“The Bolsheviks are Coming” – D.I. Jones and L.H. Greene, 1919

To the Workers of South Africa — Black as well as White

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of Bolshevism! What is this Bolshevism that the ruling class is so much afraid of?

Why do they send British Armies to Russia to fight the Bolsheviks?

Have they not had enough killing? Or is it thirst for righteousness that makes them pack Tommy Atkins off to freeze in the snows of Archangel, just when he was looking forward to Home and Blighty?

The Czar massacred half a million nomads in Southern Russia in one swoop. They did not send an army against him.

Why then are they so scared of Bolshevism? Why do they turn pale at its shadow as at the ghost of murdered men? Why?

We will tell you why!

The Great War of Nations is over, and the Class War against Labour has openly begun.

Bolshevism means the rule of the working class! And where the workers rule, the Capitalists cannot carry on their Robber System any more.

A Campaign of Lies

Workers! Do not be misled when the Capitalist Press reviles the Bolsheviks. They slander the Bolsheviks because they have lost the fat money bags they lent to the Czar to crush the Russian people.

They slander the Bolsheviks because they have lost the rich mines and factories which the Russian workmen are now working for themselves; and the land, which forty million peasants are farming in common under the Soviet Republic.

They slander the Bolsheviks because they fear you will follow suit. They are afraid the workers in South Africa will also become free and independent.

They are losing their hair over Bolshevism because they see a prospect of losing their Profits.

Bolshevism Means Labour on Top

The workers of Russia and Germany are forming themselves into Soviets — that is: Councils of Workmen.

They are taking over the control of the country into their own hands —the hands of great wage-earning proletariat. That means the end of the Profiteering System, the end of the Capitalist exploitation of wage-labour for profit.

Why have the workers of Russia and Germany to shed their blood?

Because the Capitalist Class of all countries will sooner tear the people to pieces with their cannon rather than let the people rule. The workers are the people.

Remember the massacre of the workers in Johannesburg in 1913, and inBloemfontein last February!

Down with British Militarism! It is the weapon to crush the workers.

Down with Allied intervention in Russia!!

Down with the Capitalist Class in all countries!!

The hope of the workers is coming from Bolshevism. The free commonwealth of labour is the actual fact in Russia today.

Bolshevism means the victory of the wage-earners. It will soon spread to Britain, France, America and throughout the world.

Get ready for the World-Wide Republic of Labour.

The way to get ready is to combine in the workshops. Combine as workers, no matter what colour.

Remember that an injury to one is an injury to all, be he black or white.

While the black worker is oppressed, the white worker cannot be free.

Before Labour can emancipate itself, black workers as well as white must combine in one organization of Labour, irrespective of craft, colour or creed.

This is Bolshevism: The Solidarity of Labour

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

You have nothing to lose but your Chains.

You have a world to win!!


“The Bolsheviks are Coming” was distributed in Pietermartitzburg by David Ivon Jones and L.H. Greene. Jones was a senior figure in the syndicalist International Socialist League (ISL). The two were prosecuted in March under the Riotous Assemblies Act. What did they mean by “Bolshevism”? Syndicalism, not Leninism, as Jones made clear in court: the ISL aimed “to establish the Socialist Commonwealth and the methods were organization and education by Press and platform, specially with regard to native workers; participation in the elections of public bodies, and the promotion of the establishment of revolutionary industrial organizations by workers to form the skeleton of the Social[ist] Commonwealth” (quoted in Baruch Hirson, 1988, “David Ivon Jones: the early writings on socialism in South Africa”, Searchlight South Africa, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 117).

Source: 25 April 1919 , The International

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About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014) and 'Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' (co-written with Michael Schmidt, AK Press 2009).