Roots and Fruit
No. 9    Spring 2002

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South Africa

Samuel R. Tyson

They were the only group that did not fight the U.S. Army and therefore made no treaty with the white invaders. The Navajo migration was a late one. They moved into Hopi areas with their sheep. The Hopi had a primitive agriculture but sophisticated in its adaptability to weather conditions. Sheep are the devastators of the world as they graze so close to the earth there is little vegetation to block soil erosion. The Navajo moved in on much of the Hopi land with a high birth rate and aggressive in action. When the Dutch came in the 1650s there were Hottentots and remnants of the Khor. For around 100 years very little had changed around the Cape-a few more farms. One important change was the coming of the Huguenots. It is useful to consider historic France often largely under the control of the Catholic Church. In southern France there came to be dissenters in both a religious and political sense. The edict of Nantes,1589, was the first document in the history of Christianity to grant religious toleration in a country. However, by 1624 war was being fought against the Huguenots. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked with 400,000 dissenters leaving France. A number went to South Africa taking with them the knowledge of vineyards. French names are among the oldest in S. Africa and wine has long been an export crop. Real change came with Napoleon. England did not want France to control the Cape so took control in 1795. At the time there were around 10,000 Dutch, 2500 French and 5000 from other areas. Dutch and English did not mix well, the Dutch (Boer) moved north as British emigrants came in large numbers in 1820 - a government settlement program. When the Dutch thinly settled in as cattle farmers, local people were used as labor. London was far away yet it decreed the summary abolition of slavery without compensation 1832-1833. It was a commonality to use slave labor around the world. British church folk were adamant about ending obvious slavery, especially the Presbyterians of Scotland. They  could not see the parallel in the economic slavery in Great Britain brought on industrialization, (read Dickens on the poor). The enclosure act in Britain took away the rural commons where the community had access to pasture could have a cow and live with less recourse to a money society. As the rural areas lost their common ground people were forced off the land into the cities and paid work when it was available. As more settlers came from Great Britain the Boers moved northeast to the edges, and tried to create a country of their own but were thwarted in gaining access to the sea by Cecil Rhodes and his gang fronting for English politics. In the meantime pressures in Central Africa were propelling groups of Bantu eastward and then South along the Indian Ocean. The last of these  were the Herrero who came down west in what now is Namibia. The earliest Bantu tribes were pushed by succeeding migration waves those the farthest south on the east coast and therefore were the earliest in contract with the British. The Zulu tribe settled in Natal area, Northeast along the coast. The Zulu, a warrior tribe chose not to be merged. They were the scourge of other groups and nearly defeated British troops using spears against guns, more than once. In the year 2000 the Zulus remain in their area. As the largest tribe it feels slighted by the new government with the coming of Mandela and his African Nation Congress Cohorts. The British waged war against the Transvaal area and the Orange Free State 1899-1902. it was an opportunity for the British to try out their weapons readying for World War I. The Boers used a citizen militia army fighting for their homes. There were crops to be tended. More than once the British were on the ropes but the Boers did not follow through as they were essentially farmers. The war became very unpopular in Britain as troops were swallowed up in South Africa. The British came up with concentration camps to break the will of the Boer by taking women and children from the farms originating concentration camps as a means to control. Much of the economy of South Africa is related to diamonds and gold from geologic fracture zone of hundreds of miles. There is a fracture zone of hundreds of miles. The mines not only were the basis for the economy but dictated social patterns. DeBeers diamonds (a near worldwide monopoly) has a Dutch name because that was the farm from which the first diamonds were found. It is British owned (Rothschild). Very little of the mine profits accrue to S. Africa since the capital came mostly from the English or from Germany. The mines distorted social policy: pass laws, search, poor education, migratory labor. Bantu tribe people came in, were used and discarded. Much of what the Nationalists did later was already in place for British industry. One could not leave a diamond mine without a strip search and defecation to block smuggling. It has been a long way around to apartheid and the ruination of an economy. The Nationalists came to power in 1948. Try to remember where you were then. Civilian Public Service (Conscientious Objectors to W.W.II) ended in 1946. People went back to school, got married. The first national draft card burning was in 1947, organized in LA Area by FOR(Fellowship of Reconciliation) and Julius Steelink and Manual Talley. Jackie Robinson was the first Black to get into professional baseball in 1947. First freedom ride was organized in 1947 by the Congress of Racial Equality(Core) and FOR in 1947. In 1948 Alan Paton’s book “Cry the Beloved Country” was published to acclaim but no action. South Africa was not news in the USA, the Nationalists were elected after years of British rule. Remember South Africa was where Gandhi was put off a train because of his color and then stayed some years to help emigrants from India. There was plenty of sympathy with Germany in W.W.II by the Boer element, long displaced in a country they developed. A major fault was their wish just to be farmers. Slavery had formally been abolished long before it was in the United States but it was not difficult to install a system of economic slavery - the mines. The Nationalists translated this history into a more formal social slavery to go with the economic debasement of the Bantu people of color. So it went without much international outcry despite the killings through government killings. Some people resisted over the years and at various levels. The African National Congress (ANC) came into being partly influenced by avowed Communists, partly non-violent and partly violent. The government controlled the police power and most of the court power but not all the church. In the United States the outcry was unfocused as a national issue until until in the mid 1980s when  the Black Caucus in Congress began to thunder. Disinvestment and sanction became a social cause. The economy of South Africa was to be punished for its failure in human relations. It was a successful protest by any measure. American companies pulled out of South Africa-such good justice finally. Several things happened. It is presumed south Africa went to nuclear weapons development down home. It did develop a synthetic gasoline industry based on its plentiful coal deposits to counter oil embargoes. The ANC learned to necklace the opposition. A necklace is a tire dropped over the head, with gasoline applied, set afire. Between the government and the opposition many middle ground people were murdered, the moderates. Seemingly, it was based on the biblical misconstruction; if you are not for me you are against me. A most discouraging aspect of the years of confrontation was the decision to shut schools. The blame for this goes to both sides. It was part of the liberation effort to deny government by shutting down schools. Bantu education was minimal anyway, as a control measure. Now the country needs to move ahead. There are all those poorly educated people unready for employment. Unemployment is very high. Another effect of no schooling is gang activity. Necklacing was not a one on one effort but a gang attack. The present criminal activity is out of control and could easily destroy government. The habit of gang activity with poor education is a milestone for the economy and its social structure. Now that apartheid is officially banned industry cannot snap back.  U.S. Corporations are back, yes, but they do not hire nearly as many people as formerly. Like it or not many have to start at the bottom when there are many investment opportunities in the world that are more enticing. (Wall Street Journal February 11, 2000)(WSJ)Nelson Mandela has been back 10 year but the economy has not come with him. At least hew did keep the southern end of Africa from exploding into all out violence. Over the years thousands of Bantu were removed from land near or in white communities. Slowly their land is being returned. Unfortunately the government can help little in getting communities reestablished (WSJ March 10, 2000). It will take generations to refurbish the country. The fruits of revolution are more euphoric than edible; the same comeuppance came to the Sandanistas. A prolonged upsetting destroys the work  of generations proceeding upheavals. It is just not possible to build enough houses, infrastructures as per promises: which often ensures a political backlash. Do no harm There is sort sociological theorem that once social change is allowed, it will keep happening. South Africa was changing slowly changing before the Mandela release. It is human nature to want it now; nature otherwise is a slow mover. Wanting it now regularly avoids being able to see clearly the risk-reward equation. South Africa was once the only fully operating economy in all of Africa. It is now more of a derelict economy. When we all decided to whip S. Africa into our shape we joyfully disinvested and sanctioned. The cost to us was minimal. The result in South Africa has been catastrophic but it is neither seen nor felt in our lives. The people who pay are always the poor, true of South Africa, as it is now the poor who suffer in Iraq from the bombing.  

This is our immorality.  

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Comments on Christianity

Samuel R. Tyson

One might wonder what Harry Elmer Barnes would think of such lives. His Twilight of Christianity,  holds little hope for the church in general because for him it is all myth. Kirby Page is quoted more favorably as a follower of the social gospel. If there  must be religion Page and others like him could help. Kirby Page was an optimist rather hoping the Methodists would become the fourth peace church.[1] Presently, the loudest Christian noises are made by the literal bible folk and the preservation of Jerusalem for Christians.

Another look into the past is Eminent Asians by Josef Washington Hall (Upton Close)1929. A then time portraiture of Yamagato and Ito (Japan) Sun Yat Sen, Mustapha Kemal (Turkey), Josef Stalin, Mahatma Gandhi does present a differing view and more friendly appraisal. Even Mussolini gets more kudos then brickbats. Since Gandhi was killed in 1948 much of the material is not contemporary for most people. The material is useful as perspective as lives which did bring uproar and changes. Whether this was progress is an entirely different matters, chacun a son gonts.

It all does raise the question about leadership and non-violence for the new century. Are there some basic risk takers on the horizon?

{1} Today it might be William Sloane Coffin speaking for the possibilities of Christianity.

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Influences: The Physicists

Samuel R. Tyson

After the Saturday Night Group (Stanislaus County) experienced the Nevada Test Site in August, 1957, it seemed other things could be done to continue the anti-nuclear weapons effort.

How about a public meeting in Livermore, the heart of the beast. I contacted Roy Kepler in Palo Alto about his interest; it all seemed possible. Linus Pauling happened to an overflow audience chaired by Al Baez. Just who really obtained the speaker is open to question. Roy would say he did; Ben Seaver of American Friends Service Committee- San Francisco - would say they did. There was some flak over a prior speech in Southern California sponsored by AFSC there. Pauling was piqued because the opposition (proponents for nuclear weapons), got to speak last. The constituency for the November 1957 meeting were Saturday night group(Modesto), Rural Life Conference of mostly Central Valley people, Kepler’s group from the Peninsula plus an East Bay group. Days after the meeting, Dick Kramer and I tried to follow-up on the sign up sheet and ran across Paul Wesley, a physicist at the Radiation Lab, Livermore.

Linus Pauling refused to do Congress’s will when called before a Congressional committee. A note from his son much later indicates that was a very rough time for this scientist. Because Pauling was unafraid of thinking differently he took on Vitamin C as a cold alleviator. Anyone who follows non-traditional lines (Vitamin C), funding for research was limited. Pauling’s Nobel for Chemistry could not be ignored. His Nobel for Peace came because of his wife, Ava Helen, his pillar of support in that area. Years ago they were the recipients of the ACLU Earl Warren award in San Francisco. He still had the fires burning that late in life. The Linus Pauling Institute moved from Palo Alto to Oregon State University, Pauling’s Alma Mater, after his death. John Gofman, an integral part of the anti-nuclear power struggle came to speak in Modesto in April, 1975, when there was a proposed nuclear power facility east of Waterford by PG&E, MID, TID. A group in Waterford were fortunate to have dinner with John and learn something of him as a person. His approach was Libertarian. Once a well thought of employee of the Rad Lab, Gofman had written a book Poisoned Power (1971), about energy derived from uranium fuel, (radioactive)with a forward by Mike Gravel, Alaska Senator who agreed nuclear pollution is certainly a most serious threat to life.

Gofman and of course his co-author were defunded at the Lab. The message of the book laid out the danger of nuclear energy. Gofman insisted that all such radiation was a health issue - there was no threshold of acceptable exposure. The federal government needed acceptability of some radiation to make nuclear produced electricity palatable to the general public. A further argument can be made that nuclear energy was the plus side to acceptance of nuclear weapons as a tool of government.

At the time of Chernobyl Gofman extrapolated his numbers showing the damage was far greater than published by the experts. He has for years worked out the numbers on a medical basis. Years later fruit  from Turkey was banned - radioactive, as was Scandivanian reindeer meat. When Gofman spoke in the old MID auditorium in April 1975 there was a full house, the opposition failed to show.

Shamefully, the Abalone Alliance blackballed Gofman though he had spoken at a rally Diablo Canyon, San Luis Obispo. His error was to still distrust the Soviet Union when it came to nuclear weapons. His crime was a failure of political correctness in our moral eyes.

Paul Wesley and I kept in contact. Memory says we were out front at the Lab leafleting as usual and he would accept them. He would also hand out stuff to us. They were also taking license plate numbers. Saturday Night group, Keplers East Bay visited the lab to leaflet Easter 1958, Easter, 1959, once the city of livermore was leafleted, door to door, with the walk-in of Kepler, Stallings, Tyson and Wheeler in 1960.

Wesley had his sabbatical but lost his clearance not long later, taught in Missouri, ended in Germany had a new family and was the house husband. Whereas ie could do well as a painter what is in him is physics especially.  Some years ago he wrote his ecophysicis. His outlook is that physics is an orthodox religion. One might say that of much of science. He feel Einstein needs correction way back in American he was by-passing the Atomic Energy Committee by having papers published abroad, a no-no  as things were to be cleared by Atomic Energy Commission and published in time, maybe.

Committee for Nuclear Responsibility has for 30 years been publishing John Gofman’s comments on medical aspects of exposure to nuclear radiation.

Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, P.O. Box 421993, San Francisco, Ca. 94142 as of 1996.

John Gofman Medical Physicist, 1963-69, Associate Director of Lawrence Livermore Lab, co-discoverer of U 232 , Pa232 , Pa233   and of slow and fast neutron fissionability.

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Linus Pauling gave back speakers fee in November, 1957
John Gofman returned his fee to Stanislaus Safe Energy Committee, April, 1957.
Danny Glover returned his much larger fee in January, 2002.

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Memories: The Modesto Peace/Life Center

Samuel R. Tyson

By the time the Peace Center came into being the Saturday Night Group had disappeared when so many people went to Canada. The remnants were available for the new effort though it was originally limited to draft counseling. The draft work had been ongoing in an ad hoc sort of manner by individual volunteers. Vietnam took counseling from the theoretical to the hard facts of realty. Lives were very much in jeopardy.

The true organizing work of the 1970s was not by or through the Peace Center with it’s limited vision. Something different popped up - nuclear power. The proposal to site nuclear energy facilities east of Waterford brought opposition. It became necessary to take on at various times Pacific Gas & Electric, General Electric, Livermore, Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District. It was a new learning experience to do under pressure. Stanislaus Safe Energy came into existence to block, refute and deny any such facility. Of course government bodies and Farm Bureau were all for it.

For once the Modesto Bee did it - a half page story with pictures of the half dozen up front for Safe Energy. Public meetings, Dr. John Gofman, the pancake breakfast a 3 month net picked Notice of disintent was created and in time the Harvest Supper was started as a second fund raiser. Safe Energy’s last major public event was at the County Fair 1987 in the midst of the super conductor-super collider protest. The proponents of this super welfare program were the University of California, Livermore, liberal Democrats, Chambers of Commerce as usual, school systems and of course government agencies.

 In between came the farm workers to Modesto, 8000 on foot or car to add to the 1000  or so already at Graceada. Vietnam was over so released a lot of energy to work on farm worker issues. Gallo's far and above the great villain as a large outfit interested in being limited by a Union. What was Modesto to do with such an invasion with it’s inflammatory possibilities.

Having done crowd control by invitation several times in San Francisco’s anti-war marches, it was an interesting challenge,Organizer Chuck Gardenier and I agreed it would be useful to have a non-violent presence on March 1, l975. Since there had been joint meetings with California Highway Patrol, sheriff deputies of several counties, Modesto Police, Chuck and I were known to them at least. There had been violence along with the march in Merced County. So in the blue jeans and jacket with red arm band I was a presence all along to the side to take (block) intersections or along the front as Modesto was cut in half from Gallo to Graceada Park. Holding half of Needham for the crowd was traffic messy but there was no violence. Modesto police backed off and left the crowd it's own


When the Latin Americas group decided to sit in Tony Coehlo’s office during the Nicaraguan Contra imbroglio I was brought in to do the non-violence organizing. Now with the people ready to sit it could be done all at once, a big bang. It appeared more useful to split into three groups for larger impact. So poor Jane Jackson, who knew many of us, had to be at her desk three days to watch people be arrested. It was not that Coehlo was a poor congressman but as one in a leadership position position more needed to be done to end the conflict.

Whatever organizational skills there may be, it cannot work without other people. Foremost were Howard Washburn and Howard TenBrink who was there from the beginning at the monthly Fellowship of Reconciliation Meetings. He was in Nevada,Self Help Housing (SHE) (Visalia), Everyman building, Coehlo offices and in late years collating Stanislaus  Connections.

Howard Washburn - Rural Life Conference(1940-50s), first director of SHE(1960s) tax resister at Fresno, Livermore, Vandenburg. Tragically, with

much of his family he was killed in an automobile accident. Jake Kirihara(Livingston) SHE board, Livermore, Coehlo, United Technology Missile plant (Merced Co)

Mel Harvey was of this breed Nevada, arrested for leafleting IRS Modesto (I was not ready for arrest, nor was Betty Tillotson or Frank Muench), Oakland Induction Center 1967. Mary Harvey upon the Everyman sentencing in 1960 went to Nevada, crossed the line, given 30 days - the only woman in the Tonopah jail, (second floor). These folks were there; open, allowing, available for joint action over a period of many years.

For its time slot Safe Energy found Dan Pollack (Ecology Action) a stalwart. Jim Higgs came along in the 1970s but did not break out until the 1980s with more than one visit to Livermore and residence in Santa Rita. Involved with the United Technology vesture and sit in at Coehlo’s - a long time Peace Center board member. He could be frustrating certainly but did hang in with Peace Center activities as long as possible. Kay Barnes who overcame her military raising to come to look at Peace. For nearly 20 years she did the little things to keep the Center going, .as a volunteer. As usual there was little thanks.

Not doing in public does not mean the service is worth less.   One does not relish the value of such help until it is gone. A venture to Livermore was not her thing. An example of her commitment: When coming out of the Stanislaus County jail for sitting in at Coehlo’s office I was totally disoriented. It had been a hot day, the air conditioning broke down leaving the inmates dripping, half clothed. For once Zane Clark, or whoever was running the place arranged for mates to shower out of regulation. Mine was at midnight but the cell was crowded with most on the floor. Next morning I was pushed out the door after minimal sleep. But there was my guardian angel, Kay, to transport the carcass to Waterford. Christmas  This was a service more than once was provided at the Choose Life Christmas-blockings at Livermore. My going number there is under 1000 as one of the lags(1960) though they can have 10,000 entices to Santa Rita in a year. No organizer can do it without help. When one is lucky there are those who can be leaned upon for years.

Those who dare to follow conscience under fear but refuse to allow it to dominate or paralyze action and are in this sense free. After exposure to various situations there is an esprit which may well appear to be arrogance. Experience has taught certain lessons. There are probabilities of behavior and results. However, planning based on effectiveness tends to backfire as the means become distorted by the desire.

Results are long term. It is ludicrous to expect change of a useful nature in under five years. Patience is not a virtue much cultivated, our ego demands satisfaction.

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from Roots and Fruits, a publication of the Stanislaus Peace-Life Center and the Stanislaus Safe Energy Committee

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