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)
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”
This was one of many texts produced by the Durban-based Anarchist Awareness League, but its not clear whether it was produced in the group’s initial incarnation (from 1993) or revival (from 1997). The group later became Zabalaza Books. More on its history is here. Get the PDF here. Continue reading Anarchist Awareness League – no date – “The Idea of Good Government” (by Malatesta)
The Anarchist Awareness League was formed in Durban in 1993. It was mainly involved in publishing leaflets, pamphlets and posters. At some point it became part of a new Durban Anarchist Federation, along with a “green” and feminist collective. In 1997 the Anarchist Awareness League was re-established. Renamed the Anarchist Workers Collective (AWC), it joined the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) that year. there had been … Continue reading A few notes on the Anarchist Awareness League and the Durban Anarchist Federation – 1993-2003
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) ran a stall at the 2010 Jozi Book Fair in Johannesburg alongside other black-oriented and left-wing publishes. It was described as “an anarchist political organization that works to promote libertarian socialist ideas and practice within popular social movements and trade unions. Through our publishing arm, Zabalaza books, we publish and distribute a wide variety of books, pamphlets and leaflets … Continue reading ZACF tabling: 2010 Jozi Bookfair
A manifesto from Durban, probably late 1990s or early 2000s, same design style as some material from the “Zabalaza Books” collective of the time. Click image for PDF of whole manifesto, or click here. Continue reading Durban (late 1990s or early 2000s): “Manifesto of the Revolutionary Anarchist Federation”
Letters page, Mail and Guardian, Johannesburg, 12 July 1996. Letter by member of Durban Anarchist Federation, who had visited the Zapatista zone in Chiapas. Note: the Durban Anarchist Federation, which went through various names and in 1997 largely merged into the Workers Solidarity Federation. Activists from the Durban Anarchist Federation also set up what is today Zabalaza Books, a South African anarchist publishing project that continues … Continue reading Letter on Chiapas, 1996, from Durban Anarchist Federation
South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle and unions (both strengths and limitations), and South African anarchism and syndicalism, were mentioned several times in Sam Mbah and IE. Igariwey’s 1997 classic text, African Anarchism: the history of a movement (See Sharp, Tucson, USA). The authors, Nigerian militants, highlighted the South African movement as one of the oldest and most important in Africa (not much was known of the time, at least amongst English-speakers, of the very important currents that had existed in North Africa, or impacts elsewhere in the continent). The 1990s South African movement, in turn, was deeply impressed by the then-1,000 member anarcho-syndicalist Awareness League in Nigeria, of which Mbah and Igariwey were leading lights; the League joined an anarcho-syndicalist international, the International Workers Association, in 1996, a body claiming direct descent from the 1922 “Berlin” international set up after anarchists and syndicalists broke ties with the Communist International / Comintern. Mbah, sadly, passed away from heart problems in late 2014.
From African Anarchism:
Chapter 1: What Is Anarchism?
“Anarchism as a social philosophy, theory of social organization, and social movement is remote to Africa — indeed, almost unknown. It is underdeveloped in Africa as a systematic body of thought, and largely unknown as a revolutionary movement. Be that as it may, anarchism as a way of life is not at all new to Africa, as we shall see. The continent’s earliest contact with European anarchist thought probably did not take place before the second half of the 20th century, with the single exception of South Africa. It is, therefore, to Western thinkers that we must turn for an elucidation of anarchism.
Anarchism derives not so much from abstract reflections of intellectuals or philosophers as from the objective conditions in which workers and producers find themselves. Though one can find traces of it earlier, anarchism as a revolutionary philosophy arose as part of the worldwide socialist movement in the 19th century….”
Chapter 3: Anarchistic Precedents in Africa
“As for outright anarchist movements, there have existed and still exist anarchist groups in South Africa — notably the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement in Johannesburg, and the Durban-based Angry Brigade [this was apparently one of the incarnations of the Durban anarchist movement that later ended up in the Workers Solidarity Federation and in Zabalaza Books — SAAHSA]. South Africa’s pioneer anarcho-syndicalist organization, however — known as the Industrial Workers of Africa — Continue reading “South Africa, and South African anarchism, through West African eyes ”
Like the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later Front, ZACF) was keen on international linkages. It was part of the International Libertarian Solidarity (ILS) network of slightly over 20 groups from across the world, mainly indepedent anarcho-syndicalist and revolutonary syndicalist unions, as well as anarchist political groups (mainly Platformist and especifist). Due to the various splits in the syndicalist unions, the ILS (which attracted some of these unions) was opposed by the International Workers Association (which attracted others).
ILS member groups (besides ZACF) included Auca – Socialismo Libertario (Argentina), Organisación Socialista Libertaria (Argentina), Luta Libertaria (Brazil), Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (Brazil), North-Eastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (Canada & USA), Ora-Solidarita (Czech Republic), Réseau No Pasaran (France), Offensive Libertaire Et Sociale (France), Alternative Libertaire (France), Organisation Communiste Libertaire (France), Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland), Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy), Al-Badil Al-Chooui Al-Taharouri (Lebanon), Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca “Ricardo Flores Magon” (Mexico), Red Libertaria Apoyo Mutuo (Spain), Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland), and the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay). The unions involved were Confederazione Italia di Base Unicobas (Unicobas, Italy) , Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT, Spain), and SAC (Sweden). Messages of support for the main founding meeting in Madrid in 2001 also came from Anacho Syndico (India), Federation Anarchiste (France), IWW (USA), SKT (Siberia), USI-Rome (Italy) (the latter three are also unions).
ILS was short-lived, although it undertook some solidarity projects with the Latin American Groups, issued an electronic bulletin, and adopted a Declaration, which is provided below. More can be read of ILS at wikipedia here and its webpage is archived here.
Declaration of the International Libertarian Meeting
Madrid, 31st March & 1st April 2001
The men and women from different parts of the world who have come here
The advert below, for the Workers Library and Musem (WLM), mentions its Workers’ Bookshop carrying anarchist/ syndicalist materials from Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) and Zabalaza Books. The WLM was a non-sectarian labour support organisation, based in downtown Johannesburg, in which some anarchists from the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), then Bikisha participated 1998-2002. Records indicate sales of BMC and Zabalaza Books materials were brisk. The Workers’ … Continue reading [UPDATED] Adverts for Workers Library and Musem mention Bikisha, Zabalaza Books
Undated, but early 2000s. Leaflet on anarchism’s history of fighting for women’s freedom, going back to Mikhail Bakunin. Issued from Durban, South Africa. 2 pages. Click image for PDF Continue reading Zabalaza Books leaflet: Anarchism – A history of fighting for Women’s Freedom
Undated, but early 2000s. Anti-militarist leaflet issued from Durban, South Africa. 2 pages. Click image for PDF Continue reading Zabalaza Books leaflet: Why do Soldiers Die for their Country?
The Zabalaza Books Bulletin’s were produced in the years 2002 – 2004 by the project, but have since been discontinued. They are linked here for archival purposes. Zabalaza Books Bulletin #1 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #2 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #3 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #4 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #5 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #6 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #7 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #8 Zabalaza Books Bulletin #9 Zabalaza Books… Continue reading Zabalaza Books Bulletins
Leaflet distributed in Cape Town. Click here for the PDF Continue reading Parliament OR democracy? Bikisha Media/ Zabalaza Books leaflet, ca. 2000