UN (Re: further on Stan Goff)

Patrick Bond pbond at sn.apc.org
Sat Aug 2 07:23:39 MDT 2003


----- Original Message -----
From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <furuhashi.1 at osu.edu>
> You have to finish the book ASAP!  If it is not gonna come out in the
> next couple of months, you have to publish the key arguments that
> explain why the UN is a cesspool in an 800-1,200-word article that
> can be circulated on the Net.  Don't miss the opportunity to
> intervene in the development of the anti-occupation movement in the
> States!

Hey thanks, it'll probably be January; just talking to a really good US
publisher about it now. Am going on sabbatical to York University in Toronto
and will teach a bit from this book on the UN by Phyllis Bennis (who wants
to reform it), "Calling the Shots". If there are other UN arguments you
think I should see, please send them offlist.

Meantime something similar -- *Against Global Apartheid* -- goes to second
edn this week, and if you're in London join me on Tuesday, 6pm... Will trade
gossip and buy the Castles, Zambezis and Tuskers downstairs at the Calabash
afterwards, 38 King St, just a block west of Covent Garden tube... ('scuse
the crass advert, Louis...)

***
AFRICA BOOK CENTRE:

Meet the author:
              Patrick Bond
                          - Against Global Apartheid [new- Second edition]

South African president Thabo Mbeki identifies globalisation as 'global
apartheid' -- and has numerous opportunities to make his case to the
world's elites. Patrick Bond asks whether Mbeki's philosophy and
strategies will ever break the chains of global apartheid, or merely
continue to polish them. In contrast, the country's vibrant
'anti-capitalist movements' are demanding much stronger measures.

On Tueday 5th August at 6pm, Patrick Bond will be talking about the second
edition of his book AGAINST GLOBAL APARTHEID at the AFRICA BOOK CENTRE
Ltd/  38 KING STREET/ LONDON/ WC2E 8JT.

When the first edition was published in 2001, Against Global Apartheid was
the seminal record of high-profile South African contributions to
international social change; the new edition's Afterword carefully
documents why, with the crash and recovery of the currency, government
officials and activists alike must never lose  focus on the dangers posed
by international finance.

Limited copies of the new edition will be available: to reserve a copy, [
GB Pounds 16.95] and to book for this session please contact: Nichola at
the AFRICA BOOK CENTRE Ltd, TEL: +44 [0] 20 7240 6649/ FAX: +44 [0] 20
7497 0309/ [ mailto:orders at africabookcentre.com
]orders at africabookcentre.com / [ http://www.africabookcentre.com
]www.africabookcentre.com /Local rate phone: 0845 458 1579 [UK only]

Space is limited and priority will be given to those who advise us that
they will be attending.
==========
 Contents: Part One: Powers and Vulnerabilities - Chapter One: Global
Crisis, African Oppression - Chapter Two: Southern African Socio-Economic
Conflict - Chapter Three: Bretton Woods Bankruptcies in Southern Africa -
Chapter Four: Foreign Aid, Development and Underdevelopment - Part Two:
Elite Contestation of Global Governance - Chapter Five: The Global Balance
of Forces - Chapter Six: Ideology and Global Governance - Chapter Seven:
Pretoria's Global Governance Strategy - Part Three: Economic Power and the
case of HAIV/AIDS Treatment - Chapter Eight: Pharmaceutical Corporations
and US Imperialism - Chapter Nine: Civil Society Conquest, State Failure -
Part Four: Globalisation or Internationalism plus the Nation State? -
Chapter Ten: The 'Fix-it-or-nix-it' Debate - Chapter Eleven: The Third
World in the Movement for Global Justice - Chapter Twelve: The Case for
Locking Capital Down - Afterword: International Finance Defeats South Africa

The Author: Patrick Bond is Professor at the University of the
Witwatersrand .

=========
AGAINST GLOBAL APARTHEID, 1842773933 second edition
16.95     Pbk          UK Publication  Sept03


ORDER FROM GOOD BOOKSHOPS
[ trade distributor CENTRAL BOOKS, 99 WALLIS ROAD, LONDON, E9 5LN [
mailto:orders at centralbooks.com ]orders at centralbooks.com ] or from:
=======

AFRICA BOOK CENTRE Ltd., 38 KING STREET, LONDON WC2E 8JT-    in the UK you
can call at local rate on 0845 458 1581 PLEASE PRINT IN BLOCK CAPITALS
[ mailto:orders at africabookcentre.com ]orders at africabookcentre.com TEL +44
[0] 20 7240 6649 FAX +44 20 7497 0309


> BTW, I met Dennis Brutus at the Solidarity Summer School in
> Pittsburgh -- he's really cute!
> --
> Yoshie

Yes, when not staying in my basement here in Jo'burg, Dennis is out all over
the world mobilising the best comrades on the biggest issues. He's very
naughty, and there are a couple of great videos coming up about his amazing
life. The SA government is trying to take him down now on reparations, and
last week Mbeki's justice minister wrote a hilarious 9-page brief to the NY
courts asking for the lawsuit against big US corpos to be thrown out, on
grounds everything's going well here in SA and fighting companies is bad for
foreign investment.

Dennis was also a star of the big march against the UN last August. Here's
some more of that chapter from *Sustaining Global Apartheid*, including the
purile attack on him by Mbeki's hatchet-man...


Marching on Sandton

For ninety years, since Alexandra Township was settled by black people in
1912, Johannesburg residents have wondered about the combined geographical
and political implications of locating an urban bantustan in a small block
of land in northeast Johannesburg. Finally, on a sunny, hot spring day--31
August 2002--at least 20,000 supporters of the Social Movements Indaba and
the landless (as estimated by BBC's correspondent) marched along a 12 km
route to the site of the WSSD. Class/community struggle had finally
physically crossed the highway separating the country's richest suburb,
Sandton, from one of the poorest. Even at the mid-1980s height of
revolutionary anti-apartheid fervor, the idea that tens of thousands of
people could walk westward from Alexandra over the 8-lane motorway and into
the wealthiest suburb in the Third World was considered unthinkable.
 From 9am, crowds gathered for the march of what was known, for just one
day, as 'United Social Movements.' The Landless People's Movement had been
hampered by internal conflicts--including a pro-ANC faction--and a desire
not to be taken for granted, so they waited until the last moment, and until
interventions were made by their Latin American 'Via Campesino' comrades,
before signing up with SMI as cosponsors of the big march.
 Red and green, urban and rural, local and global, autonomist and socialist
mixed comfortably. Looming on the horizon across a valley was the glistening
Sandton skyline, mainly constructed during the 1990s flight of white capital
from the Central Business District. The Convention Centre where 6,000 WSSD
delegates were working sits next to Citibank's Africa headquarters, in the
shadow of the Michaelangelo Hotel and the opulent Sandton City skyscraper
and shopping mall.
 What relationship do Alexandrans have with their wealthy neighbours?
Sandton's financial firms, hotels and exclusive retail outlets draw in
workers for long, low-paid shifts in the security, cleaning and clerical
trades. Once they clock out, Alexandra workers are quickly repelled from
consumption due to high prices, blatant class hostility and intensive
surveillance. They return to shacks and broken sewage systems. For many tens
of thousands, a single yard watertap sometimes serves forty families
surviving amidst overcrowding and filth.
 Materially, very little had changed since democracy arrived in 1994, aside
from new but tiny houses on the township's eastern hill, and a
slum-clearance programme which began in earnest in 2001, along the filthy
Jukskei River--a stream coursing through Alexandra, which during the summer
rainy season often suffers fatal floods--when city officials used a cholera
outbreak as an excuse for apartheid-style displacement. The country's
leading elite paper protested that particular incident as 'bureaucratic
know-it-allism and disregard for individuals and indeed communities. Sadly
the events in Alex have all the elements of the worst of apartheid-style
thinking and action.'
 Indeed, municipal bureaucrats and the mercenary 'Red Ants' of the
outsourced Wozani Security company repeated the actions countless other
times in Johannesburg townships and inner-city ghettoes in the subsequent
year and a half leading to the WSSD. In the first four months of 2002, for
instance, poor people in inner-city Johannesburg, Soweto, Alexandra and
other townships experienced more than 90,000 cutoffs of electricity and
water, which inspired the leading opposition politician to applaud: 'The
cutoffs are good but council has to be ruthless and unforgiving against
people who don't pay their bills, or those who reconnect their electricity
illegally.'
 Global and local came together here quite obviously. The 'Igoli 2002'
strategy of corporatisation and privatisation of water, electricity, solid
waste removal, and many other functions had been designed, in part, by the
World Bank. (The name soon ceased being used because thanks to inadequate
sanitation, high levels of bacteria were found in even Sandton's water
table, so that 'E.coli 2002' became as an embarrassing a joke as Nepad's
former acronym.)  So too was the main water supply to Johannesburg a result
of an unnecessary World Bank dam in Lesotho, riven with corruption and
eco-social displacement, whose overpriced water was too expensive for
low-income communities.  Alexandra residents who tried to complain to the
Bank's Inspection Panel watchdog were simply rebuffed.
 Just as important as the symbolic route of the march were the battles of
numbers and of passion: the independent left surprised itself by outdrawing
the mass-based organisations. The Global Civil Society Forum--supported by
Cosatu, the South African Council of Churches and the ANC itself--attracted
only roughly 5,000 to the Alexandra soccer stadium to hear Mbeki, in spite
of the fact that the ANC advertised the possible participation of Fidel
Castro and Yasser Arafat (neither of whom made it to the WSSD in the end).
At stake in this contest were both prestige in South African politics and
the ability of government officials to disguise deep dissent from world
leaders. Sangoco had pulled out of the Forum march the day before, claiming
the ANC was manipulating the gathering. Thus fewer than 1,000 Civil Society
Forum marchers left the stadium for the long trek to Sandton, and many of
these (especially Palestinians) had been locked in earlier when they tried
to exit, as the larger march passed nearby.
 In a township which had been relatively unorganised, due to myriad splits
in community politics over the past decade, the attraction of Alexandrans to
the United Social Movements instead of the pro-government group was
revealing. The Social Movements Indaba core group had claimed the week
before, 'We will take Sandton!'--but the prior question was, who would win
the hearts and minds of Alexandra?
 This question was striking on the eve of the big march, when Mbeki's weekly
column in the e-zine ANC Today included the following analysis:

 So great is the divide that even as many are battling in the WSSD
negotiations for a meaningful outcome that will benefit the billions of poor
people in our country, Africa and the rest of the world, there are others,
who claim to represent the same masses, who say they have taken it upon
themselves to act in a manner that will ensure the collapse of the Summit.
These do not want any discussion and negotiations.
  For this reason, they have decided to oppose and defeat the UN, all the
governments of the world, the inter?governmental organisations, the major
organisations of civil society participating in the Summit and the world of
business, all of which are engaged in processes not different from those
that take place regularly in our statutory four?chamber Nedlac, which
includes government, business, labour and non?governmental organisations.
Those who hold these views, which they regularly express freely in our
country, without any hindrance, also have their own economic views. As with
all other ideas and views about the central question of the future of human
society, we have to consider and respond to them rationally, whatever is
happening in the streets of Johannesburg, for the benefit of the global mass
media.

But hundreds had been jailed for non-violent protest in preceding weeks: the
Anti-Privatisation Forum's 'Kensington 87' shot at and arrested outside the
mayor's house; 100 from a landless group in the Mpumalanga town of Ermelo;
77 from the Landless People's Movement demonstrating outside the Gauteng
premier's office; and nearly 100 from the Soldiers' Forum (an
Anti-Privatisation Forum affiliate of ex-ANC armed forces treated badly in
the post-apartheid army). They would easily dispute the claim that they
could express themselves freely, 'without any hindrance.' (Tellingly, all
were later released without being convicted, indicating that Pretoria's fear
for the security of leaders was unfounded.)
 On August 31, police and army overkill was evident. 'One would have thought
that South Africa had gone to war during the Summit,' commented Human Rights
Foundation director Yasmin Sooka. 'Many senior police officers from the
apartheid force were recalled and put in charge of security operations... It
was almost unbelievable to watch the heavily armed police and soldiers
lining every inch of the route with guns pointed at the marchers.'
Defending the police action, former township activist Chris
Ngcobo--subsequently head of Johannesburg policing--made this leap:

 A massive international event of this kind had the potential to attract
acts of terror and incidents of violent protests. In this sense, it would
have been grossly irresponsible on the part of police and security agencies
in the country to think that the summit was free of such dangers. One only
needed to be reminded about the violent events that occurred in Seattle in
1999 and Genoa in 2001 to understand the sort of situation that confronted
the country's security organs. Nevertheless, the Johannesburg Metro Police
Department is very proud...

Needless to say, authorities in Seattle and Genoa charged their security
forces with excessive force during those police riots. In the event, with
more than twenty times as many people on the anti-WSSD march, and with a
mostly empty stadium as his audience, Mbeki was not convincing in this
critique of the new movements. Ironically, the 'benefit of the global mass
media' was indeed a factor, but in favour of Mbeki's opponents--as Mbeki's
ANC colleagues later complained about vociferously. Indeed, international
attention was partly responsible for the massive public pressure required to
even gain police permission for the protest march.

Global and local, repression and permission

The previous weekend, outside the main entrance to the University of the
Witwatersrand, a phalanx of riot police blocked a peaceful march of roughly
700 people carrying nothing more provocative than candles. They had been
conferencing all day with the International Forum on Globalization (IFG),
when at sunset, Soweto leader Trevor Ngwane informed the gathering that SMI
activists wanted to march in solidarity with hundreds of people who had
recently been arrested by police in pre-WSSD intimidation raids. The crowd
grabbed candles and followed, with the IFG intellectuals' blessing.
 Within 200 metres of leaving the academic setting, however, the group was
ambushed and dispersed by eight stun grenades. Vandana Shiva, Njoki Njehu,
Maude Barlow, Tony Clarke, Naomi Klein, Anuradha Mittal and many other
luminaries of the global Left were on the front line, dodging the police
attack. After regrouping, the march then dispersed, when police vans arrived
for a mass arrest--something the social movements could not then afford. The
subsequent Mail and Guardian newspaper carried an unprecedented semi-apology
from the South African National Intelligence Agency for police
'overreaction,' but enormous damage was done to Mbeki's status as a
democrat.
 There were also other crucial implications for global-scale civil society
solidarity and alliances. BBC television and other outlets ran the story of
the state's ambush at Wits as lead for 14 hours on 24-25 August. Reflecting
the new relationship between local and international civil society
activists, SABC reported in its nightly news a few days later that 'a group
called Global Resistance would protest outside the South African embassy in
London while a couple of hundred protesters would picket the South African
embassy in Paris. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, an unemployed workers movement
plans to protest in solidarity with the arrested South African activists and
against the summit. In Canada, a small group organised by the Ontario
Coalition Against Poverty would protest outside the South African embassy in
Toronto.'
 Tensions rose. According to Ngwane, one of the main SMI march organisers,

 The application for the march was formally turned down and the government
suggested that it would only allow a strictly controlled march in a
pre-determined route on a 1.8 km stretch in Sandton. Initially, the ANC
decided that no one must march from Alexandra because that is where the
working class that Mbeki betrays lives. The Minister of Police and SACP
chairperson Charles Nqakula appeared on national TV banging his fist on the
table saying the police would clamp down on those who posed a security risk
to international guests and heads of state. Everyone wondered why the
marchers had to be kept away from Alexandra but allowed to Sandton where the
VIPs were going to be. The SMI coalition did not waver and insisted that it
would march from Alexandra to Sandton with or without the authorities'
permission.

As the Mail and Guardian reported, 'Applications for both demonstrations
were earlier refused under an apartheid-era law.' Ngwane insisted, 'Our
Constitution allows us freedom of assembly, freedom of association... The
only option for us is to defy the criminalisation of our march.' Pretoria
ultimately backed down on August 28, the M&G recorded, thanks to 'massive
pressure from the political Left and behind-the-scenes intervention by,
among others, trade union leader Zwelinzima Vavi and the National
Intelligence Agency.' The latter agency's second-ranking bureaucrat, Barry
Gilder, had the decency to publicly admit a 'possible overreaction,' and
that Pretoria 'may have erred on the side of caution.'  The undeclared state
of emergency was over, at least for the August 31 march.
 It wasn't entirely over, though, as pro-Palestinian activists found out the
following Monday afternoon at Wits University's education campus in
Parktown. With Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres due to speak nearby,
Palestinian Solidarity Committee leader Salim Vally was accosted by a
security official of the hosting group (the Jewish Board of Deputies) and
then arrested by the police, while simply walking to his office. As
Anti-Privatisation Forum publicity officer Dale McKinley testified, 'All
black individuals were specifically targeted and forcibly removed, as were
people with scarves or bearing a Muslim appearance... Police employed
tactics reminiscent of the days of apartheid to deal with the demonstrators,
particularly their use of racial slurs while beating and arresting the
protesters.'  Police water cannons and rubber bullets against hundreds who
demonstrated against the arrest of Vally led to two hospitalisations.
 The clampdown over the WSSD period generated significant consternation in
South African society. From the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Simon
Kimani observed that the Regulation of Gatherings Act allowed Pretoria 'to
construe the right to assembly in the most restrictive and conservative way
possible,' thanks in part to 'a great deal of confusion about the procedures
relating to public demonstrations.'  As Vally remarked, 'The velvet glove
slips, the iron fist is revealed.'  Jane Duncan of the FXI aptly concluded,
'The repression of dissent during the WSSD period was not a flash in the
pan. Censorship has a political economy: the political economy of
neoliberalism. The theory and practice of repression and dissent in recent
years in South Africa and beyond should tell us that the WSSD was a taste of
things to come.'
 In some regards, though, the new movements of the independent left had the
last laugh at the WSSD. The humility of the NIA could not be located in the
utterances of the man known as Mbeki's main political hatchet, minister
Essop Pahad, the former editor of the East Bloc's World Marxist Review. When
early in the week it appeared that media sympathy had swung to leading
activists Ngwane and Dennis Brutus, Pahad wrote a telling letter to the
country's largest newspaper, the Sowetan, ending in these lines:

 Brutus disappeared without trace from the anti?apartheid struggle many
years before 1994, and re?emerged in the last few years to hurl invective at
the democratic government and programmes for Africa's recovery. However, to
the extent that on some issues such as eradicating global inequality, we may
agree, perhaps there is hope for co?operation. Welcome home Dennis the
Menace! Hope this time you will stay, the better to appreciate that we
cannot allow our modest achievements to be wrecked through anarchy.
Opponents of democracy seek such destruction. But if you intend once more to
leave for demonstrations elsewhere, we can only retort: et tu Brute! Good
luck.

No doubt to Pahad's regret, the spirit of demonstrations elsewhere--Seattle,
Washington, Prague, Quebec City, Genoa, New York--that Brutus has graced as
an inspirational poet and strategist came home with him. The 78 year-old
former Robben Island prisoner welcomed more than mere traces of
anti-global-apartheid activism to the WSSD protest. The voices Brutus helped
unleash sang cheeky songs about global capitalism, the World Bank, IMF and
WTO, and US imperialism. Hence when at 4pm on August 31, Pahad appeared at
the rally at Sandton's 'Speaker's Corner' to receive a memorandum addressed
solely to Mbeki (no substitutes allowed), community activist Virginia
Setshedi drew him onto the stage and asked the crowd of thousands, 'Do we
want to hear from comrade Pahad?' The response: 'Phansi!' (Down! Away!). The
next day's Sowetan/Sunday World newspaper carried a full front-page photo of
Pahad with a screaming headline: 'Voetsek!'






More information about the Marxism mailing list