Work In Progress 1977 - 1994 PDF Print
Publisher Southern African Research Service, Johannesburg
Date 1977 - 1994
Resource type Journals
Language English
Keywords TOPIC 298d
Extent 92 issues
Description The context in which the first issue of Work In Progress appeared was one in which the embryonic trade union movement had not yet emerged as a major actor on the scene. In September 1977 popular political resistance to apartheid seemed to be waning, although the impetus that 16 June 1976 had given to the African National Congress was soon to manifest itself in the 'armed propaganda' associated with guerilla and sabotage activities of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The impetus for the publication came from a group of University of Witwatersrand post-graduate students who believed that modes of analysis and information contained within the university community had to be shared with a wider audience. South Africa was an increasingly complex society, and new developments and dynamics demanded informed debate, analysis and response. While explicitly intellectual in approach, WIP did not set out to be academic, or 'university-based'. It aimed at 'stimulating and provoking responses in a national debate on contemporary South Africa'. When WIP first appeared the labour movement was splintered, small, and struggling to establish itself. Yet from an early stage, WIP raised the questions of class leadership, reflecting its consistent and coherent concern with the class nature of organisations and issues. The earlier issues of WIP tended to raise organisational questions as issues in themselves, relecting the low level of organisational development of the time. From the beginning of 1983, however, as political and community organisations began developing, the issues became more focused and grounded in practical issues. At the beginning of 1985, WIP became one of the first South African-based publications to present current ANC views and developments. These articles were explicitly not propagandist in nature, but represented an attempt to provide information and perspective on an important organisational influence in South African politics of which South Africans were kept ignorant because of censorship, security legislation, curbs on the media and the like. WIP consistently refused to ignore political tendencies and organisations weaker or less well-supported than organisations which occupied centre stage. This reflected a commitment to democracy, open debate and freedom of speech as important cornerstones of progressive politics. WIP's consistency in raising issues about the centralisation and changing nature of state power, changing relationships between and within classes, the impact of monopoly economic dominance on the state, and the relationship between the working class and national-democratic struggle, was a major contribution in establishing what was happening in the changing relations between capital and the state and how to understand a period of 'change' after years of apparent immobility by the ruling National Party. While WIP was by no means the only publication to encourage these debates, its openness to the elaboration of positions which members of the editorial collective did not necessarily agree with was one hall-mark of the publication. Apart from successfully challenging a number of bannings, it was able to make limited inroads into Publications Act committees declaring material undesirable for obviously trivial or untenable reasons. Despite restrictions on what it could publish, WIP's concern with progressive politics and trade unionism, strategies for change, and the organisational and class actors who promoted or impeded the transformation of apartheid society remained constant; it serves as an outstanding example of the necessity for an independent and vibrant press, free of constraints, for the maintenance of a democratic society. A supplement entitled Reconstruct was published with Work in Progress with effect from the January/February 1992 issue and New Era was incorporated with effect from July/August 1992. In July 1994 Work in Progress was incorporated into Southern Africa Report.
  1977, Issue 1 September
1977, Issue 2 November
1978, Issue 3 January
1978, Issue 4 April
1978, Issue 5 June
1978, Issue 6 November
1979, Issue 7 March
1979, Issue 8 May
1979, Issue 9 August
1979, Issue 10 November
1980, Issue 11 February
1980, Issue 12 April
1980, Issue 13 July
1980, Issue 14 September
1980, Issue 15 October
1981, Issue 16 February
1981, Issue 17 April
1981, Issue 18 June
1981, Issue 19 August
1981, Issue 20 October
1982, Issue 21 February
1982, Issue 22 April
1982, Issue 23 June
1982, Issue 24 October
1983, Issue 25 February
1983, Issue 26 April
1983, Issue 27 June
1983, Issue 28 August
1983, Issue 29 October
1984, Issue 30 February
1984, Issue 31 May
1984, Issue 32 July
1984, Issue 33 September
1984, Issue 34 October
1985, Issue 35 February
1985, Issue 36 April
1985, Issue 37 June
1985, Issue 38 August
1985, Issue 39 October
1986, Issue 40 February
1986, Issue 41 April
1986, Issue 42 May
1986, Issue 43 August
1986, Issue 44 September/October
1986, Issue 45 November/December
1987, Issue 46 February
1987, Issue 47 April
1987, Issue 48 July
1987, Issue 49 September
1987, Issue 50/51 October/November
1988, Issue 52 March
1988, Issue 53 April/May
1988, Issue 54 June/July
1988, Issue 55 August/September
1988, Issue 56/57 November/December
1989, Issue 58 March/April
1989, Issue 59 June/July
1989, Issue 60 August/September
1989, Issue 61 September/October
1989, No 62/63 November/December
1990, Issue 64 January
1990, Issue 65 April
1990, Issue 66 May
1990, Issue 67 June
1990, Issue 68 August
1990, Issue 69 September
1990, Issue 70/71 November/December
1991, Issue 72 January/February
1991, Issue 73 March/April
1991, Issue 74 May
1991, Issue 75 June
1991, Issue 76 July
1991, Issue 77 September
1991, Issue 78 October/November
1991, Issue 79 December
1992, Issue 80 January/February
1992, Issue 81 April
1992, Issue 82 June
1992, Issue 83 July/August
1992, Issue 84 September
1992, Issue 85 October
1992, Issue 86 December
1993, Issue 87 February
1993, Issue 88 April/May
1993, Issue 89 June
1993, Issue 90 July
1993, Issue 91 August/September
1993, Issue 92 September/October
1993, Issue 93 November
1993, Issue 94 December
1994, Issue 95 February
1994, Issue 96 April/May
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