South Africa: COSATU & Social Movements

By Michael Schmidt

Entry 14966


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Revolt Library Anarchism South Africa: COSATU & Social Movements

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On a sunny day in July 2008, six months before the publication of Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter Power, Vol. 1), coauthor, Michael Schmidt, met with fellow members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) at his cozy bungalow in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a gorgeous day, so the four collective mates sat down comfortably on Schmidt’s wooden furniture in his spacious garden, near a lemon tree while his White Swiss Shepherd puppies, Loki and Freya, came out to sniff their guests. (From:

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South Africa: COSATU & Social Movements

Recently, much debate has been generated in South Africa by the announcement by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) that it was launching a campaign against joblessness and poverty with a “united front” similar to the united democratic front that fought apartheid in the 1980s — and which was unilaterally disbanded by the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) in 1990 because of its potential to pit the grassroots against the emerging ANC elite.

COSATU has remained an ANC loyalist organization — despite the 1-million job-losses under ANC rule and the current rash of hundreds of thousands of mine, municipal and other workers out on strike. but it has recently made approaches to the Social Movements Indaba (SMI) with a view to joining hands on this campaign against joblessness and poverty (currently, some 40% of south africans are unemployed). the smi is an umbrella of new anti-neoliberal organizations — numbering some 200,000 supporters — founded in about 2000 by anti-apartheid veterans and socialist revolutionaries including anarchist-communists like ourselves.

For an in-depth report and our perspective on COSATU ‘s approach (we welcome rank-and-file collaboration between COSATU and the SMI, but say no to collaboration with the ruling elite), look at the article “the president from the skies vs the auntie who says ‘no!’” in our journal “Zabalaza” (struggle), online at: or a full version written for the center for civil society at:

Now, we read in “business day” that a survey by the human sciences research council shows that 75% of COSATU members still consider themselves ANC loyalists — meaning that 25% of its 2-million members, or 500,000 workers, have lost confidence in the ability of the neo-liberal elite to deliver “a better life for all” (the key ANC slogan) to the working class. the survey says that only 7% of those polled favored cosatu breaking with the ANC and forming a “workers’ party”, an option favored primarily by trotskyist militants within the SMI — but naturally opposed by ourselves as a tried-and-failed bourgeois approach to socialism as evidenced clearly by the betrayals of the workers’ party (pt) government in Brazil currently.

(Source: Retrieved on 5th August 2021 from

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February 15, 2022; 6:43:06 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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