The Covid 19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of human life. It has had a dev-astating effect on people’s physical and mental health, social relations and communities, our livelihoods, and freedom to move about. It has also significantly curtailed our ability to organise effective political protests and strengthened the hand of the State.
It has highlighted the fundamental problems of global capitalism and its need for continued growth and profit. The State’s support for those goals, has been behind the origin, spread, and tragic consequences of the disease. The need for revolution has never been so apparent.
However, as we struggle to fight back, the weaknesses of the working-class movement have also been revealed. We have seen a mounting death toll, health services overwhelmed, key workers treated as expendable, and the economic costs borne by those least able to afford it, yet resistance has been negligible. Nevertheless, the pandemic has also brought out actions and sensibilities that are key to social transformation: solidarity, mutual aid, self-organisation, and internationalism.
Covid-19 and other zoonotic diseases that have emerged over the last few decades are caused by the spread of global capitalism. As capitalism takes over more and more land for logging, mining, and agribusiness, wild animals are losing their habitats and com-ing into contact with humans, creating the potential for diseases to ‘spillover’ from other species to humans. This situation is exacerbated by the demand for exotic animal meat by the growing middle and upper classes around the world.
The ZACF is pleased to co-sign this statement along with anarchist groups around the world to commemorate May Day.
May 1st, 1886, a wide-ranging strike started in the United States demanding an eight-hour working day. The journey’s slogan was “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, propagandised since the mid-19th century and through which the labour movement struggled to seize power from Capital and dispute worker’s time for life, culture, and enjoyment.
The strike was prepared in advance. The American labour movement decided on it in 1884. To carry it out, hundreds of meetings and rallies were held, funds were collected, at times when union organising was illegal. Manifestos and newspapers were circulated encouraging workers to join the planned strike.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first modern social revolution in the glorious history of oppressed people’s struggle, the Paris Commune of 1871. For 72 days, the proletarians of the city of Paris re-organised the social relationships in terms of direct democracy, towards the direction of economic equality, mutual aid and political freedom.
International anarchist statement on International Working Women’s Day
Today, March 8, we commemorate International Working Women’s Day, a historic date on which we raise the struggle for the political, social, economic, and sexual rights of women, lesbians, and transgender people of the oppressed classes. Today, we aim to put an end to the systematic violence of patriarchy and support the revolutionary workers’, popular and anti-colonial struggle. First proposed by a group of socialist women at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in 1910 in Copenhagen, the day was initially intended to promote women’s civil rights. Later, it became a day of agitation, mobilization, protest, and strike for the lives and liberty of women and dissidents of the gender system across the globe. From the protest for women’s labor and political rights in the industrial states at the beginning of the 20th century to the revolt for bread and peace by working women that began, along with other strikes and demonstrations, the Russian Revolution of February 1917, March 8 as International Women’s Day was slowly consolidated through the active struggle of working-class women. Therefore, we rescue such great attainment that allows us to remember the achievements of the feminist movement against patriarchal oppression. March 8 also allows us to appropriate the debates and proposals our predecessors had and build spaces that enable us to raise our voices against the injustices and violence of this capitalist, patriarchal and colonialist, system of domination.
International anarchist statement on the centenary of the 1921 Kronstadt Uprising
On 1 March, 1921, the Kronstadt Soviet rose in revolt against the regime of the Russian “Communist” Party. The Civil War was effectively over, with the last of the White armies in European Russia defeated in November, 1920. The remaining battles in Siberia and Central Asia were over the territorial extent of what would become the USSR the following year. Economic conditions, though, remained dire. In response, strikes broke out across Petrograd in February, 1921. The sailors of Kronstadt sent a delegation to investigate the strikes.
We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Mapuche people who are currently experiencing another episode of persecution and repression by the racist and colonial State of Chile. The State of Chile is aided by far-right groups and militias.
For more than 90 days, nearly 30 Mapuche political prisoners have been on a hunger strike demanding immediate freedom or at least a change to precautionary measures for Covid-19. The review of judicial processes is still underway. Their demands: the end of the criminalisation of the Mapuche people, the repeal of the Anti-Terrorism Law (which was inherited from the dictator Augusto Pinochet), and the application of ILO Convention 169 (art. 7, 8, 9 and 10) whose omission from the State’s law resulted in the serious health condition of Machi Celestino Córdova. Córdova’s condition is a result of several hunger strikes protesting the repression of Mapuche spirituality by the State and its colonial institutions.
The murder of George Floyd in the United States by the police has unleashed a wave of popular outrage in that country and throughout the world. Massive demonstrations, direct action against the police and in response to repression have been common these past weeks. This fact has brought to the fore the profound racism that exists in today’s societies.
This highlights the historical role of racism in the construction of capitalist society. The expansion of capitalism — long before the Industrial Revolution — had a central element: the looting of entire continents, the genocide of entire populations, the appropriation of territories, resources and bodies by European states and their bourgeoisie, in order to achieve the accumulation of capital later invested in the development of machinery and industry in the 18th century. It was this colonial strategy of looting resources throughout the Americas, accompanied by the slave trade and human trafficking in Africa and South America, which allowed the consolidation of capitalism.
We repudiate the cowardly murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis’s police officers, another racist act in the heart of a world imperialist power. This event is added to the countless number of killings of people of colour and the Afro-descendent population in the United States which has been perpetuated since the days of slavery and hasn’t yet stopped.
Racism, a structural element in capitalist society, especially in North American capitalism, is unfortunately intact, but resistance and fighting spirit from people of color and poor people arises in response. Only solidarity and mutual aid will allow us to resist. Continue reading →
”May Day should be a symbol of international solidarity – that is of a solidarity that is not limited to the frame of the national state, which always fits with the interests of the privileged minorities of that very country. Among the millions of workers who bear the yoke of slavery, there is a unity of interest, regardless of the language they speak and the standard under which they were born. But between the exploiters and the exploited of one country, there is a continuous war that cannot be resolved by any principle of authority and is rooted in the contradictory interests of the various classes. All nationalism is an ideological disguise of the true facts: it may at one time drag the great masses to its lying representatives, but it has never been able to abolish the brutal reality of the things of this world” – (Rudolf Rocker, 1936).
Mandla Khoza (“MK”), 1974-2019: ZACF anarchist-communist, militant in South Africa and Swaziland (Eswatini)
Comrade Mandla Khoza (or “MK,” as his friends and comrades knew him) passed away on Friday 26 July in his home town of Siphofaneni, Swaziland (Eswatini). He had long suffered from sugar diabetes. He leaves behind four children. One of the pioneering members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) founded in South Africa on May Day 2003, MK was committed to a social revolution that would place power and wealth in the hands of the working class, the peasants and the poor. As he would often say: “It doesn’t matter if you change who sits on the throne: you have to get rid of the throne itself.” This obituary commemorates his life as a militant.