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

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

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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)

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

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…

Anarchism, Racism and the Class Struggle

Anarchism, Racism and the Class Struggle by the WSFAuthor: Workers’ Solidarity Federation [South Africa]  |  PDF file size: 289 KB

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Racial oppression remains a defining feature of the modern capitalist world. It is manifest most spectacularly in violent attacks on immigrants and minorities by fascist gangs. More important to the fate of these communities has been the systematic and increasing discrimination by capitalist states, manifest in attacks on the rights of immigrants, cuts in welfare services, and racist police and court systems.

This pamphlet shows how capitalism gave birth to racism; how racism is the enemy of all working and poor people; it describes how racism can and must be fought; and what the role of anarchists in that fight should be…

[Leaflet] End Poverty and Unemployment

Leaflet - End Poverty and Unemployment - SOSAuthor: Soundz of the South [South Africa]  |  PDF file size: 71.2 KB

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The reason why millions and millions of people, especially young people, are unemployed and live in poverty around the world is because of the capitalist and state systems. Capitalism and the state lead to all sorts of problems including unemployment, inequality and the oppression of workers, women and people of colour….

African Anarchism