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This article looks at the recent events around the removal of Robert Mugabe from power in Zimbabwe. It argues that this will not bring liberation for the people of Zimbabwe, as it does not address the problems Zimbabwe faces – a ruthless ruling class, its state, capitalism and imperialism.
The labour movement has been unable to de-link itself from its archenemy: capital. As its structures bureaucratise, as its leaders become career unionists, as it opens investment companies and pays staff increasingly inequitable salaries, it increasingly mirrors the very thing it is fighting. If the South African Federation of Trade Unions is to meet its promise, it must be fundamentally different from the organisation it was born out of.A federation will not liberate the class, nor will its affiliates; only the working class can liberate itself and it will never be able to do that as long as there is an implicit belief in a Great Leader/s; as long as the union is seen as a legal service and as long as power and money are centralised. A truly participatory, democratic trade union would be one where the locals/branches of each affiliate control the membership dues collected, where they would use their dues to do work on the ground and put some aside for provincial and national work; where the workers have direct ownership of the means of trade union production (negotiation, representation, mobilisation) and where the extremely loosely used term, democracy, translates into individual worker agency and empowerment to ensure that the base, the majority, the working class, is where true power lies, and that it uses its power to change the world for the benefit of the many.
The struggle of the black working class majority of Freedom Park, South Africa, is not just for land on which to build housing – although that is obviously a central issue and key demand; nor is it just against the accompanying political and police violence and intimidation. It is a struggle against the injustice, violence and corruption of a system that puts the power, privileges and profits of a few before the lives and wellbeing of the majority.
southern africa / history of anarchism lunedì ottobre 03, 2016 19:07 byZabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
The ZACF is saddened to learn of the passing away of comrade Bobo Makhoba in Soweto this Thursday 29 September, at the age of 41, after a long illness. He is survived by his son, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences – as we do to the rest of his family, friends and comrades.
The last 4 months in Zimbabwe can surely be characterized as an awakening of the Zimbabwean working class, as thousands of these citizens have taken to the streets, responding to Pastor Evan Mawarire’s call: “hatichatya” – we are not afraid. The #Thisflag movement followed soon after. This is certainly a historic time for Zimbabwe; a time of growing labour pains as the country (hopefully) enters a process of rebirth towards a better and new Zimbabwe.But before we can even begin to talk about a free Zimbabwe and how we would go about getting that, we need to first have a clear and coherent class analysis of the Zimbabwean social and political climate.
Understanding who we are fighting is essential. Zimbabwe without a doubt needs to rid ourselves of the 92-year- old man who thinks the state house is his graveyard. But in the same breath, we must rid itself of the oppressive state system altogether. Swapping a vicious state capitalist manager with another is nowhere close to constituting progress.See also:
lun 30 mar, 20:21
The relevance of the ICU of Africa for modern day unions and liberation movements dic 12 14:58 0 comments
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.
Ένωση Βιομηχανικ... dic 08 19:32 0 comments
Η Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of Africa (Ένωση Βιομηχανικών και Εμπορικών Εργατών Αφρικής - ICU) ιδρύθηκε στο Κέιπ Τάουν το 1919. Το 1920 συγχωνεύθηκε με την επαναστατική συνδικαλιστική ένωση, Industrial Workers of Africa (Βιομηχανικοί Εργάτες της Αφρικής) και άλλα συνδικάτα. Μεγάλωσε ταχύτατα στη Νότια Αφρική μεταξύ της έγχρωμης και μαύρης εργατικής τάξης και των εκμισθωτών γης. Εξαπλώθηκε επίσης, τις δεκαετίες του 1920 και του 1930, σε γειτονικές χώρες.
Class struggle, the Left and power – Part 2 set 08 06:04 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]
Should the Anti-Capitalists Contest Elections? set 08 05:38 1 comments
This is a lightly edited transcription of a talk given by Prof. Lucien van der Walt on a panel on the eve of the 2019 national elections in South Africa: the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)/ Workers World Media Productions (WWMP) Public Forum, Isivivana Centre, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa 25 April.
«Le soldat est tombé»: disparition de Mandla Khoza, militant anarchiste-communiste et acti... ago 28 04:06 0 comments
Le compagnon Mandla Khoza ( "MK", somme ses amis et camarades le connaissaient) est décédé le vendredi 26 juillet 2019 dans sa ville natale de Siphofaneni, au Swaziland (Eswatini). Il souffrait depuis longtemps de diabète sucré. Il laisse quatre enfants. Il fut l’un des membres pionniers de la Fédération Anarchiste Communiste Zabalaza (ZACF) fondée en Afrique du Sud le 1er mai 2003. MK était engagé dans une révolution sociale qui placerait le pouvoir et la richesse entre les mains de la classe ouvrière, des paysans et des pauvres. Comme il le disait souvent: «Peu importe que vous changiez qui siège sur le trône: vous devez vous débarrasser du trône lui-même.» Cette notice nécrologique commémore sa vie de militant. [English]
“The soldier has fallen”: Mandla Khoza, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist, 2... ago 22 07:30 0 comments
Comrade Mandla Khoza (or "MK," as his friends and comrades knew him) passed away on Friday 26 July in his home town of Siphofaneni, Swaziland (Eswatini). He had long suffered from sugar diabetes. He leaves behind four children. One of the pioneering members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) founded in South Africa on May Day 2003, MK was committed to a social revolution that would place power and wealth in the hands of the working class, the peasants and the poor. As he would often say: “It doesn’t matter if you change who sits on the throne: you have to get rid of the throne itself.” This obituary commemorates his life as a militant. [Français]
Moving from Crisis in South Africa's Municipalities to Building Counter-Power lug 19 22:09 0 comments
Across South Africa, municipalities are in crisis. They are under-funded, anti-working class, anti-poor and anti-township, and riddled with corruption by elites. The working class is oppressed by the state - as well as the private bosses - and we say "Enough is Enough!" We need to build an alternative: organs of counter-power, which can demand changes and lay the foundations for a deep redistribution of wealth and power to the mass of the people: the working class and poor.
After the election dust settles: Class struggle, the Left and power giu 25 22:09 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]
Rebuilding the workers’ movement for counter-power, justice and self-management mag 28 17:53 0 comments
Don't abandon the unions, or take sides in inter-union rivalries. Build a serious, organised, non-sectarian project of democratic reform and political discussion that spans the unions, including a rank-and-file movement that fosters debate, and opens the treasure-chest of union and left history and theory. Recover the politics of disconnecting from the state as raised by, for example, Occupy and the Rojava Revolution. Replace reliance on the state and parties with struggle, and destructive inter-union rivalry with a serious project of working class counter-power.
A ZACF Anarchist in the Landless People’s Movement, South Africa apr 06 00:57 0 comments
Lekhetho Mtetwa, a member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) discusses his role in the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), formed in South Africa in 2001. While the LPM was affiliated to Via Campesina, and linked to the Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra: MST), its activities centred on urban squatter communities, rather than farm occupations or organising alternative agrarian systems. Then-living in a squatter camp in Protea South, Soweto, Mtetwa served as the local secretary; by 2013, this was the key LPM branch. Several attempts were made by political parties to capture Protea South LPM, using patronage and promises, leading to the eventual implosion of the branch. Mtetwa provides an essential analysis of the rise and fall of the LPM, and the role that anarchists can play in such social movements.
Surviving Zimbabwe: An anarchist critique mar 19 06:33 0 comments
This article, with the guidance of anarchism as a theory, provides a critical analysis of Zimbabwe and its current state, arguing against simple analysis and going beyond individual politics. The real, underlying problem is a society governed by a class system under the control of a predatory state that cannot survive a day without the exploitation of its people. It is essential to organize and educate the masses for a revolution they can claim as their own, against all forms of oppression and that builds on everyday struggles to improve the deplorable conditions of Zimbabwe.
A Workers’ Party and Elections or Class Struggle? feb 26 17:32 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.
Construyendo un contrapoder de la clase obrera negra contra la opresión estatal, capital y... feb 11 08:38 0 comments
Entrevista con Warren McGregor, del Frente Anarquista Comunista Zabalaza (ZACF), Sudáfrica. Warren McGregor es un activista nacido en los municipios de color de Cape Flats, ahora vive en Johannesburgo, donde participa en la educación de la clase obrera y sindical.
Unidade Da Esquerda Ou Frente Classista? feb 04 18:56 0 comments
Um apelo à unidade da esquerda socialista é amplamente ouvido em toda África do Sul, mas ele é frequentemente interpretado como um chamado à unidade da práxis (unidade no programa teórico e na ação). Isso muitas vezes é enquadrado como a transcendência de velhas divisões (estas vistas como antiquadas, sectárias ou descartadas como dogmáticas), e outras vezes como unidade a fim de agir (retoricamente posta como o oposto da teoria de gabinete). O que nós, anarquistas revolucionários, pensamos? English
Genocidio In Namibia gen 07 16:53 0 comments
Con oltre un secolo di ritardo la Germania si scusa per il genocidio commesso in Namibia contro le popolazioni indigene. A quando il turno dell'Italia per Libia, Etiopia, Jugoslavia...?
South Africa’s polluting giants: it’s about profits and class dic 07 19:20 0 comments
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, South Africa falls within the 15 biggest polluters in the world. But there is also a class dimension when it comes to pinning down which sections of society are responsible for air pollution – the major polluters in South Africa are the ruling class (capitalists, politicians and top state bureaucrats) and their state and corporations (including state corporations), continuing an economy based on cheap black labour, mining and externalising costs. State-backed”empowerment” firms — for Afrikaners from 1948, and blacks from 1994 — are deeply involved.
Building black working class counter-power against state, capital and national oppression nov 13 19:11 0 comments
Interview with Warren McGregor of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), South Africa. Warren McGregor is an activist born in the Coloured townships of the Cape Flats, now resident in Johannesburg, where he is involved in working class and union education.
Έφυγε ένας Νοτιο^... set 01 14:21 0 comments
Ο Selby Semela, ηγετική φυσιογνωμία της εξέγερσης του 1976 εναντίον του απαρτχάιντ, πολιτικός εξόριστος και συγγραφέας (με τους Sam Thompson και Norman Abraham έγραψε το «Reflections on the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Revolution» - «Σκέψεις για το Κίνημα Μαύρης Συνειδητοποίησης και τη Νοτιοαφρικανική Επανάσταση»), πέθανε την Τετάρτη, 22 Αυγούστου 2018, σε ηλικία 60 ετών.
A South African Revolutionary Passes: Jabisile Selby Semela, 1958-2018 ago 30 08:14 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.
[South Africa] Renewed appeal for Solidarity with the Boiketlong 4 ago 15 07:09 0 comments
On the 21st April 2015 the Magistrates Court in Sebokeng sentenced 4 community activists from Boiketlong, to a total of 16 years in prison. The activists are: Dinah Makhetha, Sipho Mangane, Dan Molefe and Pulane Mahlangu. Key witnesses could not even identify the 4 but the courts sought to use the apartheid law of ‘doctrine of common purpose’ to jail them. They were found not guilty of ‘public violence’ but guilty of ‘assault, arson and malicious damage to property’.
Tearing racism up from its capitalist roots: An African anarchist-communist approach ago 10 22:21 0 comments
Racism has been a curse in South Africa, and remains embedded in the society. But how scientific are racist ideas? Where do they come from? And how can we fight racism and create a truly equal and fair society? What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?
Left unity, left cooperation or a working class front? lug 21 05:45 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).
South Africa: Minimum wages can’t end suffering when the rich abuse the poor mag 12 19:31 0 comments
There has been a lot of talk about the promise of a National Minimum Wage (NMW) in South Africa. This means wages cannot go below a certain level. But capitalists and politicians continue to eat the food of the workers, the poor and unfortunate. Why? In some cases, the NMW is an improvement – but generally, the NMW is not a “living wage,” meaning a wage on which you can live a decent life. Prices keep going up. This society is based on the maximization of profit, this is its logic, and this means wages are not linked to what the workers and poor need, but to what bosses and politicians need. Wages are a system of exploitation. We live a capitalist society of stress and fear and jealousy, rooted in a system of cheap black labour, and power and profits for the bosses and politicians. We need to fight for something more, take back our unions, and lay the groundwork for an anarchists society, with equality based on workers and community councils.
Abahlali baseMjondolo to hold their annual UnFreedom Day rally tomorrow apr 22 02:43 0 comments
Freedom Day is a national public holiday in South Africa. Each year Abahlali baseMjondolo, which has more than 50 000 paid up members in good standing, holds a heretical 'UnFreedom Day' to contest dominant ideologies.
Où en est-on désormais au Zimbabwe? Une perspective anarchiste et syndicaliste après l'acc... apr 16 17:56 0 comments
Cela fait environ cent jours depuis la naissance du "nouveau" Zimbabwe. Cent jour qu'il en est enfin fini des 37 ans de règne autoritaire par Robert Mugabe, chef d'état depuis 1980. Le Zimbabwe a un nouveau président, Emmerson Mnangagwa, qui a accédé au pouvoir grâce à un coup d'état militaire "soft" contre Robert Mugabe et son successeur choisi, Grace Mugabe. Récemment le Zimbabwe a également pleuré la mort de Morgan Tsvangirai, un leader de l'opposition, issu du syndicalisme, qui a passé la plus grande partie de sa vie à se battre contre Mugabe.
New Labour Bills attack workers' rights and democracy mar 28 01:14 0 comments
On 17 November 2017, the Minister of Labour announced the state intends to carry out a new round of attacks on workers and their rights. The attacks come in the form of three Labour Bills currently being considered by parliament: the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. If passed, the changes to the labour laws these bills propose will be a major attack on workers’ rights, won through decades of struggle, and will further deepen and entrench inequality and roll back important democratic gains.
Alternatives from the Ground Up mar 17 21:59 0 comments
This commentary, an input at a Globalization School debate in Cape Town, engages current labor 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.
Where to now Zimbabwe? An anarchist / syndicalist perspective after the dust has settled mar 08 05:57 0 comments
It’s been around 100 days since the birth of a “new” Zimbabwe: 37 years of authoritarian rule by Robert Mugabe ended when Emmerson Mnangagwa took power through a soft military coup . But what has changed, what we can we expect now? This paper argues that no deep changes are taking place. The slight liberalizing of political life and some promises of economic reform (good and bad) do matter. But the changes in the White House of Zimbabwe centre on removing one vicious state capitalist manager to make way for another, and will not bring liberation for the masses. This replacement does not address the problems Zimbabwe faces: a ruthless ruling class, a predatory state, crisis-ridden capitalism and imperialism. The problem is not individuals: the system is the problem. This paper argues against Mugabe and Mnangagwa, but also against the state as a form of social organization and against the idea that states can be used for liberating the people. All states oppress the working class, peasantry and poor, and the state in Zimbabwe is just an extreme example of how states are based on repression, corruption and promoting the interests of economic and political elites (the ruling class). It rejects the notion that Mugabe was a champion of the poor and landless, and the claim that his ousting was a defeat for progressive forces. But it has no illusions in Mnangagwa. True, real freedom will never come through parliament, or military take- overs, or old men who take turns to spout out neo-liberal or ultra-nationalist rhetoric, while their hands are covered in blood. It can only come from mass action and organising, the transformative engine to build real democratic, stateless socialism based on self-management, freedom political tolerance and common property (anarchism).
Out with the old, in with the not so new feb 19 14:58 0 comments
The article looks at the structural reasons why Ramaphosa replacing Zuma as the head of state in South Africa won't end corruption.
South African ‘Workerism’ in the 1980s: Learning from FOSATU’s Radical Unionism dic 13 18:23 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.più >>