31 December 2006

Aid Without Mercy


The goddess Ashera (consort of Jehovah in the old Jewish pantheon) looks like a jolly girl if the image of her on the right is anything to go by. She should have been on the blog and the e-mails yesterday, to go with the excellent article Stand up for Herod, by Uri Cohen, but she was left out by mistake. So here she is again, helping us to see out the old year.

Today, as promised, we offer another piece from
21st Century Socialism, one that will show in general and with many detailed examples, how the US Imperialists like to play both sides against the middle, as the London expression has it.

The article puts it this way: Having maximum control of both pro-government and opposition forces is the ideal position for the world’s dominant power.

Nothing is as it seems in the world of the US spooks. They may change anything at will, as
Justin Raimondo pointed out in a piece used here yesterday about Somalia. Salim Lone made similar points last week.

2007 is going to be a difficult year. The tricks of the US Imperialists will be well in evidence. You have been warned.

Click on this link:

Aid without mercy, Hilary Keenan, 21st Century Socialism (4368 words)

30 December 2006

21st Century Socialism

If you are pushing, you are going to find out new things. The Communist University always checks out Counterpunch, and sometimes checks the sources that Counterpunch often gives as links. Hence, while downloading the article (see link below) by Uri Cohen on the situation of Palestine in the time of King Herod, we reached the new site called 21st Century Socialism. The article says plenty about the last 500 years of the Old Testament period, which other studies will confirm is indeed, as Cohen says, the time when the scriptures were written and therefore the time when the religion was re-invented in the form of the Jehovist sects that existed at the time of Christ, and were dispersed not long afterwards, as Cohen relates. Another piece of reading that is good if you can get it is The Tribes of Yahweh by Norman K Gottwald, originally published in 1979. Gottwald locates the revolutionary origins of these “tribes” in 1250 – 1050 BC. They were defined not as a race but as an African liberation movement, against the Pharoah. Yahweh was at that stage neither a God nor a demon, and nothing like the later Jehovah, but was rather a token of no God – or in other words, of secular humanism. So it is that the oppressors do always try to expropriate the rich mine of the people’s history, and to thereby reverse things to their advantage. Another example is the current US meddling in Somalia. Justin Raimondo is a good peace writer. The article linked below comes from his site, Antiwar.com. The US have re-installed the warlords who used to be their demons and their enemies. We will come back to why they would do so, tomorrow, using another article from 21st Century Socialism. Counterpunch continues to push the case against the anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. See the link below. This article makes the case very plain. The book The Google Story is not very good, as a book. It is business-oriented. One useful pointer it does contain is to the last item linked below which is a one-page sheet of searching tips and links to Google services. Click on these links: Stand up for Herod, Uri Cohen, Counterpunch (1541 words) US policy and gangsterism in Somalia, Justin Raimondo, Anti-War (1488 words) Blood Trail of Luis Posada Carriles, Brittany Bond, Counterpunch (3708 words) How to search with Google (one-page spreadsheet)

29 December 2006

God of Changes


The SACP New Year message looks backward and forward like the dialectical Roman God Janus, the god of doorways and openings, and no doubt of revolutions as well. Read it by the link below.

News24 picked up on the SACP statement with a full article. See link.

Amy Musgrave of the Business Day covers some of the same ground but also takes in both the YCL and COSATU for a concretisation of all the abstract parts in a very Marxist way. See link below.

Bonile Nqiyaza in the Star concentrates on COSATU, the proletarian giant. See link.

Lastly SADTU, the COSATU-affiliated teachers union, and COSAS, the Congress of South African Students, made statements on matriculation competition and the way forward. See the link.

Click on these links:

SACP New Year Message (1897 words)

Corruption is biggest threat says SACP, News24 (516 words)

BIG for SA poor on COSATU agenda, Amy Musgrave, Business Day (427 words)

COSATU claims victories in year 2006, Bonile Nqiyaza, The Star (796 words)

SADTU, COSAS statements on 2006 matric results, way forward (1396 words)

27 December 2006

The Revolution Cannot Lie

A war was declared in Africa on Christmas Day, 2006, in a festival of lying spin. A little conversational research suggests that this war may nevertheless be acceptable among the ruling classes in South Africa. See the link below for a report of the declaration by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. “Cheka leo, kesho utalia” is a Kiswahili proverb meaning “Laugh today, tomorrow you will cry”. Meles Zenawi may meet the same fate as Louis Bonaparte in 1871 and many others since. Those who start gratuitous wars can be destroyed by the same wars. The US spooks call this effect “blowback”. It is not true that the African Union (AU) has declared war on Somalia. The AU is calling for a ceasefire. But the AU is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and its words are being processed through the war-spin machine Salim Lone puts the record straight. He writes for the Daily Nation in Nairobi, but in this case the article comes via the International Herald Tribune. See the second link below. The Somali people had begun to get their act together and had kicked out their gangsters. So the US and the whole Imperial spin machine teamed up with the same gangsters (whom they had previously affected to despise). This is a coalition of liars who are not a government and have never been one. They are just a peg to hang a war on. Raul Castro says, “The revolution cannot lie”. See the third linked article below. Although this article comes from anti-communists who like to present things backwards, a lot of truth still shines through. Lastly, the CU brings a fine account of a Jeep trip with Fidel Castro long ago, in the mountains where battles had been fought at a still earlier time, by Fidel and his comrades, and by earlier Cuban revolutionaries, including those who first fought against the Spanish conquerors five centuries before. Revolutionaries are not saints. They are human. But they are distinguished by a love of the truth. Click on these links: Ethiopia declares war on Somalia, SAPA, IOL (221 words) In Somalia, a reckless U.S. proxy war, Salim Lone, Intl Herald Trib (675 words) Raul Castro gives a taste of his frank style, Taipei Times (790 words) A Jeep Trip with Fidel, Saul Landau, Counterpunch (2921 words)

25 December 2006

Astroturf Christmas

Astroturf is artificial grass. “Astroturfing” is slang for creating an artificial political appearance of “grass-roots” support. An example of astroturfing is the full-page advertisement carried in last Wednesday’s Johannesburg Star for “Globe for Darfur”, the bottom line of which is the URL of a web site. A full-page ad in the Star is extremely far beyond the budget of any genuine solidarity movement in South Africa for many years past. A look at the web site shows that there is no South African or Muslim content - no mass content at all in fact - but only the names of a list of dubious NGO backers. In the site you can read tips on how to write letters to the editors of newspapers and other such tips. Let’s be frank. The attempted “Darfur” intervention in Sudan is Imperialism pure and simple. “Globe for Darfur” is a bogus, artificially funded attempt to dress up Imperialism as something else than what it is. It is one of many repeated attempts this week, and every week, to “Astroturf” politics so that you can be told that what is done for Imperialism is done in your name, supported by the “grassroots”. But Astroturf has no more roots than a plastic Christmas tree. The three examples of Astroturfing we have today are all from the “Independent” group of newspapers, owned by the sanctimonious sanctions-busting rugby player and baked-bean salesman, Tony O’Reilly. The above is one example. Then, in the guise of a film review, the Saturday Star carried a gratuitous and grotesque attack by a Pretoria movie fan called Tat Wolfen, on Cuba, of which he or she knows nothing. The gut feeling one gets when reading this kind of stuff is: Here is the monster! No Pasaran! They shall not pass! But unfortunately it is Christmas time, and these monsters think they can creep around without being challenged. Maybe they think that this is “only” the Entertainment section, and that Astroturf is acceptable there. But political Astroturf is unacceptable anywhere. The Communist University challenges the Star: Show why you should not be called servant of Imperialism! You running-dog lickspittle lackeys! See the linked film review and JPEG facsimile of the page. The last example comes from yesterday’s Sunday Independent. The true story is that Somalia is being invaded by a military force which may be Ethiopian or US or Israeli or even Egyptian, but whose rear is in Ethiopia. This force claims to have secured a bridgehead in a place called Baidoa, where it has set up what is called an “Interim” (or maybe transitional, or provisional, et cetera) government. Now the US Imperialists, supported by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in his meeting with GW Bush two weeks ago, are claiming to “defend” this phoney little shred of Astroturf in the bundus of Somalia against the rest of the Somalis, at a time when the Somalis are beginning to get their own act together. See the linked article. Yesterday the Snuki Zikalala SABC announced blandly that “air strikes” were being used by the invaders against the Somalis (whom they demonise as “Islamists”). Anybody who know a little bit of history knows that the pioneers of aerial bombardment of villages were the Italians in Libya and the British in Iraq (under the Rhodesian Arthur “Bomber” Harris) in the first two decades of the 20th Century. Then the Italians used air power to conquer Ethiopia in the 1930s, in a most disgusting and notorious way. It is shocking and intolerable that aerial bombing should be used in that same area yet again. Physically, it is like using bombers on Transkei, or the Free State. Who will speak up against it? South Africa has given the nod to the USA. Why? On what basis can they do that in our names? Just in case you have forgotten how Imperialism operates, “The Capital of Salvadoran Memory” is a good reminder, including how difficult it continues to be, to deal with the legacy of these things. Which is of course what the Imperialists intend. See the linked document. The struggle always continues. What has to be done is the work of building real “grass roots” and not Astroturf. This work is systematic and regular. You put in the work, you get the result. No excuses of “apathy”, “fatigue” et cetera should be entertained for even a second. The last document below is a link of links to structures and sources and opportunities for dialogue, ready for you to use as soon as you have had enough Christmas jollification. Click on these links: Tat Wolfen attacks Cuba in Saturday Star (579 words) Page facsimile of Wolfen tat in Saturday Star (JPEG image) Imperialist aggression, Sunday Independent blames victims (453 words) The Capital of Salvadoran Memory, Jeffrey Gould, Counterpunch (1708 words) Media Release Lists Page form for groups all together (Lists of links)

22 December 2006

Ends And Beginnings

COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has issued a year assessment on behalf of the COSATU Central Executive Committee. See the document linked below. COSATU’s 21st Anniversary was on December 1st. The occasion was celebrated some days later with an all-day seminar. The speaker who added the most to the occasion, and who was most appreciated by the large gathering of COSATU comrades was the young professor Ashwin Desai. He also got the most laughs. Ashwin’s speech was reproduced in this Week’s Mail and Guardian, in the article linked below. The Communist University is happy to be able to bring you the names of the newly-elected YCLSA National Committee, and especially happy because many of their names and even faces are familiar from the CU mailing list and the CU weekly study group sessions. See the list linked below. The CU would particularly like to congratulate Comrade Floyd Shivhambu for his election to the YCL National Committee because he reads, and he discusses, but especially because he is not afraid to write, and to publish what he writes. The Party cannot do without such people. This quality in comrades is what the Communist University is striving to encourage. There is no way that communists can reach and give leadership to masses of people unless they are capable of composing their words. This is so whether the medium is text or voice. Speakers are in the first place writers. The same YCL Congress which elected the new National Committee also deliberated upon the organisation’s way forward. A short summary of the outcomes of the Congress, called “Building Youth Power for Socialism”, was issued following the YCL’s Press Conference yesterday, and is linked below. The Communist University does not hesitate to wish all who have been in any way associated with it, plus the working class in general and its allies, a Happy Christmas and a Revolutionary New Year! Click on these links: COSATU assessment of 2006 (4977 words) All aboard the gravy train, Ashwin Desai, Mail and Guardian (1325 words) YCLSA National Committee elected at 2nd National Congress (list of 25 names) Youth Power for Socialism, YCL 2nd National Congress outcomes (913 words)

21 December 2006

2006 Still Alive And Kicking

COSATU’s new appeal to the Constitutional Court is a major historical event. Here we have the embers (or perhaps only ashes) of the legislative labour regime, once put together under the “best constitution in the world” (our supposedly entrenched and “sovereign” piece of paper) being blown upon one last time by organised labour. See the linked document. But if it becomes apparent from this case that the modest fire of legally enforceable labour rights cannot be re-kindled, then such rights will have to be re-forged in the conflagration of mass action. The working class has faced such a situation before in South Africa. The bourgeois class should think very carefully before it decides to take us back to those days. They should know that it is not for nothing that we have a slogan which says: “An injury to one is an injury to all”. What this case shows is that the vaunted best-constitution-in-the-world is putty in the hands of the ruling class, and no bulwark at all for the proletariat. The workers’ guarantee is not to be found in constitutional promises, but rather in organisation, constant vigilance, and readiness for mass action. COSATU affiliate SADTU contradicts the CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Olive Shisana, who made allegations about teachers. See the link below. SANCO’s Congress was aborted by an announcement of its outgoing President, Mlungisi Hlongwane, when his supporters shouted and threw furniture about, but failed to overwhelm the other delegates. No doubt he thought he could just continue in office as before, without the mandate of the Congress. He acted as if this was the case, and made announcements in the name of the organisation. But SANCO is not going to allow such a state of affairs to continue. See the link below. PUDEMO’s Congress starts today. It should make an unequivocal democratic revolutionary statement. It should try to ensure that the autocracy is essentially defeated before its next Congress after this one. See the document linked below. The YCL has a post-Congress Press Conference tomorrow at 11h00 in COSATU House, Braamfontein, Johannesburg (this Communist University’s home town, and situated in Gauteng Province). The nature of the new leadership, its general line of march, and its specific plan of action for the disbanded YCL Gauteng Provincial structure are all matters of potentially great consequence. See link below. Click on these links: COSATU to Con Court, appealing SCA RusPlat v CCMA judgement (891 words) SADTU response to Olive Shisana of HSRC re teachers, sex and money (182 words) SANCO censors its ousted president, Sapa (180 words) PUDEMO Media Advisory re 6th General Council 061221-23 (250 words) YCL post-Congress media briefing (130 words)

19 December 2006

Message Of The Medium

The great US anti-Imperialist writer, William Blum (author of “Killing Hope”) adds his contribution to the pile of anti-prison literature, last represented here a few days ago by Paul Craig Roberts. Unlike Roberts, Blum leads his readers towards a direct political connection, epitomised by the case of the Cuban Five. This is Christmas time, people. Think about all of these prisoners. Article linked below. It’s time to think about this Communist University newsletter, too. It has been going for a year in its present technological form. Why are other people not doing this kind of thing? Actually, plenty are doing so! There is even a site with a silly name (http://del.icio.us/) which is set up so that people can easily list, link and share their favourite pages with the world, as the CU does. So you can now do your own “Communist University” with a lot less trouble than before. The new Google Groups Beta would also assist, because CU experience shows that the pro-active publishing of e-mails to real addresses is the most powerful driver of readership. Just hanging the material up and hoping for the best does not work. The Internet medium, taken as a whole, is a naturally communistic one, well made for dialogue, sharing and interaction. In terms of what is possible, it is all there, and it’s mostly free. For example, do you know that for the last 3 years you could have free international phone calls through the Internet? Not only that, but the same company (Skype) that does the phone calls is about to introduce Internet TV? See the linked article below. The days of the bourgeois state-owned central public broadcaster may be numbered. People can now do their own, and by-pass the begrudgers and the gatekeepers, the Snukis and the Dalis, and the whole “banking” model of broadcasting. Content is available. The quality varies, but that’s all right. The point is that it comes from real people, and is available to real people. It is not the content that matters most, in any case. It is the dialogue that is generated that counts. See the SACP Gauteng Arts and Culture Newsletter linked below (download). All these developments will contribute to the further collapse of the monolithic, hierarchic, pyramidal National Qualification Framework (NQF) which, in spite of the huge funds pumped into it via the Skills Development Levy and the dozens of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), is strangling on its own internal contradications. See Renee Grawitzky’s article linked below. But Renee has not got to the root of the matter. It can never be “resolved”, except by abandoning the “banking theory of education”, of which the NQF is a development to the point of absurdity, or perhaps to the point of fascism. Click on these links: United States of Cruelty, William Blum, Counterpunch (767 words) Skype team turns its attention to television, Financial Times (769 words) SACP Gauteng Arts and Culture Newsletter December 2006 (153 KB Word file download) SETA-SAQA framework needs resolution, Renee Grawitzky, B Rep (982 words)

17 December 2006

Revolution Not Succession

The Sunday Times broke the story about ministerial interests in “the poverty alleviations scheme know as the Gautrain” (as Vukani Mde called it in his Weekender “Political Diary”), two weeks ago. But it is their rival the Sunday Independent which is running with it. Christelle Terreblanche and Thokozani Mtshali together bring the story to the boil around the central point: Should ministers or their spouses be having business interests, or not? See the first article linked below for the argument and a lot of detailed information. All the Sunday Times carried was some references in the Hogarth column (linked below) to the SACP’s Umsebenzi Online article on the subject. The Sunday Times also carried an article (linked below) by Xolani Xundu and Paddy Harper that shows signs of rebellion by these journalists against the relentless “framing” by editors of the “succession struggle” as “Zuma vs Mbeki”. It is clear from their article that they can see that the players do not so easily fall into “camps”. It is even possible that they see that the whole premise is thoroughly false, and that South Africa’s politics today are not about “succession”, as in continuation of the status quo, but rather about a general revulsion against such a conservative “succession”. Even the article that makes the Weekender’s front page banner, although stereotypically headlined: “Don’t you dare charge Zuma again, warns Vavi”, on closer reading shows awareness among another lot of journalists that what is going on is much more than a “Zuma affair”. See the link below. Elsewhere in the Weekender is a rare piece of bad press for the multi-millionaire businessperson and once-and-would-be-future politician Tokyo Sexwale, saved for years and written down at last by Jacob Dlamini. They say you should keep friends with people on the way up, because you meet them again on the way down. Sexwale was foolish enough to threaten Dlamini, and Dlamini did not forget it. On Friday Terry Bell in the Business Report did some justice to the position of the cleaners in South Africa House, our High Commission building in Trafalgar Square, London. These workers have been refused recognition and negotiating rights as trade unionists. The cleaners are organised by the Transport and General Workers Union. See the link below. Click on these links: Ministerial business links, business spouses, Terreblanche, Mtshali, Sindy (1514 words) Hogarth on social ties, 061217 Sunday Times (340 words) Bruising battle on road to Limpopo, Xundu and Harper, Sunday Times (1258 words) Vavi - Dont you dare, Brown, Mde, West, Musgrave, Weekender (930 words) Tokyo cried and became a media darling, Jacob Dlamini, Weekender (881 words) London pickets focus on fresh SA atrocity, Terry Bell, Business Report (857 words)

History Is Not Neutral

The inauguration of the Sikhumbuto Wall at Freedom Park was a low-key event, poorly attended and hardly covered in the Sunday papers. The site is not properly prepared and is already crumbling. The organisation was half-hearted and the people who did come were left to bake under the open sky for hours. The programme was blandly “programme-directored” by Vuyo Mbuli, who welcomed the IFP and the PAC but not the SACP or COSATU, who admittedly were not prominently evident in the audience, and possibly were not invited. In the wall, the “Labour” section is empty, and there are hardly any names under the label “Communist Party of South Africa”. Michael Harmel’s name is mis-spelled. We could say more, in detail. In general, the event was too much dominated by those who still want to de-politicise history, and present it as if there is no more historical business to be done, of which the effect is simply depressing. For this reason, we can say that the best South African contributor on the day was a single shouter from the back, who raised the names of Kotane and Hani, so relieving the atmosphere of pious “neutrality”. His final effort was an ironic “We love you, Thabo!” when the Pres came on. No doubt relieved that this was going to be the worst of it, and that there would not be another walk-out, President Mbeki replied “I love you, too”. That was the most remarkable part of his speech. The Cubans took the event seriously. General Cintra Frias, the victor of Cuito Cuanavale, assisted with translation by Roxana Cintra Frias, gave an address which was listened to and applauded more vigorously than any other. The Cuban section of the wall is the most complete, containing over two thousand names of Cubans who died in the liberation struggle. To complete our brief report of the honoured presence of Cuban heroes on this occasion, we shoul report that there were two others apart from General Cintra Frias in his party. They are General Rafael Moracen Limonta and Jorge Risquet. Even the small part of their story that we have been able to recover is quite astonishing. The first thing to note is that Che Guevara’s presence in Africa in the 1960s was not simply an episode that passed without consequences, as it is written of in the bourgeois versions, whether as journalism or as history. “El Che” was the first leader of a continuous process lasting “25 years, one year, one month, and one day” as Jorge Risquet puts it, from Che’s crossing of Lake Tanganyika to land in the Congo (“Leo”) on April 24th, 1965 (in a column of around 50 including General Moracen), to the final departure of the last Cuban forces from Angola on May 25, 1991). These dates and other details given here are based on memory of Risquet’s vivid verbal account, without notes being taken, but only written down later. So they are incomplete and subject to minor corrections. Risquet’s military rank, for example, we do not know. We do know that he was in command of the second column of about 100 that followed Che’s, and that he was later the principle negotiator in the circumstances that followed the victory of Cuito Cuanavale. His firm negotiating stance made the most of the military situation, and contributed equally with Cintra Frias to the historic 1988 settlement that secured the freedom of three countries: Angola, Namibia and South Africa. But even this much is not the whole story. In the course of the 25 years, plus on year, one month and one day, the Cubans proceeded from Congo (Leo) to Congo (Brazza), made contact with the MPLA (whose leader Augustino Neto asked “modestly” for the assistance of only six Cubans at first). Cubans became involved in the Cabinda part of Angola, then in Guinea Bissau, then Algeria (when it was attacked by Morocco following its self-liberation from the French, then Ethiopia (when it was attacked by Somalia under Siad Barre). As we have recalled in recent days, the first full-scale Cuban expeditionary force to Angola was mobilised in 1975 following an invasion of that country by the SADF, and the second major, final and victorious force came over in 1988. These latter events are quite fully elaborated in our CU archive by Piero Gleijeses and by Fidel Castro himself. The above is only a sketch framework around which could perhaps be built a better, more concrete and total history. What one might also say is that revolutionaries are all distinct personalities, and the third visiting general, the one who hardly spoke, namely Rafael Moracen Limonta, the one who marched with Che in that very first column, more than likely has the most fascinating story of all of them to tell. To add a little to the pile of related material on Cuba, see the linked document below from this weekend’s Counterpunch, by Saul Landau. Click on this link: Filming Fidel in 1968, Saul Landau, Counterpunch (3030 words)

15 December 2006

Not Yet Uhuru


General Leopoldo “Polo” Cintra Frias prefers not to be compared with Marshall Zhukov, the victor over the Nazi fascists, because Zhukov, although a military genius in the same class as Napoleon Bonaparte, expended an enormous number of casualties in his campaigns.

General Cintra Frias is the kind of general who prefers to save life. He says that one must bear in mind when giving orders that people may be killed (on both sides). Perhaps this is the reason why SADF officers in the army that he defeated at Cuito Cuanavale would not afterwards acknowledge their defeat, because their own casualties were not great, and why even such a person as Moeletsi Mbeki, speaking recently at the COSATU 21st Anniversary celebration, could repeat the myth that our side in the struggle “did not have hard power”.

General Cintra Frias engaged the SADF at Cuito Cuanavale and at the same time brought a strong column from the west to the Namibian border, with an air force of 40 MiGs, stationed at a base that had been prepared beforehand. These moves completely closed down the tactical and strategic options available to the SADF and left Namibia (which the old South African regime was occupying illegally) in hazard. This was the end for the SADF and for the SA apartheid regime. Cintra Frias’ 1988 campaign, with relatively few casualties, secured the freedom of three countries: Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

Minister Ronnie Kasrils would rather compare comrade Cintra Frias with General Vo Nguyen Giap, who defeated both the French and the US forces in the liberation of Vietnam. But maybe this Cuban general is in a class of his own, after all.

General Cintra Frias will address the people assembled at Freedom Park, Salvokop, Pretoria, tomorrow at 10h30 according to the schedule linked below. The Sikhumbuto Wall will be inaugurated, with the names of the many Cubans who did give their lives for our liberation recorded on it.

COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the YCL Congress with a thorough and comprehensive speech, in which it becomes clear that the working class is not interested (as it is accused) in mere “succession” but rather in a full completion of the National Democratic Revolution. Read the linked document below, where Cde Vavi makes use of the phrase “Not Yet Uhuru”, which is the title of the autographical book written by Oginga Odinga, with the assistance of Ruth First, as well as the song recorded by Letta Mbuli.

Virginia Tilley writes with passion of the agony of the Palestinians, and the nature of the Israeli interference, so like the actions of the old apartheid regime in South Africa. She points out that like the South African racists, in the end the Israelis are going to run out of options. See the link.

COSATU North-West Province and COSATU affiliate SADTU have taken up local and national concerns respectively. In the absence of leadership from elsewhere, the working class structures increasingly shoulder all the peoples’ burdens. See the linked documents below.

Finally, an opportunity for a labour movement media person to learn radio from Worker's World – see the linked announcement below for details.

Click on these links:

Handing over of Sikhumbuto at Freedom Park, 16 December 2006 (Programme)

COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi to YCL National Congress 15 Dec 2006 (3816 words)

Israel, What are you going to do now, Virginia Tilley, Counterpunch (1398 words)

COSATU NW response re flats privatisation, Mafikeng and Rustenburg (386 words)

SADTU on 16th Commonwealth Teachers Conference 061215 (589 words)

WWMP 3-month Media Internship, Cape Town, from 070201 (Job training announcement)

Road to Socialism

SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande spoke to the YCL yesterday at considerable length and very frankly concerning the Party. For example he said: “The 1996 class project is indeed contesting our allied formations, albeit not the only one. In the case of the SACP, one latest expression of this is the claim being bandied about by some within our ranks warning of an imaginary ‘re-Stalinisation’ of the SACP. We must understand this for what it is; the manifestation of the contestation of the direction of the SACP by the class project, and it is underpinned by a combination of things. “It is underpinned by an attempt by some within our ranks to create independent and parallel SACP structures, that are not accountable to, and not bound by the decisions of, the SACP as a whole. Put differently it is an attempt to create ‘liberated zones’ for the 1996 class project, as part of contesting the very soul of the SACP. It is an attempt to frighten the SACP from legitimately demanding the most principled implementation of its programmes and campaigns.” Earlier in the speech, Cde Nzimande refers to the political report given at the augmented Central Committee meeting in November: “In locating the tasks of this Congress, it is important that I share with you some of the very important discussions and debates that took place at our 2006 Augmented Central Committee, especially some points contained in the political report. We think this is important in that it talks to a number of issues raised by your own discussion document. “The primary aim of that political report was to facilitate a debate on our perspectives and vision of, and transition to, a socialist South Africa, as the anchor upon which we need to base our strategy and tactics in the current period and beyond. It is therefore important that you approach your own Congress debates and discussion from this standpoint.” See the linked item below for the full speech. As for the Augmented CC discussion document on the South African Road to Socialism, the Communist University does not have it, but would very much like to have it. If anyone can assist, please do so. The second item is the CV of General Leopoldo Cintra Frias, whom President of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz calls “Polo”, and mentioned last December at the event in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the landing of the “Granma” and the 30th anniversary of the first Cuban expeditionary force to Angola. Concerning the victorious second Cuban expeditionary force in Angola, Cde Fidel said: “Here with us are Comrade Polo Cinta Frías, the bold commander of the Angola southern front at that time, and many comrades who took part in the actions of those glorious, unforgettable days. The resounding victories in Cuito Cuanavale, especially the devastating advance by the powerful Cuban contingent in southwest Angola, spelled the end of foreign aggression.” Click on these links: Build YCL as SA political school for communism, Blade Nzimande (5807 words) Cuban Army General LEOPOLDO CINTRA FRIAS, CV (brief curriculum vitae)

14 December 2006

Bulelani and Phumzile

One of the many components of the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the last one or two decades before liberation was called SATIS, standing for “South Africa – The Imprisoned Society”. This was a response to, and a critique of, the extraordinarily high rate of imprisonment, as well as judicial murder of prisoners, in South Africa at the time. SATIS correctly held that the criminalisation and brutalisation of such a huge proportion of the population was a systemic political phenomenon and a distinct component of the State’s means of maintaining the class dictatorship of the (then) all-white South African bourgeoisie. Paul Craig Roberts (“PCR”) is a liberal US Republican (and a very great writer, widely published) who has opposed the continuing US war on Iraq unflinchingly since its beginning. In the article linked below he uses some amazing statistics and some shocking examples to show the exact same phenomenon at work in the United States, which “has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners”, to use one example from the article. Being the good liberal that he is, PCR attributes the problem to “Prosecutors Gone Wild”. But it is clear that this phenomenon is not simply an epidemic or a “culture” among the prosecutors, who are only instruments of the State. The present South African National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and its side-arm, the Directorate of Special Operations, or “Scorpions” was trained by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is packed with old South African regime thugs. It is a means of increasing the rate of arbitrary criminalisation and brutalisation within South African society, with a view to making a central contribution to the coercive side of the dictatorship of the now “non-racial” South African bourgeoisie. A key feature of the NPA/Scorpion methodology is the use of the plea-bargaining tactic that Paul Craig Roberts so convincingly denounces. You have been warned! Plea-bargaining has already fatally compromised the Brett Kebble murder investigation, and others. Among the individuals who stand out in the current passage of history - which is the re-bourgeoisification of South Africa in new conditions - is Bulelani Ngcuka, the husband of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy President of the country and first in line to succeed the outgoing President, Thabo Mbeki. Ngcuka was the founding National Director of the NPA/Scorpions and is now a multi-millionaire or possibly a billionaire. He has graduated to the ranks of the principal monopoly bourgeoisie of this country, one of a tiny handful of blacks who can make that claim. Some of the steps that Bulelani Ngcuka took on his way to this position are chronicled in yesterday’s landmark Umsebenzi Online in the very powerful and detailed critique of the Gautrain Project. In the same Umsebenzi Online the SACP repeats its statement that it does not support (or oppose) Jacob Zuma for President. COSATU’s position is the same. What is of greater interest at this time (because it is the bourgeois press that is stirring up the “succession battle”) is: Who does the big bourgeoisie support? Is it really united in support of the Bulelani-Phumzile team? We think there are big risks for the bourgeoisie in such a course, involving as it does the promotion of arbitrary power, combined with a type of bourgeois individuality that is close to fascism. Bulelani Ngcuka’s Amabubesi company boasted: “Our association with decision-makers at the highest level enables us to influence strategic decisions in our country.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that there is nothing wrong with getting “filthy stinking rich”. Bulelani’s company said in 2004 that he wants to be “a major player in the economy”. This couple is not shy to say what it wants. Marriage is a bourgeois institution. It regulates bourgeois property. Those who would retroject feminist political correctness on to the Ngcuka marriage should ponder on Margaret Thatcher’s relationship with her millionaire husband, Denis. This is nothing to do with women’s rights, and more like the opposite. But the question we would ask at this stage is: Are the Ngcukas good for the bourgeoisie? Or do they want the whole show for themselves? Because if the latter is the case they may at first succeed but they will eventually fall, and could quite likely take the whole capitalist class down with them. In Bloemfontein yesterday at the 4th SANCO Congress COSATU 1st Deputy President Sdumo Dlamini gave a full statement on COSATU’s relationship with that body. The speech is linked below. COSATU had previously been the victim of a wild, clap-trap accusations by SANCO’s outgoing President, Mlungisi Hlongwane. Once again it fell to the working class to lay down what an alliance is, and why, precisely, alliance partners should not interfere with each other’s inner democracy. But in spite of this, Hlongwane later dispersed the SANCO Congress before it had elected a new leadership, presumably because he feared defeat. Let us hope this shameful episode is not a foretaste of other “succession battles” to come. The last document is the schedule of the YCL Congress, which starts in earnest today. Click on these links: Prosecutors Gone Wild, Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch (1708 words) COSATU 1st Dep Pres Sdumo Dlamini to SANCO Congress (2468 words) Detailed Programme of YCLSA Congress 061213-17 (Schedule)

13 December 2006


The Gautrain affair lays everything bare. It is the South African equivalent of the French Dreyfus affair of 100 years ago or the US Watergate or Iran-Contra affairs of more recent times. The latest Umsebenzi Online gives an enormous amount of information. See the link below. You may well receive this more than once. If so, please accept apologies. It is too important to risk anyone not receiving it. And there is an additional item. COSATU’s First Deputy Vice-President, Comrade Sdumo Dlamini, addressed the SANCO congress today. He explains very clearly what the relationship is between COSATU, SANCO, and the Alliance as a whole. See the second link below. Click on these links: Gautrain’s Murky Waters, Umsebenzi Online, 13 December 2006 (4477 words) COSATU 1st Dep Pres Sdumo Dlamini to SANCO Congress 061213 (2468 words)

12 December 2006

Polo Cinta Frias


SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande addressed the Stakeholders’ Forum of the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Cape Town yesterday. His address was a major review of the central place of education within the general struggle against Imperialism, which is the proper way to understand the role of education in the world at this time. Let us hope that it woke up the Commonwealth delegates, so that they were reminded of the historical nature of their task. See the article linked below.

“Polo” Cinta Frias is a name that is little-known to South Africans yet this Cuban military commander played a major role in our history. His is our Marshal Zhukov, the military victor over fascism in our part of the world and the commander who, more than any other, secured our peace. But if you listened to Moeletsi Mbeki talking about that history you might not think so. Mbeki used the occasion of COSATU’s 21st anniversary celebrations in Boksburg last week to argue that the apartheid regime had “hard power”. We as the liberation movement had no more than “soft power” according to Mbeki, and were only saved by the US Black Caucus and the “Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act”.

We learned on the same occasion that comrade Cinta Frias, the commander of the Angola southern front at the time of Cuito Cuanavale, may be coming to the inauguration of the Freedom Park Wall of Remembrance (Sikhumbuto) in Pretoria on Saturday, December 16th, the day that for the last few years has been officially called the Day of Reconciliation, and which was once known as Dingaan’s Day.

See the second link below for some idea of the role played by Comrade Cinta Frias and the Cubans in the direct military defeat of the racist South African Defence Force and the consequent liberation of Southern Africa, including South Africa. The document includes excerpts from Cde Fidel Castro Ruz on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first Cuban expeditionary force to Angola in 1976 and the 49th anniversary of the landing of the “Granma” in Cuba, on 2 December 2005.

Let us hope that the truth and the whole truth will be told on Saturday when the wall is handed over to Moeletsi Mbeki’s brother Thabo in the latter’s capacity as representative, for the time being, of the nation. The working-class component of the struggle against apartheid must not be forgotten, and that includes the proletarian internationalist contribution of our brothers and sisters, the Cubans. See the last link below for the only small announcement of this event we have seen so far.

Part of the educational struggle over Imperialism that Comrade Blade Nzimande talks about must surely be the restoration of our history to its rightful place in the minds of the people. Since there is very little on the Internet in English about comrade Cinta Frias, and no images that we have been able to discover, let us recall Marshall Zhukov, the Soviet victor over Nazi fascism, and also the recent victors over Israeli colonialist fascism, with an image of Hassan Nasrallah, appropriately displayed at one of the huge demonstrations that have been taking place in Lebanon in recent days.

Click on these links:

Rebuild mass fronts for educational transformation, Blade Nzimande (4216 words)

Excerpts in memory of our Cuban comrades (1212 words)

Freedom Wall to be handed over to Mbeki, SABC (232 words)

11 December 2006

COSATU Slams Mbeki

News24 picked up on COSATU’s denunciation of Thabo Mbeki’s Presidential sophistry. The Star has put the story on its front page today, and also carries a sharp Dov Fedler cartoon on its editorial page (page 12), which is unfortunately not available on their web site. See the first two links below. Essop Pahad is the Minister in the Presidency, which is a growth on the head of the state. King Louis XIV of France said: “L’État c’est Moi”, meaning “The State? It’s me!” or “I am the State!”. In South Africa’s case the Presidency thinks it is the State. Essop Pahad thinks that he can ban an individual from any employment with any part of the State. His dispute with Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, according to him, is: “not merely between the employee and the presidency, but the relationship between the employee and the state as a whole”. See the linked Editorial and report from the City Press, below. It seems that unilateral diktat and inability to negotiate is more that an aberration in the Presidency, but rather that the Presidency seeks to extend its anathemas to the whole state apparatus, (and even as far as the South African High Commission in London). In ancient Greece this kind of prideful, contemptuous arrogance was a crime. It was called “hubris”. The crime of hubris invited the inexorable retribution of “Nemesis”. Nemesis is approaching the US Imperialists. See Robert Fisk’s denunciation of the US continuing assault on Iraq, linked below. Pinochet died. He may have escaped the courts but the verdict of the Chilean people is clear. His name will forever stand for what we must guard against, with the force of an armed people, if necessary. In his “photo-opportunity” remarks with President Bush last week, President Mbeki said: “The President also mentioned, I discussed with the President the impact of the situation in Darfur on the neighboring countries, particularly Chad and the Central African Republic. But also the difficult situation in Somalia—“ (Bush interjected: “Yes, sir!”) “-- and the President, together, we are very keen that, indeed, something must move there. This was a failed state. It's necessary to support the transitional government, to restoring a government and to reunify the country, and so on. It's an important thing because the problem, one of the big problems is that as it is, it provides a base for terrorists, find safe haven there and then can spread out to the rest of the continent. It's something that is of shared concern.” When Bush visited South Africa and called Mbeki “my point man” it was not entirely clear what was meant. The above exchange of words concerning North-East African countries may provide a very specific example of what Bush meant. In Sudan “the West”, or the “international community”, or in other words Imperialism, acting on the promptings of the USA, is busy undermining a sovereign government. In Somalia, the question of what “restoring a government” amounts to will be decided selectively according to the point of view of the speaker. Such decisions, if taken in Washington, are likely to result in rumours of wars, and then actual wars, which South Africans do not want to be getting involved in on the side of Imperialism. The blog “Lenin’s Tomb” has opened the question of Somalia up very nicely in the last linked article, below. Our President owes us a full explanation of his remarks in Washington. Click on these links: Cosatu slams Mbeki over racism, News24 (353 words) Cosatu slams Mbeki on ministers with business interests, Star (352 words) Pahad finger-wagging, abuse of power, City Press (456 words) Enemy of the state, Mpumelelo Mkhabela, City Press (826 words) Penny drops on futile war, Robert Fisk, Sunday Independent (724 words) Government forces vs Islamic militiamen, Lenin’s Tomb (859 words)

10 December 2006

Point Man Missing The Point

The Saturday Star carried a story headlined “Mixed news after Mbeki, Bush meet – Follow-up meeting fails to yield substance”. Their story is not on the Internet. The South African president flew to Washington and back for a 50-minute meeting with US President George W Bush and a half-hour meeting with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. President Bush can’t quite cope with the difference between Darfur and Dohar, as you can see from the mercilessly verbatim White House transcript of the remarks made at the subsequent photo-opportunity, linked below and worth reading. While he was in Washington, or perhaps while he was flying around in his personal Boeing, Thabo Mbeki despatched his (ANC) President’s Letter to the online ANC Today publication. This was an attempted (but fatally flawed) defence of the Ministers and other government functionaries who have been caught owning shares in the Bombela Consortium, successful BEE boondoggle bidder for the R23 billion elitist Gautrain project. Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya has today brutally taken apart the hypocrisy of this document, and set his sharp columnist Hogarth on to it, as well. See the linked document below. Amy Musgrave covered the story in Saturday’s Weekender. Her story is also linked below, as is the President’s Letter itself. Meanwhile Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka blew another R4.55 million of taxpayers’ money on a shopping trip to England. This is a new record. Last year’s notorious Phumzile “crane trip” to the United Arab Emirates only squandered R700,000. Minister of Excuses (formerly “Terror”) Lekota says it’s a shocking bad thing but there’s nobody to blame. See the linked story below. It would not even cost a fraction of this sort of money to recognise the Transport and General Workers Union’s right to organise the locally-employed workers at the South African High Commission in London. Rights that are guaranteed to South Africans are denied to their overseas employees. Comrades who fought in solidarity so that South Africans could have those rights are now treated with contempt. What a scandal and embarrassment! See COSATU’s Press Release and the IOL article linked below. Click on these links: Remarks by Bush and Mbeki at Photo Opportunity, White House (787 words) Lonely at the top, Mondli Makhanya and Hogarth, Sunday Times (1084 words) Racism behind Gautrain saga says Mbeki, Amy Musgrave, Weekender (518 words) The ANC, ANC leaders, BEE, and corruption, T Mbeki, ANC Today (2611 words) Mlambo-Ngcuka UK trip costs taxpayers R4,55m, IOL (218 words) COSATU Statement re T and G dispute with SA House London (398 words) SA High Commission embarrassing, IOL (149 words)

COSATU responds to President's Letter


COSATU Media Release

COSATU response to the President’s Letter published in ANC Today on 8th December, 2006

COSATU regrets that once again we are obliged to contradict our country’s President, Comrade Thabo Mbeki, who has written about us and our allies in the SACP in his capacity as President of our ally the ANC, in ANC Today on 8 December 2006.

COSATU is angered but not in anyway intimidated by the use of the race card against a mainly black workers’ organisation whose members are the very victims on a daily basis of the racism that the President is theorising about. We find it particularly offensive that President Mbeki has seen fit to play the race card in a manner that suggests that the people with business interests - whom he is defending - are somehow blacker than the working class components of the alliance.

Moreover the President’s style of engagement leaves much to be desired. He never debates on the strength of his arguments or correctness of the points he is raising. He always seeks to misrepresent people’s genuine concerns in order to ridicule those he disagrees with and question their integrity. He throws the race card even against organisations whose membership is constituted mainly by the very ANC members he is leading. In the process of doing so he has antagonised countless organisations and left the ANC and the Alliance fractious and deeply divided.

COSATU takes exception that it is lumped together with the Democratic Alliance. This is extremely offensive! As part of the style of misrepresenting opponents’ arguments the President sought to lump all the arguments we made with those made by the DA and newspapers in an unprincipled attempt to show us as one. Regrettably this has been the hallmark of his leadership style. COSATU and many others have been the victims of this in the past.

For the record we must state that there is absolutely nothing in common between COSATU and the DA. Instead there is more in common between the DA and President, at least in terms of economic policies.

COSATU does not withdraw even one word of what it has said in the matter of Gautrain and the involvement of some Ministers. We reiterate that it is wrong for political leaders who have been tasked to lead transformation to get involved in business deals that compromise their roles as government administrators. We believe it is immoral for anyone to seek to be both a people’s representative and be a businessman or women at the same time. This is more so for the ANC which has a stated bias towards the working class. COSATU is extremely concerned that a growing number of ANC and government leaders have all manner of business interests, directly or through their spouses. This is no racism; it is a moral question and it does not matter whether it is blacks or whites involved - it remains COSATU’s concern.

In his letter the President does not deny that government ministers and other prominent leaders are shareholders in companies that are profiting from government contracts, and specifically from the Gautrain Bombela contract. On the contrary, the President seeks to justify this situation and to portray it as normal and even admirable.

Yet the same President Mbeki, on other occasions, has made a point of denouncing the crass materialism that is so evident in the country under his leadership. If it suits the President, he is happy to steal COSATU’s clothes for the occasion (as he did in his
Nelson Mandela Lecture of July 29 this year) and to condemn the pursuit of riches. We do not mind at all if he does that, so long as he means what he says, and acts accordingly.

COSATU represents straightforward people who do not make the spurious distinction that the President now appears to make between good greed and bad greed. Many of our members work for companies and they are aware that all companies pursue profit. They are not impressed when they are told by the President that Minister Pandor’s interest in a particular company is too small to be of any consequence.

So long as a minister has her hands muddied with business, the line has been crossed. She cannot be a little bit capitalist, any more than a schoolgirl in one of our schools can be a little bit pregnant, as she knows. The President’s letter is special pleading of an obvious kind, made more odious by the reference to “a month's supply of brown bread”, a dividend which would be very welcome to the majority of South Africans who are classified as poor.

National Spokesperson:

Patrick Craven
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein, 2017

P.O. Box 1019
Johannesburg, 2000

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667
Cell: 0828217456

813 words

8 December 2006

History Of The Struggle

The Communist University meets this evening for the last time this year at COSATU House, first floor, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. The topic is Lenin’s 1916 “Nascent Trend of Imperialist Economism”. The opening contribution to discussion will be made by Cde Ben Stevenson, General Secretary of the Young Communist League of Great Britain. Ron Press is an SACP member, Treason Trialist, and SACTU veteran who lives in Bristol, England near where his children grew up in exile. If you have been a reader of these Communist University despatches for a while you will be familiar with Cde Ron’s occasional brief, wise and pointed interventions, as well as his unforgettable poems. Yesterday he wrote: “I understand from the Morning Star that the S.A. embassy refuses to recognize the British T & G at their offices in London. This is ridiculous considering the support we got from them during the struggle. Please what can be done? Could COSATU protest?” The Morning Star report is linked below, and also a report on this matter that was run yesterday in the COSATU Daily Labour News. The essence of it is that the South African Embassy in London (that is to say South Africa House in Trafalgar Square) is refusing to recognise union representation of its British employees by the Transport and General Workers’ Union (the “T&G”). Ron Press rightly calls this situation ridiculous. It is a shame that it has come to the point where South Africa House had to be picketed by one of the unions that was most consistent in its support for the struggle. The T&G is a big union, and was a big, strong friend to the ANC and to the solidarity movement (the AAM) for decades prior to our liberation. We used to picket the same South Africa House with them when it was occupied by the old regime. Let us record that the then T&G office-bearer Ron Todd was one of the few who helped the AAM to raise the profile of Steven Lee when the comrade was condemned to 8 years in prison in the late 1970s, together with Tim Jenkin, who got 12 years. We know that the comrades later escaped from Pretoria Prison together with Alex Moumbaris and made their way out of the country with the help of Prema Naidoo and others; but at the time of their arrest and conviction there was precious little international support for them, and the T&G’s intervention, three decades ago, is still fresh in the mind for that reason (for people who know about it). The T&G did it on the basis that Steven Lee had been a T&G member while working in London prior to going back into the country. What a shame that the South African Embassy does not know these things, and take them into account. Steven Lee’s son Brendan Lee will be attending next week’s Young Communist League (SA) Congress as a representative of the British YCL, in a delegation of three, including the above-named Ben Stevenson (who is also a member of the T&G) and James Tweedie. Viva! Viva International Solidarity, Viva! Viva the History of the Struggle, Viva! The next document was delivered by Zwelinzima Vavi yesterday at the well-attended and lively commemoration of the COSATU’s 21 years of history since it was established as the right and proper successor to the SACTU that Cde Ron Press served for so many years together with Zola Zembe and others. See the link for this full and remarkable account. COSATU’s statement on yet another rise in interest rates bears witness to the continuing nature of the struggle. See the link. The SACP Yusuf Dadoo District (Secretary: Nkosiphendule Kolisile) is marching tomorrow in Randfontein for safe, affordable, accessible public transport and for an end to evictions. See the link. Click on these links: Union steps up fight for SA embassy recognition, Morning Star (250 words) T and G presses SA House for recognition Politics-co-uk (411 words) Zwelinzima Vavi, 061207, Tracing the Footsteps of COSATU (2328 words) COSATU condemns rise in lending rates (339 words) SACP Yusuf Dadoo District march for transport, against evictions (292 words)

7 December 2006

All Down To Boksburg

The 21st Anniversary all-day event for COSATU is at Boksburg Civic Centre from 10h00 today. Directions to the venue are as per the linked sheet below.

On Friday the Communist University meets at 17h00 in COSATU House for the last time this year. On Saturday there is an SACP Johannesburg Central Branch party at Cde Martin Rall’s place from 18h00 until late, which is also a farewell to Cde Martin, who is going to Argentina in March.

Concerning the Zim event (previously scheduled for Saturday from 12h00 to 19h00 at Xarra Books) the organisers have sent the following message: “Please note that we have changed the date of this weekend’s Freedom In Our Lifetime Festival. It will now take place on Sunday the 10th as opposed to Saturday 9th. Also please note that this freedom festival is free entrance.”

Announcing a date and then later changing it is not good organising, comrades.

Umsebenzi Online came out yesterday. It is the last one before the YCL National Congress, which takes place between 13th and 17th December, in other words between Wednesday and Sunday next week. SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande calls on the YCL to build itself as “South Africa’s Political School for Communism”. See the link below. The rest of the issue is taken up with the SACP statement on the occasion of the reburial of the remains of the late Cde Moses Mabhida, former General Secretary of the SACP, which has been posted here before.

RW Johnson and Khehla Shubane are two liberals who have a space in the Business Day each week called “Face Off”, where they try out their pet theories against each other (see the link below). Sometimes these are wacky and sometimes they are spiteful, but sometimes they hit the nail square on the head, as Johnson did yesterday, when he wrote (concerning Jacob Zuma):

“It doesn’t matter much what case is brought against him now: the ANC rank and file will see it as yet another unfair attempt to use the courts as an instrument of factional struggle. Even a guilty verdict won’t hold water with them now. Indeed, even the verdict against Schabir Shaik looks very unsafe: the court found no evidence of a straightforward bribe, just a symbiotic relationship it didn’t like. You could have said all the same things about Mbeki’s relationship with Sol Kerzner. Things could unravel a whole lot more in 2007.”

The ANCYL responded yesterday in characteristic style to the new threats of the Scorpions/NPA against Comrade Zuma. See the linked statement.

The Saturday Star’s blustering News Editor Willem Steenkamp has written to the CU asking for private talks. This is the editor who published the article by Michael Schmidt that set PUDEMO up for a new round of police brutality and repression. Like the Scorpion Vusi Pikoli, Steenkamp would like to have the power to turn his own public exposure on and off when it pleases him. See the attached link. We have nothing to say to him in private. If you wish to write to him (his e-mail address is on his message), please send a “CC” to the Swaziland Solidarity Network Forum at
sa-swaziland-solidarity-eom-forum@googlegroups.com . In any case, join that group here. One of our researchers has turned up a document called “A history of anarchist mass organisational theory and practice” – By Michael Schmidt. As Marx and Engels were to Proudhon and Bakunin, so we are to Michael Schmidt.

Click on these links:

Umsebenzi Online, Vol 5, No. 69, 6 Dec 2006, YCL, Mabhida (4160 words)

How will this year be remembered, Shubane, Johnson, B Day (1605 words)

ANCYL response to reports of fresh Zuma probe (380 words)

Email from S Star News Editor Willem Steenkamp, 6 Dec 06 (263 words)

Directions to Boksburg Civic Centre Hall (directions)

6 December 2006

Prick Up Your Ears

The Communist University has received an e-mail that is both pompous and incontinent from one Willem Steenkamp, claiming to be News Editor of the Saturday Star (see the link below). From an educational point of view it behoves us to ask: What is the underlying nature of this odorous document? Is it the work of a fool, or a liar? Steenkamp the News Editor must be one or the other, or both. Is he being a fool when he calls the anonymous “source” who had a day out in Mpumalanga with Michael Schmidt a “dissident”? Is it foolishness to call people who act in favour of the Swazi autocracy “dissidents”, or is it a “big lie’, Goebbels-style? Steenkamp and Schmidt want to say that PUDEMO is not “dissident”, but the impimpi is a “dissident”. Surely this News Editor must have contempt for his readers if he thinks they will swallow such hogwash? Let’s not hesitate to point out that these two (Schmidt and Steenkamp) are cowardly popping their pea-shooters from under the skirts of Irish capitalist Tony O’Reilly, the former rugby player and Heinz beans executive who owns the Independent Group of newspapers. Maybe they think Uncle Tony is going to pay Wim Trengove or Billy Downer a pile of dosh to crush a Communist blog? Somebody in the firm should tell these lily-livered little anti-Communists that pigs will fly before Tony O’Reilly will waste his cash on such a fool’s errand. We had never heard of Steenkamp until we received his puny e-mail, but now that he has broken cover there is an outstanding matter that could not be directly laid at Schmidt’s door, but is definitely Steenkamp’s responsibility. That is the little pictures of AK47s on the map that was printed next to Schmidt’s original article in the Saturday Star. Steenkamp somehow thinks we didn’t read it properly. Unfortunately for him, we did. Schmidt made no reference to AK47s. Now, ten days or so later, the Swazi police “discover” ten AK47s somewhere in the bundus of Swaziland. What did Steenkamp know, that made him order up pictures of AK47s with no basis in the report? Or is he clairvoyant? While we are on questions of fact, why is it that neither Steenkamp nor Schmidt will give us the URL of the alleged interview with Mario Masuku that they keep saying is on the IOL web site? Because neither “Mario Masuku” nor “PUDEMO” nor “Schmidt” in the site search finds any such thing. Maybe they just think it’s there, or in other words they haven’t checked their facts. That would “figure”. Or maybe they are just bluffing. Maybe they are just not used to having their bluff called. Maybe editors forget how to write. Steenkamp doesn’t realise that when he accuses Schmidt’s readers of not knowing “even the slightest bit about him” that he is calling his friend a liar. He is saying the Schmidt we read every week is a false persona. He is suggesting that the Schmidt who tried to lie about Karl Marx when he worked for ThisDay newspaper was a bogus Schmidt. And the Schmidt who insulted the Cuban people not once but twice in the Saturday Star was a phoney Schmidt. And the Schmidt who set up the Swazi liberation movement for violent persecution, and gave comfort to those who want to revive the kangaroo “arson” trial of the PUDEMO cadres was not the real decent Schmidt that his pals and drinking mates know him to be. What nonsense! Steenkamp is an embarrassment. In the end this comedian comes up with a classic which we can’t help hoping will be laughed out of some court one day: “We have ears in all sorts of places!” In the dustbin, maybe, or down the toilet? What the hell is the man trying to say? This bloke really thinks he’s frightening. It might be nice to humour him and at least pretend to be scared, but our rules don’t allow that. It says in the Communist Manifesto: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.” So prick up your ears and listen to this, Mr Steenkamp: (expletive deleted). We can’t allow the whole day’s business to be taken up with these boikies. See the link below for our friend the admirable Professor Tilley’s article written in Johannesburg for Counterpunch on Palestine. And don’t forget to head out to Boksburg tomorrow for the COSATU 21st Anniversary seminar. Click on this link: Who's afraid of Virginia Schmidt, Willem Steenkamp, The Star (e-mail) Apartheid Israel, Virginia Tilley, Counterpunch (2888 words)