International Socialist League

The South African Wobblies: The Origins of Industrial Unions in South Africa - John Philips

John Philip’s pioneering, hard-to-get study of syndicalism in South Africa, stressing the influence of the IWW.

Syndicalism on the Shopfloor: the Denver Shop-Stewards Strike, Transvaal, November-December 1919 - EA Mantzaris

This paper by Evan Mantzaris provides a critical chronicle of a strike by radical white metalworkers at the Denver Engineering Works on the Witwatersrand, organised through a workers’ committee.

'Sifuna zonke!’: revolutionary syndicalism, the Industrial Workers of Africa and the fight against racial capitalism, 1915-1921 - Bikisha Media Collective

Police disperse a strike meeting, Market Square, Johannesburg, 1913.

Pamphlet from the Bikisha Media Collective on the development of revolutionary syndicalist organisations in South Africa, including the Industrial Workers of Africa.

Syndicalists in South Africa, 1908-17 - Baruch Hirson

Mary 'Pickhandle' Fitzgerald addressing strikers in Market Square, 1913.

Baruch Hirson, South African Trotskyist, provides some insight into the South African syndicalists of the early twentieth century recovering the history of South African left traditions ignored or caricatured in the South African Communist Party and academic accounts. Although his interest was in the Communist Party and the Trotskyists that emerged subsequently, his work also touched on the anarchist and syndicalist tradition, as this interesting paper shows.

“The industrial union is the embryo of the socialist commonwealth”: The International Socialist League and revolutionary syndicalism in South Africa, 1915-1920

A paper by Lucien van der Walt that examines and dispels many of the myths surrounding the International Socialist League, the main revolutionary socialist organization active in South Africa in the latter half of the 1910s.

Bakunin’s heirs in South Africa: race and revolutionary syndicalism from the IWW to the International Socialist League, 1910–21

Lucien van der Walt disputes the prevailing discourse of the Communist school, arguing firstly that the early left in South Africa became dominated by revolutionary syndicalist ideas, and secondly that the IWW and the ISL articulated the need for working-class unity across skill and race divisions to oppose the State, Capital and existing racial laws.