[CHAPTER] van der Walt, 2018, “Préface” (to Guillaume Rey, ‘Afriques Anarchistes: Introduction à l’Histoire des Anarchismes Africains’)

Lucien van der Walt, 2018, “Préface,” to Guillaume Rey, Afriques Anarchistes: Introduction à l’Histoire des Anarchismes Africains, Paris, L’Hartamann, pp. 9-26.

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[CHAPTER] van der Walt, 2017, “Anarchism and Marxism” (in ‘The Brill Companion to Anarchist Philosophy’)

Lucien van der Walt, 2017, “Anarchism and Marxism”, in N. Jun (ed.), The
Brill Companion to Anarchist Philosophy, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden,
pp. 505-558.

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This paper provides an analysis of the relationship between Marxism and anarchism, developing a systematic exposition of the strategic and theoretical diffferences between the anarchist and Marxist traditions that goes beyond the Karl Marx-Mikhail Bakunin conflict in the 1870s, considering a wider range of periods, writers and debates. The focus is on the evolving tradition of classical Marxism — the main historical Marxist tradition, running from the Communist League through the pre-war German Social Democratic Party, and  from there to the Communist Parties and their Trotskyist rivals — in relation to anarchism, and on debates over historical materialism, the role of the states, the nature of class struggle, the peasantry, stages theory, and social change.  A major thrust of the argument is that anarchism’s social analysis is far richer than often recognized and that this may be illustrated through a proper exposition of the Marxism/
anarchism conflict. The paper looks at classical Marxists beyond Marx, including Marxist-Leninists, examines how strategic diffferences between the two traditions are linked to distinctive analyses of economy, society, and history, and aims to move beyond the usual “non-debate” marked by caricature, misunderstanding and sectarianism.

[CHAPTER] van der Walt, 2017, “‘All Workers regardless of Craft, Race or Colour’: The First Wave of IWW Activity and Influence in South Africa”

Lucien van der Walt, 2017, “‘All Workers regardless of Craft, Race or Colour’: The First Wave of IWW Activity and Influence in South Africa”, in Peter Cole, David Struthers and Kenyon Zimmer (eds.), Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW, Pluto Press, London/ University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 271-287.

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Outline:  The Industrial Workers of the World Read More »

[CHAPTER] Byrne, Ulrich, van der Walt, 2017, “FOSATU, South African ‘Workerism’, ‘Syndicalism’ and the Nation”

Sian Byrne, Nicole Ulrich, and Lucien van der Walt, 2017, “Red, Black and Gold: FOSATU, South African ‘Workerism’, ‘Syndicalism’ and the Nation,” in Edward Webster and Karin Pampillas (eds.), The Unresolved National Question in South Africa: Left Thinking Under Apartheid, Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

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The Federation of South African Trade Unions (FOSATU) inaugurated in 1979, the strongest working- class organisation opposing apartheid in the early 1980s. FOSATU was associated with the distinct radical politics of South African ‘workerism.’ ‘Workerism’ has been widely caricatured: this chapter provides a recovery of its politics and history. Its emphasis on strong, industrial, autonomous unions, free of party control, its project of building a working class movement and identity, its participation in a wide range of struggles, and its left-wing, anti-capitalist and class-based (and anti-nationalist) approach to the national question is outlined. For FOSATU ‘workerism,’ ending racism required ending capitalism by a massive redistribution of power and wealth through the extension of ‘workers’ control’ of the workplace, the economy and the larger society; it required a movement separate from the nationalists, including the African National Congress (ANC), the Marxist- Leninists, including the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the multi- class, nationalist popular fronts they promoted.

However, FOSATU was not an anarcho-syndicalist or revolutionary syndicalist union movement, and should not be mispresented as such. It had important weaknesses from which lessons should be drawn. Influenced by a range of ideas (mostly via the New Left, including some elements of anarchism and syndicalism but many others besides), its “quasi-syndicalist” themes jostled with more social-democratic approaches. Its limitations were also expressed by its lack of a clear strategy for transition to a new social order, that linked its daily practice of organising, educating and mobilising, to its long-term vision of ‘workers’ control,’ and by the failure of ‘workerists’ to constitute themselves as an organised revolutionary with shared analysis, tactics and strategy within FOSATU. This opened the door to their defeat by the ANC and SACP. The recovery of the history of FOSATU, and critical reflection on that history, uncovers an important bottom-up politics hidden by nationalist and Marxist-Leninist accounts, yields many valuable experiences and approaches that deserve emulation, but also provides some hard lessons for today’s struggles.

[CHAPTER]: Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Revolução Mundial: para um balanço dos impactos, da organização popular, das lutas e da teoria anarquista e sindicalista em todo o mundo’

Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Revolução Mundial: Para um Balanço dos Impactos, da Organização Popular, das Lutas e da Teoria anarquista e Sindicalista em Todo o Mundo”, in Andrey Cordeiro Ferreira (ed.), Pensamento e Práticas Insurgentes: Anarquismo e Autonomias nos Levantes e Resistências do Capitalismo no Século XXI, Alternativa Editora, Niterói, pp. 81-118.

O principal objetivo deste capítulo é promover uma compreensão mais efetiva das ideias, do papel e da história do anarquismo e do sindicalismo. Envolvendo-se criticamente numa gama de questões, ele examina esta tradição em variados termos: suas ideias centrais, sua gênese, sua composição social, sua influência, seu papel num conjunto determinado de lutas e movimentos, suas intersecções com outras correntes políticas. Ele estabelece uma crítica substancial de grande parte da literatura e apresenta um quadro alternativo, que enfatiza a coerência intelectual e o poder social desta tradição, assim como seu caráter global e seu engajamento com questões que incluem capitalismo, classe, opressão nacional/racial, gênero, imperialismo e guerra. Sustenta que ampla tradição anarquista teve um enorme impacto na história do movimento operário e camponês, bem como em da esquerda em geral, e, finalmente, sugere que uma compreensão desta tradição pode ser importante para inspirar lutas progressistas contra o neoliberalismo contemporâneo.

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[CHAPTER]: Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Fora das Sombras: A Base de Massas, a Composição de Classe e a InfIuência Popular do Anarquismo e do Sindicalismo”

Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Fora das Sombras: A Case de Massas, a Composição de Classe e a Influência Popular do Anarquismo e do Sindicalismo”, in Andrey Cordeiro Ferreira (ed.), Pensamento e Práticas Insurgentes: Anarquismo e Autonomias nos Levantes e Resistências do Capitalismo no Século XXI, Alternativa Editora, Niterói, pp. 120-158.

Este capítulo examina o caráter de classe e o impacto popular da ampla tradição anarquista, com foco no período entre os anos 1870 e 1950, estabelecendo alguns argumentos fundamentais. Ele demonstra que o anarquismo e o sindicalismo tiveram um significativo impacto na classe trabalhadora, sendo esta entendida de maneira ampla e incluindo trabalhadores assalariados sem controle de seu próprio trabalho, suas famílias e desempregados. Um dos maiores indicadores desta influência é o papel que o anarquismo teve no movimento sindical: anarquistas e  sindicalistas não somente foram relevantes em sua formação, mas o próprio sindicalismo tornou-se a principal ideologia das mais importantes federações sindicais em um significativo número de países do mundo todo. A noção de que foi somente na Espanha que o anarquismo e o sindicalismo converteram-se em movimentos de massa é comprovadamente falsa, especialmente quando se faz referência aos países do mundo colonial e pós-colonial.

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[CHAPTER]: Lucien van der Walt, 2014, “Revolutionary Syndicalism, Communism and the National Question in South African Socialism, 1886-1928”

brill2Lucien van der Walt, 2014, “Revolutionary Syndicalism, Communism and the National Question in South African Socialism, 1886-1928”,  in Steven J. Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt (eds.), (foreword by Benedict Anderson), 2014, 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. 33-94.

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This chapter examines the manner in which anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists confronted the national question in South Africa, particularly during the 1910s, the period of unquestioned syndicalist hegemony on the revolutionary left. The national question centred on two main elements: the deep racial and national divisions in the country, and the national oppression of the African, Coloured and Indian majority.

I argue that local anarchists and syndicalists maintained a principled opposition to racial discrimination and oppression, and a principled commitment to the creation of a multiracial anti-capitalist, anti-statist movement. These positions constituted the irreducible core of the libertarians’ approach to the national question— however, the most successful strategic/ tactical application of this approach was the activist-integrationist approach: this moved from analysis and principle to consistent and targeted efforts to mobilise African, Coloured, and Indian workers around both class and  national issues.  It enabled the construction, by 1921, of a genuinely multiracial revolutionary syndicalist movement, organised in a network of newspapers, unions and political groups, firmly committed to uniting the local working class to struggle simultaneously against the specific national oppression of the African, Coloured and Indian majority, and the capitalist exploitation and state domination of the whole working class, African, Coloured, Indian and white. The vehicle of this combined struggle was generally envisaged as a revolutionary interracial One Big Union on the model of the Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW) — this was to be the proletarian forge in which a common society embracing all, regardless of colour, would be created. The aim of the working class revolution was not to constitute an independent national  state. It was to overcome national and class inequality through the working class battle to constitute a self-managed libertarian socialist “Industrial Republic,” which would also form “an integral part of the International Industrial Republic”.

This vision has been obscured by the misrepresentations of the pre-Communist Party of South Africa left practiced by the influential “Communist school” of labour and left history. It is also fundamentally at odds with the two-stage strategy identified with the Communist Party from 1928 onwards, which envisages the establishment of an independent, democratic and capitalist republic as a stage towards a socialist order.  This Communist Party strategy assumes the necessity and desirability of delinking anti-colonial and class struggles, and tends to conflate national liberation with  nationalism.  By contrast, the One Big Union against national oppression, capitalism and the state, would fuse national liberation and social revolution, both in immediate struggle and as a final project, thus simultaneously addressing the national and social questions. It poses a solution to the national question that is anti-nationalist, since it rejects key precepts of nationalism: formation of a nation-state (for anti-statism), cross-class alliances within the nation (for class struggle), and national exclusivity (for popular class internationalism).

[CHAPTER]: Hirsch and van der Walt, 2010, “Final Reflections: the vicissitudes of anarchist and syndicalist trajectories, 1940 to the present”

Steven J. Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt, 2010, “Final Reflections: the brillvicissitudes of anarchist and syndicalist trajectories, 1940 to the present”,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. 395-412. pdflogosmall Get the PDF here Concluding chapter to widely-praised edited volume, this tracks anarchism and syndicalism from the 1940s to the present, disputing the notion of eclipse (by drawing attention to a range of important post-1940 anarchist and syndicalist movements, influences and waves of growth), and disputes the notion that there is a “new” anarchism from the 1960s (since most of the “new” features are long extant). It also provides a partial explanation for the relative decline of the movement from the 1940s to the 1990s, and its current revival, stressing both objective factors (repression, the rise of statist forms of capitalism, state funding of Marxist movements etc.) as well as subjective factors (including costly organisational and strategic errors on the part of the anarchists and syndicalists — errors not by any means, it should be noted, inherent in anarchism and syndicalism).  Concludes that labour, left and colonial history must give due weight to the contribution of anarchism and syndicalism, **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.

[CHAPTER]: 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.

[CHAPTER]: Lucien van der Walt, 2008, “Zyklen der Akkumulation – Zyklen des Klassenkampfes. Zum Verhältnis von Apartheid, Arbeit und Befreiung in Südafrika”

Lucien van der Walt, 2008, “Zyklen der Akkumulation – Zyklen des Klassenkampfes. Zum Verhältnis von Apartheid, Arbeit und Befreiung in Südafrika”, Holger Marcks and Matthias Seiffert (Hg.), Die großen Streiks: Episoden aus dem Klassenkampf, Unrast-Bücher der Kritik, Münster, pp. 160-164.

 

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[CHAPTER]: Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Labour in South Africa: a sleeping giant?”, in Immanuel Ness, Amy Offner and Chris Sturr, (eds.), ‘Real World Labor,’ Dollars and Sense Collective, Boston

Lucien van der Walt, 2009, “Labour in South Africa: a sleeping giant?”, in Immanuel Ness, Amy Offner and Chris Sturr, (eds.), Real World Labor, Dollars and Sense Collective, Boston, pp. 105-112.

This chapter provides a brief overview of the union movement in South Africa, black and white, its achievements and its challenges.This includes a discussion of all the main union federations and their background, including the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA).

It is also critical of the corporatist strategy of the largest federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), arguing that COSATU efforts to shape state policy through corporatist structures bureaucratise unions and require unions to co-manage the capitalist/ state system that they were founded to fight.  It also develops an argument that I have made elsewhere: COSATU’s alliance with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is an exercise in futility: it gains the unions little, disorientates (and often corrupts) union leadership, and prevents the unions from forming alliances with the many other working class social movements that exist in South Africa for fear of incurring ANC displeasure. It argues for a back-to-basics approach – an independent, radical unionism drawing on the anarcho-syndicalist tradition.

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