How others saw us: Learning Nation, 1990, “The Second International 1889-1915 (Part 1)”

Anarchists and syndicalists did feature in the left and anti-apartheid press from the 1950s to the 1990s, but usually in problematic or confused ways. This example comes from the Learning Nation, a supplement to the weekly New Nation, in a series on the “History of Communism,” and deals with “The Second International 1889-1915 (Part 1).” (2-8 November, 1990). Here is the PDF. Continue reading How others saw us: Learning Nation, 1990, “The Second International 1889-1915 (Part 1)”

How others saw us: Learning Nation, 1990, “The First International 1864-1876 – part 2”

Anarchists and syndicalists did feature in the left and anti-apartheid press from the 1950s to the 1990s, but usually in problematic or confused ways. This example comes from the Learning Nation, a supplement to the weekly New Nation, in a series on the “History of Communism,” and deals with “The First International 1864-1876 – part 2” (26 October to 1 November, 1990). Here is the … Continue reading How others saw us: Learning Nation, 1990, “The First International 1864-1876 – part 2”

Evangelos Mantzaris, 1988, “Radical Community: The Yiddish-Speaking Branch of the International Socialist League, 1918-1920”

Evangelos Mantzaris, 1988, “Radical Community: The Yiddish-Speaking Branch of the International Socialist League, 1918-1920,” in Belinda Bozzoli (ed), 1988, Class, Community and Conflict: South African Perspectives. Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Ravan Press. This pioneering study includes some important material on the revolutionary syndicalist International Socialist League, its complicated relations to the (rival, also syndicalist) Industrial Socialist League, and the birth of the 1920 (non-Comintern) Communist Party of … Continue reading Evangelos Mantzaris, 1988, “Radical Community: The Yiddish-Speaking Branch of the International Socialist League, 1918-1920”

Profiles: Mandla Khoza, 1974-2019, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist

A pioneering member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) in South Africa and Swaziland, Mandla Khoza (“MK”) passed away in 2019, having suffered ill-health for years. See here. Continue reading Profiles: Mandla Khoza, 1974-2019, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “Education for Revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy,” South African Labour Bulletin

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn, 2019, “Education for Revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy,” South African Labour Bulletin, volume 43, number 1, pp. 17-19

Get the PDF here

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh explain the roots and principles of anarchosyndicalism and what these mean 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, they explain that 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.

ANARCHO-syndicalism was, and is, similar to other socialist movements including Bolshevism – in that at its heart it aims for the working class to overthrow capitalism. It, however, also differs from other socialist movements. From the beginning anarcho-syndicalism also aimed to end all other forms of oppression through revolution, including religion, the state, patriarchy and racism.

The main difference between anarchists and other socialists/ Marxists was and is that anarchists are opposed to all forms of states, even ones that have labelled themselves Continue reading “Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “Education for Revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy,” South African Labour Bulletin”

Bongani Mavundla, 2015, “Film review ‘Our World, Rojava'” (source: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015)

FILM REVIEW of OUR WORLD, ROJAVA, by Bongani Mavundla, FROM: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015. The spectre of Anarchism haunts all societies that are riddled with turmoil, economic exploitation and political oppression, especially after the defeat of the Spanish revolution (wrongly dubbed the Spanish Civil War) of 1936 until 1939. Today the world is seeing an anarchist experiment being established … Continue reading Bongani Mavundla, 2015, “Film review ‘Our World, Rojava’” (source: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015)

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat”

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat,” Business Day, 27 March, from here

The late Stephen Hawkins had the following to say about the onset of the so-called 4th Industrial revolution: “If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

What Hawkins was highlighting in this statement is that in a different society, machines could be of benefit to all of humanity. However, in the current class based capitalist society, machines pose a dire threat to the majority of people and the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution will lead to the vast inequalities that already exist increasing exponentially.

World Bank statistics show that currently automation is responsible for 17% of production and services, in 15 years this is projected to rise to 40%. A common held belief by most of the middle class is that automation is a threat only to blue collar workers but this is becoming more and more untrue. The full computerisation of bank tellers, clerks, bookkeepers and pharmacists jobs is an increasing reality and will soon start affecting the work of teachers, doctors, pilots and architects. To understand why mechanisation and automation is being rolled out today; and why this poses such a threat, it is important to understand how they have been used under capitalism in the past and for what purposes.

An important feature of the introduction of machines historically is that a small elite have owned Continue reading “Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat””

Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war”

Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war,”  Daily Maverick, 5 March, from here

For the past few years, most people would have come across news stories of how Kurdish fighters in Syria, especially women, have been crucial in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Very few, however, would be aware that in the north and eastern parts of Syria these same Kurdish fighters are part of a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far-reaching as any in history.

In the north and eastern parts of Syria, an attempt to create an alternative system to hierarchical states, capitalism and patriarchy is underway and should it fully succeed Continue reading “Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war””

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way”

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way,” Business Day, 5 March, Business Day, from here 

The Rojava Revolution lays down tracks to building a better, more democratic and more feminist society.

The world is facing an economic crisis on a scale last seen in the 1930s. It has resulted in living conditions and incomes of workers and poor people — and increasingly the middle class — being eroded by governments through austerity and by businesses through rationalisations and wage freezes.

Like the 1930s, this crisis is triggering the rise of extreme right-wing regimes and right-wing populism. It is also resulting in an increase in global conflict and threats of war, with Syria a key example.

But in the heart of the raging war that is Syria, there is a glimmer of hope.

In the north of Syria bordering Turkey and Iraq, the Kurdish and Arab people Continue reading “Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way””

Abel Ramarope (1961-2005): from PAC to anarchism # 2

South Africans we said adieu to in 2005

Independent Online, 3 January 2006, online here

 

Abel Ramarope

1961 – 2005

This former member of the PAC and political activist-turned-anarchist was arrested during the struggle against apartheid and had been a prisoner since then. As an inmate, he formed a clandestine reading and study group on anarchism. He constantly fought corruption in the prison system, which he said was rife. He died in a Pretoria prison while doing time for robbery.

Nokuthula Mashabane

1964 – 2005

This social worker dedicated her life to helping rehabilitate prisoners and to changing their lives after they were set free. Because of Continue reading “Abel Ramarope (1961-2005): from PAC to anarchism # 2”

Abel Ramarope (1961-2005): from PAC to anarchism # 1

Article from Zabalaza, number 7, 2006, p. 26, here.

Remembering Our Fallen Comrades! Another Anarchist Dies in Prison: 

Abel Ramarope, Political Prisoner Turned Anarchist, died September 2005

by Jonathan Payn

“You must be aware that we are victimised by our fear to stand up for what is entitled us as people whether in prison or outside prison. We are firstly determined to challenge any barbaric or tyrannical system if it needs be. Change is a must; and it shall come and be effected by those who needs to see it.

Well we need to be strong even when we face incarceration. We cannot afford to be sacrificed at the expense of the capitalists. We fought for the transformation of this land, and yet we are deprived of the right to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Now our votes are seen as a priority but our release as political activists/prisoners is not important to them.”

Abel Ramarope

It is always saddening to hear of someone dying in a prison, with cold concrete and steel Continue reading “Abel Ramarope (1961-2005): from PAC to anarchism # 1”

New Nation (1990): “South African Working Class Organisation and the Downfall of the Smuts Government”

New Nation, 1990, “South African working class organisation and the downfall of the Smuts government,” 10-16 August, Matric History section of Learning Nation supplement. A discussion of the struggles of the working class movement from 1920-1924 which examines the role of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) from 1919, the 1920 Bulhoek Massacre, and the 1922 Rand Revolt in the fall of the Jan … Continue reading New Nation (1990): “South African Working Class Organisation and the Downfall of the Smuts Government”

ZACF (2005): Anarchist arrested by Swazi regime

… Several weeks ago “MK”, a member of the Soutern African Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation’s underground structures in Swaziland was arrested. He was among eight Swaziland youth congress (SWAYOCO) members detained by police following a SWAYOCO demonstration in the city of Manzini on Saturday, October 1st. The SWAYOCO demonstration was to protest against King Sobhuza II’s autocratic decree of 1973 that outlawed all pro-democratic political … Continue reading ZACF (2005): Anarchist arrested by Swazi regime

Material on the ICU, from “New Nation, New History” volume 1 (1989)

The 1970s and 1980s anti-apartheid movement was marked by he explosion of an alternative press. A notable example was the mass-distribution weekly New Nation newspaper. Launched in 1986 with the backing of the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, it championed the black working class, and ran a series called “Learning Nation”: produced to assist high school learners, ths was notable for providing a radical alternative … Continue reading Material on the ICU, from “New Nation, New History” volume 1 (1989)

Early 1990s reading groups — and “Vrye Weekblad”

The early 1990s saw a new interest in anarchism in South Africa, one expression of which was the emergence of reading and discussion groups. Elsewhere this site collects materials from the reading groups associated with a wing of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM). But there was certainly some such groups in Durban. There was also reportedly a group around this time at Stellenbosch, among young … Continue reading Early 1990s reading groups — and “Vrye Weekblad”