Circular Letter To Trade Unions, Progressive Organisations, Democrats And Anti-Fascists by Yusuf Dadoo, June 10, 1946

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill has become law. The already so weak and feeble democratic structure of South Africa has received a further blow and our country's prestige in the international field has dropped to an even lower level.

250,000 South Africans are threatened with cultural, moral and economic ruin because of the fact that their skin is not white. A ghetto life with all its miseries, hardships and degradation is in store for them.

In the Union Parliament - with the honourable exception of the three Native representatives - everyone, irrespective of party affiliation - in principle approved of this reactionary piece of legislation which could easily have been conceived by the former leaders of fascist Germany.

This further strengthening of reactionary and pro-fascist elements is of vital concern to all progressive and democratic forces in our country. They should realise that the continued enslavement and lowering of the living conditions of one section of our people is not only a gross injustice and does not only make a mockery of our so-called democracy. It also constitutes an immediate threat to the rights, freedom and economic well-being of all sections of the people because there is no knowing which one will be attacked next, should the interests of those who benefit from the colour bar in this country demand so. Yesterday it was the turn of the African, today it is the turn of the Indian, tomorrow it will be the turn of the Coloured, AND IT MIGHT VERY WELL BE THAT THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THE RIGHTS OF THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT WILL BE CURTAILED OR WHEN LAWS WILL BE PROMULGATED AGAINST OTHER RACIAL GROUPS IN OUR MIDST, AS FOR INSTANCE AGAINST THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.

However, it is still time to stop this dangerous development towards fascism - to sign on the dotted line for or against democracy.

The Indian community has unanimously decided to oppose this attack on their already so meagre rights. From the 13th June on, we will have begun our PASSIVE RESISTANCE CAMPAIGN which will be inaugurated by a mass meeting of Transvaal Indians on the 13th.

We appeal to all progressive organisations and individuals, to all trade unions and anti-fascist bodies, to send us a message of support for our meeting in order to assure us that we are not alone in our struggle, to assure us that other sections of the South African people too have understood the full implications of the attack which reactionary and anti-democratic forces are hurling at us.

We would also suggest that you should send a telegram of protest against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Law to the Acting Prime Minister, thereby adding your protest to ours.

Trusting that we will receive your message of support before our meeting on Thursday, 13th June and thanking you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

(sd.) Y.M. DADOO
For Passive Resistance Council
Transvaal Indian Congress

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

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