WSF (1998): “EDITORIAL: Unite the Workers’ Struggle!”

WSF (1998): “EDITORIAL: Unite the Workers’ Struggle!”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 4, number 1, first quarter 1998. Complete PDF is here

From coast to coast, a greedy class of anti-worker fat cat bosses abuse and oppress us- the workers. Our masters want privatisation, free trade, mass retrenchments in the public sector, “flexible” labour (hire and fire at will), minimal union rights, and cuts in education and health spending. This is the “free market”.

In the so-called “Windhoek Declaration” signed by all southern African governments in SADC in October 1997 it is stated that “the private sector [is] the locomotive of economic development,” and that “business requires … a climate in which it can develop safely, freely and profitably“. SADC (the Southern African Development Community) includes Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

These policies, sponsored by imperialism, and happily accepted by the local ruling classes, will give bosses big profits. But the workers and the poor will suffer.

In Zambia these policies have cost 100,000 jobs. In Zimbabwe they have led to education spending falling to the level of the colonial 1970s. In South Africa, jobs are at their lowest level in 16 years.

We need to unite the workers struggles in our region. We need to mobilise our unions in solidarity with each other, resisting the bosses’ onslaught.

Today the worker is treated as nothing while the boss is treated as a hero. After the revolution, the workers will be everything and the boss- nothing!!!




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).