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Search author name words: Jonathan Payn

"Autonomy and struggle: students and workers decide!"
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / education / opinion / analysis Friday December 16, 2016 19:07 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
In September 2016 the Brazilian government published a Provisional Measure (MP 746) outlining a reform in secondary education that would have devastating consequences for the education system, disproportionately affecting majority-black working class students. Students responded with direct action and occupied schools in the state of Paraná, with occupations soon spreading to at least six other states. One month later 600 high schools in Paraná alone had been occupied to protest the government’s attack on public education – which comes in the context of a broader attack on the working class through a Proposed Constitutional Amendment (PEC 241) that threatens to freeze public spending on health, education and social welfare until 2037. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / migration / racism / opinion / analysis Tuesday June 02, 2015 21:19 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
Like in 2008, the recent wave of anti-immigrant violence and looting of foreign-owned stores that followed King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners must “pack their bags and leave” quickly spread to cities and townships across the country. Unlike other places in Johannesburg, however, there were no reports of xenophobic violence in Thembelihle and, although the violence spread to numerous parts of Soweto in 2008, this adjacent township was unaffected then too. This article, based on an interview with an activist from the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), looks at how working class self-organisation and solidarity helped curb or prevent the outbreak of xenophobic attacks and attempts to draw lessons for preventing future attacks.
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Photo by Jacob Potlaki (Casual Workers Advice Office)
southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday May 21, 2015 15:50 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
The xenophobic violence and looting following King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners “pack their bags and leave” spread to cities and townships across the country. However, the recent attacks are not an isolated incident; nor is Zwelithini solely responsible for fomenting it. Local elites – particularly those linked to the ruling party – also encourage anti-immigrant attitudes and actions. This article, based on discussions with Abahlali baseFreedom Park activists, looks at how local elites stimulate ‘xenophobia’ to protect their class interests, as well as how progressive working class activists have responded.
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netherlands / germany / austria / history / opinion / analysis Friday November 07, 2014 20:40 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
A "revolutionary alternative from below" that was not quite to be but holds pertinent lessons for movements today. Our latest issue of Workers World News continues our educational series on "united fronts" with a focus on the Workers’ Council Movement in Germany, 1920-1923. Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
Part 3: The 1917 Russian Revolution and United Front read full story / add a comment
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netherlands / germany / austria / history / opinion / analysis Thursday October 16, 2014 16:40 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
In the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolshevik Party, together with other revolutionaries, overthrew the Provisional Government established in February and – together, initially, with left Social Revolutionaries – seized power. How did the Bolsheviks – a minority just eight months earlier, when the February Revolution overthrew the Tsar and established the Provisional Government – come to power so quickly? How did this small force emerge from relative obscurity to win large sections of the working class to its programme and take power? Herein lies the root and essence of United Front policy in a traditional Marxist sense. First published in issue 88 of Workers World News Part 1: NUMSA and the ‘United Front Against Neoliberalism’
Part 2: Anti-militarist United Fronts and Italy’s “Red week”, 1914
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 / history / opinion / analysis Wednesday September 03, 2014 16:34 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 16:26 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 / the left / feature Wednesday May 07, 2014 20:28 byShawn Hattingh & Jonathan Payn   text 2 comments (last - tuesday may 13, 2014 20:37)   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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international / the left / opinion / analysis Tuesday February 12, 2013 03:07 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
From 25th to 27th January 2013, ELAOPA returned to the city of its birth to commemorate ten years of the difficult but necessary journey to building people’s power in Latin America. It seeks to “maintain its independence in the face of political parties, the state and its governments, NGOs, companies and all those that, with authoritarian structures distant from our realities, come to tell us what we have to do.” read full story / add a comment
Fédération anarchiste de Rio de Janeiro (FARJ)
brésil/guyane/suriname/guinée française / mouvement anarchiste / entrevue Sunday March 18, 2012 17:19 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
Dans cette interview, réalisée entre août et octobre de 2010, la Fédération Anarchiste de Rio de Janeiro (Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro – FARJ) évoque son interprétation de concepts tels que le spécifisme (especifismo), le dualisme organisationnel, l’insertion sociale et le rôle de l'organisation politique anarchiste par rapport aux mouvements sociaux et à la lutte de classe. Il s’agit aussi de parler de l'entrée récente de la FARJ dans le Forum de l'Anarchisme Organisé (Fórum do Anarquismo Organisado – FAO) et des conséquences sociales du choix de Rio de Janeiro comme une Ville Hôte de la FIFA 2014, aussi bien que des questions quelquefois difficiles, telles que la nécessité de trouver un équilibre entre les niveaux d'unité théorique et stratégique et du besoin de croître comme organisation. La Fédération Anarchiste de Rio de Janeiro (Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (FARJ) est une organisation anarchiste spécifique de la ville de Rio de Janeiro, le Brésil. [Português] [English] read full story / add a comment
Cover: Anarquismo Social e Organização
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / anarchist movement / review Wednesday February 08, 2012 21:03 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
This document, first published in Portuguese under the title Anarquismo Social e Organização and adopted at the first Congress of the Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro in August 2008, seeks to map out the FARJ’s theoretical conception of an organised, class struggle anarchism and, “More than a purely theoretical document, [...] reflects the conclusions realised after five years of practical application of anarchism in the social struggles of our people”. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / the left / opinion / analysis Tuesday December 27, 2011 13:32 byJonathan Payn   text 1 comment (last - monday january 02, 2012 17:03)   image 1 image
Failures of democracy have been a big part of the history of the DLF. We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) have had to raise such challenges several times (see “DLF structure: concerns and proposals” by ZACF). We have long been troubled by the lack of proper democratic structures, by a leadership that consists far more of middle-class intellectuals than of grassroots militants, and by a programme that seems to be determined in advance by the academic and NGO interests of these intellectuals instead of by the immediate needs of the workers and the poor. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Wednesday November 23, 2011 20:19 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
It was recently reported by various newspapers that ‘a “notorious gang of anarchists” with links to cash heists is attempting to destabilise the Gauteng ANC’. Newspaper articles [*] quoted ANC provincial secretary David Makhura as saying that an ANC investigation would ‘expose the hidden hand of business people who are fuelling and financing activities that seek to disrupt the functioning of the ANC’. The claims came after a group of disgruntled party members allegedly held an unofficial parallel election to decide the party’s Tshwane leader. According to Makhura the parallel gathering ‘was organised by a notorious gang of anarchists, most of whom have disciplinary cases’. read full story / add a comment
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southern africa / anarchist movement / opinion / analysis Sunday November 06, 2011 12:19 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front, or ZACF – Zabalaza meaning ‘struggle’ in isiZulu and isiXhosa – is a specific anarchist political organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a unitary organisation – or federation of individuals, as opposed to a federation of collectives – whereby membership is on an individual basis, by invitation only. This is because we have seen – through our own experience, as well as that of global anarchism historically – that we can accomplish more as an organisation, and be more effective, when our members share a certain level of theoretical and strategic unity, and collective responsibility.
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international / environment / opinion / analysis Monday July 11, 2011 21:04 byJonathan Payn   image 1 image
Across South America there is a growing movement – assuming different forms and characteristics, but with similar origins, demands and objectives – that, despite it being located at a strategically important intersection between two critical social issues – class struggle and ecology – seems to me to have received little attention in South African academic and activist circles. And this is true despite the fact that the social and economic conditions that gave rise to this movement prevail in South Africa, as they did – and continue to – in many South American countries. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this movement concerns people largely marginalised by industrial society and so-called ‘brown’ ecological issues – such as the pollution and contamination of rivers and dams surrounding poor communities, most acutely effecting the workers and poor – as opposed to the much more sanitary ‘green’ ecological issues – such as conservation and animal welfare – often associated, in South Africa at least, with liberal white activists from the middle and upper classes [1]. This is the movement of the catadores, as they are known in Brazil, and clasificadores in Uruguay; the recyclable waste pickers and sorters who, similarly to South Africa, constitute a growing informal sector in the industrial production cycle. This includes all people – not formally employed by public or private waste management services – who collect, transport, classify and sell recyclable waste for a living – or ‘work with scrap’ – thus “reducing demand for natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions” [2]. A category of work which, according to the World Bank, is performed by 15 million people globally – or one percent of the world population [3] – and has become increasingly common in South Africa in recent years. read full story / add a comment
Tram under workers self-management in Barcelona
southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Thursday September 09, 2010 20:57 byJonathan Payn   image 2 images
The promise of safe, reliable and affordable public transport comes as welcome news for the majority of working class and poor South Africans and immigrants to the country. The segregated town planning left behind by the system of racialised capitalism known as apartheid has meant that the majority of the population – also those who can least afford it – are often the ones who have the furthest to travel to work, schools, hospitals and so on.

This article looks at the Bus Rapid Transit system, what BRT really is, how our so-called leaders plan to implement it – since, as usual, there has been very little popular involvement – and whether our leaders, or BRT, can serve the needs of the poor and working class read full story / add a comment
africa meridionale / migrazione / razzismo / opinione / analisi Thursday October 02, 2008 16:57 bySteffi, Jonathan Payn e James Pendlebury
A solo 14 anni dalla fine dell'apartheid qualcuno sostiene che siamo in presenza di una nuova apartheid. A solo 14 anni dal genocidio in Rwanda c'è chi dice che in Sud Africa si stia verificando un genocidio particolare. Niente a che vedere con il gap economico tuttora esistente tra sudafricani con diverso colore della pelle e nemmeno con una guerra tra diversi gruppi etnici come in Rwanda. [English] read full story / add a comment
Pogroms then... and now.
southern africa / migration / racism / feature Friday September 26, 2008 18:14 bySteffi, Jonathan Payn and James Pendlebury   image 1 image
Only 14 years after the end of apartheid some say that this is a new apartheid. Only 14 years after the genocide in Rwanda some say that this is a genocide South African style. But this time it is not just about the still existing economic gap between South Africans of different skin colours, nor about a war between different ethnopolitical groups like in Rwanda. It is about nationality and the fight between those who have the minimum security of being born in South Africa, and the unlucky ones who have no such security – who have, in many cases, had to flee to South Africa from violence or starvation elsewhere. The events of May 2008 show a deep xenophobic sentiment in South Africa that is largely due to social and economic circumstances. It is a poisonous cocktail of nationalism mixed with lack of service delivery. [Italiano] read full story / add a comment
zuidelijk afrika / community struggles / persbericht Monday September 10, 2007 18:16 byJonathan Payn
Op dinsdag 14 augustus probeerden meer dan 1000 leden van de gemeenschap van de “informele nederzetting” Sebokeng de Golden Highway tussen Sebokeng en Johannesburg te blokkeren, uit protest tegen de inadequate dienstverlening door de ANC regering sinds diens verkiezing in 1994.... read full story / add a comment
Νότια Αφρική (Περιφέρεια) / Τοπικές Επαφές / Ανακοίνωση Τύπου Thursday June 28, 2007 10:54 byJonathan Payne - ZACF (southern Africa)
Ακροδεξιοί άλλαξαν οδικές πινακίδες με ονόματα του απελευθερωτικού κινήματος των μαύρων με ονόματα ηγετών των Μπόερς, αλλά ο τοπικός Δήμος απέδωσε την ευθύνη σε… «ρατσιστές αναρχικούς»! read full story / add a comment
Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)

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