31 January 2007

Class Project

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Today is the day of the first Communist University class of the year, to be held at the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, corner Biccard, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, at 17h00. The topic is Lenin’s Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, and the SACP National Organiser, Solly Mapaila, will open the discussion. We may also consider the science and art of study and of writing, using Lenin’s text as an example of extreme reduction (sub-editing) and Tony Buzan’s ideas as a guide to how such brevity can be achieved. Is it mere technique, or is the pursuit of the concrete essence of things actually a profoundly political quest? You decide.

Yesterday’s post was described as “cryptic” by a friend and comrade belonging to another, bigger University. The pursuit of brevity is indeed not always successful. What was meant yesterday was that whereas the USA has established a military base in a small African country, Djibouti; and whereas the USA did also last month declare an arrogant “Africa Command” for the whole continent, and this month carried out aerial warfare from Djibouti against Somalia; yet Bishop Tutu and others have managed to help them create not one but two diversions in the shape of a liberal furore over Myanmar and Darfur. And some of our comrades have gone running after these red herrings. The Tutus of this world are like thieves who lead you running to a fire on the other side while their friends (such as US deputy Secretary of State “for Africa” Jendayi Fraser) rob and burgle your premises over here. Maybe that makes it clearer.

Karima Brown, writing in the Business Day yesterday did a good job of describing some aspects of these continuing problems. She writes that the SA government is far too willing to act as proxy for the USA, which is the God’s honest truth. See the link below.

John Perlman has resigned from the SABC. What now? Honest people are hard to find, and hard to replace. If you are reading this, the CU loves you, John. See the linked article below.

Which leaves us by elimination at the main article, which is from the front page of yesterday’s Business Day. It describes how Liberty, a finance house, sold part of its business to Saki Macozoma and his friends, let him have the fruits of it for four years, and then paid an extra R297 million to buy it back again. Minority shareholders objected to this transaction, but the institutional shareholders (sometimes absurdly described as representing the little guy, because they have their hands on your savings, insurance and pension) crushed the objectors and voted through the deal.

Briefly now, how does capitalism produce these situations? The force of the market is supposed to ensure that people do not get huge sums of money for little or nothing. Yet as Anne Crotty and Renée Bonorchis have shown in their new book on executive pay in South Africa, there appears to be no logical or discernable objective reason why capitalist business should tolerate the blatant, gouging enrichment of individuals to the tune of hundreds of millions of rands. Crotty and Bonorchis put it down to greed.

The Communist University offers a different explanation. Capitalism clearly requires the creation and subordination of a working proletariat. But it also requires the conscious creation of a bourgeois ruling class, and the maintenance of a strong polarity between these two main contending classes. This
is the on-going “class project” of capitalism, whether in 1996 or in any other year. It is not random greed that drives this project. It is cold, calculated bourgeois class politics, of which Macozoma, for one, is a master.

This class project is obscured to an extent by its conflation with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). In the small space left here, let us simply note that for every new black billionaire there are dozens of new white ones. The creation of black billionaires does not significantly dilute the white character of the bourgeoisie - it only hides it. But this whole concrete phenomenon of enrichment is not mainly about race. It is about bourgeois class formation, or as we could also say, about the “succession” of the bourgeois class power.

Click on these links:

Lenin, 3 Sources and 3 Component parts of Marxism (1838 words)

Buzan, Use Your Head, Tweedie Conspectus (4174 words)

Government too willing to be US proxy, Karima Brown, B Day (824 words)

Perlman quits SABC after list furore, Ernest Mabuza, Business Day (405 words)

Shareholders attack Liberty Macozoma buy-back, Rob Rose, B Day (695 words)

30 January 2007

Archbishop Americus

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What with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu touching down between the posts, cheered on by our good friends Tony Hall and Shafiur Rahman, it looks like the organised working class has not just been sold one dummy since Christmas-time. More like two or three. But never fear: the proletarian test of truth is inexhaustible.

Let us get one thing straight. This is a partisan University. It believes, with Paulo Freire, that the only good pedagogue is a partisan pedagogue. We make categorical judgements, and so must you. We refuse any obligation to present an exceptionalist liberal interpretation of the facts. Concrete analysis of concrete situations is what we do here, and that means class.

Class politics is what is universal. No other kind will do. This university does not think it o.k. to cobble up a new politics to fit each case. The invention of a “militarised forced-labour state” here and a “clan conflict” there and a “religious-tribal warfare” somewhere else does not wash with us. The Communist University is looking for the class roots of conflict. This is a rational humanist university and not an ad hoc, eclectic chronicler of whatever the latest political fad may be.

There will be no solutions to any of the conflicts in the world that do not pay the strictest attention to the political economy, meaning the disposition of class forces and their interactions, of whatever given place. Before you can say otherwise, you must disprove what Marx and Engels published in the Communist Manifesto in 1848, namely that the history of all societies is a history of class struggle, repeat class struggle, and not any other kind.

What we are looking at today is revolutionaries being led down the garden path by liberals, who are themselves the more-or-less willing tools of Imperialists. And the Imperialists have not changed at all. We will soon see how liberal our sometime supporters really are. If universities cannot say such things as this one does, then who can? They have their outlets and they are using them, wall to wall. As always, their liberalism falls short when it comes to commmunists having any space at all.

Today we hear that John Perlman and Nikiwe Bikitsha are resigning from the SABC because they are under pressure from the likes of Snuki Zikalala for telling the truth on air. The Communist University hopes that John and Nikiwe will throw a massive party to allow tous-le-monde to show its support. The SABC is now a whited sepulchre.

So, dear Tony Hall, if you want to take part, then get your own blog back on the road! Your stuff on Somalia is not going to be published here. Archbishop Americus, go back to Yankee-land! Kader Arms-Sale, your Chapter 9 Youth Commission is never going to come near the power of the YCL, even if you pour billions of rands all over it. It is not going to fly. All the liberal “institutional arrangements” from Ward Committees right up to NEPAD are no better than sounding brass and tinkling cymbals so long as they are avoiding class politics, as they are designed to do. None of them will ever fly. All the fashionable liberal causes are bust, and their champions, the Bonos and the Richard Geres, are shown to be nothing but bibelots and mountebanks. Class struggle is our lot, whether we like it or not.

For a longer and more systematic presentation of the above position, do please read the incomparable Diana Johnstone taking apart first the International Criminal Court, then the World Trade Organisation, and then Imperialism itself, laying it all bare. Read it and see if you still want to run after all those liberal red herrings. See also the staunch, stalwart proletarian words of the Congress of the Communication Workers Union. See the link below, followed by two very strong articles from Sunday’s City Press, much too strong to be left out of the CU archive. And lastly, Comrade Ntando and friends will be at the Bassline on Valentine’s Day! What could be nicer than that?

Click on these links:

Do We Really Need an ICC?, Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch (2916 words)

Congress Declaration and new leadership, CWU Media Release (1233 words)

Farm evictions increase, Sama Yende, Ledwaba, City Press (834 words)

Make way for wild animals, Wonder Hlongwa, City Press (727 words)

Feb 14 Valentine evening with Ntando at Bassline, Jhb, R180 (flyer)

29 January 2007

God Save Us From Our Friends

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The article Christelle Terreblanche wrote about the World Social Forum in Nairobi is dreadful (see below). It begins with not one but two journalistic clichés in the very first line. It is a classic example of a journalist who does not have the story, writing it up as a mystery instead. Terreblanche failed to connect with COSATU Deputy General Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, who was in Nairobi when she was there, or with COSATU Deputy International Relations Secretary, Mandla Rametsi, who was also there. These two comrades were involved in just about the only constructive thing to come out of the Nairobi WSF, which was its statement in relation to the World Cup to be held in South Africa in 2010 – that it must be a people’s world cup both in terms of jobs and in terms of sport.

But worse than all that is the short interview Terreblanche did with Zico Tamela, who is international secretary for SATAWU, and therefore a senior representative in the international field, of the federation of which his union is a member, namely COSATU. Comrade Tamela happens also to be a PR Councillor in Johannesburg, elected nearly a year ago. And until March 2007, when the Gauteng Province of the SACP is supposed to have an elective Congress, he is the Chairperson of that structure. He is also a member of the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch and a founder member of the Communist University back in 2003.

At the last meeting of the Johannesburg Central Branch Cde Tamela insisted that the Communist University should be carrying a disclaimer, following a decision of the SACP Gauteng Province, of which he is the chairperson. From that time on the electronic CU has carried the following disclaimer: The Communist University is not a constitutional structure of the SACP.

Cde Tamela disburdened himself with Terreblanche of the pungent but sanctimonious line: There is still little will on COSATU’s part. Tamela knows full well that the task of uniting mass organisations in a revolutionary class alliance belongs to the vanguard party. He knows that proposals have been put forward in his SACP branch for years concerning broad front organisation in Johannesburg, which he personally has ignored. One of these proposals is provided below. Others can be found in the minutes of the Branch.

Only the vanguard party has the theoretical basis to distinguish between a class alliance and a class collaboration. Tamela knows that if the vanguard party neglects this task, its place will be taken up by false prophets and Judas-goats, leading the working class and its genuine allies into a trap. He has personally neglected the task in the party, but now wants to point a finger at COSATU, where he also holds a senior position. It is useless to accuse the mass movement, if the party is not doing its work. It is disingenuous of Tamela to accuse the mass movement, when it is his own so-called will that is inadequate.

We may not say that Cde Tamela is not permitted to break ranks and criticise his comrades through the bourgeois mass media, even if we do not like it very much. And we must at least applaud him for not doing so anonymously. We don’t have to ask him for any disclaimer. But he must know that as it says in the bible, if you want to point out a speck in another’s eye, you had better take out the piece of stick that is in your own eye first.

The Labour-Urban Federation document linked below demonstrates that Cde Tamela could hardly have been unaware of what has long been on the table proposing a popular broad-front alliance in Johannesburg. The document was first published on the electronic Communist University on April 7th 2006. At that stage the document was already in its fourth draft and had been widely distributed in hard copy, with no disclaimer asked for. Comrade Tamela was at that point the Chairperson of the SACP Johannesburg District.

The SACP Johannesburg Central Branch meets at 10h00 on Sunday, February 4th in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison streets. It looks like we will have plenty to talk about.

There is a peculiar odour to religious dispute, like the pervasive smell of boiled cabbage in a beautiful monastery. These sky-pilots are not nearly as nice as you would expect from their scriptures. Rev. Michael Lapsley is not a particularly nice man, as one imagines he himself might occasionally confess. In his article published in the Sunday Independent yesterday he could not manage to restrain himself from plugging his own biography. Nevertheless he did a great job (see the link below) of showing up the foot-washing ex-minister of apartheid law and apartheid order, Adriaan Vlok.

Vlok is obviously looking for a new career as an anti-communist preacher. In other words he is looking to do what has always done, but in new conditions, using new tactics. Frank Chikane is another God-bothering character. Reverend Frank, who is now the chief flunkey in the Presidential office in the old Union Buildings, was happy to oblige the reptile Vlok with a big free commercial by letting his feet be washed and then blabbing about it afterwards to the mass media.

Finally, Minister Ronnie Kasrils had words to say to the Brenthurst (Oppenheimer) Foundation about blacklistings and Muslims, but without mentioning renditions, and with a weak explanation of terrorism in history. Terror is what all armies use, especially Imperialist armies. Read it, anyway, via the link below.

Click on these links:

Cosatu must walk the talk, Christelle Terreblanche, Sunday Independent (705 words)

Johannesburg Labour-Urban Federation, Fourth Draft (1971 words)

Faith is an obstacle to healing, Michael Lapsley, Sunday Independent (1168 words)

Human rights must not be trampled, Ronnie Kasrils, Sunday Times (1288 words)

28 January 2007

Tragedy

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The roots of this tragedy go back to the early ’90s, when responsibility for arms procurement was handed to the then deputy president, Thabo Mbeki.

The above is what the Weekender editorial of yesterday had to say. And it is true. See the first item linked below. At least it has been announced that no South African troops will be sent to Somalia. That is a mercy, for the time being. But other troops may go, and then there will be big trouble. These troops will be doing the dirty business of Kenya and Ethiopia, whose narrow self-interests have contributed to the war in Somalia. Yet these two adjacent countries dare not leave their own troops in Somalia. And behind them stands the looming shadow of Imperialism, personified by the USA. Why should Nigerians, for example, fight Somalis for the sake of the Kenya, Ethiopia and the USA? This is going to be a big mess, whichever way you look at it.

From the same newspaper we hear of the death of David Rattray, shot and killed by robbers while coming to the aid of his wife. The robbers afterwards ran away without taking anything. Their gun was useless to them. It made them into murderers, and for nothing. This is a very sad case. Mr Rattray was a scholar and a gentleman. The death of such a person is a loss to the whole country, and not just to his family.

Rattray knew a lot about Isandlwana, the South African Dien Bien Phu, when colonial troops were beaten in full-scale formal battle. Like many military historians, Rattray had tender feelings for the men of both sides, and knew that war is a thing to be avoided.

The YCL press briefing scheduled for 11h00 today should make the country sit up and take notice, if their anno0uncement is anything to go by (see below). It looks like the YCL is determined to punch its considerable weight in 2007.

Click on these links:

Arms deal was opening act in Greek tragedy of ANC, Editorial, Weekender (703 words)

Battlefield icon Rattray slain in botched robbery, Tim Cohen, Weekender (562 words)

YCL National Committee press briefing, COSATU House today 11h00 (notice)

27 January 2007

Gone Ballistic

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In Davos, Switzerland, at an unelected, unmandated gathering of invited celebrities, President Thabo Mbeki is meeting Bill Gates, Tony Blair and Bono all at once, to discuss poverty. You could say that these are four rich men with this much in common: they all have a b (for boring) in their names. H for hypocrite might have been better. If they are against poverty, then why don’t they join the Communist Party?

They are not against poverty, unless we count their own possible poverty, their imagined future poverty, and their fear of poverty. What they really want is safety for their property. They are afraid that poor people will overwhelm them with violence and take away their property. Thabo Mbeki said as much in Davos. He was shown on SABC television saying it from there.

Mbeki is with Trevor Manuel and Mandisi Mpahlwa. These gentlemen are equally as unmandated in Davos, but just as perfectly representative of the polite aspirant bourgeoisie of South Africa, who are little more than the useful idiots of the real monopoly bourgeoisie.

The true face of monopoly capital in our continent is the US Africa Command (see the linked article by Charles Cobb). Has President Mbeki said anything against it? No he has not. President Mbeki thinks he can ride the Imperialist tiger without being eaten when he gets off its back. Unfortunately not only will he be eaten but so will many others. What awaits is a Faustian hell (see the image above).

Victor Mallet makes a couple of obvious mistakes in his article (below) occasioned by the destruction of a satellite in space by the People’s Republic of China. The first mistake, in the very first line, is that the Chinese rocket that brought down the satellite was a ballistic missile. It was not. A ballistic missile is one that is aimed, not guided, and which follows a trajectory similar to an artillery shell, back to a target on the ground. No, this was a guided missile.

A bigger mistake is the stress by Mallet on geopolitics. There is no such thing as geopolitics. There is only class politics. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and at the same time, therefore, the most geographically extensive form of class politics. The Chinese are superior in strategy and tactics to the USA because more of them understand class politics. But have the Chinese also made a Faustian bargain with the Imperialist devil? This is the great unknown question of our time.

You may like to read the evidence listed by South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad in a very long statement, much of which is devoted to China, made in Pretoria this week and published on the web site of the Department of Foreign Affairs. As usual on the Communist University the URL is given at the end of the document.

The Communist University has its first gathering next Wednesday in the SACP boardroom on the third floor of COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. SACP National Organiser Solly Mapaila will open the discussion on The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism by Lenin, which is a masterpiece of summarising. In addition, as we always do at the beginning of the year, we will reflect a little on the nature of study itself, using in this case the summary by Dominic Tweedie of Use Your Head, by Tony Buzan. More material on the theory and practice of teaching and learning can be found in the CU section on
Critical Pedagogy.

Click on these links:

Pentagon hunkers down in Africa, Charles Cobb, Mail and Guardian (1123 words)

Genius behind the China satellite kill, Victor Mallet, Business Day (897 words)

Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, 24 January 2007 (9661 words)

Buzan, Use Your Head, Tweedie Conspectus (4174 words)

Lenin, 3 Sources and 3 Component parts of Marxism (1838 words)

26 January 2007

Dictatorship of the Proletariat

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The Swaziland Solidarity Network is to have its long-awaited AGM on Sunday, February 4th. The timing is to be synchronised with the Johannesburg Central SACP Branch meeting, which is a longstanding arrangement, and the first of the year, to be held at 10h00 on that day. Further details of these two important meetings will be passed on when they become clearer.

The fourth day portion of the COSATU 9th Congress film is now fully available on the Internet. This is the part where you can see the debate on the resolution on the NDR and Socialism, plus the election of the new office bearers, and the finale, including an interview with PUDEMO President Mario Masuku.

You can play Day 4 of the COSATU 9th Congress film by clicking
http://www.domza.net/C9Day4.wmv or alternatively the backup duplicate of it, which is at http://www.domza.net/C9Day4a.wmv.

The COSATU Press Release of yesterday on the subject of the recent ANC Lekgotla contains the text of same resolution. It calls, among other things, for a dictatorship of the proletariat in South Africa. This is the resolution that the renegade Jabu Moloketi was brought to the platform to attack, by ANC President Thabo Mbeki, who also attacked it. But COSATU does not get its policies handed down to it by ANC bigwigs. It is an independent member of a free alliance. See the statement linked below.

The COSATU statement on Myanmar issued yesterday is given below. It condemns Myanmar. The sudden concern for Myanmar is not precipitated by any new event, but only by a US resolution to the Security Council of the United Nations. Meanwhile real, sudden, new war on the ground right here in Africa, in Somalia, is pushed to the background. At least we can note with pride that the SACP has called for all US troops to leave Africa at once. In the Mail and Guardian today there is an article about the presumptuous, arrogant, colonial US Africa Command, announced on December 13th, 2006, five days after the Mbeki visit to Washington. How can they have an Africa Command plotting violence to our continent? This is no better than what the mythical Al Qaeda is supposed to be doing. Away with them! Yankee, Go Home!

The YCL has issued a joint statement with the Gauteng Liquor Board which is of interest. See the link below.

Click on these links:

The ANC Lekgotla, COSATU Media Release (2348 words)

COSATU condemns Myanmar regime, COSATU Media Release (795 words)

Joint Statement of YCL and Gauteng Liquor Board (327 words)

25 January 2007

Links To

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What are links to Al Qaeda? Nobody knows. The accusation is kept as vague as possible. It is not a charge, made in a court of law. It comes from no due process, and does not lead in that direction. It creates an expectation that other links will soon be treated in this way. And then all your political links will have to pass approval by the hooded accusers of the USA. And if your links don’t pass, you can end up in Guantanamo, or some other place without even a name.

On this
Communist University distribution, links are given nearly every day. In total there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of them. There are no links to Al Qaeda because Al Qaeda does not exist in the real world. But if the hooded accusers of the USA want to find something to call such a link, they can do it, even if it is not there. Nobody is safe.

It is good that the South African Communist Party has quickly come to the defence of the two South African Dockrat men who have been picked on by the anonymous listers of the USA, who are in fact quite likely to be outsourced employees of KPMG or some other accounting consultancy with an inside track to tenders from the Langley, Virginia headquarters of the CIA. See the SACP’s statement linked below.

The links to the COSATU film work very well indeed. With the help of Malapati Productions and others, COSATU has thereby created a new benchmark in the publishing of films. Its one-hour documentary goes out in sufficient quality in four parts. After some initial “buffering”, it can be watched while it downloads. When it has finished playing, it can be saved instantly because at that stage it is already in your PC in the form of a temporary file. Once you have the files in your PC you can reproduce them locally via flash drives or on CD. They play on the near-universal and free
Windows Media software.

The half-hour or one-hour political documentary is a long-standing format. Thousands of such films have been produced over many decades, many of them first class. New ones are being produced all the time. But it has always been a problem to distribute them and to get them shown and discussed. Now we have an easy standard way of propagating such films. If you have not already tried the links to the COSATU 9th Congress film, please do so below.

One of the people involved in the development of this benchmark has been Shafiur Rahman, often mentioned here as one of the founders of the electronic CU. The COSATU film that you can download today is “hosted” in his Internet space.

Comrade Shafiur, together with some other comrades, has now made a film himself. It is about the garment workers of Bangladesh and is called Bostrobalikala. The Bangladeshi garment industry has sprung up in a few years by exploiting the labour of women, mainly young women – up to 2 million of them at this stage. They have to live and work in terrible conditions. See the link below for the very neat and fine web site of the film, which also has a link on it to an excerpt from the film (but in
Quick Time, which is a downloadable free software.)

Click on these links:

SACP on US labelling the two Dockrats as terrorists (510 words)

COSATU 9th Congress film (links to play and download)

Bostrobalikala (the web site of the film about the Bangladesh clothing industry)

24 January 2007

Road Test

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Your help is needed!

The loyal supporters of the
Communist University are hereby asked to test the technology that has been set up to propagate the film of the COSATU 9th Congress.

In return, you get to see the film before most other people.

Full (but brief) instructions for viewing this film right now, on your PC, are given in the first linked document below. The total running time is about one hour. For people who are too impatient even for brief instructions, here are the links, anyway:

Day 1 (Willie Madisha, Jacob Zuma, Guy Ryder, Z. Vavi):
http://www.domza.net/C9Day1.wmv

Day 2 (HIV/AIDS day, Mlambo-Ngcuka, Ebrahim Patel, Awards):
http://www.domza.net/C9Day2.wmv

Day 3 (Nzimande, Gonzalez, Winnie Mandela, Zuma return):
http://www.domza.net/C9Day3.wmv

Day 4 (Vavi, Mufamadi, NDR and Socialism debate, Election*):
http://www.domza.net/C9Day4.wmv

Please note that the file for Day 4 is truncated, meaning that the last part is missing. This is a known fault which will be remedied as soon as possible. Let us just call it a Beta Version for the time being.

The COSATU 9th Congress film is both historic and topical, and a real classic of documentary film-making.

John Pampallis is a struggle veteran and pioneer of education, who was for many years in Mazimbu, Tanzania, as one of the cadres of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College. He is now the Director of the Centre for Education Policy Development. His article, linked below, published in yesterday’s Business Day, clarifies many aspects of recent changes in the administration of schools in South Africa.

The Johannesburg Star continues to publish material on Somalia that is counter to the US spin. The Star is not a revolutionary newspaper, to say the least. The fact that it is publishing these views shows that there is, rightly, great scepticism among the intellectual establishment of South Africa about what happened in Somalia at Christmas time. This is so whether the intellectuals come from the left or the right of their spectrum. In other words, what is happening in Somalia is completely indefensible.

South Africa must now demand the speedy and unconditional removal of all non-African armed forces from the continent, including Somalia and Djibouti.

Click on these links:

COSATU 9th Congress Film index, links and instructions

Who should pay school fees?, John Pampallis, Business Day (904 words)

Whose crisis in Somalia, Omar de Kock, The Star (1337 words)

21 January 2007

The Question Is Put

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The Sunday Times gets all the prizes today. Firstly for the short, sharp piece they published from SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande – see below.

Secondly for the follow-up to the Joe Slovo Memorial lecture organised by the Chris Hani Institute last Thursday and given by SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin. Not only did the Sunday Times print this report, but they have also made Cde Jeremy’s text available as a file download from their web site.

Maybe some of them have realised that the SACP has saved this country before and it can do so again.

Tony Ehrenreich stands up well to the Chris Barron So Many Questions treatment. Tony is always going to look good, especially when compared with the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) brigade in the Cape Town suburbs. See the third item.

The report concerning the on-going victimisation of Marion Sparg, SACP Deputy Cahirperson Dipuo Mvelase, and Beryl Simelane by the NPA is given below. Maybe the determination of these three women is what it will take to stop the NPA nonsense at last.

Theresa Ramashamole is an ordinary person with an extraordinary history of struggle behind her. In the 1980s her name was famous around the world. Her picture is above.

When Sedibeng Executive Mayor Mlungisi Hlongwane hosted a lavish bash for the Sharpeville Six veterans, of which she is one, Comrade Theresa boycotted the event. Council spokesman Colin Mokoena said that the Council wanted the Six and the Boipatong massacre survivors to become moving libraries and to make a living from tourism. One Boipatong massacre survivor, Pauline Mbatha, was given a new wheelchair, but she is still living in the same shack that she was living in at the time she was attacked.

The Sunday Times should be congratulated for telling the truth in this matter, even if it makes the readers fed up to read such things. See the last item below.
Click on these links:

BEE helps white capital more than black majority, Nzimande, S Times (700 words)

Cronin warns ANC not to suppress dissent, B Boyle, S Times (371 words)

So many questions with Tony Ehrenreich, Chris Barron, S Times (783 words)

Heat back on prosecution bosses, wa ka Ngobeni and Lubisi, S Times (294 words)

Truth Matters

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The outrageous lengths to which the NPA will go to get a conviction, against the facts of a case, is shown by the case of Marion Sparg, Dipuo Mvelase, and Beryl Simelane. It also shows that the NPA victimises people impartially. It can be Jacob Zuma or Glenn Agliotti (a proxy for Jackie Selebi) or it can be people who work for the NPA itself like these three women. Sparg is an ex-MK soldier and ex-political-prisoner and Mvelase is Deputy Chairperson of the South African Communist Party, by the way.

Even at the point when they knew their case was collapsing the NPA was still trying to bully these women into a so-called plea bargain, or in other words an admission of guilt. When the women refused, the NPA backed down. But in the Sunday Times today, it is briefly reported that the NPA has trumped up new so-called disciplinary charges against the three women. There should now be a roar of popular rage against the NPA. This kind of Kafka-ism is just intolerable. The report from the Star is below.

Another kind of truth, or at least partial truth, is shown by the review of a new war film from the other Hollywood, across the Atlantic. A few years ago there was an enormous correspondence in the letters pages of the Johannesburg Star on the subject of who won the Second World War. The second article below at least gets that much right. Other parts of it are not right. For example, the reviewer Ackermann accepts the Clint Eastwood idea that soldiers fight for their buddies and not for a cause. But it could better be said that the nihilist US military has such a poor record precisely because it has no reasonable political motivation or morality. The apolitical soldier is not actually apolitical. He is a fascist, and in the end, a loser. The army that wins is the politically and morally motivated army, like the Red Army.

The same Weekender carries an editorial (below) denouncing false accusations in a couple of well-known cases, and blaming the South African public. Yet it is the newspapers that have promoted the idea of hounding people and ostracising them before they have been found guilty, and even after they have been found not guilty. In the case of Jacob Zuma, it was the support of the South African public, and very little from the newspapers, that saved him from going down under the shouts of the snobbish racists, the Mother Grundys, and the NPA.

The last two items below are the rehearsals by Carol Paton from the Finanacial Mail of the Telkom (Elephant Consortium) case and also matters having to do with the ANC in the Western Cape. It is good that such things are brought out for re-examination. Let us hope that the journalists now persist until it is known who all the beneficiaries are.

Click on these links:

NPA women win battle to clear names, Karyn Maughan, The Star (560 words)

Myth of US as saviour of the world, Lourens Ackermann, Weekender (650 words)

False accusers must be held accountable, Editorial, Weekender (687 words)

ANC and Telkom sale, Carol Paton, Financial Mail (640 words)

ANC Western Cape ethnic wrangling, Carol Paton, Financial Mail (661 words)

20 January 2007

Leadership, Dealership

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In this Communist University pride of place has to go to new writing. Mohubetswane Alex Mashilo wrote the first linked item (see below) for the SACP Mamelodi Branch Communist School. It is a strong and serious contribution to the debates that must lead up to the SACP 12th Congress in July this year. In Comrade Alex’s writing we can feel the Party moving towards a strong synthesis at that Congress.

The ANC on the other hand is in a great deal of difficulty. The Imvuselelo campaign exists, and yet is hard to find, just like the Imvuselelo handbook that is mentioned in the article on branch life from yesterday’s ANC Today (and was also mentioned by the President in his ANC 95th Anniversary speech). The handbook is not on the ANC web site. But see the link below. The emphasis on branches is correct, but it does not go far enough, and it is not energetic enough or speedy enough.

The handbook could have an effect if it appears, although it will not be sufficient in itself. Meanwhile branches are still having hasty general meetings (BGMs) at very short or zero notice, to elect delegates to higher bodies, after which no other meetings are held until the next time such delegates are required.

The Carol Paton articles in the current Financial Mail are revealing, but not in the way people might think. The atmosphere of corruption she ably describes is not a surprise. In fact what is revealed is how little has changed since the statement of ANC Secretary-General Cde Kgalema Motlanthe at the ANC National General Council in July 2005, which is the principal basis of the Paton articles.

But that alone is very serious. For if things have not changed in a year and a half, how are they going to change in time? The ANC Policy Conference is in June. How are the ANC branches going to discuss the policies, if they are not even meeting?

Two of the four Paton articles are linked below. Her remaining two are case studies of the Western Cape Province and of the Telkom shares (Elephant Consortium) scandal. They may be published here later, if there is space.

Lastly, we can report that in London yesterday, outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, an initial Hands Off Somalia demonstration was held. Think yourselves cursed that were not there. In South Africa, in the Mail and Guardian, the serious foreign policy write Richard Cornwell gives good reasons why South African troops must not be sent to Somalia. There is no good that we can do there. No possible benefit to the Somali people could come from the presence of foreign military forces on their soil. But there is plenty of disaster that could happen to us, and them, as a result of such a foolish intervention, if it should happen.

South Africa’s role is to champion peace, freedom, independence, and national sovereignty, and to give unconditional opposition to Imperialism. It is not our business to mediate between Imperialism and its victims, or to broker deals on behalf of Imperialism, let alone to apply armed force in such a shameful, pandering cause.

Click on these links:

Relation of working class to state power, Mohubetswane Alex Mashilo (4991 words)

Place the branch at the centre of struggle, ANC Today, 070119 (857 words)

ANC and business, soul for sale, Carol Paton, Financial Mail (2948 words)

ANC finance, untold millions, Carol Paton, Financial Mail (1209 words)

SA should not send troops to Somalia, Richard Cornwell, M and G (754 words)

19 January 2007

Trust The People

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Both the SACP General Secretary, Cde Dr Blade Nzimande, and the SACP Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Cronin, have hit the ground running this year and set a good pace for the rest of us. Cde Blade’s Umsebenzi Online statement, relayed here yesterday, brought forth comment in the press (see below).

Jeremy Cronin’s Joe Slovo Memorial lecture, done for the Chris Hani Institute, was packed out yesterday and he did not disappoint. Once again the press paid attention, some staying until the last end of a long session. See below for the text, which was given very much as written.

The crux of the debate that followed Cde Cronin’s presentation seemed to turn around the concepts of party, of class and of masses in general. Those who conceive of politics in terms of party as the principal operative factor, tend to see other parties as enemy. This can manifest not only as hostility to the DA, but also the ANC, although the ANC was, as Cronin reminded us, from 1928 onwards built by non-sectarian communists in alliance with non-sectarian non-communists.

Cde Cronin several times returned to a conception of politics as a question, not of capturing position for party, but of mobilising the power of the masses. This is the true and indispensable democracy that we have to build and to defend, both in bourgeois times and in socialist times.

The YCL rejects apartheidification and lottering! See the link below. The YCL is close to the masses.

Lastly for today, Professor Virginia Tilley lives in Johannesburg. Writing in Counterpunch, she points out the steady march to war by the USA and Israel against Iran, and also what she thinks is necessary to reverse this march. Her view is summed up as follows:

The challenge to the US political system is therefore now extremely grave: somehow to retake rational control of US foreign policy, from people known to be lying criminals, within as little as two months, yet with no precedent for doing so. It should not be impossible. Insider Washington pressures must now become ultimatums. But insider operations require political backing that can only be obtained through a pincer strategy: rapid public revelations of White House criminality by serving officials, with responsible headline coverage by the national press sufficient rapidly to cripple White House foreign policymaking. This political rebellion would require rare political will.

What is clearly absent from the Professor’s prescription is mass action. She relies instead on a wishful
Seven Days in May type scenario. In that film, heroic action by individual insiders (played by Kirk Douglas and Ava Gardner) foils a coup d’etat on the USA planned by a scary fascist group called ECOMCON, led by a wicked General played by Burt Lancaster.

Ours is the politics of the ordinary people, not the politics of giants and superheroes. Prof Tilley is right to be, as she calls herself, an alarmed US citizen, but her remedies are not sufficient. Nor will the palace politics preferred by some of our comrades be sufficient in South Africa. Only the education, organisation and mobilisation of vast masses of ordinary people will succeed in imposing peace and rejecting Imperialism and taking us forward to socialism.

Click on these links:

Slovo, democracy and socialism, Jeremy Cronin at CHI, 070119 (6866 words)

SACP stakes claim as alliance equal, Karima Brown, Business Day (419 words)

We reject apartheidification and lottering of justice, YCLSA (334 words)

Steady march to war on Iran, Virginia Tilley, Counterpunch (2068 words)

18 January 2007

Organised Working Class

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Umsebenzi Online is back with a major statement, drawing quick comment from the Business Day. See the link below for Umsebenzi. Reactions will be covered tomorrow. Hard copies should be available at today’s Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture in COSATU House (10th floor) at 10h00. See the link below.

Renee Grawitzky, writing in Business Report yesterday, exploits the humorous and friendly (and well received) remarks of Ashwin Desai made as an invited guest of COSATU, plus a NALEDI report also commissioned by COSATU, to argue in effect that COSATU should now be taken over by management consultants, and remade in the mould of the “third way”. This, of course, is very far from what Comrade Ashwin would actually recommend. See her article, linked below.

Journalists are only able to talk like this, over the heads of the people’s democratic mass organisations, because the human character of those organisations is concealed by the mass media. Renee Grawitzky, as a former editor of the South African Labour Bulletin, should know better than to ignore the actual human texture of this, the largest organised component of our democracy. This is not like some capitalist company, to be traded by anonymous speculators and picked over by consultants.

To illustrate this for her and everybody else’s benefit, here linked below is a shortened version of an even more extensive Profile of COSATU. We are looking at an organisation of two million dues-paying members, thousands of shop stewards, and a well-hardened and well-structured leadership cadre. COSATU deserves much more detailed attention in the mass media, and a lot more respect. Follow the links below. This document is a major resource. Let us hope that Renee and other journalists make good use of it.

The YCL is still growing. How do they do it? See the linked flyer below (from Comrade Thando in Buhle Park).

The last linked item is the Ceasefire Campaign press statement on Somalia, released yesterday. The Ceasefire Campaign is the main existing South African mass movement for peace. This statement is very welcome. The tide is turning on Somalia. We have information that there will in fact be demonstrations at the World Social Forum in Nairobi next week. And there should be.

Please note that Wikispaces are off-line for maintenance. Hence today’s documents have been archived on our Google Group web site instead of the usual one. If the links do not work for you, the documents can be found under Pages, with the exception of the COSATU Profile, which is under Files, at the Group web site at
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Communist-University .

Click on these links:

Umsebenzi Online, Vol 6, No. 1, 17 Jan 2007, The Policy Year (2403 words)

Cosatu has key to Adult World, Renee Grawitzky, Business Report (1112 words)

Profile of COSATU, January 2007 (Database, MS Word file download)

Join the Young Communist League (Flyer for recruiting drive on Saturday, January 20th)

Ceasefire condemns US action in Somalia, Ceasefire Campaign (365 words)

17 January 2007

Legalising Ourselves

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We understand that the new Central Executive Committee of PUDEMO of Swaziland, elected at its 6th General Congress in December 2006, is as follows:

1. President - Cde Mario Masuku
2. Deputy President - Cde Dr Gabriel Mkhumane
3. Secretary General - Cde Sphasha Dlamini
4. Deputy Secretary General - Cde Stuckie Motsa
5. Treasurer General - Cde Vusi Mnisi
6. National Political Commissar - Cde Vincent Dlamini
7. National Organising Secretary - Cde Armostrong Robinson

The announcement adds: Together with four additional members, who include a Secretary For International Affairs, plus the regional Chairpersons and Secretaries of the five regions of PUDEMO, as well as the Presidents and Secretaries General of the youth and Women's league, constitute the National Executive Committee of PUDEMO, which will lead the movement for the next four years.

It is approximately 1,500 kilometres from Mbabane, Swaziland to Cape Town, South Africa. It is less than 3,500 kilometres from Mbabane to Mogadishu, Somalia. When the people of Somalia began to build their own order, and threw out the competing mafias that were ruining their lives, they did it by means of a Civil Society movement called UIC. Soon, Civil Society movements will be gathering in the great city of Nairobi, in the adjacent Republic of Kenya, in a gathering without a structure called the World Social Forum. Will they support their fellow Civil Society movement, the UIC of Somalia? After all, this was one Civil Society movement which did actually take a country over from below. We predict the WSF will not do so. We predict that the WSF will do nothing at all about Somalia next week, although we would prefer to be wrong in this prediction.

Meanwhile the puppet junta in Somalia has ordered the country’s radio stations to close down. This is the freedom and democracy that the USA brings.

The Swazis should take note of all this. The US would like to say: nobody makes revolution, or even regime change, unless we say so. If you do it yourselves, we will come in with military force and restore the old regime. They are now in Somalia. So they are a lot closer to Swaziland than they were even just before Christmas, when PUDEMO was holding its 6th Congress.

Does PUDEMO have a policy to deal with such circumstances? Does it have a diplomatic mission at the United Nations, and a diplomatic presence in the key countries of the world as, for example, the ANC did prior to liberation (with its Chief Rep system)? Not yet, seems to be the answer.

The YCL has issued a press release on the situation revealed by the case of the Ndlebe family. The ANC Youth League has published its fortnightly Hlomelang. And the Communist University programme now includes names of those who will be opening the discussions for the next few weeks. The first section of the year’s programme is dedicated to studying how to avoid the predicament of illegality presently faced by the Somali UIC, and in another way, by PUDEMO. See the three links below.

Tomorrow at 10h00 at the 10th floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin will be giving the Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture for the Chris Hani Institute on the topic of The Legacy of Comrade Joe Slovo. No doubt this will be equally relevant, since Cde Joe Slovo is the one who led the SACP out of illegality, having lived through the whole period of its previous clandestine existence.

Click on these links:

We deserve better, YCLSA (356 words)

Hlomelang, January 2007 (newsletter)

2007 Study Group Draft Programme, revised, with links (schedule)

16 January 2007

Somali Guernica

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Pablo Picasso was a Communist. In 1937 he created a mural for the Spanish Pavilion at an International Exhibition in Paris held in the northern summer of that year. In Spain, the rebellion of the fascist Francisco Franco with his army of askaris, supported by German Nazis, was attacking the Spanish Republic. Here is one account from the many on the Internet:

On April 27th, 1937, unprecedented atrocities are perpetrated on behalf of Franco against the civilian population of a little Basque village in northern Spain. Chosen for bombing practice by Hitler's burgeoning war machine, the hamlet is pounded with high-explosive and incendiary bombs for over three hours. Townspeople are cut down as they run from the crumbling buildings. Guernica burns for three days. Sixteen hundred civilians are killed or wounded.

By May 1st, news of the massacre at Guernica reaches Paris, where more than a million protesters flood the streets to voice their outrage in the largest May Day demonstration the city has ever seen. Eyewitness reports fill the front pages of Paris papers. Picasso is stunned by the stark black and white photographs.


Alas, there are not even any photographs of the killing of 70 (or less? or more?) so-called nomads in southern Somalia by the cowardly US AC-130 gunships in these last few days. There is only an account by Oxfam charity workers in the area. But it is clear enough from this account that the US forces are as crude as any other such force in history. Like the Nazi Stuka pilots in Spain in 1937, they simply had to have blood, and indiscriminate blood at that, the better to show off the cruelty of their power.

Southern Somalia is a land of bush without fences, but it is a human landscape, walked over by people all the time. People keep camels but do not ride them. In that place it is understood that a two-legged human can go further and quicker than any other creature on land, loaded or free. The camels are milked, and sometimes slaughtered. The people are beautiful, and proud. They walk beautifully.

Last week’s horrible events in Somalia will have to be imagined, like those of Guernica, with the help of the frankness of artists like Picasso, like Francisco de Goya in his series
Disasters of War, and with the help of poets of the past and to come. The truth of artists is indeed a greater and more powerful truth than that of our fickle mass media, corrupted as they are by purveyors of untruth.

For that reason, Picasso’s Guernica was reproduced in the halls of the United Nations in New York, because the United Nations was created after the defeat of the Nazi fascists, to make sure of peace in the world, and never to allow the repulsive atrocities of war to be forgotten. But when Colin Powell came there four years ago to present his notorious, lying PowerPoint presentation prior to the US aggression on Iraq (for which he failed to get UN permission) he first made the UN officials cover up the old Communist’s painting. And so the Guernica was draped on that day, to cover the shame of Colin Powell and that of the Imperialist United States of America.

The South African Communist Party has issued a full statement (see below) condemning the US brutalities in Somalia and calling, inter alia, for the withdrawal of all US troops and facilities from the entire continent and for a new continental movement for peace, against Imperialism and for economic justice.

If we should need a sign for this movement, let us please return to the peace-doves, the palomas, of our beloved Communist Picasso, and not return to the contrived and antiseptic British “peace sign” of the 1960s.

Click on this link:

SACP Condemns US military attacks on Somalia (801 words)

15 January 2007

Imperialism Cause Of War

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The announcement of war came on Christmas Day with the following headline: Ethiopia declares war on Somalia.

During the remainder of the Christmas silly season the lies were relentless. For the record, the
Communist University does not believe that falsehoods in the media have much effect on general public opinion. They may encourage the killers, but they don’t fool the normal people for long. In any case it is the action, not the rumour, of war that people must concern themselves with, plus the corresponding organised active popular movement for peace.

This is not what the City Press is doing, exactly (see below). It still feels the need to bend its knee towards the phoney war on terror, which is really a war of terror by the US Imperialists against the rest of humanity. Yet apart from its nods towards the US version, the City Press is a long way from supporting the US aggression.

Reality is reasserting itself. The actual sight of a new war by white forces against poor black people in Africa and so close to home is a shock to any South African.

The reality of Somalia’s nature and history is also reasserting itself in the face of the infantile comic-strip rubric of US invention called Al Qaeda, which we are supposed to imagine exists as a sort of rogue corporation, or as a new version of the Comintern complete with cells. Of course this is ridiculous.

And, of course, nobody has ever been able to suppress the Somalis for long. People know that, if nothing else. Somalia would be a death trap for any South African force. People are already brushing the propaganda aside and saying openly that South African forces must not go to Somalia. This is what the City Press was saying yesterday. The City Press claims to be a black newspaper. This was indeed one time when it did show more sensitivity than the other, even more white-dominated, rags of this country.

Our President could still send South African troops to Somalia, even if he knows they are going to die there. Our US-imposed fixed eight-year term limit of presidency has its own logic, which the US ruling class know very well. That is why they pushed this system upon us. The logic is this: Even if the President is a lame duck towards the end in terms of mass popular mobilisation, yet he can still do a lot of things. Especially, he can make war. And he does these things in secret.

Our job is to expose all such actions to the light of day.

The YCL is sharp enough and quick enough to understand what is going on. See their welcome statement of solidarity, linked below. Let us hope it is the first of many such statements from organisations at national and at local level.

Click on these links:

Outcry grows over US role in Somali attacks, D Thompson, City Press (416 words)

SA cannot join proxy war in Somalia, Editorial, City Press (489 words)

YCL condemns gruesome US intervention in Somalia (252 words)

14 January 2007

Way Forward

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President Thabo Mbeki gave an address on the 95th Anniversary of the ANC yesterday in Witbank, Mpumalanga. The broadcast version did not seem to be identical to the statement that is up on the ANC web site. The President's, which we do not have, was shorter, but substantially the same in content. See the link below, and note that there are some typographical errors (typos) in the document.

Also linked below is the COSATU 2007 year planner in a small PDF, thanks to COSATU’s wizard of graphics, Vincent Masoga.

Yesterday in the Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein there was a launch of a list of principles, a book, an idea, and a
web site, under the name of ANSA, standing for Alternatives to neo-liberalism in Southern Africa.

The idea that was put forward is that there should be an alternative offered to neo-liberalism. The idea that neo-liberalism itself is a reaction to revolutionary politics was not put forward. On the contrary, the academics were happy to agree with neo-liberalism that the revolutionary politics it opposed should be buried.

All this is derived from funded research that has been going on under various professors and academics since 1996, according to the documents and the web site. Some of these academics are now unfortunately themselves deceased, never having seen their non-revolutionary, alternative promised land.

So the question of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of a socialist proletarian state did not feature at the launch, although much was made of the trade union credentials of some of the leading participants.

The question of the necessity of peace as a condition for development also does not arise in these documents. Nor does the question of Imperialism as the source of war, invariably resorting to war as the primary means of exerting its power. Nor did the actual and present war, in Somalia, get a mention.

Some reference is made by ANSA to an undefined abstract Empire, associated with the institutions of the IMF, WTO and World Bank. But the concrete historical anti-Imperialist struggle for peace, independence and freedom is in practice traded here for an eclectic shopping list of good intentions such as “autocentric development”, and “dynamic, participatory and radical democracy”.

ANSA seems to be an attempt to take politics outside the actual discourse of the historic anti-Imperialist freedom struggle and away from its existing revolutionary institutions, such as the SACP, COSATU and the ANC.

It seeks to start again with the clean slate provided by the funded academics, plus an ambitious new group of politicians. Some of the latter were present at the launch and they were not at all shy to declare their ambitions.

If all this is the case, then the ANSA initiative itself is no better than another piece of political Imperialism of the liberal variety. Judge for yourself. The linked document below contains the so-called ANSA principles, plus a link to the ANSA web site.

Click on this link:

ANC January 8 Statement 2007 (9880 words)

COSATU 2007 year planner (60 KB PDF download)

The ANSA alternative (list)

13 January 2007

Point Man Quisling

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Paul Craig Roberts and William S Lind are both great US writers against the war in Iraq. Neither of them are remotely communist but both have come to many of the same conclusions as ourselves concerning the Bush speech and the so called surge. The Iraq surge is not about Iraq. Together with the deployment of aircraft carriers and Patriot missiles, it is a positional warfare move in relation to Iran and Syria. See the first two short, punchy, linked articles.

The simultaneous US attack on Somalia with AC-130 gunships and US military death squads on the ground adds another to the present list of countries that are victims of active as opposed to passive aggression, even before Syria and Iran have been attacked.

President Thabo Mbeki writes at great length on the theme of Somalia needing African solidarity, in his presidential letter published on-line in ANC Today yesterday. On the subject of the US armed aggression against Somalia he has this to say, in the course of his very long article:

As the military conflict continued after the ouster of the UIC, the US decided to launch air strikes against the retreating UIC adherents, claiming that it was striking at terrorists who had bombed the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in 1998 and then taken refuge in Somalia. The majority of the world, including the AU and the UN, has been forthright in opposing this action, correctly asserting that this will not help to resolve the crisis in Somalia and would add oil to the fires that are burning in the Middle East.

Prior to that, President Mbeki writes at length about his visit to Mogadishu in 1974, in the footsteps of O R Tambo.

Yet he has nothing to say about the visit he made to G W Bush in Washington on December 8th, 2006, at the time when the US and its Ethiopian stooges were busy preparing the attack on Somalia. He flew all the way from South Africa in his expensive personal Boeing to talk to Bush for a few minutes, and then to come back again. Is it reasonable to conclude that he was summoned for a briefing, in his appointed position of Bush’s point man? Or did he go rushing to protest at what was about to happen?

The text of the remarks made at the photo-opportunity after the Bush-Mbeki meeting strongly suggest the former, and not the latter. The evidence suggests that Thabo Mbeki sold Africa out to the USA and ushered in the strikes on African territory that he now complains, mildly, are adding oil to the fires.

Read the two linked documents for yourself. The Communist University concludes that Thabo Mbeki is a sell-out and an impimpi for the US Imperialists. Whether he did what he did over the heads of the Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs is another question. We shall see. Let is for now mark the seriousness of Mbeki’s betrayal. In the context so well described today by Paul Craig Roberts and William S Lind, it is of Quisling proportions, or even worse. Vidkun Quisling was the man who sold Norway out to the Nazis. See the picture above.

Finally, the full PUDEMO of Swaziland Road Map document from their Congress at the end of December is out and available for download via the link given below.

Click on these links:

Surge and Mirrors, Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch (790 words)

Less than zero, William S Lind, Counterpunch (802 words)

Somalia needs African solidarity, T Mbeki, ANC Today Jan 12 (2250 words)

Remarks by Bush and Mbeki at Photo Opportunity, White House (787 words)
Road map to new democratic Swaziland, PUDEMO 6th Congress, Dec 2006 (215 KB file download)

12 January 2007

You Have Been Told

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G W Bush occupies the presidency of the United States of America. When he makes announcements he does so as the mouthpiece of the ruling class of that country, which is at the same time the most aggressive component of the international capitalist system first called Imperialism by J A Hobson and his contemporaries, including V I Lenin.

His recent speech on the so called surge in Iraq threatens two things in the short term with a possibility of a third, major thing. The context includes that of a new attack on another country, Somalia, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The surge will not involve a lot of new troops. The USA does not have such troops. Even if it did have the twenty thousand or thirty thousand that are mentioned on top of the existing one hundred and fifty thousand already deployed, the numbers are marginal and could not be decisive, as claimed.

What the Bush announcement threatens is a change in the Rules of Engagement in Iraq. These are the instructions given to the troops. The existing rules allow the troops to do what they want, up to the point of genocide, as they did in the city of Falluja. The new rules will make genocide not optional, but compulsory. The US military is descending into the hell of arbitrary, unrestrained, irrational, post modern warfare as once practiced in Vietnam and as practiced now by the Israelis in Palestine.

The arbitrary violence has already been exported to the African continent. The taking off of the AC 130 that strafed Somalis this week marks a new stage in Imperialist violence, as well as a reversion to the practices of the Rhodesian Arthur Bomber Harris in the 1920s and 1930s. We are going backwards to military colonialism. This is what is called reaction.

The Bush announcement mouths a false pretext for attacks on Syria and on Iran. Insofar as such lies are a necessary part of US politics, it has significance, perhaps. But it should not obscure the fact that US Imperialism, and the wars that it involves, are in any case enthusiastically supported by all the ruling-class factions in the USA, whether of the Republican party or of the Democratic Party. Pretexts are hardly necessary. The point is to note the direct instruction, in military terms, to take tactical steps. One such step was taken at the moment of the speech. It was the violation, by US troops, of the Iranian consulate in Erbil, Iraq (A famous, ancient city on a hill. See the picture above).

So the speech is no more than an echo of things that are already happening.

The third possibility is not specifically mentioned but is flagged by the mention of deployment of Patriot missiles. These particular missiles are very expensive but completely ineffective. They are supposed to be an anti-missile defence, but they do not work. They only serve the positional purpose of menacing war. Their deployment is the defensive prelude to an aggressive attack, and is seen as such in military terms.

The deployment of Patriots is a way of encouraging the Israelis to take the final risk, which is that of bombing Iran with nuclear weapons. This horror will be done in the name of the Jews. It is almost unconscionable (i.e. almost impossible to think about). Yet the Bush speech tells us that the US ruling class wants us to think about it. They want what they are doing to be understood, not as madness, but as deliberate cruelty. They want us to know that what they are going to do is not a mistake, but the wilful action of a terrifying, unrestrainable power.

As South Africans we know that the most terrifying power can be brought down by courageous organisation and mass action. We must stand up and give an example, once again.

In South Africa the SACP has issued its congratulatory message on the 95th Anniversary of the African National Congress. It is also a concise and significant statement of the concrete situation politically in the country today.

Click on this link:

SACP message on 95th Anniversary of the ANC (1634 words)