ZACF (2006): “Solidarity with Swaziland Youth Day and the Sixteen Pro-Democracy Activists Facing the Death Sentence”

Zabalaza  Anarchist Communist Federation (later Front, ZACF) : issued 19 January 2006 against repression in Swaziland. This repression used a spate of bombings againsth absolute monarchy as a pretext. Swazi news reports also falsely accused the ZACF of involvement in the bombings.

Solidarity with Swaziland Youth Day and the Sixteen Pro-Democracy Activists Facing the Death Sentence

A woman is dead as a result of the injuries incurred from her torture, by the Swazi police, for being married to a member of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement, PUDEMO. Another 16 pro-democracy activists, arrested in December after a spate of firebomb attacks, whose charges have now been upgraded to High Treason, await their sentences of possible death or life imprisonment. And dozens of pro-democracy leaders and activists are fleeing the country in fear of their lives.

We don’t endorse the bombings, as the ZACF has consistently been against terrorism in favour of mass mobilisation; and we don’t assume that the 16 PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members did it; but we defend them and demand their release whether they did it or not. The fact that people have resorted to violence to make themselves heard when they speak or act out against this brutal monarchy only goes to show the gravity of the reality of life for the majority of Swazis under this agonising dictatorship, and the lengths a desperate people are prepared to go in their struggle for democracy and against the injustice of the Tinkhundla regime.

We radicals and revolutionaries in South Africa and worldwide must remember that the people of Swaziland aided South African freedom fighters during the anti-apartheid struggle and now it is time to repay the favor.

We must also remember that a very similar struggle is being waged in another of our neighboring countries, Zimbabwe, against an equally authoritarian and corrupt system. In so doing we need to recognize that we cannot divorce these struggles from one another as, if either are to be successful, we need to put into practical application the regional solidarity talked about at the Southern African Social Forum and Uhuru Youth Camp in Harare in December.

Saturday the 21st of January is Swaziland Youth Day, traditionally marked by violent repression of peaceful youth gatherings. On this day we are calling for anyone who is serious about international solidarity against capitalism and in favour of democracy over dictatorship to organise activities, actions and events in solidarity not only with the Swazi youth and those struggling against the monarchy, but also in solidarity with the struggling people of Zimbabwe.

On this day we are certain that the police will repress the youth demonstrations, probably make arrests, and beat and torture activists. Any form of solidarity is needed. We need to let the Swazi regime know that they are being watched. It is unacceptable that 16 of our comrades are already in jail and awaiting their possible death sentence or life imprisonment, let this day also be a day of action demanding their immediate release. Let it also be a warning to the Tinkhundla regime that our conscience will not let us sit idly by while they torture, imprison and kill people whose only crime is to fight for social justice and for freedom.

We realize that it may be difficult to organise activities for the 21st on such late notice and so appeal to the international community to make an effort at showing their solidarity with the people of Swaziland over the coming weeks and even months. The 16 treason trialists will appear in court on Friday 20th January when the date for their trial will be set, and so we ask that anyone who can stage demonstrations, pickets, send letters of protest and petitions etc. to the respective Kingdom of Swaziland High Commission in their countries please do so. For as long and as often as it takes until they, and indeed all Swazi political prisoner s are released. Bearing in mind the imperial interests of British and South African capital in Swaziland, if there is not a Swaziland High Commission in your country, actions at these embassies could be considered instead.

We know that whatever the public face of South African and British imperialism in Swaziland, be it absolute monarchy or constitutional democracy, the same dogs will be calling the shots and running the country (into the ground). Let this warning therefore extend to them.

Recognizing that the oppressed people of Swaziland have demands of their own, which we endorse, provided they are progressive and democratic in nature, we demand the following:

1. A general amnesty for all political prisoners

2. Freedom of association, assembly and speech, and full trade union rights

3. Abolition of the pseudo-democratic Thikundla, Liqoqo, royal and state power structures and their replacement by directly-democratic,decentralised popular assemblies of the working class, poor and peasantry.

4. Equal rights for women

5. Abolition of all chiefly privileges – especially the power to steal land from the poor

6. Land redistribution in both commercial and traditional sectors

7. Free and democratic education, with student representative councils at schools

8. A living wage campaign in the plantations, factories and farms

9. Ban on retrenchments, and well-paid decent jobs for all

 

8 September 2002- “South African Anarchists Join International Libertarian Solidarity”

South African Anarchists Join International Libertarian Solidarity Network
September 8, 2002 – statement by Bikisha Media Collective & Zabalaza Books

More on International Libertarian Solidarity Network here and here.

Announcements
Several South African anarchist projects — Bikisha Media Collective (BMC), Zabalaza Books (ZB) and the Zabalaza Action Group (ZAG, formerly the Anarchist Union) — have signed up as members of the new anarchist network International Libertarian Solidarity (ILS) of which the following organisations are also a part: Al Abdil al Taharouri (AAT, Lebanon), Alternative Libertaire (AL, France & Belgium), Confederacion General del Trabajo (CGT, Spain), Organisasion Communiste Libertaire (OCL, France), RÈseau No Pasaran (France), Consejo IndÌgena Popular de Oaxaca — “Ricardo Flores Magon” (CIP-RFM, Mexico), Confederation Nationale du Travail — “Vignoles” (CNT-V, France), Federacio Anarquista Ga?cha (FAG, Brazil), Federacion Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU, Uruguay), Marmitag (Greece), Organizace RevolucnÌch Anarchistu-Solidarita (ORA-S, Czech Republic), Organizacion Socialista Libertaria (OSL, Argentina), Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (OSL, Switzerland), Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation (SAC, Sweden), and the Workers’ Solidarity Movement (WSM, Ireland).

Other groups that support the ISL are the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, international), Anacho-Sindico (India), the North-Eastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC, Canada & the USA), Sibirskaya Konfederatsia Truda (SKT, Russia) and Unione Sindacale Italiana — “Roma” (USI-R, Italy).This makes the ISL one of the most important players on the international anarchist stage today, alongside the International Workers Association (IWA) — established in Berlin in 1922 as the anarchist unionist alternative to the communist Red International of Trade Unions — and the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA), founded in Italy in 1968, to unite anarchist political organisations. But the ISL is not another international. It is rather an international anarchist network, other anarchist international networks include the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, started in London in 1967 to assist anarchist and class war prisoners, and the Insurrectional Anarchist International (IAI), founded in Italy in 2000, to co-ordinate anarchist resistance in the Mediteranean [sic..

Our participation in the ISL dates back to the BMC delegation sent to Paris for the “Other Future” international anarchist congress organised in 2000 by the CNT-V which saw 6,000 anarchists take to the streets with a forest of red-and-black flags for May Day. There, delegates of 15 participating organisations agreed to form a new network to: a) connect the growing anarchist unions, anarcho-communist, platformist and anarcho-synthesist groups that fell outside the IWA; b) co-ordinate international anarchist engagement with the emerging anti-capitalist movement; and c) for established Northern organisations to assist emergent anarchist organisations in the global South. Last year, at “LibWeek” in Madrid, the decision was realised when the international movement set up the ISL, which has expanded significantly since then. Bikisha Media and Zabalaza Books sent a message of support to Madrid to endorse the establishment of the network of which we are now a part.

The ISL is by no means a paper tiger: so far, the network has helped the FAG-Brazil with finances in setting up a printing works and a community centre. There are also ISL-sponsored projects under way in Uruguay and another planned in Siberia. We should take this opportunity to thank ISL member organisation the SAC-Sweden for their kind donation of funds — under an agreement separate to the ISL — to our anarchist printing project.

Our original message to the founding congress of the ISL read:

We as South African anarchists are encouraged by this important initiative — the establishment of an international co-ordinating network to aid anarchist organisations in their engagement with the anti-globalisation movement. Such a network is vital if we are to survive the attacks on our organisations and our class — and if we are to succeed in our fight against neo-liberalism. We would also like to add the names of our two organisations to those endorsing the “Anarchist Declaration for the 21st Century”.

Since the 1970s, our enemies, capital and its siamese twin, the state, have been suffering from one of their inevitable periods of crisis as markets hit natural consumption ceilings and the rate of profit continues to fall. Even the opening of the former Soviet and East Bloc workforce to foreign exploitation, with robber barons breaking down vital industries to steal handfuls of cash, has been unable to stop the slide.

But like hungry bears, our enemies are even more dangerous despite their weaknesses. On the one hand, their claws are sharper: they have developed warfare, terrorism and propaganda to technological and psychological levels never achieved before. On the other hand, we, their prey, are weak: the international working class revolutionary movement, both anarchist and otherwise, has been dispersed and destroyed by decades of fascism. After the Berlin Wall fell, our enemies announced the end of history, claiming that they had achieved the perfect social balance, a balance built historically on millions of dead, and today maintained by millions of lives cheapened by poor working conditions, corrupted by a fouled environment, marginalised by casualisation, raped by patriarchy, excluded by so-called democracy and, if necessary, eliminated by death-squads.

But the bears miscalculated. History is not over. The anti-globalisation movement is the most significant international social movement since the 1960s. There are dangers: professional networks of paid middle-class activists have attempted to turn it into their own club, a collection of narrow sectarian interests. Also, totalitarian and right-wing organisations, whether fascist, religious fundamentalist or authoritarian socialist, are trying to control grassroots actions against the IMF/World Bank, the “free” trade agreements and the multinational corporations. But this is a global movement of the oppressed. Its instinctive nature is anti-authoritarian, workerist and militant. This is the true home of all anarchist revolutionaries today and we fully support all efforts by anarchists to position themselves at the forefront of the struggle and to put their ideas at the centre of the global debates on how to beat the ravages of turbo capitalism.

The anti-globalisation movement must be dominated by anarchist forces and arguments. We as anarchist revolutionaries must throw ourselves wholeheartedly into this struggle. But we must remember our key strategic strength: the united forces of the proletariat, whether industrial or commercial. This means that while community struggles are essential, they can be no substitute for revolutionary organisation in the workplace, at the point of extraction of profit. The traditional working class may have changed, but workers’ status as wage-slaves has not, regardless of how the capitalists have tried to divide their common interests. And it is only the workers who have the technical power and class incentive to stop the engines of capitalism. Only a revolution in the relations of production by organised labour and a seizure of the means of production by the producers can end the terrorism of capital and the state. Assisted by the peasantry and the poor, the workers can and will defeat neo-liberalism, however it disguises itself: racism, housing evictions, neo-colonialism, electricity cut-offs, sweatshops,  criminalisation of protest, or other masks.

FOR WORKERS’ SELF-MANAGEMENT, DIRECT ACTION AND INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTION!

NO PASARAN!

— Bikisha Media Collective & Zabalaza Books

Material on L.A. Motler (from Macnab, Gulston’s 1948 “South African Poetry: A New Anthology”

This is material dealing with the anarchist Leonard Augustine Motler, a British immigrant to South Africa, who was also linked to the local Communist Party. More on Motler here and here. This material is from a 1948 poetry anthology.

Get the PDF here.

(Ironically, the anthology had a foreword by then-famed South African poet Roy Campbell. Campbell, a conservative, authoritarian and anti-modernist English-speaking white South African who said he “cannot imagine what meaning such words as ‘rights’, ‘progress’, ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ have.” Campbell supporting General Francisco Franco’s forces against the anarchist-led Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939, and lived in Spain from 1934. He was a war correspondent with Franco’s forces, lived in Fascist Italy form 1938-1939 where he praised Franco’s forces in a long poem, The Flowering Rifle, returned to Spain to attend Franco’s 1939 Victory Parade,  and moved to Portugal in 1952, another semi-fascist dictatorship. More on this character can be found in e.g. Mayte Gómez, 2007, “Soldier of Franco, Soldier of Christ: Roy Campbell and Spain in the 1930s,” English in Africa, 34 (1): 21-41).

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