29 April 2007

Surf Control

The Communist University blog carries links to politically educational articles from newspapers and the Internet, and press releases, as well as documents from the “classics” and other available political writing. Many CU subscribers are also subscribed to COSATU Daily News, so the CU tends not to duplicate material that is distributed through that larger list, in the form of COSATU Week (press releases and campaigning news) and COSATU Daily Labour News (newsclips). COSATU Week is formatted in four-page parts that can be downloaded in MS-Word format for printing.

The CU also publishes less frequently at present. Don’t worry! The reason is only pressure of work.

The first linked item is from Saturday’s Weekender and is a report by Karima Brown on COSATU’s long paper on the leadership challenge,
archived in full here. The same journalist also wrote in the same edition about the SABC, not about its notorious blacklist, of which she is one of the victims, but about its ban on an advertisement from the Sowetan. See the link for further details.

In today’s Johannesburg Sunday Times there is an article by Raymond Louw (not yet available on the Internet) headed “SABC blocks Zimbabwe site”. It reports that if SABC journalists try to connect to the London site of SW Radio Africa they get a message stating: “SURF CONTROL: Access Denied. Access to the requested URL has been denied by SABC policy”. The site concerned carries interviews of opposition and government figures in Zimbabwe as well as of “civil society” personalities there – and sends e-mails to the Communist University, by the way (thanks, comrades!).

Also in the Sunday Times, on its front page, is an item headlined “Chaos as Sunday Times has to recall thousands of papers”. This is yet another case of prior restraint on publication imposed by a Judge in his private rooms (i.e. not in court). One of the judge’s strictures is that his reasons for the interdict are not to be reported! Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya is not noticeably upset or angry. He only apologises to his readers for the inconvenience.

Meanwhile Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP has been trying to invent a system of blog control. They are in danger of usurping the SACP Congress’s sole right to form the Party Constitution, which is the appropriate ruling document. They are not likely to succeed in extending our Constitution into blog censorship.

See also the link to the article from the Johannesburg Sunday Independent (p.12) by Debbie Smit, headlined “Previously invisible info now available at the click of a mouse”. It is mainly about “mash-ups”.

“On the web”, she writes, “mash-ups are at the core of what people call Web 2.0 or the recombinant web”. The Communist University is a “mash-up” between a blog, a group, and a wiki web site, not to mention hard copy and weekly face-to-face dialogue.

There is always a struggle to communicate, and mass communication is especially contested terrain. All kinds of obstructions appear from nowhere, and as fast as new means come to hand, so also do new restrictions and objections. The struggle continues.

Alexander Cockburn is enough of a scholar to know that the public realm has been full of nonsense for well over a thousand years, if we only take the millennium hysteria of the late 900s AD for a start. The new millennialism is about “global warming”. Cockburn has the physics, but whether the rational view can hold back the tide of carbon-credit zealots is another story, as he explains in the linked article.

Paris (picture) is a hip-hop artist from a mash-up outfit called Guerilla Funk. His main point in the linked piece is that life reflects art and not the other way around, so the question is: Who owns the art producers? His answers, generated from experience in the deeply ambiguous world of US hip-hop are worth reading.

Lastly, a late entry from the City Press, an article which at first appears to be a hostile report about the YCL but then rambles off on to page four with a long report about the KZN ANC PEC meeting last week that was attended by President Mbeki, and which is none too flattering to the latter.

Among other things it reports the complaint that: “The national leaders were quick to point fingers without hearing the province’s side of the story. The meeting quoted the example of Mbeki’s remarks on TV about a Sunday newspaper story about a “plot” to create “no-go areas” for him.”

You will recall that in this TV appearance on Sunday 22 April 2007 Mbeki was accomanied by SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary Zico Tamela and SACP Yusuf Dadoo District (Krugersdorp) Secretary Nkosiphendule Kolisile, for reasons that were not clear, since the news item was about KZN.

Click on these links:

Cosatu plans to take control from ANC, Karima Brown, Weekender (1148 words)

Hear no truth, see no truth on SABC , Karima Brown, Weekender (655 words)

Mash-ups, Debbie Smit, Sunday Independent (599 words)

Is global warming a sin? - Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch (1273 words)

Are You a Hip Hop Apologist? - Paris, Counterpunch (2022 words)

Zuma Camp coup, sama Yende and Msomi, City Press (1498 words)


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