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

File Size: 995 KB

Download PDF

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”

Advertisements

Only the Workers can free the Workers

Only the Workers can free the Workers - WSF (2nd ZB edition)

Author: Workers Solidarity Federation

File size: 383 KB

Download PDF

We anarchists believe that at the moment we live in a capitalist society in which there are two major classes: the ruling class and the working class. The bosses own the factories, banks, mines, shops, etc. we don’t. All that we have is our ability to work. The workers and our families need to work for the bosses in order to earn a living. We workers create all the wealth. We build the roads, the schools, the buildings, the goods in the shops. We transport and work in the shops. But we do not control the wealth that we create. We make cars, but very few of us ever own one. We clean the university offices, but we do not receive a decent education. We grow the food on the land, but we starve. We build the houses of the rich, but live in shacks and one room buildings. The bosses suck up the wealth that the workers make. Everything that we make is owned by the bosses. If we build cars, the cars belong to the company. The bosses sell the goods. The bosses use a little bit of the money from the sales to pay us. They keep the rest for themselves. Workers dig gold from the ground, but we earn only a few hundred Rand a month. The bosses sell the gold, and make millions of rand. This is how the bosses exploit the workers. We get a low wage, and so becomes poor. The boss gets a high profit, and so becomes rich. The wealth of the bosses is stolen from the working class.

First published by the Workers Solidarity Federation, 1997 printing. Johannesburg. South Africa.
Second edition, 2003 by Zabalaza Books and Bikisha Media Collective
This edition 2018 by Zabalaza Books

Continue reading “Only the Workers can free the Workers”

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

File size: 1.2 MB

Download PDF

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”

Spanish Anarchism and Women’s Liberation

Spanish-Anarchism-and-Womens-Liberation-Temma-E-KaplanAuthor: Temma E. Kaplan | File size: 291 KB

Download PDF

One of the chief ideological disputes between the Spanish anarchists and communists during the Civil War was the anarchists’ insistence that social revolution should not be postponed until the war was won; without the social revolution (by which they meant the defeat of authoritarianism and the transformation of all social and economic relations and institutions to permit maximum individual freedom, self-expression, and spontaneity), the war would be just another changing of the guard, so familiar in Spanish history.

Source: Journal of Contemporary History,
Vol. 6, No. 2 (1971), pp. 101-110.
Originally found at: the Zine Library, http://zinelibrary.info/
(attempted access on 12 September 2015, showed the site to be down)

Continue reading “Spanish Anarchism and Women’s Liberation”

Beating Back the Bureaucrats: A Rank-and-File Struggle for Trade Union Democracy in Argentina and its Strategic Implication

Beating Back the Bureaucrats by Jonathan PaynAuthor: Jonathan Payn | File size: 360 KB

Download PDF

“Much time has been spent on the left discussing whether or not the existing unions can still be seen as capable of representing workers’ interests or whether they have been completely and irrevocably co-opted to manage and contain worker struggles on behalf of the bosses – be they private or public. Consequently, a lot of time has also been spent debating whether unions can be taken back by workers (and made to serve their interests), or whether they should be abandoned altogether in favour either of revolutionary or dual unions or so-called new forms of organisation such as workers’ committees, solidarity networks etc…”

Text from: Recomposition: Notes for a New Workerism

Continue reading “Beating Back the Bureaucrats: A Rank-and-File Struggle for Trade Union Democracy in Argentina and its Strategic Implication”