REFERENCE [+PDF] Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Kotane, Moses (1905 –1978)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Kotane, Moses (1905 –1978)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, online edition

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Kotane, Moses (1905 –1978)

Lucien van der Walt

Moses Kotane was a South African communist and nationalist credited with uniting the Com- munist Party of South Africa (CPSA) at a time when it was disjointed and overtly racist. Under his leadership, the chasm between the CPSA and the African National Congress (ANC) was bridged, making him a national hero in both South Africa and the Soviet Union.

Kotane was born in rural Rustenburg in 1905, the second of 11 children. His parents were Tswana-speaking African farmers and influential members of the community. Kotane started working in Johannesburg and Krugersdorp at the age of 17. There he was employed variously, working as a photographer’s assistant, domestic servant, mineworker, and baker. Despite a limited formal education Kotane read widely, and attended a CPSA night school in Johannesburg in the 1920s. He was initially skeptical of communist doctrines, but also found the main nationalist party, the ANC, something of a disappointment when he joined in 1928.

That year, Kotane also enrolled in the African Bakers’ Union, which was affiliated with the new Federation of Non-European Trade Unions (FNETU), a body that was closely linked to the CPSA and headed by T. W. Thibedi. Kotane joined the CPSA, a commitment that would shape his life. He ascended the ranks quickly in FNETU as well as the CPSA, becoming a full-time party official in 1931, and then studying for a year at the Lenin School in Moscow.

Kotane joined the CPSA at a time when it was being restructured under Communist International pressure. This was the period of the New Line, characterized by purges and expulsions in order to “Bolshevize” the party. At the same time a two-stage approach was adopted, prioritizing the attainment of majority rule in a “Native Republic” over socialism. After the expulsion of Thibedi, Kotane and J. B. Marks became the most prominent African communists in the country; both were champions of the two-stage approach, and Kotane, in particular, exhibited a strongly nationalist streak, as evidenced by his famous statement, “I am first an African and then a communist.”

In 1939 – when the CPSA had finally recovered from the New Line and was becoming a significant force – Kotane was elected general secretary of the party, a post he would hold until his death. He was committed to the revival of the ANC, and became a member of its executive committee in 1946. Like Marks, W. H. Andrews, and other prominent communists, he was arrested in the aftermath of the 1946 African mineworkers’ strike, backed by CNETU.

In 1948 the National Party (NP) came to power on a platform of racial apartheid, Afrikaner nationalism, and anti-communism; the CPSA was banned but reformed as the underground South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1953. Kotane was subject to bans and restrictions on his activities, but he continued to be active, taking part in the ANC-led mobilizations of the 1950s and attending the Bandung Conference. Along with Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Oliver Tambo, and others, he was a defendant in the 1956 Treason Trial.

Detained in 1960 and 1962, he left South Africa in 1963 for Tanzania, where he acted as ANC treasurer in exile, and where he was reelected to the ANC’s national executive committee at the Morogoro conference of 1969 – part of a substantially increased communist representation. He was involved in the ANC and SACP armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK; “Spear of the Nation”), which received much of its support from the Soviet bloc, in large part due to the SACP. In the meantime, the SACP moved its central executive committee to London, and Kotane was centrally involved in party activity. He later suffered a stroke, and went to Moscow, where he died in 1978.

SEE ALSO [in this encyclopaedia]: Anti-Apartheid Movement, South Africa; Gomas, Johnny (1901–1979); Marks, J. B. (1903 –1972); Sachs, Solly (1900 –1976); Slovo, Joe (1926 –1995); South Africa, African Nationalism and the ANC; South Africa, Labor Movement; Tambo, Oliver (1917–1993)

References and Suggested Readings

Bunting, B. (1975) Moses Kotane: South African Revolutionary. London: Inkululeko.

Bunting, B. (Ed.) (1981) South African Communists Speak: Documents From the History of the South African Communist Party, 1915–1980. London: Inkululeko.

Karis, T. & Carter, G. M. (Eds.) (1972) From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882–1964, Vol. 4. Stanford: Hoover Institute.

Lerumo, A. (1971) Fifty Fighting Years: The Communist Party of South Africa 1921–71. London: Inkululeko.

REFERENCE [+PDF] Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Sachs, Solly (1900–1976)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Sachs, Solly (1900–1976)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, pp. 2948-2949

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Sachs, Solly (1900 –1976)

Lucien van der Walt

p. 2948

Born Emil Solomon Sachs in Kamaai, Lithuania, Solly Sachs immigrated with his family to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1914. Along with his brother Bernard, he joined the revolutionary syndicalist International Socialist League in 1919, and was a leading figure in the Reef Shop Assistants’ Union, a union that lasted until 1926. In the meantime, he joined the Young Communist League of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, and visited the Soviet Union in 1925. In 1926, he was elected to the executive committee of the South African Trade Union Congress, formed the previous year, followed by a position in 1927 as secretary of the Witwatersrand Middlemen Tailors’ Association, and a position as secretary of the Garment Workers’ Union in 1928.

It is for his role in the Garment Workers’ Union that Sachs is best known. The union organized in the growing garment industry, organizing Afrikaner women, African men, and Colored and Indian workers. While Sachs tried to unite the workers, legal requirements and popular attitudes meant that the Colored and Indian members were enrolled in a “No. 2” branch, and the African men in a separate South African Clothing Workers’ Union. These bodies cooperated, and the Garment Workers’ Union held several strikes, including general strikes in 1931 and 1932.

p. 2949

Sachs sought, whenever possible, to make use of the legal system and the official industrial relations machinery. Nonetheless, he was subject to ongoing official harassment, in large part because of his CPSA connections. While expelled from the CPSA in 1931 during the purges of the “New Line” period, he remained an admirer of Stalin and a loyal supporter of official communism. In the 1943 general elections, he initiated, and stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for, an Independent Labor Party sponsored by the Garment Workers’ Union.

Retaining a focus on white workers, he subsequently joined the South African Labor Party, which was moving leftwards, becoming its treasurer in 1952. That year he was served notices in terms of the Suppression of Communism Act (1950) that forced him to resign from his union, forbade him from participating in political activity, and confined his movements to the Transvaal province. Despite mass protests by his union, the bans were maintained, and Sachs was subject to further prosecutions. In 1953, he left South Africa for exile in England, where he was active in anti-apartheid work. Married twice, he died in London in 1976.

 SEE ALSO [in this encyclopaedia]: Communist Party of South Africa, 1921–1950; South Africa, Labor Movement

References and Suggested Readings

Alexander, P. (2000) Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid: Labour and Politics in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip.

Sachs, S. (1957) Garment Workers in Action. Johannesburg: Eagle Press.

Verwey, E. J. (Ed.) (1995) New Dictionary of South African Biography, Vol. 1. Pretoria: HSRC Publishers.

REFERENCE [+PDF] Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Xuma, Alfred Bitini (1893 –1962)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Xuma, Alfred Bitini (1893 –1962)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, online edition

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Xuma, Alfred Bitini (1893 –1962)

Lucien van der Walt

Alfred Bitini “A. B.” Xuma was a leading African nationalist in South Africa in the 1940s. Born to a Christian peasant family at Manzana, the Transkei, Cape Colony, Xuma was educated in mission schools, led a student strike, and qualified as a teacher in 1911. Two years later, he went to the United States, where he studied at Tuskegee, the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Northwestern University (Evanston), and Marquette University and the Lewis Institute (Chicago). He supported himself by working as a laborer and a cleaner.

Qualifying in medicine, Xuma was resident surgeon at several institutions and was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1927, returning to South Africa that year. He established a successful practice in the multi-racial freehold township of Sophiatown, Johannesburg, and also worked as a medical officer in the grim Alexandra slum. He was now at the apex of the small, vulnerable African elite. Xuma was not politically active at the time, beyond seeking to promote social reforms by exposing the wretched conditions of the African poor to official commissions and other forums. He turned down nominations to the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC). Many early African nationalists admired the Cape Colony’s qualified franchise system, which enabled some Africans and Coloreds to vote, and which was retained in the Cape when it incorporated as a South African province in 1910.

Hopes that the system would be extended to the northern provinces proved futile. The Fusion government, established in 1934, introduced the 1935 Representation of Natives Bill, which proposed amendments to the Cape franchise system and the establishment of an advisory Natives’ Representative Council (NRC). In December 1935 a range of groups came together to form an All-African Convention (AAC) to oppose the bill and other discriminatory legisla- tion. Xuma was elected vice president. The AAC did not succeed in its aims, and the NRC was established in 1937. It was later incorporated into the Trotskyite-led Non-European Unity Movement.

From 1937 to 1938 Xuma traveled, meeting key African nationalists and anti-colonialists in London. He was very active in the ANC on his return and was elected president-general in 1940. Here he played a key role in reviving and restructuring the rather moribund organization, introducing reforms that, inter alia, provided women full membership rights, abolished the “upper house” of chiefs, and fostered the revival of the ANC’s Women’s League (in which his second wife, the African American Madie Beatrice Hall, played a leading role). Besides administrative and financial reforms, Xuma oversaw a clarification and expansion of ANC aims, now encompassing peace, the removal of restrictions on African workers (including union rights), colonial independence, and no annexation of new territories by South Africa.

He also promoted cooperation with Indian organizations, signing the “Doctors’ Pact” with Yusuf Dadoo of the Transvaal Indian Congress (a leading communist) and Gagathura Mohambry “Monty” Naicker of the Natal Indian Congress. This committed the organizations to cooperation for equal rights and “full franchise.” In 1946 he joined the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) delegation to the 1946 session of the United Nations. Such links were significant in a context where African–Indian relations were sufficiently fraught to foster anti-Indian riots in 1949.

Despite Xuma’s achievements – during his tenure, ANC membership rose fivefold to over 5,000, it adopted its most radical manifesto to date, and unequivocally rejected the NRC – he was viewed as insufficiently militant by some import- ant elements. ANC’s Youth League (formed in 1944 with Xuma’s blessing and identified with figures like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo) sought to push the organization into mass mobilization. Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) members of the ANC (like J. B. Marks, and Moses Kotane, the party’s general secretary and a member of the ANC executive from 1946) were also pushing for a definite and radical program.

In 1948 the National Party (NP) came to power on a platform of racial apartheid, Afrikaner nationalism, and anti-communism. The next year, Xuma was ousted from his post and replaced by James Sebe Moroka. The ANC abandoned Xuma’s moderate and constitutional approach and set upon the path that led to the Defiance Campaign of the 1950s. Xuma withdrew from the political spotlight and criticized the ANC’s subsequent campaigns. Yet he organized against the forced removals of people of color from Sophiatown in 1955: he was himself forced to move to Soweto, where he died in 1962. In 2007 Xuma’s Sophiatown residence was purchased by the Johannesburg City Council, to be converted into a museum.

SEE ALSO [in this encyclopaedia]: Communist Party of South Africa, 1921–1950; Mandela, Nelson (b. 1918); South Africa, Labor Movement; Tambo, Oliver (1917–1993)

References and Suggested Readings

Gish, S. D. (2002) Alfred B. Xuma: African, American, South African. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Limb, P. (2006) Xuma, Alfred Bitini (1893 –1962). In The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press. Online at www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/94129. Accessed July 18, 2008.

Ralston, R. D. (1973) American Experiences in the Making of an African Leader: A Case Study of Alfred B. Xuma (1893–1962). International Journal of African Historical Studies 69: 72–93.

Walshe, P. (1971) The Rise of African Nationalism in South Africa: The African National Congress 1912– 1952. Berkeley: University of California Press.

REFERENCE [+PDF] Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Motsoaledi, Elias (1924–1994)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Motsoaledi, Elias (1924–1994)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, pp. 2345–2346

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Motsoaledi, Elias (1924 –1994)

Lucien van der Walt

p. 2345

Elias Motsoaledi was born in Sekhukhuneland, South Africa, in 1924, the third of eight children. Coming to Johannesburg for work at 17, Motsoaledi worked in a leather factory from 1943, joined the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) in 1945, the African National Congress (ANC) in 1948, and the Leather Workers’ Union in 1949, and was fired for his union work. The ANC, the country’s main African nationalist organization, was adopting an increasingly

p. 2346

confrontational position and developing into a mass-based party, and Motsoaledi was one of several CPSA members elected to its Transvaal executive. He was involved in the Council of Non-European Trade Unions (CNETU): formed in 1941 with 100,000 members, CNETU was led by CPSA activists and reached perhaps 150,000 members by the close of World War II (Alexander 2000). CNETU split in 1947 in the wake of the failed general strike launched by its affiliate, the African Mineworkers’ Union, but played an important role in the national day of protest against the Suppression of Communism Act in 1950. Motsoaledi was elected CNETU chairman in 1953. The CPSA meanwhile dis- solved, and was replaced by the underground South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1953.

The 1950s saw the “Congress Alliance” – ANC, the Colored People’s Congress, the (white) Congress of Democrats, and the Indian National Congress – organize civil disobedience campaigns, including the Defiance Campaign of 1952, in which Motsoaledi was active. The 1950s also saw substantial realignments in the local labor movement. In 1955, the remaining CNETU unions and the left-wing faction of the South African Trades and Labor Council, which had been splintering from 1947, formed the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) in 1955. SACTU started with 31 affiliates and 32,000 members (Lambert 1988). Motsoaledi was a key figure in the federation, which had close links to the Congress Alliance and promoted interracial unionism, organized general strikes in 1957 and 1958, and claimed 53,000 members by 1961.

The 1950s were characterized by growing repression, and Motsoaledi was among those affected. He was banned from holding union office in terms of the Suppression of Communism Act, and detained during the large-scale arrests of the state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960, and imprisoned for four months. The ANC was declared an unlawful organization and banned in April, SACTU playing a key role in organizing a general strike in protest. In June 1961, the ANC and the SACP shifted from their previous emphasis on non-violence and organized an armed group, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), which undertook various acts of sabotage from December onwards. SACTU was not banned, but the climate of repression and the growing involvement of key SACTU figures like Motsoaledi in Umkhonto we Sizwe contributed to its virtual collapse inside the country by the mid-1960s. Motsoaledi was detained in 1963 under new 90-day detention laws, and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the 1963 –4 Rivonia trial for his underground activities. When the ANC was legalized in 1990, Motsoaledi was elected to its national executive in 1991, having served 26 years on the Robben Island prison. He died in 1994.

 SEE ALSO [in this encyclopedia]: Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), 1921–1950; COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions); Mandela, Nelson (b. 1918); South Africa, African Nationalism and the ANC

References and Suggested Readings

Alexander, P. (2000) Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid: Labour and Politics in South Africa. Oxford: Cape Town: David Philip.

Lambert, R. V. (1988) Political Unionism in South Africa: The South African Congress of Trade Unions, 1955 –1965. PhD thesis, University of the Witwatersrand.

Luckhardt, K. & Wall, B. (1980) Organise or Stare! The History of the South African Congress of Trade Unions. London: Lawrence & Wishart.

[ANALYSIS] + PDF: S. Byrne, P. Chinguwo, W. McGregor, L. van der Walt, 2015, “Why May Day Matters to Botswana: A history with anarchist roots”

Sian Byrne, Paliani Chinguwo, Warren McGregor and Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Why May Day matters to Botswana: A history with anarchist roots,” Pambazuka News, 2015-05-06, Issue 725, online here.

When we commemorate May Day we rarely reflect on why it is a public holiday in Africa or elsewhere. Sian Byrne, Paliani Chinguwo, Warren McGregor, and Lucien van der Walt tell of the powerful struggles that lie behind its existence.

When we commemorate May Day we rarely reflect on why it is a public holiday in Africa or elsewhere. Sian Byrne, Paliani Chinguwo, Warren McGregor, and Lucien van der Walt tell of the powerful struggles that lie behind its existence.

INTRODUCTION
May Day, international workers day, started as a global general strike commemorating five anarchist labour organisers executed in 1887 in the USA. Mounting the scaffold, August Spies declared:

‘If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement – the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery – the wage slaves – expect salvation – if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.’

ANARCHIST* ROOTS
May Day’s roots in the anarchist revolutionary workers’ movement are often forgotten and its roots misunderstood. Anarchists like Spies wanted society to be run by the ordinary workers and farmers, not capitalists or state officials. In place of the masses being ruled and exploited from above, society and workplaces should be run through people’s councils and assemblies, based on participatory democracy and self-management.

Anarchism was a global mass movement from the 1870s. Its stress on struggle from below Read more of this post

[ANALYSIS] + PDF: S. Byrne, W. McGregor, L. van der Walt, 2015, “Troubled SA Must Take May Day Seriously”

Opinion
Troubled SA must take May Day seriously

30 Apr 2015
Sian Byrne, Warren McGregor, Lucien van der Walt
Mail and Guardian

“This is a time to embrace working-class unity and challenge the status quo of capitalist oppression.” [TEXT BELOW]

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May Day – a call to build an international movement of working class and poor people across lines of race, nation and religion for workers’ control and democracy from below, social justice and freedom from political and economic oppression – remains critical. In a country racked by anti-immigrant violence, racial and ethnic tensions, the fragmentation of the labour federation Cosatu, corporate scandals and political corruption, it is time to remember May Day’s roots and aspirations.

The day has become an institutionalised festival, yet its origins lie in powerful struggles for a united, anticapitalist, bottom-up, global justice movement, affirming the common interests of people, worldwide, against ruling elites and their divide-and-rule policies.

With the 2015 May Day set to be a showdown between South Africa’s rival union blocs, it is time to remember its roots and aims. Working-class unity is the only way to overcome problems such as class inequalities and national oppression in South Africa, a country ruled by the 1% and racked by periodic anti-immigrant violence.

Posing the problem as psychological – as in Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s claim that recent violence is “Afrophobia” driven by “self-hate” – ignores attacks on Asian foreigners and assumes a natural state of African unity. It completely ignores the role of class and capitalist systems in which divisions between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, exist within races and nations. A Zimbabwean worker, a Pakistani worker and a South African worker have more in common with each other than any of them has with the Zimbabwean, Pakistani and South African upper class.

Ruling classes pit people against one another by means of economic policies that entrench historic inequalities, political mobilisation on the basis of race and nation by parties, states, ideologues and propaganda. Suburbs that are home to the black and white middle and upper classes sleep peacefully, Read more of this post

REFERENCE [+PDF] Nicole Ulrich, Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Simons, Ray Alexander (1913-2004”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Simons, Ray Alexander (1913-2004)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, pp. 3039–3040

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Simons, Ray Alexander (1913 – 2004)

Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt

p. 3039

Ray Alexander Simons was born Rachel Esther Alexandrowitch in Latvia in 1913. She was drawn to communism at an early age and became involved in Latvia’s underground communist movement in her teens. Alexander left for South Africa in 1929. The exact reasons for the family’s emigration are not very clear, but the oppressive atmosphere of anti-Semitism and political repression doubtless played a role. The decision was a fortunate one, for Latvia became a fascist state in 1934, and the Nazi occupation of 1941–4 led to large-scale massacres of Jews, including Alexander’s two half-sisters and their families.

Alexander remained dedicated to the communist cause and joined the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) within a week of her arrival. Trade unionism occupied most of her activism. She was involved in a wide range of unions, usually amongst African and Colored workers, and contributed to a regular column on trade union affairs in the Guardian, a paper affiliated to the CPSA. Alexander is perhaps best known for leading the Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU), which she helped establish in 1941. In 1955 the FCWU affiliated to the South African Congress of Trade Unions

p. 3040

(SACTU), which was linked to the CPSA (reconstituted as the underground South African Communist Party, SACP, in 1953), and the African National Congress (ANC), from its inception.

Intent on ridding the union movement of radical ideas, the apartheid government banned and harassed communist trade unionists and Alexander was served with the first of a series of banning orders in 1953. In spite of such restrictions, Alexander continued to participate in political campaigns and was involved in the establishment of the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) in 1954. Alexander participated in drawing up the Women’s Charter and planning the 1956 Women’s March to Parliament (but was unable to attend due to her banning orders).

Despite her backbreaking political and trade union work, Alexander was married twice and raised three children. She had, however, the support of a very tender marriage with Jack Simons, a radical lecturer at the University of Cape Town that lasted for 54 years (until Simons’s death in 1995). Growing repression compelled Alexander and Simons to leave South Africa in 1965 for Zambia, where they lived for most of their 25-year exile.

Alexander and Simons were among the first whites to become members of the ANC and they continued their activism whilst abroad. In the late 1960s Alexander co-authored Class and Colour in South Africa, 1850 –1950, the definitive but not altogether reliable CPSA/SACP version of struggle history in South Africa, with her husband. She also participated in the exiled section of SACTU, contributed to the Communist Party’s journal, the African Communist, and attended International Labor Organization conferences. She remained a staunch and uncritical supporter of the Soviet Union throughout her life. Alexander and Simons returned to South Africa in 1990, after the legalization of the ANC and SACP. She died on September 12, 2004 at the age of 91. Her lifelong loyalty and enormous contribution to the workers’ struggle and the national liberation struggle was recognized by the ANC’s National Executive Committee, which awarded her the ANC’s highest honor of Isithwalandwe (literally translated it means “the one who wears the plumes of the rare bird”).

SEE ALSO [in this encyclopedia]:Communist Party of South Africa, 1921– 1950; South Africa, African Nationalism and the ANC

References and Suggested Readings

Alexander, P. (2000) Workers, War and the Origins of Apartheid: Labour and Politics in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip.

Meli, F. (1988) South Africa Belongs to Us: A History of the ANC. Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Publishing House.

Simons, J. & Simons, R. (1969/1983) Class and Colour in South Africa, 1850–1950. London: International Defense and Aid Fund.

Simons, R. (2004) All My Life and All My Strength. Johannesburg: STE Publishers.

South African History Online website (n.d.) Rachel Esther Alexandrowitch. Available at http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/alexander-r.htm (downloaded November 1, 2006).

Sparg, M., Schreiner, J., & Ansell, G. (Eds.) (2001) Comrade Jack: The Political Lectures and Diary of Jack Simons. Johannesburg: STE.

REFERENCE [+PDF] Lucien van der Walt, 2010, “Andrews, William Henry “Bill” (1870–1950)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest ONLINE EDITION

Lucien van der Walt, 2010, “Andrews, William Henry “Bill” (1870–1950)”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, ONLINE EDITION

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TEXT below

Cite this article: van der Walt, Lucien. “Andrews, William Henry “Bill” (1870–1950).” The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Ness, Immanuel (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2009. Blackwell Reference Online. 05 February 2011 <http://www.revolutionprotestencyclopedia.com/subscriber/tocnode? id=g9781405184649_yr2010_chunk_g97814051846491671>

Andrews, William Henry “Bill” (1870–1950)

Lucien van der Walt

Born in Suffolk, England, in 1870, Andrews became a prominent South African union leader, syndicalist, and communist. He was trained as a fitter and joined the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) in 1890. In 1893 he arrived in South Africa. In appearance the epitome of the respectable English craftsman, and a charismatic figure, Andrews worked in the Read more of this post

REFERENCE [+PDF] Nicole Ulrich, Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “South Africa, labor movement”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest

Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “South Africa, labor movement”, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, pp. 3090-3099

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AL2547_11.11.5

South Africa, labor movement

Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt

p. 3090

The union movement in twentieth-century South Africa operated in a context in which capitalist relations were built upon relations of colonial domination. The persistent use of state power against labor movements, heavy-handed intervention in the supply and control of labor, and close linkages between the state apparatus and private business help explain the persistent tendency of the labor movement to break out of the bounds of bread-and-butter issues, and fight battles around civil and political rights.

Even avowedly economistic unions that drew a sharp distinction between workplace issues and “politics” were affected, while other union traditions engaged politics in various ways. These ranged from a minority revolutionary syndicalist tradition, which saw One Big Union as the vehicle for civil and political struggles, to the more dominant tradition, political unionism, in which unions allied themselves with left-wing parties and/or nationalist movements and involved themselves in struggles over civil and political rights.

Unions in the Mining Era

The social formation of South Africa has always been deeply Read more of this post

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