13 April 2008


The struggle for electricity, as Lenin realised, is a class struggle. In simple terms, less electricity means less development, and a lower standard of living. The 10% reduction in electricity consumption that Eskom is demanding, and trying to enforce, is the same as a 10% de-development or underdevelopment of the country. It is as bad as, or worse than, losing a war. It is, in fact, a class war.

The top picture (like yesterday’s) is by Pavel Filonov, 1883-1941: GOELRO (Lenin's Plan for the Electrification of Russia) 1931. Note the grumpy defeated bourgeoisie in the left-hand panel of the painting. The other picture is of a Soviet worker, with an insulator.

The Eskom onslaught is going to degrade the country by much more than the mere raising of prices plus the loss of productivity and earnings because of load shedding. All kinds of systems are malfunctioning.

By no means all of our bourgeois are ready for this class war. It has been launched unilaterally by a few people. We could speculate about their precise identities. Others among the bourgeoisie regard the Eskom putsch as reckless to the point of insanity. They are unable to see any creative side to Eskom’s destructiveness, which one of their journalists, Tim Cohen, frankly calls an “impending disaster”. (But why “impending”? The disaster is already here. True, it has only just begun. True, it will get worse and more obvious.)

This intra-bourgeois struggle can be seen from today’s collection of articles linked below (and also from the recent fall-out between
Billiton and Standard Bank).

The first linked item is our topic for next Monday’s CU, namely Dr Blade Nzimande’s Red Alert on defending living standards of the workers and the poor, which is clearly very appropriate to the moment.

Second item is Tim Cohen, writing for “Dealweb”, an offshoot of “Moneyweb”. In this article he puts down the groundwork of his critique of Eskom that allows him so much freedom in his later article for the Weekender.

Third item is from the front page of the Sunday Independent, where Eleanor Momberg reviews various opinions, including those of the lively Jerry Vilakazi and the cadaverous Azar Jammine, surely the most dismal of dismal scientists.

On the back of all this the Sunday Independent whacks out a devastating editorial, all the more so for its light-headed exposure of the grotesque, farcical nature of Eskom’s posture (fourth linked item).

Tim Cohen’s Weekender piece comes next, stressing the fiendish pleasure of the scribes as they gather for a feeding-frenzy as the hurly-burly dénouement of this tragic farce approaches.

For contrast, another hurly-burly, the one in Zimbabwe, is well exposed by Moshoeshoe Monare in a fine, lean, stylish article, for our sixth item.

President Morgan Tsvangirai of the Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will hold a Press conference at the 702 Radio offices in Sandton, Johannesburg today, Monday 14 April 2008, at 14h30. Details: Nqobizitha Mlilo, 083 527 4650.

“Events Diary” is still not fixed. Opportunities for repair-work are few in revolutionary times.

Click on these links:

Defend living standards of workers and poor, Blade Nzimande (2361 words)

What Eskom will gain with a 60% price hike, Tim Cohen, Dealweb (965 words)

Shock and awe, forcing consumers to save power, E Momberg, Sunday Independent (870 words)

Oh shucks, it's Eishkom all set to shock us, Editorial, Sunday Independent (513 words)

Pencils are out as disaster looms, Tim Cohen, Weekender (686 words)

Velvet-glove inaction will have dire results, M Monare, Sunday Independent (672 words)

Events Diary


  1. Events diary is easy to fix. Just put it on the wiki.

  2. When I have time!

    I want to try once more to get the Google Group Events Diary or Coming Events to work again as it was. The reason is that it is simple to manipulate the order of the links, add new ones and roll old ones into another page where they can still be read as an archive, in order. It really was a sweet system, when it was working.

    But I note your suggestion. Wikispaces have improved their tables a lot. Maybe I can do something there. And Wikisapaces is rock steady, and there are human beings who respond to e-mails.

    Generally, you are right. There is always a way to "mash" a new feature or solution into the mix.

    Best wishes,



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