OBITUARY : Professor Jack Simons
Saturday 19 August 1995
Simons's complexities as a political thinker are not adequately canvassed in Sachs's single reference to Simons's "association" with the party. Simons's lifelong advocacy of non-racialism was linked with an almost equally long, uncritical devotion to the Soviet Union. It is this combined heritage that is so problematical in the history of the SACP, the ANC, South Africa and in the life of Simons himself. Coming to the fore in Communist Party politics in Cape Town in the 1930s, he was one of a generation that was "thoroughly steeped in Stalinism".
When the party moved its headquarters to Cape Town in 1939, following a decade of ideological feuding and expulsions, Simons and Ray Alexander both became members of its central executive committee. He remained on the party executive from the Stalin-Hitler pact to the banning of the party in 1950, and until his death continued as the party's senior academic. The invasion of Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979 did not shake his thinking, or that of his party.
The victory of Cuban arms in Angola in 1975 allowed Simons to take charge of the ideological tuition of young ANC troops at Nova Katenga camp, in Angola, on much the same lines as in the "people's democracies". No substantial criticism of the internal character of the Soviet Union, or of its allied states, was permitted.
Simons was a chairman of the national consultative conference of the ANC at Kabwe, in Zambia, in June 1985, its first for 16 years. The calling of the conference had been a demand in the mutiny of ANC troops in Angola the previous year. No mention of the mutiny was permitted at conference, while leading participants continued to be held under gulag conditions in Angola.
Sachs states that "the Jack Simons method" has become "part of the dialogue and truth seeking of the whole South African nation". This may suggest some further problems in the new South Africa.
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...
£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...
£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...
£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...