Compiled by Warren McGregor (TAAC, ZACF)
The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of Africa (ICU) was formed in Cape Town in 1919. In 1920 it merged with the revolutionary syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of Africa, and other unions. It grew rapidly in South Africa among Coloured and black African workers and tenant farmers. It also spread, in the 1920s and 1930s, into neighbouring countries. The ICU was not a revolutionary syndicalist union, but it was influenced by syndicalism.
What were the aims of the ICU?
The aims of the ICU were sometimes a little confused. It was influenced by many ideas. But according to the 1925 Constitution of the ICU, and many speeches and statements, the ultimate aim of the ICU was: to abolish the class system through worker and direct action, and to equally redistribute economic and political power, in conjunction with organised workers throughout the world.