So here’s an interesting poster doing the rounds in military veteran social media groups, with all the South African veterans branding it as a ECC (End Conscription Campaign) poster with the usual ho-hum “they ran away to the UK” and “where are these liberals now that the country has dipped to junk status” rhetoric.
But again I despair as its NOT a ECC (End Conscription Campaign) poster. This time its a PFP (Progressive Federal Party) youth league i.e. “Young Progressives” poster. The PFP as many know is the predecessor (Grandfather) of the Democratic Alliance – the DA, the same organisation most these military veterans now vote for and strongly support … go figure!
The Progressive Federal Party (PFP), formed in 1977 advocated power sharing in federal constitution in place of the National Party’s policy of Apartheid. Its leader was Colin Eglin, who was succeeded by Frederick van Zyl Slabbert and then Zach de Beer. It held out as the official political “white” opposition to Apartheid and the National Party for just over a decade and its best known parliamentarian was Helen Suzman.
The Democratic Party (DP) was formed on 8 April 1989, when the Progressive Federal Party (PFP) merged with the smaller Independent Party and National Democratic Movement. The DP contested the 1994 elections as the mainstream democratic alternative to the ANC, the IFP and the National Party.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) was formed when additional parties were added to the Democratic Party (DP) in June 2000 to form a bigger alliance against the ANC.
For reference, these are “End Conscription Campaign” posters, note the ECC logo comprising symbolically of a broken chain:
Like the PFP’s “Young Progressives”, The End Conscription Campaign (ECC) was another organisation made up of primarily “white” anti-apartheid supporters. The ECC was a university/student organisation allied to the United Democratic Front and composed of conscientious objectors and supporters in opposition to serving in SADF under the National Service Conscription regulations laid out for all “white male adults”.
The ECC served to undermine the SADF by finding loopholes in the laws which enabled legal objection to conscription and targeted South Africa’s “English” medium universities during the 1980’s.
The irony now, is that where the country’s “centre” democrats so dogmatically fought the Apartheid government they now fight the ANC government with the same veracity. So to answer the old SADF military veterans questions of “where are all these ‘libtards’ (liberals) who refused army service now that the country is in the toilet after hitting junk status?” Well, many are still in South Africa in the form of the DA, still very active in anti-ruling party politics, still driving centre democratic political philosophy, still holding rather large “Anti-Apartheid” credentials (whether the ANC and EFF like it or not) and funnily if you regularly put a Big X next to the ‘DA’ in an election – you are now one of them.
Many of odd twists and turns of inconvenient South African history that makes it so very interesting.