31 January 2010

US boots on the ground in Haiti


Sending in the Marines

A Q & A with the State Department on Haiti

Judith Scherr, Counterpunch, 29 January 2010

The French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet accused the U.S. of “occupying” Haiti rather than helping in the wake of the devastating January 12, 7.0 earthquake. Doctors Without Borders and officials from the Caribbean community expressed similar frustrations, as US military personnel controlling the airport turned away their planes. With just under 20,000 U.S. boots on the ground in Haiti or just off shore, the U.N. military force has augmented its numbers to around 12,000. Still, more than two weeks after the disaster, Haitians lack water, food, medicine, shelter and equipment to dig out those that may still be alive under the rubble.

29 January 2010

Haitian disaster in context


Haitian Disaster put in historical context

Andile Lungisa, Deputy President, ANC Youth League

A devastating earthquake, the worst in 200 years, struck Port-au-Prince on the 12th of January 0, laying waste to the city and killed many thousands of people. The quake detonated more than 30 aftershocks throughout the night to the following morning.

It toppled houses, hotels, hospitals and even the capital city's main political buildings, including the presidential palace. The collapse of so many structures sent a giant cloud into the sky, which hovered over the city, raining dust down onto the wasteland below. Estimated 200,000 people have died, in a metropolis of 2 million people and those that survived are living in the streets, afraid to return inside any building that remains standing.

28 January 2010

Bourgeois & Proletarians


Bourgeois and Proletarians

This week’s session will be as follows:

Date: 3 February 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 17h00 sharp to 18h30 sharp
Venue: Lecture Hall G05, University of Johannesburg, 37 Nind Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg (former Technikon Witwatersrand). Vehicle access is from the slip road to the left of the bridge on Siemert Road.
Topic: Selected chapters from Machiavelli’s “The Prince” (downloadable in MS-Word format)

Bourgeois and Proletarians is the first of the three major parts of the Communist Manifesto, commissioned by the Communist League, written in London by Karl Marx, at the age of 29, with the help of his then 27-year-old friend Frederick Engels, and published in January, 1848.

26 January 2010

Engels on the great historic catastrophe


The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

In support of this week’s main text (which is extracts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”), and as an alternative or supplementary text for study circles to use in dialogue, we yesterday posted Chapter 32 of Karl Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1. It is typically sweeping overview of history, placed at the end of this long book as a summary.

Both Machiavelli, and (later) Marx, were familiar with the history of “the ancients”, and especially with the literature of the Greeks and the Romans. These ancients often wrote in the same kind of broad, sweeping terms.

25 January 2010

How Marx Sums Up Capital, Volume 1


Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1, Chapter 32

Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation

This week’s session will be as follows: 

  • Date: 27 January 2010 (Wednesday)
  • Time: 17h00 sharp to 18h30 sharp
  • Venue: Lecture Hall G05, University of Johannesburg, 37 Nind Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg (former Technikon Witwatersrand). Vehicle access is from the slip road to the left of the bridge on Siemert Road.
  • Topic: Selected chapters from Machiavelli’s “The Prince” (downloadable in MS-Word format

During this week we are covering the second of the ten parts of the Generic Course called “Basics”. The main text is the one with extracts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince” that was posted last week.

In support of “The Prince” we now go straight to the short Chapter 32 from Karl Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1 – the second last chapter in the book. It is a broad-brush summary of Volume 1. At this stage it may prove a difficult read for some, but it will be valuable in any case, as a preliminary impression of what is to come as these studies progress.

22 January 2010

What is a Strategic Political Centre? - Ramatlhodi


What constitutes the strategic Political Centre?

Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Viewpoint, ANC Today, 22 January 2010

We do not need to know that we exist in order to exist. However, we need to exist first before we can know that we exist. In other words, the objective reality is out there whether we are aware of it or not. This objective world shapes the subjective reality that it authors in the first instance. On the other hand, the subjective reality is capable of influencing, and indeed does in fact influence the objective reality, albeit within the limitations imposed by objective reality.

In political terms, the objective reality of South Africa is that of a country ruled under conditions of colonialism of a special type, otherwise known as apartheid. Colonialism of a special type occurs when the ruler and the ruled occupy the same territory, as opposed to classical colonialism where a colony is administered by a designated authority on behalf of a foreign power. Before 1910 South Africa was a classical colony of Great Britain. Britain created colonialism of a special type when political power was transferred to the white minority settlers, to the exclusion of the black majority.

The most glaring characteristic feature of this colonial rule is the total exclusion of blacks in general and, the African majority in particular, from political power. Accordingly, the strategic objective of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is the liberation of black people in general and Africans in particular, regardless of their class affiliations. As a national group standing to gain most from a victorious NDR, blacks constitute the principal motive force for the national democratic revolution. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the defeat of colonialism and apartheid rule.

21 January 2010

The CU and The Prince

Once More, The Communist University!

The Communist University met yesterday evening in the first of our new series of “contact sessions”, which is called “Basics”. The dialogue was rich and the whole, well-attended occasion was very successful.

Next week’s session will be as follows: 
  • Date: 27 January 2010 (Wednesday)
  • Time: 17h00 sharp to 18h30 sharp
  • Venue: Lecture Hall G05, University of Johannesburg, 37 Nind Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg (former Technikon Witwatersrand). Vehicle access is from the slip road to the left of the bridge on Siemert Road.
  • Topic: Selected chapters from Machiavelli’s “The Prince” (downloadable in MS-Word format)
We now have a CU 2010 Draft Programme and a Jhb Central Branch 2010 Schedule.

Today's text, from Machiavelli's "The Prince", is the second in the "Basics" series of ten. For a quick overview of the entire series, please click here, and scroll down. In addition to these once-a-week main texts, there will be supplementary classic texts, and also educational items of a more current nature, such as selected newspaper articles.

20 January 2010

Umsebenzi Online: Two SNC Resolutions


Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 2, 20 January 2010

In this Issue, two resolutions of the 2nd SNC:

  • SACP Special National Congress Draft Resolutions: Draft Report of the Commission dealing with Economic Transformation and Rural Development
  • Resolution on Local Government and Cooperative Governance
Editorial Note

We release today for public engagement, a first of the series of the draft resolutions adopted at our 2nd Special National Congress last year December. This are resolutions as presented to plenary and do not include additional comments made from the floor as they will be processed by the Central Committee.

We hope these resolutions will contribute towards focusing the national debate on contemporary challenges facing our country and ways of resolving them to liberate the majority of our people from the bondage of Capitalism.

Together let’s fight capitalist greed and corruption and defeat tenderprenuers!! Together, let’s build Socialism!!

Socialist regards!


16 January 2010

National Planning Commission: nominations needed without delay

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On-line Nominations to the National Planning Commission

The above is a facsimile of the Presidency’s National Planning Commission nomination form. Click here to go direct to the form online.

The Revised Green Paper on the National Planning Commission was published on 15 January 2010. It includes an invitation to nominate for the members of the Commission (before 10 February 2010). Click here to read the new Green Paper in HTML, or here to download the original PDF version from the Presidency web site.

15 January 2010

National Planning Commission, Revised Green Paper

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Revised Green Paper: National Planning Commission

Published 15 January 2010



“The Revised Green Paper: National Planning Commission is thus now published in the Gazette, proclaiming the establishment of the Commission and inviting nominations.

14 January 2010

Freire the Brazilian

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Paulo Freire the Brazilian

This is the last of the supplementary or optional material given to accompany Chapter 2 of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (linked below). It is Chapter 1 of the same book, also linked below.

In the first sentence of the book”, Freire “problematises” humanization, immediately placing Freire side-by-side with Karl Marx, where Marx in the whole of “Capital” wanted to restore humanity to itself.

Freire is often described as a “Christian Marxist”, and Freire’s methods were widely adopted by the Christian advocates of the “Liberation Theology” that arose in South America from the 1960s onwards. Paulo Freire (1921-1927) was Brazilian.

Struggle for unity in action

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Test of reality for ‘united, joint action’

Karima Brown, Business Day, Johannesburg, 14 January 2010

THE slapdown by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) of the ruling party’s January 8 statement is the latest example of how vexed the relationship between the African National Congress (ANC) and its leftist allies has become since President Jacob Zuma ’s inauguration, less than a year ago.

The ANC statement suggested municipal employees should not hold positions in political parties.

Yesterday’s warning by Samwu, that it would resist the ANC’s efforts to “de-politicise” the union, is part of a cacophony of alliance- related strife plaguing the Zuma administration.

Education as the joint responsibility of society

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Return to basics

Editorial, Business Day, Johannesburg, 14 January 2010

THE new school year has just kicked off. To ensure we do not fail the class of 2010, it is important that we reflect critically on what needs to change in our underperforming education system.

We must stop acting surprised when poor matric results are released. The obvious truth is that a school career spans at least 12 years. We know, for example, that our primary school pupils consistently score worse than our international competitors — including other African countries — on comparative test scores for core subjects such as maths and science. 

13 January 2010

Pedagogy According to Paulo Freire

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Pedagogy According to Paulo Freire

The Communist University will recommence its live session with set of studies called Basics, one of eight CU Generic Courses, designed for study circles without a lecturer.

The exact date, time and venue of the year's first session will be communicated soon. Our collective intention is to return to the weekly five o'clock weekday afternoon format, finishing at six-thirty sharp. When the details are finalised, they will be communicated here. Meanwhile, here is the introduction and a link to the text for the first session, Chapter 2 of Paulo Freire's "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed".

11 January 2010

Karima Brown on ANC 98th Anniversary Rally

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No red faces, but rifts remain

Karima Brown, Business Day, 11 January 2009

EVEN crafty political play by the South African Communist Party (SACP) at the weekend’s African National Congress (ANC) anniversary celebrations could not hide the bitter rivalry within the ruling party, and divisions between the party’s youth league and the SACP.

Both parties came to the ANC’s 98th birthday celebrations in Kimberley prepared to battle it out in public amid reported plans to embarrass SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande. Sources in the alliance said the bid to embarrass Nzimande, apparently led by ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, was meant to avenge similar treatment Malema and other senior ANC leaders got at the SACP congress in Polokwane last year. 

10 January 2010

Zombie NGO Sterile Insect Technique

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The Dead End of Climate Justice

How NGO Bureaucrats and Greenwashed Corporations are Turning Nature into Investment Capital

Tim Simons and Ali Tonak, Counterpunch, 8-10 January 2010

On the occasion of its ten-year anniversary, the antiglobalization movement has been brought out of its slumber. This is to be expected, as anniversaries and nostalgia often trump the here and now in political action. What is troublesome, though, is not the celebration of a historical moment but the attempted resurrection of this movement, known by some as the Global Justice Movement, under the banner of Climate Justice.

If only regenerating the zeitgeist of a radical moment was as simple as substituting 'Climate' for 'Global'; if only movements appeared with such ease! In fact, this strategy, pursued to its fullest extent in Copenhagen during the UN COP15 Climate Change Summit, is proving more damaging than useful to those of us who are, and have been for the past decade, actively antagonistic to capitalism and its overarching global structures. Here, we will attempt to illustrate some of the problematic aspects of the troubled rebranding of a praxis particular to a decade past. Namely, we will address the following: the financialization of nature and the indirect reliance on markets and monetary solutions as catalysts for structural change, the obfuscation of internal class antagonisms within states of the Global South in favor of simplistic North-South dichotomies, and the pacification of militant action resulting from an alliance forged with transnational NGOs and reformist environmental groups who have been given minimal access to the halls of power in exchange for their successful policing of the movement. 

9 January 2010

ANC 98th Anniversary Statement

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Statement of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the ANC

January 8th, 2010, Galeshewe

Comrades and Compatriots

It is now 98 years since the founding of our movement - the African National Congress. It has been 98 years of principled struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. 

7 January 2010

Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

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The 51st Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution was celebrated on 1 January, 2010

Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

William Blum, Anti-Empire Report, USA, 6 January 2009

More than 50 years now it is. The propaganda and hypocrisy of the American mainstream media seems endless and unwavering. They can not accept the fact that Cuban leaders are humane or rational. Here's the Washington Post of December 13 writing about an American arrested in Cuba:

"The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists. ... Under Cuban law ... a Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be arrested for nearly anything under the claim of 'dangerousness'."

That sounds just awful, doesn't it? Imagine being subject to arrest for whatever someone may choose to label "dangerousness". But the exact same thing has happened repeatedly in the United States since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. We don't use the word "dangerousness". We speak of "national security". Or, more recently, "terrorism". Or "providing material support to terrorism".

6 January 2010

Mathews Phosa, Slovo Memorial Lecture, Kimberley

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Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture, 6 January 2010

Mayibuye Centre, Galeshewe- Kimberley

ANC Treasurer-General, Cde Mathew Phosa

Joe Slovo was a great South African and one of the key co-architects of the “New South Africa”.  Slovo was an active and creative participant in the negotiations between the ANC, the NP and other parties that led to the first democratic elections in 1994.

He was also a member of the first Mandela cabinet with the responsibility for Housing.  Like many other South Africans, he gave up promising and lucrative alternatives to establish a democratic order in South Africa. 

Blade Nzimande, Commemorating Joe Slovo

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Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 1, 6 January 2010

In this Issue:
·         Ours was never a struggle about replacing the white with a black elite!

Red Alert:

Ours was never a struggle about replacing the white with a black elite!

SACP message on the 15th anniversary commemoration of the passing away of Cde Joe Slovo

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Cde Joe Slovo passed away on this day 6 January, exactly 15 years ago in 1995. This is the first mass activity of the SACP for 2010. There could have been no better way to start this important year for our country, than through the commemoration and celebration of the life, struggles and sacrifices of one of the greatest heroes of our South African revolution, our former General Secretary and National Chairperson, a former member of the ANC NEC and NWC, Cde Joe Slovo. Cde Slovo embodied some of the best qualities that came to characterise our revolution - selflessness, solidarity and complete dedication to the liberation of the overwhelming majority of our people.

In recognition of his contribution to the national liberation struggle and his role as a member and later leader of the ANC, he was given the highest award by the ANC, Isithwalandwe, at the ANC's national conference in 1994 in Mangaung, just under a month before he passed away. This was, amongst others, also recognition of the role and contribution of communists as members and leaders of the ANC in their own right.

5 January 2010

Democracy or Freedom?

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Democracy or Freedom?

A review of “The State and Local Government”, by Peter Latham, Manifesto Press 2010

To pre-order this book, please e-mail Dr Peter Latham, drpalatham@lcolg.fsnet.co.uk

Dominic Tweedie, Johannesburg, South Africa, 5 January 2010

What is democracy for? Is it good? Why? Are freedom and democracy the same thing, or do these two contradict one another?

These are some of the prior questions that need to be answered before studying local or municipal government in detail. The thirteen chapters of Peter Latham’s “The State and Local Government” begin with four on the necessary theoretical underpinnings to precede his examination of Local Government. The last three, and particularly the very last chapter, attempt to synthesise the theoretical background with the valuable, detailed, empirical and historical material that makes up the middle part of the book.

Now, which is boss: Democracy or Freedom? Christopher Caudwell had no doubt. In his essay “Liberty, A study in bourgeois illusion”, 1938, Caudwell wrote that “This good, liberty, contains all good.”  He wrote: “I am a Communist because I believe in freedom.”