November 2009

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Legitimacy of WTO Hangs by a Thread

Picture: Ed-meister Michelle Pressend - I'm in Geneva, Switzerland and wrote this article on the eve of the 7th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial meeting taking place from 27 November to 2 December 2009 at the WTO's head quarters. I've also just returned from a protest march against the WTO here in Geneva, attended by many people, including activists from many parts of the world.  The march was, unfortunately, marred by a handful of violent protestors on the fringes of the main demonstration. They've been getting...

The Future of Journalism

The future of the profession of journalism appears to be in jeopardy, not only in South Africa, but throughout the world. Local newspapers are posting poor circulation figures, sending jitters throughout the industry, evidenced by an increasing number of articles in the media about the media. Recently, South Africans also witnessed the closure of Business Day's Weekender, a well-known weekly newspaper. Reasons for the print media's misfortune range from the growth of the Internet, to the...

Going Beyond the Political Gymnastics of the Alliance Debate

Picture: Nontando Ncube/ Creamer Media / SABC Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - About a decade ago, there was a fashionable rebuttal for developmental alternatives within the broader configuration of power called the ANC. That rebuttal was simply that alternatives were "intellectual gymnastics." The criticism was at once soft and devastating.  In a single stroke, a double critique unfolded. First, that alternatives existed in the realm of ideas and being "intellectual" had little practical value. Second, that because political office bearers...

Learning How to Count to 350: Remembering People Power in Seattle in 1999 and Berlin in 1989

Picture: London Permaculture Rebecca Solnit - Next month, at the climate change summit in Copenhagen, the wealthy nations that produce most of the excess carbon in our atmosphere will almost certainly fail to embrace measures adequate to ward off the devastation of our planet by heat and chaotic weather.  Their leaders will probably promise us teaspoons with which to put out the firestorm and insist that springing for fire hoses would be far too onerous a burden for business to bear. They have already backed off from any binding...

The Angry Mermaid Award

The Angry Mermaid Award is organised by five international nonprofit organisations working in the environmental sector. The award will expose the "company or lobby group doing the most to sabotage effective action on climate change." Among those nominated for the award is South Africa's SASOL. Others on the list of nominees, include Royal Dutch Shell and Monsanto. For the full list of nominees and to cast your vote for the worst corporate climate change culprit, please click...

A Slap in the Face for More Than Just Dan Plato

Picture: Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Richard Pithouse - After Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato was slapped in Blikkiesdorp, the police have warned politicians not to enter the area without police backup. Blikkiesdorp is a government built shack settlement on the barren sands of Delft, outside of Cape Town. With rows of tin shacks, razor wire fencing, invasive lighting and armoured vehicles at the gated entrance, it looks like a concentration camp. To his credit the local police chief describes Blikkiesdorp as a 'housing time-bomb' close to...