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Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Where are the people who are going to change things? - 0 views

  • Despite what melancholic lyrics may suggest, they exist – the men and women who want to change things. In the months leading up to the 2006 elections in Uganda, there were demonstrations outside the Central Police Station and the High Court where an opposition presidential candidate, Dr Kiiza Besigye, was first detained and then brought to trial.
  • The vendors only came back at lunchtime. As I learnt over the coming days, their commitment was striking: day after day the market vendors attended court in solidarity with Dr Besigye. By contrast, office-workers stayed at their desks. You do not win government contracts by demonstrating in the streets.
  • It is heartbreaking to watch the video footage [iv] of Sankara appealing to his fellow presidents to repudiate unfair debt agreements with IMF and other foreign creditors at the Organization of African Unity Summit in 1987. He accused them of degrading their people. He says, only half-jokingly, that if they do not support him he is going to be assassinated: “I may not make it to the next meeting.”
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  • Mariam Sankara describes him in terms reminiscent of Biko’s conscious black man, “Thomas knew how to show his people that they could become dignified and proud through will power, courage, honesty and work. What remains above all of my husband is his integrity.”
  • He too repudiated debt as a solution to all that ails Africa. But after an attempt to barter trade with neighbouring countries he gave in to the beckoning finger of the North.
  • In either case, his official statement was clear, “When it comes to medical care for myself and my family there is no compromise [vi].” The families of the 16 women a day who die in childbirth for lack of essential drugs, properly motivated (or simply paid) staff and lack of equipment held their peace.
  • Agricultural reform in Uganda was meant to be brought about by the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADS). It was funded to the tune of $100m over 8 years, with $50m repayable to the World Bank. The project review after eight years reported “no significant differences were found in yield growth between NAADS and non-NAADS sub counties for most crops….[vii].”
  • Genuine agents of change die young. Either they do not make it to State House or they die while there (with the possible exception of Jerry Rawlings in Ghana). Such is the dynamic. The rest capitulate early while continuing to assume the demeanour of revolutionaries. They can do so because Western powers are willing to turn a blind eye to their increasing profligacy in return for their signatures on a succession of documents keeping their countries in debt bondage. They rule for decades, well into old age at which point they usurp the role of Elder Statesmen and receive credits due to others [viii].
Arabica Robusta

How the left let Abahlali down - Cape Times | - 0 views

  • Years ago I began to support a unique and influential social movement called Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), the Shackdwellers’ Movement.

    At the time, the movement had just refused to work with an influential leftist NGO called the Centre for Civil Society (CSS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Supported by the militant Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), AbM had protested against the takeover of the Social Movement Indaba by NGOs such as CCS.

    As grassroots activists, they understood that their voice was being managed and also often silenced by those on the left coming from more privileged backgrounds.

  • AbM and the Anti-Eviction Campaign’s principled stance was brave. They lost massive support from leftists who believed themselves to be the vanguard of working-class struggle and who thought the poor must be directed towards the “right politics”. Leaders were ridiculed, pseudo-academic pieces were written to undermine the movement, and friends of the movement received death threats – some even lost their jobs. Many Marxist-Leninists and Trotskyists scoffed at their “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign as being short-sighted and liberal. The only legitimate form of organising, they said, was around the creation of a workers’ party.
  • Abahlali has always been an autonomous movement. While it has shared ideas and worked closely with other movements, including some non-authoritarian NGOs and a few supportive academics, decisions have always been taken by the movement without regard to outsiders’ wishes and/or agendas.
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  • This autonomous organising was truly Frantz Fanon’s work in practice. Abahlali has always been and still is a shackdwellers’ organisation, run not by privileged activists or academics but by shackdwellers themselves.

    But the continued repression of the movement has taken a toll on its members.

  • Renewed threats against Abahlali leadership put its president, S’bu Zikode, and general secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, back in safe houses and members began focusing on ANC repression, rather than the state, as the primary driver of this violence.

    Over the course of the past year, a shift seems to have taken place in the rank and file of the movement in KwaZulu-Natal. Their original critique of the state has shifted to an overarching and focused critique of the ANC.

  • I say opportunistically because that is what it truly is. In Cape Town, the DA plays the same role as the ANC in oppressing social movements and poor communities. The party pioneered the use of the Anti-Land Invasion Unit and is very happy to shoot protesting shackdwellers and build massive transit camps when it suits them.
  • There is nothing about DA policy that is progressive economically or supportive of the rights and needs of shackdwellers.

    However, the DA leadership in KZN did listen to one Abahlali demand (which the ANC failed to do): talk to us, not about us

  • I was shocked and horrified to hear of AbM-KZN’s decision to vote as a bloc for the DA. (Note: Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Western Cape has not endorsed the DA despite media reports to the contrary). I believe that this is a hugely mistaken move for the most important post-1994 social movement – both from an acknowledgement that the DA is a right-wing, white supremacist political party, and also from an understanding that electoral politics undermines, destroys, and co-opts rather than helps social movements. Despite my love for Abahlali, it is very difficult for me to continue to support an organisation that votes for the DA – a party founded on white supremacy.
  • Some leftists have cried foul, claiming that the process could not possibly have been democratic or that white supporters of the movement, such as myself, were involved in manipulating Abahlali to support the DA.

    To other leftists, the fact that AbM went through a rigorously democratic process and yet ended up voting for their oppressor, proves once and for all that shackdwellers cannot be trusted with a vanguardist political project.

  • If we are to talk about Abahlali baseMjondolo’s core focus around land and housing, it would also be important to note that not only are there many more shacks per capita in Cape Town than in eThekwini, but Cape Town remains by far the most segregated city in the country.
  • Most of the people attacking the movement have never lived a day of their life in a shack settlement – yet their self-righteousness is palpable. They’ve refused to comprehend the way repression makes backing the DA seem like a very practical decision – one not about principles or the extent of AbM’s radicalism, but about tactically defending one’s own life. Under constant threat of death, what would you do? Do any of us really understand how much pain they have endured?
Arabica Robusta

Nelson Mandela passes away - his struggle continues | ROAR Magazine - 0 views

  • After a protracted battle with lung illness, and a long and tumultuous life that led from tribal royalty to armed struggle and, after 27 years of political imprisonment, to an overwhelming victory in the country’s first racially inclusive democratic elections, Father Madiba — as the former President was affectionately known by his people — is finally at rest. He will now stand beside Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the pantheon of iconic freedom fighters.
  • The story of post-apartheid South Africa, and the mixed legacy of Mandela’s heroic struggle for freedom, must certainly qualify as one of the most authentic tragedies in modern history.
  • The reproduction of socio-economic segregation and old-fashioned forms of state oppression continue unabated. Last year’s Marikana massacre saw 34 striking mineworkers murdered by police, with several unarmed men summarily executed at close range while lying face-down in the dust.
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  • As a young shackdweller put it in the award-winning documentary Dear Mandela, “what he has been jailed for has never been achieved.” Now that the legend has passed away and his liberation movement has caved in to its own short-sighted desire for state power and material riches, new freedom fighters are emerging on the scene — in the form of autonomous movements like Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Mandela Park Backyarders — who, fighting to defend the livelihoods of poor South Africans, stress their independence from political parties and instead seek to enact direct democracy in their everyday struggle for survival, dignity and liberation.
  • While Mandela’s symbolic leadership helped unite a country that teetered on the brink of racial violence or even civil war, a new form of political activism will be needed to help South Africa emerge from the deep-rooted socio-economic divisions and widespread political abuse that still persist.
  • The Mandelas of the future will be faceless and plural; they will be nameless multitudes of disaffected poor people — those who grew up in the Rainbow Nation and have learned as much from Mandela’s unrivaled moral fortitude as from the many mistakes he made on his long march to freedom, not least his embrace of a neoliberal economic policy framework. Today’s liberation movements are here to remind us that the only appropriate way to honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy is not to beatify the man but to take his struggle to its logical conclusion.
  • Praise for him is based, as Jerome states, on his sacrifice, but there is no defending him post-release. His time in office, and the subsequent years, have been marked by corruption and self interest.
  • In office Mandela presided over the deception while his right-hand man, Cyril Ramaposa, handled the bribes and graft etc. They both got rich, and the people who put them in power actually got poorer. South Africa is a revolution betrayed, Mandela represents its Thermidor. He is a reactionary, pure and simple, Debordian spectacle concealing a squalid fraud.
Arabica Robusta

Shackdwellers: | ROAR Magazine - 0 views

  • He clearly said that if the ANC does to us what the Apartheid government did to us then we must not fear to do the ANC what we did to the Apartheid government.
  • Mandela sacrificed his children, his life and his family for the struggle and for us to be free. We shall continue with his sacrifice for justice. We will honor Mandela and have our own memorial service in honoring Mandela. Today we honor Nelson Mandela by marching on the ANC, because the ANC of 2013 is not Khongolose – it is very different from Mandela’s ANC. In fact, the ANC of 2013 are our oppressors.
Arabica Robusta

Pan-African News Wire: Egyptian Women Detainees Released In Desert Following Clashes - 0 views

  • The interior ministry justified the dispersal, saying the gathering broke a newly enforced protest law since the organisers did not notify authorities of their actions as the new legislation stipulates.
  • The interior ministry justified the dispersal, saying the gathering broke a newly enforced protest law since the organisers did not notify authorities of their actions as the new legislation stipulates.
Arabica Robusta

Don't move, Occupy! Social movement vs social arrest | ROAR Magazine - 0 views

  • While notable exceptions exist, the overall tendency of most accounts has been to compartmentalize and classify. Middle-Eastern resistance to dictatorship, Northern Mediterranean unrest against externally enforced austerity measures, and an Anglo-American revolt against the tyranny of the financial sector, have been analyzed as discrete cases each with their own structural and contingent dynamics. The results of this compartmentalization are all too predictable. Two years on, instead of a single image of global rebellion, we are left with fractured portraits of localized discontent.
  • Rather than view these uprisings within the recently sanitized history of revolution and an increasingly ineffectual grammar of social movements, it is high time to call the global occupations of public space what they are: social arrests.
  • The uprisings against authoritarian rule in Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Egypt were uniformly proclaimed as “expressing the will of the people”, while the strikingly similar manifestations of their Spanish, Greek, and American counterparts were all but ignored. This bifurcation in Western responses, one equally evident in governments and the mainstream media, is indicative of how we have come to perceive the role of mass political protest in the first decade of the 21st century. In the tradition of the French Revolution, uprisings against authoritarian rule are signified as acts of popular sovereignty — legitimate manifestations of a people unable to express their will through alternate channels — whereas similar protests within liberal representative democracies are marginalized as the acts of a raucous minority.
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  • these responses are the latest manifestation of a silent yet powerful recalibration of the terms democracy and revolution within our collective imaginations, a recalibration that has been ongoing since 1989. The revolutions of 1989 and their afterlives inaugurated a historical taming of the term, a taming that has carried over into the 21st century. This historical taming consists of two interrelated “police operations” conducted by Western liberal democracies: the first involving a particular way of talking about non-democratic revolutions, the second consisting of a conservative periodization of their own foundational pasts.
  • From a 21st century perspective, these revolutions are increasingly being judged not by what they achieved (the overthrow of the previous socio-political order) but by the new regime’s convergence or divergence from a free-market liberal democratic state.
  • The mass political uprisings that occurred after the establishment of democracy have, by this same narrative, been interpreted in a markedly different light. In the new American Republic, the crushing of the Whiskey and Shay’s Rebellions have been seen as the (necessary) assertion of federal power and sovereignty, while in France the continued intrusions of the will of the French people into the National Assembly after 1789 are commonly cited as causes of the descent of the French Revolution into demagoguery and terror.
  • To get an idea of what differentiates the 2011 uprisings from previous forms of popular political struggle, let’s start with a short vignette from a protest action that typified the expression of extra-parliamentary discontent with governments before the 2011 uprisings.
  • But this anecdote underscores, albeit in hyperbolic fashion, the effective crisis in the theory and practice of social movements that defined the closing decades of the 20th century — a crisis linked to the very category of motion itself. It was the death rattle of a type of politics which — from the calls to abolish world slavery to the struggle for gender equality, from communism to civil rights — has defined contentious political struggle over the past 200 years through the category of movement. Instead of asking what kind of movement the new uprisings of the 21st century represent, the time has come to review the relevance and efficacy of the term itself. To do so we need to reconsider, both epistemologically and in praxis, the kinetics of contentious political struggle.
  • Althusser’s image of the hailing of the police officer speaks of a state apparatus (and a correlative subjectivity) that is premised on the idea of arrest. The policeman’s shout essentially stops whoever hears it in his/her tracks, freezes the comings and goings of people.
  • In its place, as another French political theorist, Jacques Rancière, has pointed out, has come an altogether different policing function, one encapsulated by the police officer urging bystanders to “move along!”, that “there is nothing to see here.” While the former is predicated on disruption, the latter above all ensures the constant circulation of people, goods, and services: “The police say there is nothing to see, nothing happening, nothing to be done but to keep moving, circulating; they say that the space of circulation is nothing but the space of circulation.”
  • all of these sites and banners of contentious politics are directed not at a static state structure that arrests movement but are themselves in fact about stopping or arresting an unbridled and accelerating capitalist system. In this light, the very names given to struggle — the environmental movement, the anti-globalization movement, the slow food movement — become at best oxymoronic and at worst open to co-optation by the very forces they oppose (green-washing, the fair trade industry, etc.). We need to ask ourselves: why do we — and should we — still use the term movement to characterize contentious politics? What political conceptions and practices does this term privilege? What forms and histories of resistance has it obfuscated?
  • The police conception of revolution and the crisis in the theory and practice of social “movements” form the dual backdrops for the global uprisings of 2011. Beginning in January of that year, a new form of revolt emerged in North Africa and spread, within months, around many parts of the globe. What actually took place at the sites of these revolts, in Zuccotti and Gezi Park, in the squares of Tahrir, Puerta del Sol and Syntagma, offered a seismic challenge to both the police conception of revolution and the theory and practice of political struggle. What happened in these squares was not movement but arrest, not dispersal but permanent occupation.
  • Alain Badiou once wrote, “In the midst of a revolutionary event, the people is made up of those who know how to solve the problems that the event imposes on them.” The people of Tahrir organized and orchestrated their own security, dealt with human and regular waste, and opened and operated a kindergarten so that mothers with small children could come to the square. They converted a Hardees restaurant into a free kitchen, a Kentucky Fried Chicken into a free clinic, organized networks for digital and print information, set up a pharmacy, handled hired agitators, and protected each other’s religious practices.
  • It became, through the life of the occupation, the stage on which the new Egyptian society was performed and presented. In their generosity, their tolerance, their humor, camaraderie, and song, the Egyptian people asserted their values and boundaries both to themselves and the whole world.
  • There is as much attention devoted to how political and social life should be structured in the square — the ban on party and union insignia, the drawing of lots and time limits governing speech in the assembly, the coordination of meetings with public transit to assure greater participation, etc. — as there is to the what: articulating political manifestos and the position of the Assembly to its outside (whether in relation to the protests in the upper square or to Greek society more broadly).
  • n the first week of June 2013, the actions taken by a coalition of activists against the destruction of a public park in central Istanbul spread to more than 60 cities and provinces, bringing several million people onto the streets. By June 8, the police had withdrawn from Taksim Square, leaving it at least temporarily in the hands of protesters. The protesters erected networks of makeshift barricades at 50 meter intervals along all major routes leading to the square. Within a week, Taksim and the adjacent Gezi Park became a “liberated zone”, a fragile oasis amidst the ongoing and increasingly violent clashes with police forces throughout much of Turkey.
  • There is no doubt that the Greeks, Egyptians, Americans, Spaniards, Tunisians, and Turks first occupied the public spaces of their urban centers to voice political opposition. They came, as Stathis Gourgouris has pointed out, to “withdraw their consent” from the forces governing their lives. As the days passed, however, people had to figure out how to live and act together inside a square in order to sustain a revolt outside of it. In these sometimes very quotidian decisions, they came to define themselves by how they occupied and existed together.
  • The 800+ plus murders committed by the Egyptian security forces unfortunately paled in comparison to the atrocities later carried out in Libya and Syria, respectively, by Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad. Overt police brutality, by contrast, is usually the last resort of well-functioning liberal democratic regimes. It appears when the movies, the football rivalries, and the soul-deadening holiday music no longer suffice. Its entrance into the mainstream spotlight, in the United States, in Turkey, Greece, and Spain, is an indication that the urban occupations pose a fundamental challenge to representative democratic states and the clearest signal that its “soft” ideological apparatus is malfunctioning.
  • Yet, within two months of the birth of OWS and over 1.000 sister occupations throughout the US, the federal government coordinated a collective assault on these democratic spaces. The FBI and the Bureau of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the mayors and police departments of over 18 cities, forcibly evicted every major occupation throughout the US.
  • That the monitoring and entrapment of non-violent dissidents has been funded and conducted under the banner of counter-terrorism task forces is an even greater cause for alarm. These signs of an emergent police state within liberal democratic regimes (or more aptly: its passage from shadowed ghettos to front-page visibility) are the strongest testament to the novelty and latent strength of the 2011 uprisings.
  • Yet there is also no denying that almost all of these uprisings have ended in failure. The urban occupations have been dismantled and the aims of the occupiers have either been largely ignored (representative democracies), brutally suppressed (Libya, Syria), or their victories shown to be premature (Egypt).
  • Contacts between the global occupations, formed during the height of the uprisings, have persisted after their evictions. The common form of these occupations has allowed participants not only the opportunity to escape their individual isolation by talking and acting collectively, but more importantly, to draw connections across national grammars of discontent.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Fear and freedom in Africa - 0 views

  • I believe that at this stage in our collective development, youth in many African countries are still seized by flawed ideas of what progress looks like. We hold ourselves to impossibly high standards of “development” that have only been truly achieved in a handful of countries, none of which are particularly vocal about the need to achieve these goals.
  • I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that my trip to Burkina Faso was one of the most memorable experiences that I’ve ever had. Aside from the beauty of the country in all its complexities, the incredible warmth of the welcome I received took me by surprise. Strangers opened up their homes to me. I never paid for transport. I rarely paid for food.
  • Borrowing from X, I would ask African youth: who taught us to fear each other?

    I’m inclined to believe that we are in fear of an Africa that does not exist save in the mind of an overzealous elitist journalist in search of a sexy by-line or adventure. I challenge you: gather all of your friends who have a passport and have ever used it and ask them where they’ve used it.
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  • After 29 African countries of travel, I’ve heard it all. Tribes are useless. Kenyans are violent. Tanzanians are lazy. Nigerians are criminals. South Africans are racist. The DRC is too dangerous. Where is Namibia? All from the mouth of other Africans who have never been or even dreamed of going to the countries in question. We make all these definitive statements based on information filtered through an elitist and biased lens, that is comparing the worst of Africa with the best of the US or the UK. Africans are otherised, and we play along, forgetting that we are Africans too. Then we learn to hate ourselves and fear each other simply because the narrative tells us to.
  • “The most potent tool in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” The potency of this tool comes from its ability to skew our thinking and shape our actions. Like a child who, seeing shadows at night and believing that they are ghosts, cannot leave his bed to relieve himself, our irrational fear of each other is forcing us to sleep in the urine of lowered expectations and mutual suspicion.
  • So as I reflect on the state of African youth, it occurs to me that the biggest problem facing African youth today is not a lack of opportunity, or poverty, or whatever. Our biggest problem from where I stand is our inability to see ourselves with unfiltered honesty and a raw love.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Dialogue, not a monologue - 0 views

  • Obasanjo looked nonplussed. He finished his statement, opened the slip of paper, and said to the audience gruffly, “He has written me a note saying this is a dialogue, not a monologue. I know that.” The audience laughed nervously. The former general defiantly continued his musings for another five minutes. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably, expecting a head-on collision between young and old.
  • Power concedes nothing without a struggle, so it’s better to command respect than to demand it. Get an education, however challenging this might be. Acquire some skills, or a trade that is needed in Liberia. Learn to speak and write a foreign language well. Productive young people are much more powerful when they have something relevant to contribute.
Arabica Robusta

Nigeria Bans Occupy Video About Its Oil Curse, Video Obviously Goes Viral | Motherboard - 0 views

  • But instead of protesting financial institutions that had left the economy in ruins, Nigerians turned out in droves to protest the removal of a fuel subsidy that kept gasoline affordable for the public—and also threatened to destroy Nigeria's economic stability
  • Replete with commentary from a Nobel laureate, it offers a pretty even-handed look at the economics of the subsidy, the protests, and the political situation in Nigeria. But when it was submitted to Nigeria's National Film and Video Censors Board for approval it was promptly banned. The film was obviously nixed because it casts the government in a critical light; but, of course, banning a controversial film without blocking it online is a surefire way to make it go viral.
Arabica Robusta

Hands off Africa! - Pipe(line)Dreams - 0 views

  • When I have a bit more time, I’ll write more about “francafrique” and the way Ivory Coast’s failed 2010 election tapped into a deep anger that runs throughout francophone Africa (and beyond). There’s no doubt, either, that both Libya and the Ivory Coast have reinforced many peoples’ opinion that the West will support “change” and “democracy” only when its own interests are advanced.
  • When you consider just how many seriously flawed African elections have gone by recently without the slightest objection from France, the U.S. or the U.N. — Gabon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda – it’s painfully obvious that Western support for African democracy is highly selective. With all the despots who have been in power for decades in Africa, how did Gbagbo suddenly become so terrible?
Arabica Robusta

Discursive Power and People's Movements: Why Chávez's Re-election is Importan... - 0 views

  • Chávez won a clear majority in elections that were heralded as fair, peaceful and democratic. A stunning 97% of the population (over 19 million people) registered to vote and 82% of those registered, voted.
  • Indeed, President Obama’s domestic and international centrism has drawn much criticism but, with the hope that he embodies, miraculous transformation is still expected of him upon re-election.
  • That as it may be, Chávez was the first president of Latin America to declare himself of African descent, as important symbolically for Venezuela’s often marginalized population of African descent (who make up an estimated 34% of the population) and the entire region’s Afro-American community as Obama’s victory was for African-Americans in the United States.
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  • However, during the oil price slump of 2008, Chávez drew criticism at home for not concentrating on internal Venezuelan affairs rather than drawing the wrath of imperialist states during long international speeches. He heeded this warning and cut back on international engagements and visits. However, maintained an important role in Latin American relations. His leadership of a significant power in the region created a domino effect and enabled the surfacing and victory of progressive parties from Ecuador to Argentina ending the decades of isolation of Cuba.
  • Yet the key to the importance of President Chávez’s re-election for Africa lies strangely beyond Venezuela’s foreign policy and more so at the epicentre of its national struggle.
  • The election in Venezuela stood in stark contrast to the campaigning in the U.S. The ideological differences between incumbent President Chávez and the opposition candidate Radonski is far from a nuance and instead represents clear ideological paths, values, interests, alliances and priorities.
  • Yet Chávez progressive discourse presents an alternative to both. Rabidly anti-imperialist but equally anti-conservative, Chávez offers, particularly to the peoples’ movements of Africa, a discourse that resounds on the streets of Guinea, the farms of Madagascar and the squares of Egypt.
  • Chávez has been reluctant to criticise Global South leaders for any of their failings in leadership, understandably seeking allies amongst the few willing to openly oppose or resist the multiple layers of northern imperialism. However, with another six years to deepen the progressive agenda of not only Latin America and the Caribbean, but potentially the world, it will be critical that President Chávez and his administration consider supporting deepened solidarity between the peoples’ movements of Africa and the Americas to break the bipolarity of an increasingly belligerent world.
Arabica Robusta

South African Police Shoot 34 Striking Miners Dead - Nigerian Village Square - 0 views

  • "It goes without saying that we deeply regret the further loss of life in what is clearly a public order rather than labour relations associated matter."
    • Arabica Robusta
      How does the chairman know this?  More likely, the chairman is transparently attempting to depoliticize the matter and remove connections from Lonmin.
  • The protests began last week when workers demanded a pay increase to 12,500 rand (£976) a month. The action turned deadly when the AMCU clashed with South Africa's dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

    The NUM rejected the charge of collusion with mine bosses. Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said: "We are not surprised by his allegation … It is not true. Everyone can see through these lies."

  • His voice shaking with anger, the union leader Joseph Mathunjwa accused the Lonmin management of colluding with a rival union to orchestrate what he described as a massacre. Mathunjwa, president of the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), told the eNews channel: "We have to send condolences to those families whose members were brutally murdered by a lack of co-operation from management. We have done our bit. If the management had changed their commitment, surely lives could have been saved."
Arabica Robusta

IPS - Egypt's New Unions Face Uncertain Future | Inter Press Service - 0 views

  • The dictator’s downfall, however, gave union activists more room to operate. Workers have set up over 500 independent syndicates in recent months. The majority have affiliated with two autonomous labour bodies, the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) led by Abu Eita, and the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC) headed by former steel worker Kamal Abbas.
  • ETUF is proving to be a multi-headed hydra. The mammoth organisation was weakened by rulings that dissolved its executive board, put its leadership under investigation for corruption, and pulled the plug on 15 million dollars in annual government subsidies. Yet its core remains intact.
  • Many activists believe Egypt’s two main powers, the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, are trying to rebuild ETUF as a counterweight to newfound syndical liberties. They claim the generals – opposed to organised labour – have sought to contain worker movements by criminalising strikes and preserving Mubarak-era labour laws.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Bilderbergers beware - 0 views

  • Protesters hurled creative abuse at the black limousines rolling past towards the Chantilly Marriott Hotel entrance, and to protect them, police arrested a few activists who dared step onto the road. These particular masters of the universe first met at a hotel (The Bilderberg) in Holland in 1954, co-hosted by Dutch royalty, Uniliver and the US Central Intelligence Agency. The obscure brainstorming session would become an annual intellectual and ideological “testing grounds for new initiatives for Atlantic unity,” according to Sussex University scholar Kees van der Pijl, perhaps the world’s most rigorous scholar of transnational ruling classes.
  • On this year’s agenda were “Transatlantic Relations, Evolution of the Political Landscape in Europe and the US, Austerity and Growth in Developed Economies, Cyber Security, Energy Challenges, the Future of Democracy, Russia, China and the Middle East.”
  • This crew is bound to draw the ire of many victims, yet instead of the kind of Occupy protests I witnessed in London last month – a march through The City with socialists and anarchists furious about parasitical banking practices – or at Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park last year and in various subsequent anti-bank protests by US leftists, the weekend’s Bilderberg protest displayed paranoia about the conspiracies being hatched in the Virginia hotel.
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  • This is where I found myself differing most with Jones’ supporters: never before in history have world elites been so tempted to address global-scale crises, but – thanks to the adverse power balance represented by neoliberal ideology in the 1990s, neoconservatism in the early 2000s and some fusion of the two since Obama came to power – never before have they acted so incoherently.
  • Van der Pijl’s exceptionally rich study of Bilderberg and subsequent US-European geopolitical maneuvres, The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (which thankfully Verso Press is about to reissue), provides the theoretical underpinning that I feel Jones’ passionately conspiratorialist followers desperately need, if they ever aim to properly judge the world’s complex combinations of structure and agency.
  • ut religion, Freemasonry, Rotary, Jews, etc., can be subsumed into the social category of ‘intellectuals’, whose function, on an international scale, is that of mediating the extremes, of ‘socializing’ the technical discoveries which provide the impetus for all activities of leadership, of devising compromises between, and ways out of, extreme solutions.”
  • But they were nervous, too, of a coming political storm, remarked van der Pijl. Representing both BP and Goldman Sachs in 2007, Peter Sutherland (former WTO director) “was quoted as saying that it had been a mistake to have referenda on the EU constitution. ‘You knew there was a rise in nationalism; you should have let your parliaments ratify the treaty, and it should be done with.’ Kissinger said words to the same effect concerning unification of the Americas, stressing the need to mobilise the enlightened media behind its propagation.”
  • So there is no doubt that world banker domination – which should have been reduced by the 2008-09 financial melt – will continue. Only the occasional sovereign default – Argentina (2002), Ecuador (2008), Iceland (2008) and maybe Southern Europe this year – or imposition of exchange controls (as rediscovered by Malaysia in 1998 or Venezuela in 2003) reduces the banksters’ grip.
  • The strongest political effort by these libertarian anti-Bilderberg protesters is to attempt the election of Texan member of Congress, Ron Paul, as president, and with 20 percent popularity, he remains Mitt Romney’s only irritant within the Republican Party as the November showdown with Obama now looms.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Violence: The way of politics in Angola - 0 views

  • “Mr. Raúl promised us money to stop organizing protests against President José Eduardo dos Santos,” explained Mário Domingos. Kabuscorp, in which former Brazilian world champion Rivaldo plays, is owned by General Bento Kangamba, who is also the president of the club. The general, a member of MPLA Central Committee, is also part of the presidential family, by marriage to Dos Santos’ niece.
  • According to Domingos, the deal was part of a strategy, “to transform our movement into a satellite organization of MPLA, for us to do solidarity work on their behalf, and hold counter-demonstrations to support president Dos Santos.” By the time of the meeting with the president, the movement had already received US $4 million in an escrow account, six pickup trucks Mitshubishi L200, and six apartments in the Chinese-built town of Kilamba. “The governor of Luanda at the time, José Maria, sent his driver to the bank with us, where we cashed in the equivalent of US $700 thousand in cash. Then the governor’s driver took us home,” Mário Domingos.
  • Ironically, the scattering of these emerging youth groups and their leaders, as well as their lack of structural organization, has rendered the regime’s strategies of violence and corruption ineffective. Such strategies only give cannon fodder for Angolans to come to terms with the intractable wickedness of President Dos Santos and his regime.
    • Arabica Robusta
      The [context-dependent] value of de-centered resistance.
    The captors interrogated 'Pandita Nehru' on who was behind the protests, beat him up and taunted him with an argument, among themselves, on the wisdom to execute him right there. Ever since, he has been mostly off the radar.
Arabica Robusta

Egypt's revolution won't end with the presidential election - Mail & Guardian Online - 0 views

  • The apartment blocks on my street in downtown Cairo have accommodated many cycles of Egypt’s political tumult in the past 18 months.

    A stone’s throw from Tahrir Square, they have been enveloped in teargas, pockmarked by Molotov cocktails, pressed into use as urban barricades by both revolutionaries and pro-Mubarak militias and provided the backdrop for some of the post-Mubarak military generals’ most violent assaults on the citizens they swore to protect.

  • There are a million empirical holes that could be picked in this chronicle – the only results we have so far (from Egyptians voting abroad) put Moussa and Shafiq in fourth and fifth places respectively while the lazy insistence of characterising Aboul Fotouh as an unreconstructed Islamist (and hence automatically anti-Tahrir) bears little relation to the substance of his support on the ground.
  • Two misapprehensions underpin much of the discussion about the revolution.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • The first is that the metric of revolutionary success lies solely in the formal arena of institutional politics and the development of democratic mechanisms within it. The second is that Tahrir, along with the ludicrously titled “Facebook youth” who populated the square in January and February last year, is the only alternative space in which pressure on the formal arena is thrashed out.
  • And it’s that energy, that those who benefit from the status quo, from western governments to multinational corporations, really fear. Little wonder that there has been a rush by the world’s most powerful entities – from Hilary Clinton and David Cameron to Morgan Chase and General Electric – to simultaneously venerate Tahrir (as long as the demands voiced within it don’t overstep the mark), echo the generals’ calls for “stability” (shutting down broader discourses of dissent in the process) and form links with the largely neoliberal Muslim Brotherhood (whose policies, despite anguished op-eds in Washington think-tank journals, pose little threat to American interests, and indeed offer up many opportunities).
  • What they’re less keen to acknowledge – because it carries the revolution out of its sheltered borders – are the other trenches that are increasingly being etched at the margins of Egyptian society, dividing those who have reaped pharaonic-esque riches as a result of 20-odd years of “structural adjustment” from those left behind in zones of neoliberal exclusion.
  • Forget Shafiq’s advertising hoardings – the revolution is everywhere and it is potent.
  • As the sociologist Asef Bayat has argued, actions that appear to be individualistic strategies for survival and not explicitly political attempts to bring down elites can, in the right circumstances, become unstoppable and interlinked channels of mass rejection, a struggle for real agency in an era of globalised corporate cosmopolitanism that strives to deny it to so many.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - African world view on revolutionary ruptures and pace of change in 2012 - 0 views

  • There is a lot to be learnt from the last capitalist depression during the 1930s when some economists and political leaders believed, that militarism and investment in military capital could resolve the crisis. Indeed, some economists today credit the militarism of the German society with ending the crisis without mention of the huge price paid by humans in the Second World War.
  • Anti-imperialist and progressive forces on the ground in Kenya and even those involved in the political game will have to be strategic in their planning, just as our forces have been strategic in Nigeria. There is a reason why we interred Tajudeen Abdul Raheem in Funtua, in the North of Nigeria. Tajudeen had worked tirelessly against the manipulation of religious differences and we should be publicising the book of the writings of Tajudeen in this revolutionary moment. We must keep his ideas alive as one part of our arsenal.
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