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ECC 25 Years On: Some Views From Across the Shore

Theme: International Solidarity

Call Number: 12
Identifier: MeyerM_ECC25YearsOn
Title: ECC 25 Years On: Some Views From Across the Shore
Date: October 2009
Subject: War Resisters League (WRL)
ECC Tours - United States of America
Laurie Nathan
Description: Submission to the SAHA ECC25 Virtual Exhibition by Matt Meyer of the War Resisters League (WRL) describing his recollections of his interactions with ECC during the overseas tours in the 1980s and his subsequent visit to South Africa in 1992.
Creator: Matt Meyer
Type: Notes
Format: PDF
Source: Matt Meyer
Language: English
Coverage: South Africa, United States of America
Rights: Matt Meyer
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Posted by Gavin Evans on the ECC25 Commemorative website:
'In March 1986 I was sent on a US ECC tour, hosted by the War Resisters' League (organised mainly by a long-term friend of ECC's, Matt Meyer) and funded by the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid. At the airport I was briefly detained and the police seized the copies of the 120 page ECC report, which was to be given to the UN. However, when they weren't looking I managed to stick one down my trousers, so nothing was lost. The main idea was to build US support for ECC and its cause but I also did a bit of fund-raising, which went well - with several organisations giving us money as well as individuals like Joan Baez and the lovely Pete Seeger (whose sing-along was my favourite event of the tour). We also had a meeting with Ted Kennedy’s staff, because he was considering a trip to South Africa (which he made a couple of years later). I started off the tour by addressing the UN Special Committee and then spoke at various public meetings and media events - radio and television stations, and a few newspaper interviews, in New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, the eastern seaboard states, San Diego, San Francisco and Raleigh, North Carolina. One of these meetings was a debate with the South African ambassador, Kent Durr, which was rather fun. One of the California radio stations adored the Forces Favourite album and played it regularly. The WRL, or at least Matt Meyer, liked the idea of this tour partly because it allowed them to make common cause with the African American activists, which meant addressing anti-apartheid meetings focussed on divestment and speaking at press conferences hosted by pro-divestment groups like the Washington Office on Africa. This, however, proved tricky because I felt I couldn't afford to come out publicly in support of divestment when representing ECC.'

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