ZACF (2005): Anarchist arrested by Swazi regime

Several weeks ago “MK”, a member of the Soutern African Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation’s underground structures in Swaziland was arrested.

He was among eight Swaziland youth congress (SWAYOCO) members detained by police following a SWAYOCO demonstration in the city of Manzini on Saturday, October 1st.

The SWAYOCO demonstration was to protest against King Sobhuza II’s autocratic decree of 1973 that outlawed all pro-democratic political activity in this, Africa’s last remaining “white” (monarchist) dictatorship. Today Sobhuza’s successor, King Mswati III, presides over one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rates, in a country where for people to draw water from a stream without permission is a crime – while he continues to splurge millions of rands on a private jet, swan around in a r2-million luxury Maybach vehicle and a string of palaces, and kidnap schoolgirls as his brides.

Over the past two years, the ZACF has established a presence in Swaziland as the only grassroots revolutionary organisation pushing for the overthrow of the king and of the british-south african extractive capitalism he supports.

Working within and outside of SWAYOCO, the ZACF has popularised anarchist class struggle ideas among politically-conscious youth. Countering Saturday’s SWAYOCO demonstration in which the ZACF participated, the royal Swazi police fired warning shots and in the resulting chaos, arrested “MK” and seven SWAYOCO comrades. Last month, however, the shoe was on the other foot, when an armoured police “hippo” that wandered into comrade-controlled territory found itself stoned and petrol-bombed.

“MK” and his seven comrades have apparently been charged with “disturbing the peace” – a charge that was of course not levelled at the police who started the shooting. “MK” was visited in the “Zakhele Detention Centre” in Manzini and was in high spirits, but is an ill man and is not able to take his regular medication. Bail has been set at r1,500 by the state, but civic organisations are trying to get the bail reduced to r500 – still a huge sum in this extremely poor southern African country.

For more information, contact the ZACF

MI & MD,
International Secretaries,
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation,
South Africa & Swaziland

ZACF
Postnet Suite 153
Private Bag X42
Braamfontein
2017
South Africa

www.zabalaza.net

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Hattingh, “Sugar Coating Exploitation” (2012)

From ZCommunications here

Sugar Coating Explotation

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 against 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

 

WSF (1996): “Swazi Unions Demand Democracy”

WSF (1996): “Swazi Unions Demand Democracy”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here

In 1994 the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) called a two day general strike for the 21- 22 of February. More than 10 000 workers participated. The Swazi economy was paralysed. The strike also received support from the unemployed and hawkers. The SFTU put 27 demands to the government. These demands includes a repeal of oppressive labour laws and the removal of the 1973 royal decree which banned political parties. Workers also called for the end of corruption and demanded a democratic and transparent government.

SUCCESS

The general strike marked a turning point in Swaziland’s labour history. Continue reading

Photo: ZACF members in Swaziland 2004

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF, later the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front) in its early years had members in Swaziland; these members came to South Africa quite often, where they were involved in the ZACF collective called the Black Action Group (BAG), based in Motsoaledi, Soweto. Through BAG and ZACF they were also involved in the ZACF-linked Phambili Motsoaledi Community Project. This photo is from 2004. ZACF comrades on left and right, visitor from abroad centre.

ZACF Swaziland 2004  [blur]