A group called PunditFact has a “Truth-O-Meter” which says that Bill O’Reilly’s observation that Nelson Mandela was a communist is “correct,” but only “mostly true.” How something can be correct but only “mostly true” is not really explained. It is apparently a liberal’s way of saying that Mandela’s communism should be of no special significance, and that we should just ignore the fact that the world was deceived about his devotion to communism for several decades.
PunditFact is a project of PolitiFact, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in journalism. It is a joint project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly. It rates statements for truth or falsity, with “Pants on Fire” signifying a big lie.
The PunditFact group’s dishonest treatment of the controversy over Mandela’s communist record and motivation may be another indication that the liberal establishment cannot come to grips with the fact that Mandela deceived South Africa and the world for decades. The liberals were deceived as well and have now been caught red-faced. Their human rights icon turns out to have been a “Pants on Fire” liar who concealed his affiliation with a bloody movement that has taken more than 100 million lives. Whites in South Africa are now facing potential genocide, according to the Genocide Watch website.
Here’s the “ruling” from PunditFact, after reviewing O’Reilly’s observation and the evidence on the matter: “The weight of the historical evidence shows that O’Reilly is correct. For a time, Mandela—despite his denials—appears to have been a member not only of the party but also of its central committee. However, it’s worth noting that Mandela’s affiliation with the party or its goals was never a dominant feature of his ideology or message. We rate O’Reilly’s claim Mostly True.”
The claim that Mandela was a communist only “for a time” is not clear. We are not sure how many years he belonged to the party. The key point is that he was a member “despite his denials,” which means that he lied through his teeth.
The claim that “Mandela’s affiliation with the party or its goals was never a dominant feature of his ideology or message” is totally false. Equally false is the group’s claim that “Mandela was not a communist ideologue.”
We have noted evidence, even mentioned by Bill Keller of The New York Times, that the communists who run South Africa are still pursuing a Soviet-style strategy of revolutionary change. Mandela was a key part of implementing this strategy.
The PunditFact group fails to note that Mandela spoke to the 9th Congress of the South African Communist Party in 1992, decades after he was reported to be a member of the central committee of the South African Communist Party. He said, “It is not given to a leader of one political organization in a country to sing praises to the virtues of another. But that is what I intend to do today. If anything, this signifies the unique relationship between the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.”
The African National Congress (ANC) was dominated by members of the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) and constitutes what is known as a communist front. The ANC rules South Africa today, and President Jacob Zuma is a “former” high-ranking SACP member.
Four years later, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the South African Communist Party, Mandela, as president of South Africa, gave a speech to the SACP, saying, “I feel really honored to be part of this celebration of a historic day in South Africa`s political calendar. The 75th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party is a special occasion for South Africa. It is special because of the critical role the Party has played in our country`s history, because of its relevance to today`s politics; and because it is bound to make an impact on the future of our society.”
He went on to say, “The Alliance between the ANC and the Communist Party is therefore a natural result of a reality of social life that pervades our nation to this day.”
Speeches like this are critical to understanding Mandela’s ideology. He never disavowed the communist movement of which he was a central part. But PunditFact ignored these speeches. They can be easily obtained through searches on the website of the SACP.
PunditFact attempts to justify Mandela’s involvement with the Communist Party by saying, “For decades, there were few allies Mandela could have sought out in the fight against apartheid.” The SACP, which was established by white communists, was opposed to apartheid for propaganda reasons. Its real goal was the takeover of South Africa in order to make it a client state of the Soviet Union. The objective was to acquire control of strategically important southern Africa.
Southern Africa, with its strategic minerals, was a critical prize during the Cold War. Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev had told Somalian President Siad Barre, “Our aim is to gain control of the two great treasure houses on which the West depends—the energy treasure house of the Persian Gulf and the mineral treasure house of Central and Southern Africa.”
PunditFact says, “The Communist Party—due in part to its long fight against apartheid—does not have the same negative connotation in South Africa that it does in the United States.” Again, the SACP’s real goal was to assist in a Soviet takeover of the country. Both the SACP and the Communist Party USA were pawns of the Soviet Union. Any expert on communism will attest to that fact. But those experts were not consulted by PunditFact.
In order to try to diminish the significance of his membership in the SACP, PunditFact says, “It’s unclear whether Mandela ever formally resigned,” but that “There is no indication he was a party member at the time he was elected president after being released from prison.”
So if he didn’t formally resign, how do we know he left the party? PunditFact is trying to have it both ways. It is determined to play down the significance of Mandela’s big lie by suggesting there’s some question about how long he belonged to the SACP.
The bottom line is that Mandela lied about his party membership for decades, and millions of people were fooled by him. He lied in order to rope in what are called “dupes” to the communist cause. It is a well-established strategy by communists, using front groups. In the case of South Africa, the SACP used the ANC, headed by Mandela. It was a perfect relationship, designed to fool foreign audiences because Mandela was involved with both organizations.
The writer of this entry is identified as Louis Jacobson, PolitiFact Deputy Editor and a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. He apparently didn’t bother to do basic research into Mandela’s involvement with the SACP. Instead, he consulted various “experts” such as Danny Schechter, author of a book about Mandela, and Gerald Horne, identified as a University of Houston historian and author of From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980.
Schechter wrote the introduction to How We Won the War by the communist North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap. Schechter was a supporter of the communist military takeover of South Vietnam.
Gerald Horne is a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal, Political Affairs, and was the first to disclose that the mysterious “Frank” in Obama’s book Dreams From My Father was Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis.
These sources clearly know something about communism, but not from the anti-communist perspective.
Left out of the Jacobson account is how sweeping Mandela’s denials of party membership and influence were.
Mandela’s famous “I am prepared to die” speech in 1964 included these whoppers:
- “At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion made by the state in its opening that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or communists is wholly incorrect.”
- “…I am not a communist and I have never been a member of the Communist Party…”
In addition, as we pointed out, Mandela was lying about his devotion to communism as recently as a few years ago. He told Richard Stengel of Time magazine that he had been “anti-communist” and only went to the SACP meetings because he was “invited.” He rejected Marxism as a “foreign ideology.”
“At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee,” the SACP says. “To us as South African communists, Cde [Comrade] Mandela shall forever symbolize the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle. The contribution of communists in the struggle to achieve the South African freedom has very few parallels in the history of our country. After his release from prison in 1990, Cde Madiba became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days.”
The African National Congress confirmed that “Madiba [Mandela] was also a member of the South African Communist Party, where he served in the Central Committee.”
PolitiFact didn’t really lie outright about the substantial evidence of Mandela’s communism. The website included some of it, such as the SACP statement. But it still deserves a “Pants on Fire” rating for trying to obscure and play down the hard facts and the truth and for failing to explore the implications of Mandela’s fraudulent behavior and lies.
In fairness, however, O’Reilly should have originally cited evidence for his observation that Mandela was a communist.
On Monday, he seemed to somewhat back away from the observation, after being criticized for it by leftist MSNBC agitator Al Sharpton. “As a young man,” O’Reilly observed, “Nelson Mandela had Marxist leanings and dealt closely with communists. Check out a recent article in ‘The Economist’ magazine, if you want specifics on that. Anyone who knows anything about South Africa understands Mr. Mandela’s philosophy.”
Mandela, in O’Reilly’s world, went from a communist to merely having Marxist leanings in his youth. What’s more, The Economist is not a good source on this. The best sources are the ones cited by Accuracy in Media and confirmed by the South African Communist Party and now Mandela’s own ANC.
At stake is not only the $500 million a year in U.S. foreign aid to South Africa, but how a figure glorified by people on the left and right is going to be viewed historically and in textbooks by our young people.
Objectively, Mandela should go down in history as a communist who manipulated a movement and a country, enlisting the “global community” in the process. This is truly an achievement, but not one that in the ultimate analysis will keep South Africa truly free and independent. South Africa today is “joined at the hip” to Communist Cuba, and South African President Jacob Zuma has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
In calling Mandela a great friend of the Soviet Union/Russia, Putin said, “It was our country—the Soviet Union—that in the most active manner supported South Africa and other countries in Africa in their fight against racial segregation, their fight for justice and democracy.”
Notice Putin’s reference to “our country” as the USSR.
South Africa and Russia are moving ahead together. The recent report, “Russia–South Africa Relations: Beyond Revival,” issued by the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA), said, “The development of mineral resources—particularly diamonds, gold, manganese, platinum group metals, and rare earth elements—is one of the most promising areas of bilateral co-operation.”
It looks like Brezhnev’s prediction may be coming true.
It appears to be the case, in the words of the Tom Cruise movie “A Few Good Men,” that most of the media just can’t “handle the truth” about Mandela and the foreign interests he served. They don’t want to admit that their hero, who personified “forgiveness” and “reconciliation,” should go down in history as one of the biggest liars and con artists of all time.
This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Debris2008 (Creative Commons)