A. Lerumo, 1971, “Kadalie of the ICU” – ‘African Communist’ no. 44

Reference: A. Lerumo, 1971, “Kadalie of the ICU,” African Communist number 44.  Get the PDF here. This piece is a lengthy, insightful review of My Life and the ICU, the posthumously published autobiography of Clements Kadalie (1896-1951). Kadalie, a Malawian immigrant and ex-school teacher, was a leading figure in the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (ICU). Founded in 1919, the ICU spread like … Continue reading A. Lerumo, 1971, “Kadalie of the ICU” – ‘African Communist’ no. 44

Biography: Lucien van der Walt, 2011, “Thibedi, Thibedi William (1888–1960), South African revolutionary syndicalist and Communist,” in DAB

Lucien van der Walt, 2011, “Thibedi, Thibedi William (1888–1960), South African revolutionary syndicalist and Communist,” in Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press. Get the PDF here. Continue reading Biography: Lucien van der Walt, 2011, “Thibedi, Thibedi William (1888–1960), South African revolutionary syndicalist and Communist,” in DAB

Biography: Noor Nieftagodien, 2011, “Clements Kadalie,” in DAB

Noor Nieftagodien, 2011, “Clements Kadalie,” in Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press. Get the PDF here. Continue reading Biography: Noor Nieftagodien, 2011, “Clements Kadalie,” in DAB

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)

Material on L.A. Motler (from Macnab, Gulston’s 1948 “South African Poetry: A New Anthology”

This is material dealing with the anarchist Leonard Augustine Motler, a British immigrant to South Africa, who was also linked to the local Communist Party. More on Motler here and here. This material is from a 1948 poetry anthology. Get the PDF here. (Ironically, the anthology had a foreword by then-famed South African poet Roy Campbell. Campbell, a conservative, authoritarian and anti-modernist English-speaking white South … Continue reading Material on L.A. Motler (from Macnab, Gulston’s 1948 “South African Poetry: A New Anthology”

“South African Labour Bulletin”: 1974 special issue on the ICU

Get the PDF here. The rise of a new, independent trade union movement in South Africa from the 1970s — a movement centred on black workers — revived interest in labour history. Activists and academics linked to the new unions and labour service organisations were interested in the recovery of a useful working class history, meaning one that enabled a class-based understanding of South Africa, … Continue reading “South African Labour Bulletin”: 1974 special issue on the ICU

Motler, Leonard Augustine, 1888-1967 (Nick Heath)

Motler, Leonard Augustine, 1888-1967 By Nick Heath, 2011, from Libcom, here. A short text by Motler, produced before he came to South Africa, can be found here. A short biography of Leonard Motler, English anarchist, deaf-mute and activist against the First World War. “I went round to help Freedom at its Ossulston Street offices… Working there were two deaf-mutes, L.A.Motler and G. Scates, who were … Continue reading Motler, Leonard Augustine, 1888-1967 (Nick Heath)

L.A. Motler, 1919, “Anarchist Communism in Plain English”

L.A. Motler, a British anarchist, was active in South Africa from the 1920s, and at some point joined or associated with the local Communist Party. More on his life here. This is the text of a short pamphlet he produced in 1919, sourced from here. Anarchist Communism in Plain English L.A. Motler This is to explain exactly what Anarchist-Communists want, in as few words as … Continue reading L.A. Motler, 1919, “Anarchist Communism in Plain English”

Analysis of the ICU: Goatley, ‘The ICU,’ from ‘The Socialist’

Lisa Goatley,1993, “The ICU,” The Socialist: Journal of the International Socialists of South Africa (ISSA), June/July, number 11, p. 15. This short analysis was the first in a series on working class history in South Africa in the paper of the International Socialists of South Africa (ISSA, now the group Keep Left). The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) was a mass general union formed … Continue reading Analysis of the ICU: Goatley, ‘The ICU,’ from ‘The Socialist’

Analysis (in French): Patrick Marcolini, “L’anarchisme en terre africaine:Les composantes africaines du mouvement libertaire”

L’anarchisme en terre africaine:Les composantes africaines du mouvement libertaire par Patrick Marcolini (OLS) From here L’absence en France d’histoires du mouvement libertaire qui englobent sa composante africaine pourrait laisser croire que l’anarchisme est un phénomène occidental. Pourtant, des organisations ont tenté de faire vivre l’idéal anarchiste et syndicaliste révolutionnaire sur la terre africaine. Les premières organisations anarchistes et syndicalistes révolutionnaires africaines apparaissent à la fin … Continue reading Analysis (in French): Patrick Marcolini, “L’anarchisme en terre africaine:Les composantes africaines du mouvement libertaire”

Photo: ICU poem at Workers Museum (Newtown, Johannesburg, 2014)

After years of neglect, the Workers Museum at the old municipal workers compound in Johannesburg has been upgraded. The story of working class movements presented there is, SAASHA is reliably informed, is selective, with (for example) FOSATU completely absent. Nonetheless, the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) does get mentioned. The photo below, of an ICU poem in the display, was provided by Warren McGregor. … Continue reading Photo: ICU poem at Workers Museum (Newtown, Johannesburg, 2014)

Kadalie and the ICU – graphic from South African radical journal “Africa Perspective” in 1981 (no. 19)

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (the ICU) was the largest black union and protest movement in 1920s South Africa, also spreading into neighbouring Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South West Africa (now Namibia).  It was influenced by IWW syndicalism, even adopting a version of the IWW constitution in 1925, and pushed for a general strike the next year. … Continue reading Kadalie and the ICU – graphic from South African radical journal “Africa Perspective” in 1981 (no. 19)