Lucien van der Walt
|Lucien van der Walt|
8 September 1972|
Krugersdorp, South Africa
Lucien van der Walt is a South African writer and professor of Sociology, long involved in the working class movement. His research engages the anarchist/syndicalist tradition of Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin; trade unionism, particularly in southern Africa; and neo-liberal state restructuring. Born in the mining town of Krugersdorp, he has a working-class family background. He currently teaches and researches at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and previously worked at the University of the Witwatersrand.
- 1 Notable scholarly and other works
- 2 Awards
- 3 Reception of work
- 4 Involvement in working class movement
- 5 Working class family background
- 6 Books and edited specials
- 7 Keynotes and plenary talks (selection)
- 8 Scholarly articles and book chapters (selection)
- 9 Other writings (selection)
- 10 Recent popular works
- 11 Conference and seminar papers and inputs (select only)
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Notable scholarly and other works
Van der Walt is well known for his book, with Michael Schmidt, Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter-Power vol. 1). (nominated for the CLR James Book Prize) and for his book, with Steven J. Hirsch, Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution.
Other notable works deal with anarchism/ syndicalism and colonialism, with global labour history, with neo-liberal restructuring in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and with the history and theory of anarchism and syndicalism. He also served as Southern Africa editor for the 2009 International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest (Blackwell, New York).
Besides numerous academic journal articles and book chapters, he has presented papers at more than 85 events, serves on five editorial boards, and has also published over 100 more 'popular' articles in papers such as the South African Labour Bulletin, the Sowetan, and Zabalaza: a journal of southern African revolutionary anarchism.
Van der Walt won both the international prize for the best PhD dissertation from the Labor History, the pre-eminent publication for historical scholarship in its field worldwide, and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa prize for best African PhD thesis.
Reception of work
Van der Walt's books have been variously praised by reviewers as (for Black Flame) "deeply impressive", an "outstanding contribution", a "grand work of synthesis," and "remarkable", and as (for Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940) an "academic masterpiece", "superb", "incredibly valuable", and offering "deep insights".
Involvement in working class movement
Van der Walt helped found, co-ordinate and currently teaches in the University of the Witwatersrand/ National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa education programme for union office-bearers and activists. He is also part of the Global Labour University program, and is also involved in projects such as the Red and Black Forums.
Van der Walt was an activist in the anti-apartheid student movement in the 1990s, and in the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union. He served as a media officer in the Anti-Privatisation Forum, of which he was a founder member in 2000. Van der Walt also served as an executive member of the Workers' Library and Museum in Johannesburg, co-ordinating its education/ workshop programme and its Workers' Bookshop. In addition to these roles, he was active in a range of study groups and political circles, and a leading figure in the 1999/2001 struggle against outsourcing at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Working class family background
Born in 1972, van der Walt's paternal grandparents were poor Afrikaners, both of whom were imprisoned by British imperial forces during the Second Boer War, his grandmother in a concentration camp, his grandfather in a prisoner of war camp at St Helena. His grandfather was an underground miner, until contracting silicosis, after which he worked as a handyman and on government public works. His father was a mine worker, who worked his way through night school to a school teacher. His mother's family were British working class immigrants; she worked as a teacher, where she met his father.
Books and edited specials
- Lucien van der Walt, 2014, Negro E Vermelho: Anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880 a 1920, Editora Faísca, São Paulo, 103pp.
- Steven J. Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt (eds.), 2014, (foreword by Benedict Anderson), 2014, Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Studies in Global Social History, paperback edition, i–lxxvi, 510pp.
- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt, 2013, Schwarze Flamme: Revolutionäre Klassenpolitik im Anarchismus und Syndikalismus Schwarze Flamme: Revolutionäre Klassenpolitik im Anarchismus und Syndikalismus, Edition Nautlius, Hamburg, 560pp;
- Devan Pillay and Lucien van der Walt, 2012, The Politics of Organized Labour in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 21st Century. Special issue of Labour, Capital and Society, volume 44, number 2, with the Global Labour University.
- Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt, 2010, Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution. Amsterdam: Brill Press, 2010. Pp. lxxiv+434.
- Southern Africa editor, 2009, International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York.
- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt, 2009, Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism. (Counter-power volume 1). Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2009. Pp. 500.
- Peter Alexander, Philip Bonner, Jon Hyslop and Lucien van der Walt, 2009, Labour Crossings in Eastern and Southern Africa. Special section of African Studies, volume 68, number 1.
- Philip Bonner, Jon Hyslop and Lucien van der Walt, 2007, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on Southern African Labour History. Special issue of African Studies, volume 66, numbers 2–3.
Keynotes and plenary talks (selection)
- van der Walt, Lucien, 2014, "Varieties of Anarchism: Anarchist projects and the struggles that define them," International Dissidence research group / Cluster of Excellence: Normative Orders, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, Germany, 7 August 2014.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2013, “Makhan Singh's (1914–1973) Legacy for Kenyan and African Trade Unions: learning from the IWW, the Ghadar Party, and the East African Trade Union Congress”, First Makhan Singh Memorial Lecture, Nairobi, 5 December 2013.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2011, “The Global History of Labour Radicalisms: the importance of anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism”, keynote for "Labour beyond State, Nation, Race: global labour history as a new paradigm", University of Kassel, Germany, 26 November 2011.
Scholarly articles and book chapters (selection)
- Lucien van der Walt and Sian Byrne, 2015, "Review Article" Worlds of Western Anarchism and Syndicalism: Class Struggle, Transnationalism, Violence and Anti-imperialism, 1870s-1940s," Canadian Journal of History / Annales canadiennes d'histoire, volume 50, number 1, pp. 98-123 .
- Lucien van der Walt, 2014, "Reclaiming Syndicalism: From Spain to South Africa to Global Labour Today," Global Labour Journal, volume 5, number 2, pp. 239–252.
- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt, 2013, "Vorwort zur deutschen Ausgabe", Schwarze Flamme: Revolutionäre Klassenpolitik im Anarchismus und Syndikalismus, Edition Nautlius, Hamburg, pp. 7–10;
- Lucien van der Walt, 2013, "Anarchism/ Syndicalism as a Vision, Strategy and Experience of Bottom-up Socialist Democracy: a reply to Daryl Glaser”, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, volume 40, number 2, pp. 339–349.
- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt, 2013, "Black Flame", in Robert Graham (ed.), Anarchism: a documentary history of libertarian ideas: volume 3: The New Anarchism (1974–2008), Black Rose Books: Montréal, New York, London, pp. 453–460.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2013, "(Re)Constructing a Global Anarchist and Syndicalist Canon: a response to Robert Graham and Nathan Jun on Black Flame", Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, 2013: number 1 (5th in series), pp. 193–203.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2012, "Thibedi, T.W. (1888–1960)", Henry Louis Gates and Emmanuel Akyeampong (eds.), Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press pp. 13–14.
- Devan Pillay and Lucien van der Walt, 2012, "Introduction: Assessing the Politics of Organized Labour in Asia, Africa and Latin America at the Start of the 21st Century”, Labour, Capital and Society/ Travail, capital et société, volume 44, number 2, pp. 3–25.
- Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, 2011, "Interview mit Michael Schmidt und Lucien van der Walt", in Sebastian Kalicha and Gabriel Kuhn (eds.), Von Jakarta bis Johannesburg: Anarchismus weltweit, Unrast-Bücher der Kritik, Münster, pp. 270–294. Online in German and English at Alpine Anarchist Productions
- Lucien van der Walt, 2011, "Anarchism and Syndicalism in an African Port City: the revolutionary traditions of Cape Town’s multiracial working class, 1904–1924", Labor History, volume 52, number 2, pp. 137–171.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2011, "Counterpower, Participatory Democracy, Revolutionary Defence: debating Black Flame, revolutionary anarchism and historical Marxism," International Socialism: a quarterly journal of socialist theory, number 130, pp. 193–207.
- Peter Cole and Lucien van der Walt, 2011, "Crossing the Color Lines, Crossing the Continents: the racial politics of the transnational IWW in South Africa and the United States, 1905–1925", Safundi: the Journal of South African and American Studies, volume 30, number 1, 2011, pp. 69–96
- Lucien van der Walt, 2010, "Black Flame and the Broad Anarchist Tradition: a reply to Spencer Sunshine”, Anarchist Studies, volume 18, number 1, pp. 82–84.
- Ian Bekker and Lucien van der Walt, 2010, "The 2010 Mass Strike in the State Sector, South Africa: Positive Achievements but Serious Problems", Social.History Online / Sozial.Geschichte Online, open access journal, number 4, pp. 138–152.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2009, "Class Politics and Black Freedom Movements: thinking about the USA and South Africa", for "Labor History symposium: Robert H. Zeiger, For Jobs and Freedom: race and labor in America since 1865", Labor History, volume 50, number 1, pp. 72–78.
- Philip Bonner, Jonathan Hyslop and Lucien van der Walt, Nicole Ulrich and Andries Bezuidenhout, 2009,"Workers' Movements", in Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier (eds.), The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History, Palgrave Macmillan, London, New York, pp. 1121–1128.
- Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt, 2009, "South Africa, labor movement", in International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, Blackwell, New York, pp. 3090–3099.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2009, "Labour in South Africa: a sleeping giant?", in Immanuel Ness, Amy Offner and Chris Sturr, (eds.), Real World Labor, Dollars and Sense Collective, Boston, pp. 105–112.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2007, "The First Globalisation and Transnational Labour Activism in Southern Africa: White Labourism, the IWW and the ICU, 1904–1934", African Studies, volume 66, number 2/3, special issue ‘Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on Southern African Labour History’, pp. 223–251.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2008, "Zyklen der Akkumulation – Zyklen des Klassenkampfes. Zum Verhältnis von Apartheid, Arbeit und Befreiung in Südafrika", Holger Marcks and Matthias Seiffert (Hg.), Die großen Streiks: Episoden aus dem Klassenkampf, Unrast-Bücher der Kritik, Münster, pp. 160–164.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2004, "Bakunin's Heirs in South Africa: race, class and revolutionary syndicalism from the IWW to the International Socialist League", Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, volume 30, number 1, pp. 67–89.
- Lucien van der Walt and James Pendlebury, 2006, “Neoliberalism, Bureaucracy and Resistance at Wits University”, in Richard Pithouse (ed.), Asinamali: university struggles in post-apartheid South Africa, Africa World Press, Trenton, New Jersey, pp. 79–92.
- Lucien van der Walt, with Chris Bolsmann, Bernadette Johnson, and Lindsey Martin, 2003, "Globalisation, the Market University and Support Service Outsourcing in South Africa: class struggle, convergence and difference, 1994–2001", Society in Transition (now the South African Review of Sociology), volume 34, number 2, pp. 272–294.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2001, "Fix It or Nix It? The anti-globalisation movement [Review article, on Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello and Brendan Smith, 2000, Globalisation from Below: the power of solidarity]", South African Labour Bulletin, volume 25, number 5, pp. 60–64.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2001, "Pour une Histoire de l'Anti-impérialisme Anarchiste: ‘dans cette lutte, seuls les ouvriers et les paysans iront jusqu' au bout’", Refractions, number 8, (France) pp. 27–38.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2001, "Revolutionärer Syndikalismus, Rasse und Klasse in Südafrika: die ‘International Socialist League’ und die ‘Industrial Workers of Africa’ 1915 bis 1920", Archiv für die Geschichte des Widerstandes und der Arbeit, number 16, (Germany) pp. 213–246.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2000, "GEAR versus Social Security", South African Labour Bulletin, volume 24, number 3, pp. 70–75.
- Lucien van der Walt, 1999, "’The Industrial Union is the Embryo of the Socialist Commonwealth’: the International Socialist League and revolutionary syndicalism in South Africa, 1915–1919", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, volume XIX, number 1, special issue ‘South African Labour and the Left’, pp. 5–30.
- Lucien van der Walt, 1998, "Trade Unions in Zimbabwe: for democracy, against neo-liberalism", Capital and Class, number 66, 1998, pp. 85–117.
- Sakhela Buhlungu and Lucien van der Walt, 1997,"The Voice from Below: Zambian workers speak out", South African Labour Bulletin, volume 21, number 3, pp. 64–68.
Other writings (selection)
- Lucien van der Walt, Mondli Hlatswayo, Aubrey Nomvela and Nicole Ulrich, 2001, Nehawu: a workers' history, for the April 2001 National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) national congress, on behalf of the Workers' Library and Museum, 2001.
Recent popular works
- Lucien van der Walt, Sian Byrne and Warren McGregor, 2015, "Troubled SA Must Take May Day Seriously," Mail and Guardian, 30 April 2015.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2014, "Politics at a Distance from the State: Speech to South African movements," ASR, number 62, pp. 21–23.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2013, "Speech to Metalworkers: Anarcho-syndicalism for South African unions today?," ASR, number 61 pp. 11–20.
- Lucien van der Walt, Muttaqa Yushau, Sian Byrne and Warren McGregor, 20 June 2013, "Towards a Viable Counter-Movement in Nigeria", Daily Labour, volume 26, number 7, (Nigeria), p. 10. (also see corrections note in Daily Labour, 15 July 2013 vol. 26 no. 8, p. 1)
- Lucien van der Walt, Paliani Chinguwo, Sian Byrne and Warren McGregor, 3 May 2013, "Why May Day Matters to Botswana", Mmegi, volume 30, number 65, (Botswana), pp. 8–9.
- Lucien van der Walt, Paliani Chinguwo, Sian Byrne and Warren McGregor, 1 May 2013, "Why May Day Matters to Malawi ... history with anarchist roots", The Nation, Labour Day Supplement, (Malawi), pp. 11–12.
- Tina Sizovuka and Lucien van der Walt, 2013, "Get Rich or Lie Trying: Why ANC millionaire Julius Malema posed as a radical, why he lost, and what this tells us about the post-apartheid ANC", Zabalaza: a journal of southern African revolutionary anarchism, number 13, pp. 28–35.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2013, “Who Rules South Africa? An anarchist/syndicalist analysis of the ANC,the post-apartheid elite pact and the political implications,” Zabalaza: a journal of southern African revolutionary anarchism, no. 13, pp. 7–13.
- Lucien van der Walt and Ian Bekker, 2012, "Améliorer le Mouvement des Travailleurs: leçons de la grande grève de 2010 en Afrique du sud", Terre et Liberté, number 2, (France), p. 5.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2012, "Internationalismus und Antiimperialismus von unten: Anarchismus und Syndikalismus in der kolonialen und postkolonialen Welt", Direkte Aktion, number 209, (Germany), p. 12.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2012, "Anarchism's Historical Role: a global view", Freedom, February, (Britain), pp. 13–15;
- Lucien van der Walt and Ian Bekker, 2011, "Build a Better Workers' Movement: learning from South Africa's 2010 mass strike”, Zabalaza: a southern African journal of revolutionary anarchism, no. 12, pp. 11–15.
- Lucien van der Walt, May 2011, "A Look at Three Figures from the IWW in South Africa [Dunbar, Thibedi, Sigamoney]", Industrial Worker, number 1735, (United States), p. 15.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2011, "What Anarchism and Syndicalism Offer the South African Left," special supplement on Marxism & renewal in the 21st Century – new challenges, new thinking, in Amandla, no. 21, pp. 9–11.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2010, "COSATU's Response to the Crisis: an anarcho-syndicalist assessment”, Zabalaza: a southern African journal of revolutionary anarchism, number 11, pp. 17–19.
Conference and seminar papers and inputs (select only)
- Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “From the Periphery: Anarchism and Revolutionary Syndicalism in the Colonial and Post-Colonial World of the Twentieth Century," Anarchism: Insurgent Practices and Thought conference, Federal Rural University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 June to 2 July 2015.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2014, "Anarchism, Syndicalism and Violent Anti-imperialism in the Colonial and Post-colonial World, 1870–1940," Panel on "Transnational Dimensions of Violent Dissidence," Fourth Global International Studies Conference, World International Studies Committee (WISC), Frankfurt, Germany, 6–9 August 2014.
- Ulrich, Nicole and Lucien van der Walt, 11 June 2014, "Workerism/Syndicalism and Nationalism," paper at "The Unresolved National Question in Left Thinking: Hidden voices, unpublished works 1950s to 1990," Chris Hani Institute, Cosatu House, 10–11 June 2014.
- Lucien van der Walt, 2014, "'One Great Union of Skilled and Unskilled Workers, South of the Zambezi': Garveyism, liberalism and revolutionary syndicalism in the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa, 1919–1949," European Social Science History Conference, Vienna, Austria, 23–26 April 2014.
- Featherstone, David (November 2012). "BOOK REVIEW: Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism & Anarchism". Journal of Global History, volume 7, number 3. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- AK Press notes
- Constance Bantman, Anarchist Studies, Vol. 20 No. 1 (2012), pp. 106–108
- * Wayne Price, "Anarchism in the Oppressed Nations"
- Ole Birk Laursen, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Vol. 48, No. 55, pp. 573–575
- Mandisi Majavu, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 122, 2012, pp. 122–124
- Blog with papers and PDFs by Lucien van der Walt, on neo-liberal restructuring, class struggles, trade union strategy, and anarchism/ syndicalism
- A blog on Black Flame, including many reviews, news on launches, short articles and debates
- LinkedIn page for Lucien van der Walt
- Academia.edu page for Lucien van der Walt, including many papers
- "Fanning the Flames": Interview with Black Flame authors, Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt