WSF (1996): “The Spanish Revolution (1936- 7): A New World In Their Hearts”

WSF (1996): “The Spanish Revolution (1936- 7): A New World In Their Hearts”

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

REMEMBER THE REVOLUTION
The 19th of July marked the 60th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. For a brief time, capitalism and the State was replaced by solidarity, mutual aid, and respect for others. Workers and peasants, who were deeply influenced by anarchist ideas, ran society collectively and gained control over their lives, industry and land. A central part of the revolution was the struggle against a fascist attempt to take over Spain.

We must remember both the magnificent triumphs and tragedies of the Spanish revolution and attempt to learn from our comrades mistakes.

WORKERS AND PEASANTS ORGANISE
Anarchist- Syndicalist ideas had deep roots among Spanish peasants and workers. In 1911, a massive revolutionary trade union federation, Continue reading

WSF (1996): “International Anarchist/Syndicalist News”

WSF (1996): “International Anarchist/Syndicalist News”

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

Anarchist Students Jailed in Greece:

(From: Workers’ Solidarity Movement/ Ireland).

More than 100 Greek students, self- described Anarchists, have been given prison sentences ranging from 4- 40 months by the courts. This followed a three day occupation of the Athens Polytechnic in November 1995. More than 2000 protesters took refuge in the Polytechnic following clashes with the police on November 17, the anniversary of a bloody student uprising against the 1967- 1974 military dictatorship.

The media attempted to portray the occupation Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Don’t Wait For The Government! The Poor Must Take Back The Land”

WSF (1996): “Don’t Wait For The Government! The Poor Must Take Back The Land”

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

The land question will be the site of massive struggle in the future. Since 1652, the colonial and apartheid governments have dispossessed the indigenous people of the land in favour of rich White farmers.

WAR AGAINST THE POOR
Today 60 000 mainly white farmers own about 87% of all land. But 68% of the rural population (mainly African and Coloured working- class people) live in extreme poverty. Labour control is extremely violent and unions rare. Unemployment is very high, as machines are used to replace workers.

In the bantustans, the chiefs control access to land and use this power to extract labour and taxes from working and poor people. They use their connections with the government to enrich themselves and enforce their rule. Women are denied access to land on the grounds of so-called tradition.

Whatever the role of the chiefs may have been in pre- colonial times, it is clear that they spent the twentieth century as allies of the racist capitalist state. The actions of these so- called “Bantu Authorities” are well known in the reserves.

Heavy use of chemicals on the “White” farms, and land shortages in the reserves, have led to massive environmental degradation. This worsens the conditions of the workers and the poor.

CAN THE RDP DELIVER?
The ANC- led government’s land reform policy is totally inadequate for the task at hand. Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Manifesto Of The Workers Solidarity Federation”

WSF (1996): “Manifesto Of The Workers Solidarity Federation”

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

DOWN WITH CAPITALISM, THE STATE AND ALL OPPRESSION!
Capitalism and the State are the main cause of all oppression. Racism and sexism divide the working class, and help the bosses rule and super-exploit us and nature.

All social wealth is produced by us- the workers and poor. But we, the majority of the people, suffer terrible poverty and have no real control over our own lives. Instead, we are bossed around and exploited by the tiny ruling class: capitalists, military leaders, top State officials, professional politicians.

The State (courts, army, police, and government bureaucracy) is a centralised tool of the ruling class. It can never be used to create freedom for the majority.

MASS ACTION AND REVOLUTION FOR STATELESS SOCIALISM (ANARCHISM)!
In place of divisions among the workers and the poor, we want to transform the trade unions and civics into revolutionary bodies.

In place of the swindle of elections, we are for mass action and revolution against the capitalists, the State, and all oppression.

But we do not want the Soviet system that existed in Russia and China. This was not real socialism- it was Communist Party dictatorship and State- capitalism.

In place of exchanging one group of bosses for another, we want workers power through the unions and civics. Individuals should be free to act as they choose so long as they do not hinder the freedom of others. In place of capitalism and the State, we want Stateless Socialism (Anarchism). A free, equal society based on grassroots democracy in the factories and the community, and defended by a democratic workers army. This society can only be created by the mass of the people fighting in their own interests.

THE ROLE OF OUR ORGANISATION!
The Workers Solidarity Federation supports all struggles against oppression and exploitation. We aim to educate and organise the workers and the poor to make the revolution in their own name. We work within existing trade unions. We do not want to rule the masses or change society from above.

We proudly stand in the mass tradition of Anarchism/ Syndicalism. Our movement has historically attracted millions world-wide, because it serves the needs of the workers and poor, not the power- seekers and exploiters. If you agree with our aims, join us!

WSF (1996): “Editorial” to “Workers Solidarity” volume 2, number 2

WSF (1996): “Editorial”  to “Workers Solidarity” volume 2, number 2

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

Welcome to the latest Workers’ Solidarity: The Voice of Anarchist Syndicalism. This is the paper of the Workers Solidarity Federation.. We stand for mass action and revolution by the workers and the poor to smash capitalism, the state and all forms of oppression. We stand for Stateless Socialism (Anarchism).

The land question is a burning issue relevant to millions of poor and working- class Black people. We say: don’t wait for the government! The poor must seize the land.

July 19 marks the 60th anniversary of the Anarchist- inspired Spanish Revolution of 1936. This important event is discussed later in the paper. We also have articles on: fighting racism, the student movement, women’s rights, and news of international struggles.

Local Subscriptions a year R4 a year (including postage) Write to us for further Information on Anarchism and the Workers’ Solidarity Federation at:
WSF, PO Box 1717 Rosettenville, Johannesburg, 2130, Gauteng, South Africa.
WSF, PO Box 61853, Bishopsgate, Durban, 4008, Kwa Zulu- Natal, South Africa..
E- Mail: wsf_sa@geocities.com.

[all addresses are defunct – saasha.net]

WSF (1996): “International Anarchist Conference”

WSF (1996): “International Anarchist Conference”

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

The red and black flag of Anarchism flew high in Spain in August 1995. The occasion was an international conference of class- struggle Anarchists and anti- authoritarian socialists.

More than 100 delegates were present. The comrades came from many countries, including Italy, France, Switzerland, Lebanon, Poland, Ireland, Sweden and Spain. The conference included debates about the unions, and discussions on the way forward in the fight against racism and other oppression. Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Fight Squatter Evictions”

WSF (1996): “Fight Squatter Evictions”

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

The last few months of 1995 have seen a wave of attempts by government structures to evict squatters in Gauteng. There are about 7 million squatters in South Africa.

In June 1994, the State, civic organisations and squatters agreed to call a moratorium on land invasions and evictions. According to this agreement, squatters settled before June 1994 would not face eviction. All land invasions after this period would be illegal. This agreement has been used to attack squatter communities.

MOFFAT PARK

Squatters were evicted from Moffat Park in south Johannesburg by the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council. These actions were supported by conservative (White) residents Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Kronstadt 1921: The Third Revolution”

WSF (1996): “Kronstadt 1921: The Third Revolution”

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

March 1996 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Kronstadt Revolt of 1921. In March 1921, the revolutionary sailors and workers of the Kronstadt army base rose in protest against the Communist government in Russia. The tragic event clearly shows how the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) destroyed the worker- peasant Russian revolution and replaced it with one- party rule and state capitalism.

PETROGRAD STRIKES.

The revolt followed a visit by a Kronstadt delegation to investigate workers’ conditions in Petrograd. At the end of February, the workers of Petrograd struck against forced austerity. Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Anarchist-Syndicalist History: History Of The Anarchist- Syndicalist Trade Union Movement”

WSF (1996): “Anarchist-Syndicalist History: History Of The Anarchist- Syndicalist Trade Union Movement”

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

We Anarchist- Syndicalists believe trade unions are a mighty weapon in the struggle for improved conditions, and against racism and oppression. We ALSO believe that unions can organise workers to destroy capitalism and the State, by organising the revolutionary seizure and democratic control of the factories, land, and offices. However, we also see the importance of organising other sections of the working class such as women, youth, unemployed and the community.

Our ideas on unions have had a massive impact on the international struggles of the working class and poor. This fact is conveniently ignored by most history books.

FIRST INTERNATIONAL

These ideas were developed by the powerful Anarchist faction in the First International Workers Association in the 1860s and 1870s. Continue reading

WSF (1996): “What Anarchist-Syndicalists Believe: Unions And Revolution”

WSF (1996): “What Anarchist-Syndicalists Believe: Unions And Revolution”

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

Anarchist- Syndicalists stand for a revolution by the working class and the poor to smash all oppression and create a free stateless socialist society. The trade unions will play a leading role in this process. It is also vital to organise in the community.

WHY CLASS STRUGGLE?

Class struggle is the key to changing this rotten society. We working and poor people create all social wealth but we do not get the benefits. Our work is controlled and exploited by the capitalists and top state officials- the ruling class.

We are not powerless. We can hit the bosses and rulers with mass actions, particularly at the workplace. Only we workers and poor people can create a free society because only we do not need to exploit.

The bosses and rulers created racism (and other oppression). They wanted to super- exploit Black people to make more profits. They wanted to divide our resistance by splitting us to into Zulus, Shangaans, Xhosas, Sothos, Indians, Coloureds and Whites. We can only defeat racism by smashing the bosses- of all colours.

All Black people are victims of racism, but the Black middle and upper class elite is shielded from the worst effects of racism by their privileged status. They can live in the suburbs, go to private schools and earn big salaries- we can’t. We must fight racism wherever it exists. But the working class must not form alliances with the Black managers and capitalists, Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Farrakhan: No Solution For Black Workers And Poor”

WSF (1996): “Farrakhan: No Solution For Black Workers And Poor”

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

Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the American based “Nation of Islam” arrived in South Africa on January 28 [1996]. He is here on a “friendship tour” to spread his message of black responsibility and “self- sufficiency”.

HYPOCRITES

Farrakhan has been criticised by white racists and capitalists. They oppose Farrakhan’s call for black pride and separatism. Workers’ Solidarity rejects these hypocrites. We support black pride and defend the right of oppressed groups to organise separately.

But we do not support Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan is conservative and provides no solution to the racism, poverty and unemployment which poor and working class black Americans face. They claim to fight racism but in reality their policies only defend the rights of a small black elite at the expense of Black workers, women and other minority groups!

RACISM IN THE USA

Capitalism and the State created racism. Continue reading

WSF (1996): “Looking Back:The 1995 Municipal Workers Strike”

WSF (1996): “Looking Back:The 1995 Municipal Workers Strike”

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

In 1995 the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) organised country- wide struggles for a living wage. Despite facing attack from all sides, the strikers showed that mass action can win.

EXPLOITED

It was a big victory for Black workers to win the right to vote, but many still live in Apartheid conditions. In 1995, the average municipal workers’ wage was R550 / month.

Where there is exploitation, there is always resistance. SAMWU launched a programme of rolling mass action to force the bosses to raise wages.

ROLL MASS ACTION ROLL

In August SAMWU members in the Orange Free State went on strike for 5 days. They won an immediate R250 increase and a commitment by the bosses to give more raises by the end of the year.

On 18 September 40,000 workers in 250 local authorities stopped work. The strikers also littered management offices and streets. Workers in the Greater Johannesburg area and in Central Pretoria came out on a sympathy strike. They supported their comrades, although they had won good wage agreements before the current struggle.

UNDER ATTACK

The bosses used every method to break the strike, including court interdicts, dismissals, lock outs, and scab labour. The police (the bosses’ professional strike-breakers) killed at least 1 striker, injured many more, and arrested more than a 100.

In many small towns, white right-wingers attacked the protesting workers. In Kuruman, racists attacked a workers march with pick-handles, and beat one worker to death. WORKERS SOLIDARITY says: we must fight to defend ourselves against the bosses, racists and cops.

FAT CATS

Despite this repression, the media and Labour Minister Mboweni spent their time condemning the strikers for littering. So did the elected Gauteng legislature who called for the arrest of workers who trashed Johannesburg. The ANC said SAMWU must pay for all damages, and claimed that a “hidden hand” was using the strike to undermine the “democratic government”.

Both SAMWU and COSATU rejected these disgraceful views. When Dan Mofokeng of the Gauteng cabinet told a SAMWU rally that their militant actions had “achieved nothing”, he was jeered by furious workers and had to leave under a police escort.

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

In early October, the bosses in Mpumulanga, Northern Province, Northwest and parts of Gauteng agreed to raise wages 20% for lower grades, 12% for middle levels and 7,5% for upper levels.

We must keep broadening our struggle. We must demand through SAMWU an immediate improvement in municipal services in the locations. The strike showed that unions are mass combat units of workers. It is in struggle that we learn that we are not powerless, that our mass action and our unions can beat the bosses and rulers and build stateless socialism.

To go all the way, we need to take on the reformist and obsolete ideas that dominate our unions, we need to fight for full union democracy. If you agree these ideas, why not contact us in the Workers Solidarity Federation?

WSF (1996): “No To Privatisation!”

WSF (1996): “No To Privatisation!”

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

In early December 1995, the government announced that it was going to privatise many State assets. It wants to sell off part of SAA, Telkom and Airports Company, and all of Autonet, Sun Air and Transkei Airways.

This was met by opposition by the unions, spearheaded by the 1,6 million strong COSATU federation (Congress of South African Trade Unions). Mass actions were organised in the postal and public transport sectors. COSATU also called a general strike for January 16 1996. This strike was called off at the last minute when the government agreed to halt its privatisation plans and enter into negotiations with the unions over economic restructuring.

PRIVATISATION MEANS JOB CUTS!

The government says privatisation will “create new jobs” in the “medium- to long- term.”

Lies! We have had privatisation in South Africa since the 1980s. And there is still mass unemployment! Nowhere in the world has privatisation created jobs. Privatisation means job losses. It will put us and our families on the streets.

PRIVATISATION WILL UNDERMINE ESSENTIAL SERVICES!

The government says that there must be some privatisation of services. They say this will help “deliver services”.

But business only cares about one thing- PROFITS! It won’t deliver services to people who cannot afford to pay charges. And business will erode the quality of the few services we do have so it can make more money. They will not improve services to the poor because the poor are not a “financially viable proposition.”

PRIVATISATION IS NOT BLACK EMPOWERMENT!

The government says that privatisation will contribute to “black empowerment.”

But only a tiny elite of Black businessman and politicians have money to buy shares. Black economic empowerment must mean more than a few rich Motlanas and Mosenekes. It must mean an improvement in the living conditions of the workers and the poor. It must mean real grassroots democracy.

WE CALL FOR:

*Mass actions and strikes against privatisation.

*Workplace occupations and strike action by workers threatened by job cuts. This must be backed up by maximum solidarity from other unions. We must demand continued unemployment with no cuts in pay or workers rights.

*Workers in the service sector must fight attempts to erode, privatise or cut off services. We must fight for more and better services to the communities of the workers and the poor.

FORWARD TO SOCIALISM

We say no to privatisation. But nationalisation is also not socialism because the government will never serve the workers. It was built to serve the bosses and the rulers and still play this role. We must fight for real worker control of the economy through our trade unions.

Phantsi nge Capitalism! (Down with Capitalism!)

Phambili basebenzi! (Forward Workers!)

WSF (1996): “Editorial” to “Workers Solidarity,” volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996.

WSF (1996): “Editorial” to “Workers Solidarity,” volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996.

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

Welcome to the first 1996 issue of “Workers’ Solidarity”. This is the paper of the Workers’ Solidarity Federation. We stand for mass action and revolution by the workers and the poor to smash capitalism, the State, and all forms of oppression.

This issue focuses on the trade unions. We believe that the trade unions are mass combat organisations of the workers. We believe that unions are mighty weapons in the struggle for daily necessities. We also believe the unions are capable of contributing to the defeat of capitalism and the State by organising workers to seize and democratically manage the land [and factories].

It is not enough to just organise in the workplace. The workers and the poor need to fight on all fronts. This issue also has articles dealing with student and squatter struggles.

If you agree with our ideas, why not write to us and help build for revolution from below. A subscription to the paper is available for R4 a year (LOCAL!).

WSF (1995): “No Solidarity With Police Strikers!”

WSF (1995): “No Solidarity With Police Strikers!”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 1, number 1, May-June 1995. Complete PDF is here

Police unrest made news in the first quarter of 1995.

Many of the protests were organized by the South African Police Union (SAPU), which was established in 1993. SAPU demanded a 40% pay rise across the board, and a R350 allowance for all police members (and not just shift workers and detectives).

To back up its demands SAPU organized police go slows and work to rule. By early April, for instance, at least 5 stations in Soweto were barely functional.

SAPU also marched on government buildings At Tuynhuys Thabo Mbeki promised SAPU delegates that he would discuss police grievances with the Ministers of Police (Sydney Mufamadi) and Finance (Chris Liebenberg).

So far the SAPU members have had a relatively sympathetic reception from government officials. They were not shot down like police strikers organized by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU).

In February a police striker was killed by the internal stability Unit at Orlando West. In March the army shot another striker in Umtata .

It is illegal for police to strike.

We must admit that we do not care what conditions the police work under. The police have always acted as the hired lackeys of the bosses against the workers .

While we realize that many police work under poor condition we cannot stand with the police unless they stand with us. So long as the police agree to attack strikers, youth and squatters, they are part of the problem.

WE WON’T STAND WITH THE POLICE WHILE THE POLICE STAND AGAINST US!