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Recent articles by Lucien van der Walt
Recent Articles about Southern Africa History
Ένωση Βιομηχ ... Dez 08 19
Bill Andrews and South Africa’s Revolutionary Syndicalists
southern africa | history | opinion / analysis Dienstag April 05, 2016 18:44 by Lucien van der Walt tokologo.aac at gmail dot com
Published in Tokologo: Newsletter of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective, numbers 5/6, p. 24
If W. H. "Bill" Andrews (1870- 1950) is remembered today, it is usually as a founder and leader of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA, today the SACP). In that role, he served as party chair, member of the executive of the Communist International, leading South African trade unionist, visitor to the Soviet Union, and defendant in the trial of communists that followed 1946 black miners' strike.
However, in his earlier years, Andrews was a leading figure in the revolutionary syndicalist International Socialist League (ISL). Born in Britain, Andrews was a skilled metal worker and came from the unions. After a brief stint in parliament for the SA Labour Party, Andrews joined other radicals in the newly-founded ISL in 1915.
Sa 31 Jul, 00:04
CPSA veteran Alan Lipman's biography online 22:50 Di 10 Apr 0 comments
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) of southern Africa is proud to present an online version of Alan Lipman's autobiography.
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.
Our History of Struggle: the 1980s “Workerist-Populist” Debate Revisited Dez 09 0 comments
Today the terms “populism” and “workerism” are widely thrown about in South African political circles. Often, these terms and others (“syndicalism,” “ultra-left,” “counter-revolutionary,” “anti-majoritarian” …) have no meaning: they are just labels used to silence critics. SA Communist Party (SACP) leaders do this often. But in the 1980s, “populism” and “workerism” referred to two rival positions battling for the soul of the militant unions.
The 1976 Struggle and the Emancipation of the Future Dez 06 0 comments
The massacre of South African school children in 1976 – for protesting for instruction in their native languages and for a proper curriculum – continues to be remembered and to influence us today. It showed the brutality of the apartheid state and it left scars still felt by people today.
Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914 Sep 03 0 comments
The United Front tactic – aimed at uniting masses of workers in action and winning Communist leadership for the working class – was adopted as policy by the Communist International (Comintern) in 1921 and will be discussed later in this series. However, there are important examples of working class unity in action which predate Comintern policy and bear relevance to the united fronts discussion. One often-cited example is the united front to defend the gains of the February Revolution from a military coup in Russia in 1917, which will be discussed in the next article in this series.
This year  marks the 30th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa, which marked the start of the fall of apartheid, and inspired activists worldwide. African working youth played a leading role, and their sacrifices showed us that ordinary people can make a difference to the injustices of our world. Revolutionaries should commemorate this struggle, but also learn from its failings.