Material on the ICU, from “New Nation, New History” volume 1 (1989)

The 1970s and 1980s anti-apartheid movement was marked by he explosion of an alternative press. A notable example was the mass-distribution weekly New Nation newspaper. Launched in 1986 with the backing of the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, it championed the black working class, and ran a series called “Learning Nation”: produced to assist high school learners, ths was notable for providing a radical alternative history to the apartheid narrative; it highlighted popular struggles and resistance history. Much of its content was produced by the radical History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand; other was from the prolific Labour and Community Resources Project (LACOM) of the the South African Council for Higher Education (SACHED).  In 1989, the first three years of History Workshop materials were compiled into book, New Nation, New History: it was labelled volume one, but a second volume did not appear. This book included some material on the syndicalist-influenced Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU)  in the 1920s, looking at the breakaway ICU led by A.W.G. Champion (who leaned to Zulu nationalism) and the activities of Stimela Jason Jingoes (an African traditionalist from a high-ranking lineage in Lesotho , who worked for a time as an ICU lawyer). These cases indicate the range of ideas at work in the ICU, which is better seen as a syncretic movement with an unstable mix of ideas, drawn from multiple sources and reworked in changing ways, than a syndicalist union.

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WSF poster for 1997 meeting: “What are the Origins of May Day?” (24 April 1997)

Talk was at the University  of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) was active. WSF was the direct predecessor of today’s Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF).

WSF poster for 1997 meeting: “What’s ‘Left’? Is there an Alternative to Capitalism Today? An Introduction to the politics of the WSF” (13 February 1997)

Talk was at the University  of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) was active. This was a public meeting for new members / supporters and for other interested people. WSF was the direct predecessor of today’s Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF).

 

 

WSF (1999): “Libertarian Socialism (Anarchism): What we Believe – Libertarian Socialism and Workers Control”

WSF (1999): “Libertarian Socialism (Anarchism): What we Believe – Libertarian Socialism and Workers Control”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

The WSF is founded on the basic principle that the Working Class (the workers, the unemployed, ordinary soldiers, and the families of these groups) must FIGHT the bosses and politicians and top government officials. The society we live in is based on the rich exploiting the poor.

The rich – the bosses and politicians and top officials – live off the sweat of the Working Class. The rich are what we call the Ruling Class. Together they RULE the country. Your vote means nothing. The real decisions are made by the Ruling Class. The government is not a democratic structure Continue reading

WSF (1999): “Libertarian socialist (anarchist) history: The Industrial Workers of the World”

WSF (1999): “Libertarian Socialist (Anarchist) History: The Industrial Workers of the World”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

The idea of one big union to serve all workers, no matter what industry they slaved in, was associated with the Industrial Workers of the World, a fighting union formed by workers in the United States in 1905. With it’s slogan of “One Big Union!”, the IWW was designed to be a working-class vehicle for social justice, armed with the power of their labour and of solidarity with their brothers and sisters. Like the WSF, the IWW has does not believe that the only job of the workers’ organisations is to argue once a year for better pay packages. It wants industry to be put directly in the hands of the workers, those who have all the skills, knowledge and expertise to run the world’s economy.

WSF (1999):“Voting is your right but have NO ILLUSIONS IN PARLIAMENT”

WSF (1999): “Voting is your right but have NO ILLUSIONS IN PARLIAMENT”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

RIGHT TO VOTE

The WSF supports the right to vote. Working class people fought and died for this right. Any working class person should be free to vote for whoever they want. It is better to live under a democratic government than under the apartheid government. But we must have no illusions in the parliamentary system. As we have seen after nearly 5 years under this sort of government, parliament cannot be trusted. Even the best comrades sent to government have changed drastically.

SWEET LIFE

This is for a simple reason. Continue reading