Strategy and Tactics for a Revolutionary Anarchism

Strategy and Tactics for a Revolutionary Anarchism by Lusbert

Author:  Lusbert

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As COVID-19 continues to spread, triggering an unprecedented global crisis, we need to take up the challenging task of both responding to the urgency of the moment and positioning ourselves for the post-pandemic period, which remains uncertain. This will require a critical engagement with strategy and tactics that are tied to a long-term vision

Written by Lusbert, a libertarian communist based in Spain, Strategy and Tactics for a Revolutionary Anarchism lays the foundation for exploring fundamental questions related to class struggle, building popular power, strategy, assessing the correlation of forces, building a revolutionary program and communications infrastructure — all of which we need to develop if we want to have a meaningful influence over this rapidly changing and disorienting political moment.

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Rethinking “Workerism” and the FOSATU Tradition, 1979-1985

Rethinking “Workerism” and the FOSATU Tradition, 1979-1985 by Sian Byrne

Author: Sian Byrne

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This paper is concerned with unpacking key aspects of the politics of the influential “workerist” current that emerged within the trade union movement, notably in the Federation of South African Trade Unions (Fosatu), the largest independent union federation in South Africa from 19179-1985. This current dominated the main black and non-racial trade unions, played a central role in the anti-apartheid struggle, and was notable for its scepticism about the ANC and SACP, preferring instead to build an independent working class movement. Examination of “workerism” is not a new area of focus within left and labour circles, since workerism was highly controversial and featured, most notably, centrally in the “workerist-populist” debate in the 1980s. Yet it remains strikingly under-examined, with its core project obscured in key accounts.

Paper presented at the Durban Movement Conference
Rhodes University, 21 – 23 February 2013

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[Leaflet] The Problems Posed by the Concrete Class Struggle and Popular Organisation: Reflections from an Anarchist Communist Perspective

[Leaflet] The Problems Posed by the Concrete Class Struggle and Popular Organisation: Reflections from an Anarchist Communist Perspective by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

Author: José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

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From Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation:

We present this now classic piece written in July 2005 by Chilean anarchist José Antonio Gutiérrez Danton that is an early contribution to discussions of concepts around what are called the mass, intermediate and political levels that develop within social and political movements. Here, Danton uses the terms social, social-political and revolutionary political whereas in the US these are commonly discussed as the mass, intermediate and political. These concepts have been influential for helping revolutionaries think in more concrete and deeper way around organisations and movements.

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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Horizontalism: Anarchism, Power and the State

Horizontalism: Anarchism, Power and the State by Mark Bray

Author: Mark Bray

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From Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation:

We are excited to present “Horizontalism: Anarchism, Power and the State” by Mark Bray which appears as a chapter in the collection Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach from Routledge. In this piece Bray relates a range of global movements from mass neighbourhood assemblies in Argentina, to the squares movement in Europe and Occupy Wall Street to various political conceptions of power, movement building and electoral politics. He begins with drawing a distinction between horizontalism as a specific form of popular mobilization that has recently emerged and more broadly the practices of horizontal style organising. From this he points out that while anarchism is horizontal in its approach to organising and movement building, horizontalism is much more fluid, “non-ideological,” and lends itself to decidedly non-horizontal directions of electoral organising – politics which anarchists have traditionally contrasted their politics in opposition.

The essay originally appears as “Horizontalism” in Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach edited by Benjamin Franks, Nathan Jun, and Leonard Williams. Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street and a member of Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation.

See here for a Swedish Version

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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[Leaflet] The 1973 Strikes and the birth of a New Movement in Natal

[Leaflet] The 1973 Strikes and the birth of a New Movement in Natal by Nicole Ulrich

Author: Nicole Ulrich

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Nicole Ulrich reflects on the birth of the modern non-racial trade union movement in the early 1970s in South Africa, and draws lessons for the social movements of today.

From: Khanya: A Journal for Activists, No. 8, May 2005

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For a Theory of Strategy

For a Theory of Strategy by Brazilian Anarchist Coordination (CAB)

Author: Brazilian Anarchist Coordination
(Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – CAB) [1]

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Power relations permeate all social relations and involve social agents in the most diverse disputes and attempts to influence situations. In societies divided into social classes there is a specific power relationship that can manifest itself in different social spheres (economic, political and ideological): dominance, domination.

Domination occurs when a class, group, or individual carries out the plan of another person, group, or class against their own interests, thereby damaging themselves, and reinforcing the dominator’s privileges.

The social classes mark the history of humanity since the appearance of the great civilizations up to the present, possessing a prominent and specific role in capitalism. Relations between social classes are relations of domination.

Anarchism, as a socialist current, struggles for the end of domination and, consequently, for the end of social classes, having the aim of building an egalitarian (socialist) and free (libertarian) system.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary for anarchists in general, and our political organisations in particular, to build a strategy and program that will guide the general path of this transformation.

Originally published as “Para uma Teoria da Estratégia” in 2017 at anarkismo.net.
For a related theory and strategy article we recommend “The Problems Posed by the Concrete Class Struggle and Popular Organisation”, [ii] also available from Zabalaza Books.
Translation by S. Nicholas Nappalos
From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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The Relevance of the ICU of Africa for Modern Day Unions and Liberation Movements

The Relevance of the ICU of Africa for Modern Day Unions and Liberation Movements by Warren McGregor

Author: Warren McGregor

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The history of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU), formed in South Africa in 1919, is replete with lessons for today’s movements. The ICU, which also spread into neighbouring colonies like Basutoland (now Lesotho), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Southwest Africa (now Namibia) was by far the largest protest movement and organisation of black African and Coloured people of its time. Influenced by a range of ideas, including revolutionary syndicalism, the ICU had both amazing strengths and spectacular failings. This piece explains.

Presentation at the launch of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU) Centennial Exhibition, William Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 17 August 2019
Author’s note: the following is based on a 15 minute spoken presentation delivered by the author at the event. It was not meant and should not be read as an exhaustive historical or critical account of the ICU.

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Theory, Ideology and Political Practice: The FAU’s “Huerta Grande”

Theory, Ideology and Political Practice: The FAU’s “Huerta Grande” by the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU)

Author: Uruguayan Anarchist Federation
(Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU)

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Huerta Grande, or “Large Orchard,” was written in 1972 as an internal discussion document of the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya, after the Tupamaros, a Guevarist group, had failed in their armed strategy of foquismo and right before the brutal military coup of June 1973.  The piece looks at the nature of theory and strategy and asserts that an essential aspect of revolutionary political organisation was having a deep understanding of material reality informed by practical theory and political praxis. This may not seem new or novel but the implications of this have since had a profound impact on Latin American anarchism and become a seminal document of the Especifismo current.

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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Especifismo: The Anarchist Praxis of Building Popular Movements and Revolutionary Organisation

Especifismo: The Anarchist Praxis of Building Popular Movements and Revolutionary Organisation by Adam Weaver

Author: Adam Weaver

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First published in The Northeastern Anarchist #11 in Spring 2006, “Especifismo: The Anarchist Praxis of Building Popular Movements and Revolutionary Organisation” broke new ground as the first English introductory article on the concept of Especifismo. While being short and limited in scope, it has since become a standard introductory text which has been translated into multiple languages and is now used by Latin American political organisations. The piece was based on early translations and exchanges by Brazilian-American anarchist Pedro Ribeiro but since its publication new translations have further deepened and enriched the understanding of Especifismo. These include the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya’s 1972 theoretical piece “Huerta Grande” [i] and the multi-chapter booklet “Social Anarchism and Organisation” [ii] by the Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (FARJ).

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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[Leaflet] Education for Revolution: Anarcho-Syndicalist Pedagogy for South Africa

[Leaflet] Education for Revolution: Anarcho-Syndicalist Pedagogy for South Africa by Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh

Authors: Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh

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The roots and principles of anarcho-syndicalism are worth revisiting for the practice of worker education in movements inspired by these principles and traditions. Emphasising the democratic practice, working class rooted, organic and critical nature of the pedagogy, the practice seeks to intersect employed and unemployed women and men. Practically, the education provides a platform for post-revolutionary practice of direct democracy at the point of production and, thus, naturally included practical skills such as trades, accounting and sciences.

Shawn Hattingh is from the International Labour Research and Information Group and Mandy Moussouris writes in her personal capacity
From: South African Labour Bulletin, volume 43, number 1, pp. 17-19.

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Create a Strong People: Discussions on Popular Power

Create a Strong People: Discussions on Popular Power by Felipe Corrêa

Author: Felipe Corrêa

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This piece by Brazilian anarchist Felipe Corrêa offers important commentary on the concepts of popular power, the state and power more broadly speaking.

Translation by Enrique Guerrero-López

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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Prefiguring Democratic Revolution?: ‘Workers’ Control’ and ‘Workerist’ Traditions of Radical South African Labour, 1970–1985

Prefiguring Democratic Revolution?: ‘Workers’ Control’ and ‘Workerist’ Traditions of Radical South African Labour, 1970–1985 by Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich Author: Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich

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During the 1970s and early 1980s, sections of the trade union movement questioned the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party’s (SACP’s) narrow vision of freedom, which was based on the capture of the colonial state by a nationalist elite. Located within a distinct political current that prioritised participatory/direct-democracy and egalitarianism workers were regarded as the locus of transformative power in society, and their organisations were viewed as prefiguring a radically democratic future. This article examines the very different kind of radical anti-colonial engagement offered by ‘workers’ control’ in the 1970s and ‘workerism’ in the early 1980s that was developed by the Trade Union Advisory Co-ordinating Council (TUACC) and the Federation of South African Trade Unions (FOSATU), respectively. Keen to draw lessons for the trade union movement today, this article outlines the key characteristics and limits of these traditions that facilitated their decline in the post-apartheid context.

Sian Byrne & Nicole Ulrich, Prefiguring Democratic Revolution? ‘Workers’ Control’ and ‘Workerist’ Traditions of Radical South African Labour, 1970–1985, first published in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 2016

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[Leaflet] Broken World, Broken People: We Need a Path to a better Future

[Leaflet] Broken World, Broken People: We Need a Path to a better Future

Author: Shawn Hattingh

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We are living in a world that for most people is broken and that has broken most people. It is not a god given world, but one that has been constructed by those in power and that has left most people mired in deprivation. Under COVID-19, this world has sunk to new lows.

From www.zabalaza.net

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Agroecology and Organised Anarchism: An Interview with the Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FARJ)

Agroecology and Organised Anarchism: An Interview with the Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FARJ)

Author: Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FARJ) / BRRN

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See: Reaping What You Sow: Reflections on the Western Cape Farm Workers Strike by Shawn Hattingh (ZACF) [1]

In response to the industrial, capitalist model of food production that has decimated rural lifeways and our mother earth, social movements around the world have identified agroecology as their alternative proposal for rural development. Grounded in peasant and indigenous knowledges, struggles for food sovereignty and agrarian reform, agroecology is understood by social movements as “a tool for the social, economic, cultural, political and ecological transformation of communities and territories.”

From the website of the
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra

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