Lucien van der Walt, 2004, “Bakunin’s Heirs in South Africa: Race, class and revolutionary syndicalism from the IWW to the International Socialist League, 1910-1921”, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, volume 30, number 1, pp. 67-89.

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ABSTRACT: The historiography of the socialist movement in South Africa remains dominated by the interpretations developed by Communist Party writers, and this is particularly true of the left before Communism. This article defines the key arguments of Communist writers regarding the left in the 1910s, and develops a critique and reassessment, stressing the centrality of revolutionary syndicalism and anti-racism in the early socialist movement on the basis of a detailed examination of primary materials. It shows how the early left was less the scions of Marx than the heirs of Bakunin, and argues for the reinsertion of the history of the early South African socialist movement into the broader history of anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism.


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