Building Working Class Unity in South Africa: Lessons from United Fronts in Germany, Italy and Russia

Building Working Class Unity in South Africa: Lessons from United Fronts in Germany, Italy and Russia cover

Authors: Jonathan Payn, Jakes Factoria, Tina Sizovuka and Warren McGregor

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This pamphlet is a collection of articles exploring the concept, history and anarchist/syndicalist approaches to United Fronts – and their relevance and potential for building working class unity in South Africa – written in the context of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa)’s resolution, following its historic 2013 Special National Congress, to break with the ANC-led Alliance and form a ‘United Front against neoliberalism’

First Zabalaza Books edition, July 2019

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From Union Renewal to a Self-Managed Society: Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist Project

From Union Renewal to a Self-Managed Society: Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist Project - Lucien van der Walt

Author: Lucien van der Walt

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Trade union renewal is high on the agenda in many countries, but we need to think carefully about why we want it. Union renewal is a profoundly political and ideological issue.We need to have a clear understanding of how we got into the current mess where many unions are bureaucratic, inefficient and struggle to respond to urgent issues. We need to think carefully about what we want to achieve, not just in terms of how we organise – but what we aim at in the long run.

First Zabalaza Books edition, July 2019

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[Leaflet] Tearing Racism up from its Capitalist Roots: An African Anarchist-Communist Approach

[Leaflet] Tearing Racism up from its Capitalist Roots - Bongani Maponyane cover

Author: Bongani Maponyane (ZACF)

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Racism has been a curse in South Africa, and remains embedded in the society. But how scientific are racist ideas? Where do they come from? And how can we fight racism and create a truly equal and fair society? What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?

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Alternatives from the Ground Up: Anarchism/Syndicalism and (Black) Working Class Self-Emancipation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Alternatives from the Ground Up - Lucien van der Walt

Author: Lucien van der Walt

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This commentary, an input at a Globalization School debate in Cape Town, engages current labour and Left debates on building alternatives, drawing on the experiences of the radical wing of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and on anarchism and syndicalism. It argues for a strategy of bottom-up mobilization based on debate and pluralism, and building structures of counter-power and a revolutionary counter-culture that can prefigure and create a new social order. The aim is to foster a class-based movement against exploitation, domination, and oppression, including national oppression, that can win reforms through self-activity, unite a range of struggles against oppression, and develop the capacity and unity needed for deep social change. This should be outside parliament, the political party system and the state. The outcome, ultimately, would be the replacement of capitalism, the state, and social and economic inequality, by a universal human community based on self-management, the democratization of daily life, participatory economic planning, and libertarian socialism.

First Zabalaza Books edition, 2019

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Class Struggles in South Africa: from Apartheid to Neo-Liberalism

Class Struggles in South Africa: from Apartheid to Neo-Liberalism

Author: Bikisha Media Collective

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The South African working class is on the retreat. It is not defeated, but is falling back in the face of a major neo-liberal offensive by the democratic government elected in 1994. A vicious “home-grown Structural Adjustment Programme,” called “GEAR” or the Growth, Employment and Redistribution strategy, is in place, and it has directly contributed to a million jobs lost, to cuts in social services, and to rapidly growing class inequality.

First edition by the Bikisha Media Collective & Zabalaza Books, 2005
This second edition by Zabalaza Books, February 2019

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People’s Power, Workers’ Control and Grassroots Politics in South Africa: Rethinking Practices of Self-Organisation and Anti-Apartheid Resistance in the 1980s

People’s Power, Workers’ Control & Grassroots Politics in 1980's South Africa

Authors: Lucien van der Walt, with Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich,
Jonathan Payn and Daria Zelenova

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This special section (#) features three lightly edited transcripts of presentations at a workshop hosted by the International Labour Research & Information Group and the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre in the Drieziet extension, Orange Farm squatter camp, south of Soweto, South Africa, on 24 June 2017. It was attended by a hall full of community and worker activists, including veterans of the big rebellions of the 1980s.

# This piece originally appeared in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, No. 71 (Fall 2017)

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Anarchism and Divisions in our Class

Anarchism and Divisions in our Class - Chekov FeeneyAuthor: Chekov Feeney  |  PDF file size: 692 KB

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There are many irrational beliefs held by sections of our class which act against our objective interests, that is to say that they hinder us from uniting against our common enemy, the bosses, our exploiters and oppressors. Sexism, racism, religious sectarianism and what the imperialists call ‘tribalism’ are prejudices which are held by significant numbers of our class throughout the world. To state that they exist is to state an obvious fact, like stating 2+2=4. Everybody knows they exist, save perhaps a tiny number of deranged individuals with a tenuous connection to reality. It is neither useful nor original to state their existance, what is useful is to ask why they exist…