“The vast crowd that line the beflagged route to the Kremlin was, as in New York, friendly and cheering. ‘Welcome, Otherworld Visitors to the Land of Socialism!’ spelt out the banners, in big Cyrillic letters. ‘For Universal Peace and Free Scientific Exchanges!’ The chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Noriskin, followed closely along the pattern set by Dr Faradien when he introduced Rogard. And Rogard’s message of peace and goodwill, expressed in flawless Russian, once again met with loud and enthusiastic applause.”
The White People came from the planet Oxindu. They were highly intelligent and they came in peace. Or did they? This astonishing novel has been buried in the archives for over fifty years. Written by Michael Harmel in 1959, The White People deftly and presciently maps the state of the Earth in the middle of the Cold War, mirroring the struggles around the world for a common language, humanity and a way of lessening the environmental destruction of the planet.
The theme of this story was suggested and inspired by a striking passage in Olive Schreiner’s wonderful novel From Man to Man. But the detailed working out of the theme is, of course, entirely my own, for which I take full responsibility. I do not, however, take any responsibility whatever for what you may care to read into my story. That is entirely your affair.
Michael Harmel, an intellectual and a revolutionary, was born in Johannesburg in 1915 to Irish immigrant parents. He became the South African Communist Party’s chief theoretician, and was both on the Central Committee of the Communist Party and a member of Umkhonto weSizwe’s High Command. A continual link between the SACP and the ANC, Harmel died in Prague in 1979, where he served on the international board of the World Marxist Review