Student protest 1995 – For Free Democratic Anti-Racist Education – Workers Solidarity Federation – 1995

Student protest in Pretoria 1995

PDF online here

This was a leaflet issued by the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), for a national university student protest in Pretoria. It argued for free university education, pointing to the class and national / racial effects of current policies; it also raises again the WSF slogan of the “Workers University.” Given that the student movement was (and is) fragmented into student wings of major political parties, the leaflet also proposed the formation of a non-party “student union,” as existed elsewhere e.g. in Britain.  This suggestion did not gain traction: today the student movement is even more fragmented: while the ANC-linked current still dominates the student scene, SASCO now co-exists with the young wing of ANC ally, the South African Communist Party (SACP), this being the Young Communist League (YCL), and the ANC’s general youth wing, this being the ANC Youth League  (ANCYL). These are loosely linked into Progressive Youth Alliance, with some overlapping membership.


About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I have long been 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 or published 100s of papers conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 4 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and produced five books. 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. My books includd include 'Politics at a Distance from the State: Radical and African Perspectives' (2018, co-edited with Kirk Helliker), 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' and '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).