Authors: Jonathan Payn, Jakes Factoria, Tina Sizovuka and Warren McGregor
File Size: 443 KB
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
Continue reading “Building Working Class Unity in South Africa: Lessons from United Fronts in Germany, Italy and Russia”
Author: Lucien van der Walt
File Size: 293 KB
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
Continue reading “From Union Renewal to a Self-Managed Society: Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist Project”
Author: Lucien van der Walt
File Size: 995 KB
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”
Author: Workers Solidarity Federation
File size: 383 KB
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”
Authors: Lucien van der Walt, with Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich,
Jonathan Payn and Daria Zelenova
File size: 1.2 MB
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”
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Author: Temma E. Kaplan | File size: 291 KB
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”
Author: Jonathan Payn | File size: 360 KB
“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”
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Author: Various | File size: 430 KB
THE INDIGNITY OF WORKING FOR A LIVING is well known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which our society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window as soon as we punch the time clock at work.
With no say over what we produce, or how that production is organised, and with only a small portion of that product’s value finding its way into our paycheques, we have every right to be pissed off at our bosses.
Ultimately, of course, we need to create a society in which working people make all the decisions about the production and distribution of goods and services. Harmful or useless industries, such as arms and chemical manufacturing, or the banking and insurance scams, would be eliminated….
Continue reading ““Only the Organised Survive”: A Rebel Worker Handbook”
Author: Unknown | File size: 98 KB
Workers run the world. Everything would stop without our labour. Withdrawing our labour is our weapon, and the right to run things is our demand…. At the same time, most work is a bore. As it is organized in our society, most labour kills the spirit and body of the worker, not to mention the mind. But to simply call for a four-hour day at eight hours pay is not enough. Who will benefit from the automation that could realize such a demand? Who should control technology’s introduction and integration into the economy? Potentially, we can.
Continue reading “[Leaflet] Direct Action: 14 ways to improve your job”
Author: Dek Keenan | File size: 330 KB
This paper will introduce syndicalism both as an historical international phenomenon and as a contemporary international model and movement. It presupposes very little knowledge of, but hopefully some substantial interest in, the subject on the part of the reader.
What does Syndicalism mean to us as labour movement activists? It may mean the million workers in the Spanish CNT fighting with a new world in their hearts during the Spanish Civil War. It may mean the legendary Industrial Workers of the World organising the One Big Union across craft and trade, race and gender lines. It may mean a vast movement of workers across Latin America during the first half of the 20th Century. It may mean Starbucks baristas fighting today to build unions in coffee houses in New York and Santiago. But it very possibly means none of these things.
Because syndicalism constitutes one of the least understood currents in the workers movement. And yet syndicalism was the driving force of immense and powerful labour movements across the globe in the first decades of the 20th Century; from Argentina to Japan and from Australia to Portugal workers gathered under its flag. And today it represents a small, but growing, part of the international labour movement; albeit one that remains unduly obscure and marginal.
Continue reading “Syndicalism: An International and Historical Perspective”
Author: Rudolf Rocker | File size: 401 KB
- The Objectives of Anarcho-Syndicalism
- The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism
- The Role of the Trade Unions: Anarcho-Syndicalist View
- The Political Struggle: Anarcho-Syndicalist View
This collection of writings by one of the leading theorists of Anarcho-Syndicalism, Rudolf Rocker(March 25, 1873 – September 19, 1958), is taken from two of his books, namely Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice and his shorter work,Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism.
Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice was first published in London in 1938. In 1937, Emma Goldman had asked Rocker to write an introduction for the general public on the ideals fuelling the Spanish social revolution that was then in full swing. Within the book, Rocker offered an introduction to anarchist ideas, a history of the international workers’ movement, and an outline of the syndicalist strategies and tactics embraced at the time (direct action, sabotage and the general strike). The chapters from the book on The Objectives of Anarcho-Syndicalism and The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism have been included in this collection.
In 1946, Rocker wrote an abridged version of the book, entitled Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. It was published for the first time with the same title in New York in 1948. It consists of slightly revised passages from different parts of the book Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice. This Zabalaza Books collection includes the chapters from the book on The Role of the Trade Unions: Anarcho-Syndicalist View and The Political Struggle: Anarcho-Syndicalist View.
Continue reading “What is Anarcho-Syndicalism?: A Selection of Writings by Rudolf Rocker”
Author: ¡klas batalo! | File size: 1,01 MB
To this day many class struggle anarchists, syndicalists, and leftists of varying traditions gloss over, purposefully or naively Nestor Makhno’s and the historical platformists’ affinity for anarchist unionism or anarcho-syndicalism….
From: ¡klas batalo!
Continue reading “Nestor Makhno: A Theoretician of Anarcho-Syndicalism?”