29 March 2008

Eskom and Counter-Revolution

The picture is of voting in Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008.

Today’s may well be the 1000th Communist University distribution! If it is not this one, then it will be one of the two that will shortly follow. James Tweedie has been keeping count since before the CU had a blog. He can confirm if the "psychologically-important" moment has arrived.

There are good reasons at this moment to reaffirm that the Communist University is founded on, and defined by, certain theories of Critical Pedagogy which are the living legacy of the late, great Paulo Freire.

Anyone who thinks that the CU can be remade into its opposite is mistaken. Down the years there have been quite a few who have thought so. Some have sought to expropriate the CU’s goodwill as if it was a commodity “brand”, and then to fraudulently use that goodwill to pump artificial life into stale, failed schemes of political education of the past, without even a moment’s critical examination of why those older attempts did fail and die.

Let the following be noted at this moment: If something should appear in South Africa, calling itself “Communist University”, offering a prescribed curriculum, “beginners’ classes”, and/or certificates of “qualification”; in short if something appears under our name but offering the “banking theory of education”, you and thousands of others who have been touched by this Communist University will know that the other one is an impostor and a fraud if it claims our legacy as its own.

This Communist University stands or falls with Freire. All temptations, blandishments, inducements, arm-twisting, threats and bullying that aim to make us abandon that legacy will be unequivocally turned down, even if it means extinction for the genuine, Freirean CU.

Now to the business of the day. The South African Communist Party has issued an unequivocal declaration of war on the outrageous proposed Eskom electricity price rises in the following terms: “The SACP will take to the streets against these proposed hikes. We will announce in due course a rolling mass action programme to stop this neo-liberal attack on the quality of life of South Africans.” See the first link below.

At the same time, violent ruptures are appearing within the ranks of South Africa’s big bourgeoisie in relation to Eskom’s attempt to reorganise the South African economy, which amount to a counter-revolutionary coup d’etat. In an extraordinary development, reported as the front-page splash in Friday’s “Business Day”, one of the four monopoly finance houses (Standard) has fallen out with one of the two biggest monopoly resource houses, and all because of the dreaded potlines (aluminium smelters) that have been bleeding South Africa’s power supplies for almost the sole benefit of that transnational resource conglomerate (Billiton). See the second linked item.

Popular resistance to the Eskom coup is breaking out all over. On the Mail & Guardian’s “
Thought Leader” blog site, an experienced engineer, Bryan Hadfield, has applied his expertise and found Eskom’s “myths, misrepresentations and fallacies” very much wanting. See the third linked item.

The past is a contested terrain. The SACP’s past is also assailed with myths and misrepresentations. The last two items are of this kind. The SACP’s former Treasurer, Phillip Dexter, continues to avail himself of the bourgeois press to attack the party he still wants to call his own. His weasely, self-incriminating words will fool nobody. Even the Mail & Guardian, no friend of the SACP, could not resist giving Dexter’s letter a mocking, ironic headline.

Anthony Butler’s peculiar revisionism is only slightly more subtle, and just as laughable, as Dexter’s. It posits two weird “communist conspiracies”, one in 1991 and one in 2007. Butler’s theories are as far from historical science as alchemy and “phlogiston” theory are from chemical science. The most charitable view is probably that Professor Butler is “flying a kite”, hoping to provoke denials or other forms of controversy, and so to lubricate his way towards a lucrative book contract.

Click on these links:

On the proposed hike by Eskom, SACP Media Release (176 words)

Billiton fires Standard Bank for reckless talk, Charlotte Mathews, B Day (568 words)

Energy-crisis myths, misrepresentations, fallacies, Bryan Hadfield, M and G (1950 words)

Lies, lies, all gossip and lies, Phillip Dexter, Letters, M and G (416 words)

Seventeen years on, left strikes again to save ANC, Butler, B Day (810 words)

Events Diary


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