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(en) Belgium, DIVERGENCES #1 - Revolutionary anarchism around the world

Date Thu, 13 Apr 2006 10:55:51 +0300

Here is a view of the world from an anarchist-communist/anarchist-syndicalist
perspective from South Africa, in a letter to Iranian anarchists. March 23, 2005 - W.
DIVERGENCES is a libertarian online journal that focuses on issues in international
politics. In a world in which the dominant media bewilder their audiences with a
deluge of disjointed, sensationalistic, and ephemeral information, DIVERGENCES helps
its readers understand the issues and act autonomously.
Comrades! Revolutionary syndicalist greetings to the FWUCI from the Zabalaza Anarchist
Communist Federation (ZACF) of southern Africa. ["Zabalaza" means "Struggle" in Zulu & Xhosa].
We are friends with a veteran of the 300-strong Shagila, which split
from the Iraqi Communist Party (HCI) in 1973 and waged a guerrilla war
against the Ba'athist security police and whose members crossed into
Iran to support the worker's Shorahs and community Kommitehs during the
Iranian Revolution 1978-1979. As opponents of the US-lead invasion of
Iraq, we have a great interest in your organisation.

We are a revolutionary organisation - not a party! - that advocates
direct democracy, working class unity and the control of industries and
municipalities by workers and the poor, as was achieved in Iran before
Khomeini's Hezbollah thugs smashed the revolution. We were formed in
2003 after the emergence of black anarchist organisations in townships
like umlazi and soweto. Our membership is roughly 50/50 "white"/"black"
and many of our activists have been involved in anarchist organisation,
union and community struggles for more than a decade, dating back to
before the end of apartheid.

Black anarcho-syndicalists like Thomas William Thibedi built the first
black trade union in British Africa (the Industrial Workers of Africa)
in 1917 and we are proud of standing in this tradition which built the
Most powerful working-class revolutionary unions the world has ever seen.

May Day of course commemmorates the martyrdom by judicial murder in 1886
of anarcho-syndicalists in Chicago, a day that is still recognised by
all working and poor people of the world because of the dominance that
anarchism achieved within the labour movement in the 1890s to the 1930s
(especially in Argentina, Brazil, China, Cuba, Mexico, the Netherlands,
Portugal and Uruguay). This dominance was eroded by both the reformism
of social democracy and by corporatist fascism (Mussolini, Stalin,
Peron, Castro, and Nasser).

The final thrust of the early phase of anarcho-syndicalism was in 1956,
when anarchist labour organisers dominated the Cuban Revolution,
provoked Argentina's largest-ever general strike, and came close to
siezing power in Chile (until betrayed, as usual by the so-called
"communists"). Despite last gasp attempts by anarchist guerrillas in
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, Iraq (Shagila) and Iran (the Scream of
the People) to sieze the initiative in the 1970s, the old "shock
battalions of the working class" - the anarcho-syndicalist unions - were
virtually dead.

Capitalism developed ever more sophisticated and cruel means to ensure
its survival at the expense of the global underclasses: computerisation;
casualisation; third world sweat-shops; etc. But the objective
conditions of exclusion, repression and extraction of profit that define
those underclasses still exist and have given rise to a new
anti-capitalist movement in which autonomous grassroots syndicalist
organisations similar to your own - and anarchist political
organisations like our own - are again surfacing and starting to win the
"leadership of ideas" among the resistance which is emerging in
countries like Iraq.

The fall of the Berlin Wall transformed most old "communist" parties,
either into tiny red fascist factions, or into social democratic frauds
("capitalism with a human face"). The union federations linked to such
parties, like the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) in France and
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) here, have lost
their way in the wilderness. Here, the South African Communist Party
(SACP) has become a social democratic front for the neo-liberal elite's
assault on the working class, peasantry and poor, a process that we see
the new elite In Iraq is starting to accellerate.

In France in 2000, the traditional May Day demonstration in Paris saw
6,000 anarchists - mainly of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT - outnumbering
the 5,000 CGT members present. And this year (2005), the
anarcho-syndicalist CGT in Spain - the inheritor of the Spanish
Revolution's CNT - became the country's third-largest trade union
federation, representing 2-million workers, while alternative grassroots
syndicalism emerges in Latin America, Europe, and it seems, Iran. As
during anarchism's "glorious years" (1895-1956), these organisations are
intimately linked into the social struggles beyond the factory gates, so
cannot be considered "workerist" or for the employed only. Rather, they
are rooted in real communal equality and social struggles.

We know anarchist communism as a living, organised grassroots tradition.
We believe in the dynamic tension between communal responsibility and
individual freedom. As Marx's great opponent, Mikhail Bakunin, said:
"Freedom without socialism is privilege & injustice. Socialism without
freedom is slavery & brutality." We are impressed with the FWUCI's aim
of building workers' councils across all industries in Iraq,
irrespective of the ethnic origin, gender etc, of the workers concerned.

We are also Very impressed with the decision-making process of the
FWUCI, which embraces the powerful anarcho- syndicalist concept of
policy decisions being made by the entire membership - rather than by a
"democratic centralist" elite committee that rules the membership as if
it was counted among the boss-class.

We wish you all strength and success in your struggles. Not simply
because you are comrades to us in the global fight against capitalist
exploitation and its handmaidens of imperialist war and religious/ethnic
prejudice. But also because you have chosen the most powerful
working-class tools for resistance: reliance on your own class unity &
integrity across all false capitalist-induced divisions, and
directly-democratic processes that strike fatal blows at the roots of
elite rule. We look forward to a fruitful interaction between our
organisations and our regions.

red & black regards

Michael Schmidt (ZACF International Secretary)

Tel: +27-11-633-2701

Post: ZACF

Postnet Suite 116

Private Bag X42



South Africa

>From new online journal DIVERGENCES has just appeared on the scene.
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