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southern africa / crime prison and punishment / opinion / analysis Tuesday September 09, 2014 21:15 byBongani Maponyane   image 1 image
Khutsong has not been at peace, facing a high police deployment, supposedly to combat crime. The government was adamant about cleaning up the streets in Khutsong. This followed certain brutal crimes.
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Photo: eNCA.com
southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday September 04, 2014 16:10 byLucky Sumione   image 1 image
Residents in Khutsong location were neglected by the police many times, and that is why they ended up taking the law into their own hands in late 2013. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / history / opinion / analysis Wednesday September 03, 2014 17:34 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
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.

Before looking at this, however, there is another example of proletarian unity in action – that didn’t seek to win Communist leadership – which warrants attention; that of a revolutionary worker-peasant alliance. This conception of united front action found expression in Italy’s anti-militarist “red blocs” and it is to these that we now turn.

First published in issue 87 of Workers World News Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front
Part 4: United Working Class Action and the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923 read full story / add a comment
NUMSA: The United Front is a weapon for uniting the working class.
southern africa / the left / opinion / analysis Wednesday September 03, 2014 17:26 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
The resolution adopted by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to form a ‘United Front against neoliberalism’ – as well as its decision not to endorse the ANC in the elections – represents an interesting development in the political landscape, one which activists should look at carefully and engage.

Due to the language used by the media, the Left, NUMSA’s critics and even NUMSA itself much confusion surrounds the debate – leaving many questions: Is the ‘United Front’ an organisation or attempt to build a new labour federation or political party? Is it an attempt to revive the 1980s United Democratic Front (UDF)? Why NUMSA’s sudden interest in community struggles?

This series, of which this article is the first, aims to clarify these and other questions by looking at the proposal and history of united fronts locally and internationally to clarify key issues and draw lessons that activists can use when engaging the pros and cons of NUMSA’s United Front proposal and if and how they think it should be developed. First published in issue 86 of Workers World News Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front
Part 4: United Working Class Action and the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923 read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / anarchist movement / press release Monday September 01, 2014 17:03 byNobyhle Dube   image 1 image
Comrade Lawrence was born on 7 July 1969 in Kliptown before moving to Ceza in KwaZulu-Natal. He attended Ceza Primary and Nghunghunyone Secondary, matriculating in 1986 with exemption (excellent at that time).
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southern africa / anarchist movement / link to pdf Monday September 01, 2014 16:40 byTokologo African Anarchist Collective   image 1 image
Welcome to issue 3 of “Tokologo,” produced by members of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective, based in Gauteng, South Africa. Our members come from Johannesburg, Khutsong, Sebokeng, and Soweto; we are committed to the fight for the full freedom of the working class and poor, in South Africa and abroad. We do not want privatisation (capitalist ownership), we do not want nationalisation (state ownership), we want self-management and socialisation (community/ worker ownership), of land and all other productive resources.
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southern africa / workplace struggles / non-anarchist press Friday August 08, 2014 21:17 byPersistent Solidarity Forum   image 1 image
For workers at universities, transformation must improve working conditions, raise wages, defend dignity and allow their full participation in governance of these institutions. Outsourcing and the privatisation of services such as cleaning at universities is against transformation because these measures lower labour standards and create a highly unjust system for workers at these institutions. This perpetuates the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

Like cleaners in other universities, cleaners at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) – organised under the Persistent Solidarity Forum (PSF) – are in a protracted struggle to secure the rights promised in the Constitution, shape the transformation agenda of the institution and reverse outsourcing of cleaning services and other so-called non-core services. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / the left / debate Wednesday August 06, 2014 21:58 byRed and Black Action   image 1 image
OVERVIEW: There is a healthy skepticism among many activists about simple grand plans, arising partly from disastrous Marxist experiments like the Soviet Union. But the opposite — faith that struggles spontaneously reach the best outcomes if freed of theory and plans — has serious problems. Many struggles falter or are captured as old mistakes are made again. Capitalism and the state cannot be defeated by a growing wave of loosely linked alternative “spaces” and experiments. These systems are based on coercion and exploitation; their defeat requires large-scale confrontation by a coordinated bottom-up working class counter-power with clear politics. The point of resistance is to change the world: it is not an aim in itself, just a response; a politics fetishising perpetual resistance must rely on a world of oppression. Closing discussion by labeling views “dogmatic” is a recipe for imposing other positions and elites through the backdoor. There is no need to repeat the tragic errors of the past. Other revolutionary theories from working class struggles – like anarchism and syndicalism — share no blame for the failures of vanguardism and reformism, and have valuable insights on building a participatory, transformative, project of “people’s power,” and on moving from resistance to reconstruction.It is important to speak openly about theory, strategy and vision, and to engage openly with the revolutionary traditions of the popular classes, like anarchism and syndicalism, born of our past struggles, and distilled from those struggles. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Sunday June 15, 2014 17:58 byRed and Black Action   image 1 image
Revolutionaries should commemorate the 1976 uprising in South Africa, struggle, but also learn from its failings -- including the limitations of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) of the time ... as did Selby Semela, leading Soweto student militant, later a libertarian communist. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / the left / feature Wednesday May 07, 2014 21:28 byShawn Hattingh & Jonathan Payn   text 2 comments (last - tuesday may 13, 2014 21:37)   image 1 image
There has been much hype, amongst the media and sections of the public, in the run up to this year’s provincial and national elections in South Africa and, for some, the arrival of new parties to the electoral arena has renewed their faith in the possibility of an electoral solution to the myriad of problems facing South Africa. Politicians from across all parties have been using this hype and a seemingly renewed faith in the ballot box to their advantage. The question, therefore, is: can equality, socialism, national liberation or ‘economic freedom’ – or even a respite from state violence – for a majority be brought about through parties and activists entering into the state or through voting for parties that promise not to use the state for violent or oppressive means; or will this only lead to a dead-end for the working class yet again? read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / education / policy statement Monday May 05, 2014 21:36 byWarren McGregor   image 1 image
In the build up to the 2014 (May 7) elections, politicians – whether from the DA, ANC, EFF, or PAC – have been calling on us to vote. As part of this, they have promised to meet people’s needs, end poverty and serve communities when they are elected. The promises of all these politicians are lies. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / history of anarchism / press release Thursday May 01, 2014 05:07 bySAASHA   image 1 image
1 May 2014: launch of the online Southern African Anarchist and Syndicalist History Archive (SAASHA)
http://saasha.net/

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southern africa / workplace struggles / link to pdf Monday March 24, 2014 16:54 byZabalaza Anarchist Communist Front   image 1 image
The trade unions are the combat organisations of the working class. They were built to defend and advance workers' interests against the bosses. BUT the unions can be MUCH more. The unions have the potential not only to fight the bosses in the here and now. They can ALSO organise the workers for a REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL STRIKE. This means that the workers take the land, mines and factories from the bosses and politicians. It means we run them in the interests of the workers and the poor. Real democratic socialism and real working class freedom and power will never come through getting new political parties into parliament. This is an illusion. Parliament is the graveyard of struggles. It is the place where the radicals of yesterday become the crooked politicians of today. Socialism, freedom and power can only come through class struggle. This means organising in communities AND building strong worker organisations. Worker organisations must be built to defeat the bosses, and their ally, the state… and replace them with direct workers control of production. Free of the politicians. Free of the bosses. This is the REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL STRIKE. And this can only come though revolutionary industrial unionism (anarchist syndicalism). Revolutionary unions are vital for replacing the bosses and politicians with a grassroots working class democracy. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / workplace struggles / debate Friday March 07, 2014 06:44 byLucien van der Walt   image 1 image
Lightly edited transcript from Lucien van der Walt’s discussion at 1st National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Political School, September 2013. From his debate with Solly Mapaila, 2nd deputy GS of the South African Communist Party (SACP) on anarcho-syndicalist versus Leninist views of the revolutionary potential of unions. A version was printed in ASR #61 2014, pp. 11-20

Captures van der Walt’s main points: the debate on the anarcho-syndicalist view that revolutionary trade unions, allied to other movements, creating a self-managed worker-controlled socialism through mass education, counter-power and workplace occupations; anarcho-syndicalism as a working class tradition; the anarcho-syndicalist view that unions can potentially be more revolutionary than political parties including Communist Parties, & be revolutionary without leadership by parties; the view that electioneering can be replaced with direct action campaigns; that the Spanish Revolution (1936-1939) shows unions taking power and making a bottom-up worker-controlled revolution; and how NUMSA’s current actions refute Marxist-Leninist theory; other problems with that theory’s traditional approach to unions; and the implications of all of this for current debates over the form of a new socialist movement in South Africa and elsewhere; and the nature of the South African ruling class and the primary social contradictions.

Lucien van der Walt is co-author of “Black Flame: The revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism” (w.Michael Schmidt, 2009, AK Press) and co-editor of “Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940” (w. Steve Hirsch and Benedict Anderson, 2010, Brill). He has a long history of involvement in the working class movements. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / anarchist movement / policy statement Monday February 17, 2014 14:37 byZabalaza Anarchist Communist Front   image 1 image
Zabalaza means struggle, the continual struggle of the working class to access real freedom. We mean freedom from the repression of the state, and oppression by multi-national as well as local companies. Too long has a small elite been in control. Workers and their communities have risen up many times in the past but have always been crushed by the police forces of the state. In the past the working class – including the poor and unemployed – has protested but often lost: social movements have burnt out and trade union leaders have made bad deals with the bosses.
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southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday January 09, 2014 15:56 byMzee   image 1 image
Once we stop thinking as individuals and start thinking as a working class group, change will become possible.

Our country’s conditions have gotten worse and worse in many ways. There is corruption, inequality and limited freedom for the masses. Someone has to stand up and say “Enough is enough! We need better education, more jobs and people-driven development plans.”

We are calling for change now! read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Saturday January 04, 2014 20:50 bySiyabulela Hulu   image 1 image
In September 2002, residents of Kwa-Masisa Hostel in Sebokeng faced evictions by the so-called new and private owners. They resisted and won. But since then, the hostel has been abandoned to its fate. Today the struggle for secure tenure, decent conditions and control continues. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / the left / non-anarchist press Friday January 03, 2014 22:19 byShanti Aboobaker
This important article from the mainstream press in Johannesburg, South Africa, shows that, contrary to the assumptions of most political analysts in South Africa the metal workers' union, which has recently split from the ANC, will not be supporting either Julius Malema and his corrupt and neo-fascist politics or either of the two small Trotskyite parties.

Numsa is not an anarchist union but it is rooted in the workerist tradition and has a long history of shopfloor democracy. It is the largest and most militant union in South Africa and its break from the ANC is widely seen as highly significant. read full story / add a comment
Nelson Mandela
southern africa / migration / racism / feature Monday December 16, 2013 00:39 byShawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt   image 1 image
Mandela, the ANC and the 1994 Breakthrough: Anarchist / syndicalist reflections on national liberation and South Africa’s transition
Shawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt


The destruction of the apartheid state form, with its odious policies of coercion and racism, was a major triumph for the working class in South Africa and elsewhere, showing that ordinary people can challenge and defeat systems that seem quite unbreakable. Mandela did play a heroic role, but was also the first to admit that “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants, the doctors, the clergy." And indeed, it was the black working class, above all, that through struggle tore down many features of apartheid by the late 1980s, such as the pass law system, the Group Areas Act and numerous other odious laws and policies.

The 1994 transition in South Africa was a political revolution, a break with the apartheid and colonial periods of state-sanctioned white supremacy, a “massive advance” in the conditions of the majority. It introduced a new state, based on non-racialism, in which South Africa was to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural but unified country, founded on human rights; welfare and social policy and legislation was transformed; capitalism was kept in place, but despite this, there were very massive and very real changes, political and material, that made qualitative differences in the daily lives of millions of black and working class people. And for millions, it is precisely the association of Mandela with that victory and with those changes that makes him so emotionally powerful.

Yet at the same time, Mandela’s policies and politics had important limitations that must be faced if the current quandary of South Africa, nearly 20 years later, is to be understood. Mandela never sold out: he was committed to a reformed capitalism, and a parliamentary democracy, and unified South Africa based on equal civil and political rights, a project in which black capitalists and black state elites would loom large. These goals have been achieved, but bring with them numerous problems that must be faced up if the final liberation – including national liberation – of South Africa’s working class is to be achieved.

The 1994 breakthrough was a major victory, but it was not the final one, for a final one requires a radical change in society, towards a libertarian and socialist order based on participatory democracy, human needs rather than profit and power, and social and economic justice, and attention to issues of culture and the psychological impact of apartheid.

As long as the basic legacy of apartheid remains, in education, incomes, housing and other spheres, and as long as the working class of all races is excluded from basic power and wealth by a black and white ruling class, so long will the national question – the deep racial / national divisions in South Africa, and the reality of ongoing racial/ national oppression for the black, Coloured and Indian working class – remain unresolved. And so long will it continue to generate antagonisms and conflicts, the breeding ground for rightwing populist demagogy, xenophobia and crime. By contrast, a powerful black elite, centred on the state and with a growing corporate presence, has achieved its national liberation.
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southern africa / miscellaneous / non-anarchist press Sunday December 15, 2013 21:44 bySlavoj Zizek
In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing. In short, Mandela was not Mugabe, South Africa remained a multi-party democracy with free press and a vibrant economy well-integrated into the global market and immune to hasty Socialist experiments. Now, with his death, his stature as a saintly wise man seems confirmed for eternity: there are Hollywood movies about him — he was impersonated by Morgan Freeman, who also, by the way, played the role of God in another film; rock stars and religious leaders, sportsmen and politicians from Bill Clinton to Fidel Castro are all united in his beatification. read full story / add a comment
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