South Africa, 16 October 2015: On the evening of Friday 9 October 2015, a militant of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front in the impoverished black township of Khutsong (west of Johannesburg), was threatened with violence for his political work by a group of youths. The next morning, a political school that he and another member run in the area, was forcibly disrupted by an even larger mob.
On the Friday night, comrade “Tebogo” (real name concealed for security reasons) was confronted by eight men, He was instructed to “stop promoting anarchism” and resisting the government because “the African National Congress [ANC] must rule the township” or face severe consequences. On the Saturday morning, comrades “Tebogo” and “Boitumelo” (*real name concealed) were confronted by around 15 thugs while preparing to host the monthly ZACF / Zabalaza political education session at a local venue. They were able to prevent the group gaining entry, but the event was disrupted. Rocks were thrown, threats were made.
At least two anarchist comrades are victims of the bombing attacks in Turkey that killed at least 128 people. These are comrades Ali Kitapçi, an anarcho-syndicalist from Ankara, a railroad worker and militant from Disk (Revolutionary Union), and Typhon Benol, from Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF – Revolutionary Anarchist Action). We salute our dead. We call on all comrades in the global North to recognise the extremely dangerous conditions that many comrades in the South (e.g. Asia, Africa, Latin America/ Caribbean, East Europe, Ireland) face.
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front is deeply saddened to hear of the death a great human being, African brother, and fellow activist – Sam Mbah. We would like to send our deepest sympathies to those who knew Sam. We hope that you are comforted by the fact that the time he did spend with us was put to its absolute fullest use.
It is particularly difficult for us in South Africa to hear of this news because we are likewise struggling to build a movement that, as Sam has always acknowledged, is still in its infancy and will take some time to “crystallize”. Knowing that people like Sam were out there in other parts of Africa doing what we are trying to do here was a great inspiration to us. It helped us to continue on a long and difficult path. Sam’s individual contribution to our own (and collective) project of building a strong and viable anarchist movement in Africa was massive, and his departure will be sorely felt. But we feel comforted in the fact that his legacy will be an inspiration for others who will eventually follow in his footsteps.
Help keep CSAAWU’s doors open – An injury to one is an injury to all!
We are writing to you out of solidarity for CSAAWU, a union based amongst farmworkers in South Africa with which we have relations. In 2012/3 South African farmworkers rebelled against the deplorable conditions in the sector – for which hundreds were dismissed and victimized. CSAAWU is one of the few unions that organises in this difficult and under-represented industry. In the aftermath of the rebellion it took a decision to take up the struggle, including by defending close to 100 workers in the labour court.
Unfortunately the union lost two of the cases and has been issued with cost orders in excess of R600 000 (US$ 53 500 or EUR 43 000). This is a very high amount in South Africa, one that is potentially fatally crippling for a smaller union like CSAAWU. (Anyone needing more information can have a look at this article)
We are therefore forwarding you their plea (see below) and hope that you will consider supporting their request for help. Please also considering forwarding this to sympathetic organisations and/or publishing it widely.
For far too long major segments of the working class have been dormant under the illusion that change can be delegated to exterior organizations or parties. When our struggles are bureaucratized and delegated to others, we lose ownership over them and in turn lose many benefits gained through them. A victory for the working class can only be established if our class is active in the struggle leading to victory.
From the battle for the 8 hour day, to the struggles witnessed this past year, these examples cry out for the need to organize the fight back against the war that is being waged on workers at home and abroad. Through these examples we can begin to see an alternate future and experiment towards it. This new workers’ movement must be established on class struggle lines, a movement that no longer waits for politicians and bureaucrats to resolve the growing inequalities and oppressions. A movement of workers organized through our own self-activity for democratic, combative and autonomous labor and community organizations must replace the stale forms of unionism and social democratic lobbyism that have dominated and compromised most struggles of the last decades.
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.
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.