“Education is a Right, Not a Privilege!”: WSF leaflet for university struggles (1997)

This was issued by the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), in early 1997, and condemned proposed cuts by the state to public universities.  It holds up very well: 20 years onwards, the university system is underfunded, marked by job insecurity and outsourcing, and substantial exclusion of black working class students. The division between historically advantaged (“white”) and historically disadvantaged (“black”) universities is entrenched. Today, of course, white students are a minority in the universities, but the skewed transformation that resulted means that most black students in historically advantaged (“white”)  universities are middle and upper class.

Get the PDF here.

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Hattingh, 2014, “Exploding Anger: Workers’ Struggles and Self-Organization in South Africa’s Mining Industry”

Shawn Hattingh, 2014, “Exploding Anger: Workers’ Struggles and Self-Organization in South Africa’s Mining Industry,” in Immanuel Ness, editor, 2014, New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism, PM Press, Oakland, CA.

Get the PDF here.

WSF (1999): “Fight Privatisation”

WSF (1999): “Fight Privatisation”

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

Privatisation is the policy of the ANC government and is organised by ministers such as Stella Sigcua, who has promised that the process will speed up. In the middle of August, Minister of Public enterprises, Stella Sigcau, said that privatisation must go faster in South Africa. She says that the big government-owned companies must be sold to big business companies.

The government companies that are going to be sold include

* ISCOR (iron and steel)
* ESKOM (electricity)
* Post Office
* Railways
* Sun Air
* Water services
* Government services like ambulances.
* Egoli 2000– government services in Johannesburg are set to be privatised by ANC.

Workers must fight privatisation because it means

* retrenchments and flexibility in privatised jobs

* It is not empowerment because it only helps the rich.

* cuts in social services (water, refuse collection, sewerage, electricity, trains etc.) to poor areas

Public sector unions are the key to fighting ANC’s privatisation plans. This requires trade union independence.

SAMWU: Fighting Privatisation In South Africa

In South Africa, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has been at the forefront of efforts to fight privatisation. SAMWU has managed to block the privatisation of refuse removal in Khayalitsha, Cape Town. It has also fought against privatisation in Nelspruit and on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast.

But every step of the way the union is being undermined by the ANC Continue reading

WSF (1999): “South African Labour Market Too Flexible, Says Report”

WSF (1999): “South African Labour Market Too Flexible, Says Report”

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

The bosses and government always SA labour is highly protected. However, a recent report by the International Labour Organisation, which is part of the UN, says that despite advances in worker rights since parliamentary democracy came in 1994, our laws on firing workers and contract work and working conditions are more flexible than the international average, showing up the bosses’ lie that the SA labour market is too inflexible.

WSF (1999): “ANC’s 1999 Budget Makes the Bosses Smile”

WSF (1999): “ANC’s 1999 Budget Makes the Bosses Smile”

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

A number of progressive organisations have claimed that the 1999 budget was a “people’s budget”. For example, the South African Communist Party issued a statement saying that the budget “is one more decisive step in the ongoing transformation programme of the ANC-led alliance”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Delivered in Cape Town on the 17 February, the ANC’s budget made the bosses jump for joy. First of all, it cuts tax on the companies by 5%. This means that the bosses will get R2.5 billion more in profits.

GEARs GRINDING

This is directly in line with the GEAR programme of the government. GEAR is committed to promoting the profits and the interests of the bosses. GEAR is based on the ridiculous idea that more profits for the bosses will mean more jobs and wages for everyone else. Continue reading

Moussouris, “Between Class Struggle and the ‘Developmental State’: COSATU and the Sector Job Summits” (2007)

Mandy Moussouris, 2007, “Between Class Struggle and the ‘Developmental State’: COSATU and the Sector Job Summits, Lessons in Corporatism,” paper presented at “Labour and the Challenges of Development” conference, Global Labour University, University of the of the Witwatersrand, 1-3 April.

Get the PDF here.

Factoria, Sizovuka, “The General Approach of Anarchists/Syndicalists to the United Front and NUMSA” (2015)

The General Approach of Anarchists/Syndicalists to the United Front and NUMSA

b1028by Jakes Factoria and Tina Sizovuka (ZACF)

FROM: Zabalaza number 14, from here

In this section we address questions that have been posed to ZACF militants. We are sharing these discussions because we think these are important and pertinent issues in Southern Africa. If you have questions you would us to address in our next issue, please get in touch!

In this column, comrade Themba Kotane, a union militant, asks:

Will the United Front (UF) address the crises we are currently facing in South Africa? I am concerned about how the UF works and who leads it. In my own view we don’t need a leader, we need to all have equal voice. How can we build the UF as a basis for a stateless, socialist, South Africa?

Jakes Factoria and Tina Sizovuka respond:

What the UF will do, will depend on which perspectives win out in it. Our general anarchist/ syndicalist perspective is that the UF (as well as the unions, like the National union of Metalworkers of SA, NUMSA) should be (re)built, as far as possible, into a movement of counterpower, outside and against the state and capital.

This means UF structures and affiliates should be developed into radical, democratic structures (in the workplaces and in communities) that can fight now against the ruling class, and that can eventually take power, directly. The UF should be (re)built into a direct action-based, direct democratic-structured movement for anarchist revolution. That means building structures in communities (street and ward committees and assemblies) that can replace municipalities, and developing the unions in the workplaces (through shopstewards committees and assemblies) into structures that can take over and run workplaces. This is not such a foreign concept in recent South African history: NUMSA’s predecessor, MAWU, was involved in the movement for “people’s power”, which took many steps in this direction during the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1980s.

For this to happen, a second step is needed: mass movements like UF and unions must be infused with a revolutionary counterculture. This means the masses are won over through anarchist political education, which is partly about building up the confidence and ability of workers and poor people to run society, including the understanding amongst the majority, that the tasks ahead are bigger Continue reading