ZACF tabling: 2010 Jozi Bookfair

Pic 1The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) ran a stall at the 2010 Jozi Book Fair in Johannesburg alongside other black-oriented and left-wing publishes.  It was described as “an anarchist political organization that works to promote libertarian socialist ideas and practice within popular social movements and trade unions. Through our publishing arm, Zabalaza books, we publish and distribute a wide variety of books, pamphlets and leaflets on topics such a revolutionary history and theory, women’s liberation, ecology, revolutionary syndicalism etc.”

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Interview/ photo: Warren McGregor of ZACF at St Imier anarchist summit, 2012

Source: Motmakt (Norway)
Warren in front of the Anarkismo tent in St-ImierIn Sunny St-Imier! Ep. 3: Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
Publisert av Adrien W den 13. september 2012 – 23:54This is the third and last interview I did while at the international anarchist conference in St-Imier, Switzerland. I speak with Warren of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front about the importance of forging both organizational and personal ties with comrades around the world. In addition Warren sheds som light on the origins og anarchism in Afrika…[Listen to interview here, read transcript below]

… Transcript of the interview
Motmakt: I’m here in beautiful St-Imier, Switzerland. And we have taken refuge from the sun and are drinking a little bit of beer and are having a great time. I am here with Warren from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front, and I was wondering Warren how did you hear of the St-Imier conference?Warren: As a member of the anarkismo network, it was through that network that we firstly made aware of the fact that the conference was happening here, which for us was very exciting, and it was through that network that we received an invitation from one of the organizers.Motmakt: This is in St-Imier, Switzerland, where one hundred and forty years ago, the first anarchist international took place. And as such it’s a pretty historically loaded place to be, and this has also been called an attempt at a second anarchist international, do you have any hopes or expectations around that?

Warren: First of all it’s very exciting for us, sometimes in South Africa, because we are the only anarchist organization that is based down in the south of Africa, at times we feel a bit isolated. So despite the fact that we know that comrades do exist in other parts of the world, meeting comrades face to face, meeting comrades that we’ve had relations with for the last ten, fifteen years gives a face to the name, to the interactions that we’ve had. So for us it’s very exciting that, you know, were not just a small group of anarchists, but were surrounded by people that are all anarchists, so on one end that’s very exciting.

My expectations for this particular meeting more specifically to get in touch with the other organizations and delegates of the members of the Anarkismo network. Again to meet face to face with them to develop personal relationships, as well as to strengthen the organizational ties that exist between our organizations. And also meet with the comrades and the delegates from new organizations or at least the organizations who have just recently joined the Anarkismo network. Again to develop personal ties and to develop organizational ties.

Motmakt:: Well in Norway, which is pretty much as far away from Africa that you get, naturally we haven’t heard a lot about anarchism in Africa. Do you have anything you can tell us about anarchism in Africa and about what the situation for anarchists is?

W: That’s quite a long story because as syndicalism, or anarchist trade unionism develops at the end of the eighteen-hundreds and nineteen-hundreds, it also spreads through particular immigrant workers and anarchist activist to the north of Africa, particularly Egypt and then down to the south of Africa through Spanish migrant workers. In fact some of the first trade unions and political organizations that sought to mobilize and organize black workers, and by black I mean African coloured or mixed race, as well Indian workers in southern Africa, they were influenced by anarchism and syndicalism. However that disappears for quite some time.

Recently anarchism has reemerged after about eighty years of Marxist and Leninist domination in South Africa. And although we are still a small movement we are a growing movement, and one that works actively with and in poor working movements in South Africa. Where we find desperate poverty, and where we find lots of people struggling on a daily basis for access to running water, electricity, housing and land. That’s generally a lot of our work. And we engage in a particular program of intensive political education to develop an anarchist understanding, through those social movements, through those independent trade unions into the community, so that we can insert anarchism not only in terms of the solidarity and social work that we do, but we can insert anarchism into those communities and those organizations, brought to those communities and those organizations by activists who understand the the culture, language. Who understand the operation and the essence of living in those communities. So that’s generally some of the work that we do.

Motmakt:: Thank you very much for talking to me Warren!

Warren: Thank you Adrien!

[Read more…]

Obituary (2): Hamba kahle comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)

Hamba kahle comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)
BY: Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF

The ZACF is saddened to learn of the passing away of comrade Bobo Makhoba in Soweto this Thursday 29 September, at the age of 41, after a long illness. He is survived by his son, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences – as we do to the rest of his family, friends and comrades.

Bobo was a founding member of the ZACF as well as one of the original guerilla electricians for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s Operation Khanyisa campaign, which illegally reconnected thousands of households’ electricity after it was cut off for non-payment – forcing Eskom, the state electricity utility, to scrap arrears for thousands of Sowetans.

Born in KwaNongoma in KwaZulu Natal, Bobo first became involved in politics and struggle in high school, where he joined the Pan African Students Organisation.

He became involved in social movements and community struggles when he joined the SECC, soon after it was established in 2000, and later served as the organisation’s organiser and then co-ordinator.

He first came into contact with anarchism in 2002 during the mobilisations around the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development and soon thereafter established the Shesha Action Group (SAG). Based in Dlamini, Soweto – where Bobo lived – the SAG ran a study group and community food garden, as well as some of its members being active in the SECC and social movements, and was one of the founding collectives of the ZACF in 2003.

The SAG was unfortunately not very long-lived, its members dispersed and Bobo later moved toward Marxism and joined a small Trotskyite organisation but we maintained mutual respect and comradely relations. Although we saw less of him in later years we were always happy to run into him at demonstrations, where he would still ask to fly our red and black flags, or at Careers Centre in Soweto, where the SECC has its office.

Comrade Bobo Makhoba will be remembered as a dedicated and struggle-hardened working class militant who believed in direct action and grassroots organisation and made important contributions both to the ZACF, notably its model of township organising adopted in the early 2000s, and the struggle of the black working class in South Africa.

We find consolation in the belief that Bobo would not have wanted us to mourn his death, but rather for us to strengthen our resolve in the struggle of the exploited and oppressed majority against capitalism.

For our fallen comrades not a moment of silence – but a lifetime of struggle!
Long live the fighting spirit of c’de Bobo, long live!

bobo2
IMAGE: Bobo Makhoba at the Founding Congress of the ZACF, Johannesburg, 1 May 2003

bobo-for-obit
IMAGE: C’de Bobo (with flag) at the “Reclaim June 16” demonstration in Soweto, 2009

Obituary (1): comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)

ZabalazaNews on Facebook (first post): Bobo Makhoba was a founding member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) as well as one of the original guerilla electricians for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s Operation Khanyisa campaign, which illegally reconnected thousands of households’ electricity after it was cut off for non-payment – forcing Eskom, the state electricity utility, to scrap arrears for thousands of Sowetans. He later served as the SECC’s organiser and then co-ordinator.

Comrade Bobo Makhoba will be remembered as a dedicated and struggle-hardened working class militant who believed in direct action and grassroots organisation and made important contributions both to the ZACF, notably its model of township organising adopted in the early 2000s, and the struggle of the black working class in South Africa.

Long live the fighting spirit of c’de Bobo, long live!

bobo-for-obit

IMAGE: Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016) at the “Reclaim June 16” demonstration in Soweto, 2009. The demonstration was co-organised by the ZACF and Landless People’s Movement Protea South branch together with other civic organisations and left forces.

I

ZACF, 2007: ZACF statement on Wits University protests

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF, then the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation) was active in  range of areas in the 2000s, including struggles by black students and workers at the University of the Witwatersrand. Below is a leaflet issued by ZACF militants in 2007 (no month given).

Scanned PDF is here.

ZACF STATEMENT ON WITS PROTESTS [2007, no month]

It is clear that what is happening at Wits -the fee increases, privatisation of residence etc -is part of the ANC government’s plan for the general neo-liberal restructuring of the universities in order to turn them into “market universities” orientated first and foremost towards generating profit. This is a hard fact which both the ANCYL [ANC Youth League] and Sasco [South African Students Congress, also linked to ANC] students leading the protests have tried studiously to avoid admitting.

In the same way that government’s neo-liberal policies (eg Gear and Asgisa), which say that service delivery must be based on cost recovery and ability to pay, affect primarily the working class and poor, so too does the restructuring at Wits and other universities. The proposed 25% increase in upfront fees, the 500% increase in admin fees for students coming from outside the SADC and increases in residence fees are obviously going to affect poor and working class students the most.

The proposed outsourcing of some residences to the commercial for-profit wing of the State, the Public Investment Corporation, in conjunction with various banks, shows clearly that the intention of the government and Wits management is not to improve the university and quality of education, never mind the access of underprivileged students to higher education, it is about making profit and needs to be resisted.

Since government and Wits started implementing this restructuring by adopting the Wits 2001 plan in 1999 more 600 support jobs have been outsourced, as a result of which workers’ wages were cut in half, their unions were smashed and their working conditions became extremely harsh. Departments have been closed, posts frozen and there is a continual pressure on lecturers to research and teach more with declining funds. Ongoing fee increases and stricter cost recovery measures such as the proposed increase in upfront payments are affecting students. Indeed, before 2000 upfront payments did not exist at all; by introducing them, management blocked the way into higher education for many poor students, and the barrier has been getting higher ever since. Declining conditions in the residences, increasing prices of food and class sizes, and overcrowded facilities are affecting student’s ability to concentrate, apply themselves and do well in their studies. Coupled with Wits management’s decision to cut bursaries in 2004, working class students are particularly hard hit by fees increases. In contrast, the power, size and power of senior management has increased dramatically throughout this period.

As anarchist communists we support the students’ struggle at Wits not only because it is in the interests of all students to resist the implementation of this restructuring, which turns Wits into a profit-driven enterprise accessible only to those who can afford to go there, an ever-decreasing number, but also because it is an important struggle against the marketisation and commercialisation of higher education in general.

We call on students not to put their faith and hopes in the student leaders, some of whom have been shown to ignore the essential cause of the crisis at Wits because of political party affiliation, but to take matters into their own hands.We urge students to carry on with protest action until all their demands have been met. We encourage students to make their voices and concerns heard by carrying out direct actions, such as occupations, sit-ins and boycotts, rather than by negotiations and appealing to management who, after all, are only implementing the ANC government’s neo- liberal for-profit policies at a local level. In order to be more powerful we urge students to join forces with the support services staff at Wits (cleaning, catering, etc.) who have also been hard hit by the outsourcing of their jobs as part of the neo-liberal restructuring of Wits into a for-profit university. We also encourage students to seek allies amongst the many activists from poor and working class communities who are resisting and fighting back against neo-liberalism, privatisation of services and cut-offs in their communities.

What is happening at Wits is happening all over the country, at every university and in every poor community. The entire economy is undergoing neo-liberal restructuring by central government, the purpose of which is not to make education or service delivery more accessible, but to make sure that it will only be accessible to those who can afford it. This has devastating consequences for millions of the population and must be fought to a standstill before it goes any further.

We support the following demands, and urge students, workers and progressive staff not to give up, not to stop occupying, disrupting and resisting until these demands are met:

*Rather than the increasingly authoritarian style of management under Wits 2001, students and staff should manage their affairs collectively, and be directly involved in that which affects them

*Student fees must be immediately cut, as must the proposed administration and residence fee increases

*Bursaries for the children of both outsourced and non-outsourced support staff must be reinstated immediately

* Financial aid for poor and working class student needs to be increased dramatically

* Wits needs to defend itself from capitalist and neo-liberal influences and against the commercialisation of the university

*Wits must send a strong message to government that it firmly opposes subsidy cuts

* The ongoing outsourcing of support services needs to be halted, and outsourced staff brought
back into permanent and secure jobs at Wits

We emphasise again that these demands will not be achieved by negotiating and appealing to Wits management, nor by leaving things in the hands of the student leaders. The only way for this struggle to be successful is for every working class student to become directly involved in the struggle, by participating in direct actions such as occupations, disruptions, sit-ins and the like.

An injury to one is an injury to all!!

Analysis: Biko Mutsaurwa, 2013, “The Afrikan Hiphop Caravan: Building a Revolutionary Counterculture”

Biko Mutsaurwa, 2013, “The Afrikan Hiphop Caravan: Building a Revolutionary Counterculture,” The Journal of Hip Hop Studies, volume 1, number 2, pp. 226-231.

pdflogosmall Get the PDF here

EXTRACT S BELOW

Biko Mutsaurwa is a leading Shona poet, Hip Hop artist and community activist. He is the founder of UHURU Network, an educational trust that uses cultural activism and popular education to advance the struggle for freedom of expression and social justice in Zimbabwe. He is also one of the initiators of the Afrikan Hiphop Caravan. In this article, he provides a brief outline of the lessons to be learned from a decade of Hip Hop activism on the African continent. In addition to providing a short historical overview of the roots of the Afrikan Hiphop Caravan, he outlines the vision of the project: the creation of a
coherent Afrikan Hiphop Movement based upon a strategic orientation towards social movements of the working class and the oppressed.

… In 2004, an affinity group of student activists, Hip Hop activists and socialists established Uhuru Network, based in Harare, as a decentralised platform where members of the Toyitoyi Arts Collective, Imani Media Collective, Impilo Permaculture Collective and Ruzivo Study Circle met and forged theoretical and tactical unity. As a social movement, emerging from the concrete struggles of working people in Zimbabwe against the Economic Structural Adjustment Programs (ESAPs) of the ZANU-PF dictatorship, the Network was from the start decidedly anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarianist. Continue reading