Interview: Lucien van der Walt, 2010, on Johannesburg anarchism, Wits 2001, NEHAWU, Anti-Privatisation Forum

Interview from the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) archives,  created by Dale McKinley, held at the South African History Archive (SAHA), at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. In this interview Lucien van der Walt talks about his background, the anarchist and left movement in Johannesburg in the 1990s and 2000s, and experiences in the APF, a major coalition of post-apartheid movements founded in 2000. He also draws some lessons from the APF experience.

PDF of interview here.

Full reference details for interview: Lucien van der Walt, 23 March 2010, Interview, Johannesburg. Interviewed by Dale McKinley, Johannesburg.The Anti Privatisation Forum collection, AL3290, South African History Archive (SAHA), Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

More on SAHA, an independent archive, here.

Index to APF collection here (register online for access to all materials).

 

1993: “The Fire Next Time: Lessons of the Los Angeles (LA) Uprising”

This was an introduction written by Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg in early 1994 for an U.S.-originated pamphlet called No Justice, No Peace: An Eyewitness Account of the Los Angeles Riots. The 1992 riots followed the Rodney King case and — while cast in the media as a “race riot” — involved large numbers of Hispanic and white rioters (and arrests) too. The introduction appeared in a South African edition of No Justice, No Peace: An Eyewitness Account of the Los Angeles Riots. The authorship of No Justice, No Peace was not given in the pamphlet. An earlier local edition (without introduction) was also published by the Backstreet Abortions distro in Johannesburg, which carried a range of materials including by ARM and which was established by two ARM founders.

THE FIRE NEXT TIME: LESSONS OF THE LOS ANGELES (LA) UPRISING

At a meeting at the First A.M.E. Church during the first hours of the rioting, the mayor, clergy, and community leaders were booed and ignored by much of the audience. A young black woman charged the podium, and took control of the microphone. “We can’t rely on these people up here to act … I believe they have our best interests at heart, but we cannot rely on them … You know what we need to do … ” (from Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Newsmonthly June  1992. New York)

The LA uprising of 1992 was a class rebellion in the heart of capitalist America. Triggered by the acquittal of four White cops videotaped beating a black truck driver, Rodney King, the uprising spread through dozens of American cities, and even internationally: in Berlin, masked youths battled police under banners calling for the destruction of capitalism and proclaiming “LA did the right thing.” While people of many different backgrounds participated in the action, there is no doubt that poor blacks, one of the most oppressed segments of the US working class led the way. This shows that black liberation must be central to any real working class challenge to the system. By the time the military and police forces of the regime managed to put down the uprising, there had been 58 deaths (mostly black), 4,000 injuries, 12,000 arrests, 10,000 businesses destroyed and countless shops looted.

The bulk of this pamphlet provides an eyewitness account of the revolt as it happened in Los Angeles itself. A final section looks draws out some of the significance of the uprising. In this introduction we argue that this sort of rising can and should be turned into a revolutionary attack on the State and capitalist system. We also suggest what anarchist revolutionaries can do to achieve this.

Its quite clear that capitalism and the State lie at the heart of the oppressive and marginalised experiences faced by working class people in America’s inner-cities. Lower class black Americans were supposedly “emancipated” over a 125 years ago but racism and poverty is still an everyday experience. “Of black men between the ages 20 to 29. 1 in 4 will go to prison or be placed on probation. 60% of women in prison are women of color. Poverty and the absence of other opportunities to escape it compel many black youth to turn to gangs, drugs, and anti- social crime … Half of all black and Hispanic youth of South Central LA belong to gangs. in Central LA, half of the black families fall below the poverty line, and youth unemployment hovers at 50%.” (Love and Rage June 1992).

This oppression is clearly rooted in a racist capitalist order that has roots in the slave trade, where racism was used to justify the sale of human beings. Today, racism still serves the ruling class who divide working class people into fractions on the basis of different levels of privileges and rights (eg. different wages, jobs, social services), with blacks and women at the bottom of the heap. This hampers united resistance, and it makes for super- exploitation of disempowered sections of the workforce. At the same time, the extreme poverty of the inner-cities is linked to capitalism’s incessant hunger for profits, as usual at the expense of people. The inner-cities were mostly built around large factories which have since migrated from the high taxes and wages of the cities to suburbs and third world countries. Here unions are often repressed, wages low, and environmental controls non-existent. At the same time as inner city wages fall, the corporations are making huge profits and the bosses receiving record pay increases (LA Today … 1992, Minneapolis, p1). In the USA, the top 4% earns as much as the bottom 50% of the population (Plain Words, 1994, New Jersey, p4).

Quite obviously then, we need to destroy capitalism and the State once and for all. We need to establish a new society based on grassroots worker and community councils, and distribution and production according to need not profit. This is anarchism or free socialism (as opposed to the state capitalist dictatorships set up by the Marxist “communists” since 1917). This must be the task of the working class (white- and blue- collar workers, workers’ families and youth, the unemployed and the rural poor).

Why? Firstly, only a productive class can set up a truly free society, for the simple reason that only a productive class does not need to exploit and dominate others in order to survive. Secondly, class position fundamentally shapes the experience of oppression. The black middle/ upper class (professionals and capitalists) that led the civil rights movement has expanded rapidly, living off the sweat of all American workers. While between 1967 and 1990 the proportion of black families at the lowest income level grew by 50%, the percentage of high income black families more than doubled (New York Times, September 25, 1992). Not surprisingly, the black middle class and capitalists firmly supported the military occupation of the ghettos!

Clearly, the arguments of black nationalists that all blacks should unite across color lines is very wrong, basically because blacks do not have the same class interests. Working class blacks have more in common with working class whites, also at the shit end of the bosses stick. But we do not take a simplistic “class unity” line. Precisely because of the historic divisions in the working class, its especially oppressed segments (like women, blacks, and homosexuals) need to organize themselves to be able to put their own specific problems firmly on the agenda of the revolutionary working class movement. This is the basis for a real principled class unity, and a revolution that will smash all oppression.

What can anarchists do to turn revolts such as the LA uprisings in a revolutionary direction? Firstly, we must get involved with and support all genuine working class resistance. At the same time, however, we need to spread the ideals of revolutionary anarchism through the working class. In practical terms this means debate as equals, and cheap revolutionary literature. In both cases we must argue against authoritarian (or top-down) politics on the left and right, spread information about resistance, and draw the lessons of earlier struggles. We must argue that the working class takes direct action to secure its own particular interests (eg. for housing, jobs, peace, and freedom), and to ultimately smash the system. In no case do we assume, as the Marxists do, that our analysis gives us the right to speak for or act in the place of the working class (this is called vanguardism).

Secondly, we need to start to build practical alternative structures which demonstrate the viability of anarchist politics. Some of these demonstrate new ways of organizing production and distribution: collective childcare facilities, community- run clinics, free shops that redistribute old clothes, community gardens, local newspapers, workers theater etc.

Other counter-institutions will play a more confrontational role: street committees, revolutionary trade unions that aim to seize and democratically administer the land and factories, and self- defense units which are internally democratic and accountable to the community. In no case do we place any faith in the parliamentary system.

THE REVOLUTION BEGINS NOW!!!

Our choice is clear: revolution or destitution.
FORWARD TO DEMOCRATIC WORKING CLASS POWER FORWARD!!!
FORWARD TO STATELESS SOCIALISM FORWARD!!!

LV, 1994

[reference points]:”Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle” (Alfredo Bonanno)

The text below was another important influence on the position taken by the main South African anarchist groups from the 1990s on the question of national liberation struggles: critical engagement and intervention, in solidarity and in order to influence, national liberation struggles. More on this issue here. For another key text, here.

The text below is Alfredo M. Bonanno’s Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle, which was first published in Anarchismo in 1976, then published in English in 1981, with an introduction  by Jean Weir, then in a South African edition in 1994 by the class-struggle wing of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM).

To copy from an earlier post on this text and its impact, here:

‘… the 1994 South African edition of Alfredo Bonanno’s 1977 Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle… included a South African introduction by “L.V.” and map of then-current national liberation struggles from the New Nation newspaper.

The core value of this very influential pamphlet to the class struggle ARM group was its central arguments that anarchists “refuse to participate in national liberation fronts” that unite opposing classes, but instead “participate in class fronts which may or may not be involved in national liberation struggles, “in order to “establish economic, political and social structures in the liberated territories, based on federalist and libertarian organisations.”

Effectively this meant anarchists should participate in national liberation struggles, but must oppose the nationalist politics of cross-class alliances and statism. It was compared very favourably to what was seen as the ultra-left position of groups like Britain’s Anarchist Communist Federation (ACF) in their paper Organise! for revolutionary anarchism: their position dismissed “national liberation” movements as intrinsically multi-class struggles that invariably sought merely to replace one state with another (on the ACF’s impact, also see  here).

Given South Africa’s history, this had very concrete practical implications…these were drawn out partially in the 1994 edition’s South African introduction of  three pages. Bonanno’s view that national liberation struggles could be merged with revolutionary class struggle for anarchism converged the general shift that the class struggle wing of ARM was making from ultra-left positions towards a more practical politics of immersion in the working class, of which more here.  (Other examples included the adoption of the view of the holding of non-racial elections in 1994, after years of apartheid, as a “massive victory” for the working class – notwithstanding its criticisms of capitalist elections as such: see editorial in the first issue of Workers Solidarity ).

Lastly: it is worth noting that the ARM class struggle militants activists were largely unaware of Bonanno’s insurrectionist anarchist line, which rejected unions and apparently, all formal organisation; this approach would have definitely been rejected, to judge from other materials the tendency published at the time.’

[reference points]: “Against Imperialism: International Solidarity and Resistance” (Endless Struggle #12, 1990, Vancouver)

The text below was an important influence on the position taken by the main South African anarchist groups from the 1990s on the question of national liberation struggles: critical engagement and intervention, in solidarity and in order to influence, national liberation struggles. More on this issue here.

Against Imperialism: International Solidarity and Resistance

A Discussion on Anti-Imperialism, National Liberation Struggles, & Extending Social Struggles to an International Level of Resistance

Endless Struggle #12, Spring/Summer 1990, Vancouver, pp. 13-15, 24

PDF here, text below.

(Credit for text mark-up: SB, JF).

“It is our opinion that our failing to have any significant presence in the reality of present day struggles is largely due to complacency & lack of up to date analysis of problems in an increasingly complex social structure” (Bratach Dubh collective, intro. to Anarchism & the National Liberation Struggle, by Alfredo Bonanno)

The following article was part of a discussion on International Solidarity & Revolutionary Resistance presented at the Regional Anarchist Gathering held in Jan.26-29/90 in Vancouver, Canada.

The first half of this article is a brief introduction to the historical development of imperialism, including the rise to dominance of US capital in the global economic order. The second half discusses national liberation struggles, their contradictions & limitations, & an anarchist perspective to these struggles. It certainly isn’t definitive in total, but we hope it provides a starting point for discussion. A lot hasn’t been analysed, such as the present global economic thrust towards mobility in production, significant changes in capitalist production (i.e. technology, flexibility), & the relationship between these factors & the class struggle in the advanced capitalist countries corresponding with the national liberation struggles. It is beyond the scope of this article to fully address these, nevertheless, if anarchist or autonomist struggles are to have any impact, a complete re-assessment of our analysis & methods is necessary. Developing this means addressing ourselves to an analysis against capital- something which this article also mentions.

 Anarchists tend to reduce anarchism to mere anti-statism or opposition to authority, a superficial & all encompassing “anti-authoritarian blanket” draped over all social struggles. Instead of extending an analysis to patriarchal & capitalist exploitation, which by its nature demands an international struggle, anarchists have restricted their perspective (if at all) to the most blatant products of this: sometimes in the “life-stylist” approach by boycotting multinationals, at other times in the pursuit of “alternative economic communities”. Capitalism is acknowledged, but only as some kind of background setting with no specific structures or conditions. When the Economic Summit of the G-7 (the seven leading industrial countries consisting of the US, Canada, Japan, W. Germany, Britain, France & Italy) was held in Toronto in June /88, the movements lack of anti-capitalist analysis was clear: “Protesting the 7 leaders is somewhat of a red herring, seeing as it’s not just these 7 who are the problem, but all leaders & capitalism itself” (from Ecomedia Toronto, our emphasis). In this, the world economic order, dominated primarily by US capitalism, & its structures the IMF & World Bank, in which the G7 maintain dominant positions, is reduced to a problem of “leaders” & “capitalism” remains as something lurking in the background. The article continues on, making the point of resistance a question of who controls the streets rather than one of who maintains the levels of exploitation: “But many anarchists came out to support the days actions because the issue turned from one of protesting the leaders to… reclaiming the streets of our city, which have been blocked off for us for the length of the Summit”.

This is a reflection of the fact that most anarchists don’t see various social struggles (ecological, anti-sexism, anti-racism) as having a basis in class struggle. But this isn’t to say that these social struggles are irrelevant or secondary to the class struggle, as some Marxists (as well as some anarchists) do, but rather the opposite: these social struggles make up the basis of the class struggle. In the minds of those who delegate these social struggles to a secondary position it is commonly argued that capital Continue reading

A few notes on the question of national liberation struggle in 1990s South African anarchism and syndicalism

One of the key issues that the re-emergent anarchist and syndicalist current in South Africa in the early 1990s had to face was the fact of national liberation struggle against apartheid. This was no “pure” class struggle. How should it relate? Two views were present in the English-speaking anarchist milieu of the time, then dominated by US and UK publications.

One was purism, which basically rejected all national liberation struggles as basically “capitalist” since they generally got controlled by elite classes, and often ended up with capitalist outcomes — witness almost all cases of decolonisation in Africa. This line of argument would stress failings, and ignore aspects that did not fit the analysis; national liberation would be conflated with  nationalism, which is a multi-class movement aiming at state power.  Often the argument would become one of presenting a given national liberation movement as just as bad as the oppressor it fought. Impressive aspects of these struggles, like massive rebellions in 1980s South Africa, were — when noted — set up as something distinct from — and threatened by — the national liberation struggle and the nationalists, rather than seen as part of the complexity and class contradictions in national liberation movements.

This line was evident in the Anarchist Communist Federation in the UK,  in its paper, Organise!, which was read locally: it was completely against imperialism, but it also consistently rejected the main form that anti-imperialism then took, national liberation movements, as capitalist. But the fact that a movement might end up in capitalism surely does not prove that is its inevitable outcome; and a move from a capitalism based on overt imperial rule, white supremacy and anti-black racism (like British Kenya) to a capitalism with an independent state that rejected these, was no small thing, even if “capitalism” continued. Thus, the issue of how to engage with reforms and non-anarchist movements arose. This  posed the question of daily practice: where would the forces against capitalism emerge? How might daily work by anarchists — beyond statements — concretely contribute to anti-capitalism and the building of a specific anarchist current and for an anarchist revolution?

The other common approach was uncritical support, or liquidationism, where (some) national liberation movements were endorsed without real reservations. This was evident in Arm the Spirit (North America), which mainly consisted of news about various armed Marxist-Leninist and nationalist groups, usually the most radical; and Love and Rage (USA), which tended to celebrate various movements, and individuals, and endorse or absorb some of their views. Thus, when a global revival of interest in African-American radical, Malcolm X, ensued with the 1992 film Malcolm X (Spike Lee, with Denzel Washington etc.),  Love and Rage confined itself to a short article praising X’s militancy and refusal to compromise. No real discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of his politics, his strategy, was provided; nor of what anarchism might contribute to the question of black liberation in the US, beyond being militant.

So, where the purist approach tended to highlight failings, and set up a neat boundary between the masses and the national liberation movement and the nationalists, this more celebratory approach had at least the value of recognising the attraction of national liberation movements, their often heroic actions, and their attraction for many people. implicitly, it was also a recognition that anarchists were often outside of these struggles. But beyond this, there was not much in the way of critical evaluation: while the purist approach tended to one-sided and often misleading polemic, this approach tended to fairly superficial engagement and limited commentary and analysis. Again, the question of how daily work by anarchists — beyond statements — would concretely contribute to anti-capitalism and the building of a specific anarchist current and the possibility of an anarchist revolution was left vague.

A third approach — critical engagement and intervention in national liberation struggles — was adopted by the class-struggle current in the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) and its successor, Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), forebears of today’s Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF).  This argued that national liberation movements were progressive, in comparison to imperialist or colonial forces; that they were contested by different classes, and should not be read off elite agendas; that while nationalism, seen as the class project of local elites in te oppressed group e.g. the emergent black bourgeoisie and state elite under apartheid, would certainly lead to statist and capitalist outcomes that would frustrate the mass of the nationality, it was also possible to build class-struggle, revolutionary currents within national liberation movements that would potentially lead to more radical outcomes closer to anarchism; and that, therefore, it was important that anarchists participate in national liberation struggles, as a distinct current, cooperating in actions where possible, even with nationalists, rather than engaging in purism, and resolutely putting forward their own positions, including a serious critique of nationalist and other rival positions, rather than liquidation.

There is no doubt that this third approach was influenced by a body of thinking on these issues, including the rediscovery of the earlier South African anarchist and syndicalist tradition, like the Industrial Workers of Africa and the International Socialist League, as well as by texts in the Canadian paper, Endless Struggle [link to follow], and the Italian anarchist Alfredo Bonanno’s Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle [link to follow]. Some of these texts will be posted soon.

ARM – March 1995 – march and “Forward with the Student Struggle”

On the 23 March 1995 ARM joined big protest at Wits with large banner, alongside the South African Students Congress (SASCO) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). It plastered a statement “Forward with the Student Struggle” across the campus as a poster, as well as handed out. A poster Join the All-Students March” was also issued.

Get the “Forward with the Student Struggle” poster in pdf here (2 pages).

ARM – April 1995 – “ARM on the Wits Crisis”

This was a public statement issued as a poster at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) outlining the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) position on the struggle in the universities at this time.  ARM was renamed the Workers Solidarity (WSF) a little later in the year.

Get the PDF here.

 

 

ARM – April 1995 – Statement on the Workers Occupation at Wits

These Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) posters were put up, and around, the 1995 sleep-in/ occupation at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to defend the Wits 5. The sleep-in was led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). ARM was actively involved. More on this struggle here.

Images below: get the PDFs here and here and here.

ARM – May 1995 – Notes on the “Wits 5” defence campaign and NEHAWU sleep-in

On 20 October 1994, members of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) were part of a mass march led by the South African Students Congress (SASCO) on the headquarters of the Department of Education in Johannesburg. The march drew in university and technikon students from across the region. Some time after marchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) returned to the Wits campus in the late afternoon, word spread that management was holding a disciplinary hearing against a worker, a member of the SASCO-allied National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). A group, involving people from the Socialist Students Action Committee (SSAC, later the Socialist Worker Students, later part of Keep Left), SASCO and NEHAWU, disrupted the hearing and refused to let management representatives leave.  Police were called in and 37 were arrested.

In 1995, university management proceeded with criminal charges, charging four NEHAWU workers and one SSAC student with kidnapping and assault. ARM played an active role in the “Campaign to Defend the Wits 5” Defence Committee, which kicked off in may 1995 and was driven by ARM and SSAC. ARM and SACC organised pickets, tabling with petitions and ARM issued an ARM Statement on the Campaign. On the 22 May, ARM and SSAC co-organised a mass meeting. SASCO was not active the campaign at this stage, but NEHAWU took the dramatic step of organising a sleep-in at the Senate House Concourse.

ARM members participated, alongside SSAC and SASCO, but student participation was very limited besides the hard-core. A complaint was lodged against an ARM member with the Students Representative Council (SRC) after she supposedly “intimidated” someone (she was part of a group taking chairs to build an enclosed space for the occupation).

Soon after this campaign, ARM was renamed the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF).

The criminal charges against the Wits 5 were eventually dropped, although the SSAC member was by then underground, having jumped bail.

 

ARM – August 1994 – Article and reply to “Wits Student” newspaper

Members of the “class struggle” section of the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM), active at the University of the Witwatersrand, were interviewed for the campus newspaper, Wits Student. The content of the article, which appeared in August 1994, was accurate but the heading (“Chaos Rules Okay”) was a caricature. ARM responded with a poster (“Anarchy not Chaos”) that included the article and the ARM reply.

The PDF is here (2 pages).

 

ARM – 1995 – “What is Anarchism?” leaflet

This was printed in bulk and distributed at the University of the Witwatersrand and elsewhere from early 1995. By this stage the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) had a new address (see leaflet), following developments in late 1994 which saw a section of ARM (including people associated with the “Backstreet Abortions” distribution project) leave to form a “counter-cultural network,” with what remained as ARM becoming a class-struggle group. The old address used by the larger ARM and “Backstreet Abortions” could no longer be used. Meanwhile this text indicated clearly where ARM was now positioned. More on this history here.

Get the PDF here. The text is below the image.

What is ANARCHISM?

Anarchism is a revolutionary class struggle tradition which has had a massive impact on struggles in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, reaching its fullest expression in the Ukrainian (1918-1921) and Spanish (1936-1938) Revolutions.

We stand for INDEPENDENT WORKING CLASS ACTION to smash all forms of domination (being bossed around) and exploitation (being ripped off). People should be free to live their lives as they see fit, provided this does not suppress the freedom of others, i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, environmental destruction, imperialism, etc.

For us working class action is any collective struggle by working class people to regain control over their lives. It does not matter whether this is in the workplace, in the community, in the schools or elsewhere. By working class we mean everyone who has to work for a living and lacks social power (blue- collar and white- collar workers, workers’ families and youth, rank and file soldiers, the unemployed and the rural poor).

The government and the capitalist system are at the root of all the oppressions afflicting working class people. So we must smash them, not collaborate with them (for example, voting for parliament) . We fight for an INSURRECTION TO ESTABLISH STATELESS SOCIALISM. Stateless or Anarchist Socialism is a society based on democratic worker, community, and other councils, federated internationally.

Production and distribution are organised on the basis of need, not profit.

We support and get involved in everyday struggles for wages, houses, land, education, and basic freedoms. It is only in these daily struggles that organs of grass-roots working class power can be built and the ideas of revolutionary Anarchism spread. The working class must be organised and revolutionary to ensure the success of the revolution. THE REVOLUTION IS BUILT TODAY!

To work towards the revolution Anarchist militants need a decentralised, democratic ANARCHIST ORGANISATION with clear principles. The Anarchist organisation’s function is to help build democratic working class power, and to promote Anarchist ideas. Our aim is thus to help the working class to liberate itself. Unlike others on the Left, we make no claims to “lead” the working class. Any revolution based on a division between so-called “leaders” and “led” can only lay the basis for new tyranny and exploitation. A perfect example was the Russian Revolution, where already by 1918, the Communist Party was well on its way to becoming the new ruling class.

ANARCHIST REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT
Write to us at: ARM, PO Box 1717, Rossetenville, 2130
The views expressed are definitely not those of the Senate, Council or SRC.

 

ARM – 1994 – “Towards Anarchism” (by Malatesta)

This small pamphlet was published by the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) in 1994. It is notable for expounding the argument that anarchists should engage in immediate struggles, even for modest reforms,  as a means of building popular capacities for a revolutionary transition from below. This was a substantial break with the more purist position taken by the “class struggle” wing of ARM in 1993 and even early 1994. It pointed to a new direction for this wing of ARM, and was carried over into the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) formed in 1995.

Get the PDF here.

 

Some notes on the “Azanian Anarchist Alliance,” 1991-1993

The Azanian Anarchist Alliance (AAA) was a small group at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), in Johannesburg, South Africa, formed in 1991. It was probably the first organised anarchist group in the country in decades.

One of the founders, HG, co-published the radical zine Social Blunder with his brother NG, in the Indian townshipof  Lenasia, south of Soweto and Johannesburg. The group’s politics were a mix of class struggle, radical environmentalism, anti- apartheid and third worldism. The group tried to promote anarchism in various ways. On 8 August 1991, the group called an unsuccessful protest against Unilever, which was recruiting at Wits. That year it also published the pamphlets Anti-Mass, Sam Dolgoff’s Relevance of Anarchism to Modern Society, and Peggy Kornegger’s Anarchism: the Feminist Connection. These were typed up from the few compilations of anarchist texts available locally, and given short introductions in an effort to link them to South African conditions. In 1992, the AAA produced Revolt magazine: there was only one issue, but it was numbered as #2.

In 1992, EG and RL established the “Backstreet Abortions” distribution in Johannesburg, and produced the zine Internal Conflict. They were also linked to the 1994 zine No Sensation. “Backstreet Abortions” carried AAA pamphlets, these now including (besides those listed) Revolutionary Organisations (based on a chapter from Class War, Unfinished Business), Alfredo Bonnano’s  Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle (this was billed as a “South African edition,” with a long introduction added), the Anarchist Communist Federation text, The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation and Ten Days that Shook Iraq (a Council Communist-influenced text from the UK). Class War (or the Class war Federation) was a British group, as was the Anarchist Communist Federation: both groups had a huge influence on AAA, which had collected a fair number of their papers, Class War and Organise!

EG and RL initiated the Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) in 1993, a loose group that shared the address of “Backstreet Abortions.” Around this time AAA was wrapped up.