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RIP Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

(c) Left Futures blog

(c) Left Futures blog

Much has been written about Nelson Mandela since his death on Thursday 5 December 2013.  Jeremy Corbyn MP gave a wholehearted tribute in the House of Commons and also wrote that honouring Mandela means more than just words:

“Mandela fought an incredible battle against overwhelming odds. He suffered grievously for his principles.  In his memory we have to work to understand colonialism and its influence and, above all, question the power of the global corporations that played along with apartheid and still act in an unaccountable and arrogant way towards the poor all over the world.” (Jeremy Corbyn MP)

Mandela was undoubtedly one of the greatest world leaders of our time, and will be remembered especially by those who campaigned against apartheid.  Many will never forget Mandela’s powerful speech at the Rivonia trial of 1963-64, which gave us possibly his most famous words:

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (Nelson Mandela)

Consequently, some like Suzanne Moore and Seumas Milne have rightly fumed against the hypocrisy of those who aided apartheid now trying to attach themselves to any part of Mandela’s legacy.  Like us, they will not forget the many Tories, like Cameron, who called for Mandela to be hanged and later enjoyed free trips to the apartheid state.  Meanwhile, others have focussed on Mandela’s radical socialist beliefs and solidarity with Cuba, Iraq and Palestine which the mainstream media happily ignores.  Undoubtedly Mandela’s legacy is contested by many parties.

“The baleful grip of neoliberal capitalism, and the growing pressure to break with it, is a challenge that goes far beyond South Africa, of course. But along with the struggle for social justice and national liberation, the right to resist tyranny and occupation, and profound opposition to racism and imperial power, that is part of the real legacy of Nelson Mandela.” (Seumas Milne)

RIP Nelson Mandela 1918-2013 – a leader who will continue to inspire and educate.

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