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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AgitProp #18 – Feminist Class Struggle

AgitProp 18 - Feminist Class Struggle - bell hooksAuthor: bell hooks   |   File size: 568 KB

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Class difference and the way in which it divides women was an issue women in the feminist movement talked about long before race. In the mostly white circles of a newly formed women’s liberation movement the most glaring separation between women was that of class. White working-class women recognised that class hierarchies were present in the movement. Conflict arose between the reformist vision of women’s liberation which basically demanded equal rights for women within the existing class structure, and more radical and/or revolutionary models, which called for a fundamental change in the existing structure so that models of mutuality and equality could replace the old paradigms. However, as the feminist movement progressed and privileged groups of well-educated white women began to achieve equal access to class power with their male counterparts, feminist class struggle was born.

Text from the website of the North-eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists.
See: www.nefac.net

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Queer Liberation is Class Struggle

Queer Liberation is Class Struggle - JomoAuthor: Jomo   |   File size: 388 KB

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In the past two years, the issue of gay marriage has dominated the scene of queer struggles. Some of us are actively supportive, others, grudgingly supportive, and more others who rail that yet again, queer struggles are being monopolized by assimilationist, middle class versions of normality and family: “We are the same as you, except for in bed.”

Some supporters of gay marriage point to the economic benefits of marriage. Working class and poor queers need marriage to help alleviate their poverty; immigrant queers need marriage to get US citizenship. I agree. Yet, let’s not forget that many queers will never get married because of their suspicions of state institutions. Granting gay marriage doesn’t guarantee that immigrant spouses get visas or are free from ICE harassment. Also, around us we see families for whom marriage has not helped alleviate the race and class oppressions that they face everyday….

This piece was written by JOMO, a member of the Black Orchid Collective.
blackorchidcollective.wordpress.com/

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