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”
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)
Lottare per la libertà della donna
“Perché voi donne permettete alla gente di maltrattarvi? Perché dipendete dagli altri per mangiare… Perché non avete cibo? Perché i ricchi hanno rubato le nostre proprietà e hanno stravinto sulla maggioranza delle persone…
Qual è la soluzione? Praticare l’Anarchismo… Tutte le donne sanno che non esiste niente di più dannoso del denaro…
Tutte, diventiamo una sola mente! Unite assieme agli uomini per sconfiggere definitivamente la borghesia e i ricchi! Allora il denaro verrà abolito… Così, non solo quello che mangeremo non ci sarà imposto da altri, ma sarà anche un ottimo cibo.”
He Zhen, anarchica cinese
da “What Women Ought To Know About Anarchist Communism” (Quello che le donne devono sapere sul Comunismo Anarchico)
Gli Anarchici riconoscono che le donne sono particolarmente oppresse proprio in quanto tali (fronteggiano l’oppressione come donne e a causa della loro posizione sociale). Noi la chiamiamo oppressione sessista.
Come Anarchici ci opponiamo a questa oppressione sia in teoria sia in pratica.
Il nostro movimento ha sempre parteggiato per i diritti delle donne, riconoscendo la specificità dell’oppressione femminile ma sempre collegandola alla lotta di classe.
Esempio di quest’impegno:
L’anarchica americana Emma Goldman si concentrò particolarmente su temi riguardanti la classe lavoratrice femminile e fu arrestata per distribuzione d’informazioni sulla contraccezione; la sua posizione era critica nei confronti della famiglia patriarcale e richiedeva equità fra uomini e donne; era in disaccordo con le femministe riformiste del suo tempo e si discostava dalle realtà economiche della classe lavoratrice femminile; era una rivoluzionaria per la lotta di classe;
In Argentina, le Anarchiche che crearono a La Voz De La Mujer nel 1890, furono le prime a collegare la liberazione delle donne con le idee rivoluzionarie di lotta di classe in America Latina, chiamando le donne a mobilitarsi contro l’oppressione sia come donne sia come lavoratrici;
In Cina, il movimento ha sviluppato una distinta posizione anarchica sulla liberazione delle donne che collega l’oppressione delle donne al sistema classista, allo sfruttamento economico e alla cultura tradizionale, chiamando ad una radicale rivoluzione sociale;
In Spagna le Anarchiche hanno fondato Mujeres Libres (Donne Libere), gruppo esistente dal 1936, con l’obiettivo di portare l’attenzione sui temi prettamente femminili e aumentare il numero di donne attiviste coinvolte nel movimento; Mujeres Libres lavorava per emancipare le donne dalla tradizionale passività, dall’ignoranza e dallo sfruttamento che le hanno schiavizzate per giungere ad una completa collaborazione tra uomini e donne; ha organizzato le lavoratrici; distribuito informazioni sulla salute, contraccezione e sessualità; combattuto i pregiudizi contro le donne; aperto strutture sanitarie per l’infanzia e organizzato brigate militari che hanno combattuto durante la rivoluzione spagnola (1936-1937).
Aspetti dell’oppressione delle donne
Le donne devono fronteggiare sfruttamento e oppressione nei luoghi di lavoro, all’interno della comunità e a casa.
(Belated) French translation of a WSF article. “Racisme et lutte de classe”, Ruptures, number 4, 2004, Québec City, pp. 20-24. Par la Worker’s Solidarity Federation (Afrique du Sud), traduit par le groupe La Commune (NEFAC-Montréal) Get the PDF here Racisme et lutte de classe L’oppression raciale est sans aucun doute l’une des caractéristiques inhérentes du monde capitaliste moderne. Elle se manifeste de façon plus visible … Continue reading WSF text (translated): “Racisme et lutte de classe”, Ruptures, number 4, 2004, Québec City, pp. 20-24.
Race, class and organisation: The view from the Workers Solidarity Federation
Originally published in Black Flag, 1998.
INTRODUCTION BY BLACK FLAG:
We recently observed a very fruitful discussion on race and class on the internet, particularly around “black” anarchism, special oppressions and the desirability of separate organization.
One of the best and most comprehensive posts came from a member of the Workers Solidarity Federation of South Africa, an anarchist/syndicalist group which while in a personal capacity reflects their politics and positions on these matters. Interest in anarchism is growing throughout the world. There are active groups in most parts of the world, with the exception of the Indian subcontinent, Antarctica and as far as we know the Chinese dictatorship. This process will no doubt accelerate and there is a challenge for us to make our ideas accessible. But as our South African comrades point out below, “it was the ability of anarchism to provide alternatives and to pay special attention to the specific needs of these different sections of the working class in order to unite the whole class that made the success (of the Cuban anarchists and IWW) possible,” not “a revision of anarchism to accommodate nationalism”.
Race, class and organisationThe view from the Workers Solidarity Federation
It is claimed falsely claimed by some that Anarchism as currently constituted is unable to attract Black people, and other specially oppressed minorities. It is therefore argued that we should thus endorse separate Black-only anarchist/ community organizations that may in some (vague and unspecified) cases associate with “white” groups – “white” groups should “work among” “their own” people etc.). It is also asserted from this view point that Anarchism is “Eurocentric” and lacking an analysis of racism and imperialism.
IN DEFENSE OF CLASSICAL ANARCHISM
These arguments are wrong or lacking in clarity. They reflect a distortion of Anarchist history, and a misunderstanding of Anarchist strategy.
Firstly, class struggle anarchism has historically proved quite capable of attracting massive numbers of people of color. In fact, one could claim that historically most anarchist movements have been based in Third World countries. For example, anarchism dominated the revolutionary movement in China in the 1910s and early 1920s. In the First World, Anarchist movements historically attracted specially oppressed national minorities, for example, the syndicalist IWW attracted thousands of Black workers in the USA Deep South, and other movements, Jews in eastern Europe.
Today, there are groups such as the WSF in South Africa and the Awareness League of Nigeria.
The key to this success was a consistent class struggle program that combated all manifestations of oppression. For example, the Cuban Anarchists mobilized both Afro-Cubans,creoles and Spaniards in massive integrated anarcho-syndicalist unions because they opposed racist practices like apprenticeship laws, because they supported the anti-colonial struggle against Spain and because they provided a class struggle answer to the questions facing all sections of the working class. I Continue reading “WSF, 1998: “Race, Class and Organisation: The view from the Workers Solidarity Federation””
This document was provided as an A5 booklet, with a yellow cover, and outlined the general structure, expectations and political approach of the ‘platformist’ Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF). Also included was the constitution. Given the size of the WSF, the structure outlined was perhaps overly ambitious, but it had the merit of avoiding loose and undemocratic network structures — and of setting out a clear … Continue reading 1998 Position Papers of the Workers Solidarity Federation: members guide
1998 Position Papers of the Workers Solidarity Federation: analysis and strategy
A classic set of documents, 180 pages long (contents below), developing a comprehensive analysis of, and political orientation around, contemporary issues with a South African focus but far larger relevance. Developed by the 1990s ‘platformist’ Workers Solidarity Federation, these were adopted, in largely unchanged form, by today’s Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (formerly Federation). They reflect the general approach of both organisations: a radical critique of the current system, combined with a practical fighting programme.
This version is from 1998. Its numbered Part 1 as there was an accompanying “Members Guide” (part 2), which was meant to serve as a sort of militant’s manual. You can read that document here.
Contents below image.
Click on image for PDF.
Chapter one:Defining the WSF and Libertarian Socialism (Anarcho-Syndicalism)
Chapter two: Class Struggle, Capitalism and the State
Chapter three: Trade Unions and Revolution Continue reading “1998 Position Papers of the Workers Solidarity Federation: analysis and strategy”
This article was commissioned from the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), for Red and Black Revolution: a magazine of libertarian communism, number 4, 1998/1999. You can get the PDF of the relevant Red and Black Revolution here.
Racism and the Class Struggle
Racial oppression remains a defining feature of the modern capitalist world. It is manifest most spectacularly in violent attacks on immigrants and minorities by fascist gangs. More important to the fate of these communities has been the systematic and increasing discrimination by capitalist states, manifest in attacks on the rights of immigrants, cuts in welfare services, and racist police and court systems.
How can racism be defeated?
An answer to this question requires an examination of the forces which gave rise to, and continue to reproduce, racism. It also requires a careful analysis of which social forces benefit from racial oppression.
By racism is meant either an attitude denying the equality of all human beings, or economic, political and social discrimination against racial groups.
The roots of racism
Capitalism developed as a world system based on the exploitation of workers, slaves and peasants – black, brown, yellow, and white. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the young capitalist system centred mainly on western Europe and the Americas. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Africa and Asia were brought increasingly into the ambit of capitalist power. Continue reading ““Racism and the Class Struggle”: Workers Solidarity Federation 1998/1999″
This article appeared in Red and Black Revolution: a magazine of libertarian communism, no. 3, 1997. You can get the PDF of this issue of Red and Black Revolution here.
Anarchism & the ‘new’ South Africa
An interview with the South African WSF
Q. Most readers of Red and Black Revolution will be familiar with the main organisations on the left in South Africa, such as the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Can you tell us something about the tradition of libertarian ideas and struggle?
A. Anarchism and Syndicalism do (or at least did) have an important place in South African history, although this is typically hidden or obscured by official and “radical” versions of the past. Before the founding of the SACP in 1921, libertarian ideas were common on the revolutionary left. A section of the US syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World, was established here in 1911, growing out of an organisation called the Industrial Workers Union . Continue reading ““Anarchism and the ‘New’ South Africa: an interview with the South African WSF”, 1997″
Click here for PDF A 67 page pamphlet detailing the Policies and Politics of the Workers’ Solidarity Federation Continue reading Anarchism and South Africa: Policies and Politics of the WSF, undated