What is the ZACF?
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. Our activities include study and theoretical development, anarchist agitation and propaganda, and participation within the class struggle.
The ZACF identifies with the anarchist communist, Platformist or Especifista traditions within anarchism and, as such, we subscribe to the idea of active minority. What this means is that, unlike our anarcho-syndicalist comrades for example, we do not seek to build mass anarchist movements, nor to turn existing social movements into anarchist movements, but to participate in existing movements – and assist in creating new ones where necessary – with the objective of spreading the influence of anarchist principles and practices, even when these mass organisations remain ideologically heterogeneous. In fact, it is our belief that – as the mass fighting organisations of the working class – we should not seek to homogenise mass movements and organisations ideologically, as the strength of these movements lies in their ability to unite and mobilise the largest possible number of workers, regardless of their religious, ideological or political affiliations. Rather, we hold that it is the role of the anarchist political organisation to fight for the leadership of anarchist ideas within mass movements, and for the implementation of anarchist principles therein (even if not recognised as such by the majority of members of the mass organisation), such as: direct democracy, mutual aid, horizontalism, class combativeness, direct action and class independence (independence of working class organisations/ movements from political parties and electoral politics).
Founded on May Day 2003 – at a time when political space was closing down in the trade unions, with them coming increasingly under the control of the African National Congress (ANC) government through the tripartite alliance, and it being increasingly difficult to criticise the ANC-led Alliance or raise alternatives within the trade union movement – a decision was taken by the ZACF to orient itself towards the emerging popular social movements that had been mushrooming around South Africa since the turn of the decade in response to the failure of the ANC government to fulfill its election promises.
As anarchist-communists, we struggle for a classless, stateless and non-hierarchical society. We envision an international confederation of directly democratic, self-managed communities and workplaces; a society where all markets, exchange value systems and divisions of labour have been abolished and the means of production, distribution and communication are taken over by the workers and placed under workers’ self-management (socialised) in order to allow for the satisfaction of the needs of everyone, adhering to the communist principle: “From each according to ability, to each according to need.”