Renewed anarchist organization ZACF formed

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Sifuna Zonke's picture
Sifuna Zonke
Joined: 7-05-07
Dec 4 2007 15:03
Renewed anarchist organization ZACF formed

On December 1, by mutual consent of all its members and following consultations
with the WSM (Ireland), OCL (Chile) and FdCA (Italy), the Zabalaza Anarchist
Communist Federation was replaced by a new, unitary organisation, the Zabalaza
Anarchist Communist Front. The new ZACF retains all the assets of the former

On December 2, the members of the new ZACF held talks with our Swazi
comrades with a view to establishing a new unitary organisation in Swaziland.

The new Front's constitution follows:

Constitution of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)

As adopted at Johannesburg, 1 December 2007

The ZACF defines Anarchism as: "…society organised without authority, meaning by
authority the power to impose one's own will ... authority not only is not
necessary for social organisation but, far from benefiting it, lives on it
parasitically, hampers its development, and uses its advantages for the special
benefit of a particular class which exploits and oppresses the others".
Errico Malatesta
l'Agitazione June 4, 1897

And Communism as: "Common possession of the necessaries for production imply[ing] the common
enjoyment of the fruits of the common production; and we consider that an
equitable organisation of society can only arise when every wage-system is
abandoned, and when everybody, contributing for the common well-being to the
full extent of [their] capacities, shall enjoy also from the common stock of
society to the fullest possible extent of [their] needs."
Piotr Kropotkin
Anarchist Communism: Its Basis and Principles,


We, the working class, produce the world's wealth. We ought to enjoy the benefits.
We want to abolish the system of capitalism that places wealth and power in the
hands of a few, and replace it with workers self-management and socialism. We do
not mean the lie called 'socialism' practised in Russia, China, and other police
states - the system in those countries was/is no more than another form of
capitalism - state capitalism.

We stand for a new society where there will be no bosses or bureaucrats. A
society that will be run in a truly democratic way by working people, through
federations of community and workplace committees. We want to abolish
authoritarian relationships and replace them with control from the bottom up -
not the top down.

All the industries, all the means of production and distribution will be
commonly owned, and placed under the management of those working in them.
Production will be co-ordinated, organised and planned by the federation of
elected and recallable workplace and community committees, not for profit but to
meet our needs. The guiding principle will be "from each according to ability,
to each according to need".

We are opposed to all coercive authority; we believe that the only limit on the
freedom of the individual is that their freedom does not interfere with the
freedom of others.

We do not ask to be made rulers nor do we intend to seize power "on behalf of
the working class". Instead, we hold that socialism can only be created by the
mass of ordinary people. Anything less is bound to lead to no more than
replacing one set of bosses with another.

We are opposed to the state because it is not neutral, it cannot be made to
serve our interests. The structures of the state are only necessary when a
minority seeks to rule over the majority. We can create our own structures,
which will be open and democratic, to ensure the efficient running of everyday life.
We are proud to be part of the tradition of libertarian socialism, of anarchism.
The anarchist movement has taken root in the working class of many countries
because it serves our interests - not the interests of the power seekers and
professional politicians.

In short we fight for the immediate needs and interests of our class under the
existing set up, while seeking to encourage the necessary understanding and
activity to overthrow capitalism and its state, and lead to the birth of a free
and equal (anarchist) society.

1) NAME:

The name of the organisation is the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF),
"zabalaza" being a proud indigenous word meaning "struggle" in Zulu and Xhosa.
The short name of the ZACF is Zabalaza. The ZACF works towards the fulfilment of
its aims and principles throughout the Southern African region.


The symbol of the ZACF is a silhouette of Africa divided diagonally into the
anarchist black and red, with a black star in the red half over southern Africa
and a raised fist straining against its chains, encircled by the name ZABALAZA


The ZACF is united on revolutionary anarchist principles. This means:

a) internally: the ZACF functions according to the principles of direct
democracy, recallable, mandated and rotatable delegates, real, functional
equality among members, and horizontal federalism among all its members;

b) externally: the ZACF has a commitment to workers' self-management, direct
action, and to libertarian revolutionary anti-capitalism, anti-fascism,
anti-authoritarianism, anti-sexism, anti-racism, internationalism and
anti-statism. The ZACF supports the struggles of the progressive and radical
social movements that articulate the interests and demands of the workers, the
poor and the peasantry, ("the popular classes"), including the trade unions. Our
involvement with these movements is non-sectarian and we recognise that they
frequently do not share the same principles as ourselves, but we fight within
them to win them over to our principles. In terms of the Latin American
anarchist movement, this is the ZACF's role as a "specific anarchist
organisation" and is what anarchist-communists call organisational dualism and
social insertion;

c) globally: the ZACF is inspired by the proud fighting tradition of over a
century of mass anarchist militancy, within Africa, Latin America, Asia,
Australasia, North America and Europe. The ZACF is inspired by the libertarian
federal tradition of the First International, by the autonomous councils of the
Parisian and Macedonian Communes and of the original Russian Soviets, by the
mass-based anarcho-syndicalist tradition of the International Workers'
Association, and by the anarchist revolutionary tradition of the Mexican,
Russian, Ukrainian, Manchurian, Spanish and Cuban Revolutions. These traditions
continue today in the International Libertarian Solidarity network and in the
anarchist-influenced global mass anti-capitalist struggles of the new millennium;

d) regionally: the ZACF is inspired by the anarchist tradition of the Socialist
Club, founded in South Africa by Henry Glasse in 1900, and of the Revolutionary
League founded in Mozambique by Jose Estevam in the early 1900s, of the
International Socialist League, founded in South Africa in 1915, of the
Industrial Socialist League, founded in 1918, and of the anti-parliamentary
Communist Party of South Africa, founded in 1920 (not to be confused with the
reformist CPSA - Communist International, founded the following year by
socialists and Marxists and forerunner of today's SACP). The ZACF also recalls
the revolutionary syndicalist tradition of the Industrial Workers of the World's
South African section, founded in 1910, of the anarcho-syndicalist union
currents in Mozambique in the 1920s which were allied to the General
Confederation of Labour in Portugal, of the Industrial Workers of Africa and
associated unions founded in South Africa between 1917 and 1919 by militants of
all "races" such as Thomas William "Bill" Thibedi, Bernard Sigamoney, Henry
Kraai, S.P. Bunting and Andrew Dunbar. The ZACF stands proudly in the fighting
tradition of the rank-and-file workers' groups, people's civics, street
committees, and community defence groups of the popular struggle in the 1970s
and 1980s against apartheid.
We locate ourselves firmly within the left-wing revolutionary socialist
tradition and are implacably opposed to the parties and organisations of capital
and the state, whether left-wing, liberal, centrist, conservative or right-wing.
Instead of the authoritarian, multi-class, elite vanguardist "National
Democratic Revolution" of the African National Congress / South African
Communist Party, the South West African People's Organisation, the Zimbabwe
African National Union – Patriotic Front, and Mozambique Liberation Front, the
ZACF stands for a Social Revolution against the parasitic class, by a front of
oppressed classes across all borders.

e) operationally: the ZACF is based on:

Theoretical Unity: strict homogeneity in the overall positions held by the ZACF,
changed in the light of ongoing analysis of the struggle, thereby eliminating
the danger of fixed positions and increasing the effectiveness of action.

Tactical unity or the collective method of action: the ZACF seeks tactical unity
through militant implementation of the overall policy in campaigns and projects
decided at Congress.

Collective responsibility: in respect of external expression, each member is
answerable for the ZACF's line. The ZACF is also answerable for and claims
responsibility for the positions and actions adopted by each of its members,
provided that these have been mandated by the ZACF.

Federalism: the ZACF is only the expression of its collective membership – its
militants being the driving force behind the whole organisation. The ZACF unites
the militants around the principles of common principles, mutual aid and
unity-in-struggle. However, the militants may not adopt positions that go
against the ZACF's line.

These being the core principles of the "Organisational Platform of the
Libertarian Communists" drawn up in 1927 by Nestor Makhno, Piotr Arshinov, Ida
Mett and other anarchist guerrilla veterans of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army
of the Ukraine. We are inspired by the "Platform" yet do not accept it uncritically.

As well as:
Comradely ethic: within the ZACF, the members practice the ethical conception of
libertarian communism. Fraternal relations – based on trust, esteem and respect
– link its militants as a body. As well as "ongoing fraternal monitoring of each
by all" (Mikhail Bakunin) to guard against possible authoritarian tendencies


The ZACF is a horizontal unitary organisation of anarchist-communist militants,
federated together in common revolutionary anarchist cause and joining together
in common campaigns. The ZACF is more than simply a collection of militants,
however: it is a united front of all its militants, fighting a common struggle
and united by common ideals.
Their revolutionary activities are determined by the militants themselves, but
in consultation with the rest of the ZACF to ensure they complement the ZACF's
principles and objectives. Each individual militant retains their autonomy of
action, so long as it is not deemed by a 2/3 majority of the ZACF to be in
contradiction of the ZACF's aims or anarchist principles. That the ZACF decide
at its annual Congresses on joint projects and that it maintain constant contact
with all members to ensure efficient co-ordination of all aims.

a) Congress:
The ZACF will hold a Congress at least once a year, which will set the entire
ZACF strategy for the forthcoming year. Congress is the supreme decision-making
structure of the ZACF. The decision-making process of Congress is as follows:

1. The quorum for Congress is 50% of the entire membership of the ZACF,
including at least two mandated secretaries;

2. A member may delegate another member to cast a proxy vote on their behalf in
relation to a specific issue on the agenda. Such proxies must be submitted in
writing to the Regional Secretary before Congress.

3. Congress may authorise non-members who are sympathetic to the ZACF to attend
all or some of its sessions, and may grant them speaking rights but not voting

4. All Working Groups and secretaries are to submit either written or verbal
reports on all aspects of their projects and activities to Congress;

5. Decision-making must as far as possible be by consensus, failing which, by
majority vote, a majority being 51% of all members present.

6. Amendments to the Constitution, or a decision by the ZACF that a member's
work is not in accord with the principles of the ZACF, shall require the support
of 2/3 of the members present. All proposals for constitutional amendments must
be circulated in the Internal Bulletin at least one month prior to the Congress
that is to decide on them. Proxy votes on constitutional amendments must be
verified by the absent member in writing to the Regional Secretary before Congress.

7. A 51% majority of the ZACF can call an Emergency Congress within a month if
deemed necessary. The quorum for an Emergency Congress is 51% of the membership
of the ZACF; but no Emergency Congress shall make any amendment to the Constitution.

8. The full minutes of the proceedings of each Congress will be published and
disseminated internally within a month of Congress.

9. Congress elects as office-bearers a Regional Secretary and an International
Secretary. It may create and fill other positions as it sees fit. Both
secretaries, plus any other secretaries elected by Congress are subject to
recall at any time by a poll of the entire membership of the ZACF called by any
member. In the event of the office-bearers recalling a secretary, it shall
appoint a replacement, subject to approval by the membership of the ZACF within
one month. In the event of the membership recalling a secretary, the members
shall elect a replacement within one month.

10. Congress can create Working Groups to work on specific tasks relating to the
ZACF. Working Groups may develop draft policies to present to Congress but may
not alter or delete any existing policy without the agreement of Congress. Any
interested member may join any Working Group. Each Working Group shall deliver a
report to Congress and shall circulate reports of its activities internally
between Congresses.

11. Congress shall determine membership dues, having due regard to the financial
circumstances of members.

b) The office-bearers (OB):
The office-bearers of the ZACF constitute a committee that meets at least once a
month between Congresses. Its task is the day-to-day running of the ZACF and the
co-ordination of all its militants, campaigns and projects. It has no executive
authority to alter or exceed the mandates conferred on it by Congress. OB
meetings are open to all members. Any decision of the OB can be overturned by
Congress or an immediate poll of members which adheres to the same quorum and
voting rules as Congress. An agenda will be circulated prior to all OB meetings.

The OB comprises the following:

1. The Regional Secretary whose duties are: to be the first spokesperson for the
organisation domestically; to establish and maintain contact with similar
individuals and organisations regionally in southern Africa, and to send them
publications and news of our activities; to keep a record of all regional
correspondence; to co-ordinate the production of any internal bulletins; and to
report to Congress.

2. The International Secretary whose duties are: to be the first spokesperson
for the organisation abroad; to establish and maintain contact with similar
individuals and organisations in the rest of Africa and further abroad, and to
send them our publications and news of our activities; to keep a record of all
international correspondence; to organise the writing of articles when requested
by contacts abroad; and to report to Congress.

3. Any other secretary or secretaries elected by Congress.


a) Membership of the ZACF is restricted to reliable, convinced
anarchist-communist militants who agree to abide by its principles and
constitution, work and argue for its policies in their public activity, and pay
such dues as shall be determined by the Congress.

b) Members are responsible to their fellow militants, and to Congress for their

c) Working Groups may suspend the membership of any militant, all members to be
immediately informed of such suspension. If the Working Group does not
subsequently lift the suspension, the member concerned may appeal directly to
the OB to call an immediate poll of all members or to the next Congress, which
will decide whether that person is to retain membership.
Some specific grounds for suspension are:
1. spying for the oppressors and the exploiters;
2. failure to be active to the extent agreed by the member without a very good
3. opposing the ZACF, its aims and principles, or the working class struggle;
4. acting in any way contrary to the ZACF's aims and principles, including
standing for election to any state or government office;
5. accepting a position within a corporation where the member has the power to
hire or fire; or
6. non-payment of dues without a very good explanation.

d) Membership is by invitation only, and by consensus of all members. Membership
is on an individual basis only.

e) All ZACF members are required to be active both in ZACF's work and actions in
the progressive and radical social movements to the extent personally possible,
as well as active within their trade union where this is viable. Every member of
the ZACF undertakes to be active to the extent of their abilities, with due
regard to their other commitments, including work and domestic commitments.

f) Members of the ZACF shall establish Red and Black Forums (RBFs) for purposes
of theoretical training, revolutionary propaganda and action in struggle. These
Forums shall invite non-members of the ZACF who have some degree of sympathy
with the aims and principles of the ZACF. Any individual participant in an RBF
who shows full theoretical and practical commitment to the ZACF's aims and
principles may be considered for membership of the ZACF. Such membership shall
be offered to an individual militant after they have proven themselves
ideologically and by their actions to the satisfaction of the ZACF membership.

g) Members may also establish Working Groups based on their personal areas of
interest – in addition to any Working Groups created by Congress – provided such
Working Groups' creation are agreed to by the ZACF's membership.

h) Membership is not open to employers at any level or to management
functionaries of any tier of government.


The official publications of the ZACF, to which all members are encouraged to
contribute to (in the case of the journal) and distribute, are:

a) "Zabalaza: a Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism", currently
issued twice a year. "Zabalaza" (meaning Struggle) is the theoretical journal of
the ZACF and shall contain ideological and analytical articles of benefit to the
anarchist-communist movement's understanding of the struggle. Its articles will
be distributed abroad, both on the Internet and by mail. It promotes the
official line of the ZACF, in other words, the majority's line as determined by

b) The "Zabalaza" website at . The website is not merely the
mouthpiece of the ZACF, but acts as a general Internet portal to anarchist news,
analysis and views relating to the African continent specifically and to the
global South more broadly. It also hosts Zabalaza Books' collection of pamphlets
and other materials, and provides links to other online anarchist-communist
resources; and

c) Any other publications as may be authorised by Congress, or as may be
approved by the OB.

The ZACF will work towards translating this Constitution and its publications
into the commonly spoken languages of all its members.


a) The ZACF's official strategy, policy and line-of-march, is that agreed at
b) Minority factions have the right to have their views debated and published
internally, but are expected to follow the majority ZACF strategies and tactics
in their public activities.


The ZACF will maintain a regular exchange of information, analysis, news and
views with the global anarchist community. It will form bilateral and
multilateral relations with anarchist-communist, Platformist, especifista and
other anarchist and libertarian socialist organisations with a view to
strengthening global autonomous networking by the oppressed popular classes.
Congress is empowered to determine the international and regional affiliations
of the ZACF.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 4 2007 15:17

why the name change?

georgestapleton's picture
Joined: 4-08-05
Dec 4 2007 16:24

Hmm this is interesting. I know they've been having internal problems for a year or more I guess this is the end product of them working through them.

I suspect that there have been changes. For example I don't think they were doing this before:

f) Members of the ZACF shall establish Red and Black Forums (RBFs) for purposes
of theoretical training, revolutionary propaganda and action in struggle. These
Forums shall invite non-members of the ZACF who have some degree of sympathy
with the aims and principles of the ZACF. Any individual participant in an RBF
who shows full theoretical and practical commitment to the ZACF's aims and
principles may be considered for membership of the ZACF. Such membership shall
be offered to an individual militant after they have proven themselves
ideologically and by their actions to the satisfaction of the ZACF membership.
Joined: 20-02-04
Dec 5 2007 12:58

Seems they were. You can check out the old Constitution on the Zabalaza website ( . It hasnt been updated to reflect the changes.

Rebel Girl's picture
Rebel Girl
Joined: 16-08-07
Dec 5 2007 14:00

ZACF was holding "Red and Black Forums" also before the constitution was revised.
the name was changed from "federation" to "front" because due to its size the ZACF has not been a federation anymore. initially it was a federation of collectives, but the collective structure was dissolved in favour of individual membership. the word "front" was chosen to uphold the abbreviation ZACF.
The requirements for membership have been changed to accommodate comrades who have something to contribute but cannot be active all the time.
in general, the constitution has been made clearer and simpler while still sticking to organisational principles as laid out in the anarchist platform.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 4 2008 13:01

thanks RG