Boycott movement

pic6004. Boycott Movement rally, 28 February 1960

Trevor Huddleston speaking at the rally in Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action. Right to left: ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell and Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. The month was organised by the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959.

bom11. March Month of Boycott

Leaflet asking shoppers to boycott South African produce during the March Month of Boycott Action. 200,000 of these leaflets were distributed during the month, together with a further 350,000 copies of a special Labour Party version.

bom12. ‘Boycott South African Goods’

Leaflet for window display in the March Month of Boycott Action.

po001. Boycott South African Goods, March 1st to 31st

Poster for the March Month of Boycott, 1960. During the month Boycott Movement supporters all over Britain picketed shops and distributed leaflets asking shoppers not to buy South African goods. The boycott was supported by the Labour and Liberal Parties and the TUC. It was launched at a 15,000-strong rally in Trafalgar Square on 28 February.

bom13. Africa Year 1960

The Labour Party supported the March Month of Boycott Action as part of its 1960 Africa Year initiative. The Boycott Movement was initially wary about the boycott being taken over by the Labour Party, but its involvement made a big difference to the scale of the campaign. Twenty-one Labour local councils banned South African goods from their schools and town halls. The Party organised 27 local conferences all over Britain. The boycott was the main theme of a party political broadcast by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell on 9 March.

bom14. Boycott Month Campaign Plans

The Boycott Movement circulated these guidelines for setting up local organising committees for the March Boycott Month in 1960. They stressed the need to win broad support for the boycott and suggested approaching faith and women’s groups, trade unions, students and chambers of commerce. They asked supporters to talk to shoppers on the streets, not just pass resolutions.

bom15. Trade unionists back the boycott

The TUC distributed this leaflet calling on trade unionists to boycott South African goods in response to a call from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). It asked them to support the Boycott Committee’s March Month of Boycott in 1959. It held back from taking the more radical step proposed by the ICFTU of asking its affiliated unions to instruct their members not to handle products from South Africa.

Bom08. ‘Boycott South African Goods’

The March Month of Boycott in 1960 was supported by the local Africa Councils set up by the Africa Bureau. This leaflet was distributed by Tyneside Africa Council.