“Why Workers Should Fight GEAR”: WSF meeting, Cape Town, 10 April 1998

Below:  poster for a meeting by the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) for Cape Town, 10 April 1998, meeting on , “Why Workers Should Fight GEAR.” The WSF was largely based in Durban and Johannesburg, but had some Cape Town connections; it was in Cape Town, unsurprisingly, that the translation of WSF materials into Afrikaans took place. GEAR was (and is) the South African state’s highly controversial, neo-liberal, macro-economic framework. It was (and is) widely derided in trade unions. This particular meeting was reportedly not, however, a success.

wsf ct 10 April 1998



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).