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In South Africa, enter stage left: Jacob Zuma’s ‘Radical Economic Transformation’ alternative factoids
February 14, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — South Africa’s two main warring political blocs – the forces of Fiscal Patronage (‘Zuptas!’ in local parlance, referring to the immigrant Gupta family’s curious influence over the president’s family and government) versus the forces of Fiscal Prudence (‘Treasury neoliberals!’ to critics) – are still represented by two men who have begun to stumble on terrain potholed by what a Donald Trump aid terms ‘alternative facts.’
By Alan Wieder
January 16, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The twelfth anniversary of Joe Slovo’s death is upon us this month. When I traveled in South Africa between 2013 and 2016, I was often asked what Joe Slovo would say about the state of the country. Then, this past fall, people wanted to know what the world’s greatest interviewer, Studs Terkel, would opine about American politics today. I can’t help but think that it would have been Studs who might have best nurtured Joe talking about South Africa today. After all, they both were the men in the RED socks. Thus, the ‘fictional’ 2017 Terkel-Slovo conversation.
By Patrick Bond
December 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Standard&Poors (S&P) gave South Africa a fearful few hours of anticipation last Friday, just after dust from the political windstorm of the prior week settled. The agency downgraded the government’s securities that are denominated in the local currency (the rand) although refrained from the feared junk status on international securities. It was a moment for the ruling business and political party elites’ introspection, but in heaving a sigh of relief they are not looking far enough.
[Original in English here]
Por Patrick Bond
November 14, 2016 — Traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso — Esta semana quizás sea recordada como el punto de inflexión política de Sudáfrica más importante desde que en septiembre de 2008 su propio partido, el ANC, obligase a dimitir al presidente Thabo Mbeki. Su torturador principal era en aquella época Jacob Zuma, que - después de un breve período transitorio - ha gobernado el país de una manera cada vez menos convincente desde mayo de 2009.
By Patrick Bond
November 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This week could well be remembered as South Africa’s most important political inflection point since the September 2008 ousting of sitting President Thabo Mbeki by his own party, the African National Congress (ANC). His main tormenter then was Jacob Zuma, who – following a brief handover period – has ruled the country in an increasingly dubious manner since May 2009.
But several contradictions have exploded in Zuma’s face. Political opponents from across the spectrum, radical university students and his own party’s establishment smell the blood, as Zuma’s fabled patronage system is now in the spotlight, apparently in tatters.
Zuma just suffered two major legal defeats: a fumbled state attack on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which was humiliatingly withdrawn by an incompetent prosecutor on Monday following a national outcry; and Wednesday’s release of the public protector’s State of Capture report on the Zuma family’s corrupt relationships, a report the president and two cabinet colleagues unsuccessfully attempt to quash.
By Patrick Bond
October 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A Brazilian leader’s faux pas spoke volumes about the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) heads of state summit underway in Goa this weekend. The country’s foreign minister (and occasional presidential candidate) José Serra told an interviewer last month that the BRICS included Argentina. And as he stumbled while spelling out the acronym, Serra also had to be prompted to recall that South Africa is a member (because in English it is the “S” in BRICS, but in Portuguese the country is “Africa do Sul”).
CITES comes to South Africa: Militarizing game parks and marketing wildlife are unsustainable strategies
By Libby Lunstrum and Patrick Bond
September 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A potentially momentous summit of environmental officials takes place in Johannesburg starting this weekend, through October 4: the 17th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, better known as CITES. Based on an agreement between 182 countries, CITES’ aim is to “ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.”
By Irvin Jim
September 25 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) Special National Congress in December 2013 resolved: “There is no chance of winning back the Alliance to what it was originally formed for, which was to drive a revolutionary programme for fundamental transformation of the country, with the Freedom Charter as the minimum platform to transform the South African economy.”
Recent events have fully vindicated this view.
By Patrick Bond
July 14, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – On July 17, Bill Gates will deliver the annual Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg, justifying his philosophy of market-oriented, technology-centric philanthropy.
By Patrick Bond
June 23, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Last week the South African Reserve Bank Quarterly Bulletin confirmed that foreign corporations are milking the economy, drawing away profits far faster than they are reinvested or than local firms bring home offsetting profits from abroad. Can anything be done to stop the hemorrhaging?
By Patrick Bond
May 29, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On May 12, Brazil’s democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do?
May 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via NUMSA— A new workers federation is being formed in South Africa that is intended to totally change the face of popular organising. Based on the principles of independence, concerted mass action and worker control, the new federation starts with a membership of 1.1 million workers drawn from 51 affiliates.
By Patrick Bond
April 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki fired then-Deputy President Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.
The revival of their duel comes at a very tense time in South Africa. Student, worker and community protests intensified last month after the December-January summer break. Repeated currency crashes left a 30 per cent decline in value over the past year, prompting the country's financiers and upper-middle class commentariat to universally applaud Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for maintaining low-grade austerity. A ‘junk’ label by international credit rating agencies, one which appears imminent and will lead to faster capital flight, remains an economic threat to this faction.
South Africa: Condemn the murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mine
March 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22. Below we republish statements by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and one signed by 82 civil society organisations condemning the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe and asking for international support to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. There is also an online petition you can sign onto at the bottom.
Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered
We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.
Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.
He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with 8 bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
By John S. Saul, Johannesburg
August 5, 2015 – University of Johannesburg, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is true that I’m from Canada and only arrived in Africa, in Tanzania to be specific, in 1965 at the age of 27; nonetheless, it was in Africa that I grew up, at least politically. Not, initially, in South Africa but in Tanzania, where I taught for many years and in working with Mozambique’s FRELIMO in exile; in visiting the liberated areas of a new Mozambique in Tete Province in 1972; and, later, in teaching in a liberated Mozambique at the Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane.
Vast public subsidies may be pumped through the new “Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa”
Click for more by Patrick Bond.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
August 10, 2015 – a version was first published in TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) is always prefaced with the two words ‘much needed”, my colleague Sarah Bracking insisted last week at a Zimbabwe NGO conference. “Have you ever heard FDI referenced without those two words?” We all shook our heads.
By Dale McKinley
August 2015 -- At Issue e-zine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Among the most studied and celebrated aspects of the anti-apartheid struggle during the 1980s in South Africa was the breadth and impact of community resistance. (Ballard et al 2006; Buhlungu 2010)
By Patrick Bond
July 10, 2015 -- originally published by teleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The main point of the summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa this week was host Vladimir Putin’s demonstration of economic autonomy, given how much Western sanctions and low oil prices keep biting Russia. In part this sense of autonomy comes from nominal progress made on finally launching the bloc’s two new financial institutions.
But can these new banks address the extraordinary challenges in world finance? For example, more than 60% of Greeks voting in last Sunday’s referendum opposed the neoliberal dictates of Brussels-Berlin-Washington, thus raising hopes across Southern Europe and among victims of “odious debt” everywhere.
Meanwhile, bubbly Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets were crashing by $3 trillion from peak levels in just 17 days, a world-historic meltdown, at a time Chinese housing prices were also down 20% over the prior year. Beijing’s emergency bail-out measures represent vast subsidies to financiers, just like those used in Washington, London, Brussels and Tokyo since 2007.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE
By Lucas Koerner
June 16, 2015 -- Venezuelanalysis.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an op-ed published in the Spanish daily El Pais, titled "Free the Prisoners of Conscience in Venezuela", the renowned South African Archbishop and anti-apartheid militant Desmond Tutu foresakes neutrality in order to unabashedly take the side of the oppressor, namely the United States and the Venezuelan right wing.