ARM/ WSF reading group ca. 1995/1996: The Unions #1

The Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ARM) was one of a number of anarchist or syndicalist groups and initiatives that emerged in South Africa in the early 1990s, a period of great political upheaval and relative openness. ARM was quite a loose group, formed in 1993 in Johannesburg, spanning a range of ideas and projects, and it lacked clear structures or strategy. Its student section mainly involved militants from the anti-apartheid student movement at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

In 1994 , there were serious discussions in ARM on the way forward. By the end of the year the group had divided into a “counter-culture” side and a “class-struggle” side. The counter-culture side left to form a network, while the class-struggle side retained the name ARM, and was oriented to unions and the black working class.For more on this history, see here.

In 1995, what was now ARM (now a “class-struggle” formation) started a regular reading group which ran through 1995 and 1996. ARM was renamed Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF) in April 1995. Normally there would be one kit with texts outlining the debates on a topic (e.g. the nature of unions), followed by a second kit providing historical material on the topic (e.g. the CNT in Spain). The person who developed a kit would write an introduction, which was included in each kit. The discussions were developed into draft Position Papers, which formed the basis of the Position Papers adopted by the WSF around the end of 1996. These same Position Papers have, with minor updates, been retained by today’s Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF).

Get the first reading kit on “The Unions” here. Note that the original printing was quite low quality and that the scans reflect it.

More reading kits are being uploaded — see here — as time permits and where copies are available.