IDEOLOGY STRUGGLES (Saturn/Neptune) 1952 – 1989

The Previous cycle (36 years)

The previous cycle started with the conjunction in November 1952, then an outgoing square in February 1963, the opposition in June 1971 and the incoming square in September 1979. (The new cycle started in March 1989.) Did these dates co-incide with major implementations or activations of collective ideals on a world scale?


CONJUNCTION July 1952 to Sept 1954 (exact in Nov 1952, May & July 1953)

If you look at the 1988 Conjunction ( see 1988 – 2032 cycle) you will see it  co-incided with the eruption of democracy in Eastern Europe and the ending of apartheid in South Africa. It also coincided with the activation of a new set of ideals in China, Palestine and in global environment concerns. Were there any similar collective ideals getting implemented or activated in 1952-53? We shall examine carefully the events within a 10 degree orb of this Conjunction – between early July 1952 and early December 1953 though it comes back briefly from early June 1954 to early Sept 1954.


A new set of collective ideals does emerge in Russia in 1952 when Joseph Stalin dies at the age of 73 after 29 ruthless and oppressive years in power. This certainly can be said to have gradually had a huge impact on the views of ordinary Russian people – though some will still only see his WW2 leadership. He is succeeded by Georgy Malenkov while Nikita Khrushchev is appointed First Secretary of the Communist Party and KGB supremo Beria is dismissed then executed. Stalin had forcibly removed the Chechens from their country at the end of World War 2 and after his death the Chechens are allowed to return home. You will recall that what later happens to the Chechens is linked with the current Saturn/Neptune cycle.  So where exactly does Stalin’s death activate idealism? The new idealism activates first in other parts of the Soviet bloc, but is severely put down. In Czechoslovakia Slansky and Clementis are accused of high treason and executed while in East Germany thousands of Berlin workers rioting against the East German government have to fight Soviet tanks.  Remember this is the beginning of the cycle which will culminate exactly  at the very end with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.


In South Africa in 1952 the ‘Defiance Against Unjust Laws’ campaign is launched by the ANC (African National Congress) as the Pass Laws are implemented. In 1953, the far reaching Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act are passed, which empower the government to declare stringent states of emergency and increased penalties for protesting against or supporting the repeal of a law. The penalties include fines, imprisonment and whippings. Under the Acts anyone can be detained without a hearing by a low-level police official for up to six months ! Thousands of individuals go on to die in custody, frequently after gruesome acts of torture. Those who are tried are sentenced to death, banished, or imprisoned for life like Nelson Mandela.

In 1953 the Congress Alliance is established, bringing together for the first time the Coloured People’s Congress, the Congress of Democrats, the South African Congress of Trade Unions, South African Indian Congress, and the African National Congress,. But at the same time the Bantu Education Bill provides education for Africans only to become servants and labourers.


Meanwhile racial segregation in the USA faces some key initial judicial moves amidst a climate showing some signs of the federal authorities trying to control racial violence – for instance ten members of the Ku Klux Klan are arrested by the FBI in North Carolina and no lynchings are reported in the US for the first time since records began in 1881. In 1952 the US Supreme Court upholds the decision barring segregation on interstate railways and discrimination on the basis of race is stricken from federal statutes. In 1953 the Supreme Court rules that restaurants in Washington, D.C. cannot refuse to serve blacks.



In China the conjunction matches three developments, first and second – the Three-anti Campaign (1951) and Five-anti Campaign (1952). Both are reform movements originally issued by Mao Zedong a few years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in an effort to rid Chinese cities of corruption and enemies of the state. The result turns into a series of campaigns that consolidates Mao’s power base by targeting political opponents and capitalists, especially wealthy capitalists. The third concerns Tibet.

The Three-anti Campaign is launched in Manchuria at the end of 1951 and is aimed at Communist Party members, former Kuomintang members and officials who are not party members. It is directed at the three evils of corruption, waste and bureaucracy – still very much issues in China to this day. The Five-anti campaign is launched in January 1952 and is aimed at the capitalist class. The Communist party sets a very vague guideline of exactly who could be charged and it becomes a ruthless all out war against the bourgeois middle class.


On 23 May 1951 the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet is signed by the PRC government and apparently confirmed by the government in Tibet a few months later. This is the document by which the delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama, the ruler of the de facto independent state of Tibet, allegedly reach an agreement with the PRC affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. Chinese sources regard the document as a legal contract that was mutually welcomed by both governments and by the Tibetan people. Tibetan exile sources consider it invalid and as having been signed under duress. The 14th Dalai Lama has repudiated the agreement on many occasions.


There are few signs at this point that Israel/Palestine will correlate with this new cycle. Most of the events which take place in the conjunction period are outbreaks of violence. In particular the number of fatalities rises and the security situation on the Jordanian border significantly worsens.  In Palestine in 1952 68 Israelis, 42 of them civilians, are killed by Palestinian infiltrators. By contrast the Israeli army kills a monthly average of 33 people who cross the armistice lines, including 78 in March and 57 in April – the two months preceding an exact cycle conjunction date in May. In 1953 a similar number of Israelis are killed by Palestine infiltrators. Much of the focus of the fighting is on the Jordanian West Bank – for instance in April 1953 six Jordanian soldiers are killed by Israeli sniper fire and in May and August the Israeli army attacks some eleven West Bank Villages.


In October 1953 comes a major violent event – the Qibya massacre – when Israeli troops under future PM Ariel Sharon attack the village of Qibya in the West Bank. 69 Palestinian Arabs, two thirds of them women and children are killed. Forty-five houses, a school, and a mosque are destroyed. The attack is a response to cross-border raids from the Jordanian occupied West Bank in which a number of Israeli civilians are killed. The attack is an early indication of the ruthless force with which Israel will respond when a build up of militant attacks reaches explosion point. As will be the case in comparable events yet to come the act is condemned by the US State Department, the UN Security Council, and by many Jewish communities worldwide.


In March 1954 another massacre takes place. This time it is 11 Israelis, passengers on a civilian bus, who are shot dead by attackers – Jordanian militants are suspected though It has been suggested that the attackers were either Gaza Bedouin or Israeli Bedouin from Egyptian controlled territory.   The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites the Ma’ale Akrabim incident as evidence that Arab terrorist attacks preceded the 1967 Six Day War. And the surge of Arab militant attacks at this point is probably the correlation we are looking for as after the Six Day War (at a 135 degree point in this cycle) Israel has to contend with far more concerted attacks in the territory it has gained including the West Bank and Gaza Strip – later to be a focal points in clashes.



In 1951 Christine Stevens founds the Animal Welfare Institute, hugely influential in winning passage of most of the present US and international animal welfare and endangered species conservation legislation. In May 1952 California’s Central Valley Regional Water Pollution Control Board issues a resolution barring entry of perchlorate and 8 other chemicals into local groundwater and the American River system. Aerojet Corp., a rocket fuel manufacturer, objects and for a while continues untreated discharges.


In December 1952 the Chalk River nuclear test reactor explodes in Ontario. No one is killed, but thousands are exposed to highly radioactive waste. In the same month occurs something that brings the topic of air pollution to a wider audience. 4,000 people die in the worst of the London ‘killer fogs’ – vehicles use lamps in broad daylight, but the smog is so thick that buses can only run with a guide walking ahead. All above ground transportation in London comes to a complete halt. In 1953 a similar though less lethal smog incident in New York kills around 200 people.


In 1953 Jacques Cousteau’s first book about marine life ‘The Silent World’  sells more than 5 million copies – a film by the same name will later win an Academy Award for best documentary. In May 1953 comes the key correlation. Gilbert Plass at the American Geophysical Union presents the first academic paper on a subject that the world will later have reason to take note of –  ‘global warming’. The Washington Post reporting his speech declares in words now only too understandable:

“World Industry, pouring its exhausts into the air, may be making the earth’s climate warmer, a Johns Hopkins physicist reported here yesterday. Releases of carbon dioxide from burning coals and oils, said Dr. Gilbert N. Plass, blanket the earth’s surface ‘like glass in a greenhouse.’ So much carbon dioxide has been released in this industrial century that the earth’s average temperature is rising one and a half degrees (F) a century,” he said.

In July 1953 freighter Jacob Luckenbach from San Francisco rams the Matson freighter Hawaiian Pilot, 17 miles from San Francisco’s Golden Gate. The Luckenbach sinks while the Hawaiian Pilot limps to port. Oil leaking from the Luckenback later kills numerous birds. This is a catastrophic event destined to be repeated many times in the future frequently on a much larger scale.

OUTGOING SQUARE Feb 1962 to March 1964 (exact in February 1963)

Can we find in the relevant events and developments surrounding February 1963 serious challenges or extensions to the developments we have cited above?  Are there any newly recognised activations of collective idealism? Allowing an orb of 10 degrees we shall look at the period early February 1962 to early March 1964.


Two key developments affect Russia in the years 1962 to 1964. The first is the Cuba missile crisis which brings Russia and the US to the brink of nuclear war. Outraged by the installation of Russian nuclear missiles on the neighbouring island of Cuba, US President Kennedy imposes a naval blockade and demands their withdrawal. At the last minute Russian premier Khrushchev agrees. This represents a key challenge both for Russia and the US. Khrushchev was prepared to push the boat out but was flexible enough to know when to pull it in. This clash has a significant effect on ordinary Russians’ perception of their country’s role in the World. The second development is the signing of a nuclear test ban treaty which makes up for the failure of the preceding 1962 Disarmament conference. The collective sigh of relief at the outcome of the Cuba crisis on both sides of the Iron curtain is tangible. This threshold is emphatically one of serious challenge and significant advance. Never again, to date anyhow, will the world have been so close to the brink of a major nuclear exchange, to almost certain global catastrophe.



In South Africa after the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, the ineffectiveness of non-violent methods of struggle had encouraged some African leaders to embark on a path of violence. In December 1961, some ANC and SACP (South African Communist Party) members had announced the birth of Umkonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) as an independent action body. Its plans were initially limited to selective sabotage. However as 1961 gives way to 1962 and the cycle Out square starts, Nelson Mandela, the Commander in Chief of Umkonto, travels throughout Africa to secure the help of independent African states for guerrilla warfare training in preparation for armed resistance. However he is arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for leaving the country illegally.


On July 11, 1963, the South African police raid the headquarters of Umkonto at a farm in Rivonia, a suburb outside Johannesburg. A huge amount of evidence is confiscated, including a document outlining a plan for guerrilla war and violent revolution. Three months later 11 men, representing virtually the whole of the Umkonto High Command, are on trial in Pretoria. The accused, along with the already imprisoned Nelson Mandela are charged with 222 acts of sabotage, committed between August 1961 and August 1963, and for incitement to commit sabotage in preparation of guerrilla warfare, armed invasion of the country and violent revolution in South Africa.

A massive tide of international reaction to the trial has its origins in November 1962 when the UN establishes a Special Committee on Apartheid. Then on October 8, 1963 (the day the Rivonia trial begins), ANC Deputy President Oliver Tambo addresses the UN General Assembly with these words: “I cannot believe that the United Nations can stand by calmly watching what I submit is genocide masquerading under the guise of a civilised dispensation of justice”. Three days later, the UN General Assembly passes a resolution by a vote of 106 to 1 (South Africa) condemning the South African Government’s apartheid policy and calling for the end of all political trials and the unconditional release of political prisoners. Britain, the US, France and Australia, however, abstain on the key paragraph requesting the abandonment of the “arbitrary trial now in progress”.


Under the 1962 Sabotage Act, the accused face the death sentence but when the South African judge pronounces his verdict and passes prison rather than death sentences he acknowledges the unprecedented international reaction over the trial. Although Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment it is clear that the Anti Apartheid movement’s international campaign has significantly helped prevent the men being given death sentences.


Rivonia is a major challenge and setback for the underground liberation movement – its leadership is now effectively incapacitated and the ANC has been transformed into an organisation in exile. Despite the very bleak outlook for the movement on the home front, the Rivonia campaign had been incredibly successful – alerting as it had a huge proportion of the world’s opinion formers and significantly widening the make-up of the Anti apartheid movement. As the ANC online history site comments “‘it would be another decade before the covert opposition inside South Africa could regroup and reorganise itself to pose an effective challenge to the apartheid regime. On the other hand, by the time the Rivonia trial ended in June 1964, the issue of apartheid had been successfully projected onto the international level”. This dual outcome to the Rivonia trial very closely matches the symbolism as well as the dates of the outgoing cycle square.


Moreover four other developments in this exact period are later to form key influences on change in South Africa. First, during this period  close connections are established between the liberation movement in South Africa and those in neighbouring Rhodesia, Angola and Mozambique. Second, the granting of independence to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (discussed below) strengthens the likelihood of South Africa’s regime becoming seriously isolated. It had already been expelled from the Commonwealth in 1961. Third, in 1963 the UN Security Council votes a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa – the forerunner of later far more crippling sanctions and finally and, as it turns out perhaps crucially, South Africa begins the journey to total isolation in the sporting field – it  is excluded from the 1964 and later the 1968 Olympics because of its racial policies.


Meanwhile in the US on November 22nd 1963 President Kennedy is assassinated and the pressure he had brought to bear on the implementation of the civil rights programme is deflated though his brother the Attorney General, later also to be assassinated, is to pick up the torch. It is believed that both men were assassinated by far right interests alarmed at the Kennedys’ civil rights programme. Only three months earlier in August 200,000 African-Americans had attended a peaceful civil rights demonstration addressed by Martin Luther King who had made his now famous “I have a dream” speech. Though there are riots in Birmingham, Alabama over school desegregation and race riots  in Harlem, New York, these lead on to the Civil Rights Bill which inaugurates President Johnson’s Great Society program. Martin Luther King is later awarded the Nobel Prize, an event which co-incides with racialism and apartheid beginning now globally to be openly condemned.



In October 1962 China, unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 2,000 mile-long Himalayan border with India, invades India and occupies the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Some 4,500 lives are lost before China unilaterally declares the war over in November. China gains de facto control of the northeast region of Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.  The Sino-Indian War is notable for the harsh conditions under which much of the fighting took place, entailing large-scale combat at altitudes of over 14,000 ft. It is also noted for the non-deployment of air force (or navy) by either side.

In 1962 the Panchem Lama, the most senior Buddhist cleric after the Dalai Lama, issues a 120-page report describing conditions in Tibet under Chinese control – in particular the starvation resulting from the Chinese ‘Great leap Forward’ program. The Panchem Lama is subsequently arrested and sent to Beijing for rehabilitation. While Western nations are disturbed by the blatant Chinese aggression on India, Pakistan, which has had a turbulent relationship with India ever since the Indian partition, improves its relations with China. It too shares a disputed boundary with China but in October 1962 China and Pakistan peacefully negotiate their shared boundaries and in March 1963 negotiate the China-Pakistan Border Treaty as well as trade, commercial and barter treaties.

India’s military failure against China will embolden Pakistan to later initiate the Second Kashmir War with India – but here China offers only diplomatic not military support.  Later China will condemn the Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan dismissing it as a Soviet-US plot in the region.



Since 1948 there had been no concerted Arab response to the creation of Israel. But in January 1964 Arab governments – wanting to create a Palestinian organisation that would remain subject to their control – vote in Cairo to create a body called the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The PLO is really an umbrella organization for many Palestinian factions including: Fatah, the main faction behind the PLO under the leadership of Yassar Arafat and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) headed by Georges Habash and its General Command division. Both Fatah and PFLP have undertaken armed operations against Israel.

The PLO states its goal as the destruction of the State of Israel through armed struggle, and its replacement with an ‘independent Palestinian state’ between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. On January 1 1964 Fatah makes its first armed attack against Israel – in celebration of which every January 1st gets known as Fatah Day.



In 1962 Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” is published exposing the pesticide industry and its effects on the environment. The book, which documents the contribution of pesticides to declining songbird populations, comes out at a time when DDT and similar dangerous insecticides are used in abundance. The book is widely credited with helping launch the contemporary environmental movement and is widely listed as one of the most influential modern nonfiction books. Rachel Carson died in 1964.

In late January 1962 US forces start spraying foliage with pesticide in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas. US military tanker planes and helicopters spray 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants in Operation Ranch Hand to deny cover to communist forces. The cavalier attitude of the US military to environmental impact is also evident at the same time at home in the chemical warfare exercises which start at Fort Douglas, Utah and in the following year when the biological warfare agent Bacillus Globigii is sprayed from aircraft flying over the US military reservation in the Panama Canal zone.

In December 1962 another London “pea souper” smog so thick that London comes to a standstill hits the British capital.  It is the worst since 1952 and the final death toll will reach 750. In 1963 the US Congress passes the Clean Air Act, similar to the UK 1956 Clean Air Act – legislation which may have prevented the 1962 smog death toll from being higher.

OPPOSITION April 1971  to April 1973 (exact in  June & Nov 1971 and April 1972)

Can we find relevant events and developments surrounding 1971 and 1972 that show in Russia and South Africa and other ex-colonial or colonial countries that the idealism to overthrow the established order reaches a point of maximum fruition but where inherent contradictions appear ? Allowing an orb of approximately 10 degrees we shall look at the period mid April 1971 to late June 1972 and from late December 1972 to mid April 1973.


In 1972 there is a considerable breakthrough in nuclear arms control and the first mention of the word ‘détente’ to describe a significant relaxation of the Cold War rapidly coming into effect. In May the SALT I agreement is signed restricting development of ABMs (anti ballistic missiles) and freezing the number of ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). At the same time Presidents Nixon and Brezhnev sign an agreement on the ‘basic principles of détente’ which produces a definite relaxation in Cold War tensions. In effect it recognizes the Soviet Union as the military-political policeman of Eastern Europe, and opens up economic markets between the two countries.


At first sight it might appear that no key political events occur in South Africa’s history in 1971 and 1972, but a closer look at what happens in this period to its apartheid policies on the world stage makes it clear that this period sees opposition to apartheid make the crucial move from being the views of small though dedicated groups of internationally minded left wingers drawn from churches, civil rights organizations, trade unions and student and professional organizations to being the convictions of the vast body of mainstream liberal opinion. In the field of sport vocal opposition to South African involvement in international events plays by far the greatest role in making the apartheid issue a headline topic.


Sporting activity had been rigidly racial segregated within South Africa, and international opposition had begun in 1956 with the expulsion of white South Africans from the International Table Tennis Federation. Now anti apartheid demonstrations at overseas cricket and rugby grounds not only publicise the issue much more widely but increasingly lead to ordinary people in the West having to actually take a stand on it. In 1972 following the year officially described by the UN as the International Year against Racism, South Africa is expelled from the International Olympic Movement in a period described as one of snowballing moves against South Africa by world sporting bodies.


Peter Hain a prominent British anti-apartheid activist and later a Minister in the UK’s Labour government described 1970 in particular as a “catastrophic year for white South African sport”  – citing the huge demonstrations staged in Britain to protest against the Springbok rugby tour. One effect of these and similar international demonstrations is the introduction in 1971 by the South African government of a new ‘multinational’ sports policy. “In essence, the different racial groups in South Africa … would be allowed to compete against each other as four separate ‘nations,’ within the country, but in ‘international’ events alone.’ This move did nothing to alleviate South Africa’s sporting isolation but serves to show just how tightly the anti apartheid movement’s activities were biting. When this isolation of South Africa in the sporting field is later extended to the world of music and entertainment, the effects become even more severe.


The protest against the 1971 Springbok rugby tour in Australia is very dramatic. Here the South African team had to be transported in Australian Air Force planes as the trade unions refused to service planes or trains transporting them. R.J. Hawke, trade union leader and later Australian Prime Minister had, like Hain, actively opposed the tour. The South African cricket tour scheduled for later in 1971 had to be cancelled. Contrary to expectations a new Labour Government, headed by Gough Whitlam, comes to power and announces a firm anti- apartheid sports policy in December 1972 (out of orb). It is later said that the anti-apartheid sports action of 1971 had a lasting effect in educating Australian opinion on the issue of race. Although public opinion is equally strong in New Zealand the outcome is less forceful and in April 1972, the Supreme Council on Sport in Africa threatens that African Commonwealth countries would boycott the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in 1974 if the 1973 Springbok Rugby tour went ahead there.


Backing the popular anti – apartheid movement is the move by the international diplomatic community and institutions to isolate the country. As the 1960s had progressed there had been increasing calls for South Africa to be expelled from the United Nations. But because of the need for Security Council approval of such action these calls were never formally heeded as the Western powers dominating the Council held powers of veto. However in 1973 the UN General Assembly ‘rejects the credentials of the South African delegation and  thereby effectively deprives it of a seat.’  Formally the UN adopts two important resolutions in this period.


In November 1971 the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for a boycott of sports teams selected in violation of the Olympic principle of non-discrimination. It also condemns the establishment of bantustans and the forced removals of African people into outlying areas. In February 1972 the UN Security Council adopts a further resolution condemning apartheid; “recognising the legitimacy of the struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa; calling upon South Africa to release all those imprisoned as a result of apartheid; calling upon all States to observe strictly the arms embargo against South Africa; urging governments and individuals to contribute to UN funds to assist victims of apartheid; and commending organisations and individuals assisting in the education and training of South Africans.“

The UN’s opposition to South Africa continues to be vigorously spelt out by its Special Committee on Apartheid. Take for instance the Committee’s report in 1971 condemning the conviction and sentencing of the Anglican Dean of Johannesburg, the Very Reverend Gonville ffrench-Beytagh, by the South African courts: “The charges against the Dean were that he opposed apartheid – a policy which all Member States of the United Nations have described as a criminal affront against the conscience and dignity of mankind – and that he had provided humanitarian assistance to people imprisoned for their opposition to apartheid and to their families”.

By the early 1970s so forceful was the opposition of the international community and so extensive the cultural exclusion by the mass of liberal opinion in the West that the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa was thought to be inevitable  – even if it did manage to hang on for another decade.



The U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) had made racial segregation in US schools unconstitutional. Due to patterns of residential segregation, one tool for racial integration is the use of bussing. In the April 1971 Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court rules that the federal courts have the discretion to include bussing as a desegregation tool to achieve racial balance. The ruling encourages Charlotte, North Carolina and other cities nationwide to use mandatory bussing and student assignment based on race to attempt to further integrate schools. The case arose in 1965 when a black parent, James E. Swann, challenged the system that kept Charlotte’s black students apart from the white majority. However while the Swann decision addresses segregation in the south it proves less successful in the north


In August 1971 in San Francisco 2 men initially suspected to be Black Panthers burst into the Ingleside Police Station in Texas and kill Sgt. John Young . In 2007 police will charge nine former members of the Black Liberation Army with waging a campaign of ‘chaos and terror’.


In January Angela Davis, American radical political activist, appears at the Marin County Superior Court and declares her innocence to charges of kidnapping and  murder. Across the nation, thousands of people who agree with her declaration begin organizing a liberation movement. In New York City, black writers form a committee called ‘the Black People in Defense of Angela Davis’. More than 200 local committees in the USA and 67 in foreign countries work to liberate Angela Davis from prison. Thanks, in part, to this support, in 1972 the state releases her and later she is acquitted of all charges by an all-white jury. Her persona and campaign inspire John Lennon and Yoko Ono to support her by recording their song ‘Angela’ on their 1972 album ‘Some Time in New York City’ as do the Rolling Stones when they record ‘Sweet Black Angel’, on their 1972 album   ‘Exile on Main Street’

Finally, in the opposite direction, in October 1972 on the US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk a series of incidents lead to a group of blacks, armed with chains, wrenches, bars and other dangerous weapons, going marauding through sections of the ship, terrorizing the crew, and seeking out white personnel for senseless beating. Three men are seriously injured.


On Oct 25 1971 the UN General Assembly votes to admit the People’s Republic of China and expel Nationalist China (Taiwan). In February 1972 US President Nixon makes his historic 10-day trip to China. He is the first US president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the US. He meets with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Chou En-Lai in Beijing. In March the UK and China also agree to establish a diplomatic relationship. During these years the Dalai Lama urges Tibetan fighters to return to India though some followers are prepared to commit suicide rather than give up the fight against Chinese rule.



There seems to be a significant correlation with the cycle opposition. In June 1971 the conflict between the state of  Jordan, which claims sovereignty over the Palestinian West Bank population, and Palestinian groups – specifically the Palestine Liberation Organisation, George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Naif Hawatmeh’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) – is renewed. The Jordanian army uses large forces to expel several thousand armed Palestinians from the mountainous regions of the cities of Jerash and Ajlun, in the north of the kingdom. Within a week the Jordanian army overcomes the last pockets of resistance and King Hussein of Jordan declares that there is now “absolute quiet” in the kingdom.


In 1970 the PFLP had hijacked four commercial airplanes. But in 1971, after the Palestinian rout from Jordan, the group Black September is established by Fatah members to co-ordinate revenge operations and international strikes. On November 28, 1971, in Cairo, four of its members assassinate Wasfi al-Tal, the Jordanian Prime Minister. The group goes on to perform other strikes against Jordan, and against Israeli and Western interests outside of the Middle East. In 1972 Arab and Palestinian terrorists attack Lod Airport, Israel, killing 26 and go on to kill 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team at the Munich Olympic Games. Both terrorist attacks are the more dramatic because they are virtually the first of their kind in Europe and the Near East. They serve to escalate Palestinian militancy into a growing major international issue which much later would be indirectly amplified and extended into global fundamentalist terrorism.


This therefore is a major threshold in two senses. We now live in an era when planes and terrorism are inextricably tied together but at the time the clean and neutral world of the international airport seemed to have nothing to do with violent politics. This period was the watershed. This time also marks an only too clear maximisation of Palestinian liberation activism, which ensures that throughout the global media for the first time the Palestinian issue gains a far greater coverage – though few in the West understand the background to it.



In 1971 Friends of Earth becomes an international network with a meeting of representatives from the US, Sweden, the UK and France. In the Autumn of 1971 the first ship charted by the organisation shortly to name itself Greenpeace sails towards the island of Amchitka, Alaska where the US had planned an underground nuclear weapon test. The ship encounters a US Coast Guard ship which forces the activists to turn back. When the crew return to Canada they find out that news about their journey had generated considerable sympathy for their protest. The nuclear test gets criticized and the US decides not to continue with their test plans at Amchitka. In addition one of the founders of Greenpeace sails his small boat into the French nuclear-testing site at Mururoa atoll in the South Pacific


In 1971 Harold S. Johnston is the first scientist to warn that trace amounts of nitrogen emitted to the upper atmosphere could profoundly damage the ozone layer. Partly as a result the US government initiates a $21 million study called the Climactic Impact Assessment Program (CIAP) in part to study the impact of high-flying airplanes on the upper atmosphere,  the stratosphere. In March 1972 a benchmark environmental document “The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind.” is presented publicly at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. So influential is it that it gets translated into 30 languages and 12 million copies of the book are sold – making it the best selling environmental book ever.


In 1972 Canadian PM Trudeau and US President Nixon meet in Ottawa to sign the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bans the pesticide Compound 1080, or sodium fluoroacetate, because of its lethal effect on animals and the US Clean Water Act gets passed.  In 1972 the US government outlaws the pesticide DDT. First, during 1971 – 1972 the EPA holds seven months of hearings, with scientists giving evidence both for and against the use of DDT. Second, in the summer of 1972 the EPA announces the cancellation of most uses of DDT. Third, although DDT manufacturers file suit against the EPA, in 1973 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules that the EPA had acted properly in banning DDT


In 1971 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is the first to point out that PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) – used as dielectric and coolant fluids in electrical equipment – are leaking from transformers and have contaminated the soil at the bottom of utility poles. The toxicity of PCBs to humans had been long remarked but not regarded as serious but now the lethal toxicity to animals becomes more obvious as emaciated seabird corpses with very high PCB body counts wash up on beaches. In 1972 US chemical company Monsanto ceases production of PCBs and its use across the world starts to diminish. But it will not be till 1979 that the US Congress will wholly ban their use in open or dissipative sources. In 1972 in the USA Owens Corning, the Ohio-based maker of insulation and other building products, stops selling asbestos products. Later it will be obliged to offer $1.2 billion to settle its asbestos health related lawsuits

INCOMING SQUARE June 1979 to June 1981 (exact in Sept 1979 and March & June 1980

Can we find relevant events and developments during 1979 and 1980 that show in Russia, South Africa, China and Palestine that the collective idealism born in 1952 now reaches a point of terminal challenge ? Allowing an orb of 10 degrees we shall look at the period late June 1979 to late September 1980 and briefly from end March 1981 to mid June 1981.



It is indeed during this period that the Soviet Union makes the fateful decision to send its forces to occupy Afghanistan whose Communist government is facing heavy opposition from Islamic fundamentalists. Even more important, it is at this point that the Polish Solidarity organisation, the base of the future democratic Polish government, is formed and becomes the focus for dissent and a beacon for democratic activists in other Soviet countries. The Soviet war in Afghanistan proves a terminal challenge to Soviet global expansionism while the founding of Solidarity is just the start of an immense wave of democratic pressure that will culminate in the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall at the end of this cycle in 1988. But here in 1979-1980 the forces of democracy are called upon to take up the final challenge against Soviet Communism whose overthrow will see the virtual downfall of communist ideology itself. The history of Solidarity in Poland demonstrates how the forces of democracy meet that challenge successfully and how its example encourages similar movements in other Soviet countries.



In South Africa following the 1978 resignation of John Vorster, who had been prime minister since 1966, P.W. Botha takes over the apartheid regime. Botha, who is supported by Afrikaner businessmen and by the armed forces leaders, initiates a programme of limited reforms. He tries to do away with the aspects of petty apartheid seen as most offensive to blacks and to world opinion, such as the allocation of separate public facilities and the use of racially discriminatory signs to designate who can use the facilities. He hopes to develop a black middle class that will be impervious to the socialist message of the ANC. Though the forces opposing apartheid are growing, as we shall see they have to confront one difficult final challenge whose outcome will see the downfall of apartheid.


Botha makes important legislative changes but they are either inappropriate, counterproductive or simply too protracted. For instance the Commission of Inquiry into Labour legislation established in the aftermath of the strike wave of the early 1970s had argued that blacks should be allowed to register trade unions. Legislation incorporating this recommendation is passed in 1979 and results in a huge growth in African trade unionism. Similarly, the Commission of Inquiry into Legislation Affecting the Utilisation of Manpower recommends in 1979 that instead of using the pass laws to punish Africans who are illegally entering urban areas, the government should prosecute employers and landlords if they give jobs or housing to blacks who lack documentary proof of their right to live in the cities. Botha accepts this recommendation, but it is not until eight years and more than 1 million arrests later that the pass laws are finally abolished !


The challenge to the anti-apartheid forces proves severe as Botha is determined to use harsh military and police measures to maintain white power. The late 1970s and early 1980s are marked by many military interventions in the states bordering South Africa and by an extensive military and political campaign to eliminate SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples Organisation) in Namibia. Within South Africa, vigorous police action and strict enforcement of security legislation results in hundreds of arrests and bannings and an effective end to the ANC’s stepped-up campaign of sabotage in the 1970s. Botha also continues to enforce the homeland policy, insisting that Africans should exercise democratic rights only within the outlying areas deemed to be their own tribal communities.


On the international stage South Africa continues to be outlawed – with the remaining loopholes becoming rapidly closed. In 1979 after public opposition and international representations, the French Government stops the South African rugby tour of France and announces that it is inappropriate for South African teams to tour France. It goes on later to stop a French rugby tour of South Africa. In 1980 The United Nations ‘Register of Sports Contacts with South Africa’ – a record of sports exchanges with South Africa and a list of sportsmen who have participated in sports events in South Africa – is initiated and proves an effective instrument to discourage collaboration with apartheid sport. The register has an immediate effect as many African and other countries begin to refuse visas to those on the register or otherwise prevent them from playing in their countries.


On the world stage the incoming square also sees an increasing battle for anti apartheid ideals to move into legislation in America and elsewhere. For instance as Dr Pamela Thomas notes “within the U.S. Congress in the late 1970s a small number of African-American and white, liberal legislators elected in the late 1960s and early 1970s, began to reach senior positions in Congress. As they rose in the legislative hierarchy, they were better positioned to raise issues and influence their colleagues.” Consequently anti-apartheid legislation first moves to the US government agenda in 1978 in the wake of the outcry against the Soweto Massacre in 1976 and the murder of Steve Biko in 1977. But despite all this Dr Thomas adds that these legislative bills get stuck in committee. Fully activating the ideals of racial equality is going to require more pressure and it will take the abolition of apartheid in 1988 along with other factors to fully loosen the logjam of legislation on racism in the US.



In 1979 Deng Xiaoping launches his “open door” policies and trade reform. He also meets with the brother of the Dalai Lama, beginning nearly a decade of on and off dialogue over Tibet. In this year China adopts a family planning policy that limits families to only one child – though there are exceptions for rural families, fisherman and ethnic minorities. A key development is the strengthening of relations between China and the US. The US – China Joint Economic Commission forum is established to help resolve any economic issues.  A US-funded program, staffed by professors from business schools across the US, brings Western business ideas to Chinese managers. Finally as a result of strong reactions to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, US officials announce that America is ready to sell military equipment (excluding weapons) to communist China. But it is the reverse flow of weapons that is to prove of greatest consequence.

Starting in 1980 the US purchases millions of Type 56 rifles from China to arm the Afghan Mujahedeen in their war against the Soviet army. These rifles are copycats of the AK-47s used by Russian soldiers. The US will give an average of $500 million in military aid each year to the Mujahedeen – with the strongly ironic consequence that some of the rifles would later be used against US soldiers.


In November 1980 the Gang of Four, Jiang Qing and her 3 Politburo allies, scapegoats for the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, are put on trial. They are tried and sentenced in nationally televised court proceedings. Jiang Qing. Mao Zedong’s widow, receives a suspended death sentence. In June 1981 as the In square goes out of orb the Chinese Communist Party issues a communiqué citing the Cultural Revolution as a disaster, and criticizing Mao’s role and the policies of his last years. This exactly matches the terminal meaning of this final key stage in this cycle.



The correlation with the incoming square is not wholly convincing. However the progress of Palestinian liberation could be said to have been adversely affected in 1979 by the Peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel – the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs actually describes it as ending a 30 year cycle of war.  And it is certainly possible to say that after this point the likelihood of Palestinian liberation stemming from a general Middle East Peace agreement fades. We shall see that with the start of direct Palestinian activism at the new cycle conjunction in 1988 any future peace agreement becomes far more likely to be between the two protagonists Israel and Palestine than to directly involve other Middle Eastern countries. The issue of Palestine of course does not get resolved at the conjunction in 1988 but its definition does undergo a key change and this is consistent with the meaning of the new cycle.


On July 30 1980 the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passes the Jerusalem Law whose original text stated that “the integrity and unity of greater Jerusalem in its boundaries after the Six-Day War shall not be violated.” However, this clause gets dropped and the Knesset thus declines to specify boundaries. Of limited legal importance the law nevertheless has a considerable political impact. For example soon after, the UN Security Council, with only the US abstaining, declares the law “null and void”. An amendment in 2000 will further specify the jurisdiction of the law to include the largely Arab East Jerusalem. The law is a concrete manifestation of Israel’s continuing refusal to contemplate part of Jerusalem becoming the capital of an independent Palestinian state. Israel is thus here declaring all of Jerusalem, both East and West sections, as its undivided eternal capital – this is to prove a long term key obstacle to a negotiated peace.


In June 1979 Ixtoc 1, an exploratory oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, blows and spills out an estimated 3.3 million barrels of oil by the following March. It will not be the last oil well disaster in the Gulf. The following month two supertankers collide off Tobago in the Caribbean and spill 260,000 tons of oil. In November the US government admits that thousands of troops in Vietnam were exposed to the toxic Agent Orange.


Then in 1979 James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis publish ‘Gaia – a new look at life on earth’ in which they state that the Earth is a huge living organism. It is a pivotal moment. No one can prove it but it does not seem nearly as far fetched as it would have a few years earlier. In the same year the US, setting the standard for the rest of the West, bans PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) used in the manufacture of electronic capacitors and transformers. And in Germany the ‘Greens’ launch – the first political party to give the environmental movement political representation.


In May 1980 the World Health Organization (WHO) claims a first – it officially declares smallpox eradicated. This is a major achievement by the international health organization. In the same month however Mount Saint Helens, in Washington in northeast USA erupts. It bursts three times in 24 hours after rumbling for two months and leaves 57 people dead. The eruption column rises 80,000 feet (24,400 m) into the atmosphere and deposits ash in eleven US states. Hundreds of square miles are reduced to wasteland causing over a billion US dollars in damage

 The Saturn/Neptune In square is exact in November 2015 and June and September 2016 but will be in orb from 9 November 2014 till 17 June 2015 and from 23 August 2015 to 1 January 2017 and from 18 June 2017 till 30 September 2017.