ANC call to the nation: The future is within our grasp

Text of the National Executive Committee' call to insurrection, 25 April 1985

ANC Call to the Nation


Events in our country are moving with astonishing speed. In our 8th January message we issued a call for the intensification of our liberation offensive on all fronts and the transformation of more and more localities into mass revolutionary bases and the need to take further strides towards rendering the country ungovernable.

Only three months have passed since the call was made and already the surge of people's resistance and active defence have reached new heights. The face of our country is changing before our very eyes.

+ In the black ghettos of the urban areas the legitimacy of authority of all types is not just under attack, it has been largely destroyed. Most of those who served white rule in the so-called urban councils have suffered the wrath of the people but many have respected the demands of the people by resigning.

+ The tricameral parliament has exposed its complete impotence in the present crisis and continues to be shunned. The Bantustans are universally held in contempt.

+ Well organised stayaways in localised areas have once again drawn attention to the potential of the organised workers to bring the ruling class to its knees.

+ The people, by their actions, are teaching black police and soldiers that there is no place in our communities for those who wear the uniforms of apartheid and who carry out orders to kill, maim and torture their brothers and sisters.

+ All attempts to tame our fighting students have failed and more and more schools and universities are becoming flash points for freedom.

+ The continuing straight confrontations with the enemy's armed forces show that our people, in massive numbers, not only want a new order in our country but are also prepared to sacrifice life, if need be, to bring it about.

+ Fired by the heroic example of Umkhonto we Sizwe, more and more of our youth are seeking for ways to organise themselves into effective combat units to defend the people, deal with the collaborators, and to hit back selectively at the enemy's armed personnel.

+ The people, undaunted by massive state repression, are openly demonstrating over and over again that the ANC is their legitimate and overall leader on the road to people's power.

On the side of the people, the conditions for a revolutionary leap forward are beginning to mature. On the side of the ruling class, the economic and political crisis has reached new heights.


It is clear that the racists cannot continue to rule our country in the same old way. The bankrupt and dying regime is being kept alive by those who carry arms in its defence. All attempts by it to find alternative solutions have landed on the rocks. All Botha's reforms, designed to defuse the developing revolutionary assault, continue to trigger off even more vigorous mass opposition. The promised alteration of the sex laws is the latest pathetic manoeuvre.

It is another gesture to help the external allies of apartheid to stem the mounting international tide for the total isolation of apartheid South Africa. There will be real love across the colour line only when South Africa is completely free.

The growing ferment from below and the deepening crisis from above demand the urgent attention of our whole liberation front and all sectors of our struggling peoples. The historic conditions which are necessary to ensure the collapse of the apartheid system and the creation by the people of a new social order are beginning to take shape in greater measure than ever before in our history. Yet, much more remains to be done. It is the urgent task of our liberation movement and of all patriots to stimulate the further growth of those conditions which could bring the day of the people's seizure of power within our sight.

It is against this background that we once again call on all sections of our people to make the apartheid system more and more unworkable and the country less and less governable. At the same time we must work endlessly to strengthen all levels of mass and underground organisations and to create the beginning of popular power.

More particularly:

- Our vanguard liberation movement, the ANC, call on our nationally oppressed working class to strengthen and unite the trade union movement and to sharpen the weapon of workers' power at the point of production in the struggle for national liberation. A long lasting national work stoppage, backed by our oppressed communities and supported by armed activity, can break the back bone of the apartheid system and bring the regime to its knees. All patriots active in industrial organisations must examine the lesson of the recent successful stay-aways in the Transvaal and Eastern Cape and must set their sights on combining national stayaway action with countrywide mass popular action.

- We call on our communities in the black ghettos to replace the collapsing government stooge councils with people's committees in every block which could become the embryos of people's power.

- We call on our people, and more especially our fighting youth, in every black community, school and university to find ways of organising themselves into small mobile units which will protect the people against anti-social elements and act in an organised way in both black and white areas against the enemy and its agents.

Every black area must become a ‘no-go area’ for any isolated individual or pockets of the enemy's police or armed personnel. The people must find ways to obtain arms by whatever means from the enemies and from any other source.

Appropriate forms of combat tactics must be developed for situations in which the enemy is on the rampage against the people. The proliferation of such units and their functioning in accordance with all the rules of underground secrecy will add inestimable power and strength to the armed wing of our liberation movement - Umkhonto we Sizwe.

- We call on all of those among the black oppressed who serve in the machineries of apartheid to resign now. The bantustans, the so-called parliament for the Coloured and Indian people, the community councils and other organs of racist power must cease to function now. They must find fewer and fewer participants as patriots join in the bitter struggle for power in their great numbers. At a time when so many have fallen and are falling to racist bullets, those who continue to steal their people's birthright will be shunned and made to feel the anger of the people [the masses] in both town and countryside.

- We call on the unemployed blacks now sitting in uniform to stop shooting their brothers and sisters in defence of white rule. They must refuse to carry out such orders. They must organise secretly to turn their guns against their masters.

- We call on those in the white community who have been conscripted into the army to refuse, in their own interests and those of their children, to be used as instruments of massacres and military domination over their black fellow citizens and over the people of Namibia, Angola and other parts of southern Africa.

- We call on all social institutions, religious, cultural, civic and sporting bodies which retain and believe in the true brotherhood of man, to side even more vigorously with the cause of people's liberation and to stand firm against racist intimidation.

- We call on the people everywhere to defy in an organised way the imposition of laws founded on race discrimination, to resist all attacks on their living conditions and to promote united resistance and action against the apartheid system and its agencies.

- We call on the white community, in whose name racist barbarities are being perpetrated daily against the black majority, to move away from its support of apartheid and to increase the ranks of the growing number of democratic whites who are participating in our liberation struggle.

- We call, in this Year of the Cadre, on all political and military activists to work unceasingly to strengthen the ANC's underground presence and to reinforce our leadership core in every part of the country. The ANC-led liberation movement is the indispensable guide to the whole revolutionary process.

- We call, on Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants to intensify the armed struggle with all the means at their disposal and more particularly to concentrate more and more on actions against the enemy's armed forces personnel and police. We also call on our underground to help make such an intensification of armed activities possible by working day and night to create and strengthen our internal political revolutionary bases.

The period ahead presents all of us - whether in or out of the ANC – with an awe-inspiring challenge. Under the leadership of our liberation movement, we can and must answer this call of history. Let the blood of our martyrs who are falling before the enemy bullets nourish our battle for freedom.

Let our watchwords be:

Unity in mass action! Confront the enemy on all fronts!



Forward to people's power, long live the ANC, the vanguard of our revolutionary struggle.

Issued by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, P.O.Box 31791, Lusaka, Zambia

April 25, 1985.