bodyguards or members have had to move houses because ANC supporters are threatening to burn down their houses.

In my part of the world, the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the black Democratic Alliance members I work with are true heroes. They are out there with their blue shirts on, fighting for your rights against an ocean of animosity and they are making a difference.

They are out there, doing what is right instead of what is popular. From me, they get a standing ovation.

This was  a short article to acknowledge all the hard work being done out there by our DA Youth. Viva DA, VIVA!

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