16 February 2008

What's Going On?

The South African Communist Party is calling out the South African Police Service to explain what game they are playing in relation to the renegade Willie Madisha and the stool-pigeon Charles Kasinja Modise. Modise has been stewing in chookie, remanded in custody, for five months or more. See SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin’s forthright statement, linked below.

BHP Billiton is a mining company historically made up of the South African Afrikaner-based company Gencor and the Australian company Broken Hill (BHP). The name Billiton comes from a third component, historically based in the Netherlands. In other words, BHP Billiton is made up of the purest stuff of Imperialism, international finance capital expressed as primary extractive industry (i.e. mining, or “resources”). The South African one-time corporate hero Brian Gilbertson put BHP Billiton together in the late 1990s. The possession of aluminium smelters using electricity subsidised by South African taxpayers appears to have been a considerable part of Gilbertson’s leverage during this process.

But Gilbertson appears to have fallen out with the Australians, and he resigned quite soon after becoming Chief Executive Officer of the new entity. The company’s current CEO is another South African, Marius Kloppers. Kloppers, emulating Gilbertson, has aimed make the company even more monopolistic, this time by taking over another huge “resources” group with its origins in the British Empire, called Rio Tinto. If this were to come to pass, the resultant company would be the biggest resources company in the world and, some say, the second largest company in the world altogether.

But now, a new factor has entered the story. This is the sudden purchase by the Chinese aluminium company Chinalco, of a large proportion of the shares of Rio Tinto. In the linked report below, taken from the Business Day’s Weekender, the syndicated journalist tries to fabricate a hybrid of corporate speculation with something like the old-fashioned “Kremlinology” of cold war years, but now directed towards China. This story will run, and it will have big consequences.

The Weekender’s circulation is small, but it often carries excellent in-house journalism. Another good piece from yesterday’s issue is Carmel Rickard’s scathing but unassailable criticism of what has been going on in the judiciary. How fortunate we are to have people like Rickard to do a newspaper article about it! If the SACP made the same points, they might well have been marked down in the same media as “an attack on the judiciary”!

Rehana Rossouw is another good journalist who writes in the Weekender. Her article begins: “I was active in the struggle against apartheid and I certainly don’t want millions of school children chanting a rote sentence every weekday, pretending to honour me.” Thank goodness for Rehana Rossouw! The opposition to oath-taking was beginning to look like a monopoly of the racists.

This oathing situation is full of contradiction. It probably owes more to the relentless Zionist lobbyist Warren Goldstein than to anyone else. Goldstein, described by the Weekender as a “crusader”, is about to disgorge the second installment of kiddy brainwashing in the shape of a “Bill of Responsibilities” next week, according to another article, this time by Sue Blaine. The article is a good critique of the whole racket, and from our point of view as Communist University, it makes some good pedagogical points. Prof Mary Metcalfe, dean of the Wits education faculty, is quoted as saying of the oath: “It is fundamentally uneducational. If (Pandor) wants children to grapple with values, let’s grapple with them, not recite them.”

During the interregnum between Polokwane 2007 and the new government of 2009 there is sure to be an enormous amount of this kind of authoritarian gimmickry. What else can the lame ducks do? They have nothing else to offer. They can only drift like
the ducky cargo that has been drifting over the oceans for the past sixteen years (picture).

Click on these links:

What are the SAPS doing? SACP Press Statement (374 words)

Behind China move on Rio, Richard McGregor, Business Day Weekender (854 words)

Accountability in unequal measures, Carmel Rickard, Weekender (646 words)

Pandor has wrong people pledging, Rehana Rossouw, Weekender (429 words)

Sequel to school pledge outrage, Sue Blaine, Weekender (950 words)

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