Appeal by South African anarchists – January 1998

This appeal was circulated widely by the Platformist group, the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) in early 1998: it was mainly aimed at building a local anarchist / syndicalist reference collection. It was by all reports fairly successful. Unfavorable exchange rates, tariffs on book imports and expensive shipping all made obtaining new books through commercial companies very expensive.

This copy was sourced from the A-Infos mailing list here.


Date Tue, 27 Jan 1998 10:32:16 GMT + 2:00
Organization University of the Witwatersrand
Priority normal

A – I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


Dear comrades,

This is an appeal on behalf of the Workers Solidarity Federation (South Africa).

We are in desperate need of CLASS STRUGGLE anarchist and revolutionary syndicalist books and pamphlets.

There are very few anarchist books in South Africa and books are very expensive to import. Due to the shortage of books we have found it often very difficult to organise and spread anarchist ideas. We have also found it difficult to secure contacts in other parts of Southern Africa.

We appeal to all anarchist comrades to support us and to please donate some anarchist books or money.

Anyone wanting to make a donation, please write to or post materials to

Suite no. 36
Private Bag X42
South Africa

Cash donations also very welcome!!

All aid is appreciated and vital. As the only class struggle anarchist organisation in the southern African sub- continent, our tasks are immense, but our resources minimal.

on behalf of
Workers Solidarity Federation
South Africa


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).