Profiles: Ousi Lawrence Zitha, 1969-2013, South Africa, TAAC

Ousi Lawrence Zitha came from Kliptown,Soweto. A factory worker much of his life, he lost his job in 2006, and became involved in anarchist political schools/ Red and Black Forums, and joined ZACF-linked Tokologo African Anarchist Collective (TAAC).

The following appeared as Nobuhle Dube, 2014, “Obituary of Ousi Lawrence Zitha,” Tokologo: Newsletter of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective, number 3, p. 3. (You can get the full issue here, offsite).

Comrade Lawrence was born on 7 July 1969 in Kliptown before moving to Ceza in KwaZulu-Natal. He attended Ceza Primary and Nghunghunyone Secondary, matriculating in 1986 with exemption (excellent at that time).

He was employed by Nampak Polyfoil as a factory worker until 2006. He was an activist, and became involved with anarchism in 2011.

He passed away on 13 June 2013, suffering from chronic kidney failure. He is survived by his mother Johanna Zitha, two brothers (Jaby and Bongane Zitha) and his sister (Gladness Zitha), not forgetting his nieces and nephews.

May he rest in peace.

Interview: Lekhetho Mtetwa, 2013, on Soweto anarchism, Landless Peoples Movement (LPM)

A 2013 interview with Lekhetho Mtetwa of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), focused on his work in the Landless Peoples Movement (LPM), a post-apartheid social movement. The name notwithstanding, the LPM was mainly involved in urban squatter communities, not amongst farm-dwellers and farm-workers.

Full reference details are included in the PDF.

Get the PDF here.

Shawn Hattingh, 2017, “The Political Nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Shawn Hattingh, 9 November 2017, “The Political Nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Pambazuka News, from here.

Mechanisation and automation have been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But these are not inevitable or neutral economic realities. They are political weapons of oppression under capitalism. It is a war against the working classes to increase profits. It is no an accident that bosses choose to mechanise and automate in the context of the massive crisis of capitalism.

Recently, the accounting multinational company, Grant Thompson, conducted a study amongst 2500 multinational corporations regarding mechanisation, automation and the introduction of artificial intelligence. Of these companies, 56% said they planned to automate parts of their operations within the next year. Another study by Oxford University was even starker. It stated that 47% of jobs in the United States and possibly 50% of jobs in parts of Africa – including South Africa – could possibly be lost to artificial intelligence, mechanisation and automation in the next two decades. It is clear that if this transpires, the consequences will be dire for workers in Africa – including South Africa – and their ability to organise.

Some people have said that this move to use advanced computers and automation is the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’; and that the inevitable advance of technology Continue reading

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “Education for Revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy,” South African Labour Bulletin

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn, 2019, “Education for Revolution: Anarcho-syndicalist pedagogy,” South African Labour Bulletin, volume 43, number 1, pp. 17-19

Get the PDF here

Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh explain the roots and principles of anarchosyndicalism and what these mean for the practice of worker education in movements inspired by these principles and traditions. Emphasising the democratic practice, working class rooted, organic and critical nature of the pedagogy, they explain that the practice seeks to intersect employed and unemployed women and men. Practically, the education provides a platform for post-revolutionary practice of direct democracy at the point of production and, thus, naturally included practical skills such as trades, accounting and sciences.

ANARCHO-syndicalism was, and is, similar to other socialist movements including Bolshevism – in that at its heart it aims for the working class to overthrow capitalism. It, however, also differs from other socialist movements. From the beginning anarcho-syndicalism also aimed to end all other forms of oppression through revolution, including religion, the state, patriarchy and racism.

The main difference between anarchists and other socialists/ Marxists was and is that anarchists are opposed to all forms of states, even ones that have labelled themselves Continue reading

Bongani Mavundla, 2015, “Film review ‘Our World, Rojava'” (source: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015)

FILM REVIEW of OUR WORLD, ROJAVA, by Bongani Mavundla,

FROM: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015.

The spectre of Anarchism haunts all societies that are riddled with turmoil, economic exploitation and political oppression, especially after the defeat of the Spanish revolution (wrongly dubbed the Spanish Civil War) of 1936 until 1939.

Today the world is seeing an anarchist experiment being established and this time around it is in a place called Rojava, in Kurdistan. “Our World , Rojava” is a documentary that details the experiences of the Kurdish people in their fight for self reliance and self determination in a territory that they call Rojava, made up of parts of Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

Armed with Murray Bookchins’ ideology of democratic confederalism, the Kurdish leftists have established a radical, egalitaran, multi-ethnic ministate [sic.] running along Bookchin’s communalist economic model. The documentary shows how this liberatory project is a product of the Kurdish people’s historical and politico-existential struggles.

They have achieved a number of gains, such as the democratic election of army officials, equal rights for women and the imposed ban on polygamy, religious freedom, equality of all ethnic groups and the ban of capital punishment and torture.  Private property and business are protected, though subjected to the democratic will of locally organised committees.

Every liberatory project will have its enemies, which seek to destroy it and maintain the status quo and in the case of Rojava , its direct enem1es are ISIS J1hadists. ISIS Jihadists attack them mainly because Rojava does not organise along religious lines and has committed itself towards the liberation of women, which something ISIS looks down upon.

The documentary seeks to show people that only themselves can be their own liberators. It is also bound to open debates within the leftist circles, because in the documentary one of the Kurdish people said that they are implementing a higher form of democracy because communism [Marxist communism] does not differs from capitalism in that they both have no respect for humanity.

This documentary has the potential of awakening the long time buried, but not dead debate that was started by Marx and Bakunin. “Do we start with destruction of the state or not?” It is seems the people of Rojava follow the path of Mikhail Bakunin.

 

 

“The soldier has fallen”: Mandla Khoza, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist, 22 May 1974-26 July 2019

Source: here

Comrade Mandla Khoza (or “MK,” as his friends and comrades knew him) passed away on Friday 26 July in his home town of Siphofaneni, Swaziland (Eswatini). He had long suffered from sugar diabetes. He leaves behind four children. One of the pioneering members of the Zabalaza Anarchist  Communist Federation (ZACF) founded in South Africa on May Day 2003, MK was committed to a social revolution that would place power and wealth in the hands of the working class, the peasants and the poor. As he would often say: “It doesn’t matter if you change who sits on the throne: you have to get rid of the throne itself.” This obituary commemorates his life Continue reading

Anarchist Statement in Solidarity with Swazi Students at Wits University (ZACF/ Wits Anarchist Society, 16 January 2010)

Source: here

Anarchist Statement in Solidarity with Swazi Students at Wits University
Saturday January 16, 2010, by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – Wits Anarchist Society

We condemn the recent unilateral decision by Wits management to no longer accept many Swazi students’ medical aid provider, Swazi Med, for the current academic year. This is an unfair move by the university so close to the registration period. It means an additional burden on students from one of the poorest and most authoritarian states in the world, many of whom come from poor backgrounds and study in South Africa not out of choice but necessity.

International students have to pay Continue reading

The ZACF and the 2010 Mine Line Factory Occupation

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front was part of the Solidarity Committee that supported the historic 2010-2011 Mine Line Factory  occupation in Krugersdorp. This is confirmed in the newspaper Izwi Labasabenzi, in an article available here. It was however critical of proposals that the factory be nationalized “under workers’ control,” arguing instead for self-management: see here. The occupation  was almost completely ignored by the mass media: for one of the few reports, see here.

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat”

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat,” Business Day, 27 March, from here

The late Stephen Hawkins had the following to say about the onset of the so-called 4th Industrial revolution: “If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

What Hawkins was highlighting in this statement is that in a different society, machines could be of benefit to all of humanity. However, in the current class based capitalist society, machines pose a dire threat to the majority of people and the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution will lead to the vast inequalities that already exist increasing exponentially.

World Bank statistics show that currently automation is responsible for 17% of production and services, in 15 years this is projected to rise to 40%. A common held belief by most of the middle class is that automation is a threat only to blue collar workers but this is becoming more and more untrue. The full computerisation of bank tellers, clerks, bookkeepers and pharmacists jobs is an increasing reality and will soon start affecting the work of teachers, doctors, pilots and architects. To understand why mechanisation and automation is being rolled out today; and why this poses such a threat, it is important to understand how they have been used under capitalism in the past and for what purposes.

An important feature of the introduction of machines historically is that a small elite have owned Continue reading

Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war”

Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war,”  Daily Maverick, 5 March, from here

For the past few years, most people would have come across news stories of how Kurdish fighters in Syria, especially women, have been crucial in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Very few, however, would be aware that in the north and eastern parts of Syria these same Kurdish fighters are part of a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far-reaching as any in history.

In the north and eastern parts of Syria, an attempt to create an alternative system to hierarchical states, capitalism and patriarchy is underway and should it fully succeed Continue reading

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way”

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way,” Business Day, 5 March, Business Day, from here 

The Rojava Revolution lays down tracks to building a better, more democratic and more feminist society.

The world is facing an economic crisis on a scale last seen in the 1930s. It has resulted in living conditions and incomes of workers and poor people — and increasingly the middle class — being eroded by governments through austerity and by businesses through rationalisations and wage freezes.

Like the 1930s, this crisis is triggering the rise of extreme right-wing regimes and right-wing populism. It is also resulting in an increase in global conflict and threats of war, with Syria a key example.

But in the heart of the raging war that is Syria, there is a glimmer of hope.

In the north of Syria bordering Turkey and Iraq, the Kurdish and Arab people Continue reading