E-NEWS BULLETIN 18 January 2019 A bumper edition of what you missed while on holiday
Welcome to 2019 and our first e-newsletter for the year. This edition includes articles on a variety of issues that you could have missed while enjoying the holidays. During May this year, South Africa will hold its sixth democratic elections and two left parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters and a new one, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, are hoping to present a serious challenge to the ANC at the ballot box.
A few articles once again highlight the continued anti-working class character of the ruling party, despite the changes in leadership from Zuma to the suave Ramaphosa. South Africa continues to outperform the rest of the world in unemployment and inequality and simply blaming the legacy of Apartheid now rings hollow since the ANC has had 25 years to address this. Instead, its policies and practices in government have aggravated this crisis and further impoverished the working class and daily misery for the majority, despite the original elections promise of “A Better life for All”.
Evidence presented at the Zondo Commission indicate that the ANC government’s corruption was and still is not confined to the Zuma faction and their underlings in the party but also implicates those aligned to the president. The new minister of Minerals and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, was appointed to advance the interests of monopoly capital and their BEE partners in the ruling party at any costs. Despite the 15-year struggle of the Xolobeni communities led by the Amadiba Crisis Committee against mining rights being granted to an Australian trans-national company and the High Court ruling in November last year that affected communities must consent to the granting of mining licenses, Minister Mantashe has pushed on regardless. He has shown his preparedness to use dirty tricks and brutal tactics, reminiscent of the Apartheid era, to achieve the government’s goal of representing the interests of big capital and ruin the traditional livelihoods of the community and ensure permanent environmental destruction of a sensitive ecosystem for short-term profit.
So expect more of the same from the ANC government in 2019, more corruption and mismanagement, attacks on the livelihoods of the poor and brutal repression of popular resistance.
Thirty-eight politicians and senior government officials will be named in evidence before the State Capture inquiry as being implicated in corrupt relationships with Bosasa, a company belonging to an ANC luminary family called the Watsons. dailymaverick.co.za/
With an election looming, the existing parliamentary parties are claiming to be harbingers of new, improved, even alternative, futures. But promises of a better life for all are just as much the stock in trade of politicians as they are of evangelists. As that great labour icon and songster, Joe Hill once wrote, such promises amount to “Pie in the sky”. The delivery date is always “bye and bye”. fin24.com/
The 8th compilation of this report provides an overview of company information contained in the SA MNC Database. The database includes company finances, operations, remuneration and geographical spread of 91 South African multinational corporations that operate across Africa. library.fes.de/ [1.6MB pdf]
Mantashe’s “consultation on development” on 16 January in Xolobeni was revealed as a clever spin. He did not come to “consult” or “engage”, as announced before the meeting. He came to “report”, he said, that he will do an “independent survey” in Xolobeni. He left to the sound of stun grenades, without having listened to ONE person from the local community. facebook.com/amadibacrisiscommittee/
For weeks, local and international human rights groups had been prevailing on mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe not to return to Xolobeni, where residents had won a landmark court battle to keep mining off their land. He went anyway and chaos erupted. dailymaverick.co.za/
The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute on Tuesday came out in support of the Amadiba Crisis Committee action group and called on Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to stay away from Xolobeni. citizen.co.za/
Zimbabwe’s state security minister confirmed the arrests amid protests over dramatic fuel price increases. As some hungry Harare residents reported being tear-gassed by police when they ventured out for bread, , President Emmerson Mnangagwa denounced what he called “wanton violence and cynical destruction.” news24.com/
The internet was cut off earlier this week, with critics saying the government sought to prevent images of its heavy-handedness in dealing with protesters from being broadcast around the world. timeslive.co.za/
There has not been a year starting like this for a long time. The US government is in disarray and the geopolitical environment has turned toxic – A marxist economist’s prognostications. thenextrecession.wordpress.com/
The U.S. does not have an internationally recognized territorial empire like the British or Ottoman Empires. American politicians routinely deny that the United States maintains or seeks an empire at all, even as they insist that its interests extend across the entire world. So how are we to understand this phenomenon of U.S. empire, which is so central to all our lives and our future, and yet whose structure remains hidden and covert? counterpunch.org/
A major Egyptian activist involved in toppling the government in 2011 has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Ahmed Douma had been initially sentenced to 25 years in 2015 for clashing with security forces in Cairo. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, himself integral in ousting Mohamed Morsi, has conducted a notoriously brutal crackdown on pro-democracy and Islamist revolutionaries alike. dailymaverick.co.za/
Tunisian union federation the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail took strike action this week in the civil service and public sector after failing to agree on a wage increase with the government. The strike has hit airports, ports, schools, hospitals, state media and government offices. industriall-union.org/
The Yellow Vests movement brings together people with minimal organisation and rapidly politicises them, which explains why ‘the people’ have discovered that they are ‘dispossessed of their future’ a year after electing as president a man who boasts he swept aside the two parties that alternated in power for 40 years. counterpunch.org/
Gentrification of Berlin’s Karl Marx Allee and its “Stalinist” apartment buildings is meeting resistance from residents, who are refusing removal from their low-rent housing to make way for high-price condos. peoplesworld.org/
Women in Kerala, India, rang in the new year by forming a 620-kilometre-long human chain to demand equal rights for women. 35 Lakh (3.5 million) participated in the government-backed initiative. newsclick.in/
The president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce tweeted, with photos of champagne and caviar: “Celebrating New Year’s Eve the 1-percenter way! Let them eat cake.” His was among the loudest voices against modern labour laws in the province, pushing him ahead on the waiting list for the guillotine. thetelegram.com/
Inequality isn’t all about income. This guide features different ranking systems – from wealth distribution to the World Happiness Report – and which countries rate best and worst under each. theguardian.com/
The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. commondreams.org/
Gadi Eisenkot said in a farewell interview that Israel had been directly involved in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Syrian rebels, something that Tel Aviv has been reluctant to acknowledge before. rt.com/
Local news from Khayelitsha, East London, Port Elizabeth, Alexandra and Orange Farm in English and isiXhosa
Cellular network operators sell access to their customers’ location data, and that data is ending up in the hands of bounty hunters and others not authorized to possess it, letting them track most phones in the country. motherboard.vice.com/
The Facebook CEO is using his wealth, created by monetising the personal data of billions of users, to prise open the brain to manipulate bodies. It involves a wireless brain device connected to what could be a tablet you really can’t swallow. sfgate.com/
On the pretext of supporting scientific innovation for malaria eradication, African countries vociferously defended a techno-fix that does not address the wider determinants of malaria – but rather, represents the changing face of colonial medicine and threatens the biodiversity of an entire continent. acbio.org.za/
Contemporary capitalist civilization is in crisis. The unlimited accumulation of capital, commodification of everything, ruthless exploitation of labor and nature, and attendant brutal competition undermine the bases of a sustainable future, thereby putting the very survival of the human species at risk. The deep, systemic threat we face demands a deep, systemic change: a Great Transition. greattransition.org/
For the working class to truly change the world, workers and peasants, along with their allies, will have to adapt a strategy that aims to overturn every institution that rules them, radically altering the terrain in which they live their lives. truthout.org/
The Global Labour University (GLU) – a network of trade unions, universities, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the ILO – invites trade unionists and labour activists to apply for its Masters Programmes in Germany, India and the USA. The Masters programmes focus on policies for social justice including global governance, international labour standards, development, economics, trade and multinational enterprises. Trade unionists with a trade union recommendation letter can apply for scholarships.
Aboriginal women are predominately measured against western beauty standards – racially exclusive ideals which, it’s assumed, we endorse. People believe we’re on a quest to relinquish our Aboriginality in favour of whiteness. theguardian.com/
A review of Klaus Gietinger’s investigation into the socialist revolutionary’s death, published 100 years on, that highlights the absurdity of the trials that followed her murder. Collaborators were appointed as judges! theguardian.com/
When he heard of her death (100 years ago this week), Lenin said: “Rosa Luxemburg was and remains for us an eagle and not only will communists all over the world cherish her memory, but her biography and her complete works will serve as useful manuals for training many generations of communists all over the world.” morningstaronline.co.uk/
Luxemburg’s writings are traversed by a tension between historical determinism – the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism – and the voluntarism of emancipatory action. She proclaims that the evolution of capitalism necessarily leads towards the collapse of the system, and that this collapse is the historical road which leads to the realization of socialism. What saves her argument from a fatalistic economism is the revolutionary pedagogy of action. internationalviewpoint.org/
Rosa Luxemburg was murdered in Berlin on 15 January 1919 by paramilitaries on the orders of Friedrich Ebert’s Social Democratic government. She’s remembered in a poetic tribute by Sylvia Townsend Warner, who was herself a revolutionary. rs21.org.uk/
This newsletter is intended as a special and alternative news, information and knowledge source for all who are interested in issues relevant to promoting political, social and economic equality and the eradication of poverty. The articles contained herein are obtained from various electronic media platforms and do not necessarily reflect the views of WWMP.