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South Africa

South Africa: Interview with Soweto socialist councillor

Operation Khanyisa Movement banners at a march in Johannesburg, 2008.

April 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview appears in the South African left magazine Amandla!. The latest issue has just been released. Click here for the full contents. The new issue of Amandla! features analysis of the African National Congress' centenary.

The contradictions of Ronnie Kasrils: The leftist spy who came in from cold Pretoria

Ronnie Kasrils speaks out against Israel's apartheid policies, March 5, 2009.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

March 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- ‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after 14 years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was replaced in palace coup.

Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughing stock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.

COSATU general strike shakes South Africa

By Ashley Fataar, Cape Town

March 12, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- March 7 saw South Africa’s largest protest in several years when more than 200,000 workers took to the streets in 32 towns and cities across the country. More than 1.5 million workers stopped work.

The strike – called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to protest against the growing role of labour brokers and the introduction of road tolls -- was prompted by worsening poverty and working conditions in South Africa. There has been a steady decline in the wage share of national income, down from 56% in 1996 to less than 47% today.

After the Durban climate talks: State and market climate failures amplified by civil society failure

Durban, December 3, 2011. Photo by Anne Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 28, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2007, former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern termed climate change the worst "market failure" in history – since those who pollute with greenhouse gases are not charged, and since they threaten future generations and vast swathes of natural life – and at that moment, even the 1991 ravings of another former World Bank chief economist, Larry Summers, made sense.

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up that", according to a memo with Summers’ signature, although actually Summers was a mere plagiarist of Harvard economist Lant Pritchett’s genius, insiders allege.

'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: One million climate jobs: A just transition to a low carbon economy to combat unemployment and climate change

December 28, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa's Million Climate Jobs Campaign has released a new booklet describing how the transformation of the economy to one that protects people and the environment, can confront two of South Africa’s biggest threats: climate change and unemployment. The Million Climate Jobs Campaign presents tangible solutions to the ecological and economic crises, and calls on the South African government to create jobs in combating climate change. Authentic, meaningful solutions to climate change offer vast opportunities for decent work in a new
low-carbon economy.

Τι μπορεί να αναμένεται από τις συνομιλίες του Ντάρμπαν;

Νίμο Μπάσεϊ. Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

[In English at (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) http://links.org.au/node/2585.]

του Νίμο Μπάσεϊ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa: COP17 and class struggle

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa convened its first International Seminar on Climate Change and Class Struggle on December 4, 2011.

By the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

[The following statement was issued at the conclusion of the NUMSA central committee meeting (CC), held December 11-14, at Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre, Newtown, Johannesburg.]

December 14, 2011 -- Amidst the deepening crisis of climate change and in the context of the COP17 negotiations that were taking place in Durban, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa convened its first International Seminar on Climate Change and Class Struggle on December 4, 2011.

Climate change cannot be resolved separately from the resolution of the capitalist crisis. Capitalism is currently devouring its own children throughout the world. The crisis is a global class war. We need to link our struggles around climate change with global anti-capitalist struggles.

Climate talks: 'Social movements must unite to cool the planet' -- 'Disastrous' Durban failure condemned

"Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action.  And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Indigenous peoples condemn climate talks fiasco and demand moratorium on REDD+

By the Global Justice Ecology Project

Durban talks: Rich polluters impose 'new regime of climate apartheid'; Pablo Solon: 'Kyoto Protocol now a zombie'

Protesters block the halls at the Durban International Conference Centre, December 9, 2011. Photo from Earth Negotiations Bulletin.)

Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement

By Climate Justice Now!, Durban

December 11, 2011 –- Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid.

“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

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: No to a 'Durban mandate'!; Pablo Solon, Patrick Bond: 'US should face climate sanctions'

Photo by Orin Langelle/GJEP.

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

By the Civil Society Committee for COP 17

December 8, 2011 -- Civil Society Committee for COP 17 (C17) -- As African civil society, global South movements and international allies, we reject the call of many developed countries for a so-called “Durban mandate” to launch new negotiations for a future climate framework.

A new mandate for a new treaty in place of the Kyoto Protocol should be understood for what it really is – rich countries backtracking and reneging on “inconvenient” obligations, at the expense of the poor and the planet. While developed countries may appear progressive by asking for a mandate to negotiate a new legally binding treaty, the truth is that this is nothing but a veiled attempt to kill the Kyoto Protocol and escape from their further mitigation obligations under the already existing mandate in the protocol itself, and the agreement in 2005 for negotiating further emission cuts. A political declaration to continue the Kyoto Protocol or anything less than a full amendment and ratification process is, in practice, another nail in its coffin.

La Via Campesina: 'No deal better than a bad deal that condemns humanity to climate catastrophe'

 

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

Assembly of the Oppressed, December 5, 2011, Durban, South Africa

As the Assembly of the Oppressed we are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neoliberal capitalist system. The fight against climate change is a fight against neoliberal capitalism, landlessness, dispossession, hunger, poverty and the re-colonisation of the territories of the people’s of Africa and the global South. We are here to declare that direct action is the only weapon of the oppressed people of the world to end all forms of oppression in the world.

We are here in Durban, South Africa, where the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties [COP17] is taking place and are discussing false solutions to the climate crisis. And we can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their responsibility and erase history.

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.”

Durban climate talks: 'Rich-country negotiators are comitting ecocide' -- Pablo Solon; Voices from the streets of Durban

December 3, 2011 -- OneWorldTV -- Pablo Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the UN climate talks, speaks during the December 3 day of action in Durban, during the COP17 talks.

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

 

December 5, 2011 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting live from Durban, South Africa, where critical talks on fighting climate change have entered their second week. Key issues here at the United Nations Climate Change Conference remain unresolved, including the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty with enforceable provisions designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Delegates are also debating how to form a Green Climate Fund to support developing nations most affected by climate change.

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.

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