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ANC

'Uneven and combined Marxism' within South Africa’s urban social movements

A protest by Kliptown Concerned Residents and the Anti Privatisation Forum.

By Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane

February 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political dynamics of contemporary South Africa are rife with contradiction. On one hand, it is among the most consistently contentious places on earth, with insurgent communities capable of mounting disruptive protest on a nearly constant basis, rooted in the poor areas of the half-dozen major cities as well as neglected and multiply-oppressed black residential areas of declining towns. On the other hand, even the best-known contemporary South African social movements, for all their sound, lack a certain measure of fury.

‘Global sustainability’ wilts in South Africa’s political hot air

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 15, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The latest acts in South Africa’s’s intensifying political drama include a sizzling summer-long battle between young and old within the African National Congress (ANC), the February 10 State of the Nation speech by President Jacob Zuma and the release of the ANC’s “research” on alternatives to mining nationalisation, a demand by the ANC Youth League which is now one of the main issues dividing the ruling party.

Amid the chaos, stepping over the political corpse of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema (about to be expelled for “throwing the ANC into disrepute”), Zuma apparently also wants to be considered a world eco-visionary. As co-chairs of the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, he and Finland’s President Tarja Halonen published an article last week entitled “Seizing sustainable development”. Zuma and Halonen ask, “How do we begin to tackle the massive challenge of retooling our global economy, preserving the environment, and providing greater opportunity and equity, including gender equality, to all?”

South Africa: ANC centenary a display of elite power

[Stop press: Soon after the publication of this article in South Africa, the author was beaten and arrested by police on trumped-up charges, see below.]

By Ayanda Kota

January 12, 2012 -- Pambazuka News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The centenary celebrations of the African National Congress (ANC) are being used to persuade the people that a movement that has betrayed the people is our government; a government that obeys the people, instead of a government of the elites, for the elites and by the elites. It is a hugely expensive spectacle designed to drug us against our own oppression and disempowerment.

1912-2012: African National Congress at 100

By John S. Saul

January 6, 2012 -- The Bullet -- There is good and obvious reason to celebrate the long history of the African National Congress (ANC): the organisation's marked dedication over 100 years -- since its founding in 1912 -- to the cause of the betterment of the lot of the oppressed African people in South Africa. It has also sustained an honourable commitment to a multiracial, pan-ethnic outcome to the struggle against the unequivocally racist system that both segregation and apartheid came to represent for so long in South Africa. And, not least important, the ANC is now in power.

South Africa: Second attack on climate campaigners by ANC goons; Zuma looks on

DON'T LET AFRICA FRY: ZUMA'S GOONS ATTACK from Jadis on Vimeo.

South Africa's president Zuma watched as ANC supporters assaulted peaceful demonstrators.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

December 8, 2011 -- Earthlife Africa issued a statement describing the events. It describes how during a meeting between South Africa' President Jacob Zuma and communities and civil society groups, violence broke out. After peaceful demonstrators silently held up signs asking “Zuma to stand with Africa”, pro-ANC goons, many wearing the official green uniforms of the COP17 "volunteers", violently attacked the demonstrators. Demonstrators were roughed up and some had to flee the hall.

While all of this went on, Zuma sat on the podium and remained quiet. It took nearly 10 minutes before police entered the hall to restore order.

Siziwe Khanyile of groundWork states, “This was our event, organised to communicate with President Zuma. We were then abused, kicked out, robbed and manhandled by Zuma supporters disguised as COP17 volunteers.”

Climate talks: A dirty deal coming down in Durban

Photo: Orin Langelle/GJEP.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

By Patrick Bond

December 6, 2011 -- What, now, are the prospects for a climate deal by December 9?

The biggest problem is obvious: Conference of the Parties 17 (COP17) saboteurs from the US State Department, joined by Canada, Russia and Japan, want to bury the legally binding Kyoto Protocol treaty. Instead of relaxing intellectual property rules on climate technology and providing a fair flow of finance, Washington offers only a non-binding "pledge and review" system.

This is unenforceable and at current pledge rates – with Washington lagging everyone – is certain to raise world temperatures to 4 degrees centigrade, and in Africa much higher. Estimates of the resulting deaths of Africans this century are now in excess of 150 million. As former Bolivian ambassadar to the UN, Pablo Solon said at last week’s Wolpe Memorial Lecture, “The COP17 will be remembered as a place of premeditated genocide and ecocide.”

South Africa: ANC hirelings attempt to hijack march, attack left

ANCYL members, employed as "host city volunteers" and dressed in green, clash with members of the Democratic Left Front, dressed in red, at the start of the rally. Photo by Sandile Ndlovu.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

By Rehad Desai

December 3, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mike Sutcliffe, the city manager of Durban Metro council, was forced to back down on his insistence that the December 3 global day of action march against climate change only comprise 100 people. Failing in that attempt he went on to insist that the march route stay out of Durban CBD. He then reneged as Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) lawyers pushed him into a corner, where he was forced to accept the march route that was originally proposed by civil society.

Welcome to Durban (excerpt from new book, 'Durban’s Climate Gamble')

Above: Durban’s Climate Gamble editor Patrick Bond (right) and contributor Ashwin Desai provide a background to the Durban climate talks.

[The following is an excerpt from a new book, Durban’s Climate Gamble: Playing the Carbon Markets, Betting the Earth, launched on November 23, 2011, ahead of the November 28–December 9 COP17 climate change talks by UNISA Press. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

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By Patrick Bond, Durban

COSATU leader on South African and Israeli apartheid

Address by Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, District Six Museum, Cape Town. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine's Cape Town hearings concluded that Israel is guilty of apartheid crimes. Its panel of jurists ruled that Israel's actions against the Palestinians breach the prohibition of apartheid under international law. Click here for more details of the tribunal's findings.

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Black South African workers -- especially a mineworker like myself -- who bore the brunt of South African racial capitalism, and understood the purposes and mechanisms of apartheid, know that when we talk about the conditions faced by our Palestinian comrades we are talking about apartheid . -- Zwelinzima Vavi

Beware of ‘social justice’ promises by international bankers

Ismail Serageldin was invited to deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which he titled, “The Making of Social Justice”. Serageldin has been a leader of the water privatisation lobby’s World Water Council.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

October 12, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In these days of dire economic and environmental crisis, with political elites under attack from Athens to Washington, the establishment is desperate for legitimacy. Even International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff now publicly endorse "social justice" at the same time they tighten austerity screws.

Recall the context. The 2008-09 financial meltdown was supposedly solved by throwing money at bankers in Wall Street, the City of London, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo. But it didn’t work, and on BBC’s Newsnight, Robert Shapiro of the Georgetown University Business School blew the whistle on the European debt crisis.

South Africa: ANC government shuts door on Swaziland democracy movement

King Mswati III: sitting pretty after ANC "bail out".

August 5, 2011 -- South Africa's African National Congress government has defied supporters of democracy in Swaziland and granted the repressive absolute monarchy a five-year, R2.4 billion loan. The bailout, which was announceded by King Mswati III on August 3, has been condemned by the Swazi democracy movement and its supporters in South Africa. While its conditions do not require democratic reforms, the Swazi people will be subject to harsh austerity in order for the regime to repay the loan.

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August 4, 2011 -- The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) is calling upon the South African government to stop dilly dallying at a time when it has a genuine opportunity to exert pressure on Swazi authorities to stop human rights abuses and end the Tinkhundla dictatorship.

South Africa: Fighting the minerals-petroleum-coal complex’s wealth and woes in Durban

WikiLeaks revealed Washington’s bullying, bribery and blackmail when promoting the non-binding 2009 Copenhagen Accord (being hatched by leaders above), a sham of a climate agreement designed to ditch Kyoto. South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma (in left corner) was an original signatory.

By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife

July 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema recently proposed the mining industry’s partial nationalisation – and asked, quite legitimately, “what is the alternative?”, of those in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Business Leadership South Africa who threw cold water at him – a debate of enormous ideological magnitude opened in public, which workers, communities and environmentalists have already joined in their myriad struggles.

South Africa: Two warriors die, alongside the right to water

Thulisile Christina Manqele.

By Patrick Bond

July 3, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Two of South Africa’s greatest water warriors were not actually killed in conflict, though at the time of their deaths on June 22 and 23, both were furious with their traditional political party home, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

For former ANC cabinet minister Kader Asmal (whom Nelson Mandela once proposed be ANC chairperson), the party’s proposed legislation to snuff state information, nicknamed the “Secrecy Bill”, warranted spirited condemnation, and the airwaves rang with his principled liberal critique up through his last week. The day after he died (age 76), the ANC authorised sufficient revision to the bill that he probably would have declared victory. His funeral and memorial were given exceptionally high-profile coverage in the state press, befitting his status as a senior human rights lawyer and party intellectual.

South Africa: 35 years since the Soweto uprising -- `Past struggles must not be misused to silence the struggles of today'

Hector Petersen was one of the first victims of the apartheid regime's attempts to crush the 1976 Soweto youth uprising.

By Abahlali baseMjondolo Youth League

June 14, 2011 -- Abahlali baseMjondolo -- On Youth Day, June 16, this year the nation will be celebrating 35 years since the struggle of the youth for freedom, democracy, justice and equality in 1976. We as Abahlali youth agree that the courage of the youth of 1976 must be celebrated. But we also wish to bring back the truth and the dignity of those youth who sacrificed with their lives in 1976. We need to make that truth and dignity a living force now. The struggles of the past must not be misused to silence the struggles of the present. The struggles of the past must be used to support the struggles of the present. Every generation must be free to take their own struggle forward.

Climate finance leadership risks global bankruptcy

By Patrick Bond

April 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa’s most vocal neoliberal politician, Trevor Manuel (pictured above), has just been named as co-chair of the Green Climate Fund. On April 28-29, 2011, in Mexico City, Manuel and other elites met to design the world’s biggest-ever replenishing pool of aid money: a promised US$100 billion of annual grants by 2020, more than the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and allied regional banks put together.

The Climate Justice lobby is furious because, as the network of 90 progressive organisations wrote to the United Nations, “The integrity and potential of a truly just and effective climate fund has already been compromised by the 2010 Cancún decisions to involve the World Bank as interim trustee.” A Friends of the Earth International study earlier this month attacked the World Bank for increased coal financing, especially $3.75 billion loaned to South Africa’s Eskom a year ago.

South Africa: As Durban climate summit approaches, industrial policy hits green wall

South Africa’s trade and industry minister Rob Davies.

By Patrick Bond

April 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hosting the Durban COP17 – let’s rename it the “Conference of Polluters” – starting in late November puts quite a burden on the African National Congress government in Pretoria: to pretend to be pro-green.

Embarrassingly, last week’s US Export-Import Bank loan of US$805 million to South Africa will feed huge profits to the notorious US corporations Black & Veatch so that a vast coal-fired power plant, “Kusile”, can be constructed, mainly on behalf of huge smelters run by BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation – whose profits soar away to Melbourne and London.

South Africa: The history and character of `black economic empowerment'

One of South Africa's new breed of capitalist tycoons, multimillionaire Kenny Kunene. Others include former mineworkers' union leader Cyril Ramaphosa and former ANC Gauteng leader Tokyo Sexwale.

By Dale McKinley

January 10/February 9, 2011 -- South African Civil Society Information Service -- Amid all the usual political propaganda and grandstanding at the African National Congress (ANC)’s 99th anniversary rally in Polokwane on January 8, 2011, it was none other than ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema who came up with the most honest statement of the day. Defending himself against charges that he and his ANC Youth League cronies were continuing to economically benefit from associated businesses awarded government tenders; he argued that business is intrinsically elitist. As such, Malema claimed, “BEE will never be broad” – and in this rare case, he got it right. 

South Africa: The ANC government’s ‘talk left, walk right’ climate policy

Dumping on Africans. "Durban's methane-electricity conversion at three local landfills shows the futility of the CDM, not to mention the historic injustice of keeping the Bisasar Road dump (Africa’s largest) open in spite of resident objections to environmental racism."

By Patrick Bond

February 2, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It’s worth downloading a copy of the South African government’s new National Climate Change Response Green Paper (http://www.climateresponse.co.za) to prepare for the local deluge of technical and political debate for the next round of UN climate talks that Durban will host in eight months’ time.

South Africa: Declaration of the Democratic Left Front; New left seeks revamped SA

By the steering committee of the Democratic Left Front (previously the Conference of the Democratic Left)

January 24, 2011 -- Post-apartheid capitalism is leaving a trail of hunger, poverty, anger and misery. The wealthy elite, the bosses and their hangers-on refuse to concede a single inch to the urgent needs of the majority. They label even the most modest reforms as the thin edge of the wedge of communism. And as always the government shakes and concedes … And a new round of suffering begins for our people.

From January 20 to 23, 2011, at Wits University in Johannesburg, 250 delegates from around the country representing a diverse range of social movements, popular organisations and anti-capitalist formations gathered to forge a united political front to break this cycle which has made South Africa the most unequal country on Earth. The cry of the Conference of the Democratic Left is KWANELE, KWANELE, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, GENOEG IS GENOEG.

ANC managing capitalism

South Africa: `COSATU has waged titanic battles' -- COSATU marks its 25th anniversary

Workers celebrate COSATU’s 25th anniversary. Picture: Gallo Images.

The following speeches, by COSATU's president and general secretary, were delivered at a ceremony in Johannesburg on December 3, 2010, to celebrate the Congress of South African Trade Unions' 25th anniversary.

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By Sidumo Dlamini, COSATU president

December 3, 2010 -- Cyril Ramaphosa was prophetic when he declared that “a giant has arisen!” That giant has grown from 130,000 members when it was launched to well over 2 million paid up members today.

While still barely walking, the young giant launched itself into titanic battles against employers and the apartheid regime. In his speech at the launch, founding COSATU president Elijah Barayi gave apartheid ruler P.W. Botha a six-month deadline to do away with passes. Indeed Botha succumbed and the hated pass laws that had humiliated millions for decades were scrapped. Today we carry proper identity documents.

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