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Patrick Bond

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suffered two major legal defeats: a fumbled state attack on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which was humiliatingly withdrawn by an incompetent prosecutor on Monday following a national outcry; and Wednesday’s release of the public protector’s State of Capture report on the Zuma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.

 

Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa

 

South African students protest outside the parliament precinct before forcing their way through the gates of parliament on October 21, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

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.

 

Foreign investment retreats from Africa: Gaming, naming and shaming ‘licit financial flows’

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.

BRICS bankers will undergird – not undermine – Western financial decadence

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.

Climate illusions sowed by Avaaz: Upward gazing can be politically blinding

G7 leaders frolick. Not so green.

Click for more by Patrick Bond and on climate issues

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 17, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, first published at Triplecrisis and reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission from the author -- Who’s not heard the great African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral’s injunction, 50 years ago, “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories”? If, like me, you’re a petit bourgeois who is hopeful for social progress, then let’s be frank: this advice hits at our greatest weakness, the temptation of back-slapping vanity.

World soccer corruption, Africa’s ‘illicit financial flows’ and elite silences

Click for more on sport and capitalism, the soccer World Cup and articles by Patrick Bond

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 3, 2015 -- originally published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and, especially, the United States. We now know more about offshore centres of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.

On May 21, Africa’s "illicit financial flows" (IFF) looting was partially dissected by Nelson Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, in his urgent-sounding report to the African Union, Track it! Stop it! Get it! Mbeki’s bottom line:

Sudáfrica: Para resistir la xenofobia es necesario abordar sus causas profundas

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4401.]

Por Patrick Bond, Durban

10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- En Sudáfrica los símbolos políticos están un día y desaparecen al siguiente, pero la opresiva política económica continua. En la superficie, somos testigos de una explosión de activismo anti-racista entre los sudafricanos más ilustrados – jovenes académicos negros que tratan de romper los restos de poder de un apartheid residual - pero al mismo tiempo, una implosión xenófoba está causando estragos en los estratos socioeconómicos inferiores.

A mediados de marzo, en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo (UCT), el estudiante de pregrado de ciencias políticas Chimani Maxwele arrojó un cubo de excrementos a la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes, el gran emprendedor colonial del sur de Africa, catalizando una rebelión contra las estructuras de poder dominadas por blancos en la UCT y otros lugares. Menos de tres semanas después, una revuelta de sudafricanos pobres urbanos en otras dos grandes ciudades del país - Durban y Johannesburgo – escogía como chivo expiatorio un sector igualmente pobre y oprimido: los inmigrantes, en su mayoría de otras partes de África.

Mining, energy, climate, capitalism: Why don’t NGOs connect the dots?

Alternative Mining Indaba Feb 2015

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

March 14, 2015 -- Despite making powerful criticisms of multinational mining corporations, an NGO-organised conference in Cape Town ignored essential links with related struggles.

In southern Africa, the Zulu and Xhosa word Indaba is used for important gatherings or conferences. February’s Alternative Mining Indaba, challenging a pro-corporate conference held at the same time, was organised by the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, in assocation with  Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

* * *

Intersectionality missing-in-action at Cape Town’s Alternative Mining Indaba

By Patrick Bond

South Africa: Renewable energy or irradiation and gas fracking?

South Africans protest against fracking for coal seam gas.

Click for more by Patrick Bond. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond

February 18, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?

On February 13, in Cape Town’s parliament hall, South Africa’s newest and cheekiest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), fought gamely but lost their two dozen seats for the evening. They were expelled during the State of the Nation speech when making what they termed a “point of order”: asking whether President Jacob Zuma would “pay back the money” (about $20 million) that the state illegitimately spent on upgrading his rural mansion. As police ushered them out with extreme force, seven were hospitalised, one with a broken jaw.

Has the International Monetary Fund reformed?

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 22, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In a Washington Post op-ed on December 17, 2014, "The IMF's Perestroika Moment", Boston University political economists Cornel Ban and Kevin Gallagher suggested "conventional wisdom" about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is "outdated" because the IMF is no longer "a global agent of economic orthodoxy". Hmmm.

South Africa: World Bank shrugs at inequality and corporate subsidies

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa's Lonmin's Bermuda-based "marketing" operations were revealed as a major source of tax avoidance.

Click for more by Patrick Bond. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond

November 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa is achieving a sizable reduction in poverty and inequality through its fiscal tools" -- that was the main claim by the World Bank’s Pretoria-based country director Asad Alam last week, in the foreword to the November 2014 report, Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in an Unequal Society.

South Africa: ANC elite media meltdown reveals crony capitalist shenanigans

Click for more by Patrick Bond. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

October 30, 2014 -- Originally published at Telesur English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The biggest credibility crisis ever to hit South Africa’s independent media is unfolding. There is a serious risk that fewer than a half-dozen power-crazed corporate managers will destroy the waning integrity – and at minimum, the ownership structure – of the country’s most popular TV news station, eTV, which had aspired to become Africa’s answer to Al-Jazeera.

The ‘World versus Bank’ seen from South Africa

The World Bank has made the world a worse place: socially, politically, economically and environmentally.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

October 11, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Washington DC and 10 countries across the globe, protests on October 10 targetted the World Bank during its annual meeting. Many are asking, isn’t 70 a dignified age for institutional retirement, especially for policies and practices long considered destructive but now seemingly back in official favour?

Founded in 1944 to finance war-torn Europe’s reconstruction, the World Bank is now suffering one of its most severe credibility crises, accentuated by a new civil society campaign, "WorldVsBank". South Africa’s three largest cities host teach-ins because this country, after all, was the model "Knowledge Bank" pilot after 1990.

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