10 February 2008

Power Struggle

Alcan has been swallowed by Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto may soon be swallowed by BHP Billiton, whose CEO is South African Marius Kloppers. Whatever huge entity emerges from it all will hold any rights that have been granted by our South African government in relation to aluminium smelting at Coega, and the enormous power supply for that smelting, at less than a third of the lowest domestic rates, according to the Weekender (see the first linked item below).

We have mentioned this before. It was on 17 January that the Communist University published photos and diagrams of the dreaded potlines. The graphic above is from the website of a campaigning film against a Rio Tinto company, Kennecott, in Oaxaca, Mexico, called El Enemigo ComĂșn (“the common enemy”).

Please read Mathabo Le Roux’ excellent Weekender article about the smelters and ask yourself: Has South Africa been scammed again, but much worse this time, as it was scammed by Coleman Andrews, with help from Saki Macozoma, at South African Airways?

Bigger than oil business is power itself, or energy in general, which encompasses oil, coal, gas and hydro-electric power, plus nuclear, solar, and wind as well as the plainly fraudulent bio-fuel boondoggle.

Robert Bryce, writing in the US publication Counterpunch, has started to look at the energy business worldwide. It seems clear that the global-warming scare will not affect the growth in energy consumption. His article, linked below, should convince anyone of that. There is no way to hold back the billions who are in poverty from having the energy supply that they demand. As Bryce puts it:

“… if political leaders agree [that] too much carbon dioxide is bad, then what are we going to do? Fossil fuels now provide about 85% of the world's total energy needs. Even more important is this corollary: Increasing energy consumption equals higher living standards. Always. Everywhere. Given that fact, how can we expect the people of the world--all 6.6 billion of them--to use less energy? The short answer: we can't.”

You can be sure that the companies who control energy are well aware of these imperatives, and are determined to take advantage of them, and to make profit from the energy requirement of all of the 6.6 billion people in the world. So why are they all talking about global warming? Are they hypocrites? Well, sure they are. But more to the point they are capitalist business people and capitalism requires a situation of scarcity, real or artificial. Whether there is human-caused global warming or not, makes no difference to the monopolistic sellers. Either way it is good for business because it pushes up the price of energy.

Can heads roll because of energy mess-ups? Yes, they can. On Friday, the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet of Tanzania was forced to resign over an electricity scandal – incidentally only one week prior to a visit to that country by US President G W Bush. See the next two reports linked below.

So why have heads not rolled in South Africa? It may be because lame ducks don’t walk. A lame duck government like ours is already on its way out. It sees no point in leaving even one day before its allotted time, if it can possibly help it. They won’t go unless they are pushed.

The South African President and cabinet should get a note from ANC President Jacob Zuma saying: "Comrades, you are RELEASED!" Otherwise these bozos and bozas can wreck and spend and connive with Imperialist energy moguls until there is nothing left to hand over, on handover day in 2009.

Click on these links:

Why the Alcan deal does not compute, Mathabo Le Roux, Weekender (883 words)

If More CO2 is Bad… Then What, Robert Bryce, Counterpunch (1649 words)

Tanzania leader names new premier, BBC News, Africa (385 words)

Cabinet dissolved, Angel Navuri, Dodoma, Tanzania, IPP Media (896 words)

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