“Racism and the Class Struggle”: Workers Solidarity Federation 1998/1999

This article was commissioned from the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), for Red and Black Revolution: a magazine of libertarian communism, number 4, 1998/1999. You can get the PDF of the relevant Red and Black Revolution here.

Racism and the Class Struggle

Racial oppression remains a defining feature of the modern capitalist world. It is manifest most spectacularly in violent attacks on immigrants and minorities by fascist gangs. More important to the fate of these communities has been the systematic and increasing discrimination by capitalist states, manifest in attacks on the rights of immigrants, cuts in welfare services, and racist police and court systems.

How can racism be defeated?

An answer to this question requires an examination of the forces which gave rise to, and continue to reproduce, racism. It also requires a careful analysis of which social forces benefit from racial oppression.

By racism is meant either an attitude denying the equality of all human beings, or economic, political and social discrimination against racial groups.

The roots of racism

Capitalism developed as a world system based on the exploitation of workers, slaves and peasants – black, brown, yellow, and white. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the young capitalist system centred mainly on western Europe and the Americas. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Africa and Asia were brought increasingly into the ambit of capitalist power. Continue reading

“Anarchism and the ‘New’ South Africa: an interview with the South African WSF”, 1997

This article appeared in Red and Black Revolution: a magazine of libertarian communism, no. 3, 1997. You can get the PDF of this issue of Red and Black Revolution here.

Anarchism & the ‘new’ South Africa

An interview with the South African WSF

Q. Most readers of Red and Black Revolution will be familiar with the main organisations on the left in South Africa, such as the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Can you tell us something about the tradition of libertarian ideas and struggle?

A. Anarchism and Syndicalism do (or at least did) have an important place in South African history, although this is typically hidden or obscured by official and “radical” versions of the past. Before the founding of the SACP in 1921, libertarian ideas were common on the revolutionary left. A section of the US syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World, was established here in 1911, growing out of an organisation called the Industrial Workers Union . Continue reading