November 2009

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Trailer: The End of Poverty?

Narrated by actor and activist Martin Sheen, "The End of Poverty?" is "the first film to explain how our economic system has created poverty and why it is the foundation for the current economic crisis." "With so much wealth in the world, why is there so much poverty?" is the crucial question posed by this documentary as it delves into the relationship between the developed and developing worlds. A film critic describes the evidence it presents as an...

No Easy Path Out of the Morass

Picture: max_thinks_sees Richard Pithouse - In the salad days of our democracy it seemed fair enough to buy into the idea that our most pressing social problems would be steadily resolved in time. But the time when an easy assurance of a better future could justify the failures and horrors of the present has past. Democracy is not consolidating and poverty is not being rolled back. These days the self-evident clichés that propped up optimism for so many years look as strangely dated as yesterday's propaganda. By some...

The Precarious Fate of Barack Obama

Big Think interviews Cornel West, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, on the question of Barack Obama. West is an American philosopher, author, critic, actor, and civil rights activist, as well as a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. BIG THINK: How do you imagine the legacy of Barack Obama? CORNEL WEST: I think that my dear brother Barack Obama, President Obama - he's a very complicated brother. He has a sterling democratic rhetoric at his...

We Are All Victims of the Stockholm Syndrome

Picture: Malingering Glenn Ashton - It is fascinating how the majority of well-educated and generally sussed people are continuing with their lives as if there is not a single problem on the horizon. As hard as I think about it, I simply cannot arrive at any firm conclusion as to why so many supposedly aware people are so averse to changing our ways.  Living as I do on the fringes of the activist society, where techno-hippies talk of change, of transition towns where we can set up barter systems, urban gardens and car...

Nothing Resolved in Honduras

On Friday, 30 October 2009, it was announced that the crisis in Honduras was over, as the military coup that had exiled President Manuel Zelaya and brought four months of repression and human rights violations to the country had been resolved. Days later, however, the agreement appears more like an attempt to legitimize the coup than to reverse it. All parties involved supported the original word of a breakthrough, a week ago, with ousted President Zelaya expecting his reinstatement to the...

What Is 'Left' about 'The Left' in South Africa?

Picture: 21st Century Socialism Dale T. McKinley - For several years now, but particularly since the ascendancy of Jacob Zuma and his SACP and COSATU allies within both the ANC and the state, 'the left' in South Africa has come to be almost completely associated with (and presented as) the SACP, COSATU and to a lesser extent, the ANC itself. Even though this state of affairs ignores a wide range of organisations and people that can stake a serious claim to being part of 'the left', the fact is that contemporary politics in South Africa are...