2 February 2008


[posted early for Sunday]

This morning (Sunday) at 10h00 the Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP meets for the first time in 2008 at the SATAWU Offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, (between Loveday and Harrison).

It’s time to talk about crime in this country and to take a political line of march towards its eradication. This is because it is a problem that will not be solved any other way than politically, and because in all ways crime is a matter of politics. It’s time to make real the project of having street committees whose first item of business is the removal of crime from the face of our country, with comrades in charge, by virtue of democracy.

John Matshikiza is an artist. He is an actor and a writer, like his father before him. John was for many years in exile. When he could, he brought his art home. Yesterday (Saturday) he had to use his art to describe a terrible assault on his person. This is the crime that we must get rid of, comrades. Click the first link below and read the account that the good comrade, John Matshikiza (pictured) has written.

Also yesterday, in the bourgeois Guardian newspaper of London, a review was published of a book about depression, and it seems very appropriate to link it, too (second link below). Being bourgeois, the writer and the reviewer cannot say that depression is political, and that the remedy political, although they come as close as they can to saying so. What they do manage to say is that it is art, in the sense of public communication, that can save us from depression, the disease of the alienated, in class-divided society:

“The artist's work is a protest against loss. He makes something, where nothing was there before, and often makes it out of the mourning garments of his own life, patches it together from his own losses and deficits. The "work of mourning" is about communication… and it is about creativity.”

This is why it is such a gross affront that an artist like John Matshikiza should be the victim of crime, when he should be one of our saviours from crime, as an honoured and cherished artist.

In the political world, the news is of a scene like that of the early 1990s when exiles returned, combined with the internal struggle, and divided again, producing a new exclusion. See the report of Ndivhuho Mafela, linked below, from the
Politically Correct blog of the Times/Sunday Times, where you can leave comments and where the journalists sometimes answer back to the comments. See also the report of Karima Brown and Amy Musgrave, the fourth item linked below.

Barrie Terblanche is the founder of “Big News”, the national free sheet for small businesses. SABC3 TV journalist Tazlima Viljoen used to run its Johannesburg office at one stage. Terblanche has sold “Big News” now, but still describes himself as a small-business writer. He is not one of the ra-ra brigade of mindless entrepreneurial enthusiasts. He is affectionate towards his chosen constituency, but entertains no fantasies about them. In the linked item below he writes of the devastation the small businesses have suffered due to the failure of the Eskom power supply.

In Terblanche’s last paragraph he says: “What they are bad at is advocacy, because they are so focused on their own businesses. It makes more sense for small business developers to help them advocate their cause, rather than giving them advice…” This is so similar to Karl Marx’s approach to peasants in, for example, “
The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, as to make no practical difference. The small proprietors are unable to make for themselves a successful combination as a class, and therefore it is necessary to assist them.

Click on these links:

An assault on one’s sense of self, John Matshikiza, Weekender (841 words)

Anatomy of melancholy, Hilary Mantel, The Guardian (695 words)

Wheel turns Zuma way, Ndivhuho Mafela, Politically Correct (304 words)

No purges, public servants are told, Brown and Musgrave, B Day (437 words)

Switching on to needs of small owners, B Terblanche, B Day (1259 words)

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