May 2008

Visit the archives.

Water Planet by Leonardo DiCaprio

While celebrity causes invite circumspection, this clip by Leonardo DiCaprio is worth noting for its warning about the struggle for water. Unregulated corporate privatisation threatens access to water for the poor. Access to clean water is a basic human right.

The Shorthand of Electoral Democracy: Democracy for Some

Picture: NOReilly Ibrahim Steyn - Democracy is often presented as an unproblematic concept ubiquitously associated with political competition between rival parties or candidates. Simply put, it’s about people’s ability to elect a political regime or leaders of their choice. Such a neutral definition of democracy obscures issues of power and vested interests. Africa’s political elite, for example, have been perpetuating a client-patron model of politics inherited from their colonial predecessors. This has...

Why Are These People Screaming in South Africa?

Avi Lewis from On the Map takes an in-depth look at the protests held by COSATU earlier this year, arguing that as a result of their journalistic shorthand, the South African media wrongly presented the purpose behind the protests. From the coverage, you'd think it was a simple labour dispute, but its about much more, he says. These protests were about a dream betrayed by an ANC government that has failed to deliver on its core promises, due to its business friendly policies that have...

Civil Society Has Dropped the Rope in the Tug Of War with Business to Influence Government

Picture: Spiritual Travelman Charlene Houston - The state of our nation is the outcome of a multidimensional struggle. The tussle between the polluters and the sick; between the under-paid and the over-paid; between the owners of wealth and producers of goods; between the greedy and the hungry, between people and corporations; between developed and under-developed nations – all culminate to create our democratic space for engagement. As democratic institutions, governments find themselves in a tug of war between competing...

South Africa's Credit Crunch

This Al Jazeera report contends that middle class South Africans, are shopping themselves into a debt hole, living beyond their means trying to maintain a flashy lifestyle they cannot afford. Easy borrowing has fueled in-debtedness. The debt to income ratio is over 70% and we have the banks, who've been dishing out credit without verifying people's ability to service their debt, to thank for this situation.

The End of Sustainability as We Know It

Picture: Mark Wallace Saliem Fakir - There is no doubt that we live in an uncertain period. Since 9/11, the world has changed. Global governance is in flux and generally speaking, the outcome of our transforming world is still unknown. The conventional source and centre of power is beginning to shift. This centre of power largely an alliance between the United States (US) and Europe, which Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt aptly called Empire, is what we have come to accept as the de facto world in which we live, by which we...