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E-NEWS BULLETIN 4 August 2017 A week’s links to the making of the world



saftu logoSAFTU condemns Pick n Pay job cuts

The South African Federation of Trade Unions strongly condemns the decision by Pick n Pay to cut its workforce by a massive 10%. It is another symptom of a deepening crisis in the retail sector and the economy as a whole. And as always it is the workers who are being forced to pay the price.

SAFTU: Gigaba must reject SOE privatisation

The South African Federation of Trade Unions is concerned at a report in Business Times, 30 July 2917, based on interviews with “an insider” at the Treasury, that officials are considering “some outright asset sales and partial privatisation of some State-Owned Enterprises”.

Declassified: Apartheid profits – Who funded the National Party?

FWWhile researching the recently published book Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit, Open Secrets collected approximately 40,000 archival documents from 25 archives in seven countries. This treasure trove contains damning details of the individuals and corporations that propped up apartheid and profited in return.

OECD economic survey of South Africa

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) report on the South African economy, released 24 July 2017, the unemployment rate of 53% among South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 shows that young people are the worst hit by poor economic growth.

  • Among young men in South Africa, the figure is 48.3 per cent.
  • The figure is 57.3 per cent among young women in South Africa.

A recent OECD report, Getting skills right: South Africa, analyses in further detail skills mismatches and explores potential strategies for addressing them. The main recommendation is that South Africa needs to invest in the right skills, not just more skills, in order to strengthen its economic and social development.

Download the Overview of the Economic Survey of South Africa 2017 (630kb pdf)

South Africa’s only isiXhosa and English news site
Read Elitsha online
Download the android app com.elithsa in Google Play Store


Tenants Under Siege: Inside New York City’s Housing Crisis

brooklyn NYNew York City is in the throes of a humanitarian emergency, a man-made“complex emergency” that’s shaped by a combination of forces that have led to a large-scale “displacement of populations” from their homes. What makes the crisis especially startling is that New York has the most progressive housing laws in the country and a mayor who has made tenants’ rights and affordable housing a central focus of his administration.

How U.S. Capitalism Opened the Door to Racial Oppression jim crow

White people aspiring to fix racial injustice in the United States are on a rocky road. Woven into the fabric of their society are the mores and practices of capitalism. These bear on human relationships notable for competition, notions of the inevitability of losers, free rein for individual prerogatives, and the measuring stick of monetary worth.

Palestinian-Syrian software developer reportedly executed

basselThe disappeared Palestinian-Syrian software developer and open Internet advocate Bassel Khartabil, also known as Bassel Safadi, was executed in late 2015. Khartabil was arrested in Damascus in March 2012, one year into the uprising in the country, and held in incommunicado detention.


The children of Stalinism

In this throwback to a debate in International Socialism, Phil Marshall argues in his critique of Chris Harman’s article on Islam, The Prophet and the Proletariat, that the rise of ‘Islamism’ is as much tied to the petit bourgeois interests of its leaders as it is to the character of secular nationalism and of Stalinist communism, key components of the ideological context in which Islamism developed. In fact, it is the record of radical nationalism and of the left across the Middle East which has been the most important political factor in putting modern Islamism on the map.


In Defence Of October

trotskyIn November 1932, Leon Trotsky delivered a speech in Copenhagen (Denmark). It was the 15th anniversary of the revolution. In defending the October revolution he set the record straight on the real processes that unfolded in Russia 1917, as opposed to the doctored version presented by the Stalinists.


Amazon: Becoming the Market

amazonMost people have heard of, at least most in the richer countries. People like it for its low costs and the efficient delivery of consumer goods; people hate it for its ruthless cost cutting, with the impact on warehouse workers, delivery drivers and any business that competes with it, from bookshops to electrical goods stores and many others. But the key thing about its business is not that Amazon aims to move into all markets for goods and services. Amazon’s business is to be the market

Should we fear Big Tech?jeff bizos

There is a growing sense that something should be done about the growth, largely unchecked, of tech giants and the impact they are having on the economy, employment, privacy, news (fake and real) and income inequality. The problem is, nobody knows what action should be taken.

Uber is forcing drivers in Seattle to listen to anti-union propaganda

Over the past few years, Uber has been fighting to avoid acknowledging its drivers as employees. Where drivers are inching closer towards forming a union, the company is finding ways to dissuade them. Its latest tactic: forcing drivers to listen to Uber podcasts about voting rights, collective bargaining and city council hearings.

Some feared hackers and the devil. Others got microchipped.microchipping

The radio-frequency identification tag now lodged between his index finger and thumb will allow Bengtson to open doors and log onto his computer at work with a wave.

Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm

Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search engine. Since the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just one month, a 70% drop in traffic from Google.

It’s Getting Real – Google Censors the Left. And Us.

It is and it was only a matter of time. Convincing evidence has emerged that Google is actively suppressing public access at least a dozen left wing sites, very likely including Black Agenda Report by algorithms which game the keyword search results it presents to users.

Automation, digitalisation and the gig economy: Implications for developing Countries

Recent studies are showing that deepening use of automation will cause widespread disruption in many sectors and even whole economies. Worse, it is the developing countries that are estimated to lose the most, and this will exacerbate the already great global inequalities.

The Political Life and Cinema of Comrade Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin’s sympathy for the working class defines all his most famous silent films. So too his sexist depiction of women, which even had him play a boorish suffragette who drowns herself. There was much about Chaplin’s life that was creepy – particularly the way he preyed on young girls (his second wife was 15; he was then 35).

“I am like a man who is ever haunted by a spirit, the spirit of poverty, the spirit of privation”