22 July 2006

Empire Versus Democracy (repeat)

Sometimes the former colonialists can be sharper and more angry about the monstrous brutality of Imperialism than its victims of today. Perhaps it is because writers know the lies from the liars’ side, and so are more sure of themselves than the poor people under the bombs, who may not know truth or lies when faced with sudden death and destruction on an unbelievable scale. Good anti-colonial writing of this kind comes today from the British Richard Gott and the US Paul Craig Roberts. Some may have thought that the colonial era was past. They were wrong. See the first two links below. In South Africa on the other hand (as Richard Gott hints) white intellectuals and such black followers as they can muster write weasel words in an attempt to damn our democracy with faint praise. The biggest and strongest component of our democracy is COSATU. Cde Zwelinzima Vavi is its General Secretary. He made a strong speech at the launch of the HSRC’s compilation on “Trade Unions and Democracy”. So good was it that Professor Eddie Webster felt compelled to attempt to upstage it. Ostensibly giving a vote of thanks to his principle guest at the conclusion of the event, Webster threw courtesy to the winds and spent a long time trying to beat down the points that his guest had made. He failed miserably, producing only embarrassment. Vavi’s points were too strong for him. Read them in the linked document HSRC publishes well-produced books but also makes the entire text of all these books available on the Internet. This is not only highly progressive in terms of access, but makes good business sense too. Far from the Internet taking away from sales, HSRC is convinced that it increases sales by up to 200% over what they would otherwise have been. Their web site is here. The effective institutions of democracy in this country are the three main alliance partners, COSATU, the ANC, and the SACP. The national parliament and the provincial legislatures are as aware as anybody else, or maybe even more than anybody else, that democracy does not live in their dusty halls. At best it pays an occasional visit, but mostly it is not found there. This is because people’s power is not vested in these institutions, which are not sovereign and are subordinate to the appointed judges. So now the public relations advisors of the legislatures have come up with a corporate road-show to augment the periodic elections to these bodies with something called “participation”. The elected representatives don’t even have confidence in their own institutions. They want to hide behind something called a “Public Participation Process” which in this case means a free lunch for 500 people at a hotel in Boksburg, given in exchange for these 500’s patience in listening politely while public notables make speeches at them for the benefit of the TV cameras. Is this what "Power To The People" has been reduced to? You judge. See the linked document below. Apologies to those who may have received this message once already. For some reason the message did not return this morning. Hence the repeat sending. Click on these links: British empire brutality continues, Richard Gott, The Guardian (890 words) The Shame of Being An American, Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch (1624 words) Z Vavi input at launch of HSRC book Trade Unions and Democracy (1244 words) Democracy degenerates to a road show, Gauteng Media Release (304 words)

1 comment:

  1. Politicians like Brown and historians like Ferguson would like the British to embrace empire and be proud of the good that a so-called Pax Britannica accomplished. Outrageous? Yes. Tasteless? You bet. Surprising? Not at all. The 'Big Lie' keeps being invoked.


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