Benutzereinstellungen

Neue Veranstaltungshinweise

Southern Africa

Es wurden keine neuen Veranstaltungshinweise in der letzten Woche veröffentlicht

Kommende Veranstaltungen

Southern Africa | The Left

Keine kommenden Veranstaltungen veröffentlicht

The “Democratic Left”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle

category southern africa | the left | press release author Mittwoch Februar 23, 2011 02:46author by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front - ZACFauthor email zacf at zabalaza dot net Report this post to the editors

Statement by the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)
zacfront_symbol_1.jpg

The “Democratic Left../”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle

Statement by the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

Plans for the CDL began in 2008, and over the years the ZACF has been cautiously involved in these discussions. We have had, and continue to have, reservations about the goals of many of the comrades involved in this process. At the same time, we can only welcome and support a project that is clearly deepening solidarity in struggle among some of the region’s most militant working class organisations (including both unions and community-based social movements). (See Declaration of the DLF).

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism../”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)

To vote or not to vote?

The CDL has emphasised the need to expand existing working class struggles while building solidarity among them; in particular, direct action in the form of occupations of land, and of the Mine-Line factory, has been enthusiastically welcomed and recognised as an excellent example for the future. But another challenge will complicate the growth of a class struggle programme: the perennial debate on state elections. The illusion remains widespread in working class movements that the struggle will somehow be advanced by putting up candidates, by electing councillors and MPs, by building political parties. For many years the ZACF has argued against this illusion in the community movements with which we have worked most closely, notably the Anti-Privatisation Forum and the Landless People’s Movement. (see e.g. Passive voting or active boycott) We have continued to raise these arguments at the CDL. But the illusion is deeply ingrained; and while it is being increasingly challenged, it may take some hard lessons before the working class is ready to make a decisive break.

The lessons, indeed, are there to be learnt. Not only has large-scale working class participation in elections inevitably led to disaster throughout history, but small-scale attempts by community movements in recent years have produced pitiful gains at the expense of serious losses. Even some comrades who have no principled objection to putting up candidates agree that this tactic tends to undermine South African working class movements in their present position of weakness. And although even this lesson is not yet generally understood, at least the CDL has come to the realisation that it would be foolish for this new alliance to put up its own candidates at present.

At the same time, the ZACF can stand with the DLF in recognising that some of the movements that have joined this front will wish to put up candidates in the 2011 local elections, and probably again in future. We think such moves are always a mistake at best, but we are in no position to forbid them; and even if we could, on our own initiative, such a ban would be the kind of top-down politics we abhor. Working class movements must be free to make their own mistakes; let DLF affiliates put up candidates if they so wish.

Even so, it is unfortunate that the CDL resolved to endorse such candidates if they met certain conditions. We take the view that no conditions can evade the perils of accepting and joining in the structure of the state. But although we reject this decision, we consider it a minor error. At least the DLF will not make the disastrous mistake of pouring its limited resources into futile election campaigns: each affiliate will make that decision for itself. We are always ready to argue against any particular proposal to stand in elections or endorse candidates. And we as anarchists will not endorse, campaign for or otherwise contribute to any such candidate: we must stick to our principles no matter what the DLF may do. But for the present, the DLF has wisely rejected any focus on elections. No doubt some comrades will continue to propose such a focus in future – and we will firmly oppose them. But today, there is no immediate threat of electoral politics undermining the DLF project of united class struggle.

Who leads the struggle?

This commitment to grass-roots struggle stands in welcome contrast to the CDL’s origins. The process of holding the conference was initiated and long driven by middle-class left intellectuals associated with universities and NGOs, many of them coming from a Marxist background. Now, the ZACF cannot object to the involvement of middle-class intellectuals in struggle: after all, many of our members are just such intellectuals. But we firmly believe that unity-in-struggle can only come from below, from those actually fighting for their immediate needs. A project of unity led exclusively by intellectuals at a distance from the grass-roots would lead nowhere.

In this light, it is somewhat unfortunate that the CDL resolved to maintain the same national co-ordinating structure that had initiated the conference. It would have been better for carrying the struggle forward if the conference had accepted a proposal that the co-ordinating structure be driven by grass-roots mass movements. Even so, we cannot conclude that the national co-ordinators are standing in the way of the masses, since the mass movements did not make alternative nominations to the committee. If the DLF programme is at all successful, we are confident that the leadership of mass movements will be fully established over time. And there is some promise that it will be successful – not least because the conference resolved that the DLF is now to be driven not by the national committee but by local movements. For the foreseeable future, provincial structures will set the DLF’s direction, and these provincial structures will be driven by militants engaged in practical class struggles; they will also have the power to recall and replace members of the national committee. In this way, we can hope that the DLF will truly come to be directed not from above but from below, as it should be.

On programmes and demands

A key challenge for a mass working class movement in struggle from below is to formulate its demands and programme of action. Such a movement should aim to formulate demands that serve the immediate needs of the class, and that can be won through direct action – preferably some that can be won quickly. A truly strong movement may aim for a longer-term programme, proceeding from demand to demand, from victory to victory, until it is strong enough to completely defeat the ruling class, to destroy capitalism and the state. As far as possible it should win demands by its own strength: when demands are addressed to the oppressors, they should not be appeals for mercy but forceful actions to compel the enemy to give us what we need. The working class has no need to advise capitalists and rulers on how to run their system, whether by making suggestions or by sitting in corporatist structures such as Nedlac. All our campaigns should be guided by our own class interests.

But it takes a great deal of experience, informed by clear ideas, to develop such a solid programme; and unfortunately, ideas in the DLF are not yet clear enough. The programme formulated by the CDL does not even clearly distinguish between demands addressed to the class enemy and internal initiatives of the movement, such as political education. While some demands (like the abolition of the bucket toilet system) are identified as “immediate../”, there is no sense of a general overall time frame for demands – and at current levels of ideas and of struggle, there probably couldn’t be. Worst of all, many in the DLF have illusions in the state, as reflected in persistent proposals for such demands as “nationalisation under worker control../” – a confused proposal that utterly fails to recognise that states are always ruling class structures, that state owners are exploiters every bit as much as private owners, that worker control and state control have nothing in common. (See “Taking back what’s yours: the Mine-Line occupation../”, forthcoming.)

The ZACF has played its small part in formulating the DLF’s demands, but without any illusion that the result would lack great weaknesses. We have argued against demands that rely on the state; we have pushed for internationalist positions that break down the barriers between nations, and between citizens and immigrants. If the programme announced by the CDL is weaker than we might hope, this reflects the general weakness of the class struggle in southern Africa – and is no ground for despair. In particular, the conference has recognised that demands will continue to be reformulated in and through struggle; and as with the overall DLF project, there are strong grounds to hope that this process will be driven from below. The lessons of struggle and political discussion can give the DLF far clearer direction than it has so far found, and we will continue to play our part in this engagement.

Forward to revolutionary unity of the popular classes!

The DLF is far from perfect. Much confusion and weakness remains in its analysis, its leadership structures, its programme in general and its approach to elections in particular. Any of these problems could undermine the organisation, turn it into yet another authoritarian dead end of struggle. But the focus on working class resistance from below offers hope. When Mine-Line workers stand alongside Hout Bay shack-dwellers to tell the story of their struggles and their occupations, and when militants from many provinces and many tendencies are inspired to unite in celebration of direct action, we can see hope for all who are exploited and excluded. If we the working class can unite behind these struggles, expand them, build our solidarity and unity and strategy and tactics; if we can advance together with both caution and enthusiastic militancy; if we can learn from our errors and guard against confusion – the DLF may yet be one small step towards our final victory in the class war.

For a front of the oppressed classes!
For class struggle and revolution from below!

Verwandter Link: http://www.zabalaza.net
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
George Floyd: one death too many in the “land of the free”

Southern Africa | The Left | Press Release | en

So 07 Jun, 16:30

browse text browse image

Selby Semela, 1958-2018 imageA South African Revolutionary Passes: Jabisile Selby Semela, 1958-2018 08:14 Do 30 Aug by ZACF 0 comments

Selby Semela, a leading figure in the 1976 revolt against apartheid, political exile, and author (with Sam Thompson and Norman Abraham), of “Reflections on the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Revolution”, passed away on Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, aged but 60 years.

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World 20:26 Fr 16 Mai by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom 18:10 Mi 27 Jun by Jonathan Payn 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement 19:08 Do 07 Dez by International Secretary ZACF 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

imageClass struggle, the Left and power – Part 2 Sep 08 by Jonathan Payn 0 comments

The first part of this series stated that, despite various well-intentioned efforts by forces on the extra-Alliance and independent left over recent years to unite working class struggles in South Africa, these largely have and will continue to fail to resonate with the working class, help build unity in struggle and form the basis of a new movement because of the theoretical understandings of class and power – and their strategic implications – on which they are founded and which are prevalent on much of the left. This article will give a basic overview of these theoretical understandings of class and power and their strategic implications and limitations and why it is therefore necessary to refine and develop understandings of class and power more capable of responding to the context of the neoliberal restructuring of the working class in order to advance the class struggle in pursuit of socialism. [Part 1]

imageAfter the election dust settles: Class struggle, the Left and power Jun 25 by Jonathan Payn 0 comments

Twenty-five years into democracy the black working class majority in South Africa has not experienced any meaningful improvements in its conditions. The apartheid legacy of unequal education, healthcare and housing and the super-exploitation of black workers continues under the ANC and is perpetuated by the neoliberal policies it has imposed. The only force capable of changing this situation is the working class locally and internationally. Yet to do so, struggles need to come together, new forms of organisation appropriate to the context are needed; and they need both to be infused with a revolutionary progressive politics and to learn from the mistakes of the past. Outside the ANC alliance, there have indeed been many efforts to unite struggles – but these have largely failed to resonate with the working class in struggle and form the basis of a new movement. Nowhere is this more evident than with the newly-formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) – which got less than 25 000 votes in the national elections, despite the fact that the union that conceived it, Numsa, claims nearly 400 000 members. [Part 2]

imageA Workers’ Party and Elections or Class Struggle? Feb 26 by Warren McGregor 0 comments

The question of state government elections and running a Workers or Socialist political party continues to be raised in the working class movement and the Left globally. As we may know, there was excitement about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party in Britain, left political parties in certain parts of Europe and Latin America and, more recently, certain shifts to more centrist positions in the United States amongst a section of the Democratic Party calling themselves “Democratic Socialists”. In South Africa, many workers and some activists seem cautiously optimistic by NUMSA’s formation of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party that will seek to participate in the 2019 general elections.

imageLeft unity, left cooperation or a working class front? Jul 21 by Warren McGregor 2 comments

A call for socialist Left unity is heard widely today in South Africa, but is usually taken as a call for unity of praxis (unity in theoretical programme and action). This is sometimes framed as transcending old divides (these seen as outdated, divisive or dismissed as dogmatic), and sometimes as unity in order to have action (rhetorically set up as the opposite of “arm chair” theory).

What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?

imageSouth African ‘Workerism’ in the 1980s: Learning from FOSATU’s Radical Unionism Dez 13 by Lucien van der Walt, with Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich* 0 comments

A lightly edited transcript of a presentation at a workshop hosted by the International Labour Research & Information Group (ILRIG) and the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre in Drieziek extension 1, Orange Farm township, 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.

more >>

imageA South African Revolutionary Passes: Jabisile Selby Semela, 1958-2018 Aug 30 ZACF 0 comments

Selby Semela, a leading figure in the 1976 revolt against apartheid, political exile, and author (with Sam Thompson and Norman Abraham), of “Reflections on the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Revolution”, passed away on Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, aged but 60 years.

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World Mai 16 ZACF 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom Jun 27 ZACF (southern Africa) 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement Dez 07 Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

© 2005-2020 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]