Phil Bonner, 1982, “The Transvaal Native Congress 1917-1920: The Radicalisation of the Black Petty Bourgeoisie on the Rand” (‘Africa Perspective’ version)

Phil Bonner, 1982, “The Transvaal Native Congress 1917-1920: The Radicalisation of the Black Petty Bourgeoisie on the Rand,” Africa Perspective (first series), 20: 41-62.

Get the PDF here.

Outside the Pass Office - From Bonner - 1982 - Africa Perspective

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 five 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 – 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.

 

Anarchist Awareness League – no date – “Some Thoughts on the Post-revolutionary Property System” (by Malatesta)

This was one of many texts produced by the Durban-based Anarchist Awareness League, but its not clear whether it was produced in the group’s initial incarnation (from 1993) or revival (from 1997). The group later became Zabalaza Books. More on its history is here.

Get the PDF here.

Azanian Anarchist Alliance – undated -“Anarchy and Organisation: For all those that think anarchism is purely a personal thing”

This text, written in 1991 or 1992, was a response to people who viewed “anarchism” as a personal lifestyle choice and/ or opposed formal organisation. It argued that, on the contrary, “Anarchism is not just a way of living one’s life. It is the most radical espousal of total social revolution. Anarchists wish to create a society which is libertarian, classless and stateless… Anarchism begins when people organise to change the world…” The Azanian Anarchist Alliance favoured, instead, a revolutionary organisation, and also published some texts influenced by Platformism: Revolutionary Organisations (based on a chapter from Class War, Unfinished Business) and The Role of the Revolutionary Organisation (by the Anarchist Communist Federation) (see here).

Get the PDF of “Anarchy and Organisation” here (2 pages).

A few notes on the Anarchist Awareness League and the Durban Anarchist Federation – 1993-2003

The Anarchist Awareness League was formed in Durban in 1993. It was mainly involved in publishing leaflets, pamphlets and posters. At some point it became part of a new Durban Anarchist Federation, along with a “green” and feminist collective. In 1997 the Anarchist Awareness League was re-established. Renamed the Anarchist Workers Collective (AWC), it joined the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) that year. there had been a Durban WSF section founded in 1996, but it was short-lived (and by this time) defunct.  The Anarchist Awareness League / AWC was renamed “Land and Liberty” in 1998, and then Zabalaza Books in 1999 after WSF closed. When the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later Front) was formed in 2003, Zabalaza Books  was a founding collective.