21 January 2008

Sack The Incompetents! Democratise Control!

Barry Sergeant in his article “Days of mongrel donkeys” began: "Something truly catastrophic has happened at Eskom". That is the right place to begin. The alleged requisitions for power stations refused a decade ago, as COSATU has opined, do not absolve Eskom. Nor does Thabo Mbeki’spublic apology" although it is another good reason for him to resign, now.

There is a supply side and a demand side for electricity and the managers at Eskom can see it all. They could have made it all public, but they did not and still have not. Instead, they rode us into a catastrophe, like running a train into the buffers at full speed. They even increased the speed by selling huge amounts of power dirt-cheap on long-term fixed-price contracts to big multinational corporations, with no benefit to the country.
If, like COSATU, we now say that Eskom is not to blame, then we make sure that the same individuals, most of them hidden and anonymous, will remain in charge of power supply, possibly dictating and micro-managing our lives through rationing, for many years to come. This would amount to a coup d’etat of the incompetents over the rest of us. This is not acceptable. It is intolerable.
The people of South Africa must demand a total audit of the supply side and the demand side of electricity in detail in Kilowatts, broken down by localities and customers, plus all the backward and forward projections, plus a total audit of the human factor, too. Heads must roll, and not just Jacob Maroga’s head (pictured).

We must have total transparency and democratic control of all forward decision-making, especially when it comes to new contracts for sale of power or of purchase of power stations and transmission equipment. And if there is to be rationing, the people must control it democratically, not Eskom or any other faceless and spin-doctoring bureaucracy.
The only one of the three major Sunday newspapers that put the national catastrophe on its front page yesterday was the Sunday Independent. See their good editorial and their good front-page treatment (though not yet good enough), both linked below.

Andrew Murray is the Chairperson of the Stop the War coalition, once a leading journalist of the British working-class daily the Morning Star, and a strong writer of good books. He has written a blog on the London Guardian’s “comment is free” section, correcting distortions in the historic record of the killing of Karl Liebkecht and Rosa Luxemburg on 18 January 1919. Read the link below. The link to the site is given below the text. If you want, you can that link to open the site and read the comments, and to add comments of your own if you wish.

Communist University this year is going to feature the main polemics between Rosa Luxemburg and Vladimir Lenin, started by Rosa in 1900 with “Reform or Revolution?” Our first text of the year, for our usual initial reflection on political education, will go out tomorrow.

Meanwhile our “ghost” course, “
The Spectre of Capital, Volume 1” continues today with the second part of the 1848 “Communist Manifesto” of Marx and Engels, called “Proletarians and Communists”. This ends with the great statement about the “vast association of the whole nation in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”. Comrades, you have to read it!

Click on these links:

Power for the people must be state priority, Editorial, Sindy (467 words)

Crisis meetings to end Eskom chaos, Naidu, Gordin, others, Sindy (865 words)

Fallen heroes, sacred facts, Andrew Murray, Guardian (770 words)

Communist Manifesto, Proletarians and Communists, 1848 (3767 words)

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