Modes of politics at a distance from the state: A critical assessment

Graphic: Lucien van der Walt, 2018, “What are we Fighting For? Possibilities for Decent Work, Unions and Rights in Africa“The crisis of the statist politics that dominated working-class politics — social democracy, Marxism-Leninism, and anti-imperialist nationalism — and the rise of neoliberalism, has aided the rediscovery of society-centred, anti-capitalist forms of bottom-up change “at a distance” from the state.

This article critically assess the three main modes of “at a distance” politics: “outside-but-with” the state, which combines using the state with popular movements;  “outside-and-despite” the state, aiming at disintegrating the system by building alternatives in its cracks; and “outside-and-against” the state, associated with anarchism/ syndicalism, rejects the state for building autonomous working class counter-power that can resist, then defeat, state and capital. While each mode has limits, the anarchist/ syndicalist approach is arguably the most convincing, and its implications are serious. And it directs militants to work within the mass movements of the popular classes.

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For the Popular Classes of the World, Pandemic, Crisis, All Times Are Times of Struggle!

Joint international analysis for 1st of May, 2020

”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).

Continue reading “For the Popular Classes of the World, Pandemic, Crisis, All Times Are Times of Struggle!”

COVID-19 and the working class struggle: Interview with South African anarchist-communist

Warren McGregor of Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) says while the South African state has been praised for its rapid response to coronavirus, its lockdown has hugely unequal effects . Many in the working class , poor majority lack proper access to food, health-care, income and jobs. Some employers are attacking labour. There are inadequate measures to cushion the masses, and unacceptable army /police brutality, while big business and politicians get bailouts.  We accept the science that lockdowns are needed, he insists. But we must also demand justice, building concrete, realistic actions that can win improvements and build working class counter-power and a popular anarchist consciousness. Continue reading “COVID-19 and the working class struggle: Interview with South African anarchist-communist”

Youtube: Anarchist-communist webinar on world’s health crisis, including ZACF/ Zabalaza, 11th April 2020

What does the crisis mean for the working class and poor, and for our struggles and strategic perspectives? The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), South Africa, participated in a recent online panel with sister organisations from across the world on 11 April 2020. For those who were unable to tune in, you can enjoy a video recording here:

The event was hosted by Black Rose / Rose Negra Anarchist Federation (U.S.). Cde Warren McGregor of ZACF makes many valuable points: a transcript of his points will follow in another post. Other participation was from  Acción Socialista Libertaria (Argentina), Solidaridad (Chile), Union Communiste Libertaire (France) and Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland).

Webinar on world’s health crisis: Zabalaza joins global anarchist-communist panel Saturday 11th April 2020

Are you bored sitting at home? Feel like you’ve watched everything on every streaming service twice over?

Instead of binging the same series for the tenth time, join Black Rose/Rosa Negra as we launch our quarantine livestream. Over the coming weeks we’ll be hosting a series of live panel discussions on a variety of topics relevant to building popular power in precarious times.

On Saturday, April 11th we’ll be livestreaming a historic panel discussion on the current global health crisis, featuring delegates representing half a dozen anarchist-communist organizations around the world.

Panelists include members of Solidaridad (Chile), Acción Socialista Libertaria (Argentina), Black Rose Anarchist Federation (U.S.), Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa), Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland), Anarchist Federation (Britain), and Union Communiste Libertaire (France).

All of our livestream events will take place via Zoom webinar. Space is limited, so please register below. If you’d like to tune in, but missed your chance to register, don’t worry! Each one of our livestream events will simultaneously be broadcast via our YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to here: http://tiny.cc/BRRNyoutube

If you’d like to attend the International Discussion on COVID-19 via Zoom, please register here: http://tiny.cc/intdiscussion

Otherwise, please tune in via our YouTube livestream!

We hope you’ll join us for this and other exciting upcoming online events!

The relevance of the ICU of Africa for modern day unions and liberation movements

ICU meeting July 1929, South Africa

The history of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU), formed in South Africa in 1919, is replete with lessons for today’s movements. The ICU, which also spread into neighbouring colonies like Basutoland (now Lesotho), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Southwest Africa (now Namibia) was by far the largest protest movement and organisation of black African and Coloured people of its time. Influenced by a range of ideas, including revolutionary syndicalism, the ICU had both amazing strengths and spectacular failings. This piece explains.

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Education for revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy for South Africa

The roots and principles of anarchosyndicalism are worth revisiting for the practice of worker education in movements inspired by these principles and traditions. Emphasising the democratic practice, working class rooted, organic and critical nature of the pedagogy, the practice seeks to intersect employed and unemployed women and men. Practically, the education provides a platform for post-revolutionary practice of direct democracy at the point of production and, thus, naturally included practical skills such as trades, accounting and sciences.

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Should the anti-capitalists contest elections?

This is a lightly edited transcription of a talk given by Prof. Lucien van der Walt on a panel on the eve of the 2019 national elections in South Africa: the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)/ Workers World Media Productions (WWMP) Public Forum, Isivivana Centre, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa 25 April.

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“The soldier has fallen”: Mandla Khoza, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist, 22 May 1974-26 July 2019

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.

Continue reading ““The soldier has fallen”: Mandla Khoza, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist, 22 May 1974-26 July 2019″