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The Way Forward for South Africa: Class Struggle and Anarchism

In this article, published online by Zabalaza Anarchist-Communist Federation, Nkululeko Khubisa of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective consisely considers the current situation in South Africa.

South Africa is in a mess. That is clear, more than 20 years since the end of apartheid. We have won many things. It was our struggle that beat apartheid laws and the old government. But we are not free yet. Corruption, poverty, job losses, hatred, violence, the apartheid legacy are all part of the mess.

What is the way forward for South Africa? It is struggle by the masses of the people for a better society.

What does that require?

The way forward is unity and solidarity, but that means we need knowledge. People need to be mobilised and taught about politics – real politics, not the party system – and this process needs to take place at all levels.

If everybody among the working class and poor could be informed and alert, and

brought to the knowledge about what is really happening around them, and why, and how to fix it, they will want to take action. And that action will be directed into the right channels, not wasted-and not captured by the politicians and bosses.

People need to know the most important concepts, which include “capitalism,” the “state,” the “ruling class,” “imperialism” and the centrality of the working “class struggle.” Knowing these will allow us to identify the real enemy. Knowledge is a tool to use against the oppressor. We need to understand how best we can fight back.

Capitalism is a system that is based on using money, paying workers wages to produce things (like food, clothes) or services (like cleaning), which are sold by the employers (bosses) to make more money: in other words, profit. The profit comes from the workers putting in more work than they get paid.

Capitalism puts profit first before needs, it is wasteful and unstable. That is why we have a crisis today, with jobs scarce. Capitalist organisations include private firms like Lonmin (mining), and government firms like ESKOM (electricity), run by private or government bosses.

The state – the government – is also caught in the cookie jar of capitalism. The people at the top of the state include politicians, MPs, top officials, department heads, mayors, municipal managers, directors, generals, government bosses and so on. These people (state managers and government bosses) have power, privileges and control over a lot of production, administration, tax, and weapons, The means of production (factories, equipment, raw materials) controlled or influenced by the state is not means held directly by the government (like railways, or ESKOM). It also includes means outside government, influenced by large share percentages in private firms (government shares in Lonmin), partnerships (TELKOM), contracting (RDP house building), and laws.

The state supports capitalism since it’s beneficial to it and because the state and capitalism work together. The state pretends to be neutral while it’s not. States can’t bring liberation, they oppress the working class and poor. The bosses and the state managers form the ruling class of a country.

Imperialism is a system in which the ruling class of one country expands to control other areas and countries, sometimes directly (through invasions and force) or more hidden (through unfair trade, agreements, pressure and so on). Local ruling classes may collaborate with, or resist, imperialism-but they are always oppressors too.

The class that is against the ruling class, against exploitation, poverty, authoritarianism, shortages, high prices, divisions and hatred among the masses is the working class.

Working class struggle is the only way to overthrow capitalism and the state. The working class includes all people who do NOT own or control the means of production, or the administrative power and violence means of the state. It includes the poor and unemployed, and it is worldwide.

We are kept back because we are not informed. The truth is hidden by the system. We also need to know that a key part of capitalism and the state to divide and rule us, the working class majority. This is done through xenophobia, parties, unemployment, job insecurity, racism, sexism, the way the workplace works etc.

But if we can fight against these factors and become united and determined, we can overthrow the system of oppression, and cut loose from its chains. Then we can build a new world.

Our way forward is through anarchism. We have to build organisations that possess the characteristics of empowering working class communities, co-operation ad mobilisation, self-management, and class independence – and have a strategy (plan of action). This is mass anarchism. This strategy focuses on mass organisation of the working class as the path to revolution and a new society. This means developing knowledge from grass-root levels, winning the masses to anarchist ideas, using direct democracy, councils, delegates. We need to also unite anarchists into “specific” political organisations to work among the masses.

We need to destroy top-down discussion and decision-making, the rule of the elites, the system that oppresses and exploits. Let us replace thus with real people’s power. Unity and solidarity what we need.

Forward with anarchism!

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