31 January 2006

Horvitch Obituaries and Nepal

Ike Horvitch was a Treason Trialist and a South African Communist. He died in London on December 28th, 2005. Several obituaries were printed in the newspapers there for him (linked). In Nepal, the opposition suspended armed struggle and formed an alliance to contest a general election in peace. Whereupon the monarch banned all the candidates and opened a military offensive. See linked article. The four-union strike at Transnet has been very effective. The question of the two-term limit on the SA Presidency has also caused comment. Full reports of these matters are not yet on the Internet. They will be covered here tomorrow. Links: Ike Horvitch, Obituary, The Guardian, London (756 words) Ike Horvitch, Obituary, Independent, London (755 words) Ike Horvitch, Keeper of Freedom, Camden New Journal (950 words) Nepal, elections without candidates (559 Words)

30 January 2006

Fun With Lawyers

Is Tony Leon the Sunday Times’ Hogarth’s “Mampara of the Week”? No, not this time round. Instead, the letter written to the ANC, the YCL, and to yours truly (Domza) is the “Denial of the Week”! See the linked article. Leon is himself a lawyer by training (What was it Voltaire said about lawyers?) Another man who used to be a lawyer of sorts is Bulelani Ngcuka. He is famous for his very free interpretation of the phrase “prima facie”. Now he leads an eventful life in the guise of a very rich “businessman” and deputy-presidential consort. Probably he would say (like Sue Slipman long ago, while moving from the CPGB to the SDP): “My politics haven’t changed”. It’s two weeks since we have had a new text in the occasional “Revolutionary Classics” series, so here today (linked) is the second part of Engels’ “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific”. This one is dedicated to the ANC’s Michael Sachs, who at the Joe Slovo Memorial Seminar last Wednesday told the comrades that he was “dialectical” (and the SACP, presumably, not dialectical?). As Joe Slovo once said: to understand dialectics properly, you need a sense of humour. Links: Tony Leon, Denial of the Week, Hogarth, Sunday Times (250 words) Bulelani Ngcuka, No Prima Facie Evidence, Hogarth, S Times (142 words) Engels, Socialism, Utopian and Scientific 2, Science of Dialectics, 1880 (3176 words)

29 January 2006

Union Business

The SACP Johannesburg Central Branch holds its first General Meeting (BGM) of the year today (10h00 at 13th floor, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison). The agenda will include plans and schedules for the year, sub-committees, and election work. Linked are articles from Neva Makgetla and Terry Bell on the latest employment/unemployment statistics, and the joint statement of four allied unions on their dispute with Transnet. Bob Mabaso has resigned from his position as Gauteng Social Development MEC following allegations of sexual harassment. Comrade Mabaso is the SACP’s Gauteng Provincial Chairperson. The linked article is from the Saturday Star. The fifth document is a rare announcement from the Iraq Communist Party. Today is the 101st anniversary of St Petersburg’s Bloody Sunday massacre of 1905. Links: Jobs data, Dutch disease, Makgetla, Business Day (717 words) Any old job not always good, Terry Bell, Brep (800 words) Joint Press Release on the Transnet Dispute (4 unions) (439 words) Mabaso resignation report in Saturday Star (606 words) To Fraternal and Friendly Parties, from Iraqi CP (2237 words)

28 January 2006

For Peace, Against Racism, Colonialism and War

It is now less than two months before the agreed dates of international action for peace, which are March 18th and 19th. In one way and another all of the linked articles below are reflections upon peace, the dangers to peace, and the way towards peace. Peace is the fundamental good upon which all other goods must rest. We had a wonderfully successful first session of the Communist University at the Women’s Jail yesterday with Tonya Graham on the Theatre of the Oppressed. Perhaps we will do a mass public theatre for peace on March 18th or 19th. Tomorrow at 10h00 the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch has its first BGM of the year in the SATAWU office on the 13th floor of the Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison, until about 12h00. Links: Abramoff, Another Racist Out to Defraud, Counterpunch (1013 words) Myths of Zionism, Kasrils, M and G (1517 words) US idiot Bolton orders impossible in Syria, Counterpunch (485 words) Nuclear Violence, Suren Pillay, Counterpunch (834 words) SACP statement on passing of Schafick Handal of El Salvador (422 words)

27 January 2006

Never Threaten

When Jack Abramoff rose out of the murk of a quarter of century ago to precipitate the biggest US scandal in a generation, he also resurrected ghastly memories that some people in South Africa would much rather stayed buried. You can read yesterday’s (linked) letter from Tony Leon’s lawyers concerning these revelations. You can see for yourselves what is denied and what is not denied. Perhaps they really do believe that Wayne Madsen’s is just “a random internet site”, as they call it. In that case they are mistaken. Threats and bluster are always a mistake. But you can be the judges. Max du Preez compares the DA to yapping dogs (linked). I wonder if he got a lawyers’ letter, too? Accusing him of trying “to injure the reputation of the Democratic Alliance and Mr Leon” and threatening him? These DA yap-dogs are too ridiculous. Why the press are holding back from grilling them about the Abramoff-Crystal-Williamson-Leon connection, I do not know. Amnesty has spoken up for the Cuban Five (see below). FAWU speaks up in another shocking case of physical abuse of a worker. Advocacy of this kind is how the truth is tested. The same testing should be applied to the Abramoff-Crystal-Williamson-Leon reports in all their detail. Tonight is the Communist University at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. The topic is “The Theatre of the Oppressed” and Critical Pedagogy. Next week’s topic (linked) is Lenin’s writings on Women in 1919 and 1920. Links: Leon-Abramoff, threats from DA Lawyers (556 words) Yapping DA out of place in Africa, du Preez, Star (838 words) Amnesty, US violating rights of Cuban Five, Counterpunch (894 words) FAWU on abuse of elderly farm worker (296 words) 1919 and 1920, Lenin on Women, compilation (4097 words)

26 January 2006

Momentum Already

The SACP Johannesburg Central Branch Executive Committee met yesterday and finalised arrangements for Sunday’s Branch General Meeting. The BGM will be held in our usual venue, SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison at 10h00 on January 29th. The Chris Hani Institute held a very successful Joe Slovo memorial seminar yesterday. The YCL has gone national with the Leon-Crystal-Williamson-Abramoff story. Let us hope that COSATU and especially can now take it up. It is intolerable that the DA can still try to preach emocracy and delivery when they are rotten to the core. SACP Northern Cape has kicked off its year in a decisive way. The Star’s story about dismissal of members in Moutse should be treated with care. The SACP will not instantly or automatically dismiss anyone. There will be due process and each case will be treated on its merits. There are no foregone conclusions. The “SHIFT” public lecture is tonight. Sorry for the late notice. Cmde Randall Howard of SATAWU was on the Vuyo Mbuli phone-in show this morning on SAFM (105.1) from 11h00 to 12h00 about the Transnet dispute. Links: YCL - Investigate Russell Crystal and Tony Leon of DA (292 words) Zuma is not in any camp and he seeks justice, Star (441 words) SACP Northern Cape 22nd January PEC Statement (676 words) Communists dismiss 14 independent candidates (556 words) Jan 26th Public Lecture, Shift Housing Focus Trust (65 words)

25 January 2006

At Last

The YCL Johannesburg Central Marxist Classes start this afternoon in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison. The discussion will be on how to make 50,000 cadres in five years, and why we need to do so. Next week’s YCL class is scheduled to be on Christopher Caudwell’s 1938 essay “The Concept of Freedom” in which he writes: “I am a Communist because I believe in freedom.” Caudwell was killed fighting the fascists as an International Brigade volunteer in Spain soon after writing this essay. If the story of Tony Leon’s connection with Jack Abramoff and Craig Williamson (through his present assistant Russell Crystal) catches fire, then the DA’s chances of doing well in the local and provincial elections are gone, and the last white reactionary political party of any consequence in Africa could be in the dustbin of history at last. So we can be happy that the Mail and Guardian yesterday put up the article by Claudia Braude headed “A Blast from the past” which was published in the hard-copy edition on Friday January 20th (linked below). I would love to know why it was withheld from the Online M&G for something like four days. The YCL’s jobs march in North West, the SACP’s Cuba statement, and COSATU’s concise but important statement on the employment statistics are also linked. Links: 1938, Caudwell, The Concept of Freedom (9550 words) Blast from the past- Abramoff, Crystal, Leon, Williamson, M&G (1280 words) YCL to march for jobs for Youth and Women (198 words) SACP statement on US provocations against Cuba (365 words) Rise in unemployment shows need for shared growth, COSATU (218 words)

24 January 2006

Spooks, Money, NGOs, Leon and Abramoff

Tony Leon uses the Goebbels principle. The bigger the lie, the longer it hangs around, he thinks. In his (linked) election speech he first pretends to be more ANC than the ANC, and then launches the big neo-liberal lie: “privatisation for the sake of the poor”. Alec Hogg’s Money web article on the Abramoff-SA connection only mentions Toney Leon’s brother and skirts round the whole question of the DA’s murky past (see yesterday’s CU dispatch). The way the game is played is well understood in Russia where British spooks have been arrested for stuffing NGOs full of spies and money. Likewise it seems that “Canadian groups” are up to the same tricks in SA, according to the Communication Workers’ Union. The last linked document is the YCL’s on free education at the “FET” level. That means a learning society, an idea dear to the heart of the Communist University. Links: Leon in racism tirade, Star (491 words) Abramoff - South African connection (893 words) UK support for rights groups raises suspicion in Kremlin (400 words) CWU condemns illegal usage of airwaves by APF (196 words) YCL Gauteng, free education - tackling FET institutions (1377 words)

23 January 2006

R265 becomes R64 million

The first of the two extraordinary linked stories, which arises from the Abramoff scandal in the USA, is originally from Wayne Madsen’s Washington blog (“WMR”) at http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/ and it contains the following paragraph among others: “The Democratic Alliance in South Africa is the official opposition to the African National Congress. Its leader is Tony Leon, a colleague of Crystal and Williamson at Wits University who bankrolled him in his student election campaigns as they did Abramoff in CRNC. They then financed Leon's year-long visit to the U.S. to teach law. Abramoff administered all of Leon’s U.S. arrangements. Abramoff worked on behalf of the DA and Leon in Washington, DC and New York City.” Apartheid agent Russell Crystal (according to a quote in Friday’s Mail & Guardian) is today “responsible for making sure every Tony [Leon] event works. The package Crystal creates is slick, an integral part of selling the new-look leader.” Crystal does the packaging and Leon performs. These two together are nine-tenths of the DA’s national profile (the other tenth is Gibbo). Crystal and Leon have been working together since they were both being subsidised along with (murderer of Jeanette and Katrein Schoon) Craig Williamson, and US crook Jack Abramoff as young men by one or another of the apartheid regime’s spy organisations in the early 1980s – this is the essence of the Madsen story as it relates to SA. I wrote Wayne a message and he replied very kindly with his permission for us to post his reports. He also wrote: “Yes, the DA is yet another neo-con contrivance that must be defeated.” All this puts Jeremy Gordin’s otherwise outstanding Sunday Independent journalism a little in the shade, even with his amazing revelation that: “Wesizwe Platinum's prosperity is not unrelated to new prospecting permits that were issued to wholly owned subsidiary Bakubung Minerals when Mlambo-Ngcuka was minister of minerals and energy and responsible for approving all permits. The shares issued to Mazibuko-Skweyiya, now worth R64 million, cost her R265 in January 2004.” (Linked) Evo Morales was inaugurated yesterday as President of Bolivia. He said: “We are here to change history”. Links Leon was bankrolled by apartheid spooks, Wayne Madsen Report (951 words) Favours for fine-feathered friends, Jeremy Gordin, Sindy (1641 words) More from Wayne Madsen on the Abramoff - SA connection (837 Words)

22 January 2006

Black Jesus

What is torture? What is it like? What is it for? What does it do? It is not an easy thing to understand or explain. Joe Sacco’s story in pictures, called “Trauma on Loan”, seems to catch the horrid nature of torture very well. Use this link if you have software that can open .pdf files, such as Adobe Acrobat. The file is much too big to send as an attachment. Another link to the same document is here. In Swaziland right now there is torture. See Amnesty International’s linked statement. The director of a new Xhosa-language film “Son of Man” says: “Christ was born in an occupied state and preached equality at a time when that wasn’t very acceptable.” See the linked review. The Communist University 2006 programme is included here again. It starts of Friday, January 27th (see the left-hand column). At least one person turned up at the venue a week early! It’s nice to know that people are keen. Links Swaziland - failure to call police to account, Amnesty (1083 words) Black Jesus film preaches politics over religion, Zim Chronicle (494 words) 2006 Study Group Draft Programme (627 words)

21 January 2006


Comrade Rosemary Thobejane, Secretary of the Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP, has asked me to circulate the draft branch programme. Here are the cover page, the schedule of branch meetings, the schedule of all major Party meetings from the point of view of the branch. These schedules have a draft status at the moment. The Branch Executive Committee will review them next week on Wednesday. Also linked is the schedule of the Johannesburg District Political Education meetings. We do not yet know the dates of the Provincial Council meetings. See also COSATU’s statement on Nepal. Links: Branch Schedule 2006 (cover, office-bearers, contact details) Branch Schedule 2006 back page (BGMs and BECs) Branch Schedule 2006 plus District, Province and National SACP Johannesburg District Political Education Sub-Committee, 2006 COSATU condemns arrest of Nepal trade unionists

20 January 2006

Communist University 2006

The Communist University starts again next Friday, January 27th at 17h00, the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, on Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. Parking is available a short distance away at the Old Fort. As usual we begin with an examination of what we are doing and how we are trying to do it. This time the emphasis is on Augusto Boal, master of the “Theatre of the Oppressed”. The draft programme for the year and the reading for next week’s session are linked below. The reading is a number of short pieces, with the one on Boal at the end. Two items from the Johannesburg business press illustrate the inability of the bourgeois media to completely disguise the truth. Lastly, a link to an all-day Saturday event on Urbanism at Wits University. It looks from the programme as if they could use some good Communist input. Links 2006 Study Group Draft Programme (627 words) Critical Pedagogy, Learning Freedom, compilation (8308 words) Capitalistic tyranny needs reining, Letter, Brep (303 words) Iran, UK lobby SA over nuclear standoff, Business Day (527 words) Colloquium, what is progressive urban policy, Wits Jan 28 (372 words)

19 January 2006

Umsebenzi, Seminar, Negotiation, Colloquium.

Umsebenzi Online number 49, the first of 2006, is a very important issue. The article “Latin America: Beginning of a new era?” by SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande deals deeply and profoundly with the relationship between party and mass movement. The Chris Hani Institute’s seminar next week is also set to be a classic. The united stand of unions from different federations within Transnet and their well-stated case is significant of the healthy state of our labour movement. The Centre for Civil Society’s Patrick Bond is the source of the remaining two items. He is keen for SACP members to attend and take part in their Colloquium. Links: Umsebenzi Online, Vol 5 No 49 (4274 words) Joe Slovo Seminar 2006, CHI (109 words) Four-Union Joint Press Release on Transnet Dispute (478 words) CCS colloquium draft schedule for Feb 28 to Mar 4 (290 words) Outreach Officer, CCS, UKZN (284 words)

18 January 2006

Red is the Colour

On Wednesday January 25th at 16h45 (the YCL must discuss the time of theses classes) in the SATAWU office, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison, The YCL Johannesburg Central Branch will hold its first political education session of 2006. The main discussion document “Target - Fifty Thousand Cadres in Five Years” was distributed on Sunday. As additional reading, here below is a link to Liu Shaoqi’s “How to be a good communist”. On November 16th, 2005, the Communist University distributed, at his own request, Mazibuko Jara’s “What colour is our flag? Red or JZ? - A critique of the SACP approach on the JZ matter”. Below is a response to that document by YCL National Chairperson David Masondo. Cde Jara is the Deputy National Secretary of the YCL. Never let it be said that there is no more open controversy in the ranks of the Communists! (As there was in the days of Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky.) The Mail and Guardian has taken the trouble to investigate the new situation in Swaziland in some detail. See linked article. The SACP, in line with its longstanding campaigns, has come out in support of the farmworker recently assaulted near Ventersdorp; and the YCL takes a positive attitude to the election. Links Response to Mazibuko Jara, David Masondo, Bottom Line (4716 words) Swaziland tense after opposition arrests, M and G (775 words) SACP statement on the assault of a farmworker (393 words) YCL calls on all youth to take part in elections (260 words) 1939, Liu Shaoqi, How to be a good Communist, C1 (2545 words)

17 January 2006

Special Blue Crane Edition

This is a special issue following the sensational revelation that one of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s fellow-travellers on her flight to Dubai may have been Saki Macozoma. See today’s front-page splash in the Business Day below, and their editorial. COSATU’s reaction is also linked. Links Phumzile trip shambles, Business Day (797 words) Flight of the fancy, Editorial, Business Day (635 words) COSATU on Dubai flight allegations (547 words)

Chile Victory

Chile Victory Pinochet has lived to see one of his torture victims become President of Chile. Click here for a picture of Michelle Bachelet. Viva Bachelet, Viva! The YCL’s weekend National Committee is reported in two different articles in the Business Day. That paper also has a report on the anti-Tsvangirai faction of the Zimbabwean MDC. NUMSA has issued a strong statement on the cartel in the panel-beating industry. Links Chile elects female leader, CNN (409 words) Communists left in the cold, Business Day (307 words) MDC Rebels attack Mugabe-like Tsvangirai, B Day (413 words) Scrap Gautrain, says SACP youth, Business Day (234 words) NUMSA on panel beating scandal (500 words)

16 January 2006

Appliance of Science

100 days after the murder of Brett Kebble, the lack of effort to find the killers looks like good evidence that this was a political assassination. Nobody in the police appears big enough to take it on. It seems that there is impunity within the bourgeoisie, above a certain level. The YCL National Committee declared its support for free education for all; for the communities of Khutsong, Moutse, and Matatiele; and for scrapping the Gautrain in favour of a broad-impact transport system. A “drone” is a big model aeroplane without a pilot that has cameras, transmitters and receivers on board as well as missiles. The CIA can sit in its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, USA and direct these things anywhere - to shoot a rocket into your living room if they please. On Friday one of these things rocketed a house in Pakistan, killing 18 people. The US told all sorts of stories. See two short reports linked here. In our occasional series of Revolutionary Classics, here is the first of the three parts of Frederick Engels’ 1880 “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific”, on “The Development of Utopian Socialism”. Links Kebble silence is not golden, Sunday Times Metro (515 words) Statement of YCL National Committee (1106 words) Dinner Guest Ayman al-Zawahri Escapes Death, Kurt Nimmo (731 words) Pakistan condemns US air strike that killed 18, DNA India (401 words) 1880, Engels, Socialism Utopian and Scientific 1, Development of Utopian Socialism (5105 words)

15 January 2006

Work Cut Out

Buses roll from 07h00 to Jabulani Amphitheatre in Soweto and eleven other locations today for the launch of the ANC local government election campaign. In Jabulani Stadium there will be separate sections for the SACP, COSATU, SANCO, and plain ANC. Let the red sections be the fullest! Also today, the SACP Yusuf Dadoo District is holding a mass rally in Khutsong Stadium as previously announced. Next Saturday, January 21st, from 09h00, the Johannesburg District of the SACP is holding a Joe Slovo Commemoration in the Chiawelo Community Centre (“Triple C”) in Old Potch Road, Soweto. The following Wednesday, January 25th, from 09h00 in COSATU House, Braamfontein, the Chris Hani Institute will host an all-day seminar, also in commenoration of the late Comrade Slovo. These two separate events are in honour of the Slovo Month of 2006. The year 2006 is getting into shape. Election work will continue from now through February. SACP comrades will be the most energetic, as usual. But all-round SACP work will not slow down. Johannesburg Central Branch’s BEC will meet on January 25th (with Communist University to follow on the 27th and BGM on the 29th). The BEC will consider the draft programme for the year. Linked below are the branch 2006 programme, plus in another document the full year’s schedule combined with District, Province and National calendar. The SACP Johannesburg District’s Political Education Programme starts on Sunday, January 22nd, at 10h00, at 9th floor, Renaissance Building, Gandhi Square. Branch political education officers in particular should be there but all are welcome. The meeting will discuss the programme for the year. The paper “50,000 Leading Cadres in 5 years” will be available for discussion if required. Thanks to Chris “Che” Matlhako for the link to the Appeal for Father Jean-Juste of Fanmi Lavalas of Haiti. Please click the link to the petition and fill it in if you can, then click the button to send a fax to the US Embassy in Haiti. Rekonsilyasyon San Jistis, NON! Links: Draft Johannesburg Central Branch 2006 BGMs and BECs (Tables) Draft Johannesburg Central Branch 2006 Full Combined Schedule (Table) Draft SACP Johannesburg District Political Education Sub-Committee 2006 Programme Target: 50,000 Leading Cadres in 5 years: How to get there, Tweedie, 2005 Global Exchange Appeal on behalf of Father Jean-Juste (243 words)

14 January 2006

These things are still happening

The SACP’s mass rally on Sunday in Khutsong coincides with ANC election campaign launches in Soweto and in Mogale City, as well as many other places. Click here for details. There will be an all-day Joe Slovo memorial event in COSATU House (10th floor) on January 25th organised by the Chris Hani Institute. More details later. Other Links: Ugly American, Quiet American - and Hugh Thompson, Counterpunch (795 words) COSATU condemns alleged assault (408 words) ZCTU under investigation – again (293 words) Singular Story of the Cuban Five, Counterpunch (2328 words)

13 January 2006

World Against Empire

The “opinion”, or “op-ed” columns of newspapers are open to people who write well and at the required length. Often this length is one thousand words. To help writers I have started to log the number of words in linked articles. For example, see Isobel Frye’s linked article from yesterday’s Business Day. The two pieces of writing from US blogs give a full picture of what is happening in Iraq right now. These bloggers are journalists – but anyone can start a blog, and it is very good writing practice. Another way to start writing is the new South African site at www.reporter.co.za . Registration there is free. They tell you how to write, and they even threaten to pay you for your writing. Hans Pienaar has written an article friendly to Bolivia in Johannesburg’s Star. The last item is a statement from PUDEMO. Taken all together today’s items give a good picture of a world in the process of uniting against empire. Events: This weekend’s YCL National Meeting will be followed by a Press Conferences on Sunday, January 15th, at 12h00 in COSATU House, Braamfontein. Click here for more details. Also on Sunday the 15th, from 10h00, at Khutsong Stadium, there will be a mass rally in the cause of the people of Merafong. Click here for further details. Other Links: Only One Economy, Isobel Frye, Business Day (937 words) Crude Designs on Iraq, Helena Cobban, Just World News (946 words) Formula for Slaughter, Michael Schwartz, Tomdispatch (2829 words) Che Guevara Lives, Hans Pienaar, The Star (1058 words) Swaziland conjuncture, PUDEMO (661 words)

12 January 2006

We demand the release of our comrades

COSATU speaks on Zim; COSATU, the YCL and SWAYOCO on Swaziland, and the SACP on its meeting with President-elect Evo Morales of Bolivia. Comrade Lucky Lukhele’s strong letter was published in the Johannesburg Star. Lucky further writes: “Dear Comrades, PUDEMO Deputy Secretary-General Cde. KP Shongwe will be on the SAFM “AM Live” programme tomorrow the 12th of January 2006 on the after 8 show, hosted by John Perlman. The show starts at 8:00am to 8:30am. Please Comrades, call and voice your anger to the animal called Mswati.” Other reports on the Swaziland arrests have appeared on Reuters and Mail and Guardian Online Links: YCL and SWAYOCO condemn arrest of Swazi 15 (837 words) COSATU statement on arrest of IB Dlamini and others (176 words) SACP Statement on meeting with Evo Morales of Bolivia (362 words) Solidarity with the Zimbabwe trade unions, COSATU (497 words) World turns blind eye to modern royal slavery, Lucky, Star (370 words)

11 January 2006

New for Peace, Old for War

Evo is in SA. We have reports from Prensa Latina and the BBC, and pre-arrival comment from the Star. The ANC’s full January 8th Statement (different from the Local Election Manifesto and from President Mbeki’s speech introducing both documents) is a full-dress political statement from the ANC on the National Democratic Revolution and the way forward, including the programme for the whole of 2006. After the local elections the next quarter will be dedicated to youth and the third quarter will be dedicated to the women. The fourth quarter will be dedicated to branch-building. The Communist University will not argue with those themes. In the Business Day the representatives of the imperialist bourgeoisie in South Africa are making war talk against Zimbabwe. Yesterday’s sensation was the revelation of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s fabulously extravagant shopping holiday to Abu Dhabi. Will she lose the DA’s support? Not really. Not yet. Links: 1. Mbeki Hails Evo Morales, Prensa Latina (1 page) 2. Morales visits S Africa, BBC News (1 page) 3. New Bolivian head on visit to learn from SA, Star (1 page) 4. January 8th 2006 94th Anniversary Statement of the ANC (12 pages) 5. SA monopoly bourgeoisie beating war drums, Business Day (1 page) 6. DA slams Mlambo-Ngcuka gravy plane holiday, M and G (1 page)

10 January 2006

Evo in SA Today

Evo Morales visits South Africa today. Unfortunately we don’t know what time he is arriving. Otherwise we would have gone out to Johannesburg International Airport to meet him with our banners. At least we are happy that he is going to meet our leaders including SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande and Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin. Our government consulted the people and then over-rode the people’s will in Merafong and Matatiele. The people are going to the Constitutional Court. See below concerning the fund-raising for this challenge. The YCL and SWAYOCO have issued a call to a press conference tomorrow about the wave of arrests of PUDEMO and SWAYOCO militants in Swaziland by the king’s political police. Links: Merafong Demarcation Fund (1 page) Matatiele fights border change, Business Day (1 page) YCL and SWAYOCO press conference 11th Jan re arrests (1 page)

9 January 2006

Here we go

There is a new, dedicated ANC Local Elections 2006 web site. It has place for the Manifesto (see below, together with Guardian article by Andrew Meldrum), the candidates, speeches, statements, diary of events, and campaign material. Helena Cobban, the distinguished US journalist, mentioned my name for giving her a link to Evo Morales’ great “I believe only in the power of the people” speech. It is on her “Just World News” blog here. I read that blog every day. Helena kindly gives a link back to the CU web site. Today is the day that http://www.reporter.co.za/ goes live. In case you didn’t notice my previous mention of it, let me explain. It is an initiative of the media group that includes the Sunday Times and the Sowetan, among others. It allows you to be a reporter or just to report your events, directly on line. It also gives some very good advice on writing. Registration is free. It is well worth doing. Below is the Communist University draft programme for 2006. Feedback will be welcome. Mikis Theodorakis is a famous Greek Communist writer. The linked article is about a shocking new wave of anti-communism in the “Council of Europe”. In the document you will find a link to the offending document and to a petition against it that you can sign on-line, and pass on to others to sign. Links: 1. ANC 2006 Local Election Manifesto (6 pages) 2. Mbeki unveils 37bn pound spending plan for poor, Guardian (1 page) 3. 2006 Study Group Draft Programme (1 page) 4. Theodorakis on Anti-Communist Memorandum, MLToday (2 pages)

8 January 2006

Real Democracy

Here is another in the occasional series of “Revolutionary Classics”. This time it’s about the Paris Commune of 1871. Suggestions for future texts in this series are welcome. The number of shack-dwellers in South Africa is rising faster with each passing year. It looks like the rate of increase of shacks is approaching 500 per day, while the number of shacks in Gauteng alone may be three-quarters of a million by now. Links: Civil War in France, C5, Paris Commune (8 pages) The rise and rise of SA shacks, Pressly, M and G (1 page)

7 January 2006

Slow Train

Evo Morales is going to be in South Africa next week, and he will meet SACP General Secretary Dr Blade Nzimande and Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin, among others. This much is confirmed by the Peter Fabricius article in Friday’s Johannesburg Star. Concerning Ariel Sharon - Israelis themselves, no doubt, know him best. Here is a response by one of them. The Gautrain suddenly looks doubtful again. Maybe the requirement that it should show how it is integrated with other transport was a trap - because it never was integrated and it cannot be. Any late addition of this kind will only be a pretence. Maybe the Government is going to put the monster boondoggle to sleep after all. Lastly, a good letter from the Mail and Guardian about the old-regime institution called the Human Science Research Council (HSRC). What kind of animal is it, exactly? Links (5) 1. Morales to SA, Roelf Meyer did it, Fabricius, The Star (2 pages) 2. Sharon Meets His Maker, Gilad Atzmon, Counterpunch (1 page) 3. Gautrain running late as financial talks grind on, B Day (1 page) 4. Gautrain boondoggle stalled for minor details, Star (1 page) 5. Mangcu, the real issue, Southall, Mail and Guardian (1 page)

6 January 2006

Swaziland Jailings (extra)

I have been told, but can’t confirm, that the Secretary General of PUDEMO, Ignatius Bonginkosi Dlamini, has been arrested during the Christmas holidays and charged with High Treason, an offence which may be punished by the death sentence in Swaziland. This follows other arrests of PUDEMO comrades in recent weeks. The situation will no doubt become clearer in due course. In the mean time, here is a statement from PUDEMO, previously signed by the same Comrade Dlamini, a statement by the Australian representative of PUDEMO, Dr Jabulane Matsebula, and a statement issued in Johannesburg by Comrade Lucky Lukhele, representing Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN). Links (3): 1. 12 PUDEMO members charged with High treason (4 pages) 2. PUDEMO arrests, overview, Dr J Matsebula (2 pages) 3. SSN Statement on arrest and torture of PUDEMO activists (1 page)

Axis of Good

Evo Morales visited Spain and Venezuela. Linked reports are from Granma, Prensa Latina, and The Star. Links (5) 1. We are forming the axis of good, Chavez, Granma (1 page) 2. Venezuela to supply Bolivia with diesel, Granma (1 page) 3. Spain Forgives Part of Bolivian Debt, Prensa Latina (1 page) 4. Leftist sentiment cemented in Latin America, The Star (1 page) 5. Aid to Bolivia, Peru's Ollanta Humala, Venezuelanalysis (2 pages)

5 January 2006

Empire on its way out

James Tweedie sent me the linked article from Louis Proyect’s Marxmail (http://www.marxmail.org/ ) about Evo Morales’s visit to Cuba. The other linked article is a “devil’s dictionary” of colonial euphemisms in use in Israel/Palestine. Arial Sharon had another stroke last night. He is 77. Links (2): 1. Evo Morales, visit to Cuba, Proyect (3 pages) 2. Hiding Behind Words, de Rooij, Counterpunch (8 pages)

4 January 2006

Chinese Puzzle

What is going to happen about Chinese goods this year? Is there a bilateral Sino-SA agreement in the offing, which we need? Or will there be a continuing messy situation as suggested in the linked Reuters article? Links (1): SA rails against tsunami of Chinese goods, Business Day (2 pages)

2 January 2006

Allies for Liberation

The Communist University has been encouraging people all along to write, and it has been publishing their writing. Now there is something called www.reporter.co.za/ , belonging to Johncom Media (which owns the Sunday Times and the Sowetan, among other publications). You can register for nothing. Just give your name, an e-mail address, a phone number and a password. They even say they will pay for your work if they use it. We should encourage people to use such opportunities to the full, and try to get some good stories, poems and articles into the media this way. You can also announce your events through this channel. The Communist University has had the privilege of being able to circulate some of Father Joe Falkiner’s writing before now – on Gramsci, for example. When I asked his advice about Liberation Theology, has was kind enough to write a brief but very deep summary of what I take to be the heart of the matter – the rediscovery of an “option for the poor” and a liberatory history within the very Scriptures themselves. He also found a brief history of Liberation Theology by Boff and Boff, tow of the main original protagonists. I have put the two articles together. Another comrade who receives this circulation is Mojalefa Musi. He had a good, long letter published in the City Press on New Year’s Day – but the City Press has not put it up on the Internet. I guess in any case that the letter has been cut from a longer article. It is about the deeper implications of the Merafong protests. I would like to have it and distribute it. There is an article by ANCYL President Fikile Mbalula in that issue of the City Press, also not on the Internet. Does the City Press think its readers don’t use Internet? I wonder why they think that? Links (1): 1. 2006, Falkiner, L and C Boff, Liberation Theology and Scripture (8 pages)

Morales - Our Struggle is Against US Imperialism

How many thought that comrade President Evo Morales, elected President of Bolivia on December 18th, would stay at home and not be heard of for a while? Instead, he went quickly overseas to Cuba, and now wants to arrange visits to other countries including South Africa, Brazil, and China. Nor is he shy to say exactly what is on his mind. He speaks boldly and clearly, simply and briefly. He names the culprits and he says “I believe only in the power of the people.” This is a lovely man. This is a man worthy of the position of the first indigenous South American head of state, in the first South American “Uhuru”, after, as he says, not 350, but 500 years! More than one and a half centuries earlier Karl Marx was writing the series of articles (for a magazine in New York) which became the book “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”. Here is an extract. It is the first of our occasional “Revolutionary Classics” for 2006. Links (2): 1. Morales, Our Struggle is Against US Imperialism, Counterpunch (2 pages) 2. 1852, Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (16 pages)