Hit & Run

Sheldon Richman Says Nelson Mandela Wasn't Radical Enough

Although he and his movement eliminated apartheid, they left in place a government powerful enough to control the economic system to the detriment of working people.

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South Africa The Good News

Both the Right and the Left (as conventionally defined in America) are too busy pushing agendas to provide the full story of Nelson Mandela's life and the evil he struggled against. Conservatives found it easy to condemn Mandela as a terrorist and a communist, while minimizing or ignoring the violence perpetrated by the South African regime against blacks (and other nonwhites). The establishment Left also leaves out a big piece of the story: the precise nature of apartheid. What progressives and mislabeled liberals don't understand — or don't want to admit — is that apartheid was a legislative prohibition of the free exercise of choice in a marketplace unfettered by government-bestowed privilege. Indeed, one cannot conceive of apartheid without official interference with markets. Sheldon Richman argues that, while Mandela was crucial in ending apartheid, the he and his movement did not do enough to free the economic system to benefit working people.