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(en) Southern Africa: "Black Flag" interviews the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation I. (1/2)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 24 Mar 2005 14:48:10 +0100 (CET)


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1. First, perhaps you could say something about yourself and the
organisation you are part of?
* This interview was done with Sh. And St. of the Durban-based Zabalaza Action
Group (ZAG), Joe Black of the regional Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), who is the
ZACF acting regional secretary, and Michael Schmidt of the Johannesburg-based
Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) who is the ZACF acting international secretary.
Joe and Sh. Are also involved with Zabalaza Books (ZB), while Michael is also
involved with the ABC. The collectives we are members of are among the founding
collectives of the ZACF. Some of them, like ZB, originated as underground
collectives a decade ago in the twilight of apartheid.

2. Does it involve blacks and whites? What class/social background
is the typical member?

* The Federation's groups are made up of both blacks and whites
who are majority Working Class, some of whom are unemployed or
students. Current membership is pretty equally divided between
black and white, but there are far more black people living in
"squatter camps" and townships who have expressed a genuine
interest in anarchism than white people living in suburbs. A typical
member would be in their early 20s, casually employed and male.
We expect female membership to climb as our community projects
prove their worth and also hope to attract indigenous*, Asian and
coloured activists. (*NB: "indigenous" refers to Bushmen, Griquas,
Khoekhoen and other self-described "yellow" First Peoples who
lived in SA before black people arrived).

3. Has there been much of an African Anarchist tradition/movement?

* Long under the whip of hyper-extractive colonial regimes, the
development of the entire spectrum of left-wing revolutionism in Africa
has been slaved firstly to the late or very narrow development of an
industrial working class in a handful of countries - and secondly to the
development of national liberation struggles. In the first case, it was
only countries such as South Africa, Algeria and Egypt where colonialism
established significant settler populations (many of them labourers from
Europe, or indentured labourers from India and Asia) to run sophisticated
economies based on mining, commercial agriculture and their associated
infrastructure. It is no accident that it is in these countries that
anarchism first gained a foothold more than a century ago, finding
its highest expression in the IWW-influenced revolutionary
syndicalism of the Industrial Workers of Africa (IWA, founded
1917) and of the Indian Workers Industrial Union (IWIU, founded
1919) in South Africa. A notable exception to the trend is in the
then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique, where it appears that an
anarcho-synndicalist trade union federation allied to the powerful
Portuguese General Confederation of Labour (CGT) flourished into
the late 1920s in the complete absence of a domestic communist
party. The situation in the other main Portuguese colony of Angola
is likely to have been similar (a possible contributing factor to the
choice of a red-and-black post-colonial flag?), but this is an
unstudied history. Two factors contributed to the decay of the "first
wave" of revolutionary syndicalism & anarcho-syndicalism in Africa. Firstly,
as with other Anglophone countries (former British colonies), the lack
of a specific anarchist organisation crippled revolutionary syndicalist
organisations in meeting the challenges of Bolshevism and of
emergent petit-bourgeois black nationalism (the ANC for instance),
so the Industrial and Commercial Union (ICU, founded 1918) that
the IWA and IWIU gave birth to spread as far afield as Zambia and
peaked in 1927, but collapsed in ideological confusion thereafter.
Secondly, from the early 1930s, much of Africa started to fall under
fascism: Mozambique, Angola and other Portuguese territories
under Salazar's regime after 1927; Libya, Ethiopia and Eritrea under
Mussolini in the late 1930s; Morocco and Spanish Sahara under
Franco's Spain from 1936; Algeria, French West Africa (and
Madagascar?) under Vichy France during the war; and Belgian
Central Africa under Rexist Belgium during the war. The post-war
acceleration of national liberation struggles thus took place in an
anarchist vacuum -
but in a condition of largely Soviet or Maoist seduction and
patronage, while parts of Africa remained under fascist control into
the mid-1970s (Angola and Mozambique). In the 1990s, following
the collapse of the Soviet Union and the winding down of several
struggles (notably against apartheid), anarchism resurfaced in the
revolutionary syndicalist IWW of Sierra Leone, the
anarcho-syndicalist Awareness League (AL) of Nigeria, the
anarchist movements that lead to the formation of the Workers'
Solidarity Federation (WSF) in South Africa, and more recently, the
Anarchist and Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) of Zambia,
anarcho-syndicalist networks in Morocco and Burkina Faso, the
Anti-Capitalist Convergence of Kenya (ACCK) that was started by
anarchists and socialists, and the ZACF that followed on from the
WSF.

4. What did you think of the book "African anarchism" by Sam
Mbah and I.E. Igariwey? Do you think that is a good starting place
to find out more about African Anarchism and its history?

* The book is good in describing the anarchic elements of some
traditional African societies that existed before colonisation, and is
a good starting point but is limited because the anarchist movement
has only really resurfaced in Africa (with the exception of the
Awareness League) just prior to the book being published, and the
socio-political climate has changed quite dramatically across the
continent since then. The collapse of apartheid and the end that
brought to cross-border conflicts in Namibia, Angola and
Mozambique in particular, the defeat of the old US client regimes
like the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and
proxy forces (like UNITA in Angola), and the exit of dictators like
Daniel Arap.Moi of Kenya and Hastings Banda of Malawi has
brought the Cold War in Africa to an end. But the raping of the
DRC by trans-national corporations, under the cover of military
conflict between nine countries, the exposure of the fraud of
electoral politics through the
corruption of new "democratic" regimes like that of Frederic
Chiluba of Zambia, and the last-ditch scorched-earth stance of
"socialist" dinosaurs like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe have kept
tensions high. Adding to this is the smooth sub-imperialism of
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and his neo-liberal "New Partnership
for Africa's Development" (NEPAD) that has ushered in a whole
new era of struggle on the continent. The greatest strength of the
book "African Anarchism" was its critique of the monster that was
African socialism and of the current obstacles - and opportunities -
presented for the development of anarchism by the thug rule and
chaos that is governance and business on the continent. Its greatest
weaknesses are, however: firstly an exaggerated over-emphasis on
the libertarian traditions of some tribes which makes it seem to look
in a primitivist direction for its anarchist inspiration (seemingly
because of a lack of knowledge about syndicalist antecedents); and secondly
a lack of a proper analysis of and description of at least the Awareness
League itself, if not of other current African anarchist movements
where its knowledge is understandably more slender.

5. Is there much interest in Anarchism in Southern Africa? Has this
been reflected in the size and influence of your organisation?

* There has definitely been a growing interest in anarchism in Southern
Africa recently, but this has not yet been reflected in the size of the
ZACF which is still in its embryonic stage. However, we are more
concerned with spreading anarchist ideas and practices than
building an organisation. The approach the ZACF has taken
towards membership is that it recruits on a by-invitation-only basis
those we have worked with for probably at least a year within the
social movements, those we know are convinced and active
anarchists. This is a totally different approach to the old WSF's
open-door "if you're interested, you're in" policy that contributed to
its ideological and practical weakness. The greatest popular interest
we experience in the poor communities where we work (and where
many of us live) is not so much in the expression of anarchist
(anti-)politics, but in its practical application: non-sectarian,
horizontal, directly democratic community projects like food
gardens and book-and-tool lending libraries. To put it simply: our
practice is our strength
and our attraction. But as an organisation, we remain a tiny, if very
active, player in the radical and progressive social movements that
sprang up in around 2000.

6. Has the failure of African authoritarian socialism played a role in
rise of the interest in Anarchism? Or did the collapse of Stalinism in
Eastern Europe play a greater role? Or was it a case of better politics
coming out on top?

* The concept of "African socialism" as defined by continental so-called
liberation leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral,
Agostinho Neto, Eduardo Mondlane, Ahmed Ben Bella and others (including
interested outsiders like Frantz Fannon) has been hugely influential
in the mal-development of the continent, both ideologically and
economically. Some post-liberation countries experimented initially
with a form of statist decentralisation, notably Libya under
Muammar Gadaffi and Tanzania under Nkrumah while on the
opposite side of the spectrum were the hyper-authoritarian Marxist
regimes of the likes of Mengistu Haile Mariam's Ethiopia. The
primary external "socialist" influences (based on direct
military/political/economic investment) were the old USSR and to a
lesser extent Cuba, China, North Korea and East Germany. The
collapse of the Soviet Bloc had a big impact on the sustainability of
the fascade of "socialism" across much of the continent. Some
regimes, like that of Mengistu, have collapsed. Others like Frelimo
in Mozambique, have transformed themselves into
bourgeois-democratic regimes. Still others like Zambia under
Chiluba have capitulated wholesale to neo-liberalism. The
evaporation of funding from foreign "communist" states was
instrumental in provoking the collapse of unsustainable African
"socialism". Lacking sustained anarchist/libertarian/syndicalist
mass organised traditions, the continent has not proven a rich
environment for the revival of anti-authoritarian organisations.
Where they have arisen, it has perhaps been only in part because of
the ideological vacuum created by the collapse of the validity of
"socialism", and perhaps more because of specific local conditions:
in Sierra Leone, it was the pitiful working conditions in the diamond
mines that gave rise to the IWW section there; while in Nigeria,
leftist oppisition to military rule helped forge the Awareneness
League. In South Africa, the legitimacy crisis of the reformist SA
Communist Party (SACP) and the erosion of worker gains by
neo-liberalism have helped spur some interest in anarchism. But
levels of interest and involvement in anarchism on the continent are
extremely low (by comparison to Latin America or Eastern Europe, for
example) and should not be overemphasised. The "best politics" has yet
to even gain a significant foothold, let alone "come out on top".

7. How does the 'liberated' South Africa look now? Has the ending
of Apartheid seen any major changes?

* There are significant structural, legal, economic, political and
social changes - but also a widening wealth gap that for many black
inhabitants means very little has changed in real terms. The scattered black
homelands and their duplicate bureaucracies (including their armed forces)
have been consolidated into a unitary state. A new human-rights-based
constitution and the scrapping of all overt racially discriminatory
laws
has established a bourgeois parlimentary democracy in which the
ANC is by far the dominant party with a 2/3 majority that they hope
to consolidate in this year's general election. Less overt racial laws,
those that are class-based and biased in favour of big business,
have, however ensured that the black majority remains landless,
impoverished tenants in their own country.The country's
protectionist economics - reinforced by sanctions isolation - has
been replaced by an open-door policy that has allowed cheap
imports to flood the country, leading to the loss of some 1-million
jobs since 1994. Probably the hardest-hit is the clothing
manufacturing sector that has long been a stronghold of workerist
organising, as well as organised agriculture. Wildcat strikes have
been most marked in the motor manufacturing sector, and in the
late 1990s there were a spate of blockades of arterial roads by
radicals in the transport sector. Labour battles between progressive
and reactionary unions lead
to a few murders in the ports and mining sectors. Unemployment
stands at perhaps 40%, but we will discuss labour in more detail
later. While the laws dividing people along colour lines have
changed, inequality and the wealth gap are increasing. Some 75%
of all SA homes lack food security and one can find children
suffering from malnutrition-related diseases like marasmus and
kwashiokor on the doorsteps of our cities. HIV/AIDS has taken a
huge toll and thousands of child orphans now find themselves the
heads of their households, caring for their infant siblings as best
they can. Some 62% of all blacks, 29% of all coloureds, 11% of all
Asians and 4% of all whites currently live below the poverty line, a
dramatic increase during the "decade of democracy". Some
3.5-million have been evicted from their homes since 1994, often at
gunpoint, while millions more have had their water and electricity
cut off by municipalities who are far more interested in
cost-recovery than the health of
their residents. Many black people have commented on how life
under the old apartheid regime was in some ways better in that
there was more job security and there were state subsidies in
services, which have been eroded by the neo-liberal GEAR (Growth
Employment And Redistribution) economic policy of the ANC,
which is a home-grown structural adjustment programme that even
surprised the IMF and World Bank with its austerity. The racist
white ultra-right has gone into a significant decline following the
failed pre-1994 election Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB)
invasion of the Bophuthatswana bantustan and the last-gasp
election bombing campaign. The current treason trial against the
Farmer Force (Boeremag) is demonstrating how weak and pathetic
the white right is, despite grandiose plans of blowing up dams and
seizing control of the armed forces - all of which came to naught.
Still, racism is a deeply entrenched reality in many farming areas
where black labourers have been murdered,
tortured or shot at, often for the mildest of supposed infractions.
On the other hand, studies have shown that most murders of white
farmers are criminally and not politically motivated. Right-wing
vitilantism and murder has become a problem, both with the
black/white Spots of the Leopard (Mapogo a Matamaga)
organisation in the northern provinces and the PAGAD
Muslim/criminal organisation in the Western Cape, but both seem
to be pretty quiet now. The main thing to recognise is that the
mainstream right-wingers, both white and black, are now all in
parliament. And not a single parliamentary party is opposed to
neo-liberalism. So for many black. coloured, Asian and indigenous
South Africans, their historical experience of marginalisation,
joblessness, poverty, malnutrition and racism is unchanged,
perhaps even deepened.

8. The ANC has been the government for a while now. What are
they up to? Have they played the same role as Blair's "New Labour"
in introducing neo-liberal reforms under a "socialist" label?

* You have hit the nail on the head. The ANC remains a member of
the
Socialist International - yet President Thabo Mbeki is a
self-described Thatcherite. The ANC still talks at its public rallies of
its "national democratic revolution" - and in the boardrooms about
market fundamentalism. It has fired on peaceful demonstrations at
home - and cosied up to noxious dictators like Gadaffi, Suharto,
Mugabe, Musharraf, Kabila and Castro abroad. These
contradictions are supposedly resolved by what the ANC claims is a
"developmental state" theory. Now clearly, the party has to deal
with the basic provision of infrastructural services in order to do
three things: encourage foreign direct investment; secure their voter
base; and improve the overall skills levels of the black working class
so as to ensure a significantly large domestic market and a skills
base to enable manufacturing to take the economic lead from
primary industries like mining, agriculture and fishing. The ANC
leadership has embraced the neo-liberalism that has meant stupendous wealth
for some 300 black dynasties-in-the-making, the 5% of the Johannesburg
Stock Exchange that represents "black empowerment". It was
mid-way through former President Nelson Mandela's term that the
ANC shut down its quasi-socialist pretensions (the Redistribution
and Development Programme, RDP) and instead wholeheartedly
embraced GEAR. It is important to recognise that the ANC does
not rule alone (a common misconception abroad, we find), but in
cahoots with the Zulu chauvanist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and
the anti-communist Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). In the
Western Cape at provincial level, it has even been in bed with the
retread New National Party (the old apartheid government). These
alliances of convenience have tilted the overall political balance of
the ruling clique in the direction of centre-right, which is
despicable, given the decades of socialist rhetoric that motivated
millions of South Africans (and their foreign allies) to back the
"liberation" movements against apartheid.
Today, the ANC is a blatant capitalist party (although like Lula in
Brazil and Chavez in Venezuela, it talks left while acting right). As
mentioned above, they have introduced GEAR, which calls for cuts
in social spending, privatisation, the casualisation of labour etc.
With the socialist rhetoric of the past discarded, the ANC is
revealed to be true to its orignial class interest: it is the party of an
emerging bourgeoisie, of chieftains and technocrats from the black
middle class who wanted to have a bigger slice of the capitalist pie.

9. And what about the Communist Party? What is their role?

* The Communist Party alongside COSATU - which is the biggest
trade union
organisation in South Africa - is in an alliance with the ruling ANC,
the Tripartite Alliance. The SACP basically toes the ANC party line and
uses their influence to gain votes for the ruling party, and in return
high-ranking SACP party officials have seats in government. The
rank and file of the SACP is pretty inactive with many members
abandoning the party to join the social movements and other
members who don't like the direction the party is taking being
expelled. The role of SACP in its own view is to provide a "critical
socialist engagement" with the ANC regime, but its critics say its
real role is to provide "red cover" for the ANC's anti-working class
policies. On the other hand, despite the fact that key ministers are
communists - police (which glories under the name Safety &
Security, SS), public works, public enterprises, the office of the
presidency, water affairs & forestry - the SACP clearly is a
subservient organisation. This was shown by the ANC forcing
SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin to apologise for
warning about the possible
"Zanufication" of the ruling congress, meaning it was starting to
take on the dictatorial attitudes of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. We
characterised the spat as one between "Cronin capitalism and crony
capitalism"! Cronin himself, a loyal Stalinist (and don't Stalinism
and Thatcherism go well together?) booted a real Bolshevik, Dale
McKinley, out of the SACP for, essentially being too communist.
McKinley is today spokesman for the Social Movements Indaba,
the umbrella of the social movements within which the ZACF
works.

10. With the end of Apartheid and an ANC government, how is the
Trade Union movement shaping up? Are they fighting for their
members or agreeing to "modernisation"?

* As mentioned above the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) is in alliance with the ruling party. Although it is the
most progressive of the four big labour federations, it no longer
fights for the interests of the rank-and-file; instead of organising
workers for struggle they prefer to negotiate with bosses behind
closed doors. Like the SACP, the high-ranking COSATU officials
are also using their positions to get comfortable seats in
government and to canvas for the ANC. With the fall of apartheid
workers on the shop floor have been dissuaded from taking militant
action, and a once strong fighting union has become a lapdog for
the ruling elite. One of the main compromises made by COSATU is
its endorsement of a Labour Relations Act that, while supposedly
guaranteeing more labour rights, in fact places so many mediation
obligations before aggrieved workers that it is extremely difficult to
embark on a legal strike. Also, CCOSATU is party to NEDLAC, a cross-class
labour/government/business policy forum that tends to lock it into
agreements with the rulng class. Then there is the growing practice
of organised labor investing in capitalist companies or investment
schemes, leading to possible conflict of interest problems if labour
disputes arise at the companies invested in. In addition to this, the
forced amalgamation of COSATU's more radical and powerful
unions (chemical, and transport in particular) with defunct and
backward ones (paper & pulp, and another transport outfit,
respectively) created mega-unions on paper, but diluted the
radicalism and effectiveness of these progressive redoubts of
organised labour. This, combined with the erosion of internal
democracy by the imposition of "democratic centralism" to silence
comment from the floor, the expulsion of revolutionary leaders and
shop-stewards and the bugging of union offices by suspected ANC
internal intelligence agents have neutered the power of COSATU.
This also lead to an anarchist
change of tactics away from the anarcho-syndicalism represented
by the Workers' Solidarity Federation (WSF), that we shut down in
1999 in order to reorient ourselves more towards building serious
militants outside the compromised unions. That said, it was the
opposition to privatisation by the SA Municipal Workers Union (a
COSATU affiliate) that helped spark the new wave of resistance to
capitalism. The unions may be hamstrung at the moment, but the
bite of neo-liberalism is taking its toll on the shop-floor just as
much as in the township streets, so we believe it is only a matter of
time before they experience a resurgence of rank-and-file militancy.

11. What about Trotskyist groups? Are they an issue? What relationship do
they have to the popular struggles and to your organisation?

* As was the case in Brazil, France and elsewhere, the first "communist
party" in SA - the one that refused to accept Lenin's 21 conditions -
was founded by anarchists and syndicalists. The second, Bolshevik
party named the Communist Party of South Africa - Communist International
(CPSA-CI) - today's SACP - followed the global trend in the late 1920s by
purging itself of all its libertarians. In SA's case, most of those who
were purged became Trots, including the former anarchist Thomas
Thibedi. Trot groups have ever since maintained a continuous - if
fractious - presence in the Western Cape in particular and
Johannesburg to a lesser extent. Today, there are something like
nine different Trot factions: put three Trots in a room for a day and
you have a new international; leave them there for a week, and
you'll have three different internationals! Seriously, though, they
form the largest part of the non-SACP Left (excluding the African
socialists), followed by anarchists, then autonomists and lastly a
few very secretive Maoists (we won't even speak about that nutty
Spartacist cult!). Unfortunately, certain individual Trots carry quite
a lot of influence within the new social movements and have
recently attempted to get the social movements embroiled in the upcoming
elections (a tiny outfit called Keep Left wanted members to vote
ANC - because that's where the working class is!) - but this was
strongly opposed by anarchists, autonomists and even some Trots
and the odd Bolshevik who thought it premature to try and turn the
social movements into a political party. Others have tried to take
credit for work that we anarchists have done. One such example is
of a group who took photographs of a ZACF community library and
vegetable garden and then allegedly tried to use them in their name
to secure funding from overseas.

12. What are the current important issues and campaigns in
Southern African? Can you tell us more about, say, the
anti-eviction, anti-water privatisation and anti-electricity cut-off
campaigns?

* In about 2000, several new anti-neo-liberal resistance strands (those
opposing the payment of apartheid foreign debt, or the privatisation
of municipal water, for example) united to form a constellation of
new radical and progressive social movements. After holding the
fort for several years in a political wilderness where criticism of the
ANC/SACP was virtually unheard of (maintaining a propaganda
initiative and running the Workers Librrary & Museum in
Johannesburg as an independent working class space), the
anarchist movement got directly involved in the new social
movements, helping found the Anti-Privatisation Forum in
Johannesburg. Today the movements embrace an estimated 200
000 supporters across SA - as compared to the SA Communist
Party's largely inactive 16 000 paper membership. it must also be
pointed out that it was our comrade B and the late comrade Mandla
of the ZACF collective, the Shesha Action Group (SAG) in Soweto
who started Operation Khanyisa, meaning "light", the operation
that illegally re-connected some 25 000 homes in Soweto.
These "guerrilla electricians" are literally heroes to the millions of
poor people who have had their light s cut off by state power
supplier Eskom since 1994. In the Western Cape there has been an
ongoing struggle against evictions since about 1998, when banks
began to repossess houses that they had sold to poor communities.
They then try selling them back, either to their original owners or to
others, at a higher price. In addition to this there have also been
private-public partnerships set up by the government to collect
debts for the banks. On the other hand poor communities are
struggling to put food on their tables let alone repay debts to the
banks for houses that have already been paid for. This led to the
formation of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, which has
affiliates across the Western Cape/Cape Flats. The fight against
water privatisation has recently taken off in Phiri, Soweto, which is
being used as a testing ground to see how successful the installation of
pre-paid water meters will be, before installing the meters in other
communities. This has led to the formation of the Anti Pre-Paid
Water Coalition, which is made up of various activist groups and
individuals involved in the struggle against privatisation in general.
Namely amongst others the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) and
the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (SECC).

13. What tactics and strategy do they use?

* In general there is a tendency to use both legal means and direct
action means. On the legal front, the movements take the
companies, councillors etc. responsible for, for example; evictions
in the Western Cape or electricity cut-offs in Gauteng, to court. The
biggest success so far of this tactic is the reversal of the
government's attitude towards the provision of anti-retroviral drugs
following a sustained court battle with the Treatment Action
Campaign (TAC). The social movements also do research and try
to bolster public support via marches, demonstrations and media
blitzes. More importantly, they also take direct action, which has
proven far more effective both in delaying or stopping evictions,
cut-offs etc. as well as in building public support for the social
movements. In areas of the Western Cape the Anti-Eviction
Campaign (AEC) has successfully resisted evictions by anticipating
when they are going to take place and then burning barricades,
physically defending their homes and chasing the sheriffs of the
court. In Gauteng, where there
has been a massive number of electricity and water cut-offs
because people have not been able to pay their arrears, there have
been campaigns by the SECC and APF and others, including
anarchists, to literally go door-to-door illegally reconnecting
thousands of households electricity and water. Unfortunately,
because the workers responsible for installing pre-paid water and
electricity metres are always guarded by heavily-armed private
security contractors the campaigns have not been successful in
stopping the installations altogether. These tactics have of course
led to increased state and capitalist repression and the toll is
weighing heavily on the social movements in terms of having to
find money to post bail, pay lawyers etc, a task for which the ABC
and its project, the Anti-Repression Network (ARN) was set up in
August 2002.

14. Does the legacy of Apartheid impact on the spread of anarchist
ideas or collective struggle? Does racism hinder the development of
class movements? Are there any problems with ethnic divisions
(Zulu, Xhosa, etc.)? How do you combat these divides?

* Apartheid has definitely had an impact on the spread of anarchist
ideas in that for so long the majority of people in SA only had
access to a limited "Bantu education", which has created high
levels of illiteracy and the availability of anarchist material was very
scarce even to those who could read. However, after the fall of
apartheid and, with it, the "Suppression of Communism Act" as
well as the rise in access to information and availability of anarchist
materials, it is a lot easier and safer to spread and implement
anarchist ideas. The problem of illiteracy still exists (mostly
amongst the older generations) as well as there being a lack of
anarchist materials available in the indigenous languages of SA.
Regarding the issue of racism, there has been a definite decline in
racism in general with people of all "race" and "ethnic" groups
being involved in the new social movements, but there are still
lingering ethnic tensions and an increasing level of xenophobia
against immigrants from other African countries, which is being fuelled by
state and corporate media propaganda in attempts to divide us along
new lines and scapegoat sections of the working class for the
problems whose root lies at the doors of capital and state. One way
to combat this is, during conversations, to challenge people when
we hear racist or xenophobic remarks and try show them the roots
of these prejudices and how working and poor people have more in
common with each other, whoever they are, no matter their place of
origin or skin colour, than they do with any person of a higher class
who may have the same skin colour or place of origin. Another way
is through participating in educational workshops that, for example,
use economic policies such as NEPAD to show or highlight the
ways that people across the continent are faced with the same
neo-liberal onslaught and use these opportunities to promote
class-consciousness and internationalism.
/2


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