CHAPTER [+PDF] van der Walt & Hirsch, 2010, “Rethinking Anarchism and Syndicalism: The colonial and post-colonial experience, 1870-1940”

brillLucien van der Walt and Steven J. Hirsch, 2010, “Rethinking Anarchism and Syndicalism: the colonial and post-colonial experience, 1870-1940”,  in Steven J. Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt (eds.), (foreword by Benedict Anderson), Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Studies in Global Social History, pp. xxxi-lxxiii .

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Extensive introduction to widely-praised edited volume, examining the role that anarchism and syndicalism played in the colonial and postcolonial world, from 1870-1940. Close attention is paid to the movement’s role in union movements, in anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles, and in tackling the national question including racial segregation and divisions.  To understand anarchism and syndicalism, a global analysis that places in Africa, Asia, East Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Ireland, centre stage, is essential. This does not mean inventing false categories like “Southern” or “third world” anarchism, but rather, seeing anarchism and syndicalism as a global current conceived and forged internationally. While absolutely crucial, the Spanish movement was neither unique nor unusual, but one of a series of mass movements, with close linkages that are partially captured by a transnational analytical framing.

**The edited volume included specialist papers by Steven Hirsch, Lucien van der Walt, Luigi Biondi, Arif Dirlik, Anthony Gorman, Dongyoun Hwang, Geoffroy de Laforcade, Emmet O’Connor, Kirk Shaffer, Aleksandr Shubin, Edilene Toledo — and an introduction by the renowned Benedict Anderson. The focus was on movements in the period of classic imperialism, and countries covered included Argentina, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and the Ukraine. The original edition appeared in 2010, and a paperback, slightly revised and with a new preface, appeared in 2014.  You can read more about the volume here and here.

About Lucien van der Walt
I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014) and 'Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' (co-written with Michael Schmidt, AK Press 2009).

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