Industrial Workers of World pamphlet, Durban, early 2000s

After the dissolution of the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) in 1999, there were a number of new anarchist initiatives.  In Durban, Zabalaza Books and the Anarchist Union (later the Zabalaza Action Group, ZAG) were the most important. Durban activists linked to these projects also established a short-lived South African Regional Organising Committee (ROC) of the revolutionary syndicalist Industrial Workers of World (IWW). That is,  the Durban-based IWW was formally linked to the main IWW in the United States.  The Durban-based ROC did not have much success in forming IWW unions. Note: address details on second last page of the PDF.

Note: A later attempt at a South African IWW, this time based  in Cape Town, took place in the early 2010s, with similar results.

PDF link is here.

iww cover


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,' 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).