As a young international trade lawyer, years before I opened my own law firm and entered private practice – and later founded Judicial Watch, ran for the U.S. Senate and then founded Freedom Watch – I traveled on three occasions to South Africa. The reason: The boutique international trade law firm I had joined in 1981 as an associate attorney, after I left the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, had among its clients the South African steel industry. These firms were enmeshed in anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations filed by the U.S. steel industry, whereby large tariffs were requested to be placed on South African imported steel for selling product below market value and at subsidized prices.
During my travels with my law firm’s senior partner to South Africa, I remarked at how prosperous, relatively crime-free and rich the nation was. Of course, at that time, in the early 1980s, the South African government was still run by white Afrikaners, of German and Dutch origin, who had put in place the abhorrent and racist apartheid system. Indeed, during these business trips I felt uneasy and appalled observing blacks being bused each day from far way townships like Soweto into Johannesburg and Pretoria, two of the largest cities in South Africa, as in effect slaves of the white populace. In this regard, and as just one example of the gross inequality, I can remember sitting around the hotel swimming pool with tens of blacks serving drinks to the white guests.
During my firm’s defense of these anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases, we had to work closely with the trade attache of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. To put it mildly, I found the South African government to be neither ethical nor honest. So it was that after I left the firm to go into private practice for myself a few years later, when the South African government and its steel companies approached me to represent them at my new law firm, I quickly turned them down. Even though I needed clients to begin my private practice and survive as a startup operation, I could not fathom the thought of getting into bed with a dishonest and racist government. To this day, I do not regret my decision to show them the door.
Despite this, during my three trips to South Africa, I had learned that even with the horrific apartheid regime, the nation’s immigration problem was not that blacks were fleeing the country but that it was experiencing literally an “invasion” from illegal and legal immigrants from so-called “Black Africa.” This was largely because, however heinous and racist apartheid was, these immigrants would have a better economic and educational future in South Africa, which at the time was a very wealthy place. By analogy, while Israel is not racist like South Africa used to be under white Afrikaner control, its Muslim citizenry generally prefers not to emigrate to neighboring Arab states because of the socio-economic opportunity it benefits from in the Jewish state. Its largely a cost benefit approach.
Years after my travels to South Africa, the white racist regime fell thanks to the peaceful likes of Nelson Mandela, black domestic violent insurrection and a total economic boycott by Western countries in Europe and the United States. But when the nation was turned over to the socialist and borderline communist African National Congress and its black constituency, all did not go as planned and hoped for. Violent crime escalated, and whites fearing retaliation by the now black majority control and government fled South Africa in droves. And, a big driving force was the related fear that the property of the white minority would be confiscated by the new black majority. To put it mildly, the law and order, the safety of the citizenry of all races and ethnicities, and the economy of South Africa all suffered greatly – and the nation went into a downward spiral that continues to today.
While not wanting to overstate it, the downward spiral of today’s South Africa, even with the positive reality and virtue of having freed the black majority from the evils of apartheid, holds some lessons for our own nation.
Today, in the “Land of Lincoln,” we are experiencing an extreme leftist push to socialism if not communist ideology and with it calls for contrived and forced equality to be rammed down our proverbial throats. To effect this, nearly all of the progressive Democratic candidates, from Kamala Harris, to Beto O’Rourke, to Elizabeth Warren, to Bernie Sanders, are advocating wealth distribution and even the payment of reparations to African-Americans and other socio-economic groups.
In light of this push to the radical left – where socialists and communists, radical blacks, radical Muslims, radical feminists, radical Latinos, radical gays, lesbians and transgender, radical pro-illegal immigrant and rabid environmental groups, anti-Semites, anti-Christians and atheists all seem to have banded together in common cause to “get even” and take down the majority, by way of a nouveau Bolshevik-style revolution, how long will it be before whites, people of faith and other non-radical persons of other persuasions develop a real fear that their property and their rights will be taken away from them as occurred and is continuing to happen in South Africa. [See: Lorenzo Montanari, “South Africa Land Seizures Begin, Economic Decline Accelerates,” Forbes, Aug. 31, 2018, and “Major Problems Facing South Africa Today,” Africa and the World, Copyright 2019.]
Indeed, just last weekend, as I was driving through a predominantly white affluent neighborhood in American suburbia, I had a vision, if not daytime nightmare, that the well-kept and hard-earned homes in this community might someday be occupied by the leftist hordes who had seized and occupied them by force.
Of course, we at Freedom Watch, with God’s grace, and in league with others of like purpose to preserve the freedoms of capitalism, Judeo-Christian values and the vision of our Founding Fathers as embedded in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, will peacefully and legally fight to our death to prevent this. But I fear that if good men and women do nothing, all will someday be lost, and we will go into a death spiral the likes of which will make South Africa’s current plight look like a warmup act.
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