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South African author @ London book event, 10th December: BLACK FLAME: revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism

Lucien van der Walt, of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, will speak on “Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism

Co-authored with Michael Schmidt, also of Johannesburg, ‘Black Flame’ examines the anti-authoritarian class politics of the anarchist/syndicalist movement, and its 150 years of popular struggle on five continents.

An  indispensable conceptual and historical roadmap, with close attention to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America, looking at its:
·   Opposition to hierarchy, capitalism and the state
·   Strategy: building revolutionary counter-power
·   History: labour, community, anti-imperialism
·   Agenda: participatory, cooperative economics
·   Revolutions: Mexico, Spain, Ukraine, Korea
·   Revival: today’s struggles

DATE: 2pm, Saturday 10th of December
PLACE: Freedom Bookshop
Angel Alley
84b Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX


This groundbreaking volume has been praised by reviewers as “deeply impressive”, “fascinating, revealing and often startling”, “a grand work of synthesis”, “remarkable” “outstanding”, “inspired” and “a welcome antidote to Eurocentric  accounts”.

·   “one of its distinctive contributions is its global scope… their book is brilliant and thought-provoking … a valuable study for activists, students and academics alike…” (Mandisi Majavu, Africa Project for Participatory Society, ‘ZNET’)

·   “deserves to be read by all those on the Left seeking to understand anarchism’s diverse contributions to democratic socialist thinking and practice …” (Devan Pillay, ‘Amandla’)

·   “illustrates the universality of anarchism, which until now, other literature has not done … countless examples of  large movements globally from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba and the United States, to South Africa, Egypt, Korea and Japan … Spain, Italy, Russia, the UK and Ireland …” (Mandy Moussouris, ‘South African Labour Bulletin’)

” extraordinary …  succeeds in bringing anarchist ideas into vivid relief in their historical contexts … shows the increasing relevance of an anarchist critique for our own time” (Martin Miller, Duke University, author of ‘The Russian Revolution’, ‘Kropotkin’) 

·   “a fascinating account of the often obscured history of anarchists, their organisations and history. There is much to commend in the book …” (Leo Zeilig, ‘International Socialism’)

·   “the depth and breadth of the research  are impressive, the arguments sophisticated, and the call to organize timely …” (Mark Leier, ‘Labour/Le Travail’)

·   “If you have a passing interest in radical politics, get this book. If you have an interest in anarchism, get this book …” (Deric Shannon, ‘Interface: a journal for and about social movements’)

·   “fascinating, revealing and often startling …” (Alan Lipman, anti-apartheid exile, author of ‘On the Outside Looking In: colliding with apartheid and other authorities’)

·   “useful and insightful …  a  grand work of synthesis  … an excellent starting point…” (Greg Hall, ‘WorkingUSA’)

·   “Brilliant  … outstanding … Do yourself a favour and buy it now!” (Iain McKay, author of ‘The Anarchist FAQ’, volume 1)

·  “considerable scholarship and deep reflection  … remarkable … powerful and lucidly written  …” (Jon Hyslop, University of Witwatersrand, author of ‘The Notorious Syndicalist: JT Bain, a Scottish rebel in colonial South Africa’)

·   “an outstanding contribution   …  unique in examining anarchism from a worldwide perspective instead of only a west European angle …” (Wayne Price, author of ‘The Abolition of the State: anarchist and Marxist perspectives’)

·   “a must for everybody interested in nonauthoritarian social movements … ”  (Bert Altena, Rotterdam University, author of ‘Piet Honig, Herinneringen van een Rotterdamse revolutionair’)
Michael  Schmidt is a Johannesburg-based investigative journalist/ journalism trainer and activist, with experience in Chiapas, civil war Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Darfur, and Lebanon.

Lucien van der Walt teaches at the University of theWitwatersrand. Winner of the 2008 international ‘Labor History’ dissertation and the 2008/2009 CODESRIA Africa thesis awards, his extensive publications include (with Steve Hirsch) ‘Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940’ (Brill 2010).




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It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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Disguised as maximum fun’

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