24 February 2008

Money and Skin

We have already reached part 8 (out of 24) of our distance-learning course on Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1. That is, one-third of the way through it. One of the characteristics of Capital is that the chapters vary very widely in length. This one, Chapter 3,”Money, or the circulation of commodities” is 17,275 words long. But it is very interesting. Marx’s definition of money comes at the beginning of Section 3 of the Chapter:

“The commodity that functions as a measure of value, and, either in its own person or by a representative, as the medium of circulation, is money.”

The way to deal with long or, as you might find them, difficult texts, is to give yourself a certain available amount of time to deal with them. It could be anything from 2 minutes to 20 hours. Then, pace yourself in such a way that you can complete the task in the given time. If it means missing out pieces, or turning the pages in front of you, one at a time, but faster than reading pace, so be it, but get to the end. Or, you may start at the end and work back to the beginning, but get there. See the first linked item below.

Continuing with our previous theme of xenophobia, Carmel Rickard has written in the Weekender of the scandalous treatment of Zimbabweans by magistrates, both in the case of the raid on the Central Methodist Church, and in another, unrelated case of legal xenophobia which was appealed to the Johannesburg High Court. Read Rickard’s lambasting of the magistrates, in the second linked item.

Next come three items relating to Friday’s Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) meeting, as we all thought it was at the time. But now it turns out that the whole affair was stage-managed by one person, Abbey Makoe, who also happens to be the political editor of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Makoe claims to be the chairperson of the steering committee of the FBJ, an organisation that has actually been non-existent for many years past.

So the FBJ is now no more than a one-man-band. Friday’s meeting was certainly not a revival of the FBJ. It was only a cheap stratagem of Makoe’s, so that he could put on a showboating performance as host to the President-in-waiting of South Africa, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. The racial furore was a smokescreen. Abbey Makoe has “played” Jacob Zuma, but it won't do him any good.

Ray Hartley is the Editor of The Times, a tabloid newspaper that is delivered free to subscribers of the Sunday Times. The Times is sometimes astonishingly right-wing in tone, yet Hartley seems to be a reasonable and thoughtful man. Writing for his personal blog at the Times’ site, Hartley was one of the first to get this story in proportion, whilst other, more foolish whites writers (for example
Michael Trapido of “Thought Leader”) were still “going ballistic” about it. Fiona Forde was at the FBJ meeting, was refused entrance, but spoke to Makoe. Her calm prose removes Emperor Makoe’s phoney clothes, piece by piece. “Karen Bliksem” (commonly assumed to be Jeremy Gordin) is equally devastating.

Alexander Cockburn, Editor of Counterpunch, has seen many US elections and has now produced the first useful account of the one presently contested between John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Cockburn leaves you with little room for illusions about any of them, but he is not indifferent.

Last, but not least, comes Fidel Castro, an honourable working journalist published in Cockburn’s magazine alongside other working writers. “We need to open ideological fire,” he writes. Comrade Fidel is also watching the US election from Havana, but he takes time to tell us that the night after he resigned he “slept like never before”. He sounds happy. He is enjoying his new career already!

Communist leader Demetris Christofias defeated Ioannis Kasoulides in the election for the presidency of Cyprus. Christofias got 53.4 percent of the votes. Viva AKEL, viva!

Our next “contact session” is tomorrow (Tuesday).

Click on these links:

Capital Volume 1, C3, Money, Karl Marx, 1867 (17275 words)

Xenophobes in judiciary need transforming, Carmel Rickard, Weekender (681 words)

Race, Zuma, journalists and strawberry pie, Ray Hartley, Times blogs (305 words)

White journalists left out in the cold, Fiona Forde, Sunday Independent (586 words)

Makoe makes feathers fly, Karen Bliksem, Sunday Independent (994 words)

Mushrooming Clouds Hang Over McCain, Alex Cockburn, Counterpunch (2784 words)

Watching the US Presidential Campaign from Havana, F Castro, Counterpunch (843 words)

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