Interview: Lucien van der Walt, 2010, on Johannesburg anarchism, Wits 2001, NEHAWU, Anti-Privatisation Forum

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

[Archived webpage]: The Workers’ Library and Museum (Johannesburg)

Previous posts have looked at the Workers’ Library and Museum (WLM) in Newtown, Johannesburg, and mentioned the role of anarchists (mainly, Bikisha Media Collective) in it from the late 1990s into the early 2000s: see here. The WLM webpage from those days is long gone, but happily, there is a navigable snapshot of it here (off-site).     Continue reading [Archived webpage]: The Workers’ Library and Museum (Johannesburg)

VIDEO: The Newtown power complex before the Workers Library and Museum

There is an interesting video, captured from a VHS, from a report on the TV station M-Net, on the Newtown power complex in what looks like the late 1980s. The Newtown power complex, in downtown Johannesburg, was the site of the old municipal power station. It was all but abandoned by the late 1980s: the state of the building attests to this, and so does … Continue reading VIDEO: The Newtown power complex before the Workers Library and Museum

Repost: “Notes and posters from the Workers’ Library & Museum that was…”

Several posts on the history of the Workers Library and Museum (WLM) and the role of anarchists in this body in the late 1990s and early 2000s can be found on this site: see here. There is an interesting account of this period by a one-time member of the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) here (off-site link). Continue reading Repost: “Notes and posters from the Workers’ Library & Museum that was…”

ca. 2003: “Whose Town is Newtown?”

As noted elsewhere, anarchists from Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) played a key role in the Workers Library and Museum (WLM), a non-sectarian labour service organisation then based in Newtown Johannesburg, from the late 1990s into the early 2000s. The WLM was run by an elected committee, with various subcommittees, and BMC members were active in these structures. Some more information on this here and here. As the building used was the property of the Johannesburg town council (later the Greater Johannesburg Meropolian Council), use the buildings depended a good deal on the municipality’s goodwill. In the early and mid-1990s, the municipality was effectively willing to provide the building at a nominal cost (the users were charged for water and lights, and were responsible for maintenance and investment) . The building was part of a former power station complex, which had been closed in the 1970s: the redesign of the old housing section for use by the WLM was an award-winning project by left-wing architects Henry Paine and Alan Lipman.

As neo-liberalism kicked in, and the Newtown Precinct was rethought (by the municipality) as a Continue reading “ca. 2003: “Whose Town is Newtown?””

Nigerian, Sierra Leone and South African anarchist and syndicalist links in the 1990s

The 1990s upsurge of anarchism found one expression in South Africa, where the anarchist and syndicalist tradition re-emerged after a break of decades. But this was not unique in English-using African countries. A substantial section of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was formed among diamond miners in Sierra Leone, but destroyed in the country’s ongoing civil war in 1997, leading members ending up … Continue reading Nigerian, Sierra Leone and South African anarchist and syndicalist links in the 1990s

WSF, 1997, “Only the Workers can Free the Workers: A South African Anarchist Pamphlet”

This text was published by the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) in South Africa in 1997, and is a shorter version of What is Anarchism? A South African Anarchist Pamphlet: author of both was Lucien van der Walt: details here. The emphasis was on South African issues, and accessible writing. It was republished in 2003 in its current format by WSF successor groups, the Bikisha Media Collective … Continue reading WSF, 1997, “Only the Workers can Free the Workers: A South African Anarchist Pamphlet”

WSF, 1996/ 1997/ 1999, “What is Anarchism? A South African Anarchist Pamphlet” (and variants and spin-offs)

This text was published by the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) in South Africa in the late 1990s The first edition appeared in 1996. The 1997 version (2nd edition) was then reissued by the WSF successor organisations, the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) and Zabalaza Books in 2003 in the current format. It is not clear what changes, if any, were made in 2003. The cover  is … Continue reading WSF, 1996/ 1997/ 1999, “What is Anarchism? A South African Anarchist Pamphlet” (and variants and spin-offs)

8 September 2002: “South African Anarchists Join International Libertarian Solidarity”

South African Anarchists Join International Libertarian Solidarity Network September 8, 2002 – statement by Bikisha Media Collective & Zabalaza Books More on International Libertarian Solidarity Network here and here. Announcements Several South African anarchist projects — Bikisha Media Collective (BMC), Zabalaza Books (ZB) and the Zabalaza Action Group (ZAG, formerly the Anarchist Union) — have signed up as members of the new anarchist network International … Continue reading 8 September 2002: “South African Anarchists Join International Libertarian Solidarity”

News report: BMC at the anti-EU simmit, Gothenberg, 2001

As noted in other posts (here and here), two comrades from South Africa’s anarchist  Bikisha Media Collective, a successor of the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), attended and spoke at the anti-European Union summit in Gothenberg, Sweden, in mid-June 2001. The following newspaper clipping (in Swedish, from Aftonbladet, then Sweden’s largest tabloid), had some coverage of the event. By sheer luck, it also included a picture … Continue reading News report: BMC at the anti-EU simmit, Gothenberg, 2001

Photo: BMC comrade speaking at Gothenberg protests, Sweden, 2001

The photo below recently surfaced at Wikipedia, where it was incorrectly identified as the image of a speaker from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF, later ZAC Front) speaking in 2005. In fact, the speaker is comrade AN, from the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC), speaking in 2001 at the Gothenberg anti-EU protests. More on the BMC in those events can be found here. Continue reading Photo: BMC comrade speaking at Gothenberg protests, Sweden, 2001

Cap (from structures): Workers Library and Musem, Johannesburg (BMC role)

Members of the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) played a key role in the Workers Library and Museum (WLM), a non-sectarian labour service organisation then based in Newtown Johannesburg, from the late 1990s into the early 2000s. The WLM was run by an elected committee, with various subcommittees, and BMC members were active in these structures. Below is a cap produced by the WLM for a … Continue reading Cap (from structures): Workers Library and Musem, Johannesburg (BMC role)

T-shirts (from events/ summits): CNT-F (“Vignoles”) t-shirt from 2000 Paris “Le Autre Future” event (BMC)

Members of the Bikisha Media Collective attended the April / May 2000 “Le Autre Futur” international anarchist and syndicalist congress hosted in Paris by the National Confederation of Labour-France (“Paris”/ “Vignoles”, hereafter CNT-F). This brought together a number of formations, internationally, mainly the bigger revolutionary and anarcho-syndicalist unions. These included the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from the United States, the anarcho-syndicalist Unicobas from … Continue reading T-shirts (from events/ summits): CNT-F (“Vignoles”) t-shirt from 2000 Paris “Le Autre Future” event (BMC)