organising

Zabalaza #14 (August 2015)

Posted on Updated on

Zabalaza #14
Zabalaza #14

[Download the PDF here]

Contents:

Southern Africa

International

Black Stars of Anarchism

Book Review

Theory

Counter-Culture

  • Anarchism and Counter-Culture: The Centrality of Ideas by Warren McGregor (ZACF)

Regular:

Zabalaza #14 Editorial: Where to, South Africa? Anarchist-Communist Reflections

Posted on Updated on

Zumaby Tina Zisovuka (ZACF)

In 2013, Zabalaza/ ZACF took a decision to redirect our energies into certain aspects of our work that we felt were more urgent and immediately important at the time, given the challenges and conditions we were facing. The bad news is that this decision took its toll on our publishing work, which partly explains the long gap (over two years) between issues of our journal. The good news is that this reorientation has paid off elsewhere: hiccups notwithstanding, over the past two years our militants have participated in various new initiatives in and around Johannesburg, where we have witnessed a renewed and growing interest in anarchism. The inclusion of several new names in this issue is a much-welcomed reflection of these changes.

Over the past two years, there have been many important developments that deserve special consideration. We have tried to include our own, anarchist, appraisals of these where possible, although in some respects we have fallen unavoidably short. It is precisely because South Africa’s burning social and national issues remain unresolved (in fact they cannot be resolved within the existing capitalist and political party systems established in 1910 and 1994), that the country continues to undergo social turbulence, seen in strikes, union splits, struggles over symbols, and sadly, anti-immigrant attacks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Build a Strong People: Latin American Lessons in Leadership

Posted on

Resistência Popular logoby Jonathan Payn (ZACF)

As working class activists, we should share experiences with – and learn from – working class struggles in other places. The ruling class organises worldwide to exploit and dominate our class. So we need to organise resistance to defend our interests everywhere. And we can only benefit from arming ourselves with lessons from different working class movements.

An important example of working class resistance from which we, in South Africa, can draw inspiration is the Brazilian Resistência Popular (Popular Resistance). This organises with unions, student and neighbourhood movements, and it promotes mobilisation and organisation based on grassroots democracy, direct struggle, and solidarity across the broad working class. It exists in various cities, and stresses the importance of people organising themselves, from the bottom up, outside of the parliamentary system, and against the economic and political elites.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bernard Sigamoney, Durban Indian revolutionary syndicalist

Posted on Updated on

Bernard Sigamoney

 

by Lucien van der Walt

A global movement, the anarchist and syndicalist tradition has influenced people from all walks of life. A notable figure was Bernard L.E. Sigamoney, born in 1888. The grandson of indentured Indian labourers, who arrived in South Africa in the 1870s, he became a school teacher with a working class outlook.

A hundred years ago saw the First World War (1914-1918) sear the globe: almost 40 million died. South Africa, as part of the British Empire, sent troops and workers to battles in Africa and Europe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Our History of Struggle: the 1980s “Workerist-Populist” Debate Revisited

Posted on Updated on

FOSATU LogoCompiled by WARREN MCGREGOR (TAAC, ZACF)

Workshop contributors: Lucky, Pitso, Bongani, Siyabulela,
Nonzukiso, Nonzwakazi, Mzwandile

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: Today the terms “populism” and “workerism” are widely thrown about in South African political circles. Often, these terms and others (“syndicalism,” “ultra-left,” “counter-revolutionary,” “anti-majoritarian” …) have no meaning: they are just labels used to silence critics. SA Communist Party (SACP) leaders do this often. But in the 1980s, “populism” and “workerism” referred to two rival positions battling for the soul of the militant unions.

These debates, thirty years on, remain very relevant: let us revisit them, and learn. Today’s radical National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) was part of the “workerist” camp, while its key rival, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was identified with “populism.” The early battles over the direction of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (COSATU) still echo today, although there is no longer a clear “workerist” camp.

FOSATU founding congress
FOSATU was launched on 14 and 15 April 1979 at Hammanskraap. Workers’ democracy and control were the core tenets upon which FOSATU was founded.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 1976 Struggle and the Emancipation of the Future: Developing Self-determined and Self-motivated Youth despite Looming Fate

Posted on Updated on

Hector Pieterson (1964 - June 16, 1976)
Hector Pieterson (1964 – June 16, 1976). Killed at age 12 when the police opened fire on protesting students. 16 June stands as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government.

by Bongani Maponyane (TAAC, ZACF)

The massacre of South African school children in 1976 continues to be remembered and to influence us today. It showed the brutality of the apartheid state and it left scars still felt by people today.

In the period 1970-75 the number of black schoolchildren in the state system increased by 160%. However, the Bantu Education system and economic crisis meant already low apartheid expenditure could not meet the increasing need.

This was also the time of Steve Bantu Biko, a key intellectual influence through the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). The rising black trade union movement provided another source of inspiration after the defeats of the 1960s.

Read the rest of this entry »