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Patrick Bond

Budgeting for black-out in South Africa

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalUpon taking power in a palace coup a year ago, Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) government was supposedly going to sweep out the prolific corruption associated with the 2009-18 Jacob Zuma ANC regime. But although excruciatingly-slow progress is being made in evicting the most obvious villains, durable Zumite influences remain, and whistleblowing continues to unveil rapid ANC degeneracy, even stretching into the Ramaphosa family.

 

Zimbabwe: Capitalist crisis + ultra-neoliberal policy = “Mugabesque” authoritarianism

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 14, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Once again, a formidable burst of state brutality against Zimbabwe’s citizenry has left at least a dozen corpses, scores of serious injuries, mass arrests, Internet suspension and a furious citizenry. The 14-17 January nationwide protests were called by trade unions against an unprecedented fuel price hike, leading to repression reminiscent of former leader Robert Mugabe’s iron fist.

 

 

Most of the country’s economy ground to a halt. For more than a week, the cities remained ghost towns, as army troops continued attacking even ordinary civilians who are desperate to earn a living in what often seems to be the country’s main occupation these days: street vending of cheap imported commodities. A national strike of 500,000 civil service workers has been called. Most essential commodities are now vastly overpriced or in very short supply. This is what a full-on capitalist crisis looks like.

 

At a Johannesburg BRICS think tank, scholars get drunk on their own rhetoric

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

June 23, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A ‘think tank’ is sometimes a group of people paid to think, by the people who control the tanks (as Naomi Klein once remarked). Here in Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s highest-profile intellectual vehicles appears to be a victim of drunken driving by scholars from whom we otherwise expect much stronger political navigation skills.

 

Is imperialism still imperialist? A response to Patrick Bond

 

 

By Walter Daum

 

June 21, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — In Towards a Broader Theory of Imperialism Patrick Bond joins in the debate between John Smith and David Harvey on roape.net over the direction of imperialism today. He criticizes both debaters for overlooking the category of sub-imperialism, a concept that can indeed help clarify some issues. But in stressing this and other important matters like environmental destruction and gender oppression, Bond sidesteps the major issue over which Smith challenges Harvey: what is the reality of imperialism today? Is it so different from the system described and analyzed by Lenin, Luxemburg and other Marxists a century ago that the traditional imperialist powers no longer drain value from the resources and labor of most of the world?

 

Bond is more critical of Smith than of Harvey, since he disparages Smith’s ‘old fashioned binary of oppressed and oppressor nations,’ just as Harvey rejects Smith’s ‘fixed, rigid theory of imperialism.’ But in avoiding the key issue Bond is in effect covering for Harvey: focusing on the theory of sub-imperialism serves to obscure the untenability of Harvey’s position on imperialism itself.

 

‘New imperialism’ debate suffers from the omission of subimperialism

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 23, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy —Two leading critics of imperialism – John Smith and David Harvey – have recently fought bitterly on roape.net on over how to interpret geographically-shifting processes of super-exploitation. The risk is that they obscure crucial features of their joint wrath: the unjust accumulation processes and geopolitics that enrich the wealthy and despoil the world environment.

Cyril Ramaphosa relaunches neo-liberalism: After Jacob Zuma’s firing, South Africa risks budget austerity

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 28, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — Cyril Ramaphosa’s soft-coup firing of Jacob Zuma from the South African presidency on February 14, after nearly nine years in power and a humiliating struggle to avoid resigning, has contradictory local and geopolitical implications. Society’s general applause at seeing Zuma’s rear end resonates loudly, but concerns immediately arise about the new president’s neo-liberal, pro-corporate tendencies, and indeed his legacy of financial corruption and class war against workers. There is still a lack of closure on the 2012 Marikana Massacre, in spite of his February 20 speech to parliament pledging atonement. New legislation Ramaphosa supports will limit the right to strike, while the new budget has cuts and tax increases that hurt the poorest.

 

New evidence of Africa’s systematic looting from an increasingly schizophrenic World Bank

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 5, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal A brand new World Bank report, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction. Yet Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate (TNC) profit repatriation, thus maintaining the looting.

BRICS Xiamen Summit: Capitalist ‘deglobalisation’ could crack the bloc even if internal geopolitical strife eases

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

August 31, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa summit in Xiamen from September 3-5 is already inscribed with high tension thanks to Sino-Indian border conflicts. But regardless of a welcome new peace deal, centrifugal forces within the fast-whirling world economy threaten to divide the BRICS. South Africa, which plays host to the BRICS in 2018, is already a victim of these trends – even as President Jacob Zuma continues to use the bloc as a primary crutch in his so-called “anti-imperialist” (talk-left walk-right) political survival kit.

 

South Africa: World Economic Forum-Africa hosts a turf battle between Jacob Zuma and ‘white monopoly capital’

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

May 3, 2017
–– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At a time when US and South African presidents Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma personify controversies over crony capitalism, corruption, populist rhetoric and self-serving economic strategies, will big business calm down the politicians – or just egg them on?

 

South Africa: Mass protests follow cabinet reshuffle as Zuma impeachment vote looms

  

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On South Africa’s political left, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party dominated recent news by leading a mass march on President Jacob Zuma’s office in Pretoria, following a government power shift seen as amplifying corruption. The move also catalysed a ‘junk’ rating by two neoliberal credit ratings agencies. And an impeachment process on the immediate horizon represents the first real parliamentary threat to Zuma’s eight-year reign.

In South Africa, enter stage left: Jacob Zuma’s ‘Radical Economic Transformation’ alternative factoids

 

 
 
 
By Patrick Bond 

 

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.’ 

 

Tripping up Trumpism through a global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign

 

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

January 23, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The forces arrayed against Donald Trump’s presidency and neo-fascist movement range from the Central Intelligence Agency to oppressed minorities, and will soon encompass the whole world once his climate change threats are carried out. From above, conflicts will continue with moderate Republicans, Democratic Party elites, so-called Deep State opponents including neoconservative factions of the military, exporting companies concerned about protectionism, and deficit hawks worried about excess spending on filthy-Keynesian infrastructure. 

 

Will Washington’s new pro-Moscow, anti-Beijing gang drive a wedge through the BRICS in 2017?

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

January 9, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The weeks following an underwhelming Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) mid-September summit in Goa and the United States presidential election in November have unveiled ever-widening contradictions. Thanks to blatant corruption, presidential delegitimation has reached unprecedented levels in both Brazil and South Africa, while ruling-party religious degeneracy in India also included an extraordinary bout of local currency mismanagement. And sudden new foreign-policy divergences may wreak havoc in China and Russia. The BRICS bloc’s relations could well destabilise to the breaking point.

 

South Africa’s junk credit rating was avoided, but at the cost of junk analysis

 

 

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.

 

Sudáfrica: Las privaciones y depravaciones de Jacob Zuma

 

 

[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.

 

South Africa’s deprivations and depravations revealed in Jacob Zuma’s meltdown

 

 

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.

 

BRICS fantasies and unintended revelations: the wages of sub-imperial assimilation

 

 

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”).

 

Flight of corporate profits poses biggest threat to South Africa’s economy

 

 

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?

 

Brazil coup shows BRICS powers are no alternative to US imperialism

 

 

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?

 

Protests rise against World Economic Forum’s implausible ‘Africa Keeps Rising’ meme

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

May 19, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- From May 11-13, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Kigali, Rwanda reinforced extractive-industry and high-tech myths. The gathering unveiled the 1%’s elite’s exuberant imagination and its lack of exposure to the continent’s harsh economic realities. As an antidote, grassroots protesters all over Africa are questioning the logic of export-led ‘growth’ and renewed fiscal austerity, instead demanding that policies meet their basic needs.

 

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