A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism

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					Zabalaza     A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism                           No. 8       December 2007
“FROM         EACH ACCORDING TO ABILITY, TO EACH ACCORDING TO NEED!”




Inside...            Asgisa: A Working Class Critique SA Public Sector
Strikes The 2010 World Cup Protests Against University Privatisation
Introduction to the ABC Vigilante Farmers Want Refugee Camps Swaziland: The
Assassination of Our Dear Comrade Europe, Africa and the Neo-Liberal Strategy of Co-
Optation Fallacies of the Darfur War The Congo’s Dilemma A New Guantanamo in
Africa? Misrepresentation of Self-Management in the Caribbean Some Thoughts on Theoretical
Unity & Collective Responsibility Clarity on What Anarcho-Syndicalism Is Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist Strategy for Africa
           ZABALAZA                                                 PAGE 2                                  SOUTHERN AFRICA

                          Asgisa: A Working
                            Class Critique
                                                                                                     by Lucien van der Walt
  The announcement of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative – South Africa (Asgisa) in 2006
   has been met with some enthusiasm in left and labour circles. There is, however, very little to be
                                          excited about.
  The SA Communist Party (SACP) praised            industrial capitalist powers. Since then the     petition and opportunities for new busi-
the Asgisa programme soon after its                term has mutated, and has become widely          nesses, a “sub-optimal regulatory environ-
launch. Blade Nzimande admitted that               used by the State-centred left to describe       ment” (in labour law and other areas), and
Asgisa was not a new macro-economic                just about any alternative to neo-liberalism.    a lack of State capacity (pp. 4-6). There is
policy, and that it ignored “logistics” rele-      Even the ANC government (which avoids            nothing in this stress on competition,
vant to the working class, like decent trans-      the term “neo-liberal” like poison, while        export-led growth, cutting costs for busi-
port and education. 1 Even so, he was              applying neo-liberalism in practice) now         ness, and developing an efficient State,
“broadly” upbeat, claiming to see signs of a       calls itself a “developmental state”.            that departs in the least from neo-liberal-
shift towards “an active developmental               The difference between the SACP and            ism.
state … a comprehensive industrial policy          Cosatu on Asgisa is, in other words, that
and … integrated local development plan-           the SACP sees Asgisa as a move from              “DECISIVE INTERVENTIONS”
ning”, a “welcome shift.” All reasonable           neo-liberalism to the “developmental state”;       Asgisa’s “decisive interventions” (not “a
people, he added, “agree with the rele-            Cosatu does not. So, is Asgisa a break           shift in economic policy”) (p. 6) to deal with
vance” of promoting a competitive national         with the neo-liberal framework laid out ten      these issues are generally also within the
economy.                                           years ago in Gear? And, second, will             neo-liberal framework, except when they
  Cosatu was more openly critical, criticis-       Asgisa help meet the needs of the broad          involve “Black Economic Empowerment”
ing Asgisa at its September 2006 congress.         working class?                                   (BEE) measures. BEE does contradict
The union federation went on to argue for                                                           neo-liberalism to the extent that black cap-
its usual social democratic and nationalist        THE GENERAL PROGRAMME                            italists are given special treatment; howev-
project: expand the State sector, promote            Like Gear, Asgisa starts by stating that it    er, BEE and neo-liberalism can also be
export-led manufacturing growth, and (in           aims to create jobs, halve unemployment,         partly reconciled by using neo-liberal
line with Keynesian thinking) 2 redistribute       and reach sustained economic growth              measures like privatisation (the transfer of
income to the poor in order to boost local         (around 6% annually by 2010). 3 But since        state operations and assets to the private
demand and, so, economic growth. Still,            job creation and reducing poverty are the        sector) and outsourcing to BEE compa-
Cosatu reaffirmed its support for the ANC –        supposed goals of just about any econom-         nies.
or, more, specifically, for disgraced ANC          ic policy, we can’t evaluate Asgisa on the         Asgisa’s “decisive interventions” include
leader Jacob Zuma, who many naively                basis of its intensions. As with Gear, the       sector strategies (mainly promoting
believe will implement a pro-labour pro-           crucial issue is how will these goals be         tourism, and attracting outsourced jobs
gramme.                                            reached? And it is here that the problems        from other countries), a set of fairly unco-
                                                   start.                                           ordinated plans to promote skills (with the
WHAT IS ASGISA?                                      As Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-           emphasis on skills for a competitive econo-
  The differences between the SACP and             Ngcuka (closely identified with Asgisa) has      my), promoting small businesses (with an
Cosatu are not that deep. Both currently           stated, 4 it is not a replacement for Gear. It   emphasis on BEE through privatisation,
embrace the notion of a “developmental             is a package of specific, short-term initia-     cheap loans, and a “review” of tax and
state”, which they take to mean an inter-          tives to take the restructuring of the South     labour laws), suitable macro-economic
ventionist State machine that can actively         African economy forward by removing              policies (mainly continuing Gear’s stress
shape the capitalist economy – hopefully in        “binding constraints” and identifying            on a weak rand, low inflation, and spending
the interests of the masses.                       “growth points.”                                 less money more efficiently), and “gover-
  The “developmental state” is, in this con-         The country’s current economic trajectory      nance” issues (more efficiency, and contin-
text, really a restatement of Cosatu and the       is praised in Asgisa as showing “steady          uing to move towards a “social contract” on
SACP’s long-standing support for a                 improvement” in improving living condi-          “economic matters”) (pp. 8-16).
“national democratic” interventionist State        tions, creating jobs, promoting growth, and        Perhaps the most important part of Asgisa
that would supposedly help provide the             improving business confidence (pp. 2-3). A       is a heavy stress on promoting infrastruc-
basis for a future transition to socialism.        dishonest representation of the data lets        ture. Admitting that a large backlog in infra-
This is in line with the Marxist two-stage         Asgisa make manifestly ridiculous claims         structure developed in the first decade of
theory that the immediate task is a “nation-       that the real incomes of the poor have           Gear, Asgisa envisages real and significant
al democratic revolution” (NDR), meaning           increased sharply since 1994 (!), and that       increases in investment spending, growing
a mixed capitalist economy in which the            540,000 net new jobs were created in             at perhaps 10-15 percent per year, and
“national question” is resolved before             2004-2005 alone (!!).                            leading off with R370 billion being spent
socialism becomes possible.                          The “binding constraints” include a cur-       from October 2005 to March 2008. Around
  The term “developmental state” was orig-         rency that is “overvalued” (making exports       half of this will be done via the corporatised
inally coined to refer to ruthless but efficient   uncompetitive), poor infrastructure that         (and partially commercialised) State corpo-
capitalist dictatorships in East Asia like         hampers efficiency (particularly in trans-       rations, Eskom (electricity) and Transnet
South Korea, which succeeded – despite a           port), skills shortages, a high price of         (transport) (pp. 6-8). This supposedly (but
colonial legacy – in becoming significant          labour due to transport costs, lack of com-      not really) 5 “unprecedented” rise in expen-
           ZABALAZA                                                     PAGE 3                                    SOUTHERN AFRICA

diture will contribute to the 2010 World Cup           NEO-LIBERAL CLASS WAR                            AND NOW?
initiative, promote “public-private partner-              If by “developmental state”, we mean a          The fact of the matter is that capitalism, in
ships” (PPPs, a type of privatisation) in              break with neo-liberalism, it is mere wishful    general, is based upon the systematic
infrastructure, and also contribute to the             thinking to see Asgisa representing a shift      domination, exploitation, and exclusion of
various Industrial Development Zones that              towards “an active developmental state.” It      the working class. The slums are not the
are designed to promote exports and                    is an elaboration of the Gear project. Only      consequence of isolation from the “eco-
attract direct investment.                             a highly abstract analysis, where neo-liber-     nomic mainstream,” but its creation. BEE
                                                       alism is viewed in the most purist terms,        does not marginalise the working class by
A HIGHER GEAR?                                         could deny Asgisa’s neo-liberal credentials.     accident, but because all capitalists - and
  While Asgisa is, as should be expected,                 With Asgisa firmly part of the neo-liberal    the larger ruling class as well – inevitably
far more concrete than Gear in setting out             agenda, it follows that it offers nothing pos-   and necessarily marginalise the working
precise objectives and initiatives, there is           itive to the working class. As we have           class, of whatever race or nationality.
nothing here that breaks with Gear.                    argued before, neo-liberalism is about             In the era of neo-liberalism, these prob-
Asgisa’s “decisive interventions” are either           restructuring capitalism in a period of long-    lems are particularly marked, for neo-liber-
directly in line with Gear’s approach (such            term decline to restore profitability, and       alism involves a systematic redistribution of
as the stress on outsourcing), or are direct           shift the balance of class forces decisively     wealth and power away from the working
restatements of Gear’s policies (inflation             in favour of the ruling class. This involves     class. To assume that neo-liberalism can
targeting, fiscal discipline, the “social con-         a whole series of measures against the           be halted by “engaging” the ANC – let
tract”, more flexible labour laws).                    working class: flexibility, cost recovery,       alone, by electing a political opportunist
  And - this is especially important to stress         wage freezes, cuts in welfare and public         facing corruption charges like Zuma – is
- the emphasis on infrastructure develop-              transport, an ideological offensive against      extremely naïve.
ment in Asgisa is entirely consistent with             unions, and so on.                                 “Social equity” requires a significant
Gear’s call for “a substantial acceleration in            Neo-liberalism succeeds in its objectives     redistribution of wealth and power towards
government investment spending, together               to the extent that capitalist economic           the working class, and this requires, in turn,
with improved maintenance and operation                growth is restored, and to the extent that       large-scale struggle. Only partial gains are
of public assets,” up to, and including, the           working class conditions and power are           possible within the current social order;
use of PPPs. 6 This aspect of Gear was                 eroded. On both counts, Gear is a “suc-          substantial change requires a new order of
almost totally neglected in the past, with             cess”. That the South African economy is         things. The task of the hour is not to place
the result that infrastructure has crumbled.           growing at its fastest since the 1970s at the    false hope in the policies of the ruling class,
Even the dullest bureaucrats, it seems,                exact same time as poverty, unemploy-            nor yet to choose which member of the rul-
have come to realise that                                                                                                ing class assumes the pres-
                                   Thirteen years
rolling electricity blackouts,
                                       on...
                                                                    TELL THEM                                            idential throne. The task is
courtesy of Eskom, and an                                             TO BE                                              to start winning people to
overworked and unreliable                                            PATIENT...                                          the vision of a world beyond
railway grid, courtesy of                                                                                                capitalism, based on partic-
Transnet are disastrous to                                                                                               ipatory planning, distribu-
efficient capitalist accumu-                                                                                             tion by need, international-
lation.                                                                                                                  ism and self-management.
                                                                         !
                                                                HOUSES
BEE IN THE NEO-                                       WATER!
                                                                     Service
LIBERAL ERA                                                          Delivery now
                                                                                                                            NOTES:
  The only real break is,
                                                                                                                            1. Blade Nzimande, 11 April
perhaps, the heavy stress                     NS M!
                                                I
                                            HA IS
                                         PPITAL                                                                             2006, “Asgisa’s devil lies in the
on BEE. Gear itself said                C A
                                                                                                                            detail,” Business Times
almost nothing about the                                                                                                    2. J. M. Keynes argued that
apartheid-derived context.                                                                                                  higher working class incomes
Gear emphasised promot-                                                                                                     were good for capitalist busi-
ing small and medium                                                                                                        ness
enterprises (p. 13), but did                                                                                                3. The Presidency, 2006,
                                                                                                                            Accelerated         and      Shared
not link this specifically to
                                                                                                                            Growth Initiative – South Africa
BEE. Given that the ANC is                                                                              (a summary), Republic of South Africa, pp 2-3.
                                                       ment and de-unionisation accelerate is not
a bourgeois nationalist party, Asgisa’s                                                                 All subsequent Asgisa references are to this
                                                       accidental – it is the necessary outcome of
stress on BEE is not surprising.                                                                        document: the closest to an official statement of
                                                       neo-liberalism.
  As a capitalist party, at the helm of a cap-                                                          Asgisa available, it first appeared as a back-
                                                         That Asgisa will continue the pattern is
italist State, the ANC must adapt the new                                                               ground document at a press conference.
                                                       quite clear, once we examine its class char-     4. Vicki Robinson, 10 February 2006, “From
order of neo-liberalism. As an African
                                                       acter. For example, hundreds of billions         Gear to Asgi,” Mail and Guardian Online,
nationalist party, built in the anti-apartheid
                                                       will be spent on infrastructure, but the         w w w. m g . c o . z a / a r t i c l e P a g e . a s p x ?
struggle, the ANC must also promote the
                                                       emphasis is on meeting “rapidly growing          articleid=263813&area=/budget_2006/
development of the African elite: it has                                                                bud_insight/
                                                       demand”, and providing “spin-offs” for
done this in the State machinery quite                                                                  5. It is easily overshadowed, for example, by the
                                                       “business development and empower-
quickly and effectively, but has made quite                                                             massive expansions in State capital spending in
                                                       ment” (p. 7), rather than cheap, reliable
limited inroads into the private sector. This                                                           the 1950s and 1960s, the hey-days of import-
                                                       and safe public transport; roads will be
somewhat contradictory agenda lies at the                                                               substitution-industrialisation by the National
                                                       developed through a so-called “Extended          Party.
heart of ANC policy. Neither side of the
                                                       Public Works Programme”, which will cen-         6. Government of National Unity, 1996, Growth,
contradiction, however, offers the working
                                                       tre on short-term jobs and outsourcing to        Employment and Redistribution: a macroeco-
class anything.
                                                       (black) sub-contractors (p. 14).                 nomic strategy, Republic of South Africa, pp. 16-
                                                                                                        17
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 4                                 SOUTHERN AFRICA

                             Now is the Winter of
                               Our Discontent
  SA Public Sector Strike Stokes the Fire of Popular-Class
       Unity and Reveals “Communist” Weakness
                                          by Michael Schmidt - Pictures by Lebohang Makwela
  This year’s giant month-long public sector      the weeks ahead.                               years, if it had in any noticeable way
strike was a remarkable demonstration of a          The very first day of the strike, a single   curbed police violence against the working
convergence of working-class interests,           incident of violence underlined some of the    class. Sadly, this has not been the case -
across      organisational,       ideological,    most basic contradictions in the post-         as recent pre-emptive police gunplay
public/private, and racial lines – the likes of   apartheid political compromise: police fired   against legal pickets in the mining sector
which has probably never been seen in             rubber bullets and teargas on strikers pick-   has shown.
South Africa before.                              eting the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.       The stage having been set and the battle-
  And it took place against a backdrop of an        Cosatu president Willie Madisha (who         lines so clearly drawn, the initially luke-
intense policy debate within the ruling           was also an SACP Politburo member) and         warm response to the strike (starting on a
African National Congress (ANC) alliance          SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande,         Friday meant most workers simply took a
that has seen a go-it-alone faction emerge        on hearing the news of the shooting at a       long weekend rather than join marches)
within the South African Communist Party          march        of   strikers  in   downtown      quickly developed incredible momentum.
(SACP) and a more strident independence           Johannesburg, roundly condemned it. But
take hold among the 1,8-million members           so too, naturally, did a leader of the         THE PARTY’S PALE-PINK
of the Congress of South African Trade            Cosatu-affiliated Police and Prisons Civil
Unions (Cosatu).                                  Rights Union (Popcru).                         CHAMPAGNE SOCIALISM
  By the time the dust had settled, had we          This immediately revealed the raw sub-         The SACP had for some time been
seen the emergence of true popular-class          structure of the conflict.                     undergoing a series of changes that had
consciousness among workers and the                 Firstly, leading communists like Madisha     shifted it away from its traditional Stalinism.
poor?                                             and Nzimande found themselves pitted           Those changes can probably be dated to
                                                  against a strike-breaking force headed by      late leader Joe Slovo’s think-piece Has
                                                  Nqakula, who was SACP national chair.          Socialism Failed? (1989), written in the era
THE FIRST SHOTS REVEAL                                                                           of the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and coin-
                                                  This raised the question of whether the
CLASS DIVISIONS                                   SACP’s attempt to sail with one foot in the    ciding with Francis Fukuyama’s since-dis-
   By the time Public Service Co-ordinating       canoe of the masses and with the other         credited “end of history” thesis that claimed
Bargaining Council (PSCBC) talks got              foot in the canoe of the state would not       liberal capitalism had triumphed as the final
underway in Pretoria at the end of                                                                       mode of politics.
January, there were early warning                                                                          Slovo’s document, while reaffirm-
signs that the usual mid-year strike                                                                     ing the validity of socialism in the
season generated by negotiations                                                                         absence of the USSR motherland,
over wages and bread-and-butter                                                                          inexorably placed the party on the
issues would develop into an                                                                             path to becoming a conventional
unprecedented conflict.                                                                                  parliamentary social-democratic
   It wasn’t just that the government                                                                    entity indistinguishable from similar
was offering an insulting 6% across-                                                                     ex-Stalinist parties abroad, despite
the-board wage increase that fell                                                                        its resistance to change its name.
pitifully short of the rise in the cost                                                                    Fifteen years later, the party paper
of living with inflation running at 7%                                                                   Umsebenzi showed pretty girls
1
  . This hardline stance is linked to                                                                    sporting party-branded T-shirts and
the government’s neo-liberal orien-                                                                      other gear up for sale. And as this
tation, which stresses the need to                                                                       year’s SACP funding scandal 2
contain inflation and state spending,                                                                    revealed, the party has no restric-
inter alia, by capping public sector                                                                     tion whatsoever on businesses,
wages and by locking state workers                result in the party doing the splits.                  regardless of their motives, donat-
into longer-term wage freezes.                      Secondly, the state itself – which has       ing funds to the party coffers.
   Tensions were initially raised by rumours      increasingly come under leftist scrutiny in      More importantly, the party is deeply
that chief government negotiator Kenny            South Africa as an unelected counter-dem-      divided, and does not - except on paper -
Govender had not been properly mandated           ocratic bureaucracy – was revealed as a        have any shared line . Some rank-and-file
by the Cabinet committee from which he            conventional capitalist employer that readi-   members are old-school Stalinists while the
took his instructions – consisting of Public      ly engaged in deliberate armed violence        personal politics of its leaders veers
Service and Administration Minister               against its own employees.                     between mild social democracy to raging
Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Safety and               Thirdly, the police themselves, accus-       neo-liberalism. Clearly the 1990s saw the
Security Minister Charles Nqakula,                tomed to their role as enforcers of            party floundering in the political wilderness
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and               state/capitalist interests found their mem-    after the collapse of the USSR.
Finance        Minister    Trevor     Manuel.     bers on both sides of the barricades, their      In the final analysis, the party deferred its
Govender denied the claim, but there had          professional duties in conflict with their     own commitment to pursuing socialism
been almost zero progress by the eve of           needs as human beings. We would wel-           because firstly it mistakenly assumed that
the strike on June 1. And the role and polit-     come the unionisation of the police - most     the USSR had been “socialist” in the first
ical affiliations of the ministers pulling his    of whom are working class - over recent        place (thus its vision of socialism was for-
strings would be thrown into sharp relief in                                                     ever tainted with the idea that it could be
          ZABALAZA                                                  PAGE 5                                   SOUTHERN AFRICA

enforced from above by state-capitalist           the “developmental state”. Its vision is           THE BATTLE IS ENGAGED:
means). Secondly, its historical marriage         blinkered by its slavish adherence to the          SOLIDARITY AND UNITY
to the ANC’s bourgeois-nationalist project        “need” for a strong state to “help weld              The strike generated intense interest
has undermined the party’s ability to think       together a multi-class national democratic         among trade union organisations abroad,
outside the very limited toolbox of national-     movement buttressed by mobilised popular           and the ZACF did its small bit in publicising
ist politics.                                     and working class power”. The party man-           the strike and drumming up messages of
  It had become in very practical ways a          ifestly fails to explain why the ruling class -    solidarity from the international anarchist
capital-friendly party that did not challenge     against all logic, against even the most           and syndicalist movement.
the structure of capitalism/state, but merely     basic Marxist theory at that - can be “weld-         The ZACF itself noted that earlier in the
proposed reforms that would see a partial         ed” into a multi-class project that benefits       year, the Independent (that is, state)
rechanelling of profit towards developmen-        the working class.                                 Commission for the Remuneration of
tal ends. But this stance was increasingly          In line with this crippled version of work-      Public Office Bearers recommended that
challenged by the SACP’s refounded                ing class power, it comes as no surprise           President Thabo Mbeki get a 57,3% pay
Young Communist League (YCL), which               that the party warns against “a syndicalist        increase, taking his total package from
rapidly challenged older party conventions.       or populist rejection of representative            R1,1-million to R1,8-million annually.
  By May last year, when the SACP                 democracy, or even of a respect for a pro-           Strikers carried placards saying “57,3%
released its State Power Discussion               gressive law-based constitutionality rooted        good enough for Mbeki – good enough for
Document, the party had finally started to        in social solidarity”. What the SACP means         me”. The fact that Mbeki rejected the com-
grapple with the question of whether it had       by “organs of democratic self-government”          mission’s recommendations during the
been a good idea at all abandoning class          is equally contradictory: “community polic-        strike in an apparent attempt to pour oil on
struggle in favour of a few seats for its lead-   ing forums, school governing bodies, and           the troubled waters does not disguise the
ers at the bourgeois feast.                       ward committees”. No autonomous popu-              country’s huge income disparities: while
  The SACP correctly notes that the South         lar-class organisations in sight. Everything       members of Parliament argued they should
African state is Y-shaped: one arm services       wedded to the capitalist state.                    get salaries of R650,000 annually, a hospi-
the largely-white corporate oligarchy; while        Trotskyist labour analyst Terry Bell, one of     tal clerk told us she fed five mouths with a
the other under-services the largely-black        the rare pro-labour voices in the main-            take-home salary of R12,000 annually.
labour pool. Yet it still sees “capturing” that   stream press, said while Public Service                       Support for the strikers’ initial 12%
state as the true role of a revolu-                                                                           wage demand came from the anar-
tionary party. Although the party cri-                                                                        cho-syndicalist               National
tiques the form of the state, it does                                                                         Confederation of Labour in France
not critique its content as an                                                                                (CNT-F) which condemned “the
unelected, bureaucratic instrument                                                                            South African government’s attempt
of elite rule over the popular class-                                                                         to intimidate strikers into ending the
es. Unlike the party we recognise                                                                             strike by issuing dismissal notices to
that the state cannot be trans-                                                                               striking workers, and by using
formed into a democratic instrument                                                                           apartheid-era       police     brutality
designed to uplift the poor majority.                                                                         against picketers”.
  In the party’s draft programme The                                                                            Other organisations that sent mes-
South African Road to Socialism,                                                                              sages of support via the ZACF
released ahead of its July party con-                                                                         included      the    Federation       of
gress, it honestly noted the errors of                                                                        Anarchists of Greece (OAE), the
Stalinism: “dogmatism, intolerance                                                                            International Solidarity Commission
of plurality, and above all, the cur-                                                                         of the Industrial Workers of the
tailment of a vibrant worker democ-                                                                           World (IWW) and the Workers’
racy with the bureaucratisation of                                                                            Solidarity Alliance (WSA) in the
the party and state. Millions of com-                                                                         United States. The International
munists were among the victims of                                                                             Workers’ Association (IWA) said it
Stalin’s purges”. But this dodged                                                                             would send a solidarity message
the question of honestly facing the class         Minister Fraser-Moleketi was becoming              directly to the unions, although its affiliate,
character of the USSR by claiming it was          compared in her iron-gauntleted handling           the Solidarity Federation of Great Britain
really “socialist” despite “errors”.              of the strike to that other Iron Lady,             (SolFed – IWA), sent a solidarity message
  The draft later stated that “there is no sin-   Margaret Thatcher, during her strike-break-        via us.
gle road to socialism” and hailed the “role       ing drive against the National Union of              The Melbourne Anarchist Communist
of popular mobilisation rather than relying       Mineworkers in Britain in 1984, the real           Group in Australia (MACG) issued a
solely on inter-state-driven reconstruction       Thatcherite was Finance Minister Manuel.           detailed statement, noting: “The fact that,
efforts,” and of the importance of “organs of       Still, it is worth noting that Fraser-Moleketi   even now, [June 19], the public sector
popular power” among the peasantry and            is yet another former communist who has            strike is not resolved is a demonstration of
poor in driving a progressive agenda on the       sneaked away from the party in recent              the fundamental conflict of interests
African continent. But the progressive            years. Never really involved in the struggle       between labour and capital. Regardless of
nature of the party’s continental aims are        for a democratic South Africa, she joined          the outcome of this strike, while society is
vague at best and appear to be directed at        the ANC while visiting Zimbabwe in 1980.           divided into a working class and an
chanelling popular power into the narrow            Her Stalinist training – boot camp in            employing class, there can be no just and
purposes of African “developmental                Angola, followed by an officer’s course in         lasting settlement to employment dis-
states”. This does little more than strength-     the USSR and unspecified “specialist”              putes.”
en class rule.                                    training in Cuba – once again demon-                 The MACG endorsed “the right of picket-
  “One thing is certain,” the party wrote,        strates the very short distance, as the vul-       ing workers to use reasonable force in self-
“the intensified class struggle that is appar-    ture flies, between Stalinism and                  defence” – but as is usual, the red herring
ent across the length and breadth of our          Thatcherism/Reaganism.                             of violence was raised in the mainstream
society will be the decisive factor determin-       So it came as no surprise that this pale-        press and among the striking unions them-
ing the outcome”. But how much further            pink “champagne socialist” party found             selves, becoming a point of fracture in the
has the party advanced towards a pluralis-        itself a house divided against itself during       initially united front.
tic worker-democratic vision?                     the public sector strike.                            That front embraced 17 unions represent-
  For one thing, the party has no class line:                                                        ing Cosatu, the Federated Unions of SA
the popular classes exist merely to bulwark
          ZABALAZA                                                  PAGE 6                                  SOUTHERN AFRICA

(Fedusa), and the black consciousness             day strikers and the rest and leading to          revealed bitter divisions between Cosatu
National Congress of Trade Unions (Nactu)         intimidation.                                     and its traditional unionist rivals and public
– together accounting for about 1,4-million         Gavin Moultrie, president of the inde-          sympathy waned 3, the unions held the line
strikers – and about 400,000 independent          pendent Health & Other Services                   for unusually long and robbed the govern-
unionists.                                        Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa)            ment of an easy victory. Hopefully the
  It was a remarkable coming together of          said by June 16, the independents had             pragmatic lesson learned of the power of
the three main union federations, usually         become disenchanted with what they saw            union solidarity will not be lost. And hope-
divided by their disparate ideologies into        the abuse by Cosatu affiliates of the strike’s    fully the syndicalist lesson of shopfloor
respective ANC, liberal and black con-            economic aims to push party-political             democracy won’t be easily forgotten or
sciousness blocs, plus the independents,          agendas relating to the various factions in       eroded either.
one of the strongest expressions ever of          the ANC presidential race. Still, this would        The other good things that emerged from
multi-racial, yet single-class power in the       not cause the Independent Labour Caucus           the strike were the transformation of
country’s history. The strike did demon-          to break ranks, he said.                          Cosatu’s weekly labour review into Cosatu
strate a significant amount of cross-racial         Court actions started flying as labour and      Today, hailed as the first working-class
labour action, and probably quite unprece-        government tried to see who would be the          daily “newspaper” since apartheid ended,
dented in scale, so on one level it was an        first to blink: the Labour Court ordered the      and the launch of the new progressive jour-
advance in class consciousness. But the           120,000-strong Popcru to restrain its on-         nal Amandla! which promises to be non-
ideological grip of the ruling class - via the    duty police members from joining the strike       sectarian.
ANC and via nationalist mythology -               as threatened. But even the conservative            The MACG correctly urged “all workers in
remained pretty strong. These are uneven          64,000-member SA Police Union (Sapu)              South Africa to reflect deeply on the role of
advances.                                         warned many of its members were threat-           the South African so-called Communist
  Before long, off-duty soldiers and naval        ening a wildcat strike.                           Party. Communism has not failed. Rather,
sailors – their members drafted in as scab-         By June 24, however, with government            the SACP has failed communism. Under
labour to work in the hospitals and other         having dug in at 7,5%, and with the ANC’s         apartheid, the SACP taught that the work-
services – were joining pickets and march-        policy conference looming, the first unions       ers’ struggle had two stages. The first
es. Bell told me that “irrational” wage dis-      broke ranks: Fedusa affiliate Hospersa            stage was the struggle for the establish-
parities in essential services such as nurs-      announced it would sign the deal, with            ment of democracy, for the abolition of
ing, police and defence were fuelling the         president Moultrie saying he hoped to con-        apartheid and entrenched racial oppres-
fire.                                             vince Popcru, Sapu, the independent               sion.
  A one-day sympathy strike was called on         Public Servants’ Association (PSA), and             “The second stage, to follow at some
June 13 and was well-supported. Public            Cosatu affiliate the National Education           point after the establishment of democracy,
sympathy, despite widespread anger at the         Health & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu)           was the struggle for socialism. To the
lack of service-delivery, was high.               to join Hospersa.                                 extent that this was true, they deceived the
                                                    This would give it them the bargaining          workers (and many of their own members)
THE CRACKS IN THE DAM                             council majority necessary for government         by omitting to tell them that, in the second
   By June 16, when labour had dropped its        to enforce the agreement. Moultrie said he        stage of the struggle, the SACP would be
demand to 10% and the government                  felt by refusing to settle for 10%, the SA        on the side of the capitalists!
moved to 7,25%, the united front was hold-        Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) was              “The wretched history since 1994 of this
ing firm, and the average union member            “holding the other unions hostage”. He            once-proud organisation can only be
appeared to be very well-versed in the            saw this intransigence as part of a cam-          understood as the penalty for its funda-
issues at play around housing allowances,         paign to promote Sadtu president Madisha          mental political errors. The liberation of the
medical aid and so forth, despite Fraser-         for the ANC’s National Executive                  working class itself cannot be delegated to
Moleketi claiming union leadership was            Committee in December.                            a political party.” And, it seems that the
keeping them in the dark.                           In part, the Fedusa capitulation was            SACP seems doomed to repeat the mis-
   Several cracks had appeared around the         revenge for a 1997 about-face by Cosatu           takes of the past. This was evident at the
police use of force against strikers, the         unions who had also capitulated at the last       SACP’s 12th congress, held in July.
intimidation of non-strikers, and what the        hour, enabling the government to unilater-          While a Markinor survey in mid-June dur-
independents saw as the politicisation of         ally enforce its will.                            ing the strike had shown 28% of South
the strike by Cosatu ahead of the ANC’s             But in reality, all unions admitted they        Africans and 25% of ANC supporters
crucial June policy conference and                were at the mercy of their memberships            believed a new workers’ party should be
December congress.                                regarding whether to move or not. Even at         formed to contest ANC dominance, and
   Popcru’s head of collective bargaining,        that late hour, it was a victory for the shop-    while some party members have started to
Alex Mahapa, told me that police members          floor – especially given that few unions had      seriously question the Alliance with the
were hotly debating whether officers’             any strike funds at all, so strikers were real-   ANC, the SACP avoided making any real
orders to fire on strikers were legal orders      ly feeling the pinch.                             shifts. At its congress, party leaders neatly
(strangely, while soldiers have a unique                                                            deferred the decision on whether to contest
code of conduct allowing them to disobey          THE AFTERMATH: SHOPFLOOR                          the 2009 elections as a self-standing party
illegal orders, there is no police corollary).                                                      with its own platform. However, as exam-
                                                  WINS AND LEFTIST LOSSES                           ples too numerous to spell out show –
   The strike was largely well-disciplined yet      By July 1, the strike was over. Business
sporadic incidents of violence received                                                             including the Workers’ Party (PT) govern-
                                                  Day reported the score-card as                    ment in Brazil – electoralist options seldom
extensive mainstream media play.                  “Government 2, Unions 1,” though natural-
Although it is a fundamental principle of                                                           represent true advances for the popular
                                                  ly focused on the extra R5,5-billion – actu-      classes.
labour never to cross a picket line, the very     ally well affordable – that had been added
diversity of the striking unions created diffi-   to the public sector wage bill. By compari-
cult conditions.                                  son to Thatcher’s crushing showdown with          OPPORTUNISM IGNORES
   For example, JR Pieterse of the conser-        the British National Union of Mineworkers,        GRASSROOTS STRUGGLE
vative teachers’ SA Onderwysersunie said          which broke the back of British labour,             Why? The SACP’s long tradition of loy-
though all teachers’ unions were united by        however, government had failed to break           alty to the ANC is a major factor. In a cut-
their experience of similar poor levels of        the power of the unions and had been con-         ting analysis, Dale McKinley of the Anti-
pay and working standards, it had only            fronted with an unprecedented level of            Privatisation Forum 4 argued that for the
decided to embark on a one-day strike             working-class unity, initially backed by wide     past 15 years, the party had “fiddled” with
while other unions voted for an indefinite        public sympathy.                                  the issue of being junior partners in an
strike, raising tensions between the one-           Although the closing days of the strike         alliance with the ANC that they will clearly
           ZABALAZA                                                  PAGE 7                                     SOUTHERN AFRICA

never control. Their second option, was            social forces do not pose any ongoing or            was still lower, below the bank’s 6% target ceil-
never realised: “to go back to the basics of       future threat to the ‘left’ dominance of the        ing. On the other hand, food inflation is higher,
organising and mobilising the poor and             SACP/Cosatu and the self-annointed ‘left’           around 9% over the past few months. This, of
working class (which must include real,            forces in the ANC/the state”.                       course, hits the working class disproportionately,
                                                                                                       as Cosatu and others (even some bourgeois
practical alliances with community organi-            We anarchist-communists work within              economists!) pointed out during the strike.
sations and social movements) based on a           these social movements because they –               2. In August, the Mail & Guardian wrote a story
radical programme of demands for the               and not state corporatist structures like           saying R1,7-million was either missing from
redistribution of wealth …” This pro-              community policing forums - as the SACP             party coffers or had not been accounted for
gramme should “re-build a genuine left             would have it – are true “organs of popular         (including R500,000 allegedly donated by busi-
political and organisational power-base to         power”, for all their faults and inconsisten-       nessman Charles Molele, R600,000 apparently
contest power relations within SA society          cies. In doing so, we work alongside all            given by ANC man Justice Pitso, R360,000 iron-
(something which is not simply reducible to        true grassroots communists, however they            ically paid in error to the party by the Banking
elections and running as an electoral force        describe their traditions, who genuinely            Association, and R300,000 donated by the
                                                                                                       Chinese Communist Party). Corruption by sev-
separate from the ANC)”.                           support the organisational and ideological          eral party leaders Madisha and Nzimande has
  Rather than tackle the crisis in the party’s     autonomy of the popular classes (workers,           been alleged, but the matter has yet to be
ranks, and in its direction, the congress          peasants and poor).                                 resolved.
was dominated by the leadership squab-                We also encourage constructive debate            3. The public’s primary concern became the
bles in the ANC between supporters of              and engagement with SACP members                    teaching time lost to Matric students, hundreds
President Mbeki and his disgraced rival,           concerned at their party’s surrender of a           of whom have violently protested at the prospect
Jacob Zuma.5                                       class line in favour of the opportunistic pol-      of entering their final exams unprepared.
  McKinley noted how the presidential lead-        itics of personality, and with rank-and-file        4. The “Zumafication” of Left Politics in the
ership battle between factions such as             Cosatu members concerned at the stran-              Alliance: A Critical Review of the ANC Policy
                                                                                                       Conference & the SACP 12th Congress,
those supporting Mbeki or contender Jacob          gulation of the power of their class by the         Amandla                 online              edition:
Zuma had come to not only dominate, but            ANC yoke.                                           www.amandla.org.za/Site/McKinley.htm
in fact supplant real politics within the             Only a consolidation of ethical, highly          5. Jacob Zuma’s election as ANC President at
SACP.                                              politicised, forces of the productive base of       the party’s congress in December has been
  “It is a sad state of affairs – a situation in   society and their reserves the poor can             hailed as a victory for the Left by Cosatu and the
which the largest and most long-standing           hope to successfully challenge the                  SACP – but Zuma has made it crystal clear that
‘left’ party in South Africa [the SACP] is         exploitative status quo. That is the lesson         he will not diverge at all from the ANC’s neo-lib-
effectively held hostage to the outcomes of        of this year’s strike: only politically-            eral, anti-poor agenda. The parliamentary Left
personal/intra-organisational and patron-          mobilised class unity and shopfloor democ-          has thus failed spectacularly to shift government
                                                                                                       policy in a more humane direction – but while the
age battles within another party [the ANC]         racy can change the structure of the                economic and political superstructure remains
and, in which its own programme and poli-          national economy in a way that puts the             unaltered, Zuma’s election shifts the social
tics is also effectively moulded by the same       opportunists and the parasitic elites they          debate rightwards, in favour of macho populism
battles”.                                          serve to flight.                                    and perhaps even dangerous Zulu chauvinism.
  Sure, Minister Nqakula was ousted as                                                                                                     6. There is
party national chair – but not because of                                                                                                  confusion over
his politics but because he (supposedly)                                                                                                   the     SACP’s
represented the Mbeki faction. It was                                                                                                      true member-
telling, McKinley said, that Zuma was “nei-                                                                                                ship. In May,
                                                                                                                                           Nzimande
ther a communist nor even socialist,” but                                                                                                  c l a i m e d
rather an opportunist, so for Cosatu and                                                                                                   40,000 mem-
the SACP to claim there has been a shift to                                                                                                bers, and the
the left both in the party and in the ANC is                                                                                               July congress
patently false.                                                                                                                            was told there
  Instead, the reality is the SACP and                                                                                                     were 51,872
Cosatu are confirmed in their roles as mere                                                                                                paid-up mem-
handmaidens, forced to kowtow to the                                                                                                       bers.        But
usual old ANC dictates of strengthening the                                                                                                treasurer
                                                                                                                                           Phillip Dexter,
Alliance (exclusively in its favour) and thus                                                                                              suspended for
endorsing the deferment of any true revo-                                                                                                  railing against
lutionising of the country’s classist econo-                                                                                               the      party’s
my. Here, too, we see the results of the                                                                                                   Stalinism, put
strike in terms of consciousness are limit-                                                                                                the number at
ed. The energy and anger of the strike was                                                                                                 a more believ-
carefully dissipated into thin air by certain      Notes:                                              able 14,000 (the bigger numbers having appar-
union and SACP leaders.                            1. CPIX inflation, which excludes mortgage costs    ently been reached by simply adding the YCL’s
  The result is that despite memberships of        and is the main figure tracked by the Reserve       unproven and probably wildly over-inflated
                                                   Bank for policy purposes, has been slightly lower   20,000 members to those of the parent party).
14,000 and 1,8-million respectively, 6 the
SACP and Cosatu had been “virtually                at about 6.4% - and when the strike started, it
nowhere” amidst the “hundreds of commu-
nity protests around basic services, crack-        Note: The unity of the strike paid off in November with the merger of the formerly PAC-
downs by the state on these activists/com-         aligned, blue-collared National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), with the formerly white
munities and efforts to influence local gov-       - and white-collared - Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) to form a new labour giant,
ernment delivery mechanisms and politics           the SA Confederation of Trade Unions (Sacotu). With 890,000 paid-up-members (per-
to be more inclusive/participatory…”               haps 1-million members in all), it is bigger than the ANC with only 621,000 paid-up mem-
  He explains why the SACP and Cosatu              bers, but still lags behind Cosatu’s 1,8-million. While broadly social-democratic in orien-
approach to the radical social movements           tation, Sacotu is deliberately non-party-affiliated, a fact that is the major stumbling-block
have been so two-faced, making sweet
                                                   to the much-desired merger with Cosatu to form a single national confederation.
overtures the one moment, then decrying
them the next, instead of seeing them as             It remains to be seen whether Sacotu’s “a-political” stance becomes with time reduced
natural allies: they wish to “organisationally     to mere economism, whether it dissipates its strength by backing a future labour party,
control the social movements so that they          or whether its struggles against ANC neo-liberalism take it in a more militant,
are not ‘anti-ANC’ and also so that these          autonomous class struggle direction.
           ZABALAZA                                                 PAGE 8                                  SOUTHERN AFRICA

                           The 2010 World Cup...
               the Neo-liberal Agenda and the Class Struggle
                               in South Africa
                                                                                                     by Lucien van der Walt
   The 2010 World Cup is part and parcel of the neo-liberal restructuring of SA capitalism. It is also,
                         however, a major opportunity for social struggles.
  South Africa’s success in winning the              The fact is that there are many powerful       bility has increased dramatically, cost
2010 bid for the Soccer World Cup (the             interests who stand to benefit.           Our    recovery policies have cut municipal costs,
biggest international sports event after the       increasingly multi-racial ruling class – the     and taxes on high income earners have
Olympics) has been widely hyped as the             politicians, top officials, and big business –   been slashed.
solution to the country’s huge social prob-        see the 2010 Cup as a major opportunity.
lems. In the speeches of the politicians,          The ruling class believes that the 2010          CLASS POLICIES
and the editorials of the bourgeois press,         project will attract investment by business-       It is quite wrong, then, to suggest that
the 2010 World Cup is being presented as           es, both local and foreign, into South           GEAR has “failed”, as if the policy can be
the great test of the country’s ability to         Africa. Global games increasingly play a         judged in class-neutral terms: GEAR has
“succeed”.                                         central role in marketing countries as desti-    “succeeded” for the ruling class precisely
  News of the successful bid was greeted           nations for investment.                          because it has “failed” the working class.
by celebrations in the streets – celebrations        Other semi-industrial countries have used      In a class society, the “success” of a policy
that drew in large sections of the working         these events in exactly this way: thus, we       can only be judged relative to particular
class. Soccer’s history as a working class         have seen major events in Malaysia 1998,         class interests and agendas.
sport, worldwide, accounts for some of the         and there will be more to come in China            Now, one consequence of economic lib-
enthusiasm, and the fact that the Cup is           2008, India 2010, Ukraine/ Poland 2012...        eralisation has been the removal of various
going to be held in Africa also has some           A successful event will tackle the country’s     controls over capital investments (like pre-
appeal to the nationalist sentiments that          reputation for crime, low-skilled labour, and    scribed assets policies) and movements
are, sadly, widespread.                            general inefficiency. In addition, the Cup       (with a continually rising ceiling on capital
                                                   will provide a focus for the State’s commit-     outflows). The State is focussed more on
HOPE AND HYPE                                      ment (made in both the neo-liberal GEAR          attracting, rather than controlling, direct
  Even those who have little interest in the       and ASGISA programmes) to improve                investments, which is where deregulation,
game have grasped feverishly at the hope           infrastructure.                                  marketing and infrastructure come into play
of benefiting from                                                                                                            as major instru-
the billions the        2 009...                                             2 011...                                         ments for growth;
State machine is                     Try                                                                                      the State is, equal-
                                                                                                             SIGH
starting to spend           harder... maybe you
                                                                                      TRY R...
                                                                                                                 !            ly, increasingly vul-
                            can get a job out of                                       DE
on upgrading or                2010 like I did                                       HAR                                      nerable to the per-
building stadiums                                                                                                             ceptions of private
in the host cities                                                                                                            and       parastatal
and the money                                                                                                                 investors,      with
being earmarked                                                                                                               local capital itself
for upgrading pub-                                                                                                            “globalising” into
lic transport. Some                                                                                                           foreign markets.
jobs will certainly                                                                                                             In line with neo-
be created, and,                                                                                                              liberal       theory
more recently, the State has announced             NEO-LIBERALISM (AGAIN)                           (expressed in its crudest, optimistic form in
that money will be injected into the run-                                                           GEAR), implementing neo-liberal policies
                                                     The focus on marketing the country, and
down State health system, and that the                                                              means more local and foreign investment,
                                                   on infrastructure, is in line with the State’s
main tourist hot-spots will be upgraded.                                                            which means more economic growth, and
                                                   commitment to a neo-liberal restructuring
Current estimates are R16 billion, but we                                                           then more jobs, which redistribute opportu-
                                                   of the capitalist economy. Since the late
should expect the figure to rise dramatical-                                                        nities to the working class. For GEAR, the
                                                   1970s, first the apartheid government, and,
ly.                                                                                                 main areas of investment would be manu-
                                                   in the 1990s, the post-apartheid regime,
  We believe the State will probably be able                                                        facturing (with a focus on exports), and
                                                   has been set on liberalising the economy.
to get the country “ready” for the World                                                            services. Essentially, the theory goes, if
                                                     While many left commentators, like Ravi
Cup. But does it matter?                                                                            the rich get richer, the poor supposedly
                                                   Naidoo, have helped expose GEAR’s
                                                                                                    also have a chance to get richer.
                                                   impact on the working class (in terms of job
THE TOUGH QUESTIONS                                                                                   Hiding behind this cosy rhetoric of cross-
                                                   creation and service delivery, particularly),
  While improvements in transport and                                                               class compromise and all-round friendli-
                                                   it is also important to understand that neo-
health, and some job creation, can only be                                                          ness, however, is the brute reality of capi-
                                                   liberal restructuring has massive benefits
welcomed, the question must be posed:                                                               talism generally (class inequality) and neo-
                                                   for the South African ruling class. Not only
why is the South African State so keen to                                                           liberalism particularly (restoring profitability
                                                   has the economy grown at over 4 % over
host the 2010 World Cup? Why spend bil-                                                             through class war from above).
                                                   the last few years (its best sustained per-
lions on this once-off event, when there are       formance since the early 1970s), but
so many other serious problems?                    unions have been hammered, labour flexi-
          ZABALAZA                                               PAGE 9                                  SOUTHERN AFRICA

WINNERS, LOSERS                                 da: the neo-liberal extremism that suggest-      becoming increasingly controlled by major
   The class realities of the situation are     ed that the railway grid be fully privatised     capitalists, and run on capitalist lines. The
easily seen in the 2010 initiatives. The        has been replaced by a more pragmatic            big English teams, like Manchester United
State spending is mainly aimed at promot-       neo-liberalist view that recognises that         and Arsenal, came from the big industrial
ing opportunities for profit: lucrative con-    major infrastructure is (as economist Milton     towns, and started as workers’ clubs: today
tracts in infrastructure, a focus on upgrad-    Friedman puts it) a State responsibility -       millions are made from their “official” mer-
ing health and transport in wealthier areas,    and absolutely vital to a successful export      chandise, while the police diligently arrest
while hiding the poor, a focus on stadiums      drive in agriculture and manufacturing.          sellers and makers of so-called “pirate”
rather than houses, schools and township        The same applies to ESKOM, the other             merchandise. There is a fortune to be
upgrading. This is intended to attract          giant parastatal, which has gained an            made from owning soccer stadiums, selling
investors, drop the cost of doing business,     unpleasant reputation for unreliability over     tickets, TV rights and merchandise. In
and making sure that major economic deci-       the last few years (to which it has respond-     South Africa, this raises millions for people
sions remain out of the hands of the work-      ed, predictably, not by improving services       like Irvin Khoza (owner of Orlando Pirates),
ing class.                                      but by raising costs and running TV adverts      Kaizer Motaung and Primedia (owners of
   Money spent on 2010 is money taken           telling people not to run major appliances-      Kaizer Chiefs), and Patrice Motsepe
from other areas. In 2005, the government       like TVs!).                                      (owner of Mamelodi Sundowns).
allocated R48 billion to health, covering the      The State is not planning to change its         Finally, an event like the World Cup has
whole government health system, including       mind about continuing the commercialisa-         the great benefit (for the ruling class) of
400 hospitals. Of this, about R1,5 billion      tion of Spoornet and ESKOM, and still has        promoting backward ideas like nationalism.
goes to upgrading hospitals every year: in      plans to partly privatise both entities. The     The teams are organised by countries, and
other words, government will spend around       optimistic view - championed by COSATU           this provides a way for the ruling class to
6 billion on repairing hospitals by 2010,       figures like Karl von Holdt and Randall          promote divisions between the working
which is less than half of the money gov-       Howard - that union “engagement” with the        class around the world: a German worker
ernment plans to spend on soccer stadi-         State had led to abandoning the neo-liber-       is encouraged to support the German
ums. Yet hospitals are obviously more           al project in transportation - has no real       team, and think about being German,
important than soccer stadiums. If the full     basis. Nor is there any reason to start          rather than about being a worker, and so
2010 budget went to hospitals, four times       announcing the death of local neo-liberal-       on.
more repairs could be done. This tells you      ism.
something about the priorities of the ruling       But even the dullest bureaucrat supports      SOCIAL STRUGGLES
class, and how low down on the list public      taxi recapitalisation,, and upgrading and          The 2010 World Cup project is a ruling
health is compared to the neo-liberal proj-     even extending the railways, as with the         class project, but also provides an opportu-
ect.                                            new Gautrain project, which runs parallel to     nity to mobilise social struggles, particular-
   Where is the R16 billion going to be         the 2010 initiatives. The Gautrain shows         ly as the State will be uncomfortable with
raised? First, from central government          clearly the class character of the new           bad publicity under the global spotlight.
allocations (raised from tax on companies,      course. A multi-billion rand high speed line     There are opportunities to mobilise not just
salaries, VAT, and “sin taxes” on goods like    between suburbs in Pretoria and                  for small things (like affordable tickets), but
cigarettes) and, second, from local govern-     Johannesburg, the self-proclaimed “mid-          for more jobs, better transport, unionised
ments (which means from various local           dle-class express” will charge up to R60 a       well-paid jobs in the 2010 initiatives, and
rates and service charges, including            ticket, and is primarily designed to alleviate   for resisting the commercialisation and pri-
charges for property, electricity etc.). The    highway congestion by encouraging mid-           vatisation of soccer. There is a serious
flip-side of the coin will, of course, be       dle- and ruling class car owners to take the     danger that the process will be associated
increasing service charges and tougher          luxury train instead. It is not about helping    with major evictions of squatters and hawk-
cut-off policies for municipal services.        out the working class.                           ers, as well as rising taxes and service
Social movements: beware!                          The 2010 initiatives will create some jobs.   charges.       If the government wants to
                                                The big construction contracts, in particu-      spend R16 billion, let them raise the money
GAU-TRAINS                                      lar, will need large numbers of workers,         by taxing the ruling class.
                                                and there is nothing this country needs            Life doesn’t end in 2010: what we need
  Talk about improving public transport
                                                more than jobs. But how long will the jobs       are sustainable jobs, pro-poor develop-
must surely be welcomed. Around half of
                                                last? Building a soccer stadium is not a         ment and strong working class move-
the millions who use the trains are from the
                                                lifetime job; at most, it is work for a few      ments. This must be independent of the
lower ranks of the working class, earning
                                                years. What will happen after 2010? We           2010 programme – reports that COSATU’s
under R1600 a month and unable to afford
                                                don’t know what will happen in future, but       investment arm may become involved in
the taxis. However, the commuter railway
                                                the terrible record of South African capital-    stadium building should raise alarm bells.
system has not only been frozen for the
                                                ism in creating jobs provides reasons to be      2010 is a chance to highlight popular
last thirty years, but was actively run down
                                                concerned.                                       issues, but this can only succeed if we
in the 1990s; the trains cover only some
areas, are in an appalling state, and around                                                     avoid the poison of nationalism, with its
20,000 jobs have been cut. Spoornet and         GRAVY TRAINS                                     Proudly SA, lets-hold-hands-with-the-boss-
Metrorail, part of the giant State company        Of course, there are many other benefits       es propaganda. We need a different type
Transnet, have focussed on cutting costs        from the 2010 project for the ruling class.      of society, and this needs struggles, equal-
to such an extent that even powerful capi-      The politicians and the sports administra-       ity, internationalism, and working class
talist sectors, like the big farmers, have      tors will get a chance to make money,            struggle. Human dignity and rights are not
been seriously frustrated by the lack of        through various business partnerships and        possible under the current social order.
capacity and unreliability of the railway       corrupt deals. As the arms deal scandal
grid.                                           and the Gautrain have already shown, no          This is an edited version of a talk given at the 5
                                                major State project these days works with-          May 2007 Red and Black Forum, held at
  The focus on 2010, and ASGISA’s revival
                                                out kickbacks, crooked tenders and con-                  Khanya College, Johannesburg.
of GEAR’s promise to improve infrastruc-
ture, suggest a serious change in direction.    tracts for pals.
Outright sell-offs seem to be off the agen-       Furthermore, worldwide, soccer is
          ZABALAZA                                              PAGE 10                                 SOUTHERN AFRICA


                       Students and Staff Protest
                        University Privatisation
                                                                                                 by Lucien van der Walt
Announcements of steep fee increases and the planned privatisation of student accommodation sparked major
protests at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October. The fee hikes
are the latest consequence of the university’s neo-liberal “Wits 2001 plan”, which has cut spending, outsourced
                                      workers and promoted the commercialisation of research and teaching.

                                                larger set of problems in higher education      part of a longer struggle around the nature
                                                as a whole. What is happening at Wits is        of higher education - and the future of Wits.
                                                part of the post-apartheid ANC govern-          The defeat in 2000 quietened the campus.
                                                ment’s neo-liberal agenda, which is backed       The silence was broken in 2004 by stu-
          PRIVAT
                 IS
          SERVIC ED
                  ES
                               PUB
                              SERV LIC
                                                by the local ruling class and is reinforced     dent riots, a strike by outsourced workers in
                                  ICES
                                                by the General Agreement on Trade in            2006, and now, more struggles. Anarchists
                                                Services (GATS), the World Trade                have been involved in these university
                                                Organisation treaty that promotes the com-      struggles for many years, as militants, as
                                                mercialisation of social services; the ANC      organisers, as speakers, as writers.
      “We’re here to serve!”                    government is a GATS signatory. In the
                      make a PRO                higher education sector, this has involved a    THINK GLOBALLY
                                 FIT
                                                combination of funding cuts to public uni-        As we write, it seems the struggle is end-
REVOLT ON CAMPUS                                versities like Wits, and pressure to turn the   ing in premature negotiations that will per-
  Following a series of late night mobilisa-    universities into profit-driven “market uni-    haps win some important concessions for
tions in the university residences, hundreds    versities”. Wits, for example, saw its State    students. However, a sustained struggle
of Wits students - mainly African and work-     funding fall by a third in the late 1990s; in   can only take place if links are made
ing class - marched on the morning of           the mid-1980s, around 80% of university         between the different campuses, between
Wednesday 3 October to make clear their         money came from the State; today the fig-       the students and the staff (including aca-
opposition to the management’s decisions.       ure is around 39%. The result is fees           demics, but also support and administra-
Frustrated with official university forums      hikes, declining financial aid for poor stu-    tion workers), and if the weak and divided
that prevent student voices from making a       dents, and a drive to cut costs and promote     trade unionism in the sector is overcome.
real impact on policy, students disrupted       commercial activities.                          This requires a unifying programme includ-
lectures and an ever-growing crowd surged
                                                                                                ing demands for access to higher educa-
around campus.
                                                WITS 2001                                       tion for the working class, the reversal of
  By midday, tensions were mounting, and
                                                  Back in 1999, Wits adopted the Wits 2001      outsourcing, the end to privatisation and
Wits management launched a media offen-
                                                programme as its manifesto for neo-liberal      commercialisation, and a challenge to
sive against the students - and called on
                                                restructuring.     The immediate conse-         State policy.
lecturers to report protestors. Lecture dis-
                                                quence was the dismissal of over 600              As struggles without clear ideas are often
ruptions are forbidden under the universi-
                                                workers - a quarter of Wits’ total staff- and   struggles aborted too soon, it is important
ty’s Code of Conduct, but have long been a
                                                the outsourcing of their jobs in catering,      to recognise that the struggle in higher
standard part of the student protest reper-
                                                cleaning, grounds and maintenance in            education is part of the struggle against the
toire: class and race divisions amongst stu-
                                                2000. The struggle to prevent this out-         ANC’s neoliberal policies, and the ruling
dents mean that the African working class
                                                sourcing - covered in Zabalaza, and widely      class which lies behind them. Many of the
minority is not easily able to shut down
                                                in the anarchist press elsewhere - was a        student protestors were, in fact, members
campus activities by other means.
                                                key moment in the rise of new social move-      of ANC-linked youth groups, and the role of
  The protests continued the following day,
                                                ments like the Anti-Privatisation Forum,        the ANC was consequently obscured.
and progressive academics, grouped in the
                                                which have come out directly against the          But we are confident that the links are
Concerned Staff Committee, as well as a
                                                ANC’s programme. The outsourcing was            being drawn between neoliberal policies at
number of outsourced Wits workers, pub-
                                                accompanied by a series of mergers and          Wits, at the universities more generally, the
licly joined the students’ protests. That
                                                rationalisation of academic functions, and      massive layoffs in the country, the commu-
afternoon, riot police clashed with students,
                                                then the establishment of a special unit,       nity struggles against cut-offs and evic-
several of whom were arrested. Members
                                                Wits Enterprise, tasked with commercialis-      tions, and so, too the ANC, the State and
of the Concerned Staff Committee were
                                                ing university activities. As profit and        capitalism.      The struggle continues:
also called into a meeting with top man-
                                                power are so closely intertwined, it is also    protests against fee hikes, partly inspired
agement. The campaign continued over
                                                not surprising that the restructuring was       by the Wits protests, have begun at the
the next few days. Despite a hostile media,
                                                accompanied by a rapid centralisation of        University of Johannesburg. And these
which routinely presented the protestors as
                                                management power as well.                       are, in turn, part of the global resistance
vandals and troublemakers, the message
                                                  The conflicts this year - centred around a    struggles in universities and elsewhere,
was loud and clear: no to fees hikes, not to
                                                proposed 25% increase in upfront fees, a        struggles that are against the GATS,
privatisation, open the bourgeois universi-
                                                500% increase in admin fees for students        neoliberalism, and capitalism.
ty!
                                                coming from outside southern Africa, an
  The academics’ support was warmly
                                                average increase of student fees by 8%,         Note: This article was originally written for Le
received by the crowds, now around 500                                                          Combat Syndicaliste and will also be run in an
                                                and the planned privatisation of two stu-
strong, and helped underline that the prob-                                                     upcoming issue of that paper.
                                                dent residences - must, then, be seen as
lems faced by the students were part of a
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 11                                     SOUTHERN AFRICA

                            A Short History and Introduction to the
                           Anarchist Black Cross
  There is much debate over the exact date       work includes the Emergency Response                                 OUR AIMS
of the organisations formation. According        Network, a network designed to spread
to Rudolph Rocker (once treasurer of the         news of new political prisoners and repres-           The ABC SA aims to be a valuable
Anarchist Red Cross London) the Anarchist        sion actions from around the world, in order        resource for imprisoned class struggle
Red Cross was established between 1900           to get a quick response and aid from glob-          activists. This means aiding them finan-
and 1905. However, Harry Weinstein (one          al activists.                                       cially, materially as well as mentally, by pro-
of the two founders of the organisation in         In August 2002 a group of Johannesburg            viding them with reading materials, legal
Russia) insists it was founded after his         based Anarchists started the ABC                    funds (when possible), necessities etc…
arrest in 1906, when he and a group of           (SA) as a response to the escalat-                       Our actions will transcend only prison-
Anarchists supplied clothing to prisoners in     ing number of class struggle                              er support in the form of community
exile in Siberia.                                activists who had been illegally                          organising. This means engaging
  During the Russian civil war (1918-1920)       arrested (some 72 from the                               with communities that have been
the organisation changed its name to             Landless People’s Movement, 98                               affected by the injustice system; this
Anarchist Black Cross (Black being the           from the Soldiers Forum etc…)                                can be in the form of relatives or
colour of Anarchism) as not to be confused       which, unfortunately phased out in                           community leaders being impris-
with the Red Cross relief program.               2004.                                                         oned, “urban cleansing”, unfair dis-
  In 1967 the ABC Britain was re-formed by         As a result of an                                           crimination by the authorities (we
Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer. The          increase      in   activist                                   all know that poor communities are
decade saw the formation of ABC groups           arrests and repression                                        often unfairly targeted by the
all around the world especially in Europe        actions, brought about by                             police) and eviction campaigns.
and North America. In 1995 chapters in the       the dramatic increase of protests                       Our ultimate goal is the freedom of all
US merged into a federation - the Anarchist      and other demonstrations in the                       class struggle prisoners and the freedom
Black Cross Federation. In 2001 the ABC          country, we are pleased to announce that            of humanity itself.
Network, an international network of anar-       the Anarchist Black Cross Southern Africa
chist anti-prison groups, started. This net-     has been re-formed.                                 contact - sawcacsolidarity@riseup.net

        Remember “they are in there for us so we are out here for them!”



   Vigilante Farmers Want Refugee Camps on
                the Borderland
   Under the guise of so-called humanitari-      Kollapen of the South African Human                 man, we support their efforts to seek asy-
anism farmers in the Limpopo province, on        Rights Commission to be racist “paramili-           lum in South Africa. Furthermore, be
the border between South Africa and              tary” organisations which are acting                believe that every South African who
Zimbabwe, are calling on the South African       against black Zimbabweans.                          believes in human rights and democratic
government to establish refugee transit            According to the regional manager of the          principles, however much they may have
camps       where      the    thousands     of   Transvaal Agricultural Union, Marie Helm,           been distorted by our so-called democratic
Zimbabwean refugees that have been               responsible for the organisation of the             government, should do everything in their
flooding illegally into South Africa to escape   farm-watch patrols which track the                  efforts to make Zimbabweans feel wel-
the miserable situation in their country of      refugees down, farmers are concerned that           come and at home and try to assist, where
origin can be “fed and inoculated and            in the wake of the flood of immigrants “will        possible, in making their lives better.
processed properly without fear”. The            come organised crime, drugs and smug-
harsh reality, however, is that defectors will   gling” and that because it is hunting sea-
more than likely be processed back to            son, refugees risk being mistaken for game          Footnote:
Zimbabwe, which is something to be very          and being shot. They are apparently not so          ZANU-PF and Mossad
afraid of.                                       concerned with the theft of livestock by            On 27 September 2007 The Zimbabwean
   These farmers have been using “vehicles       starving Zimbabweans, but that the holes            reported that, according to highly positioned
                                                                                                     government sources, the ZANU-PF government
designed for game hunting to track down          they leave in the fences could allow dan-
                                                                                                     has hired Israeli intelligence operatives to imple-
illegal immigrants”, making citizens arrests     gerous animals to escape and that                   ment systems that will enable the regime to
and then handing them over to the police         refugees’ fires could become runaway wild-          gather intelligence against key opposition fig-
for deportation. Police Chief Commissioner       fires under the dry tinder conditions.              ures. It is said that the Zimbabwean regime is
Calvin Sengani, however, has since                 As anarchists we are strongly against the         paying huge sums of foreign currency for the
warned that farmers doing so could faces         establishment of any refugee transit                work of Mossad agents, and the spying equip-
charges of kidnapping and assault.               camps, and the role of these farm-watch             ment that they have brought with them.
   Farm-watch patrols which, during              patrols. Every Zimbabwean should have               Full                   story                  here:
                                                                                                     http://www.issafrica.org/static/templates/tmpl_ht
Apartheid were a frontline defence against       the right to a dignified life and, as that is not
                                                                                                     ml.php?node_id=2678&link_id=5
“terrorist” Zimbabwe, are said by Jody           possible under the tyrannical rule of a mad-
          ZABALAZA                                             PAGE 12                                 SOUTHERN AFRICA


  Swaziland: The Royal Assassination
         of Our Dear Comrade
                                                                             by Swaziland Solidarity Network
                                                                                       - South Africa Chapter
 The SSN has learnt with great shock the shameless cowardly co-ordinated assassination of comrade Ntokozo
 Ngozo by the ruthless and dogmatic royal police of Swaziland whose hands still drips with blood of the many
 martyred Swazis. These shamesless cowards should know that, by killing comrade Ntokozo Ngozo, they have
    crossed the line of acceptable engagement and declared war on the democratic movement as a whole.
  The SSN has learnt with great shock the      ber of SWAYOCO who cut his political            the mercy of democratic dispensation. We
shameless cowardly co-ordinated assassi-       activism in the Swaziland student move-         say to all comrades spare no efforts in your
nation of comrade Ntokozo Ngozo by the         ment, Swaziland Association of Students.        attack on the cruel system, it should not be
ruthless and dogmatic royal police of                                                              allowed to take one more revolutionary
Swaziland whose hands still drips with                                                             soul, the time is now or never to end
blood of the many martyred Swazis.                                                                 once and for all this evil nonsense of
These shamesless cowards should                                                                    royal lunacy masquerading as tradition
know that, by killing comrade Ntokozo                                                              and culture but yearns for life of the
Ngozo, they have crossed the line of                                                               innocents.
acceptable engagement and declared                                                                   To his family and friends and the liber-
war on the democratic movement as a                                                                ation movement as a whole we pass on
whole.                                                                                             our heartfelt condolences and share
  The democratic forces as well as the                                                             your pain of losing such a committed
entire peace loving Swazis will not idle                                                           cadre and are saddened by his untime-
by and fold their arms when their own                                                              ly death for which its revenge is democ-
blood is spilt in shameful manner by                                                               racy in Swaziland. We call on all of you
the royal police who criminalises the                                                              to take up his spear and carry on the
people’s struggle for a democratic                                                                 fight in whatever way possible for a
Swaziland and outlaws revolutionaries                                                              legitimate cause - the total liberation of
and declares them outcast. They can                                                                the suffering Swazi people.
never kill the living revolutionary sprit of   He was a dedicated freedom fighter, a true        May his undying sprit live on until the day
comrade Ntokozo Ngozo.             Comrade     servant of the people and a committed rev-      of freedom dawns when we shall dig the
Ntokozo was not a criminal, the Royal          olutionary.                                     truth and punish those responsible for this
regime knows that very well, he was a            The SSN is proud that comrade Ntokozo         cowardly act of maiming human life.
product of the prevailing conditions created   did not die a coward running away from the
by the regime in Swaziland, they murdered      royal system, he confronted the system             Long live his memory!
him with impunity and for that we will not     with unflinching courage of a dedicated
rest until we get to the bottom of the truth   people’s warrior, conscious of all conse-
                                                                                               Freedom or Death - Victory is
and indeed they shall pay heavily. He will     quences, he died in full combat fighting                  Certain!
not be another statistic.                      against the un-democratic autocratic
  Indeed the Royal regime has succeeded        regime of Nkanini and its oppressive               Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity
to test our tolerance levels. We are angry     Tinkundla system. He died fighting for the           Network - South Africa Chapter
with those who killed him, we are angry        total liberation of his country for which his     Mapaila Solly - National Chairperson
with the royal autocracy, we are angry with    blood will nourish its many seeds of free-
the intolerance of King Mswati III. He must    dom and galvnise the youth to fight for free-   For more information contact:
reign on his police or face the anger of the   dom until full liberation in Swaziland.
revolting masses.                                The SSN has no equivocation in calling          Lucky Lukhele
  Comrade Ntokozo Ngozo was a commit-          for all his comrades, his peers and those         Cell: 0027 72 502 4141
ted young revolutionary of the People’s        who love freedom to turn all against the          Tel: 0027 11 339 3621
United Democratic Movement and a mem-          royal regime until it is down on its knees at     Fax: 0027 11 339 4244

 Footnote by the ZACF                          to the ground and was crying for help.          body after his murder. Dr. Perumal said
                                                 The independent pathologist from              that no perforations on the extensively
   We are disgusted, yet not surprised to
                                               Durban, Doctor Perumal, stated “As a            blood-stained shirt corresponded to the
 learn that the killing of C’de Ntokozo
                                               result of my observations, schedule of          gun shot entry and exit wounds on the
 Ngozo (27) by the Royal Swaziland Police
                                               which follows, I conclude that the cause of     body.
 was indeed, as confirmed by an independ-
                                               death was, gun shot wound through the             Our sympathies go out to the family,
 ent post-mortem, an intentional murder.
                                               chest”.                                         friends and comrades of the victim of this
 The post-mortem revealed that C’de
                                                 Although Ngozo was found to be wearing        heinous act of political repression, and
 Ngozo was shot twice at close range by a
                                               a shirt, Dr. Perumal said that “the             hope that this dreadful incident will not
 low velocity firearm, like a 9mm handgun.
                                               deceased was not wearing a shirt at the         lead people to despair but rather serve to
 Eye witnesses confirmed that the police
                                               time he was shot as tattooing was               fuel the fires of the Swazi struggle for free-
 continued to shoot him after he had fallen
                                               observed”, indicating that it was put on his    dom.
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 13                                                   AFRICA


    Europe, Africa and the Neo-Liberal
         Strategy of Co-Optation
                                                                                                            by Manuel Baptista
  The overall strategy, at governmental level, for the EU-Africa summit on the 7th and 8th December in Lisbon,
presents itself in a very clear form. It consists of co-opting the NGO’s, be
 they international ones or from European and African countries, in order
                to pursue a series of strategic partnerships.
  What is being pursued, after all, is a         made by either the NGOs or the unions,
development model for aid to Africa, a pol-      will only be taken into consideration at the
icy which forgets the EU states’ promises        December Summit to the extent that the
concerning aid to Africa voiced at countless     governments want. But, by contrast, they
summits, the barriers abolishing promises        themselves will be requested to or co-
for African agricultural goods in European       opted into carrying out the programmes
markets, the promises to cancel debt, and        that the governments approve and find
the achieving of the so-called “millennium       interesting.
goals”.                                            Neither at the informal forums or meet-          Europe.
  It is a strategy that seeks to ensure that     ings or the official Summit will there be any        In open and fraternal cooperation with all
some countries (mainly ex-colonial pow-          real compromise in order to achieve things,        those collectives and social struggle
ers) can continue to benefit, in what is         either at an economic level or at a social or      groups that are willing, to continue what
practically a monopoly, in some market           humanitarian level.                                has already been achieved, it would be of
sectors. Even the weak Portuguese capi-            Some will show “concern” about constant          great interest to have a conference or
talism has important economic interests          Human Rights violations in some African            meeting to coordinate our strategies
and groups that invest in strategic partner-     countries or even in “Fortress Europe”,            against the neo-liberal and neo-colonialist
ships, for instance in Angola, in the public     where immigrants are expelled, persecut-           attacks in our countries and to promote the
engineering sector, the oil sector and most      ed, humiliated and exploited by every              respect of the rights of immigrants and their
recently, in the banking and finance sector.     means. It is well known that most migrants         families. A meeting that will havea certain
  Such a strategy allows NGO structures to       to Europe are mostly from African coun-            continuity and which can achieve, be it for
be the visible image of African countries’       tries. Nevertheless, efficient means to put        Portuguese organisations or those in the
increased dependency on EU capitalism.           pressure on the States to fulfil their obliga-     other countries participating, the following
After the dismantling of the health, educa-      tions will not be deployed.                        goals:
tion and public sectors in general by the          It will be just another stage for the institu-
criminal policies of the IMF and World Bank      tional actors to perform on: they will make           assessment and monitoring of the poli-
as part of the infamous “structural adjust-      out that they are doing something and              cies of the EU and its member States,
ment plans” in the ‘90s, this is now taking      there will be no shortage of those who             denouncing all obvious Human Rights vio-
place with the full agreement of the             come solely in order to promote their per-         lations either on European soil, or in Africa;
European powers.                                 sonal image and policies.                             periodical meetings with social militants
  It is also aimed at getting the institutions     These summits are ceremonies, with little        from our countries. This would require a
of civil society to submit to the logic of the   concrete effect at the level of what is actu-      frequent exhange of information and a per-
State, and the goals that their governments      ally talked about, as the relevant questions       manent coordination network between our
“generously” assigning them.                     are negotiated months ahead, before the            organisations;
  One must stress the importance in the          protocols are signed. They are important               the creation of support structures for
EU-Africa Summit preparations of the             only on the level of “political marketing”, to     African immigrants wherever there are
trade-union meeting held in Lisbon behind        perpetuate the illusion that something is          none, and strengthening those that exist
closed doors on 26th and 27th October.           being achieved to “eradicate hunger in             already.
The meeting was jointly hosted by the            Afric”. These oft-repeated lies do convince
ETUC         (European       Trade      Union    the people, after all, in spite of the evidence      The organisations (trade unions, associa-
Confederation) and the EU Presidency (the        that nothing meaningful is done!                   tions, collectives, etc.) who are active in the
Portuguese government) together with the           But beyond denouncing this “circus”, it is       social field, those supporting immigrant
CIS       (International    Trade     Unions     time to strengthen the ties of cooperation         struggles or other precarious situations,
Confederation) and African Unions.               between social militants from both conti-          would do better to unite their efforts, while
  The ETUC unions (the Portuguese UGT            nents.                                             remaining outside the influence of neo-lib-
and CGTP confederations are full mem-              Recently, in April-May, the I-07                 eral political hegemony. If they allow them-
bers *) habitually make “recommendations”        Conference was held in Paris, with the par-        selves to be “bought”, they will soon be
to such Summits. But, on the other hand          ticipation of alternative trade unions and         neutralised, bureaucratized and will lose all
and given the political dependency of such       collectives from various continents, not to        purpose for their existence.
unions, these unions will be even more           mention a conspicuous representation of
dependent on the governmental and inter-         African bodies. From 16-18 September,              NOTE:
regional institutions’ goals.                    there was a meeting in Malaga of trade             * Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain and
  In practice, the same can be said about        unions and collectives from both shores of         the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in
the “officially sponsored” NGO meeting in        the Mediterranean, with representatives            Ireland.
late November, again in Lisbon.                  from Algeria and Morocco in Africa and
  These proposals and recommendations,           Spain, France, Italy and Portugal from             originally published on www.anarkismo.net
          ZABALAZA                                              PAGE 14                                                 AFRICA

 Blood, Water & Oil: Fallacies of the Darfur War
                                                                                                       by Michael Schmidt
  Much has been written on the crisis in         while embraced by a minority of the peo-       versus Africans) continues to be peddled in
Darfur, the three arid westernmost               ple, do not hold up in fact because those so   the West. This can only be about the
provinces of Sudan, so I will not repeat it      defined all speak Arabic, dress identically    demonisation of Arab and Islamic culture
here.                                            and have the same culture. Within the          by America’s Christian fundamentalist lords
  Suffice to say that the USA alleges geno-      same family, facial features express the       of the New Crusades.
cide against the Fur, Masaalit and               mixed heritage of Darfurians. The differ-      2. Sudan is not an Islamic fundamentalist
Zaghawa tribes by Khartoum-backed                                                               state. Despite the introduction starting in
Janjaweed militia – an interest spurred no                                                      1983 under a previous regime of certain
doubt by Washington’s desire for access to                                                      aspects of shari‘a law and of a policy of
Sudan’s oil reserves which are currently                                                        Islamisation that technically only applied to
being exploited exclusively by China and to                                                     northerners, Sudan’s Islamic tradition is
a lesser extent, Malaysia and India.                                                            overwhelmingly Sufi with its emphasis on
  On the other hand, Nafi Ali Nafi, the                                                         personal, ecstatic communion with Allah.
deputy leader of the ruling National                                                            The austere Salafist Islam that has pro-
Congress Party admitted that Khartoum                                                           duced groups like al-Qaeda remains a
armed and trained a “popular defence                                                            minority tradition within Sudan and of very
force” from among civilians to be used to                                                       little social and political effect (even though
support the Sudanese Defence Force in its                                                       Osama bin Laden lived in Khartoum in the
battle against rebels in Darfur, while deny-                                                    early 1990s). In politics, the long-lived
ing any genocidal campaign.                                                                     Umma Party may recall the anti-colonial
  Sudan remains, in World Bank terms, a                                                         mania of the Mahdist Revolt of 1881-1885,
highly indebted poor country. But oil is                                                        but in reality, it remains merely the hobby-
changing all that: by 2006, oil accounted                                                       horse of the Mahdi’s grandson, Sadiq al-
for over 25% of Sudan’s gross domestic             A Sudanese AKM assault rifle lies at a       Mahdi. Meanwile, the Muslim Brotherhood
product. However, little of the wealth from       guard-post outside a National Intelligence    was not consulted (as it should have been
that 120,000 barrels of crude a year finds         & Security station in el-Fasher, Darfur.     according to the shura principle of shari‘a)
its way into an economy propped up by                    Picture by Michael Schmidt             on the Islamisation policy of the govern-
Bangladeshi guest workers lured to Sudan                                                        ment, and some aspects of the legal code
on false promises (winding up sweeping           ences that do exist are rather tribal than     were in direct conflict with shari‘a so the
floors for about US$100/month), or into          ethnic, which begs the question of why the     legal code remains unacceptable to many
neglected extremities like Darfur.               Darfur question has been racialised in the     Sudanese – Muslims included.
  The International Monetary Fund has            Western media? The conflict in south           3. The cause of the conflict is not only polit-
been pushing the fatal policy of privatisa-      Sudan could easily be used emotively for       ical. It is clear that many rebels took up
tion in Sudan, which has on the one hand         geo-political ends by the West by suggest-     arms because they saw that route as the
adopted unpopular austerity measures at          ing it was a battle between an oppressed       only way (based on the apparent success
home, while joining the initiative for a Free                                                   of the southern struggle) to convince
Trade Area for east and southern Africa                                                         Khartoum to devolve power and resources
abroad.                                                                                         to the Darfurian backwaters. But of greater
  Also, by last year, it was estimated that up                                                  general concern is the implacable east-
to 200,000 people had died in Darfur either                                                     ward march of the sands of the Sahara, at
directly or indirectly as a result of the war                                                   a rate approaching 10km a year. For
and 2,2-million people have been dis-                                                           example, as recently as 1992, the edge of
placed. There is no known oil in Darfur, but                                                    the desert stood a good 120km west of
the China National Petroleum Corporation                                                        Nyala. Today, the desert is only 5km from
is keen on laying a pipeline through it to                                                      the city limits. So desertification and envi-
connect Port Sudan on the Red Sea via                                                           ronmental degradation – exacerbated by
Sudan’s oil-rich Abeyi region to new                                                            the decimation of Darfur’s trees by wood-
reserves in Equatorial Guinea. But there is                                                     sellers – has compressed the tribes into
also a giant aquifer, which runs from the                                                       ever-smaller areas where they bicker and
Libyan border under Darfur to the Nile, and                                                     battle over shrinking water resources and
groundwater will soon, I predict, run a close                                                   grazing land. Modernisation since the
second to oil as a valued commodity, as                                                         Nimeri era (see below) also eroded tradi-
sustainable use of the Nile reaches capac-                                                      tional methods of dispute resolution, and
ity.                                                                                            as in Somalia, the addition of automatic
                                                  An office of the China National Petroleum
  After spending time in el-Fasher and                                                          weapons has spiralled tribal bloodletting
                                                  Corporation on the banks of the Blue Nile
Nyala, the capitals of North and South                           in Khartoum.                   beyond its normal bounds.
Darfur respectively, last month, I offer                 Picture by Michael Schmidt             4. The deployment of United Nations
these brief thoughts on the situation in                                                        peacekeepers will not help. It is clear that
Darfur that I hope will shed a different light   southern Christian culture and a dominant      the very establishment of camps for “inter-
on the war:                                      northern Islamic culture. The same argu-       nal displaces” all over Darfur works in
1. The conflict in Darfur is not between         ment cannot be applied in Darfur which has     favour of Khartoum. The camps, like the
“Arabs” and “Africans”. In Darfur it is          a largely homogenous population – and yet      one at Abu Shouk north of el-Fasher where
patently obvious that such distinctions,         a subtle, dishonest version of it (of Arabs    50,000 displacees live, are run by the
          ZABALAZA                                             PAGE 15                                                  AFRICA

regional governments, aided by a plethora Anwar Sadat announced they were to unite              People’s Liberation Movement / Army
of United Nations and other aid agencies, the three countries in a federation. This             (SPLM/A) and with deepening divisions
and policed to a degree by the African was unacceptable to the HSS and it staged                over Nimeri-era Islamicisation of the legal
Union. But though life in the camps is rel- a coup under Major Hashim al-Ata which              code and in 1989, Brigadier Omar el-Bashir
atively good, with everything from cell- ousted Nimeri – but he was restored to                 staged a coup in the name of the
phones to cosmetics on sale and                                                                     Revolutionary Command Council for
health rates that appear better than the                                                            National Salvation.
towns (at least in my comparison of                                                                    The left nationalist SPLM/A enjoyed
Abu Shouk and el-Fasher), they                                                                      the support of the Stalinist regime of
remain concentration camps in the                                                                   Mengistu Haile Mariam in neighbouring
original sense of the term. That is, they                                                           Ethiopia, but he himself was over-
forcibly concentrate formerly nomadic                                                               thrown in 1991, echoing the general
tribal peoples in an artificial “town” for                                                          collapse of the East Bloc and the liber-
years, urbanising them and exposing                                                                 ation movements it backed.
them to the seductions of the market –                                                                 In 2001, the Bikisha Media Collective
and of course, removing on-the-ground                                                               in South Africa – which went on to form
support from the rebels. The deploy-                                                                the core of today’s Zabalaza Anarchist
                                              Victims of alleged Janjaweed massacre at Wadi
ment of UN blue-helmets will most like-                                                             Communist Front – had contact with a
                                              Hour, Darfur, passed on to me by a very nervous
ly merely reinforce this pattern, which                           informant                         major who was a rebel commander
heavily favours Khartoum at the                                                                     within the National Democratic Alliance
expense of Darfur.                              power within three days and the HSS was         (TWD). Formed in 1989, the TWD was
  That said, Darfur is clearly occupied terri- driven underground again.                        based in exile in Eritrea, embraced 11
tory, with Sudanese Army “technicals”             Nimeri’s political orientation meanwhile      northern and southern opposition groups
(Toyota trucks with heavy machine-guns swung towards the USA in the wake of the                 including the HSS, SPLM/A and various
mounted on the back) much in evidence, 1981 assassination of Sadat, who had dis-                trade unions, and aimed at replacing the el-
with Chinese helicopter gunships at el- pleased him by reaching a separate peace                Bashir regime with a parliamentary democ-
Fasher and MiGs on the runway at                                                                    racy.
Nyala – and with a strong plain-clothes                                                                The TWD major asked: “With great
National Intelligence and Security serv-                                                            respect as comrades at arms, I would
ice presence.                                                                                       like more information regarding the rev-
  We anarchist-communists naturally                                                                 olution for it is the right of everyone to
need to condemn Khartoum’s brutal                                                                   fight for freedom which we have been
use of proxy forces – and its cynical                                                               denied as peace-loving Africans since
use of displacee camps – to control the                                                             we have remained prisoners mental-
civilian political process in Darfur.                                                               ly…”
  But we also need to reject both the                                                                  He went on to request information on
racialisation of the debate by the                                                                  the “best formation” and “defined tech-
Western media and the false solution                                                                niques” necessary for victory and we
that an armed UN presence would                                                                     directed him to the Organisational
bring. We should also appreciate the                     Another Wadi Hour picture                  Platform of the General Union of
environmental and tribal roots of this                                                              Anarchists. Although contact was later
complex war and see that, as the Darfurian with Israel. In 1985, a general strike               lost, this demonstrates there was a hunger
rebels appreciate all too well, the only brought Khartoum to a standstill and pre-              for the sort of practical politics that anar-
guarantor of a modicum of democracy in cipitated the fall of Nimeri who was on a                chist-communism can deliver.
Darfur is the devolution of power to the visit to the USA, in a bloodless coup. Dr                This is not to overstate the potential for an
people armed (though this is not to be read Gizuli Dafallah, a trade unionist prominent         anarchist-communist project in Sudan
as an endorsement of any rebel platform).       in the strike action, was appointed prime       today. For one thing, the drawing of the
  The obvious question then becomes,                                                                SPLM into government through the
what is the alternative? For that I will                                                            comprehensive peace agreement
turn to a brief overview of the                                                                     struck in 2005 has undercut the poten-
Sudanese left.            The Sudanese                                                              tial of its more radical tendencies (and
Communist Party (HSS) was founded                                                                   dissidents within the movement tend to
in 1946 during the global postwar                                                                   be ethnically-based).
upsurge of anti-colonial sentiment, and                                                                Legalisation has seen the old Stalinist
got its first brief taste of power in 1964                                                          edifice of the HSS fracture, however,
when a transitional government                                                                      with several “ultra-left” tendencies
embraced all factions including the                                                                 breaking away, primarily among stu-
Muslim Brotherhood. But after elec-                                                                 dents at the University of Khartoum.
tions in 1965 were followed by serious                                                              Although these mostly have a Maoist
fighting by southern secessionists, the                                                             flavour, influenced as they are by con-
government swung rightwards and the                 Another grim image from Wadi hour               ditions of rural warfare, the potential
HSS was outlawed.                                                                                   remains for anarchist-communism to
  The party was reinstated in 1969 thanks minister by the transitional military council,        make inroads here with fresh ideas. And
to the coup by Colonel Gafaar Mohammed an indication of the growing power of the                the trade union movement, though heavily
Nimeri, who struck a military-HSS alliance Sudanese trade union movement.                       urban, remains strong, which is a good
and laid the groundwork for a one-party           But the government proved unstable in         sign for any who wish to see an empow-
Soviet-aligned state. But in 1970, Nimeri, the context of the emergence of a new                ered Sudanese working class.
Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi and Egypt’s secessionist force in the south, the Sudan
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 16                                                  AFRICA

                            The Congo’s Dilemma
    Why the Congo is yet another example why we have to
                rethink our political system
            by Stefanie Knoll
                                                                                                                           partner in the Cold
                                                                         who wanted to have the Congo as a strategic
     A Small Summary of the                                              War. Mobutu installed his dictat orship finally in 1965 and banned
                                                                         all opposition parties. After 30 years of dictat
                                                                                                                             orship and hard-
         Congo’s History                                                 ships Zaire (the name the Congo was given
                                                                                                                              by Mobutu) the
                                                                                                          n because of problems in eastern
                                                                         regime could only be overthrow
                                                                                                                         and the millions of
                                                  King Leopold II of     Congo due to the genocide in Rwanda
   The Congo became the private property of                              refugees that fled across the borders. A rebel
                                                                                                                           lion in the east led
 Belgium at the Berlin Conference held    in 1884/5. Leopold used                                                  but the Congolese soon
                                                  most of all to col-    to the overthrow of Mobutu in 1997
 this to exploit the Congo’s natural resources,                          realised that the new president Laurent Kabil
                                                                                                                          a turned into a new
                                                                ome
 lect rubber, in  which the Congolese were forced in a grues                             a second rebellion emerged to overthrow
                                                                                                                                        Kabila.
                                               first decades of out-     Mobutu and
 way. It has been estimated that within the                               This rebellion is generally referred to   as the big African war
                                                  died, many others
 side rule 10 Million people in the Congo have                     an     because of numerous actors, African state
                                                                                                                        s as well as interna-
 have been mutila    ted. In 1908 the Congo became a Belgi                                   mercenaries. In 2001 Laurent Kabila was killed
                                                change much in the        tional states and
  colony due to outside pressure. This didn’t                             and his son Joseph Kabila was made new
                                                                                                                             president. Soon
                                                parties were still not
  situation of the Congolese people. Political                            peace talks were started but    they were always interrupted by
  allowed and only “triba  l” unions could emerge. This led to an                                                            very instable and
                                                   and at the eve of      new fighting. The peace has always been
  ethnically and regionally fragmented country                            fights are still going on. Last years elections
                                                                                                                             have been adver-
  independence in 1960 to many crises         . Patrice Lumumba                                                    y but have not amounted
                                                was soon to be elim-       tised as a triumph in Congolese histor
  became the Congo’s first Prime Minister but                       nt     to many changes.
  inated by Josep   h Mobutu with the help of the US governme


  We all have at least once in our life heard     uneven, leading to regional conflicts. The      Tutsi over the Hutu - the Luba over the
of the “First African World War” or the           maintenance of colonial borders in the          Lulua, the Hema over the Lendu and many
“Heart of Darkness”, a Western cliché             post-colonial era, accepted by all African      more examples. Sometimes the Belgians
which was used to justify colonialism and         States through the OAU, is still a major fac-   even created chiefs in societies without
post-colonial intervention. We all seem to        tor in conflicts, be they national or ethnic.   chiefs. This is why I prefer to use the term
know that the conflict in the Congo is, on                                                        ethnopolitical groups instead of “tribe” or
the one hand, about so-called “tribalism”         CULTURAL DIVERSITY                              “ethnic group”. Most of the time these so
and the exploitation of mineral resources           The Congo is geographically diverse and       called “tribes” are seen as natural descent
by Western companies on the other hand.           so is its population. There are about 250       groups caught up in their web of traditions
But a closer look shows that the situation is     ethnopolitical groups with their own distinct   and age-old rivalries. The most serious
much more complex and even if one is not          culture and most even have their own lan-       problem with the term “tribe” is the distinc-
an anarchist one has to agree that the            guage. The Congo is a vast country whose        tion between Africa and Europe when
roots of all problems in the Congo are actu-      regions differ greatly from each other and      implying that “tribes” only existed in Europe
ally capitalism and the nation-state system       the tropical rainforest at the centre has       until the Middle Ages whilst they still exist in
of arbitrary borders.                             always made traffic from one side to the        Africa today. What is more, while ethnic
                                                  other difficult. Because of these factors       conflicts in Europe are called national they
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE                                 one can see that there is no real unity         are referred to as “tribalism” in Africa.
  The Democratic Republic of Congo                among the citizens of the
(DRC) is not only the third biggest country       Congo. I do not speak of
in Africa, it is also one of the most strategi-   “tribes” since there are no
cally located and richest in mineral              “tribes” in the Congo or any-
resources. It has been subjected to out-          where in the world. All groups
side influence since the beginning of the         have been created for political
Arab slave trade and then Western colo-           purposes even if there is some
nialism. Belgium ruled the country for its        “ethnic”     root    to    them.
own wealth and, through decades of plun-          Sometimes they have even                                   DEMOCRATIC
dering the Congo, became one of the rich-         been created by the colonial                             REPUBLIC OF THE
est states in the world. The Congo, on the        administration and the Church                                CONGO
other hand, is one of the poorest countries       who tried to group people to rule
                                                                                                    Kinshasa
in the world. Outside influence in the form       them more easily and also to
of colonial administration with the help of       divide them among each other
the Church destroyed old structures and           so that there would not be a
old political affiliations and sometimes cre-     united anti-colonial movement.
ated new groups in the form of “tribes”.          Later also Mobutu used this
Colonial borders divided people between           form of divide and rule tactic. In
different colonial states; nationalities were     the Congo this has been done
thrown together that didn’t have anything in      by preferring one group over the
common. The economy was regionally                other - just as in Rwanda the
          ZABALAZA                                              PAGE 17                                                   AFRICA

  Nevertheless, ethnic differences continue     future, but soon followed in the footsteps of     when people do not believe they belong
to play a major factor in Africa. This is due   Mobutu, and another war broke out to get          together. By self-determination and auton-
to the fact that they are either based on       rid of Kabila.                                    omy I mean real self-government and not
natural descent groups that always used to        Overall this war has been about power           merely the creation of new states. States
have such loyalties, or that - even though      and profit. It originated in the Eastern          are one of the problems we have to get rid
they have been created by outside factors       Congo where there are conflicts about             of. To keep the Congo a state as it is at the
- people came to believe in such differ-        land. Certain groups (most of all Tutsi who       moment will lead to more violence because
ences themselves and now act according          have been living in the Congo for decades)        it is an artificial construct that has not
to that.                                        don’t have access to land and therefore           evolved from the inside but was forced
  This does not mean that such groups are       started a rebellion to fight against Mobutu.      upon the region from the outside. Only a
just classes and ethnic conflicts are just      As the situation didn’t change with Kabila        new global system will bring about the nec-
hidden class conflicts. Only in some cases,     they started a second rebellion. Both             essary change.
as for example in the case of the Hutu and      rebellions have been backed by Rwanda
Tutsi in Rwanda, this is true. But one can-     and Uganda. The regimes in Kinshasa               ANARCHISM - A WAY OUT
not deny that there are different classes       have been backed by various other African           Especially in Africa it has become clear
within ethnopolitical groups as well. In        and international countries.                      that the state, and capitalism that is upheld
most of Africa opposing social classes as in                                                      by the state, are the biggest evils. Most
Europe have never even developed. Most          THE NATIONAL QUESTION                             people live and work without ever getting
of the time conflicts occur along regional        Nationalism has also been a major factor        anything positive from the state. They only
lines. Therefore, in Africa we have to          for the Congo’s problems. There have              see its negative aspects: paying taxes
accept a plurality of cultures and the strug-   been various attempts to make a nation out        when there is no money for it; suffering
gle has to point out cultural diversi-                                                                    from wars that are led by politicians
ty and not just classes. Also, the                                                                        to gain more power and wealth. We
struggle for more rights of women is                                                                      have seen in many cases that
crucial and part of the anarchist                                                                         Western democracy is not the solu-
struggle and should therefore not                                                                         tion for Africa. Also, what some call
take a minor position.                                                                                    “African democracy” is just a nice
                                                                                                          word to hide a one-party state, such
CAUSES OF THE WAR                                                                                         as Uganda, which is nothing else
  There are many causes of the war                                                                        than another form of authoritarian
in the Congo. The most recent                                                                             rule. Most people already live out-
ones have been the collapse of the                                                                        side of and in opposition to the
Mobutu regime due to the collapse                                                                         state. Anarchism therefore would
of the Cold War in which the Congo                                                                        not be new to Africa and there were
had been a strategic partner for the                                                                      already many traditional societies
United States but became unimpor-                                                                         that used to live in a way close to an
tant afterwards. Outside interfer-                                                                        anarchist system; some of them still
ence by neighbouring countries,                                                                           exist. What we have to do now is to
Rwanda and Uganda, was a major                                                                            organise people across Africa and
factor in the actual outbreak of the                                                                      the world, to fight for a better global
war. Another recent source for the                                                                        system.
continuation (not the roots of the                                                                          Africa has always been dominated
conflict itself) has been the plunder-                                                                    by outside influence. Only a new
ing of the Congo’s resources by foreign         of the Congo, a country which is too              global system can change this dilemma
states and Western corporations.                diverse for that. Patrice Lumumba is              and only anarchism allows for a truly inter-
  The major factors for the Congolese war,      always seen as a pan-African hero who             national system that once and for all does
however, are capitalism and the state-sys-      tried to unite the Congo but in fact he also      away with the unjust exploitation of many
tem. Both have plundered and made a             has to be blamed for various massacres            by only a few. Only anarchism allows for
periphery out of the Congo to keep prices       and conflicts. Mobutu tried to do the same        real self-determination. No state is suit-
for resources low in the West. The State        and this led to some stability, but later he      able, whether it has cultural boundaries (as
has always only been used to gain private       also began to use ethnic diversities to           some ethnopolitical groups demand) or
wealth. Due to colonialism and the horrible     divide the opposition.                            not, because if cultural and national bound-
conditions in which Congolese people had          The idea of a Congolese nation is an illu-      aries are the same then the state is in dan-
to collect rubber for the Belgian state, 10     sion and whatever the roots of the ethnic         ger of becoming nationally oppressive by
million people died and others were muti-       tensions, there are continual pressures for       excluding people with different cultural
lated. The population of the Congo was          secession. Many people are unhappy with           backgrounds. Similarly, a multicultural
reduced to half within just a few decades.      the borders in the Congo and this has fed         state always runs the risk of having one
  As Mobutu’s regime collapsed, civil war       into the current war, as many want the            group try to assimilate others.
began and nearly 4 million people died, not     country to be split into different states. This     Summing up, states - even democracies -
to speak of the thousands that still die        might lead to peace in the short-term, but        only exist because they help some people
every week as a result of the war, because      more certainly to other conflicts. The only       to be more powerful and to accumulate
they do not have enough food and medical        way to solve the Congo’s problems is              wealth by means of power. This becomes
treatment. The people who suffer most           therefore to rethink the whole system of the      especially clear when looking at the Congo.
from the war and its consequences are of        nation-state and to completely change it.         We do not need states; there are many
course women and children. There are still                                                        examples that people can organise them-
child soldiers in the Congo and neighbour-      SELF-DETERMINATION                                selves, even on a global basis. Another
ing countries and women still get raped           Self-determination and autonomy are the         world is possible; we have to start believing
and mutilated by various local militias. The    only solutions to the Congo’s problems. It        in it and fighting for it.
regime of Laurent Kabila was seen by            just does not make sense to retain such a
many as a promising new hope for the            large country as a single unit, especially
         ZABALAZA                                            PAGE 18                       AFRICA/INTERNATIONAL

                                                        A new “Guantanamo-style” military camp has started operations in Addis
     A New                                              Ababa, Ethiopia from where a South African man, Abdul Hamid Moosa, was
                                                        recently released after six months incommunicado detention, where he suf-
                                                        fered assaults and lengthy interrogations at the hands of mostly American sol-

  Guantanamo                                            diers.
                                                        “Abdul was a victim of enforced disappearance” said his lawyer Zehir Omar, “a
                                                        crime against humanity”. Moosa was abducted from Somalia, but how he got

   in Africa?                                           there from Damascus is uncertain.
                                                        News of Moosa’s detention came via Reprieve, a London-based charity organ-
                                                        isation that helps victims of the “war on terror”, when a Swedish national known
                                                        as Muneer contacted them after he was released from detention at the camp
and returned to Europe, informing them of Moosa’s fate.
On the camp he said, “I have no doubt that the camp in Addis Ababa is one of the secret hideouts of the United States. Our interroga-
tors at the camp were mostly Americans”.
Muneer was abducted in December last year when soldiers surrounded a village mosque in Kenya where he was praying, taking 13
people including his wife prisoner. They were then interrogated, taken to and
detained in Nairobi for about 10 days before being put on a plane to Somalia. There
they were detained for about another 10 days before finally being flown to a military
camp in Addis Ababa. Abdul Moosa was already there detained, in an isolated sec-
tion of the camp. He later joined the new arrivals, all kept in isolated cells. They were
shackled, guarded and had their hands tied behind their backs for 24 hours a day,
unchained only to eat and use the toilet.
When Muneer arrived, he said, there were about 60 detainees at the camp but, when
he left, there were only 20, mostly Africans. The pattern of releases indicates that
those from more powerful Western states are more likely to be released than those
from African and Arab states, suggesting that it is a political, rather than legal process
through which prisoners are given their rights.                                            Australia’s Christmas Island “Guantanamo”



       Zabalaza Introduction to Misrepresentation of Self-
                 Management in the Caribbean
  This is a 1975 analysis from the Caribbean anarchist journal       were frustrated by the post-independence situation: Michael
Caribbean Correspondence, which was based in Jamaica,                Manley of Jamaica, and later Maurice Bishop of Grenada were
Antigua and the USA. It was kindly supplied to us by Mitch Miller    prime examples of figures who were inspired by the Cuban model
of the Workers’ Solidarity Alliance of the USA, an anarcho-syndi-    and who used the language of “self-management” and “commu-
calist group which has a long history of support for the struggles   nism” to promote a state-capitalist project.
of oppressed black people, whether in the USA itself, the              The ZACF reprints this historical article because it covers much
Caribbean or Africa.                                                 ground that remains very topical today: illusions in Cuba, and in
  The document is important both because of its excellent analy-     nationalism, and in cross-class racial movements remain preva-
sis, and because it is an important testimony to the anarchist and   lent. What is needed is an autonomously organised self-man-
syndicalist tradition in the Caribbean.                              aged movement by the oppressed classes, not another set of
  The most notable anarchist movement in that region was, with-      leaders. On reflection, Montgomery Stone, the author, suggests
out a doubt, that of Cuba. The Cuban anarchists pioneered the        that there is a real alternative: revolutionary self-management,
labour movement, organised across racial lines in both the work-     embodied by anarchism. His cutting article exposes the bank-
place and in working class communities, and opposed racial seg-      ruptcy of Statist solutions, and of nationalism, and shows that real
regation. In addition, the Cuban anarchists played an important      self-management is a fundamentally revolutionary project that
role on the independence struggle against Spain in the 1890s,        cannot be reconciled with the two great structures of class rule:
and against the subsequent influence of American imperialism.        capitalism and the State.
The strength of the Cuban movement was demonstrated by the             This is something that the great Caribbean revolutionary, CLR
fact that when the Cuban Communist Party was founded in 1925         James (1901-1989), never fully grasped. While James was
with under 100 members, the anarcho-syndicalist Cuban                increasingly critical of the Soviet Union, concluding it was simply
Workers’ National Confederation (CNOC) had 200,000 members;          a new State-capitalist regime, he nonetheless continued to adore
that is not even mentioning the Cuban IWW section, and the           Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and believe self-management was
Federation of Anarchist Groups of Cuba (FGAC).                       compatible with a Marxist regime. Likewise, he turned a blind eye
  What is rather less well known is the more slender history of      to the crimes of post-independence regimes across Africa, lav-
anarchism and syndicalism in the English-speaking Caribbean.         ishing uncritical praise on the radical nationalism of figures like
This was a minority movement, not a mass one. Whereas the            Kwame Nkrumah, who crushed labour and democracy in the pur-
movement in Spanish-speaking Cuba and Puerto Rico dated              suit of an independent national capitalism and powerful African
back to the late 1800s, the movement in Antigua and Jamaica          State.
appears to have only emerged with the New Left in the 1960s and
1970s. This was in the immediate aftermath of both decolonisa-       Note: a few very slight changes have been made to the original
tion, and of the so-called “Cuban Revolution” under Fidel Castro.    text to ensure clarity and eliminate grammatical crudities
Castro’s regime is often misunderstood to be socialist: it is, in    (although the original American spelling has been retained); addi-
fact, state-capitalist and was based from the start on the naked     tional footnotes have been added for explanatory purposes; and
repression of the working class movement, not least its anarchist    sub-headings have been added to break up the text into themat-
wing. Yet Castro’s example had a major influence on many who         ic sections.
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 19                                       INTERNATIONAL

  Misrepresentation of Self-Management in
              the Caribbean
                                           by Montgomery Stone, Caribbean Correspondence,
                                        June 1975, New York City (USA), Kingston (Jamaica)
                                                                    and St Johns (Antigua)
  Self-management is what the revolution          challenge so-called management preroga-           take their jobs of controlling the workers, let
is all about. The struggle being waged by         tives at the same time that they are waging       us look at what Basdeo Panday, President
the masses of people to gain direct control       a relentless struggle against their unions.       General of the All-Trinidad Sugar Estates
over all areas of social life, the absence of        With the endless number of strikes that        and Factories Workers Union, told his
which is responsible for their poverty,           seem to have become a permanent feature           workers after they had taken just such an
oppression and alienation. Relating direct-       of Caribbean life, wild-cats [rank-and-file       action.
ly to the place of work, self-management          illegal strikes] are more the rule than the         In its issue of 12/14/1974 the Trinidad
does not mean that management consults            exception. Increasingly, workers are realiz-      Guardian reported, “The union leader
the workers on what it, management,               ing that so-called industrial agreements,         explained to the workers that their actions
intends to do. What it means is that the          the deals worked out between union and            were an embarrassment to the union and a
workers themselves should collectively            management, not only place a limit on their       hindrance in the current negotiations for a
manage their work in all is aspects and put       decision-making, but also place restrictions      new three-year industrial agreement”.
an end to any management other than they          on their methods of struggle. Thus, today           This is the scene throughout the
themselves. However the concept of self-          in the Caribbean, it would not be incorrect       Caribbean and it is complemented by fre-
management, to be meaningful, could               to say that union bureaucrats are usually         quent seizure of lands by peasants in their
never relate to only the place of work or         the last people to hear about a strike.           on-going struggle against land-owners and
any other separate part of social existence.                                                        the state.
Because of the interdependence of all             THE ELITES, THE                                     However, we have only been looking at
areas of our social life, and because             MARXISTS AND THE UNION                            those people lucky enough to be
humanity demands liberty in all areas of                                                            employed. The Caribbean youth, who
social life, then [for] self-management to be
                                                  BUREAUCRATS:                                      make up the greater proportion of the high
meaningful and real [it] must embrace life        AN UNHOLY TRINITY                                 percentage of unemployment in the region,
in its totality.                                    The editorial of the Trinidad Sunday            have not been sitting idly by. From
  Within the Caribbean today, the concept         Express of December 15, 1974, should              Jamaica to Antigua to Dominica to Trinidad
of self-management is being terribly distort-     give us a feel for the present state of           to Guyana and in between those, it is the
ed and prostituted, both by the ruling            affairs. It said, “The utter disregard of the     same thing. The ruling classes and the
bureaucracies and the host of Marxist-            Industrial Relations Act (IRA) has resulted       state machinery have virtually declared war
Leninist bureaucracies which are seeking          in strikes becoming an almost daily hap-          on young people.
to replace them. One could sit back with a        pening with workers prepared to withdraw            And in their day-to-day struggle against
sort of naïve satisfaction and say that it is a   their labor under the slightest pretext”.         the state, young people, once attracted by
testament to the high level of revolutionary        It went on, “It is up to the unions to exer-    the revolutionary rhetoric of the various
consciousness of the Caribbean masses             cise control over their members if they are       bureaucratically centralized groups in the
that the tyrants should be forced to include      to justify their positions as bargaining rep-     area, are more and more rejecting such
promises of self-management, as dishon-           resentatives. It is not sufficient for the        groups because of bitter experiences and
est as they are, within their arsenal of false    unions to take the line that the workers had      are by themselves trying to throw up more
promises.                                         been advised by them and that there is            democratic organizational forms. They are
  The fact is, that while on the one hand it      nothing more they can do. If a union is           moving away from the vanguard organiza-
is the day-to-day struggles of the poor and       unable to exercise such control, then its         tions, which stifle their initiative and seek to
oppressed in the Caribbean that forces            leadership ought to be changed…”                  set up a “leadership” over them.
them to talk about self-management, their                                                             It is against this background that we have
talk of self-management is nevertheless a            “The act of striking, which is illegal         the middle-class state bureaucrats on the
direct reaction to that struggle and is meant        anyway, for what is certainly a mat-           one hand and the various Marxist-Leninist
to spread confusion and ultimately defeat            ter falling outside the industrial             parties and movements on the other, all
the oppressed masses in their struggle for           agreement, can only be regarded                talking about workers’ control and self-
true liberation.                                     as irresponsible action, and it is             management. And as if not to be outdone,
  It therefore becomes of critical impor-            hoped that those responsible for               the union bureaucrats too have begun to
tance that every effort be made to unmask            advising the workers will indicate to          call for workers’ control and self-manage-
these wolves in sheep’s clothing, and to             them the folly of their actions.”              ment. All three of these forces are as dif-
maintain a clear vision of the struggle for                                                         ferent from each other as the Father, the
self-management, for a society in which the         It then turned to the workers saying, “It is    Son and the Holy Ghost.
masses of people exercise direct control          time that the workers of the country realize        What keeps them apart is their power
over the means of production, the produc-         that action like this, grasping at all sorts of   struggle, which results from their common
tion process, the products of their labor,        extras, is reaching to the point of absurdity,    desire to be in control of the state machin-
and in every area of their social life.           and a government might well be forced to          ery. What makes them one is their equally
  Caribbean society is boiling and seems to       take such action that might cost them their       common desire to continue the oppression
be bursting at the seams. In territory after      precious freedom.”                                and exploitation of the masses of the peo-
territory, we see employed workers waging           And should any of us harbor any doubts          ple, under the hierarchical organization of
a struggle on two fronts, as they openly          about how seriously the union bureaucrats         work for their commodity economy, with
          ZABALAZA                                             PAGE 20                                     INTERNATIONAL

themselves as professional specialists in      Leninist theory of state socialism. Both         an industry changes their position in rela-
charge of the factories and state institu-     theories in fact amount to the same thing.       tion to it. Note the strike of Guyana baux-
tions.                                           Not for a moment must we imagine that          ite workers right after “their” company was
                                               Manley, [Forbes] Burnham [leader of              nationalized.
THE ERROR OF                                   Guyana 1964-1985] or any of the others             However, what we are up against now are
NATIONALIZATION                                have any intention of restructuring society.2    all the talk and fraudulent schemes being
                                               The big power breed of the metropolitan          put forward as “workers’ control”. Workers
  Around the world, capitalism is in the
                                               capitalists, from their position of dominant     in Guyana have recently been appointed to
midst of a crisis. From Sweden to America
                                               control of the network of international capi-    the management boards of four public con-
to Cuba to England to Yugoslavia, they are
                                               talism, along with the general chaos in          cerns. They have now become bureau-
all talking about “worker participation”.
                                               trade and capital investment, add up to          crats who were once workers, or to be
Worker alienation seems to be getting
                                               make the particular foreign investors insen-     more precise, worker bureaucrats. It
more acute, and whether it is the worker in
                                               sitive in negotiations with the local state      seems as if an old chapter in Caribbean
Moscow who stays home and drinks vodka
                                               bureaucrats over what percentage of the          history is being replayed.
or the worker in Detroit who goes to work
                                               booty they must get from exploiting the            Let us look at the tyrants and semi-tyrants
and sabotages machinery, workers around
                                               human and material resources in the              of today. George Walker, Eric Gairy,
the world are fighting back. As a result of
                                               Caribbean.                                       Robert Bradshaw, etc, etc, etc. 3 Were they
this, production is not increasing the way
                                                                                                not the workers of yesterday? How many of
the capitalists would like it to and in some
                                                                                                us still believe that you could end a system
cases even dropping. Their intellectual
                                                                                                of oppression by integrating one or any
agents have told them that the workers’
                                                                                                number of the oppressed into the oppres-
sense of alienation could be reduced by
                                                                                                sive bureaucracy?
allowing them to “participate!” in manage-
                                                                                                  No! Even if the entire board of manage-
ment and ownership.
                                                                                                ment was made up of workers, nothing
  We in the Caribbean are very much a part
                                                                                                would have changed. Now as then, the
of the world capitalist system. Thus let us
                                                                                                same system of management would
sit back and listen to what the Hon.
                                                                                                remain intact.
Michael Manley [Jamaica’s pro-Castroist
                                                                                                  The examples can go on and on. The
prime minister 1972-1980, and 1989-1992]
                                                                                                schemes range from co-operative farms to
has to say on the subject:
                                                                                                selling hotel workers shares in some
                                                                                                hotels. Worker participation is now official
   “May I now turn to a vital area: work-
                                                                                                policy. Management consultants and uni-
   er participation. One might be
                                                                                                versity academics are making it clear to the
   tempted to feel that one has dis-
                                                                                                state and private business that some strat-
   charged the obligation to change
                                                                                                egy of worker involvement has become
   and restructure the society when an
                                                                                                necessary to save the system of capitalist
   industry is nationalized. This is a
                                                                                                exploitation.
   trap into which many an unsuspect-
                                                                                                  We can not take Manley seriously when
   ing socialist has fallen.
                                                                                                he talks about bringing people into the
      “Here, however, we are in danger
                                                                                                fullest participation, because that would
   of confusing institutional shadow for
   the substance of change in the                         Michael Manley                        mean real self-management which would
                                                                                                get rid of Manley and all like him, and which
   experience of human beings. The
                                                 At the same time the current assault from      he is not prepared to deal with. For them,
   nationalization of the industry does
                                               the prisons, from the factories, in the          workers’ control is just another reform of
   not in itself bring any change in the
                                               streets and through occupations of land,         the capitalist system made necessary by
   experience of the worker. The moti-
                                               has taxed all the means and weapons of           developments within the mass struggle.
   vation for workers’ exploitation may
                                               social control, particularly the army, the         What must be of concern to us is the
   be reduced when we substitute the
                                               police and academic education. This is the       degree to which the poor and oppressed
   state for the private shareholder.
                                               crux of their government problems of             allow themselves to be taken in by such
   But the worker may find out that he
                                               power-relations. The motivation behind           things as “workers’ banks” and buying
   is, as before a blind cipher in a
                                               their rush to nationalize is the need to earn    shares in the company. These schemes
   machine that is controlled and man-
                                               more income for the state. This becomes          serve the double purpose of raising capital
   aged by powers that are remote and
                                               necessary because of the increasing cost         for the state and other capitalists at the
   insensitive.
                                               of operating an ever-growing bureaucracy         same time that they harbor in the workers
       “Hence we are planning to use
                                               on the one hand and, on the other, their         the illusion of involvement. Historically,
   the method of nationalization,
                                               position as state bureaucrats is the basis of    one of the worst handicaps of the poor and
   where it is appropriate, as more
                                               the wealth of a large section of the             oppressed has been their own illusions.
   than a bridge to public accountabili-
                                               Caribbean middle-class.                            The free-market capitalists and the Third
   ty. We see it as an opportunity to
                                                                                                World champions of nationalization are not
   develop full worker participation in
                                               WHAT OF FIDEL CASTRO’S                           the only ones who find it necessary to inte-
   all significant aspects of social and
                                               NATIONALIST-CAPITALIST                           grate fraudulent schemes of “workers’ con-
   economic activity.” 1
                                                                                                trol” into their program.
                                               FRIENDS?
  I am afraid that the second [half] of          [Yet] Manley is perfectly correct when he
Manley’s statement proves that he is total-                                                     AND WHAT OF THE MARXIST-
                                               says that nationalization is confusing insti-
ly unaware of the piercing profundity of the   tutional shadow for the substance of             LENINISTS?
first. He has unwittingly put forward the      change in the experience of human beings.          The Marxist-Leninists, known to be the
fundamental criticism of the nationalization   Caribbean workers have moved quickly to          defenders of hierarchy and authoritarian-
theory (the current fad) and the Marxist-      burst the illusion that the nationalization of   ism, have begun to unfurl theories of self-
          ZABALAZA                                               PAGE 21                                       INTERNATIONAL

management. We should now be able to               Lenin saw “workers’ control” as a tempo-        self-management are not irreconcilably
understand why the confusion is total.           rary measure which should be instituted to        opposed to each other. They run around
  The theory of socialism expounded by           guard against the counter-revolution, upon        calling themselves the New Left, the new
Marx and Engels, which calls for the con-        the defeat of which we should revert to           this and the new that, trying to hide the fact
centration of the means of production in the     good old socialist centralized planning.          that theirs is the same old authoritarianism.
hands of the state, is in contradiction to the   Also, he was of the opinion that this work-         Can we solve the problem of the exploita-
theory and practice of self-management.          ers’ control thing was a good means               tion of man by man without simultaneously
Marx himself brilliantly pointed out that        through which workers could keep an eye           addressing ourselves to the authority of
unless production relations were changed,        on the bureaucrats whom he intended to            man over man?
a change in property relations by itself (ie:    appoint to man the scientific system of one-        The fundamental question of the revolu-
a move to state ownership of the means of        man management! 4                                 tion is not one of making more commodi-
production) would only mean a society of           But did not Michael Manley say some-            ties available to people. However that
one big capitalist, but the same capitalist      thing about nationalization being a bridge        seems to be the limit to which our Marxist-
production relations would continue.             to public accountability? (And worker par-        Leninist friends are willing to go. They are
  It was Marx’s naïve belief in the eventual     ticipation too?) Anyway, the Marxist-             always quick to point out the statistics of
withering away of the state, plus his belief     Leninist concept of self-management was           how many children are in school after their
in the very need for the state, which led to     never any different from what we presently        seizure of power, how many bottles of milk
his hierarchical and authoritarian view of       have in Jamaica, Great Britain, Guyana, or        are produced, and the tripling of the pro-
“socialist society”. The fact is that if we      Yugoslavia.                                       duction of shoes.
were to have an immediate change in pro-           For these Caribbean revolutionaries then,         But whenever one raises the question of
duction relations (ie: a move to direct con-     self-management is nothing but a second-          hierarchical authority, there is always “the
trol by workers over the production process      ary part of their program and a fraud to          counter-revolution and the backwardness
and products of their labor), this would         boot. How can we reconcile the dictator-          of the masses” to justify it. Added to that is
bring the power of the workers into conflict     ship of their Vanguard and these popular          the Marxist dogma which says that human
with the power of “their” state.                 assemblies which they love to make so             society only becomes capable of freedom
  The fact is that genuine self-management       much noise about? Where will the power            at a certain level (?) of commodity produc-
and state power can never exist side by          rest – with their Vanguard or with the            tion. So we in the technologically under-
side. It could only mean a situation where       assemblies?                                       developed areas of the world are faced
the state bureaucracy “allows the workers          Will they be just another set of (Party-con-    with the added burden of having to wait
to make certain decisions,” but maintains        trolled) rubber-stamp parliaments, or gen-        until “our proletarian dictatorship” has taken
the final power within its hands.                uine forms of organization for workers’           us to that magic level of commodity pro-
  But history has shown that the so-                                                                        duction before we can put in our
called peoples’ states were never                                                                           claim for freedom.6
willing to do even that, because it
puts wrong ideas into workers’                                                                             SO WHAT IS
heads and the workers may move to                                                                          SELF-MANAGEMENT?
make their state-controlled “self-
                                                                                                                The movement to self-manage-
management” real. This is the con-
                                                                                                              ment is one that sees the question
troversy which is raging in
                                                                                                              of alienation as fundamental – and
Yugoslavia today, where self-man-
                                                                                                              therefore one that seeks to deal
agement in commodity production
                                                                                                              with the question of exploitation
operates under the centralist control
                                                                                                              and authority at the same time. It
of the communist party and the
                                                                                                              is not that we don’t see the ques-
state.
                                                                                                              tion of more food, clothes and
  How is it then that Marxist-Leninist
                                                                                                              housing as being of the utmost
groups like the New Beginning
                                                                                                              importance. It is just that we have
Movement, the Afro-Caribbean
                                                                                                              no intention of becoming only bet-
Liberation Movement, the New
                                                                                                   ter-fed slaves.
Jewel Movement, the Movement for a New           power? The fact is that if you push these
                                                                                                     Still, this is not to say that exploitation
Dominica, the Workers’ Liberation League,        self-styled revolutionaries far enough, they
                                                                                                   does not continue under the Marxist-
the Revolutionary Marxist Collective, etc,       will admit to you that their version of self-
                                                                                                   Leninist state. Under the socialist state
etc; how is it that they present themselves      management only becomes meaningful
                                                                                                   ([or] final state of monopoly capitalism),
as people who are advocating self-man-           after the “transition period”. The only trou-
                                                                                                   surplus value goes to the state bureaucra-
agement?                                         ble with that is that there is no end in sight
                                                                                                   cy instead of private capitalists. It should
                                                 to this transition period. The transition peri-
                                                                                                   be clear then that self-management is not
THE VANGUARD VERSUS                              od, like the “temporary” dictatorship, is per-
                                                                                                   an arrangement worked out by any state
POPULAR ASSEMBLIES                               manent.
                                                                                                   (Marxist-Leninist or not) for worker partici-
                                                   These so-called revolutionary organiza-
  To answer the question, we must first find                                                       pation.
                                                 tions are carrying out a program of mass
out what they mean when they say self-                                                               Seizure of control over the production
                                                 deception. On the one hand they run down
management. Make no mistake about this:                                                            process and the products of labor are key
                                                 the Marxist-Leninist ideology which can
they are Marxist-Leninist, they see them-                                                          elements in any attempt to end alienation.
                                                 only lead to a state bureaucracy ruling over
selves as the Vanguard; they intend to                                                             They will also be key elements in any
                                                 a society based upon capitalist production
seize state power and set up a dictatorship.                                                       attempt to establish self-management. We
                                                 relations. On the other hand they babble
We can only take consolation in the fact                                                           do not intend to concern ourselves with the
                                                 about self-management and workers’ con-
that they promised to make their dictator-                                                         legalities of who owns the means of pro-
                                                 trol. They are stuck in the same confusion
ship a temporary one. But whatever                                                                 duction; whether it is the people, the state,
                                                 that CLR James 5 has been stuck in for so
became of self-management? Well, we                                                                or private capitalists. What concerns us is
                                                 long, pretending that state socialism and
have not gotten to that yet.                                                                       that we establish effective control over
          ZABALAZA                                                PAGE 22                                         INTERNATIONAL

them. Let that determine the property rela-       means of production, and all areas of their       NOTES:
tions.                                            social life. The process of co-ordination,        1. Address given by Manley at the UWI, St
  All those who preach the virtues of hierar-     carried out by mandated delegates who are         Augustine, 12-14-1974. A former trade unionist,
chical authority will accuse us of being          subject to immediate recall, will be demys-       Manley (1924-1997) rose to power in Jamaica in
                                                                                                    1972 on a programme of “people’s power”. His
opposed to organization. Ironically, in our       tified from the state mystification in which it
                                                                                                    People’s National Party viewed Fidel Castro’s
struggle to establish a society of self-man-      exists under the system of capitalist pro-        corporativist “communism” as its model, but
agement, where decisions are made by              duction, to the simple administration of          became increasingly embroiled in political vio-
those whom they affect, it is precisely our       things.                                           lence from 1976 onwards. In that year, a state of
organization (or lack of it) which will deter-      The defence of the new form of socialist        emergency was declared and 500 opposition
mine our success (or failure).                    organization will have to be taken up by the      supporters were detained. In his second period
  They confuse bureaucracy and its hierar-        armed masses themselves, co-ordinating            in office, Manley adopted a watered down, mod-
chical authority for organization.           It   the defence of the revolution in the same         erate stance because his favourite dictatorship,
                                                                                                    the USSR, had collapsed.
becomes more absurd than ironic when              manner in which they co-ordinate produc-
                                                                                                    2. In 1970, Burnham, another president-for-life
one realizes that direct democracy, espe-         tion. Any attempt to leave the question of        Castroite, declared Guyana to be a “co-opera-
cially in today’s world, requires an amount       defence in the hands of specialist military       tive republic”. Like all other such pseudo-social-
and quality of organization that is as yet to     leaders and their hierarchical form of mili-      ist experiments, this meant in reality that the
appear in any society. On the other hand,         tary organization, can only result in the         popular classes were required to co-operate in
their organizational form, with the vast          defeat of the revolution. There can be no         their exploitation by the republic and its capitalist
masses being directed by the few, is an           power in the new society but the power of         allies. And yet then, as today, the Marxist-
absolute minimum of organization, and             the workers’ councils.                            Leninist left remains deluded that Castroite cap-
                                                                                                    italists Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and Evo
anything less would be no organization at           To repeat, it is only at the point of produc-
                                                                                                    Morales (Peru) can rescue their statist dreams
all.                                              tion that the poor and oppressed masses           from the trash-heap of history. Burnham’s
  Far from being a program for worker par-        can seize power. The masses could never           increasingly authoritarian regime is held respon-
ticipation within capitalist (or state capital-   seize state power, because the state is a         sible for the 1980 assassination of radical
ist) society, the struggle for self-manage-       hierarchical form of social organization and      Guyanese historian Walter Rodney.
ment is a revolutionary project for the total     could only be seized in the name of the           3. Walter was a former unionist who became
transformation of society. The number of          masses by somebody else. Whereas a                second prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda
instances in which workers have thrown            state machinery is needed by the minority         (1971-1976) as head of the Progressive Labour
                                                                                                    Party prior to the country’s independence from
out management and proceeded to reor-             oppressors to carry out the oppression of
                                                                                                    Britain in 1981. Gairy was a former US Navy
ganise production on their own are acts           the mass population, the masses do not            sailor and strike-leader whose United Grenada
that go way beyond the most liberal pro-          need a state machinery to suppress the            Labour Party took Grenada to independence
grams of the authoritarians.                      minority oppressors.                              from Britain in 1974. His paramilitary “Mongoose
  Yet such acts are just the beginning. The         The armed population co-ordinating the          Gangs” were responsible for street violence
occupation of a particular place of work by       defence of the revolution is not only             against the equally “labourite” New Jewel
its workers, together with a continuation of      enough and most efficient. It is also the         Movement that eventually ousted him in 1979.
production under their collective manage-         only form of military organization that will      Bradshaw was a former unionist who became
                                                                                                    the dictatorial first premier of St Kitts-Nevis-
ment, can not continue in isolation for too       not end up defeating the purpose of the
                                                                                                    Anguilla in 1967. He apparently style his regime
long before it is recuperated in one form or      revolution.                                       on that of Haiti’s notorious “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
another. Therefore it is a continuing revo-         The history of past struggles has already       4. Lenin mentions the need of “highly advanced
lutionary process in which other work             proven the utter uselessness and the para-        technology”. Techonolgy is presented as an
places and communities come to the                sitic nature of the bureaucrats of whatever       impersonal and impervious force in the same
defence of this occupation by initiating their    ideological brand. Their sermons of how           way as matter and finally history, understood as
own occupation.                                   society would be in chaos without their           the history of matter, is presented within a dog-
  It is only a generalized movement of self-      mediation are now bad jokes. They mis-            matic Marxism. Thus, all power to the techni-
                                                                                                    cians who know the secrets of technology, and
management, a final appropriation of the          take the clear demands made by the mass-
                                                                                                    know how to command it while obeying it, and
appropriators, that can get the poor and          es for control over their lives, as requests      who therefore command others without having
oppressed out of the vicious circle of            to self-manage their own oppression.              to obey them. The politician himself is nothing
strikes and strikes and more strikes. It is       However, the final critique of them will be       but the engineer or revolution and of popular
only at the point of production that the poor     the act of removing them.                         happiness. The organizational technique of
and oppressed masses can seize power.                                                               Leninism is only effective in the context of an
                                                                                                    alienated revolution. And the hierarchical set-
                                                                                                    ting, which Gorz points out in the capitalist enter-
THE SELF-MANAGED                                                                                    prise, is immediately found functioning politically
REVOLUTION FROM BELOW                                                                               and not technically in the Party with its structure,
  Workers at particular workplaces must
collectively manage the production process
through their workers’ councils, factory
committees, or what have you. And since                                          Southern African
individual workplaces could never decide
what to produce in isolation from each
other, plus the necessity for community
                                                                                 Anarchism Online
input in such decisions, there will have to
be widespread co-ordination of activities                                      Links to local groups, education material,
between the workers’ councils and commu-                                      email discussion lists, PDF leaflets for you
nity councils of the various areas of pro-
duction and other social activities.
                                                                                          to distribute etc. etc.
  These councils are the organisational
forms which will allow people to seize
direct control of the production process, the
                                                                              www.zabalaza.net
            ZABALAZA                                                    PAGE 23                           INTERNATIONAL/THEORY

its top directors, its assistant directors, the sec-
retaries, the union bosses, and the official ideo-
logues. In a word, the “professional revolution-
aries” whose profession is precisely to remove                                                                The text of this article has
the revolution from the proletariat, to transform                                                              also been published in
politics into something external and transcen-                                                                pamphlet form as part of
dent, requiring their science and their skill. –
Forgetting Lenin: TELOS #18                                                                                  the Zabalaza Books African
5. CLR James (1901-1989) was one of the                                                                       Resistance History Series.
Caribbean’s foremost journalists, theorists and
social analysts. Hailing from Trinidad and                                                                   The ARHS aims at rescuing
Tobago, his political oreintation was originally                                                              key libertarian socialist
Trotskyist, but he later embraced pan-                                                                        texts on African issues
Africanism, though he had an influence on                                                                         from obscurity
autonomist Marxism.
6. Consumer Human is satisfied by an ever-
increasing volume of commodities; his labor is                                                                 For ordering your copy,
nothing more than a means in his life – his                                                                  see contact details on the
means of acquiring (by its sale) commodities, of                                                             back cover of this journal.
appropriating property, of consuming. Work is
seen as an activity which has no intrinsic value,
hence its substance is unimportant, its form
important only in relation to other goals. It is                                                                             African
                                                                                                                               Resistance
good to shorten it, to routinize it, to mechanize it,
to increase its return – that’s all that matters.
For Creator Human, his work activity is his fulfil-
ment, hence it cannot be ordered in such a way                                                                                  History Series
as to preclude meaning, enrichment and pleas-
ure. – Administration Theory: TELOS # 12




    Some Thoughts on Theoretical
   Unity & Collective Responsibility
                                                                                                                                by Jonathan
This article aims to examine, briefly, the relationship between theoretical unity and col-
 lective responsibility, and their mutual dependence within an anarchist-communist
 organisation. It also poses some questions regarding the problems that may arise
within an organisation surrounding these notions, and the challenges that these may
    present to the growth and endurance of the organisation and the movement.

  We agree that in order to maximise effi-              communist group must imply acceptance              be delib-
ciency and potential, theoretical unity is the          of the major line for the group’s day-to-day       erately
desired tenet of an anarchist-communist                 activism, including the willingness to             applied       in
collective or organisation; in order for an             defend that line in public, even if the partic-    order not to offend certain members, or
organisation to develop an effective tactical           ipant has disagreements with it. Of course         upset the internal relations of the organisa-
orientation towards an oppression, it needs             there must also always remain a climate of         tion, and could have disastrous effects.
to be informed by a collectively deliberated            comradely debate, so that positions are              An organisation might form on the basis
and agreed upon strategy, reflecting said               continually being criticised and refined, but      that all its members are brought together
organisation’s collective theoretical under-            this must come from within, as the result of       by a common ideological vision; but what
standing thereof.                                       the introspection of the organisation, and         happens if, in the course of the life and
  The success of Platformism depends on                 not as a means of attracting more mem-             development of an organisation or collec-
the fact that entry into a group relies on the          bers.                                              tive, it emerges that militants’ opinions on a
candidate’s acceptance – beforehand – of                  Failure to maintain this culture of com-         particular issue differ from one another?
the group’s core positions, which are                   radely debate could result in the creeping         Perhaps because the issue in question was
debated but not negotiated with the                     in of a “false peace”, in which internal criti-    not considered at the outset, or due to the
prospective entrant. Of course this is not to           cism and debate is avoided, and the theo-          uneven growth of each member. The latter
say that they are not open to criticism, are            retical and practical approach of the organ-       can be avoided by paying special attention
permanently fixed and cannot be changed                 isation is therefore not developed further         to the internal education of the group, so
at a later stage. What is important, howev-             and does not evolve. This false peace of           that militants are able to advance theoreti-
er, is that militants are accepted into a               fake agreement could be based on silenc-           cally simultaneously, preventing them from
group based on their being won over to its              ing people through various tactics in an           developing their ideas in different direc-
positions first, and not admitted and then              argument, like sectarianism and name call-         tions.
convinced of the positions at a later stage.            ing, or through tactics like extreme forms of        Theoretically, and in practice in a directly
Acceptance into the specific anarchist-                 consensus decision-making. It could also           democratic group, all members should
          ZABALAZA                                                   PAGE 24                                                    THEORY

have an opportunity to present and argue           ing-from-within unions) and those that are           the life of an organisation, members will
for their ideas, and try to win the others         not seen as important or are specifically not        sometimes be in disagreement. A healthy
over to their positions. Perhaps in the            addressed within an organisation (e.g. reli-         organisation should accept different points
process of debate new ideas come to light,         gion in the case of the ZACF).                       of view, and members should not be
and the organisation is able to develop its          Fundamental issues are those that the              expected by the organisation to renounce
own position, which is guided by and               organisation presents to the public as its           their opinions but rather to accept and
acceptable to all its members, resulting           core principles and specific anarchist-com-          defend, provisionally and at least in public,
therefore in the growth of both the individu-      munist analyses, and it is essential that,           that of the majority of the organisation.
als and the collective.                            despite any minor disagreements within                 If a majority of members hold a different
  This ties in with the idea of collective         the organisation, all its members are com-           point of view to the official position of the
responsibility; everyone in an anarchist           mitted to supporting these in public.                organisation, then it might indicate that
communist organisation or collective is            Failure to do so would result in the concep-         either the organisation has grown beyond
responsible for its ideological character          tion of the anarchist-communist organisa-            its original framework, and needs to revise
and its members have the duty to argue for         tion as theoretically weak and disunited.            its positions or, possibly due to a lack of
and promote their positions as a means of          Moreover, it is essential to the health of the       coherent internal education, members
refining the ideological and theoretical           organisation that these fundamental issues           have developed their ideas in a direction
understanding of the collective as a whole,        of major analysis and principle are agreed           different to that envisioned at the outset.
not just leaving it up to the intellectuals and    to and supported by all militants.                     As far as possible it should be attempted
so-called experts to develop the politics of       Disagreement over fundamental issues is              to iron out and overcome differences
a group. This is why, no matter how seem-          likely to lead to fracture and dissolution or        through internal education and discussion
ingly trivial and unimportant a specific issue     splitting of the organisation, which again           but, while trying to stay as close as possi-
might appear to some, all the members of           gives the impression that the anarchist-             ble to the core principles of the organisa-
a collective have the responsibility to par-       communist organisation is disunited and              tion, a diversity of views should also be
ticipate in that dialogue in order to ensure       theoretically weak.                                  respected and accepted.
that the outcome is informed by and satis-           Issues that are critical in practical terms          Of course, we want our organisations and
factory to all. This could help to prevent         are those that guide the strategic and tacti-        movement to grow, but we are also con-
bigger differences from arising later on,          cal nature of the organisation. As the effec-        vinced of the necessity for theoretical unity
because the ideological and theoretical            tiveness of the organisation depends on              and collective responsibility for them to be
character of the collective will develop in        the full participation of all its members in its     effective. In trying to maintain this charac-
tandem with its members, serving to keep           activities, it is vital that collective agree-       ter, our organisations will grow more slowly
them in constant theoretical closeness.            ment on these is reached. Once again, if             than others, and strict membership criteria
  But what if irreconcilable theoretical differ-   militants enter an organisation knowing              might give the impression of sectarianism.
ences emerge in the development of an              that they are in slight disagreement over            This can lead to frustration within our
organisation? If it is a minority of people        certain issues, they nonetheless chose to            organisations, and some people might
who hold an opposing view, should they be          do so by free association, and the respon-           become disillusioned and modify their
expected to compromise to the will of the          sibility lies with them not only to defend and       views to make them accessible to more
majority? If they do so, how will it affect        argue for the organisation’s principles and          people, while others may drop out alto-
the collective responsibility shared by            analyses but, by participating in the activi-        gether. The question that faces us, then, is
all, knowing that some might be                    ties of the organisation, to share in the col-       how we can build our organisations and
engaged in something in which                      lective responsibility implied by the practi-        movement by being non-sectarian and
they do not fully agree? If it is                  cal engagement of the organisation in the            open to a diversity of ideas, while retaining
a minor difference, yet                            class struggle.                                      our specific anarchist-communist orienta-
unlikely to be overcome,                             Those issues that                                  tion and without compromising our princi-
should the organisation                                                              are not seen       ples of theoretical unity and collective
proceed as before? And                                                              as important, or    responsibility.
if it does so, and more                                                          are specifically not     If we are successfully able to build a core
differences arise, where                                                     addressed by the           group of anarchist communists with a
do you draw the line                                                        organisation,         are   coherent and theoretically unified under-
between a platform                                                    those that do not detract         standing of anarchism, and a clear strategy
inspired group, with the-                                             from the efficiency and           of engagement in the class struggle, the
oretical unity, and one                                                 proper functioning of the       first step is taken. Having done so, the
more resembling a syn-                                                  organisation, nor its per-      opportunity for building our organisations
thesist        organisation?                                                ception by the public,      and movement lies within our non-sectari-
How is an organisation to                                                       despite a possible      an ability and willingness to engage with a
prioritise which are minor,                                                      lack of theoretical    diversity of groups and tendencies on the
and which are major differ-                                                      unity. These are       left, and in our finding a social insertion for
ences; when a major issue                                                        most often issues      anarchist ideas and practice within the
to      one,      non-class                                                     of personal prefer-     movements and structures of the
oppressions for exam-                                                          ence and interpreta-     oppressed classes.
ple, may be of less con-                                                      tion, do not influence      This organisational dualism, on the one
cern to another?                                                          the core principles and       hand the specific anarchist communist
  It would be helpful here                                                  analysis of the organi-     organisation, and on the other its social
to make a distinction                                                       sation, and are there-      insertion within the popular classes, is the
between issues that are                                                     fore of lesser concern.     answer both to retaining our anarchist com-
fundamental (issues of                                                        To attempt to answer      munist orientation and building our move-
major analysis and princi-                                                  some of the questions       ment.
ple), issues that are critical                                                  posed: it is not
in practical terms (e.g. bor-                                                   uncommon that, in
          ZABALAZA                                               PAGE 25                                                  THEORY

                         Clarity on What
                      Anarcho-Syndicalism Is
  In the 14-20 September 2007 edition of         ed a political offensive against capital and   newly emerged elite, while it does every-
ANC Today: online voice of the African           the bourgeoisie”. Anarcho-syndicalism is       thing in its power to bring every aspect of
National Congress, in an article entitled “A     politically-conscious revolutionary trade      the popular revolution under its control.
fundamental revolutionary lesson: The            unionism that specifically targets capital       The authors of the article in the ANC
enemy manoeuvres but it remains the              and the bourgeoisie, and is in no way a-       Today are, once against, quite ignorant in
enemy” Anarcho-syndicalism (or what has          political. Anarcho-syndicalists have delib-    their understanding of anarcho-syndicalism
been termed Anarcho-Syndicalism, but             erately avoided engaging in bourgeois pol-     when they say that “the trade unions must
may have been more directed against the          itics such as parliamentarianism, true,        be welcomed and accepted as the natural
shopfloor militancy displayed during the         because they believe it to be a red herring,   leader of the entirety of the progressive
public sector strike) has been accused of a      and that no matter who wins a political        movement”. This is quite contrary to the
number of truly illogical things in an article   struggle, via the ballot box – be they reac-   most elemental of anarchist theory, which
by the ruling party in South Africa. This        tionaries or so-called progressives – when     holds that people, be they workers, peas-
article is primarily a response to these non-    they end up in the seats of power they will    ants, students etc., i.e. the ‘progressive
sensical claims in an attempt to clarify to      inevitably capitulate to the interests of cap- movement’, actively participate in the
those who are clearly ignorant of what           ital. There is enough proof of this all over   struggle and, in so doing, determine the
anarcho-syndicalism is, what exactly it is.      the world including here in South Africa.      ways and means best suited to their pecu-
  One of the accusations is that “anarcho-       Anarcho-syndicalists recognise that power      liar struggles and circumstance. We again
syndicalism has not served as a force for        corrupts, and that is why their struggle is    flatly reject the accusation that anarchism
progressive change”. Does the author not         political, economic and social, as                and anarcho-syndicalism has no “central
consider the victorious struggle for an 8        opposed to just political.                          ideas and strategy”. No centralist ideas
hour working day a progres-                      T h e y                           Its those           and strategy, sure, because the very
sive change? It would do them                                                                          point of anarcho-syndicalism is to be
                                                                                   Damn
well, when making such pro-                                                                             decentralised and flexible, able to
                                                                                Syndicalists
nouncements, to research a                                                                              adapt to the particular conditions of a
bit about what they write.                                                          Again!         certain socio-econo-political environ-
Assuming that they had (other-                                                                        ment. But to claim that it has no core
wise how would they quote                                                                            ideas and strategy is to say that it is
Rocker to such an extent), they                                                                     incoherent, chaotic and ill-defined
should know that the movement                                                                       which, as anyone who has researched a
for the 8 hour working day was led                                                                    bit about the history of anarcho-syndi-
by anarcho-syndicalists, and 7 of                                                                        calism and who is not deliberately
them were convicted to death for                                                                         trying to tarnish its name should
their role in this struggle.                                                                             know, is nonsense. The core idea of
International workers day, May                                                                            anarcho-syndicalism is that trade
First, is a commemoration of these                                                                         unions are a potentially revolution-
anarcho-syndicalists’ sacrifice in                                                                       ary force which, through the general
pursuit of progressive change. This              want to make immedi-                                          strike, can be used to overthrow
claim by the author/s therefore amounts to       ate and revolutionary                                          capitalism and the State,
nothing more than deliberately ignoring his-     economic and social gains for the                              replacing it with a federation of
tory to suit their own political agenda.         working class and poor, and believe that                       democratic and self-managed
  Another example of politically motivated       this is best done through the organisation                   trade unions and civil society col-
selective memory; the first trade unions for     of the working poor independent from polit- lectives with the underlying principal of the
black, coloured and Indian workers in            ical parties and the state.                    equal participation of all in society.
southern Africa were founded by syndical-          As in Russia and elsewhere, anarchists         It would be worth noting here that many
ists between 1917 and 1919. The ANC              and anarcho-syndicalists long ago said anarchist-communists have criticised anar-
itself, as a result, in that period, had a       that, the moment that any liberation move- cho-syndicalism, saying that it is a strategy
marked syndicalist tendency (at least in its     ment parties get into power, that is where for organising in the workplace, but not an
Johannesburg branches). If this was all          the revolution will end, that it will never end in itself, and that this workplace organ-
somehow, as they will no doubt claim,            progress beyond the first phase of the ising should be accompanied and rein-
immature, then why did the party choose to       national democratic revolution, that of seiz- forced by organisation of communities,
align itself with the left and labour during     ing state power. That is the fundamental educational facilities and of the unem-
the time of the struggle?                        problem with the authoritarian models of ployed.
  How can the call for “one big union”, con-     socialism, and that is what caused the
sisting “of all the workers” be construed as     great controversy between Marx and
an attempt to “principally … divide and          Bakunin. Bakunin quite rightly saw that,          The full article in the
weaken the progressive movement, serv-           when a so-called workers party enters into         ANC Today can be
ing the interests of right wing forces”?         power, it creates a new ruling class that will            found at
                                                                                                 www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/
Anarcho-syndicalists have consistently           do anything to keep its newly acquired
                                                                                                anctoday/2007/at36.htm
worked against right-wing forces and reac-       power and privilege. Namely; it will label
tion. We flatly reject the accusation that       as counter-revolutionary and persecute
anarcho-syndicalists have “carefully avoid-      anyone who expresses dissent about this
           ZABALAZA                                                 PAGE 26                                                    THEORY

    Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist
         Strategy for Africa
                                                                                                                            by Jonathan
  Between 28th April and 1st of May 2007            only union in the country, the UGTA. The          been attracted to authoritarian/ statist mod-
about 250 militants from five different con-        Guinean CNTG is the biggest union in the          els of socialism and Marxist ideas or, for
tinents came together in Paris, France for          country, affiliated to the mainstream             example, the type of “African socialism”, as
the CNT-F organised International                   International Trade Union Confederation,          practiced notably in Tanzania and that was
Syndicalist Conference i07, a follow-up to          and won a big strike this year. A represen-       explicitly anti-Marxist, as that was all that
the industrial Syndicalist Conferences held         tative from a Guinean students’ union-in-         most were exposed to.
in San Francisco, USA, in 1999, called i99,         exile was also present at i07 and the CNT-          It is also important to note that “African
and that held in Essen, Germany in 2002,            F has said that the Cocidirail and Sytrail        Socialism” has been tried and found want-
called i02.                                         railway unions in Mali, affiliated to the main    ing, and that radical Leftists in Africa might
  The goal of the meetings was to share             Mali union the UNTM, are very solid com-          be becoming disillusioned with mainstream
experiences, debate and to start rebuilding         rades. The UNSTB in Benin used to be a            state socialism and be looking around for
links between different organisations and           Marxist union linked to the state during the      alternatives. Perhaps this is what attracted
uniting workers of different countries, to          socialist period of that country and as a         the African delegates to i07? Perhaps they
appropriate the means of information,               result is rather reformist. There was also a      feel so isolated and in such a desperate sit-
struggle and action by organising interna-          “very strange union” from the DRC                   uation that activists from a statist orienta-
tional solidarity against capitalist domina-        Congo, Lutte Ouvrière, which the                       tion are willing to try anything to garner
tion and exploitation. The weekend includ-          CNT-F says they needed to see “on                         some support from the international
ed discussions, workshops and debates               the field” to assess their politics                          community. Or perhaps they were
dealing with syndicalist issues (co-opera-          properly. The Congolese do,                                      all, as with the delegate from
tives, repression, representativity, the            however, have links on                                               Burkina Faso, just there to
European Union, casualised and unpro-               their website to the CNT-                                               learn.
tected labour, and relocation...) as well as        F and fellow syndical-                                                       Whichever the case
social issues (anti-sexism, the campaign            ist unions the Spanish                                                      may be, it is a sound
against Coca-Cola, migrant workers, anti-           CGT and Swedish SAC.                                                      strategy for the French
fascism, housing struggles, anti-imperial-          The CGT-Liberte and the                                                CNT to be in contact with
ism and neo-colonialism...). Branch meet-           public sector CSP from                                              these groups as it helps to
ings (metallurgy, education, construction,          Cameroon were unable to attend                                  facilitate a dialogue about forms
postal services, health, culture, archeolo-         because of visa problems, but they                           of organisation, visions of the type
gy...) and meetings devoted to geographi-           are “very interesting” according, once                    of society we want to create and it
cal regions (Palestine, Europe, the                 again, to the CNT-F.                                  allows for the building of solidarity strug-
Americas, Africa, the Mediterranean zone)             As seen by the preceding breakdown the           gles between groups in the so-called first
also took place. The conference ended               African delegates present, entirely paid for      and third worlds. Hopefully those dele-
with an anarchist/ anarcho-syndicalist/ syn-        by the CNT, seemed all to have come from          gates who attended from Africa would have
dicalist bloc of about 5,000 participants           a range of independent and radical unions         learnt something and have been inspired
from every corner of the globe at the May           influenced by Marxism, and it is interesting      by the anarcho-syndicalist and revolution-
                                                    to consider what might have attracted them        ary syndicalist movements they encoun-
1st demonstration in Paris.
                                                    to attend an anarcho-syndicalist confer-          tered. I strongly feel that the CNT-F has
  What is particularly interesting to us, and
                                                    ence, and what this means for creating an         taken an initiative that I would love to see
the focus of this article, is that, for the first
                                                    opening for spreading libertarian socialist       being followed by the other more devel-
time, the Industrial Syndicalist Conference
                                                    ideas in Africa. One cynical participant          oped and stronger anarchist and anarcho-
had a significant African presence this year,
                                                    commented that they got the feeling that a        syndicalist groupings and movements, with
with delegates representing trade unions
                                                    lot of these people where present because         the capacity to do so, from the former colo-
from Algeria (Snapap), Morocco (UMT,
                                                    the CNT wanted to have a big impressive           nial regimes.
CDT, ANDCN, poor peasants, FDR-UDT),
                                                    event, and that they invited organisations          There is also, encouragingly, another sim-
Tunisia (CGTT), Guinea (CNTG, CEK,
                                                    to participate which they would otherwise         ilar initiative to i07, the “International con-
SLEG), Ivory Coast (CGT-CI), Djibouti
                                                    have been a lot more wary of had they             ference on the co-ordination of base union-
(UDT), Congo DRC (LO), Mali (Cocidirail,
                                                    been from Europe. I don’t think that that is      ism and social connection in Europe and
Sytrail), Benin (FNEB, UNSTB, AIPR),
                                                    quite the case however – that the CNT was         the Maghreb” being organised by the
Burkina Faso (UGEB, CGT-B, AEBF) and
                                                    doing it for show – and either way, it is cru-    Spanish CGT, due to take place in Malaga
Madagascar (Fisemare).
                                                    cially important for militants from a libertar-   on 28, 29 and 30 September 2007.
  The politics of the workers’ CGT-B and
                                                    ian socialist tradition to engage with organ-     According to the CGT “a network of rela-
the students’ UGEB from Burkina Faso are
                                                    isers from Africa coming from an authori-         tions, information and solidarity actions has
described by the CNT-F as “class struggle,
                                                    tarian socialist (Marxist or otherwise) tradi-    been developing between organisations on
revolutionary syndicalism from a Marxist
                                                    tion. The reason being that one needs to          the northern and southern sides of the
point of view”. In a similar way the
                                                    consider the context in which their political     Mediterranean…” and these meetings will
Madagascan Fisemare is described as an
                                                    identity would have developed, bearing in         have the “objective of opposing the current
independent Marxist revolutionary union,
                                                    mind that there is very little libertarian        neo-liberal politics […] The principal objec-
while the Algerian Snapap is independent
                                                    socialist tradition in Africa as a whole, and     tive is not to share long expositions on the
but not revolutionary, although it is of inter-
                                                    that many people on the continent with            different problems, but to achieve a con-
est because it opposes what used to be the
                                                    Leftist inclinations would invariably have        sensus to establish some minimum agree-
          ZABALAZA                                                 PAGE 27                                                   THEORY

ments that will allow us to develop actions        by anarcho-syndicalist ideas to try and take      solidarity with African struggles?
in a way that shows a clear and organised          these ideas back to their communities, and        6. How can they work towards turning sin-
response to neo-liberalism”.                       organise there too.                               gle-issue and reformist campaigns and
  The legacy of Marxism and the Soviet               The CNT-F have already taken libertarian        struggles into revolutionary movements
Union is fading into history, and as a result,     socialist debate on Africa significantly for-     and promote horizontal, egalitarian, partici-
there is a vacuum of ideas in the African          ward with the publication of what was             patory democracy?
Left. At such a time it is crucial for anar-       intended to be Zabalaza’s sister journal,
chists to step in and try to fill this vacuum,     the French-language Africa-focused jour-            When engaging with African trade unions
at a point when people may be looking for          nal Afrique XXI, and I hope that measures         and trying to facilitate the establishment of
alternatives and might be open to libertari-       are being taken to ensure that this publica-      an anarcho-syndicalist presence on the
an socialist ideas. Anarchists should not          tion finds a decent circulation in Africa and     continent, it is wise to avoid or to set aside
be sectarian about their engagement with           that it is not confined to the Francophone        the sectarian infighting which has plagued
the broader African Left as, without a             African immigrant communities in Europe           certain sectors of the movement thus far.
doubt, if we fail to take the initiative and try   (although its circulation there would also        In the old debate of whether or not anar-
to fill the vacuum of ideas with a libertarian     serve to spread libertarian socialist ideas       chists should bore-from-within existing
socialist - or more specifically an anarchist      amongst African immigrants to Europe              unions, to organise inside or work along-
communist alternative, the larger and still,       who, in turn, could send such ideas back          side existing and probably reformist
regrettably, better organised authoritarian        home). It should be noted, though, that this      unions, what must be avoided in the
socialists will certainly seize the opportuni-     journal is not produced by the CNT-F              African context is the “purist” line (which
ty to provide material and ideological sup-        alone, and that there are also some groups        argues against this boring-from-within),
port to the African trade unions, social and       and organisations that do not come from           which does not work except in very partic-
anti-globalisation movements who, often            the libertarian tradition, which might moder-     ular circumstances – which don’t obtain in
desperate and uneducated as to the flaws           ate its message to a degree – but which           Africa at present. The hard reality in Africa
of state socialism, will take whatever help        also ensure a wider readership than a             is that the purist position of trying to estab-
they can get.                                      purely anarchist journal would reach.             lish new, specifically anarchist unions will
  If, however, anarchist and anarcho-syndi-          Given the scarcity of known libertarian         probably fail – until such time as there is a
calist groups abroad are going to try and          socialist socio-political traditions in Africa,   significant growth in the African anarchist
develop contacts with unions in Africa, and        which were mainly confined to North and           movement itself. Until then, new anarcho-
try to spread anarchist and anarcho-syndi-         southern Africa and its small and thinly          syndicalist formations are likely to remain
calist tactics and ideas, they would need to       spread anarchist movement, the support            isolated, numerically and strategically
have a strategy for doing so. One key point        and intervention of anarchists coming from        insignificant – if not totally ineffectual.
to note however, when embarking on this            regions with more developed anarchist tra-          To conclude, there are two possible
strategy, is that every effort must be made        ditions is vital for the spread of the anar-      options that may contribute to spreading
to try to make contact with the rank-and-file      chist idea on the continent. In particular        the ideas and methods of anarcho-syndi-
workers, not the union bureaucrats, or to          the anarchists of the former colonial pow-        calism in Africa. The first is for Africa-
try and ensure that union leaders dissemi-         ers (who have the advantage of linguistic         based anarchists to agitate for anarcho-
nate the information and ideas they receive        and cultural ties with Africa) should try to      syndicalism either within existing unions or,
from anarchists abroad at the base. They           support the growth of anarchism in Africa.        possibly at a later stage, by trying to set-up
would need to make a commitment to per-            Also, sharing experiences of struggle and         new unions along anarcho-syndicalist lines
sistence and patience in building such net-        methods of anarchist organisation under           from scratch. The second and more viable
works. It would also be advisable for dele-        similar socio-economic conditions, such as        option – because of the insignificant num-
gates to be sent to Africa to make direct          in Latin America or other parts of the devel-     ber of organised anarchists in Africa and
contacts with African organisers and in            oping world, would be very beneficial.                      their relative lack of capacity – is
order to gauge the impact of their attempts,                                                                    for anarchists and anarcho-syn-
adjust and revise strategies where neces-          To this end we need to consider                               dicalists from abroad to inter-
sary, and measure the adequacy of the dis-         a few things:                                                  vene and assist by trying to
semination of their materials, via the union       1. How can anarchists abroad work with,                         establish contacts and build
leaders or contact persons, at the base.           and assist, existing anarchist groups and                        pragmatic solidarity with any
  Another point worth noting for anyone            individuals in Africa?                                            existing African unions –
keen to help spread anarchist ideas in             2. How can they establish and maintain                             preferably independent and
Africa is that - given the small size of the       contacts with African trade unions, social                          revolutionary ones where
African working class, high levels of unem-        movements and Left-wing groups?                                       possible.
ployment and relative lack of industrialisa-       3. What are the priorities when doing so: to
tion - anarchist intervention from abroad in       spread anarchist awareness; to support
industrial struggles, and the cultivation of       exist-
anarcho-syndicalist tendencies in Africa is        i n g
not sufficiently going to help spread anar-        struggles
chist ideas on the continent, and special          ( m a t e r i a l l y,
attention should also be paid to ways and          ideologically
means of carrying industrial struggles into        or      through
communities. In order to effectively spread        solidarity
anarchist ideas across the continent, anar-        actions); or to
chists and anarcho-syndicalists should not         counter authoritarian
confine themselves to industrial struggles,        traditions?
but should try to find ways for taking up and      4. How can they embark on joint
supporting social and community struggles          international campaigns involv-
in the industrial arena, as well as encour-        ing African groups?
aging workers who may become influenced            5. How can they show practical
           ZABALAZA: A JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN REVOLUTIONARY ANARCHISM



                                        Where We Stand
    We, the working class, produce the world’s wealth. We ought to enjoy the benefits.
      We want to abolish the system of capitalism that places wealth and power in the hands of a few, and replace it with work-
    ers self-management and socialism. We do not mean the lie called ‘socialism’ practised in Russia, China, and other police
    states - the system in those countries was/is no more than another form of capitalism - state capitalism.
      We stand for a new society where there will be no bosses or bureaucrats. A society that will be run in a truly democratic
    way by working people, through federations of community and workplace committees. We want to abolish authoritarian
    relationships and replace them with control from the bottom up - not the top down.
      All the industries, all the means of production and distribution will be commonly owned, and placed under the manage-
    ment of those working in them. Production will be co-ordinated, organised and planned by the federation of elected and
    recallable workplace and community committees, not for profit but to meet our needs. The guiding principle will be “from
    each according to ability, to each according to need”.
      We are opposed to all coercive authority; we believe that the only limit on the freedom of the individual is that their free-
    dom does not interfere with the freedom of others.
      We do not ask to be made rulers nor do we intend to seize power “on behalf of the working class”. Instead, we hold that
    socialism can only be created by the mass of ordinary people. Anything less is bound to lead to no more than replacing
    one set of bosses with another.
      We are opposed to the state because it is not neutral, it cannot be made to serve our interests. The structures of the
    state are only necessary when a minority seeks to rule over the majority. We can create our own structures, which will
    be open and democratic, to ensure the efficient running of everyday life.
      We are proud to be part of the tradition of libertarian socialism, of anarchism. The anarchist movement has taken root
    in the working class of many countries because it serves our interests - not the interests of the power seekers and pro-
    fessional politicians.
      In short we fight for the immediate needs and interests of our class under the existing set up, while seeking to encour-
    age the necessary understanding and activity to overthrow capitalism and its state, and lead to the birth of a free and equal
    (anarchist) society.




                                            New ZACF Formed
  On December 1 2007, by mutual consent of all its members and following consultations with the WSM (Ireland), OCL (Chile) and
FdCA (Italy), the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation was replaced by a new, unitary organisation, the Zabalaza Anarchist
Communist Front. The new ZACF retains all the assets of the former federation, including this journal and the www.zabalaza.net
website. On December 2, the members of the new ZACF held talks with our Swazi comrades with a view to establishing a new
unitary organisation in Swaziland.
The organisations are almost the same, but the differences between the Federation and the Front are the following:
1. The Front is a unitary organisation of individual militants, whereas the Federation was a federation of militant collectives. This
means individuals are directly responsible to the entire Front and there is no additonal “layer” between the individual member and
the policy-making Congress of all members.
2. The Front is organised within South Africa, whereas the Federation linked collectives in South Africa and Swaziland. In practice,
communication troubles has meant it has been difficult to democratically endorse each and every Swazi decision by having to poll
the South African membership (and visa versa). It is easier for the Swazis to run their own collective which will remain affiliated to,
and supported by, the Front.
3. The Front’s membership rules (not its politics, but the responsibilities of membership) have been relaxed somewhat to allow those
who are unable to be fully committed due to work, domestic or other pressures, to nevertheless remain involved. The Anarchist
Black Cross SA is now an autonomous collective, but it has some cross-membership with the Front, which will ensure the Front’s
continued support for its efforts.



                                                                                                           HIST CO
                                                                                                         RC
            ZACF CONTACT DETAILS                                                                        A
                                                                                                                           M
                                                                                                ZA AN




                                                                                                                            M
                                                                                                                             UNIST FR




            Post: Postnet Suite 47, Private Bag X1,
                Fordsburg, South Africa, 2033
           Email: zacf@zabalaza.net (within southern
                                                                                              LA




             Africa) or international@zabalaza.net
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