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(en) Southern Africa: New Constitution of Zabalza Anarchist Communist Federation, adopted at Congress, Newtown, Johannesburg, 10 April 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 5 May 2004 12:08:02 +0200 (CEST)

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The ZACF defines Anarchism as:
"...society organised without authority, meaning by authority the power
to impose one's own will ... authority not only is not necessary for
social organisation but, far from benefiting it, lives on it
parasitically, hampers its development, and uses its advantages for the
special benefit of a particular class which exploits and oppresses the
others". - Errico Malatesta, l'Agitazione June 4, 1897
And Communism as:
"Common possession of the necessaries for production impl[ying] the
common enjoyment of the fruits of the common production; and we
consider that an equitable organisation of society can only arise when
every wage-system is abandoned, and when everybody, contributing for
the common well-being to the full extent of [their] capacities, shall
enjoy also from the common stock of society to the fullest possible
extent of [their] needs." - Peter Kropotkin, Anarchist Communism: Its
Basis and Principles, 1887


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 workers
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 management 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 freedom 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 professional politicians.

In short we fight for the immediate needs and interests of our class
under the existing set up, while seeking to encourage the necessary
understanding and activity to overthrow capitalism and its state, and
lead to the birth of a free and equal (anarchist) society.

1) NAME:

The name of the federation is the ZABALAZA ANARCHIST COMMUNIST
FEDERATION (ZACF), "zabalaza" being a proud indigenous word meaning
"struggle" in Zulu and Xhosa. The short name of the ZACF is the
Federation. The Federation works towards the fulfilment of its aims and
principles throughout the Southern African region.


The symbol of the ZACF is a silhouette of Africa divided diagonally
into the anarchist black & red, with a black star in the red half over
southern Africa and a raised fist straining against its chains,


The Federation is united on revolutionary anarchist principles. This

a) internally: direct democracy, recallable, mandated and rotatable
delegates, real, functional equality among members, and horizontal
federalism among all its structures;

b) externally: a commitment to workers’ self-management, direct action,
and to libertarian revolutionary anti-capitalism, anti-fascism,
anti-authoritarianism, anti-sexism, anti-racism, internationalism and
anti-statism. The Federation supports the struggles of the progressive
and radical social movements that articulate the interests and demands
of the workers, the poor and the peasantry (the working class),
including the unions. Our involvement with these movements is
non-sectarian and we recognise that they frequently do not share the
same principles as ourselves, but we fight within them to win them over
to our principles. In terms of the Latin American anarchist movement,
this is the Federation’s role as a ‘specific anarchist organisation’;

c) globally: the Federation is inspired by the proud fighting tradition
of over a century of mass anarchist militancy, within Africa, Latin
America, Asia, Australasia, North America and Europe. The Federation is
inspired by the libertarian federal tradition of the First
International, by the autonomous councils of the Parisian and
Macedonian Communes and of the original Russian Soviets, by the
mass-based anarcho-syndicalist tradition of the International Workers’
Association, and by the anarchist revolutionary tradition of the
Mexican, Russian, Ukrainian, Manchurian, Spanish and Cuban Revolutions.
These traditions continue today in the International Libertarian
Solidarity network and in the anarchist-influenced global mass
anti-capitalist struggles of the new millennium;

d) regionally: the federation is inspired by the anarchist tradition of
the Socialist Club, founded in South Africa by Henry Glasse in 1900,
and of the Revolutionary League founded in Mozambique by Jose Estevam
in the early 1900s, of the International Socialist League, founded in
South Africa in 1915, of the Industrial Socialist League, founded in
1918, and of the anti-parliamentary Communist Party of South Africa,
founded in 1920 (not to be confused with the reformist Communist Party
of South Africa - Communist International, founded the following year
by socialists and Marxists). The Federation also recalls the
revolutionary syndicalist tradition of the Industrial Workers of the
World's South African section, founded in 1910, of the
anarcho-syndicalist union currents in Mozambique in the 1920s which
were allied to the General Confederation of Labour in Portugal, of the
Industrial Workers of Africa and associated unions founded in South
Africa between 1917 and 1919 by militants of all "races" such as Thomas
"TW" Thibedi, Bernard Sigamoney, Henry Kraai, SP Bunting and Andrew
Dunbar. The federation stands proudly in the fighting tradition of the
rank-and-file workers’ groups, people’s civics, street committees, and
community defence groups of the popular struggle in the 1970s and 1980s
against apartheid.
Instead of the authoritarian, multi-class, elite vanguardist "National
Democratic Revolution" of the African National Congress / South African
Communist Party, the South West African People's Organisation, the
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front, and the Mozambican
Liberation Front, the Federation stands for a social revolution by the
oppressed class across all borders.

e) operationally: the Federation is based on:

Theoretical Unity: strict homogeneity in the overall positions held by
the Federation, changed in the light of ongoing analysis of the
struggle, thereby eliminating the danger of fixed positions and
increasing the effectiveness of action.

Tactical unity or the collective method of action: the Federation seeks
tactical unity through militant implementation of the overall policy in
campaigns and projects decided at Congress.

Collective responsibility: in respect of external expression, each
member is answerable for the Federations’ line. The Federation is also
answerable for and claims responsibility for the positions and actions
adopted by each of its members, provided that these are in keeping with
the general line of the Federation.

Federalism: the Federation is only the expression of its collectives -
the collectives being the driving force behind the whole organisation.
The Federation unites the collectives around the principles of common
principles, mutual aid and unity-in-struggle. However, the militants or
collectives may not adopt positions that go against the Federations

These being the core principles of the "Organisational Platform of the
Libertarian Communists" drawn up in 1927 by Nestor Makhno, Piotr
Arshinov, Ida Mett and other anarchist guerrilla veterans of the
Revolutionary Insurgent Army of the Ukraine.

As well as:

Fraternal ethic: within the Federation, the members practice the
ethical conception of libertarian communism. Fraternal relations -
based on trust, esteem and respect - link its militants as a body. As
well as "ongoing fraternal monitoring of each by all" (Mikhail Bakunin)
to guard against possible authoritarian tendencies developing.


The ZACF is a horizontal Federation of anarchist militants organised
into Collectives, federated together in common revolutionary anarchist
cause and joining together in common campaigns. The Federation is more
than simply a collection of Collectives: it is a united front of all
the Collectives, fighting a common struggle and united by common

Their revolutionary activities are determined by the Collectives
themselves, but in consultation with the rest of the Federation to
ensure they complement the Federation’s principles and objectives. Each
Collective and individual retains their autonomy of action, so long as
it is not deemed by a 2/3 majority of the Federation to be in
contradiction of Federation or anarchist principles. That the
Federation decide at its annual Congresses on joint projects and that
it maintain constant contact with all members to ensure efficient
co-ordination of all aims.

a) Collectives:

The basic unit of the Federation is the Collective. The size of the
Collective should not be such as to compromise its security and
Each Collective elects its own delegate to carry its decisions to the
Federal Co-Ordinating Council.

b) Congress:

The Federation will hold a Federation Congress at least once a year,
which will set the entire Federation’s tactics and strategy for the
forthcoming year. Congress is the supreme decision-making structure of
the Federation. The decision-making process of Congress is as follows:

* the quorum for Congress is 50% of the entire membership of the
Federation, including at least one mandated member from every
Collective of the Federation;
* a member may delegate another member to cast a proxy vote on their
behalf in relation to a specific issue on the agenda. Such proxies must
be submitted in writing to the Federation Secretary before Congress.
Congress may authorise non-members who are sympathetic to the
Federation to attend all or some of its sessions, and may grant them
speaking rights but not voting rights;
* all member collectives and working groups, the FCC and Federation
secretaries are to submit either written or verbal reports on all
aspects of their projects and activities to Congress;
* decision-making must as far as possible be by consensus, failing
which, by majority vote, a majority being 51% of all members present.
Amendments to the Constitution, or a decision by the Federation that a
Collective’s work is not in accord with the principles of the
Federation, shall require the support of 2/3 of the members present. *
all proposals for constitutional amendments must be circulated in the
Internal Bulletin at least one month prior to the Congress that is to
decide on them. Proxy votes on constitutional amendments must be
verified by the absent member in writing to the Federation Secretary
before Congress.
* a 51% majority of the Federation can call an Emergency Congress
within a month if deemed necessary. The quorum for an Emergency
Congress is 51% of the membership of the Federation; but no Emergency
Congress shall make any amendment to the Constitution.
* a full report of the proceedings of each Federation Congress will be
published in the Internal Bulletin.

c) Federal Co-Ordinating Council (FCC):

The FCC meets at least once between each Congress.
FCC meetings are currently open to all members. When the Federation has
at least 10 Collectives, FCC meetings shall be made up of one delegate
from each Collective, the Federation Secretary, the International
Secretary, as well as a delegate from each Working Group.
Any decision of the FCC can be overturned by Congress or an immediate
poll of members which adheres to the same quorum and voting rules as
Where practicable, an agenda will be circulated prior to all meetings.

The FCC is comprised of the following:

a) Federation Secretary whose duties are:
To be the first spokesperson for the organisation domestically.
To keep a record of all Federation correspondence.
To co-ordinate the production of the Internal Bulletin (IB).
To place a report in each IB, and to report to Congress.

b) International Secretary
To be the first spokesperson for the organisation abroad.
To establish and maintain contact with similar organisations abroad,
and to send them our publications and news of our activities.
To organise the writing of articles when requested by contacts abroad.
To place a report in each IB, and to report to Congress.

c) Collective Delegates
It is up to the Collective to choose its delegates. Delegates can be
changed as often as the Collective wishes.
Delegates will report back to their Collective after all meetings of
the FCC. Minutes will be taken at all meetings and printed in the
Internal Bulletin.

d) Federation Secretaries:
Federation Congress elects a Federation Secretary and an International
Secretary. It may create and fill other Federation positions as it sees
Both secretaries are subject to recall at any time by the FCC, or by a
poll of the entire membership of the Federation called by any
Collective. In the event of the FCC recalling a secretary, it shall
appoint a replacement, subject to approval by the membership of the
Federation within one month. In the event of the membership recalling a
secretary, the members shall elect a replacement within one month.

e) Working Groups:
Congress can create Working Groups to work on specific tasks relating
to the Federation.
Working Groups may develop draft policies to present to Congress but
may not alter or delete any existing policy without the agreement of
Any interested member may join any Working Group.
Each Working Group shall deliver a report to Congress and shall place a
report on its activities in each Internal Bulletin.


a) Membership of the Federation is restricted to reliable, convinced
anarchist militants who agree to abide by its principles and
constitution, work and argue for its policies in their public activity,
and pay such dues as shall be determined by the Congress, having regard
to the financial resources of members.

b) Members are responsible to their collective and to the Federation
Congress for their activities.

c) Collectives may suspend the membership of any member, such a
suspension to be notified to all members through the Internal Bulletin.
If the Collective does not subsequently lift the suspension, the member
concerned may appeal directly to the FCC to call an immediate poll of
all members or to the next Congress, which will decide whether that
person is to retain membership.

Some specific grounds for suspension are:

* non-payment of dues without a very good explanation;
* failure to be active without a very good explanation;
* opposing the Federation, its aims and principles, or the working
class struggle;
* acting in any way contrary to the Federation’s aims and principles,
including standing for election to any state or government office;
* accepting a position within a corporation where the member has the
power to hire or fire; or
* spying for the oppressor.

d) Membership is by invitation only, at the discretion of the
collectives of the Federation, and by consensus of all Collective
members. Every member of the Federation is a member of at least one and
no more than two of its Collectives;

e) Membership is on an individual basis only, providing that any
specific anarchist group, all of whose members join the Federation will
be considered a de facto functional member Collective of the
Federation. All Federation members are required to be active both in
Federation work and actions in the progressive and radical social
movements, as well as active within their trade union where this is a

f) Members and Collectives of the Federation shall establish Red and
Black Forums (RBFs) for purposes of theoretical training, revolutionary
propaganda and action in struggle. The Forums shall include non-members
of the Federation who have some degree of sympathy with the aims and
principles of the Federation. Any individual member of an RBF who shows
full theoretical and practical commitment to the Federation’s aims and
principles may be considered for membership of the Federation. An
entire RBF that shows such commitment may be considered for
incorporation as a Collective of the Federation.

g) Membership is not open to employers at any level or to management
functionaries of any tier of government.


(a) The IB will be produced whenever enough material is available, but
at least once every 6 months, by the Federation Secretary.

(b) It is sent to all members, and at the discretion of Congress, to

(c) The IB contains reports from Collectives, Working Groups and the
Federation Secretaries, as well as proposals and discussion articles
submitted by members. Its content will take due regard of security


The official publications of the ZACF, to which all members are
encouraged to contribute in the case of the journal and distribute,

a) the Internal Bulletin;
b) "Zabalaza: a Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism",
currently issued twice a year;
c) the website at www.zabalaza.net; and
d) such other publications as may be authorised by Congress.

The Federation will work towards translating this Constitution and its
publications into the commonly spoken languages of all its members.


(a) Official policy is that agreed at Federation Congress.

(b) Minority factions have the right to have their views published in
the Internal Bulletin, but are expected to follow the majority
Federation policies in their public activities.


The Federation will maintain a regular exchange of information,
analysis, news and views with the global anarchist community. Congress
is empowered to determine the international and regional affiliations
of the Federation, with the proviso that regional work will take
precedence over international work.

>From http://www.zabalaza.net/zabfed/

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