October 2009

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Arrested Development: The Rise of Infantilism in South African Society

Picture: jmsmytaste Dale T. McKinley - Since the birth of a democratic South Africa in 1994, there are a range of ‘isms that have had, and continue to have, varying degrees of currency and impact on our society. The favourite of the privileged classes and political-economic elites has, of course, always been capitalism while for a sizeable portion of the poor, alongside a few intellectuals and political activists (even within the South African Communist Party) socialism remains the preferred alternative. Some in our midst...

The United Nations has Failed

One of the reasons the United Nations (UN) hasn't worked is that some of its most influential and powerful members do not apply the principles contained in the UN charter to themselves. "In fact, they defend and apply the law of the jungle -- might makes right," says former UN General Assembly President, Miguel d'Escoto who has just completed a one-year tenure at the helm of the assembly. The UN has not achieved the fundamental goals for which it was created. These are twofold: 1)...

Does Africa Really Need Biotechnology for Agricultural Development?

Picture: Nullscore Saliem Fakir - Book Review Book: Starved for Science - How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa Author: Robert Paarlberg Publisher: Harvard University Press First Published: 2008 ISBN-10: 0674029739 David Edgerton, in his book, The Shock of the Old: Technology and global history since 1900 (2008), made a poignant observation: that often when used-based histories of technology are written, it is inevitable that in the name of progress, the new is always more advanced than the old and that...

South Africa's Poor Targeted by Evictions, Attacks in Advance of 2010 World Cup

Picture: Democracy Now Democracy Now - Thousands of South Africans are being displaced in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. While Durban completes the finishing touches on its new stadium, thousands of the city’s poor who live in sprawling informal settlements are threatened with eviction. On Saturday, an armed gang of some forty men attacked an informal settlement on Durban’s Kennedy Road, killing at least two people and destroying thirty shacks.  Democracy Now speaks to two South African activists who are...

Violent Attacks on Social Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo Misrepresented

The leadership, rank and file of social movement Abahlali baseMjondolo have been violently threatened, attacked and forced to leave the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban. According to a statement released by the social movement, the attacks started on Saturday night 26 September 2009 when "a group of about 40 men heavily armed with guns, bush knives and even a sword attacked the KRDC (Kennedy Road Development Committee) near the Abahlali baseMjondolo office in the Kennedy...

Arundhati Roy on her New Book 'Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers'

In an interview with Democracy Now, Arundhati Roy talks about her new book and how present-day democracy excludes the poor. A Booker Prize winner, Roy's new book is titled, "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers." "We have a very, very serious situation (in India) where now they are planning...to make an electronic ID card. Of course, once again, people who don't have water, who don't have electricity, who don't have schools, won't have ID cards. And people who...