Interview from the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) archives, created by Dale McKinley, held at the South African History Archive (SAHA), at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. In this interview Lucien van der Walt talks about his background, the anarchist and left movement in Johannesburg in the 1990s and 2000s, and experiences in the APF, a major coalition of post-apartheid movements founded in 2000. He also draws some lessons … Continue reading Interview: Lucien van der Walt, 2010, on Johannesburg anarchism, Wits 2001, NEHAWU, Anti-Privatisation Forum
This was an introduction written by Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg in early 1994 for an U.S.-originated pamphlet called No Justice, No Peace: An Eyewitness Account of the Los Angeles Riots. The 1992 riots followed the Rodney King case and — while cast in the media as a “race riot” — involved large numbers of Hispanic and white … Continue reading 1993: “The Fire Next Time: Lessons of the Los Angeles (LA) Uprising”
The text below was another important influence on the position taken by the main South African anarchist groups from the 1990s on the question of national liberation struggles: critical engagement and intervention, in solidarity and in order to influence, national liberation struggles. More on this issue here. For another key text, here. The text below is Alfredo M. Bonanno’s Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle, … Continue reading [reference points]:”Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle” (Alfredo Bonanno)
The text below was an important influence on the position taken by the main South African anarchist groups from the 1990s on the question of national liberation struggles: critical engagement and intervention, in solidarity and in order to influence, national liberation struggles. More on this issue here.
Against Imperialism: International Solidarity and Resistance
A Discussion on Anti-Imperialism, National Liberation Struggles, & Extending Social Struggles to an International Level of Resistance
Endless Struggle #12, Spring/Summer 1990, Vancouver, pp. 13-15, 24
PDF here, text below.
(Credit for text mark-up: SB, JF).
“It is our opinion that our failing to have any significant presence in the reality of present day struggles is largely due to complacency & lack of up to date analysis of problems in an increasingly complex social structure” (Bratach Dubh collective, intro. to Anarchism & the National Liberation Struggle, by Alfredo Bonanno)
The following article was part of a discussion on International Solidarity & Revolutionary Resistance presented at the Regional Anarchist Gathering held in Jan.26-29/90 in Vancouver, Canada.
The first half of this article is a brief introduction to the historical development of imperialism, including the rise to dominance of US capital in the global economic order. The second half discusses national liberation struggles, their contradictions & limitations, & an anarchist perspective to these struggles. It certainly isn’t definitive in total, but we hope it provides a starting point for discussion. A lot hasn’t been analysed, such as the present global economic thrust towards mobility in production, significant changes in capitalist production (i.e. technology, flexibility), & the relationship between these factors & the class struggle in the advanced capitalist countries corresponding with the national liberation struggles. It is beyond the scope of this article to fully address these, nevertheless, if anarchist or autonomist struggles are to have any impact, a complete re-assessment of our analysis & methods is necessary. Developing this means addressing ourselves to an analysis against capital- something which this article also mentions.
Anarchists tend to reduce anarchism to mere anti-statism or opposition to authority, a superficial & all encompassing “anti-authoritarian blanket” draped over all social struggles. Instead of extending an analysis to patriarchal & capitalist exploitation, which by its nature demands an international struggle, anarchists have restricted their perspective (if at all) to the most blatant products of this: sometimes in the “life-stylist” approach by boycotting multinationals, at other times in the pursuit of “alternative economic communities”. Capitalism is acknowledged, but only as some kind of background setting with no specific structures or conditions. When the Economic Summit of the G-7 (the seven leading industrial countries consisting of the US, Canada, Japan, W. Germany, Britain, France & Italy) was held in Toronto in June /88, the movements lack of anti-capitalist analysis was clear: “Protesting the 7 leaders is somewhat of a red herring, seeing as it’s not just these 7 who are the problem, but all leaders & capitalism itself” (from Ecomedia Toronto, our emphasis). In this, the world economic order, dominated primarily by US capitalism, & its structures the IMF & World Bank, in which the G7 maintain dominant positions, is reduced to a problem of “leaders” & “capitalism” remains as something lurking in the background. The article continues on, making the point of resistance a question of who controls the streets rather than one of who maintains the levels of exploitation: “But many anarchists came out to support the days actions because the issue turned from one of protesting the leaders to… reclaiming the streets of our city, which have been blocked off for us for the length of the Summit”.
This is a reflection of the fact that most anarchists don’t see various social struggles (ecological, anti-sexism, anti-racism) as having a basis in class struggle. But this isn’t to say that these social struggles are irrelevant or secondary to the class struggle, as some Marxists (as well as some anarchists) do, but rather the opposite: these social struggles make up the basis of the class struggle. In the minds of those who delegate these social struggles to a secondary position it is commonly argued that capital Continue reading “[reference points]: “Against Imperialism: International Solidarity and Resistance” (Endless Struggle #12, 1990, Vancouver)”
One of the key issues that the re-emergent anarchist and syndicalist current in South Africa in the early 1990s had to face was the fact of national liberation struggle against apartheid. This was no “pure” class struggle. How should it relate? Two views were present in the English-speaking anarchist milieu of the time, then dominated by US and UK publications. One was purism, which basically … Continue reading A few notes on the question of national liberation struggle in 1990s South African anarchism and syndicalism
This was issued at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). It must be from early 1995, when 8 March fell on a Wednesday. Get the PDF here. Continue reading ARM – 1995 – “Support the Class Boycott and Join Protest Actions!”
On the 23 March 1995 ARM joined big protest at Wits with large banner, alongside the South African Students Congress (SASCO) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). It plastered a statement “Forward with the Student Struggle” across the campus as a poster, as well as handed out. A poster “Join the All-Students March” was also issued. Get the “Forward with the Student Struggle” poster in … Continue reading ARM – March 1995 – march and “Forward with the Student Struggle”
This was a public statement issued as a poster at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) outlining the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) position on the struggle in the universities at this time. ARM was renamed the Workers Solidarity (WSF) a little later in the year. Get the PDF here. Continue reading ARM – April 1995 – “ARM on the Wits Crisis”
These Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) posters were put up, and around, the 1995 sleep-in/ occupation at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to defend the Wits 5. The sleep-in was led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). ARM was actively involved. More on this struggle here. Images below: get the PDFs here and here and here. Continue reading ARM – April 1995 – Statement on the Workers Occupation at Wits
On 20 October 1994, members of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) were part of a mass march led by the South African Students Congress (SASCO) on the headquarters of the Department of Education in Johannesburg. The march drew in university and technikon students from across the region. Some time after marchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) returned to the Wits campus in the … Continue reading ARM – May 1995 – Notes on the “Wits 5” defence campaign and NEHAWU sleep-in
Members of the “class struggle” section of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM), active at the University of the Witwatersrand, were interviewed for the campus newspaper, Wits Student. The content of the article, which appeared in August 1994, was accurate but the heading (“Chaos Rules Okay”) was a caricature. ARM responded with a poster (“Anarchy not Chaos”) that included the article and the ARM reply. The … Continue reading ARM – August 1994 – Article and reply to “Wits Student” newspaper
This was printed in bulk and distributed at the University of the Witwatersrand and elsewhere from early 1995. By this stage the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) had a new address (see leaflet), following developments in late 1994 which saw a section of ARM (including people associated with the “Backstreet Abortions” distribution project) leave to form a “counter-cultural network,” with what remained as ARM becoming a … Continue reading ARM – 1995 – “What is Anarchism?” leaflet
This small pamphlet was published by the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) in 1994. It is notable for expounding the argument that anarchists should engage in immediate struggles, even for modest reforms, as a means of building popular capacities for a revolutionary transition from below. This was a substantial break with the more purist position taken by the “class struggle” wing of ARM in 1993 and … Continue reading ARM – 1994 – “Towards Anarchism” (by Malatesta)
The Azanian Anarchist Alliance (AAA) was a small group at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), in Johannesburg, South Africa, formed in 1991. It was probably the first organised anarchist group in the country in decades. One of the founders, HG, co-published the radical zine Social Blunder with his brother NG, in the Indian townshipof Lenasia, south of Soweto and Johannesburg. The group’s politics were … Continue reading Some notes on the “Azanian Anarchist Alliance,” 1991-1993