Barclays and Shell

po048. Boycott Barclays

Poster produced for the campaign to make Barclays Bank withdraw from South Africa. The campaign started in 1969 in response to Barclays’ involvement in financing the Cabora Bassa dam in Mozambique. Students played a big part in the campaign, which asked individuals and organisations to withdraw their accounts. Barclays finally pulled out of South Africa in 1986. 

po063. Boycott Barclays: Apartheid’s First Bank

In 1976 Barclays invested ten million rand in South African defence bonds; it also advertised in South African Defence Force magazines. This poster shows SWAPO refugees killed in SADF raids in Angola and asks ‘Is this how you want to be treated by your first bank?’

gov09. Letter from James Callaghan to Robert Hughes

In 1976 the AAM publicised Barclays Bank’s purchase of South African defence bonds, issued to help the apartheid government fight SWAPO guerrillas in Namibia. This letter from Prime Minister James Callaghan to AAM Chair Bob Hughes MP acknowledged that public opinion in Britain was opposed to the purchase and promised to raise the matter with Barclays.

pic7707. Hull AA Group picket Barclays

Hull AA Group picketed Barclays Bank in April 1977 as part of the long-running AAM campaign to force Barclays to withdraw from South Africa. Leafleting Barclays customers to persuade them to withdraw their accounts from Barclays was a regular activity for most local anti-apartheid groups during the 1970s and early 1980s. As a result of the campaign, Barclays Bank withdrew from South Africa in 1986.

gov12. Submission to Government Inquiry on Sanctions Busting by Shell and BP

In 1977 the British government set up the Bingham Inquiry into allegations that Shell and BP had supplied oil to Rhodesia in contravention of UN sanctions. This submission exposed Shell and BP’s sanctions busting operations. It asked the British government to press South Africa to allow international scrutiny of British-owned oil companies in South Africa. 

70s27. BP and Shell Factsheet

As the South African economy became less attractive to foreign investors in 1977/78, the AAM stepped up its campaign against British companies with big South African interests. The oil companies BP and Shell were among its main targets. This factsheet showed how the companies’ were helping South Africa develop its energy resources and diversifying into coal and petrochemicals. Other target companies were GEC, ICI, Barclays Bank and British Steel.

she06. Shell and BP in South Africa

Shell and BP were two of South Africa’s main oil suppliers and together owned its biggest oil refinery. After the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet the Bingham Inquiry exposed their complicity in breaking oil sanctions against the illegal Smith regime in Rhodesia. The pamphlet provided a detailed exposé of how the oil companies supported white minority rule throughout Southern Africa. 

pic7808. Picket of Barclays Bank, Leeds

Anti-apartheid supporters picketed around 250 branches of Barclays Bank all over Britain on 1 March 1978. The pickets were part of a March month of action against apartheid held to launch the UN International Anti-Apartheid Year. British-owned Barclays Bank was the biggest high street bank in South Africa. After a 16-year campaign by the AAM, Barclays withdrew from South Africa in 1986.