31 March 2006

One World

Tonight the Communist University convenes at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, to discuss “The working class as the leading motive force for developmental local government” by SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, plus excerpts from “Women and Resistance in South Africa” by Cheryl Walker. Next week, on Friday, April 7th, we will convene at the same time and place to discuss the late, great Evelyn Reed’s address on “Women – Caste, Class or Oppressed Sex”. Luli Callinicos, the illustrious author of the new biography of the late Oliver Tambo (and many other works) has kindly agreed to open the discussion. See link below. Please mobilise for this session - it is a good text and a good opportunity to interact with an outstanding educator. Today’s big South African working-class action news is the announcement of COSATU’s strike campaign against the boondoggle Gautrain. See linked item below. COSATU Gauteng Provincial Secretary Siphiwe Mgcina explains clearly the case for a different course of action, as he did yesterday on the radio. The famous Professor Issa Shivji of Dar-es-Salaam has kindly sent us the (linked) text below on Pan-Africanism and Imperialism. This is not the South African version of pan-Africanism. It is Nkrumah’s proposal that a unity of anti-Imperialist action was (and still is) required to defend Africa so that it can develop in peace towards socialism. Comrade Moloantoa Molaba has sent the linked item below, about child labour in Mumbai, India. He wrote: “I just can’t overcome my disgust. Any comrade that has more info on this slavery or any related material conditions that gave rise to parents actively handing over their kids, please let’s share.” The Stop the War Coalition based in London is the best organised movement against the war in Iraq and related conflicts, in the world. The (linked) e-mailed announcement of their annual conference, with a brief report of the year’s actions, is worth reading as an instruction on how to organise such movements. Links: 1970, Reed, Evelyn, Women - Caste, Class or Oppressed Sex (5584 words) COSATU to strike against Gautrain (981 words) Pan-Africanism or Imperialism revised, Issa Shivji, Dar (6000 words) Young slaves of Mumbai, Anapuma Katakam, Frontline (2034 words) Stop the War Coalition Newsletter re 5th Annual Conference (694 words)

30 March 2006


The story about “stun belts” reported on the blog “Lenin’s Tomb” is amazing but not over-stated. He uses the word “barbarism”, quite rightly. See link. Justin Raimondo reports the horrible Mustafa mosque slaying by US troops. The linked article is valuable for this alone. As to his further remarks about escalation, read and judge for yourself. Sabir Abu Saad’s article on Dar fur is an original publication here on the Communist University. Thank you Comrade Sabir. It is an honour for us. A great article. See link. The US method of menacing countries using exclusion lists or otherwise “watch lists” is demonstrated by the article on Bolivia from Granma International. Thanks to Comrade Carmen Baez for sending that one. See link. Two days ago there was hardly any news. Now we have to have two distributions in one day. It is a heavy time of class struggle, make no mistake about it. Anton Harber’s article from yesterday’s Business Day is a little lighter in tone, mocking the spooks over the e-mail farce – but also casually owning up to his point of view that anything goes in the anti-Zuma cause. See the linked item. Steve Bell’s cartoon characterises the British national strike of government and local authority employees this week. The rats in the cartoon represent little Blairs. Finally, our hosts Constitution Hill announce “Heritage Lekgotlas” for April 7 and May 5. These are good events but you have to book. Links: Stunning, Lenins Tomb (591 words) War in Iraq about to escalate, Justin Raimondo, Antiwar (1512 words) The Dilemmas of Dar fur conflict, Sabir Abu Saadia (2620 words) Washington opening another front in Bolivia, Granma International (1072 words) I prefer the bunglers, Anton Harber, Business Day (751 words)

The Class in Action

COSATU’s Jobs and Poverty Campaign never went away. Last year’s general strikes were only the first part of the campaign. There is much more to come. See the link for a long list of Free State and Northern Cape actions, with contact details. Likewise in North West. See linked document (Jobs and Poverty Campaign information is down page). SACTWU pickets today in Cape Town and Pretoria against the WTO – see link for details. CWU has issued a short letter to Telkom. This is very instructive to students of negotiation. See link, read and learn. NALEDI (COSATU’s think-tank) is hosting a forum of African labour research on 4th and 5th of April. See link. There is a press conference tomorrow at 11h00 in COSATU House, Braamfontein to explain why COSATU is opposed to the boondoggle Gautrain. There will be a separate distribution today of items other than these. Links: COSATU Jobs and Poverty Campaign Free State, N Cape (table) COSATU statement on North West legislature and related (447 words) SACTWU to protest against NAMA WTO negotiations (174 words) CWU substantive negotiation with Telkom (302 words) African Labour Research Network Multi-stakeholder Forum (324 words)

29 March 2006

Bourgeois Imperial Atrocities

The Johannesburg YCL will be meeting this evening in the Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison, to discuss Amilcar Cabral’s “Weapon of Theory”. Next Wednesday, April 5th at the same time and place, they will be discussing Lenin’s Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, written in 1919. See link below. In Afghanistan and Iraq killing by US troops goes on in unspeakable ways. See the linked articles, both from US sources. In another part of Iraq, 40 men were shot dead by the US troops in a mosque. These atrocities are being reported daily. The French national strike has been massive. It is against the introduction of an idea that we in South Africa are familiar with – the “dual labour market” of Jabu Moloketi. That plan was thrown out of the ANC National General Council in July last year. No doubt the SA bourgeoisie would make another attempt at forcing this thing upon us, given half a chance. There is a similar plan afoot from the Australian government. With an Aussie sense of mockery, they call “Work Choices”! The idea is only to deny job security to young people, and pay to them less. This would create a cheap, quick-hire-and-fire casual labour force which could then be used to undermine organised labour. Wherever workers are well organised, they will be threatened with replacement, or actually replaced, with young casuals. The workers would be divided and the two parts would be pitted against each other, mothers and fathers against sons and daughters. The fight of the French and of the Australian workers is our fight. Charles Taylor, former leader of Liberia, accused of many crimes, went into exile in Nigeria to allow new elections to take place. This was by virtue of an agreement brokered by the African Union (AU). Now that the US-favoured candidate (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf) has won the elections, the US has forced Nigeria to agree to hand Taylor over for a show trial. This undermines the credibility of any future AU/NEPAD brokerage attempts. Why would anyone trust them again? It also creates the very “winners and losers” scenario that the deal was designed to avoid. It puts peace at risk again. Charles Taylor has meanwhile gone missing. Do not be surprised if he resurfaces in Liberia with an armed force behind him. Do not be surprised if US and other imperial coalition troops go in, and possibly even white mercenaries, as was the case in Sierra Leone. Links: Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Lenin, 1919 (6900 words) The Fifth Afghan War, Brian Cloughley, Counterpunch (2254 words) US Reign of Terror in Iraq, Justin Raimondo, Antiwar (1678 words)

28 March 2006

Foucault Again

The Johannesburg Central Branch of the Young Communist League continues its political education classes tomorrow with Amilcar Cabral’s “The Weapon of Theory”, an address that was given by this great African liberation movement leader at the famous “Tricontinental” Conference held in Havana, Cuba, forty years ago. Che Guevara was also present and spoke at the conference. See the link below. The Chris Hani Institute has announced a two-day political school to be held on April 10th and 11th. The programme is not final. Speakers have not all confirmed. Nor is the venue stated. See link below. The ANC National Executive Committee met over the last weekend and has now issued its statement, touching on the recent election and e-mail controversies (linked). COSATU solidly backs the TELKOM workers and the security guards organised by SATAWU (linked). There are also COSATU-supported actions at Kalgold mine in the Northern Cape and at Goodyear in Port Elizabeth. Once again the unvarnished, comprehensive (linked) report given yesterday on the Friends of Jacob Zuma web site is likely to prove far better than the other media. Three NGOs attempted to intervene and practically to take the rape trial over on the grounds that they must tell the court about “general power relations”. The prosecution and the complainant opposed this most vigorously. So, naturally, did the defense. The judge sent the would-be “Friends of the Court” away with a flea in their ear. It was an extraordinary manifestation of some people’s passionate belief in the theory of abstract power relations (principally identified with the French philosopher Michel Foucault). This theory rejects the dialectical understanding of historical progress, including class struggle, and challenges the humanist rationalism upon which modern society, even if bourgeois, has rested up to now. The emphatic repudiation of Foucauldian theory in a South African court by combined force of prosecution and defense, complainant and accused, and Judge van der Merwe, is a more-than-somewhat historical moment. There is to be an Architecture Seminar at Wits University’s John Moffatt Building on April 4th at 17h30 on “Community-based planning in the context of Integrated Development Planning”. Links: Amilcar Cabral, The Weapon of Theory, 1966 (7710 words) Chris Hani Two Day Political School April 10-11 SACP Gauteng (2-page timetable) Statement of the ANC NEC, March 26th 2006 (771 words) COSATU backs Telkom and security guard struggles (617 words) NGOs lose application to intervene in rape trial, Friends of JZ (1379 words)

27 March 2006

Lest We Forget

The Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP held a large, lively and successful meeting yesterday and got through a lot of business. This mailing’s principal general guideline is political education, limited by the necessity to be brief. If there is spare space it is used for announcements of events, new writing, press releases and other direct communications from allied and fraternal bodies, and for a selection of news, if there is any. Sometimes there is very little news. This weekend has been uneventful, with one main exception. The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC has been meeting. Reports of its proceedings will presumably surface today. Also, the confection called the “orange” revolution in Ukraine has gone sour. That's not a surprise The CU receives at least 30 spam messages on an average day. “Hoax e-mails” are not seen as anything to get excited about, here. In any case, trying to get a handle on spook business is about as sensible as rushing to grab a greasy pig while wearing oven gloves and flip flops: a waste of time and space, and messy, too. Accordingly, we revive the occasional series of Revolutionary Classics with “The Critique of the Gotha Programme”, by Karl Marx. In this (linked) document is found a discussion of the tactical and strategic conditions for alliance among ostensibly socialist and proletarian forces. The other linked document is Chris Floyd’s piece on the slaughter of innocents by US forces in the Iraqi village of Isahaqi. Floyd challenges: “anyone who knows these facts, who sees these facts, and fails to cry out against them…” et cetera. It could not be passed over. Links: 1875, Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (8315 words) Death in an Iraqi Village, Chris Floyd, Counterpunch (1088 words)

26 March 2006

Human Rights

Cuba paid close attention to the machinations of the USA around the destruction of the old UN Commission on Human Rights, and the creation of the new UN Human Rights Council. Therefore the Cuban Permanent Mission to the UN knows as much as about it as any other possible source. Although they voted for the new body, the Cubans took care to explain the unsatisfactory nature of what has happened. Therefore it is a privilege to be able to pass on the two brief attached documents (linked below) from that mission, so that the low base from which this new UN body must now move forward is well understood. The true position of the United States in relation to human rights is shown by their handling of the World Baseball Classic. The inaugural tournament played recently was the first in which all the baseball-playing countries had competed equally. The USA at first tried to prevent the Cubans from playing. They cited a US law that forbids trade with Cuba to say that it would be illegal for them to take part, since they were going to be paid. Sport in Cuba is still what used to be called “amateur” until mercenary, bourgeois “professionalism” corrupted all sport in capitalist countries in recent years. Cubans believe in playing sport for love. So the Cubans said, all right, we will donate all our fees and winnings to the victims of Hurricane Katrina (mainly in New Orleans and adjacent parts of the State of Louisiana). That’s how it was settled, and the Cubans played and went all the way to the final (the USA was knocked out early). Japan won the final but the Cuban winnings in cash terms were still considerable. Now the US officials can’t bear to accept the money! In effect, to save their pride, they are going to steal the money from its rightful owners, who are the Katrina victims. So much for the US attitude to human rights. Links: Explanation of Cuban vote for UN Human Rights Council (958 words) Cuban reply to USA in UN debate on Human Rights Council (618 words)

25 March 2006

Op Ed Hegemony

Johannesburg Central SACP Branch meets tomorrow morning at 10h00 in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Harrison and Loveday. Comrades of Johannesburg Central, this is important. COSATU’s Pat Craven has responded to Devan Pillay in the Business Day Letters – see link below. In her regular “op-ed” (opinion piece) COSATU’s Neva Makgetla describes class struggle in the (supposed to be) collaborationist corridors of NEDLAC, over BEE charters – another link. Terry Bell is Business Report’s token representative for labour. He is in a reflective mood about his role in life – see link. And in another op-ed, Stuart Wilson of the Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) rubbishes the bleats of the “worried” bourgeoisie – link. The amount of text we manage to get published in the op-ed columns of the bourgeois press is one measure of the success of the Communist University and similar initiatives. We naturally have better and more exciting ideas. We are the pioneers, whereas the bourgeois intellectuals are the reactionaries - derivative and secondary by nature. We can do a lot better than we already do. Hats off to Craven, Makgetla, Bell and Wilson, but there are not enough of them. And by the way, these ones are all white. We need a lot more commentators in the proletarian mould, and a lot more black ones in particular. In terms of reports of actions, (as opposed to reflection or “analysis”) there are a lot at present and the volume seems to be increasing. For example this from COSATU, Mpumalanga: “The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) will be picketing against all major retailers in Mpumalanga on the 25 March 2006, beginning at 08h00 – 13h00 as part of its Jobs & Poverty campaign.” There is also a major political statement from SADTU’s NEC as well as reports of militant strike action on Thursday and Friday in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg by shockingly underpaid security guards, organised by SATAWU. As class struggle intensifies, the Communist University will increasingly be forced to summarise such reports. Google News is a good source of up-to-date reports. Links: COSATU stand, reply to Pillay letter by Craven, Business Day (328 words) BEE codes for development, not elites, Makgetla, Business Day (724 words) This column is about reflection, not advocacy, Terry Bell, B Rep (790 words) Bottom line rights, not quick profit, Stuart Wilson, Business Day (859 words)

24 March 2006

Friends and Interests

This evening at 17h00 the Communist University convenes at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, to discuss “What future for the family” by Jennie Bristow. Next week, unless otherwise advised, we will discuss “The working class as the leading motive force for developmental local government” by SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, from Umsebenzi Online. See link below. A letter of from Sandile Memela (of Vorna Valley) went out on Wednesday. It lashed the commentariat of “independent experts” very eloquently. A reader has pointed out that Memela, once a free spirit, nowadays takes the government’s shilling at the Department of Arts and Culture. He didn’t “declare his interest”. Now it is declared. The Jacob Zuma trial reconvened briefly yesterday. The prosecution rested its case without calling the remaining 28 of its listed 35 witnesses. The defense gave notice that it will ask for police evidence to be ruled inadmissible when the court sits again on Monday, and subsequent to that will ask for a summary acquittal with all costs to be born by the state. Monday and Tuesday may be taken up with presentation and argument around this application. The defense expects an acquittal by Wednesday. The Tenth Trade Union International of Public and Allied Employees took place in Johannesburg in recent days, without any fanfare. It was a world congress and produced considerable documentation, which is archived in downloadable form on the web site (linked below). It will not be sent as attachments because it is too much. Note that the resolutions include a good one on the Cuban Five, a long one on Swaziland, and a pro-Mugabe one on Zimbabwe. It is good to read this material as a case study of the transactions of an international trade union gathering. South Africa’s Abdul Minty, once the Honorary Secretary of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, is a world expert on nuclear matters. In a short article the Business Day reports his warning that the US stance on Iran is deceptive and that any military action against Iran would be disastrous. This article (linked below) is coupled with a welcome Business Day report that the Basque ETA organisation has declared a unilateral permanent cease-fire in its dispute with the Spanish government. Full particulars on the history behind the crazy US threats on Iran can be found on Counterpunch here. Another good article on the subject, from Antiwar.com, is here. The Transnet dispute is a major front for the South African working class in its struggle against privitisation. The linked report below gives some detail on the current situation there. And in the Business Report, the ever-watchful Ann Crotty exposes the shallow excises give for “import-parity pricing” whereby South African manufacturers get to charge higher prices on the grounds that the import price is higher than the local. Crazy logic. See link. Getting back to “declaration of interests”, the linked SACP statement concerns government officials and representatives who hold business interests on the side, secretly or otherwise. On Thursday, March 30th, there will be a “Conversation” with George Bizos at Constitution Hill at 18h30. Links: Umsebenzi Online, V5-53, working class leading force for local development (2492 words) X Congress of TUI of Public and Allied Employees, Jhb (archive) Minty on Iran, plus Basque ETA cease-fire, Business Day (640 words) Transnet unions claim first round, Faniso, Business Report (514 words) Import-parity pricing not a global practice, Crotty, B Report (464 words) SACP on Auditor General on declaration of business interests (318 words)

23 March 2006

Defiance And The System

The YCL launched its Defiance Campaign last Sunday at a rally in Bloemfontein. The defiance is against the capitalist South African system. In consequence of this, and in addition to it, the YCL rejected the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA) announced by government earlier this year. Use the link below to access the full document including the YCL’s ten specific demands. Stephen Friedman is the principal “independent analyst” (bourgeois ideologue) of South Africa and the model for all the others. He begins every piece like a teacher, with a little summary of the day’s lesson in one sentence – a homily. It is usually about what “we” should be doing. Yesterday’s (linked) sermon was about why delivery should be put on the back burner and service brought to the boil. The Apartheid Museum is a strenuous experience. It attempts to describe our history from prehistoric times and to give a definitive version of the freedom struggle. It does quite well with this impossible task. One crucial moment is described as “the turn to the masses”, dated 1976. In fact, the masses were always at the centre of the struggle and particularly in the years preceding 1976, such as the 1973 strike wave and the pre-‘76 leaflet-launching and banner-unfurling activities of Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee, for example. But the general point is made: that it is only the turn to mass struggle that makes politics go forward. This is the step that Friedman does not want to take in 2006, or ever again. SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande in the current Umsebenzi Online contrasts utilitarian delivery with creative development driven by mass democratic involvement. Prof. Friedman can only manage to move from one blandishment (delivery) to another (service). He is a conservative, while Dr Nzimande is a revolutionary. Devan Pillay is another kind of intellectual. He wants to bash COSATU, so as to decorate his CV with “independent” credentials. Therefore he will bash COSATU if they do, or if they don’t, and he is not fussy about facts (see link). If he had taken a few moments he would have been able to find out that his charge that COSATU has been silent is not true. In that case he would no doubt have hit them for violating “sub judice”. It is very clear that his ingratiating letter is only an unprincipled “distancing” exercise, and is all about positioning Pillay for his next career leap. Bye-bye, Devan. See you on your way down again! A variation on the theme of intellectuals in the bourgeois media is demonstrated by Dumisani Muleya’s linked article. This one is not bad at all, as it happens. He is correct that the Zimbabwean working class and peasantry need a vanguard leadership along the lines recommended by Lenin. Whereas what they have got is more like the Mensheviks, Cadets, and Essaires. Thank you, Business Day! Another fine example of sometimes truth-speaking bourgeois media is Antiwar.com, and especially the thunderous Paul Craig Roberts, whose words are as vivid as the fictional Elmer Gantry’s, but a lot more serious. See link. Links: YCL criticises ASGISA and launches Defiance Campaign (1179 words) Delivery fetish obscures deeper meaning, Friedman, B Day (837 words) Devan Pillay says, Shame on COSATU, Letters, Business Day (327 words) Opposition shambles sets back Zim struggle, Muleya, B Day (696 words) No more Americans, Paul Craig Roberts, Antiwar (909 words)

22 March 2006

March 21, 1933, and what followed

Twenty-seven years before the Sharpeville massacre, on March 21, 1933, the first German concentration camp was set up for the purpose of interning Communists, because “the moment they were released, they started their agitation again.” See the link below from the archives of the Guardian newspaper. Sandile Memela is a journalist but the linked item of his below is a letter to a newspaper for which he is not working. He is fed up with the plague of wishful-thinking “independent analysts” who fill the papers full of nonsense, especially before, during and after elections. Paul Craig Roberts is on fire as a writer. In the linked article he lambastes G W Bush and the whole neocon gang. The sting of his words is all the sharper for the fact that he is not of the “left”. Chalmers Johnson is known to us as a developmental theorist but he was also, on his own admission, a “Cold Warrior”. Now in his old age, he has become a merciless critic of the US Empire as he sees it, and it is very interesting to read him, even if the linked interview with Tom Engelhardt is long. This is an insider speaking. Here is a short excerpt: “… there are many people who believe that the thrust of the Cold War even as it began, especially in the National Security Council's grand strategy document, NSC68, rested on the clear understanding of late middle-aged Americans who had lived through the Great Depression that the American economy could not sustain itself on the basis of capitalist free enterprise.” In other words the people who rule the USA are conscious Imperialists, in Lenin’s sense if the word. In private they had fully abandoned “free enterprise” even while, for anti-communist propaganda purposes, they increased their verbal allegiance to it. Not for the first time, one gets the impression that our enemies are reading exactly the same books as we are. The difference is that their intentions are not good. Their intentions are as bad and as disastrous as can be. Links: 1933, Communists to be interned in Dachau, Guardian archive (448 words) Tell us the truth or shut up, Sandile Memela, Letters, The Star (613 words) Bush Delusional, US not God, Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch (992 words) Tom Engelhardt interview with Chalmers Johnson, Part 1 (4806 words)

21 March 2006

No Blank Pages

From COSATU yesterday: “The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) informs you that two consultants from the Netherlands trade union federation the FNV, who were visiting the ZCTU, were detained on arrival at the Harare International Airport today Sunday 19 March 2003. (Names: Jeff Handmaker and Bangane Ngeleza) And: “The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the reported re-arrest of opposition leader Mario Masuku in Swaziland. If true this action further confirms that the Swazi dictatorship hold human rights and the arguments of progressive forces throughout the world in contempt.” It is sad to report these things on Sharpeville Day, now called Human Rights Day, 46 years after 69 unarmed people were shot dead while demonstrating in front of the Sharpeville Police Station. “Blank pages in history should not be allowed,” wrote Comrade Mzala. The linked document is the text of an address given by SACP Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Cronin, on the 15th anniversary of the death of “Comrade Mzala”, known by many names, born Jabulani Nxumalo. The Communist University Mzala Archive is here. Constitution Hill has events today. Their small flyer is transcribed here. It mentions nothing about Sharpeville. Is Sharpeville becoming a "blank page"? Tomorrow at Constitution Hill there is to be a “public dialogue” around the question: “Is the Law Just?”. Next week on Tuesday on Constitution Hill there is a seminar on “Ex-combatants as Peace Promoters”. See linked documents for full details. Such events are at least educational. Communist University people should avail themselves of these opportunities if they possibly can. In France, huge demonstrations are to be followed by a national general strike against the introduction of a “dual labour market” along the lines of the one planned by SA Deputy Finance Minister but emphatically rejected by the ANC’s National General Council in July 2005. In San Diego, California, Cuba is playing Japan in the final of the World Baseball Classic. Links: Blank pages in history should not be allowed - Cronin on Mzala (5576 words) Is the Law just, 2006-03-22, Con Hill, 18h00, public dialogue (notice) Promoting Peace, 2006-03-28, Con Hill, 17h00, seminar (notice)

19 March 2006

Threats To Justice

Jeremy Gordin knows a lot about the Zuma rape case. On the same day that the complainant contacted the Sunday Times last November, she also contacted Gordin and told him that it was not true that Jacob Zuma had raped her, and that he could print her name. What she said to him then was: "I have no idea where these stories come from. My family have long been friends with Zuma and I often stay [at his home]. And I have repeatedly said that none of this has happened to me". Gordin has attended the trial throughout. He is not exactly “pro-Zuma”. His position is: Let the trial proceed to its end. In the linked article today he knocks down some of the loose statements that have been made outside the court, particularly by the over-enthusiastic anti-rape campaigners who have already concluded that Zuma is guilty. These latter now appear to include the “Chapter Nine” Commission for Gender Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as the Public Protector. The HRC’s Jody Kollapen thinks: “we simply take for granted what a fair trial means” (see linked). This is an absurd statement. A huge part of the population and its representative organisations have been campaigning for years for the principle that all should be held innocent until proved guilty in a proper court of law, and that a person must “have his day in court”. The HRC was obviously not listening. Perhaps Mr Kollapen will announce on Human Rights Day (Tuesday) that he now thinks all that court stuff is out of date. And is to be replaced by what? Trial by Dinner Party? Trial by Ordeal, with Scorpions? If the three constitutional “Chapter Nine” institutions attempt to make a concerted intervention in court proceedings during a trial they could cause a constitutional crisis. The constitutional court judges, as we know, think there are principles of which they are the guardians, and which are higher than the people’s will. We have managed to live with this legal fiction up to now. But if the constitution’s institutions turn against the courts and begin to consume the very fabric of the law itself, then the constitutionalist game is up. It has reached its “reductio ad absurdum”. As for the Scorpions/NPA: Oh dear! What a sorry spectacle is their paid hack Makhosini Nkosi, a man who turned his journalist’s coat to become a mercenary for the goggas, and now dissembles, blusters and threatens on their behalf against elected officials of democratic institutions. See the last sentence of the linked article. Nkosi “will no longer brook”, he says. And what is it he is going to do with his brooks off, to our good comrade David Masondo? Raid his humble dwelling and confiscate his computer, his TV and his sound system? Or make an appointment to talk, turn up with TV crews, handcuff him in front of the cameras and take him away in a screaming cop-car, only to release him again when out of sight? It is high time the NPA/Scorpions were disbanded. They are a public disgrace. Links: Let tragedy not obscure sight of justice, Gordin, Sindy (1116 words) Commissions to interfere with Zuma trial, da Costa, Sindy (573 words) Paid Hack Nkosi threatens YCL elected Chairperson Masondo (895 words)

Women's Organisation Then And Now

We had a good peace demonstration in Johannesburg yesterday, small, but perfectly formed, the kind that people remember for a long time. It was part of a world-wide uprising of demonstrations in hundreds of cities. Let us hope that now we can build a proper independent and democratic mass movement for peace and against imperialism in South Africa. Further to the ANC Today piece on the Progressive Women’s Movement (PWM) Steering Committee launched on March 8th, linked below is an excerpt from “Women and Resistance in South Africa”, a very good book by Cheryl Walker, published in 1982. In particular the second part of the excerpt, called “The Membership Issue”, is very instructive. The Federation of South African Women (FSAW) was founded in 1954 with similar aims to those of the PWM. Although the external circumstances were different, the relationship between the FSAW and the ANC within the Alliance was fraught with problems that look very recognisable today. See the link below. It would be nice to have a statement from the ANC as to how the new PWM will avoid these problems that faced the FSAW more than 50 years ago. Links: FSAW NEC Problems and Membership Question, 1955. Walker (3259 words)

18 March 2006

Lobby and Movement

Today is the day of the pickets in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town. Click here for details. Come down and avail yourself of an opportunity to express yourself. The Pro-Israeli “Lobby” says: “You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level”. This quote is from the linked article below. It means that if you have infiltrated junior staff of an institution you can get a large part of what you want without even troubling to approach or sway its political masters. The State Department cleaners could procure a few targeted assassinations or “renditions”, say. The person in charge of the stationery cupboard might be able to organise a small bombing campaign. The PR department might “wag the dog” for a whole invasion. The article has caused a sensation in the USA, while the “Lobby” has gone into top gear to suppress it. It found no publisher in its own country and had to be printed in the London Review of Books. I am sorry for the length of it. It is a characteristic of US writing of all genres that it runs to a tedious length. But even if you just skim the article, by scrolling through it for a minute or two, you will get the idea. In ANC Today, on the ANC web site, there is an article about the Progressive Women’s Movement (PWM). It seems that some among us in the ANC see the PWM as a sort of females-only national-level ward committee. That is to say, not as a democracy, but as a representivity. Furthermore, as a representivity in which workers and their workers’ Party would have their leadership role diluted by bourgeois claims disguised under multiple headings. Workers would have one vote, or maybe two, while bourgeois interests would have an entrenched voting block of four or five times as many. But then, that’s the whole point of representivity. See linked article We shall see how much of this gerrymandering the South African masses will stomach. It is doubtful whether they will emulate the praise-singing flocks of dancing women who used to swear oaths of loyalty to the late Jomo Kenyatta. But stranger things have happened. For example, in the USA, Christians have become Zionists and women have become war criminals. Links: The Israel Lobby, Mearsheimer and Walt, LRB (12814) PWM voice for SA women, ANC Today (916 words)

17 March 2006

Crimes, Courts and Politics

Comrades, our veteran Johannesburg Central Comrade Esther Barsel’s flat was burgled yesterday morning while she was sleeping in her third-floor Yeoville flat, and expensive things were stolen. Although she is in her eighties, Esther is a hero and an example to us all. She was going to attend the CHI Swaziland Seminar today and the peace picket in Killarney on Saturday. She phoned to apologise! Recently, the SACP’s National Organiser had his hand broken while his car was being hijacked. Not long after that, COSATU’s driver and SSN’s organiser were shot at by hijackers at a robot. By good driving, they got away, but bullets hit the car. This thing of crime has become too much to tolerate. It has become a political problem. It touches the security of our organisations, and affects our freedom to operate as political people. There is no Communist University session today. The next one is next Friday, March 24th, and the topic is “What Future for the Family”, by Jennie Bristow. The venue, as usual, will be the Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill, and the time 17h00. That’s next week, not this week. Today there is a Chris Hani Institute Seminar on Swaziland in the Conference Room, 10th Floor, COSATU House, starting at 09h00. This is a major event involving COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi and SACP GS Blade Nzimande. It is a must for any Communist University student who can possibly attend. Tomorrow there are peace pickets in Cape Town, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. The Johannesburg Picket is at the US Consulate, 1 River Street, near Killarney Mall. There are going to be activities in 242 cities around the world this weekend to protest the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the USA, Britain, Denmark and their small allies. The petition linked below demands the closure of all arbitrary detention centres. Please read it and sign it before our Human Rights Day on March 21st, via the Internet links in the document. Organisations can also sign. If you need an extra slogan for Saturday, “Rice – War Criminal” is a possibility. See link. Anton Harber and Terry Bell have two different points of view about the use of courts in political campaigns. See links. The Zuma rape trial has been adjourned until next Thursday, March 23rd. It is expected that the defence will make an application to have the trial stopped on the grounds that the prosecution case is too weak to justify any further waste of the court’s time. Full reports of the four days of the trial this week are linked below. Comrades, we must think what to do for the security of our beloved Comrade Esther Barsel. She must now get quotes for burglar bars. She is not a well-off person. She does not want to be made a fuss of, she says. But, on the other hand, she does see that all these crimes have become a menace to us politically. Links: Cease hypocrisy on the issue of Human Rights, Petition (190 words) Zuma Rape Trial reports, Days 6 to 9, Friends of JZ (9615 words) Rice a war criminal, News24 (409 words) Bad idea to use courts to gag voices, Harber, Business Day (703 words) Rath and Company assault working class, Bell, Business Report (736 words)

15 March 2006

Leading Forces

SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s fortnightly “Red Alerts” stand out as markers of a broad and sure line of march. The latest one looks back at the recent local election, dealing with some of the trite and shallow press comment on the firm ANC victory. Then it looks forward and proposes a much more prominent and definite role for the organised working class in making creative development, as opposed to mere utilitarian delivery, the primary task of local government. These outstanding texts put anything that can be found on the op-ed pages of the bourgeois press in deep shade. See link below. The South African Young Communist League never does things by halves. Their National Committee meeting will not only be addressed by Comrade Nzimande, but also by Welshman Ncube. Gwede Mantashe and Bheki Ntshalintshali will address their mass rally. If you do not know who all these comrades are, it’s time you did. See the linked document. The YCL’s Defiance Campaign calls upon youth to do what they must do so as to seize the time and live their lives as they should: “fight against and defy the conditions that they live under”. The Swazi people also appear to be on their way and soon we should be hearing our Swazi comrades say, with more confidence every day: “Victory is Certain!” The Swazi Treason Trialists are out on bail, their prosecutors are in confusion, and “an ever growing number of international organisations” as the ICFTU’s General Secretary, Guy Rider says, are militating for a revolutionary change in Swaziland, from a tinpot “royal” autocracy, to the sovereign democracy that the brave and long-suffering Swazis deserve. See the linked ICFTU statement. Links: Umsebenzi Online, The working class as leading force for developmental local government (2492 words) YCL National Committee and Launch of Defiance Campaign (504 words) ICFTU campaigning for democracy in Swaziland – COSATU (286 words)

Swaziland, COSATU, YCL and action

There has been too much today to send in a single post. The first was mainly dedicated to the Peace Pickets on Saturday. This one also announces important events. On Friday, March 17th, from 09h00 until 14h00 on the 10th Floor of COSATU House the Chris Hani Institute will be holding a Seminar on Swaziland involving the three main components of the Alliance plus the Swaziland Solidarity Network. See linked schedule (download). Nobody is satisfied with a toy telephone. COSATU is not satisfied with the Parliamentary Budget Committee consultations that take place after all the important decisions have been taken. See link. Hilary Ojukwu has sent a link to “Frontline Africa”, a general political site about Africa. This evening at 17h00 the YCL political school is meeting at SATAWU Offices, 13th Floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison. The topic is the first three chapters of “State and Revolution”, by V I Lenin. Next week’s topic is Dialego’s (that is, John Hoffman’s) second part, on Dialectical Materialism. See link. Links: Chris Hani Institute Swaziland Seminar 060317, 09h00-14h00 (schedule) COSATU Response to the Chair of Parliament Budget Committee (476 words) Dialego, C2, What is Dialectical Materialism (4320 words)

For Peace, Against Imperialism

The press statement on the Pickets for Peace and Against Imperialism is attached. They will take place on Saturday, March 18th in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria. The Johannesburg one will be at the US Consulate near Killarney Mall. See linked document for details. There will be consultative meetings prior to the pickets, on Thursday, March 16th. Contrast and compare South Africa’s mobilisation with the London CPB’s Agitprop Leaflet, in PDF format, linked below. Other documents that are relevant include the 2002 Cairo Peace Declaration, the December 2005 London Peace Declaration, and the 2006 Declaration of Communist Parties. Further away, and on the far shore of the Atlantic Ocean, an ex-Neocon has denounced his former colleagues. See the linked article by Martin Kelly, below. While in the other linked article, a US Jew, David Green, looks at the relationship between Blacks and Jews in that country, and how it has played out in terms of the USA’s role in the Middle East. And in a statement issued late last night, the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee condemns the cruel actions and Israeli killings at the Jericho prison including the treacherous connivance of British government so-called monitors in these acts. See link. Links: Press Statement re Peace Pickets of March 18th (398 words) CPB Agitprop for London Peace Demo, March 18th (PDF) Requiem for Gonzoconservatism, Kelly, Antiwar dot com (1961 words) Blacks and Jews in USA, Questions of Solidarity, Green, Counterpunch (1740 words) PSC Condemns Israeli attack on prison (366 words)

14 March 2006

Pickets and Trials

Saturday’s Peace Pickets are on. The Johannesburg one will be outside the US Consulate near Killarney Mall. Many Communist Parties have signed a common declaration for this occasion of multiple international demonstations for peace. Saturday (March 18th) is the third anniversary of the US/British/Danish invasion and occupation of Iraq, which still continues up to now.. Paul Craig Roberts is a former US official of the Reagan period who writes for Counterpunch. He is one of many US “conservatives” who are militantly opposed to US imperialist war policies. People like PCR demonstrate that peace is an issue for everyone, and not just the “left”. In the linked article, he connects the death in custody of Slobodan Milosevic with the US attack on Iraq. The PUDEMO comrades are out on bail. Their bail money has been found by one means or another, but the Swaziland Solidarity Network is considering ways of raising money. This would be in the first place, to take over the strain of the bail bond from the families, secondly to defray the expenses of the defense, and if there is any surplus, to apply for the aims and purposes of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN). Linked below are two reports (in one) from Swaziland forwarded by SSN. Two websites now carry SSN material. They are the Johannesburg SSN, and the Canadian SSN. There is no report of Monday’s evidence in the Jacob Zuma trial on the Friends of JZ web site yet. Jeremy Gordin’s extraordinary reports from the Sunday Independent did go up late on Monday however, and are linked below. Links: Serbia, Practice Run for Iraq, Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch (802 words) Swazi PUDEMO comrades free at last, Times of Swaziland (1022 words) Trial threatens political shocks, 5 strange days, Gordin, Sindy (2301 words)

13 March 2006

Our Writing

If we write, we can get published. If not, not. If we leave the field to the class enemies of the working class, they win. David Masondo, the National Chairperson of the SA Young Communist League, had a major article published today in the (Johannesburg) Sunday Times yesterday, on the Editorial page. His article is linked below and packaged with two others that can serve to illustrate the combative nature of journalism. This is where writing becomes an essential part of class struggle. Makgwadu Steve Pheeha has written a tribute to Rachel Corrie, who was deliberately killed by an Israeli bulldozer-driver on the 16th of March, 2003 at the age of 23 while acting as a human shield. Rachel left her own testimony in writing and it has been made into a play, which was to open in New York on the 22nd of March, 2006. But it has been censored and will not now open. Censorship is a tribute to the power of words. See here and here, and Steve Pheeha’s linked document below. Comrade Mzala (Jabulani Nxumalo) passed away 15 years ago at the age of 35. He had already become a prolific and influential writer. Thanks to the contributions of Comrade Seshupo Segole, Provincial Spokesperson of the SACP in the Northern Cape Province, the Communist University has been able to construct a Comrade Mzala Archive here. No doubt it is only a beginning. The voice of another generation can be heard if you go to the “Tried for Treason” section of the MuseumAfrica in Newtown, Johannesburg. This room must rank as one of the greatest exhibitions in the world. The voice in question can be heard speaking gently but firmly and directly, just as you enter the room. It comes from a video monitor showing an interview with the late Ike Horvitch, on the subject of the drawings he made of his fellow Treason-Trialists in the late 1950s, and of his own experience. It was done in 1995. The drawings are extraordinary, as is the whole Treason Trial exhibition. Those of us who may still feel that too little has as yet been done in South Africa to honour the late Comrade Horvitch, a former CPSA Central Committee member, following his death on December 28th, 2005, can console themselves a little with the fact that he has pride of place in this incomparable memorial to the Treason Trial, among a collection of 156 of the most distinct and strongest personalities that it is possible to imagine in one place. In his case the way the comrade expressed himself was not writing, but drawing; plus, of course, that remarkable video. Click here for more about Ike Horvitch. But go to that exhibition if you can. Links: Sunday Times, 3 articles, Masondo, Carolus - Marcus, Roodt (1541 words) Tribute to Rachel Corrie, by Makgwadu Steve Pheeha (1464 words)

12 March 2006

Constitutions, Courts, and Women

Iraq’s sovereignty has been destroyed by the US-led invasion and occupation, and the US cannot re-establish it on their own behalf or even for a puppet. See linked article for a description of the whole mess as it now is. Let nobody doubt the importance of retaining our national sovereignty, and respecting that of others. The nation-state will go one day, but war and weapons of war will have to go first. I received some furious feedback for writing that the Friends of JZ had the best reports of Jacob Zuma’s rape trial. Of course all the reports are biased, including those in the newspapers. None are objective, but the reports on the JZ site are credibly professional and extensive. They cover days 1 to 5 of the trial in full, unlike the newspapers. In that sense, they are the best. It is those who write who get published. The Friends of JZ have taken that advantage. They could have squandered it by working unprofessionally, but that is not what they have done. (See link for day 5). The testimony is upsetting. Jeremy Gordin does quite a good job of opening up the awful picture. See the linked article below called “Court of Horrors”. Neither side will like it much, but it deserves reflection. What emerges surely does not amount to rape of the complainant by Jacob Zuma. The trial should have been stopped when that became clear. It will be a mercy if it is stopped before Monday. It would also be nice to think that the complainant will be looked after. But by whom? Note Gordin’s final paragraph. The Communist University’s decision to programme discussions about women is fully vindicated. The part called “No Woman, No Revolution” (formerly “Women, for Women and Men”) has gone through five sessions so far and has another four to go, plus further relevant sessions later in the year. The Women’s Jail on Constitution Hill is where we meet, and in the same building, next Tuesday, March 14th at 18h00, there will be an event to reflect upon ten years of the current South African Constitution, which will be addressed by, among others, the Director of CALS, Prof. Cathi Albertyn. CALS is the organisation that recently helped overturn the municipal practice of evicting people on to the street without alternative accommodation. See linked notice. Also on Tuesday March 14th, but starting in the morning at 08h30, there will be an event on “Freedom of Expression in the Context of Religious Diversity” at the Human Rights Commission, 29 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. See also below for a timely warning from COSATU on pensions. Links: Iraq's Sovereignty Vacuum, Michael Schwartz, Tomdispatch (5606 words) Court of horrors, Jeremy Gordin, Saturday Star (851 words) Zuma Rape Trial Day 5, Friends of JZ (5264 words) Constitution Ten Years on Programme, Con Hill (Notice) COSATU, Pension Reform (279 words)

11 March 2006

All Human Life

The Jacob Zuma rape trial is close to collapse. The best court reports have been the ones posted to the Friends of Jacob Zuma web site (see below, for a compilation up to Thursday). The Business Day says very little while the Star and the Mail & Guardian are mostly reporting what is happening outside the court. But yesterday’s Mail & Guardian front-page headline asked: “Jacob Zuma: can he claw back?” The corruption case has fallen apart because of President Mbeki’s admission that the crucial letter was his, not Zuma’s. Now the rape case is falling apart. Yet the Mail and Guardian still tries to suggest that Jacob Zuma is some kind of reptile (with claws) and the cartoonist Zapiro has returned to his vulgar cheap-and-ugly mode. The journalistic middle strata are neurotic. Meanwhile, let us honour our labour movement pundits, who are still too few in the mass media. These are the ones who write opinion pieces from a working-class perspective, such as COSATU’s economist Neva Makgetla and the unaffiliated freelance struggle veteran, Terry Bell. See links. The CU point of view is that if you don’t write, you can’t claim that you have been excluded from the media. Makgetla’s and Bell’s example shows that good writing in the working-class interest can and does get published even in the heart of the bourgeois press. First we must write, then try to get published, and then if we fail there are grounds for complaint. There are many ways to publish, including the CU itself. The Johannesburg District of the SACP’s Political Education sub-committee meets tomorrow morning, Sunday March 12th at 10h00 at the SAMWU office, Renaissance Centre, Gandhi Square. The topic to be discussed is “How to be a good Communist”, by Liu Shaoqi (linked below). These District sessions are designed for Political Education officers of branches, but all are welcome. Links: Zuma Rape Trial reports, Friends of JZ (11042 words) Value ANC successes without denying failures, Makgetla, B Day (726 words) Wrong idea of consensus steers Transnet machine, Bell, B Rep (807 words) 1939, Liu Shaoqi, How to be a good Communist, C1 (2546 words)

9 March 2006

Facing the Future

The Communist University reconvenes this evening at 17h00 to discuss the chapter from Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class on the Obsolescence of Housework. We meet at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill. We will need an opening from the floor tonight, because Pamela Masiko is unavoidably out of the country. There will be no CU session next Friday. We will resume on Friday, March 24th at the same time and place to discuss Jennie Bristow’s article on the Future of the Family (linked below). The two articles, about Bush and (humorously but seriously) Blair, are a good example of why bourgeois democracy is such a lie. These two no longer care what they say, because they know that the so-called “opposition” in the USA and in Britain is the same as they are, or worse. The electorate has no choice except to organise, not as “opposition” in the abstract, but instead as a class-conscious force for permanent, qualitative change. See links. The same applies to Zimbabwe. See the linked article, below. Further to yesterday’s material on the new Progressive Womens’ Movement Steering Committee, the Communist University is eager to receive all announcements. Today’s SACP statement stresses that this movement will only be viable if led by the working class. See linked statement below. COSATU’s initiative in calling a broad meeting on March 8th has generated the first concrete programme for the alleviation of the Cape electricity crisis. See linked historic document. This is the kind of action that gives meaning to the phrase “working-class-led”. Cdes Nzimande and Vavi, the General Secretaries of the two great working-class components of the alliance, the SACP and COSATU, will be addressing the political funeral of Cde Dan Mohapi, former COSATU activist and at the time of his death, Deputy Secretary of the SACP in Gauteng Province, as well as an ANC MPL. The Press are invited to this, the first such occasion in the post-election period. See link. Links: What Future for the Family, Bristow, 2004 (5747 words) Bush fantasies exposed again, Blumenthal, Guardian (644 words) I have lost faith in Blair - God, Guardian (707 words) Zimbabwe, ZCTU fully supports ZINASU. press release (435 words) SACP welcomes Progressive Womens Movement (248 words) COSATU leads in Western Cape electricity crisis (979 words) SACP and COSATU General Secretaries to address Mohapi funeral (155 words)

Women's Days

Yesterday, on International Women’s Day, a new Progressive Women’s Movement Steering Committee was launched in Sandton by “ministers, women in business, professional women, Faith Based Organisations and general civil orientated women's organisations”. The linked announcement appeared the day before on the ANC Women’s League site. We still await the press release from the Steering Committee launch, its composition, and the position paper that was supposed to be adopted. The actual PWM is proposed to be launched in five months’ time in August, presumably so as to coincide with South African Women’s Day. It will be instructive to find out why one mass movement (the ANC WL) feels that it is desirable to launch another one. Meanwhile the ICFTU announced from Brussels that their “Unions for Women, Women for Unions” campaign is to go into a second phase after a successful beginning. See linked. And the Global Campaign for Education, based in Johannesburg, has raised a particular campaign for parity in girls' and boys' enrolments to school. See linked Press Release. The rape trial of ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma has proceeded through the third day of evidence from the complainant. Good reports of the proceedings can be found on the Friends of Jacob Zuma web site. Look under “Latest News”. Cde Zuma’s supporters are very optimistic. Meanwhile the mainstream media are reporting the behaviour of the crowds outside the court. Links: ANC Womens League on Progressive Womens Movement (311 words) ICFTU, Unions for Women, Women for Unions phase 2 (599 words) Global Campaign for Education, millions of girls still out of school (604 words)

8 March 2006

Comrade Mohapi, Memorial and Funeral

The Memorial for Comrade Dan Mohapi takes place today from 14h00 to 18h00 at Kempton Park Civic Centre, Kempton Park. Comrade Mohapi’s funeral will take place on Friday, March 10th starting at 08h00 at Regina Mundi Church, Rockville, Soweto, and proceeding at 11h00 to the burial at Roodepoort Cemetary. More details can, if necessary, be obtained from Comrade Mhlekwa Nxumalo on 073 718 7552 . Comrades are requested to wear revolutionary insignia such as appropriate T-shirts, so that it is seen that we are burying a revolutionary, and in revolutionary style. At the time of his passing Comrade Dan was Deputy Secretary of the SACP Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee and an ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature. He had previously served the movement in many other positions for many years. For a fuller tribute, please click here.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Yesterday the work of the Swaziland Solidarity Network’s Lucky Lukhele, tirelessly preparing the ground for advances in the struggle for democracy and freedom in that country, was praised here. Today another SSN victory is reported (in alliance with COSATU). These organisations called on the two South African lawyers booked to prosecute in the Swazi Treason Trial, to withdraw, and they did. See link. Thami Xulu is coming home soon from London, bringing some London ideas with him. He gives us another original piece of writing, published for the first time on the CU. Linked. Thanks, comrade. The Communication Workers Union’s Mfanafuthi Sithebe is, naturally, a great communicator. Linked is his concise, text-book-like exposition of the position of the CWU vis-à-vis the employer, Telkom, as they go into a dispute situation. Read and learn! In Cape Town, COSATU is clearly leading a combined response to the Western Cape’s electricity crisis. See the linked call to a public meeting tomorrow at the Cape Town Convention Centre at 19h00, by COSATU’s experienced and respected Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich. The Student Sponsorship Programme (Umfundaze) offers bursaries to high-scoring primary school children so that they can be assisted at secondary school. The link is to a page where you can download the original forms. (Sent by a comrade). Links: SSN, COSATU on withdrawal of SA advocates from Treason Trial (498 words) Afraid of one-party rule, Thami Xulu in London (1019 words) CWU in dispute with Telkom, Mfanafuthi Sithebe (704 words) COSATU leads - CT electricity crisis public meeting, Ehrenreich (111 words) SSP Recruitment and Preliminary Application, 2007 (documents)

7 March 2006


Friday’s historic ruling by Judge Jajbhay in favour of residents who now can no longer be thrown out into the streets without alternative accommodation, needs to be publicised widely. At least it was on the front page of one newspaper yesterday. See link. The way activists can conscientise the public is well illustrates by the tireless work of SSN’s Lucky Lukhele. He hardly misses an opportunity to put his advocacy in front of the public in any medium, whether print or electronic. See his linked letter to Sunday’s City Press. The result is not immediate or automatic. It just becomes a lot more likely that mainstream articles, like that of the Star’s contributing editor, Nicole Fritz, will get space. See link. There are many other matters that will only be mentioned here today in brief. For example, there will be pickets against Swaziland today. And COSATU has called for the two South African lawyers hired by the Swazi prosecution authority (Els and Viviers) to refuse to prosecute the PUDEMO detainees and to turn back. There is a new Swaziland Solidarity Network site at http://swazisolidaritysa.wikispaces.com/ where all these Swazi-related things will start to appear. Contact ssnnetwork@gmail.com with your Swazi solidarity information for them to pass on. There will be a Zimbabwe site of this nature very soon. There is just too much material to be going out from one keyboard. A network of collaborative web sites is needed. More brief news: The Zuma rape trial is on. Transnet is trying to double-cross SATAWU and the other transport unions. The SACP congratulates the ANC on the election win, and rightly congratulates itself and COSATU for making the ANC win possible. COSATU congratulates the makers of the film “Tsotsi” for winning an “Oscar” in the USA as a “foreign” film. Finally, a notice from Cde Mazibuko Jara announcing a National Workshop of the ALARM Coalition, 24-26 April, in Johannesburg. See link. The struggle continues. Links: Illegal to evict Joburg squatters — judge, Benjamin, B Day (458 words) Unban political parties call is overdue, Lukhele, City Press (159 words) Swazi democracy hangs in precarious balance, Fritz, Star (692 words) ALARM National Workshop Jhb 24-26 April, Invite, Jara (1169 words)

6 March 2006


The archives of the Communist University (completed yesterday) comprise the notices, press releases, communiqués and articles that have been circulated since the beginning of 2005. You can find the “Archives” link in the “Navigation” on the left of the CU web site, choose the month, and scroll through the days. Or use the very good “Search” facility that wikispaces provide at the top of every page. Uploading the archive has been a long job, but worthwhile. Among other good things, it has provided the source for the 3-6-9-12-Months Ago feature that you can now find on the home page. The work was pushed on by the manifest importance and usefulness of the material. For example, the so-called “Zuma Affair” takes on a different aspect when the passages are read together. Each time ANC Deputy President Cde Jacob Zuma has been handed a problem he has overcome it and emerged stronger than before. An example is the last period uploaded into the archive (June-July 2005), and there are other similar episodes. Today is the start of the rape case that has been brought against Cde. Zuma. Surely, if he is found guilty, it must be the end for him. There could be an appeal, but in general, a convicted rapist would not be supported in South Africa by any party or mass movement. That is unconscionable. But if the charges are found to be false, the question of conspiracy must arise with even greater force than before. Liesl Gerntholtz, writing in the hard-copy Labour Bulletin, argues that no woman would gratuitously put herself through the humiliations involved in making a rape accusation. This argument has some force, but it cuts both ways. It simply means that there must have been a powerful incentive, whether it was justice and restitution, or whether it was some other incentive. A rape is not like a fraud or a corruption case. There are not hundreds of documents to be gone through. The incident in question took place during a particular day. The witnesses will have to report simply and directly on what they know about that day. It is hard to imagine a protracted trial. Potentially, this is a moment of truth. The archive shows, however, that whenever Jacob Zuma has been within reach of such a moment of truth, his adversaries have managed to snatch it away. We may usefully consider what the “Zuma Affair” will amount to, if Zuma is convicted of rape. The Zuma Affair is bigger than Zuma. It has a significance that transcends Zuma the man. So, if Zuma is convicted will it create a moral certainty among his opponents and crush the morale of his supporters? Or might it actually lead to a more open political contradiction, to the disadvantage of the anti-Zumas? As the fox-hunting English like to point out: If you shoot the fox, the sport is over. You must return to reality. Which all goes to show that in the study of politics, it is not a case of either studying the classics or otherwise current problems. Rather it requires examination of history in the light of current examples, and vice versa. The Cubans have today presented us with a good example of how this can be done. It is the 3rd International Conference of their Institute of Philosophy, due to take place in Havana between the 3rd and the 6th of May, 2005. See link. Bearing in mind the overwhelming victory of the ANC, I hope that comrades who have taken the CU to task in the past for treating Ministers with too little respect, will not object to a little drollery at the expense of our Cde Minister Alec Erwin. See linked document, including Zapiro cartoon. Links: Karl Marx CXXI Cuba Event May 3 to 6, 2006 (1471 words) Mampara of the Week - Alec Erwin, Sunday Times (139 words)