21 January 2008

Contrarians, Antinomians, and Malcontents

The great Rosa Luxemburg said: "Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden", which means: "Freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently". Together with Karl Liebknecht, she was killed on 18 January 1919 but she is going to live again in our studies this year.

But first, are you ready to rid yourself “of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew”? Next week Tuesday we will start our new year of study with Liu Shaoqi, a rather different personality from Rosa, to be sure, but a good comrade nonetheless. Read the first linked document, below.

The first session is held available, as usual, for reflection on the nature of political education, its purpose, and its methodology. The Communist University is committed to
Critical Pedagogy. This also means that we test our ideas constantly against other ideas. We may need to contrast our pedagogical theory with that of the ANC, for example. Ideas are best illuminated, hardened and tempered by the fire of their most ardent critics.

In practice the new ANC NEC puts out businesslike material, focused, concrete, and above all intentional, to use a term of Paulo Freire’s. These are documents to keep and to study and to use as a continuous guide to our practical political life. See the linked document below. Among other things, “the Lekgotla recommended that government urgently develop a national response plan, whose single minded focus is to keep the electricity flowing”.

Professor Anthony Butler is a subtle thinker and last year was the first, or one of the first, to identify the strategy of the former President of the ANC to capture Luthuli House and then to run the country “from beyond the political grave”. When Butler is good, he is very, very good. See the linked article below. It is one of the first in the bourgeois press to take a steady look at the new ANC leadership as a whole. Butler tries hard to be horrid about Jacob Zuma and Zuma’s alleged “band of malcontents”, but the overall effect of this article is like a breath of fresh air, free of the odour of political anxiety and panic that has been all too common lately in the mainstream media.

Concerning the Eskom power cuts in the country, there is a simple version of events (swallowed whole by COSATU) that says that Eskom wanted to build power stations in the 1990s but the government would not let them. Thabo Mbeki has lent credence to the tale with a rather odd and quiet “public apology”.

This story is now being interrogated, and it is not standing up to interrogation very well. See the fourth and fifth items linked below. There is no doubt a great deal more that could come out. People have been playing God, but also thinking that time stands still, as, perhaps, for God, it does. The rest of us have to live in the material world. These people let us down badly while they dreamed of glory.

All of the hidden managers and the public officials in the energy field were dilatory. Now they are brazenly trying to exploit the situation made by their own negligence. They should all be cleared out, because they are a discredited, and quite possibly a corrupt leadership. They cannot be trusted.

There are new items in the “Coming Events” section. One of them is a Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture by SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin, in Bonteheuvel, Cape Town on Saturday the 26th of January at 10h00. Another is the first major strike action of the year, also in Cape Town, by SAMWU members, from Monday the 28th.

Click on these links:

1939, Liu Shaoqi, How to be a good Communist (2546 words)

ANC National Executive Committee Statement, 20 January 2008 (1457 words)

Beyond knee-jerk gloom over ANC, Anthony Butler, Business Day (986 words)

Did Eskom attempt to plan for demand surge?, DEBATE, 21 January 2008 (424 words)

A lose-lose situation, Anonymous News24 User, 21 January 2008 (709 words)

Coming Events


Post a Comment

Post a Comment