Click above picture to download Issue #3 of Tokologo,
the Newsletter of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective
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.
Before continuing, let us note our grief at the passing of our comrade Lawrence Zitha, for whom we have an obituary in this issue. Go well, comrade! You will be missed.
At the time of publication, our country has just come through elections to the state. We do not think that elections are a way forward for the working class and poor: we need something better. We need to organise and mobilise, outside and against the state, outside and against the capitalists.
The big problems facing our masses continue. Crime is one. It is clear that the police are completely unable to solve the problem. This is shown by the articles on the tragedy in Khutsong, where, frustrated by crime, community members killed gangsters. The state responded to this action – and to demands for a clean-up of the area – through a massive occupation of the township. Police violence and harassment was common; one of our members was severely affected. Eventually the community demanded that the police leave. But while gangterism continues, community members accused of the killings in late 2013 are on trial.
Other articles show that it makes no sense to expect the government to combat crime: the police seem available to kill workers and protestors (as seen at Marikana in 2012), yet corruption runs rampant in the state. Whistle-blowers on corruption, as two articles on this issue show, are threatened and pressured by powerful politicians.
Yet these same politicians want votes – and COSATU’s leaders seem determined to keep pouring into election campaigns, at a time when taht money could be far better spent on organising and struggle.
But where can we find an alternative?
First, it is crucial to build an anarchist political organisation, with a clear agenda: mobilising and educating the working class, building counter-power, and fighting the class enemy.
Second, we can learn from the past. We do not come from nowhere. We come from a powerful and heroic international tradition, of anarchism/ syndicalism. This also has deep roots in our African continent.
So, this issue includes articles on the early history of anarchism and syndicalism in South Africa, looking at the International Socialist League and the Industrial Workers of Africa in the 1910s, and the syndicalist influenced Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) in the 1920s. These come from our workshops.
It is important to look at this history, so we know where we are coming from. But it is also important to look back, and learn from past successes – and past mistakes. As the ICU shows, without a clear strategy, effective workers control, and clean finances, no mass organisation can carry out the project of radical social change, the anarchist project.
Certainly things cannot go on as they do today: as T.W. Thibedi, one of our forefathers in the movement, wisely said many years ago: “Why should all workers be pressed down by the rich when they do all the work of the Country?”