From: South Africa's Radical Tradition, a documentary history, Volume One 1907 - 1950, by Allison Drew

Document 2 - Letter from the Cape Labour Party to James Ramsay MacDonald, 12 August, 1908


                                                                                                                            119/121 Strand St.

                                                                                                                                       Cape Town,

                                                                                                                               Aug. 12th. 1908.


James Ramsay Macdonald Esq., M.P.

House of Parliament,



Dear Sir,

We were surprised & disappointed that nothing seems to have been done in the matter of our appeal before your Parliament rose. You evidently do not recognise the awful position the workers here are being placed in. There seems to be a conspiracy of silence on the part of the press & telegraphic agency, but occasionally the newspapers do admit toned accounts of what is going on. I am sending you newspapers from time to time which should confirm what I am telling you. We are not appealing for charity or monetary assistance; but to the brotherly feeling that should exist between the different sections of the Labour Party in the Empire. What a hollow mockery this claim is beginning to appear in the Colonies, when to us it appears that the interests of the savage Zulus, the comfort of the Chinese criminals in the compound, & the convenience of the Indian coolies, seem to be nearer the heart of the English Labour Party than the continued oppression, physical ruin, & death by starvation of hundreds of their white brethren of the same flesh & blood in a British Colony.6 Must we appeal to you in vain & turn for help to the press of the Empire for that protection & succour we are entitled to while the British flag flies over us? We are appealing to the various Parliaments of the Empire & the Labour Parties in them for some protest, remonstrance, or even enquiry that will strengthen our hands & hearten us in this matter.

                                                                                                                         I am Yours faithfully,

                                                                                                                                     [G. 0. Bruce]