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Programme Of Action: Statement of Policy Adopted at the ANC National Conference

17 December 1949

The fundamental principles of the Programme of Action of the African National
Congress are inspired by the desire to achieve national freedom. By national
freedom we mean freedom from White domination and the attainment of political
independence. This implies the rejection of the conception of segregation,
apartheid, trusteeship, or white leadership which are all, in one way or
another, motivated by the idea of white domination or domination of the white
over the Blacks. Like all other people the African people claim the right of
self-determination. With this object in view, in the light of these principles
we claim and will continue to fight for the political rights tabulated on page 8
of our Bill of Rights, such as:

  1. The right of direct representation in all the governing bodies of the
    country - national, provincial and local - and we resolve to work for the
    abolition of all differential institutions or bodies specially created for
    Africans, viz. representative councils, present form of parliamentary
    representation .
  2. To achieve these objectives the following Programme of Action is
    1. the creation of a national fund to finance the struggle for national
    2. the appointment of a committee to organise an appeal for funds and to
      devise ways and means therefor.
    3. the regular use of propaganda material through:
      1. the usual press, newsletter or other means of disseminating our ideas
        in order to raise the standard of political consciousness;
      2. establishment of a national press.
  3. Appointment of a council of action whose function should be to carry into
    effect, vigorously and with the utmost determination, the Programme of
    Action. It should be competent for the council of action to implement our
    resolve to work for:
    1. the abolition of all differential political institutions, the boycotting
      of which we accept, and to undertake a campaign to educate our people on
      this issue and, in addition, to employ the following weapons: immediate
      and active boycott, strike, civil disobedience, non-co-operation and such
      other means as may bring about the accomplishment and realisation of our
    2. preparations and making of plans for a national stoppage of work for one
      day as a mark of protest against the reactionary policy of the government.
  4. Economic:
    1. The establishment of commercial, industrial, transport and other
      enterprises in both urban and rural areas.
    2. Consolidation of the industrial organisation of the workers for the
      improvement of their standard of living.
    3. Pursuant to paragraph (a) herein, instructions be issued to Provincial
      Congresses to study the economic and social conditions in the reserves and
      other African settlements and to devise ways and means for their
      development, establishment of industries and such other enterprises as may
      give employment to a number of people.
  5. Education:
  6. It be an instruction to the African National Congress to devise ways and
    means for:

    1. Raising the standard of Africans in the commercial, industrial and other
      enterprises and workers in their workers' organisations by means of
      providing a common educational forum wherein intellectuals, peasants and
      workers participate for the common good.
    2. Establishment of national centres of education for the purpose of
      training and educating African youth and provision of large scale
      scholarships tenable in various overseas countries.
  7. Cultural:
    1. To unite the cultural with the educational and national struggle.
    2. The establishment of a national academy of arts and sciences.
  8. Congress realises that ultimately the people will be brought together by
    inspired leadership, under the banner of African nationalism, with courage
    and determination.