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South Africa

BHP-Billiton: a corporation founded on apartheid plunder

25 April 2001

 

BY NORM DIXON

In late March, newspaper headlines hailed the announcement that giant Australian-owned mining, oil and steel corporation BHP and the huge Anglo-South African mining and base metals conglomerate Billiton had agreed to merge, forming the world's largest mining and second-largest resources corporation. The new monolith is worth A$57 billion at current stock market prices.

None of the capitalist “market analysts” who have churned out thousands of words on the merger thought it necessary to point out that Billiton's accumulated capital is the product of decades of collaboration with the racist apartheid system in South Africa.

Billiton's parent company Gencor formally came into being with the amalgamation of two companies formed in the late 19th century, the General Mining and Finance Corporation (later known as Genmin) and the Union Corporation.

Billiton was purchased by Gencor from Royal Dutch/Shell in 1994. In 1997, Gencor chose Billiton to be its off-shore investment subsidiary listed on the London Stock Exchange. Gencor's extensive non-precious metals assets (aluminium, titanium, nickel, chrome and manganese alloys, and coal) in South Africa, Mozambique, Australia, Colombia, Brazil, Suriname and North America were transferred to Billiton.

Gencor's gold and platinum holdings — Gengold and Impala Platinum — remain with the parent company listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

South Africa: A victory for workers' solidarity with the Zimbabwean people

By Patrick Craven, COSATU

April 22, 2008 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the statement by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman that the China Ocean Shipping Company which owns the An Yue Jiang, has decided to recall the ship because Zimbabwe cannot take delivery of the 77 tonnes of weapons and ammunition onboard.

If true, this is an historic victory for the international trade union movement and civil society, and in particular for the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), whose members refused to unload or transport its deadly cargo.

Protest banner being removed from China's Pretoria embassy.

Protest banner being removed from China's Pretoria embassy. 

 

Climate change solutions: what role for the market? & Equity in energy consumption -- Patrick Bond

Two talks by Patrick Bond, delivered at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008.

Climate change solutions: what role for the market?

Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal; editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society
John Kaye, Greens NSW MLC
Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor Journal of Australian Political Economy and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

John Pilger on South Africa: Honouring the 'unbreakable promise'

March 28, 2008 -- Fourteen years after South Africa's first democratic elections and the fall of racial apartheid, John Pilger describes, in an address at Rhodes University, the dream and reality of the new South Africa and the responsibility of its new elite. (See video clips of John Pilger's visit here.)

***

By John Pilger

On my wall in London is a photograph I have never grown tired of looking at. Indeed, I always find it thrilling to behold. You might even say it helps keep me going. It is a picture of a lone woman standing between two armoured vehicles, the notorious ‘hippos’, as they rolled into Soweto. Her arms are raised. Her fists are clenched. Her thin body is both beckoning and defiant of the enemy. It was May Day 1985 and the uprising against apartheid had begun.

15 years since the murder of Chris Hani

On April 10, 1993, South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani was asassinated by right-wing extremists hoping to derail South Africa's transtion to democratic rule. On the 15th anniversary of his death, Links reproduces a speech by socialist and African National Congress (ANC) veteran Pallo Jordan delivered to mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination.

***

By Dr Pallo Jordan

Allow me first to thank the leadership of the SACP and the central executive committee of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for inviting me to deliver this inaugural Chris Hani Memorial Lecture. I consider it a great honour to have been chosen for this task because Comrade Chris was a close and very dear friend of mine.

South Africa: Amandla Colloquium, Cape Town April 4-6, 2008

Amandla Colloquium: Continuity and Discontinuity of Capitalism in the Post-apartheid South Africa

4-6 April, 2008, Cape Town, Ritz Hotel (Sea Point)
Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon

Colloquium Objectives:
Develop an analysis of the changing nature and structure of capitalism in post-apartheid South Africa;
Examining how capitalist restructuring has reshaped the working class both at the point of production and reproduction;
Develop perspectives for anti-capitalist strategies;
Develop research agenda related to changing nature of South African capitalism;
Popularise Amandla Publishers as a progressive media initiative that serves to promote anti-capitalist analysis and perspectives;

Video: Patrick Bond on the global fight for climate justice

On March 4, Patrick Bond addressed a meeting organised by Climate and Capitalism blog in Toronto, Canada, and supported by Socialist Project in Canada and Socialist Voice, among others. Bond will also be a featured speaker at the Climate Change l Social Change conference in Sydney, Australia, April 11-13. Watch Patrick Bond's presentation below.

Capitalism is no solution to problems facing humanity: Tribute to Cde Fidel Castro

By Blade Nzimande

February 20, 2008 -- Tributes are not meant only for the departed, but are also befitting to living revolutionary legends who have served the cause of humanity with distinction, like Cde Fidel Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba! Cde Fidel, as he is affectionately known in Cuba and throughout the progressive and socialist world, was until earlier this week, the President of the Socialist Republic of Cuba and Commander of the Armed Forces of the Cuban Revolution.

South Africa: Two economies - or one system of superexploitation

By Patrick Bond
[The following is the introduction to ``Transcending two economies – renewed debates in South African political economy'', a special issue of Africanus, Journal of Development Studies (Vol. 37 No. 2 2007, ISSN 0304-615x). It is republished with permission.The full issue is available for free download at http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/files/africanus_1.pdf ]

Zuma, the centre-left and the left-left

By Patrick Bond
December 21, 2007 – Congratulations are due Jacob Zuma – apparently far more Machiavellian than even his arch-opponent since 2005, Thabo Mbeki – and the tireless band of warriors from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), SA Communist Party (SACP) and African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) who kept his political life support on when everyone else declared him dead.

The left and UN military intervention in East Timor

By Terry Townsend

January-April 2000 -- The streets of what is left of Dili, the capital of East Timor, were packed on October 31, 1999, as tens of thousands of people joined a procession led by Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. Ostensibly to mark the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the procession was the culmination of two tumultuous months that brought the brutal 24-year-long Indonesian occupation and annexation of East Timor to an end.

Debate and opposition within the ANC and the Tripartite Alliance since 1994

By Dale T. McKinley

The device by which content is replaced by form and ideas by phrases has produced a host of declamatory priests … whose last offshoots had of course to lead to democracy. Karl Marx[1]

Proposals For An International Left Platform

By the South African Communist Party

[This is a working draft prepared by the leadership of the SACP and circulated on the internet.]

Principles, strategies and tactics of decommodification in South Africa

By Patrick Bond

Patrick Bond is the author of two recent books: Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest and Fanon's Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Both are available from Africa World Press (http://www.africanworld.com). His 2001 book Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance, will be republished by Zed Press this year, as will a new edition of Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa from Pluto Press.

The political economy of the rise of social movements in South Africa

By Dale T. McKinley

CONTENTS

Class struggle revisited

New resistances

Facing realities

Notes

 

 

 

When South Africa's first democratic elections in April 1994 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the African National Congress, there still remained a broad-based (but mistaken) expectation amongst the black majority that the new ANC state would immediately begin to pursue a more socialist—or, at the least, radically redistributive—political economy.

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