Sunday, September 23, 2007



AFRICA:

TOWARDS AN ANARCHO-SYNDICALIST STRATEGY FOR AFRICA:

The Anarkismo site has published an interesting article by a member of the Zabalaza Anarcho-Communist Federation (South African platformist organization). The article takes off from the attendance of numerous delegates from African union organizations at the recent I-07 conference organized by the CNT-F in Paris. The author analyzes the political positions of the unions represented and draws some conclusions for the project of spreading anarcho-syndicalism in the continent of Africa. Some extracts from the article:

"What is particularly interesting to us, and the focus of this article, is that, for the first time, the Industrial Syndicalist Conference had a significant African presense this year, with delegates representing trade unions from Algeria (Snapap), Morocco (UMT, CDT, ANDCN, poor peasants, FDR-UDT), Tunisia (CGTT), Guinea (CNTG, CEK, SLEG), Ivory Coast (GCT-CI), Djibouti (UDT), Congo DRC (LO), Mali (Cocidirail, Sytrail), Benin (FNEB, UNSTB, AIPR), Burkino Faso (UGEB, CGT-B, AEBF) and Madagascar (Fisemare). ...

"As seen from the preceding breakdown the African delegates present, entirely paid for by the CNT, seemed to all have come from a range of independent and radical unions influenced by Marxism, and it is interesting to consider what might have attracted them to an anarcho-syndicalist conference, and what this means for creating an opening for spreading libertarian socialist ideas in Africa. ...It is critically important for militants from a libertarian socialist tradition to engage with organizers from Africa coming from an authoritarian socialist tradition (Marxist or otherwise). The reason being that one has to consider the context in which their political identity would have developed, bearing in mind that there is very little libertarian socialist tradition in Africa as a whole, and that many people on the continent with Leftist inclinations would invariably have been attracted to authoritarian/statist models of socialism and Marxist ideas or, for example, the type of 'African socialism, as practiced notably in Tanzania....

"It is also important to note that 'African Socialism' has been tried and found wanting, and that radical leftists in Africa might be becoming disillusioned with mainstream state socialism and be looking around for alternatives. Perhaps this is what attracted the African delegates to I07 ?. perhaps they feel so isolated and in such a desperate situation that activists from a statist orientation are willing to try anything to garner support from the international community. ...
"Whatever the case may be it is a sound strategy for the French CNT to be in contact with these groups and it helps to facilitate a dialogue about forms of organization, visions of the type of society that we want to create and it allows for the building of solidarity struggles between groups in the so-called first and third worlds. ...I strongly feel that the French CNT has taken an initiative that I would love to see followed by the other more developed and stronger anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist groupings and movements, with the capacity to do so, from the former colonial regimes. There is also, encouragingly, another similar initative to I07, the 'International conference on the coordination of base unionism and social connection in Europe and the Maghreb' being organized by the Spanish CGT due to take place in Malaga on 28, 29 and 30 September 2007. ...
"The legacy of Marxism and the Soviet Union is fading into history and, as a result, there is a vacuum of ideas in the African left. At such a time it is crucial for anarchists to step in and try to fill this vacuum, at a point where people may be looking for alternatives and might be open to libertarian socialist ideas. Anarchists should not be sectarian about their engagement with the broader African Left as, without a doubt, if we fail to take the initiative and try to fill the vacuum of ideas with a libertarian socialist- or more specifically and anarchist communist alternative, the larger and still, regrettably, better organized authoritarian socialists will certainly seize the opportunity to provide material and ideological support to the African trade unions, social and anti-globalization movements who, often desperate and uneducated as to the flaws of state socialism, will take whatever help they can get.
"If, however, anarchist and anarchosyndicalist groups abroad are going to try and develop contacts with unions in Africa, and try to spread anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist ideas and tactics, they would need to have a strategy for doing so. One key point to note, however, when embarking on this strategy is that every effort must be made to try and make contact with the rank-and-file workers, not the union bureaucrats or to try and ensure that union leaders disseminate the information and ideas they receive from anarchists abroad at the base.
Read the full article at the Anarckismo site for much more on this topic.

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