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Africa

South Africa: `World Cup for all! People before profit!'

By Kamcilla Pillay

June 17, 2010, Durban -- Daily News -- The sound of vuvuzelas cut through the air in Durban on June 16 -- but for one large group there was little to celebrate. Amid cries of phansi ngama-fat cats, phansi (down with fat cats, down) and a sea of banners proclaiming the government cared only for the rich, civil rights organisations took to the streets protesting against poor service delivery and the World Cup.[Photos below.]

Abahlali Base Mjondolo, KwaZulu-Natal Subsistence Fisher's Forum, Clairwood Social Forum and about 17 other organisations gathered for what they dubbed an "anti-Thiefa" protest march which started at Dinizulu Park and ended at City Hall yesterday.

South Africa: The myths and realities of the FIFA soccer World Cup

By Dale T. McKinley, Johannesburg

June 15, 2010 -- Offering an unapologetic public critique of the FIFA Soccer World Cup at the height of the collective frenzy of positive expectation, feel-good nationalism and general public excitement that now exists in our country is a risky thing to do. But it is a risk that needs to be taken precisely because, no matter what the context, myths always need to be separated from realities. In the case of the "greatest show on Earth", leaving aside the very real beauty and enjoyment of the game of soccer, the myth-making has created a situation akin to inhaling tik -– a short-lived high/euphoria that obscures all reality, followed by a rapid, depressing "come down" back to that reality.

World Cup in South Africa: Six red cards for FIFA


Democracy Now! June 11, 2010 -- Raj Patel on how South Africa has cracked down on the poor and the shack dwellers’ movement ahead of the World Cup. Read the full transcript HERE.

[See also ``2010 World Cup: Africa's turn or turning on Africa? A political economy of FIFA's African adventure''.]

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 11, 2010 -- The soccer World Cup began this weekend here in South Africa, with the home team playing a 1-1 draw with Mexico before 95,000 fans at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.
Regardless of whether South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (our boys), ranked #90 in the world, can survive its next matches against France and Uruguay to advance a round, we know this society is already a big loser. The reason: egregious mistakes made by national and municipal governments, apparently under the thumb of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

A barrage of flag-waving, vuvuzela-blowing hypernationalist publicity cannot drown out at least six critiques of the World Cup:

1) dubious priorities and overspending;

2) FIFA super profits and political corruption;

3) heightened foreign debt and imports amidst generalised economic hardships;

2010 World Cup: Africa's turn or turning on Africa? A political economy of FIFA's African adventure


PowerPoint slideshow by Patrick Bond.

[See also South Africa: Will the World Cup party be worth the hangover? by Patrick Bond.]

By Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed

[This article first appeared at Soccer & Society, volume 11, issue 1 & 2, January 2010.]

Angola: From liberation to `capitalismo selvagen'

Angola's oil wealth has fueled the growth of a rich elite while little has trickled down to the poor majority.

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

* * *

By David Sogge

How the Rwandan tragedy was created

Wednesday, September 14, 1994

By Zanny Begg

Green Left Weekly -- The death toll in Rwanda has shocked people around the world. Rows upon rows of dead bodies have filled TV screens, newspapers and magazines since the carnage began in April. It has been estimated that 500,000 people have been killed. The spread of cholera and dysentery in the refugee camps is still adding hundreds to the death toll each day. Rwanda, previously one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, is now a mass grave. Due to migration and murder, its population has declined from 8 million to 5 million, a drop comparable to that in the Irish famine of the 1840s.

Genocide in Rwanda: The role of the West

Wednesday, June 1, 1994 - 10:00

By David Dorward

The media have reduced the Rwanda atrocities to some inexplicable and primeval "tribal" conflict, obscuring the manipulation of ethnic politics by a ruthless Western-backed military dictatorship. The recent horror in Rwanda and the prospects for renewed ethnic clashes in Burundi are part of a saga of violence stretching back over 35 years. There is nothing inevitable about these atrocities. They were predictable and avoidable — but only if there had been the political will. As in Bosnia-Hercegovina, ethnic tensions have been fanned by politicians who have manipulated "history" to their own ends.

Behind the genocide in Rwanda

Wednesday, August 10, 1994

By Theogene Rudasingwe

Rwanda is distinctive among the countries of Africa for the small size of its territory and the high density of its population (7.5 million people, 285 inhabitants per square kilometre).

It is inhabited by a people called Banyarwanda. The Banyarwanda comprise of three groups: the Hutu, Twa and Tutsi which are commonly, but misleadingly, called ethnic groups. These groups are not ethnic groups in any meaningful sense. The three groups are one people with a common ancestry. They share the same language and culture. Whereas tribal societies are usually divided by geographical boundaries, the three groups have lived together on the same hills throughout the country from time immemorial.

The legacy of anti-colonial struggles in Southern Africa: Liberation movements as governments

SWAPO's Sam Nujoma.

By Henning Melber

This paper explores some aspects of the narrow translation of a liberation movement -- an agency of transformation -- into an exclusivist apparatus claiming to represent the interest of all people and a total monopoly in advocating the public interest. It thereby tries to explain to some extent the dominant party syndrome under liberation movements, which have been in power since Independence.[1]

Neville Alexander: South Africa – An unfinished revolution?

Neville Alexander.

[The following address -- the fourth Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture, held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on May 13, 2010 – was delivered by renowned South African revolutionary socialist and theorist Neville Alexander. From 1964 to 1974 he was imprisoned on Robben Island. Strinivasa Rajoo "Strini" Moodley (December 22, 1945–April 27, 2006) was a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. In 1976, he was convicted of terrorism in a trial involving members of the South African Students' Organisation and the Black People's Convention, and imprisoned on Robben Island. The speech is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Neville Alexander’s permission.]

The Flame, May 2010 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

May 2010 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

South Africa: Will the World Cup party be worth the hangover?

Construction workers protest outside the new Soccer City Stadium near Soweto.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

May 15, 2010 -- On June 11, South Africans start joling [jol -- to have fun, to party] like no time since liberation in April 1994, and of course it is a huge honour for our young democracy to host the most important sporting spectacle short of the Olympics. All the ordinary people who have worked so hard in preparation deserve gratitude and support, especially the construction workers, cleaners, municipal staff, health-care givers and volunteers who will not receive due recognition.

Southern Africa: The liberation struggle continues

[The following is the editorial in the latest edition of AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By John S. Saul

Climate debt owed to Africa: What to demand and how to collect?

By Patrick Bond

May 5, 2010 -- The “climate debt” that the industries and over-consumers of the global North owe Africans and other victims of climate change not responsible for causing the problem has accrued by virtue of the North’s excessive dumping of greenhouse gas emissions into the collective environmental space. Damage is being accounted for, including the more constrained space the South has for emissions. This historical injustice – and “debt” -- is now nearly universally acknowledged (aside from Washington holdouts), and reparations plus adaptation finance are being widely demanded.

In Copenhagen, the 2009 United Nations summit on climate change witnessed a great deal of theatre over conceptual problems, including, who should make emissions cuts and to what degree; should markets be the main mechanism; who owes a climate debt; how much is owed; and how the debt should be collected. The willingness of African heads of state to raise the matter publicly beginning in mid-2009 was notable, but their inability to ensure political solidarity led to the imposition of the Copenhagen Accord on December 18, in a manner that sets back the cause.

Voices from Bolivia people's conference: The `most important event in the struggle against climate change'

Nnimmo Bassey interviewed by Democracy Now! (Transcript below).

April 21, 2010 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Among those who spoke at the opening ceremony for the World Peoples’ Climate Conference was Nnimmo Bassey. He’s the prominent Nigerian environmentalist and chair of Friends of the Earth International. By contrast, at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December, his group, along with several other mainstream environmental organisations, was barred from the talks.

Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous spoke with Nnimmo Bassey outside the conference gates here in Tiquipaya. He began by asking to talk about the significance of the Bolivian summit.

Sudan: US backs election farce

An election rally in Juba, South Sudan. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army has withdrawn from the election in the north, but is standing in the south.

By Kerryn Williams

April 15, 2010 -- Hailed as the first “competitive”, “open”, “multi-party” elections in Sudan in 24 years, there was little free, fair or open about the national poll that began on April 11, boycotted by the major opposition parties.

The holding of democratic elections was a key component of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended a two-decade civil war between the Sudanese government in Khartoum — ruled by the National Congress Party (NCP, formerly the National Islamic Front) since it took power in a 1989 military coup — and the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

South Africa's poor to pay for dirty World Bank loan

By Patrick Bond, Durban

April 14, 2010 -- Just how dangerous is the World Bank and its neo-conservative president Robert Zoellick to South Africa and the global climate? Notwithstanding South Africa's existing US$75 billion foreign debt, on April 8 the bank added a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa's electricty utility Eskom for the primary purpose of building the world's fourth-largest coal-fired power plant, at Medupi. It will spew 25 million tons of the climate pollutant carbon dioxide into the air each year. [For more background go to http://links.org.au/node/1570.]

South Africa's finance minister Pravin Gordhan has repeatedly said that this is theWorld Bank's "first" post-apartheid loan, yet the bank's 1999 and 2008 Country Assistance Strategy documents show conclusively that Medupi is the 15th credit since 1994.

COSATU on the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche: `an enemy of democracy, a racist and a fascist'

By Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson

April 6, 2010 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) condemns the brutal murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche on April 3, 2010, and sends its condolences to his family. Murder and violent assaults can never be condoned, even against your worst enemy. His killing however highlights the following issues:

COSATU will remember Terre’Blanche as an enemy of democracy, a racist and a fascist. His Nazi AWB tried to sabotage our transition to majority rule, when they forced their way into the World Trade Centre when our democracy was being negotiated, and when they invaded Bophuthatswana to defend a hated Bantustan system our people had rejected [in 1994].

He was also typical of the worst type of employer on South Africa’s farms. The reported circumstances of his murder speak volumes about the appalling state of labour relations on farms.

Conference of the Democratic Left: Unite to make another South Africa and world possible!

The following call was issued by the Conference of the Democratic Left, a left unity project in South Africa. It first appeared at the Conference of the Democratic Left web site.

* * *

A call to a national people’s conference against capitalism and for democratic left politics

A Call for united anti-capitalist action …

This is a call to come together in unity in a Conference Against Capitalism and for Democratic Left Politics.

1.   The world is in crisis

Global capitalism threatens our world with disaster. If it is left to plunder the natural resources of our planet and pollute the atmosphere, the oceans and the soil, life itself will be under grave threat.

Namibia: Reflections on 20 years after independence

By Jade McClune, Windhoek

March 23, 2010 -- Twenty years ago, at Namibia's first independence celebrations on March 21, 1990, many people would have shared the hopes and the euphoria of the moment. People thought that something good would come to us if we kept our peace and relinquished all the power to "the few who knew". Now that terrible hangover is wearing off and time has enforced a certain sobriety on us: the brutish reality of a rapidly falling life expectancy, unprecedented epidemic crises, poverty, vast malnutrition, a ruined education system and chronic mass unemployment, is inescapable.

Yes, there have been achievements: for some people with connections or capital or a lot of luck, life has improved as they moved into the other side of town, but for most citizens life has become meaner and shorter. There is a breakdown of all social and municipal services and a growing chauvinistic brutishness about the bureaucracy. At the same time we are witnessing a new desperate scramble for Africa's mineral wealth, that will make the evils of 19th century colonialism look pleasant in comparison. So let it be said, the struggle is not over.

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