T-shirts (from campaigns): Campaign against “Wits 2001”, BMC role (1999/2000)

T-shirt from campaign against neo-liberal “Wits 2001” restructuring at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1999 and 2000. T-shirts were sponsored by the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) (the front of the shirt has the NEHAWU logo). NEHAWU was the main support service workers’ union on campus, perhaps 600 strong at Wits at the time, with a proud struggle history. Anarchists linked to the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) were involved in the campaign — especially against the outsourcing of service workers, who were mainly NEHAWU members. Participation by anarchists was through the Wits 2001 Crisis Committee, NEHAWU, and the Lesedi Socialist Study Circle. The Wits Crisis Committee later merged (mid-2000) with other bodies to form the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), of which the BMC, and then the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later “Front”, the ZACF) were affiliates.

Wits 2001 A

Wits 2001 B

 

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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).