Workers Solidarity Federation [1995-1999]

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Documents and Publications of the
Workers Solidarity Federation

The WSF was founded in April 1995 as an anarchist political organisation based on the Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists written by Nestor Makhno and Peter Archinov. We built an organisation based on theoretical and tactical unity with the aim of reviving the revolutionary syndicalist tradition of workers control in the South African labour movement.

The roots of revolutionary syndicalism in South Africa go back to the 1910s, when a local revolutionary syndicalist movement deeply influenced by the IWW set up the first black trade union in southern Africa, the Industrial Workers of Africa, in 1917. This autonomous, workerist tradition, although eclipsed by bourgeois nationalism and the allied forces of Stalinist communism, remained a constant undercurrent in the fight against racial capitalism.

WSF picked up the torch by locating the contemporary workers’ struggle firmly within the anarcho-syndicalist tradition, building a organisation of class struggle militants, both black and white.

Our first project was to develop a set of clear theoretical and strategic perspectives on a range of issues. These analysed capitalism, racism, imperialism, women’s oppression and other forms of economic and social injustice globally and in southern Africa, and outlined a class war tactical response.

Our analysis of the ANC as a party of the capitalist elite – not, as its apologists claim a leftist party “with a working class bias” – has been borne out by that party’s brutal neo-liberal offensive as champion of an increasingly deracialized ruling class centred on monopoly capital. Through its GEAR austerity programme, the ANC has been at the vanguard of the capitalist agenda in South Africa. It is thus, for the moment, a key local enforcer of the international class war against labour: “neo-liberal globalisation”.

Today, despite the ANC having come to power on the back of massive popular resistance, driven by a desire for socialism, there is not a single left-wing seat in parliament.

Organised labour is fundamentally crippled by its cross-class alliance with the ruling elite, and Stalinist members of the South African Communist Party and capitalist bureaucrats have joined forces in an attempt to silence and sideline the remaining militants.

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