January 2010

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Eskom: Time to Support Appropriation from Below

Picture: World Economic Forum Richard Pithouse - The fiasco at Eskom has been oscillating between tragedy and farce at such a rate that it’s become difficult to tell them apart. No one in their right mind is likely to disagree that Eskom, an institution that should serve the public good, has been captured by an avaricious elite and turned into a vampiric excrescence on our society. In the wake of Jacob Maroga’s incredible demand for an R85 million golden handshake even parliament has felt the need to pressurise the cabinet to...

Sundance Founder Robert Redford on His Life, His Activism and the Importance of Independent Films

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now  spends an hour with Robert Redford. Redford is well known as an actor, but part and parcel of who he is is an activist. He took his success and leveraged it to promote his real passions: environmental justice, Native American rights and independent filmmaking. Since 1980, through the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford has helped independent voices develop their craft - in film, theater and music - and reach new audiences. To...

Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to Leave Brazilian Embassy

Picture: Wison Dias/Abr Emile Schepers - Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will be allowed to leave the Brazilian embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa and go into exile on January 27, maybe. Zelaya was overthrown by a military coup on April 28 of last year, and sent into exile in Costa Rica. He returned later by a secret route and has been ensconced in the Brazilian embassy since then. A massive resistance movement led by unions, peasants' organizations and other sectors has been demanding his return and the removal the coup...

Eskom is the Problem, Not the Solution

Picture: Stockvault/Heather Elaine Kitchen Glenn Ashton - The ongoing public debate about electricity price hikes raise questions about how our national energy policies are decided. Public interaction with the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) cannot yield expected results, as NERSA is little more than a messenger and not the framer of policy. The real problems revolve around the relationship between Eskom, the state and the ruling party and the degree of influence that our electrical generation behemoth wields. The...

Does the Public Want Its Watchdogs?

Picture: David R. Carroll Jane Duncan - The recent controversy about an e.tv story featuring two criminals who threatened robbery and violence during the 2010 World Cup, has raised once again the controversial issue of whether journalists should have a right to protect their confidential sources of information.   The journalists responsible for the story have been issued with subpoenas in terms of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act. For many years, media freedom advocates have argued for an amendment to this provision...

Obama's Human Rights Record

When Barack Obama became president of America he promised that the Guantanamo Bay prison would be closed in a year. One year later, Guantanamo is still open with seemingly no end in sight for its 242 inmates. Michael Ratner, president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights in America, denounces Obama’s human rights record in relation to the Guantanamo situation. Ratner notes his disappointment (and anger) that Obama has not done enough to break with the legacy of the Bush...