First published during the 'eighties as a series of articles in 'Umsebenzi'; later as a single pamphlet for underground operatives.
This is a pamphlet about the role of secrecy in solving the tasks of the Revolution. Secrecy gives us protection by starving the enemy of information about us. Secrecy helps us build a strong revolutionary movement to overthrow the enemy.
There is nothing sinister about using secret methods to help win freedom. Through the ages the ruling classes have made it as difficult as possible for the oppressed people to gain freedom. The oppressors use the most cruel and sinister methods to stay in power. They use unjust laws to ban, banish, imprison and execute their opponents. They use secret police, soldiers, spies and informers against the people's movements. But the people know how to fight back and how to use secret methods of work.
The early history of struggle in our country is full of good examples. Makanda, Cetshwayo, Sekhukhune and Bambatha made use of secret methods to organise resistance. Bambatha, for example, prepared his rebellion against colonialism in great secrecy from the Nkandla forest.
Secrecy has Helped us Outwit the Enemy:
The enemy tries to give the impression that it is impossible to carry out illegal work. The rulers boast about all our people they have killed or captured. They point to the freedom fighters locked up in the prisons. But a lot of that talk is sheer bluff. Of course it is impossible to wage a struggle without losses. The very fact, however, that the South African Communist Party and African National Congress have survived years of illegality is proof that the regime cannot stop our noble work. It is because we have been mastering secret work that we have been able, more and more, to outwit the enemy.
Discipline, Vigilance and Self-Control:
Secret methods are based on common sense and experience. But they must be mastered like an art. Discipline, vigilance and self-control are required. A resistance organiser in Nazi-occupied France who was never captured said this was because he `never used the telephone and never went to public places like bars, restaurants and post offices'. He was living a totally underground life. But even those members of a secret movement who have a legal existence must display the qualities we have referred to.
Study and Apply the Rules of Secrecy:
Most people know from films and books that secret work involves the use of codes, passwords, safe houses and hiding places. Activists must study the rules of secrecy and apply them seriously. This enables us to build up secret organisations linked to the people. This secret network becomes a vital force in helping to lead the people in the struggle for power. In our series we will discuss such topics as:
How to set up a secret network;
The rules of secrecy;
How to overcome surveillance (i.e. observation);
Secret forms of communication;
Technical Methods such as secret writing, hiding places etc.;
How to behave under interrogation (i.e. when being questioned by the enemy).
These are among the main elements of secret work.
To organise in secret is not easy, but remember: The most difficult work is the most noble!