August 2011

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The Pain in Spain

Picture: Jerome E. Roos V. Noah Gimbel - As the sun rose on August 2, Spanish authorities destroyed the tent-village that had come to symbolize what some participants have called the Spanish Revolution. The ruling Socialist Party, via the Ministry of the Interior and in conjunction with the right-wing Popular Party that controls the local government, ordered Madrid's Puerta del Sol cleared of all remnants of the 15-M (May 15) movement as its participants, the indignados (the outraged) watched helplessly. Police boots, chainsaws, and...

A Magnificent Music and Video Production Inspired by Spain's 15-M Movement

Video Inspired by Spain’s 15-M movement, this magnificent music and video production, edited by Yonny Galactico, features footage from the Spanish protests set to the tune “Uprising” by progressive rock band Muse.  The 15-M protests, which took the form of a 3-month long “Tahrir Square” like sit-in on many Spanish town squares, was dismantled by police in the run up to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the country this week. Some Background to the Protests...

Improving Education in South Africa: Projects that Start Small, Scale Quickly and Drive Systemic Change

Picture: Henry Trotter Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - Take your pick in the national education blame game. Your choices would include teachers’ trade unions, an ideological curriculum unsuited to South Africa, the National Treasury because it does not adequately fund schools or even just the principal at your local school. Of course, these stakeholders participate in the blame game too, each pointing the finger to the other. Truth is, there is evidence – often anecdotal – to backup the assertion that any one of these...

The Turn of the Fascist

Picture: bcnn5.com Jane Duncan - Jacob Zuma’s rise to power has unleashed a torrent of rash, boorish, misogynistic and inciteful speech from politicians and commentators. In this regard, the utterances of ANC Youth League’s Julius Malema and ex-columnist Eric Miyeni come to mind. Why has public discourse plumbed to such depths of late? How serious is the problem and what can be done about it? In 2009, the South African Communist Party (SACP) warned against the emergence of what it described as a proto-fascist...

Employing the Poor: What Can South Africa Learn from India?

Saliem Fakir - One can take a cynical view of the world. In the absence of a fundamental restructuring of the economy, all we end up doing is tinkering with the art of state philanthropy both on the side of social safety nets and as far as job creation goes. If the market is unresponsive to job creation due to its interest in rent seeking, then our government will have to continue doing what it has been doing for the last 10 years: escalate the level of public sector employment. This is more than the...

Hacktivism's Global Reach, From Targeting Scientology to Backing Wikileaks and the Arab Spring

Video In recent years, online hackers who identified as being part of Anonymous and other groups have carried out dozens of high-profile online operations. When Mastercard and Visa suspended payments to WikiLeaks last December, hackers with Anonymous briefly took down the websites of both credit card giants. Other targets have included Sony, PayPal, Amazon, Bank of America, The Church of Scientology and the governments of Egypt, Tunisia and Syria.  Now law enforcement agencies across the...