E-NEWS BULLETIN 12 October 2018Links to present possibilities
Editorial The victory in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election of ‘The Thing’, Jair Bolsonaro, is a frightening hard turn right. Even former Workers Party president, Dilma Roussef, placed fourth in her run for a senate seat. The more fascist a candidate, laments Glenn Greenwald, the more votes they received. With the collapse of the Venezuelan economy, it seems that the promise of the Bolivarian revolution that swept South America a decade ago appears to be evaporating.
With Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Donald Trump in the USA and Narendra Modi in India, Bolsonaro is set on shifting global politics decisively to the far right and giving the BRICS bloc an authoritarian image to mirror the rise of racist nationalism in the North. The margin of his victory makes his success in the second round later this month almost assured. Democracy is trembling. The movements that not so long ago were to make another world real, as the World Social Forum famously heralded in Porto Alegre in Brazil at the start of this century, appear to be exhausted and lacking in political vision and programme to change the situation in the short to medium term.
What has become of the Brazilian Landless Peoples’ Movement and Workers Party (PT)? Last week Friday, the PT was gamely declaring that while it would be a tough battle, the elections would “signal a new progressive offensive throughout the world”. The party has this week been in a state of shock. What the Brazilian elections reveal is that – like in Trump America, Brexit England, and the fascists stirring in Europe – representative government and the traditional political parties contesting for seats in its institutions have failed to stem the tide against the anti-human, neo-liberal onslaught and in the process losing their relevance to the majority of people, especially the working class and poor.
The situation is similar to the 1930’s in Europe, with economic crisis and political shifts to the far-right. Except now it is in a different context of an even worse systemic crisis of the system, weaker parties on the Left, greater inequality and an environmental catastrophe on a global scale. The future of humanity is at stake and there is not much time. The working class and its allies need to ACT OR PERISH!
The revelations this week of yet another major case of the corruption in South Africa’s political parties came as a coincidental indictment of political parties that profess revolution from parliamentary benches. Disgust with the political establishment and paper socialism finds answers ready-formed in the mouths of populist demagogues. Notable too is that the ANC government under the new presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa, has within six months of coming to office fulfilled all the major anti-working class demands of big business (White Monopoly Capital) namely:
Crippled workers’ right to strike
Increased VAT to 15%
Cutting the civil service workforce by 30,000.
Whither the new South Africa and “A Better Life for All”.
The EFF and its Deputy President Floyd Shivambu have benefited financially from the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, sources claim. Shivambu, who is said to have received about R10-million through his younger brother Brian, has for months tried to suppress the investigation into VBS by casting shadows over the integrity of officials in National Treasury and the Reserve Bank. dailymaverick.co.za/
Comments made by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe in a radio interview this week gave credence to the idea that the government intends to grant mining rights on the Wild Coast to an Australian miner and its local subsidiary. While the department insists that no decision has yet been made, Mantashe seems firm in his belief that mining can raise the Xolobeni community out of poverty – while community activists continue to argue the opposite. dailymaverick.co.za/
The Sunday Times two years ago ran a full page of apologies and corrections for its now infamous “SARS rogue unit “ stories. In those stories, they appear to have allowed themselves to be used by those who were trying to take malevolent control of SARS. Their unusually full and detailed apology was unprecedented in South African journalism but some of the reporters involved in the story were never happy with that retraction. dailymaverick.co.za/
For several decades, a trade union with more than 50% membership of a company’s workforce had exclusive organisational rights such as access to company premises to meet with members, stop-order facilities for members’ subscriptions, and the right to represent them in legal processes, as well as collective bargaining. However, in a recent case a new minority union secured organisational rights within the Department of Correctional Services. The majority union objected and the case went all the way to the Constitutional Court which decided in favour of the minority union. Workers on Wednesday this week looked at the implications for collective bargaining in South Africa in the wake of the Constitutional Court’s ruling. wwmp.org.za/
The report ― authored by 91 researchers and editors from 40 countries citing more than 6,000 scientific references and released Sunday night following a summit in Incheon, South Korea ― details how difficult it will be to keep the planet from warming beyond the 1.5-degree target, considered the aspirational goal of the 2015 Paris climate accord. huffingtonpost.com/
Western media has often referred to him as “Brazil’s Trump” but that is wildly inaccurate, understating the case by many magnitudes. In temperament, ideology, and personal history, Bolsonaro – a former Army Captain during Brazil’s notorious 21-year military dictatorship – is far closer to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte or Egyptian dictator General Abdel El-Sisi than Trump. theintercept.com/
Jair Bolsonaro, an outright supporter of Brazilian military dictatorships of last century, who has been normalized as the “extreme-right candidate,” won the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday with more than 49 million votes. That was 46 percent of the total, just shy of a majority needed for an outright win. This in itself is a jaw-dropping development. consortiumnews.com/
Many people in Brazil cannot bring themselves to utter the name of the rightwing extremist expected to win the first round of voting in the country’s presidential election on Sunday. On social networks, the former army officer Jair Bolsonaro is often referred to simply as “the thing”. theguardian.com/
A 19-year-old woman wearing a #NotHim, or #EleNão, T-shirt has been attacked by a group of men claiming to support far-right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in a neighborhood of Porto Alegre on Monday. telesurtv.net/
Authorities said the badly beaten body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova was found in a park in Ruse, a northern border city on the Danube river, on Saturday. She had recently covered suspected misuse of EU funds by businesses and local politicians. independent.co.uk/
A prominent Saudi journalist and harsh critic of his country’s ambitious young Crown Prince entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to sort out some paperwork. Then he vanished. independent.co.uk/
I should not have been entirely surprised when I saw How to Read Donald Duck, a book I had written with the Belgian sociologist Armand Mattelart, being burned on TV by Chilean soldiers. It was mid-September 1973 and a military coup had just toppled Salvador Allende, the country’s president, terminating his remarkable experiment of building socialism through peaceful means. theguardian.com/
This 2014 BBC documentary delves into evidence that challenges the accepted story of one of the most horrifying events of the late 20th century. The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has long been portrayed as the man who brought an end to the killing and rescued his country from oblivion but there are increasing questions about the role of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front forces in the genocide and the wars that followed.
One Democratic House candidate has pledged that she will vote against bills that include aid to Israel, denouncing what she saw as the “injustice” of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Another wrote that “Israel has hypnotized the world” with its “evil doings.” nytimes.com/
The Israeli settlers and military have worked hand-in-hand to hijack the freedoms of some 230,000 Palestinians and turn Hebron’s once-vibrant commercial centre into a ghost town. All of this has happened with the apparent blessing of the Israeli government. thenational.ae/
In July, Australian teacher Kylie Belov travelled to Gaza City to work briefly in a local school, as part of an aide program to assist Palestinian children, who have lived under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade. She knew broadly what to expect, but seeing it in person was something else altogether. newmatilda.com/
Benzi Gopstein, the outspoken head of Lehava – which has drawn notoriety for its violent assaults on Jewish-Arab assimilation – made the remarks at a panel discussion for Jewish yeshiva students when asked by a fellow panelist if he believed burning down churches in Israel was justified. telegraph.co.uk/
Local news from Khayelitsha, East London, Port Elizabeth, Alexandra and Orange Farm in English and isiXhosa
JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce gargantuan, has built a big new Shanghai fulfillment center that can organize, pack and ship 200,000 orders a day. It employs four people — all of whom service the robots. axios.com/
The film is a continual juxtaposition between the aspirational nature of the Freedom Charter and the reality of inequality, poverty and violence that define post-apartheid life. It is also a story about the continuities of struggle, and whilst it tells many stories, it is not ambivalent about its message. It serves as a damning and necessary condemnation of the post-apartheid project. wwmp.org.za/
“Freedom Isn’t Free – The Freedom Charter Today” to be released and available in 2-DVD package by 31 October. Ideal for popular education and awareness raising for understanding and responding to the current crisis in South Africa. One DVD will contain the full feature film and the other will consist of extended chapters in separate tracks on the history of the Freedom Charter, Education, Land, Housing, Democracy, the Economy and prospects for the future. Price R200 each.
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