May 2010

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Hope Lies with Strong Citizenship, Not Political Parties

Picture: SACSIS Saliem Fakir - An impoverished conception of democracy has prevailed in our country. One, which Amartya Sen lucidly describes in his book, The Idea of Justice, as taking a narrow view of democracy by "focusing particularly on the procedure of balloting and elections" and not going beyond this. In this regard, we South Africans have too much faith in our party-based democracy. Unfortunately, our reliance on the party led system of political representation is insufficient for building a strong and...

Does Corruption Create Poverty?

Picture: www.unodc.org Walden Bello - The issue of corruption resonates in developing countries. In the Philippines, for instance, the slogan of the coalition that is likely to win the 2010 presidential elections is "Without corrupt officials, there are no poor people." Not surprisingly, the international financial institutions have weighed in. The World Bank has made "good governance" a major thrust of its work, asserting that the "World Bank Group focus on governance and anticorruption (GAC) follows...

Protests in Greece: Response to Severe Austerity Measures in EU/IMF Bailout

The European Union and International Monetary Fund agreed to a $146 billion bailout for Greece after Athens committed itself to years of austerity measures. Greek government workers, who are among those bearing the brunt of the measures, plan to disrupt flights and shut down hospitals and schools as protests escalate after 30 billion euros of additional wage cuts and tax increases were unveiled. Amy Goodman and Sharif Abdel Kouddous of Democracy Now speak with Costas Panayotakis, associate...

The Cul-de-sac of Nationalism

Picture: arboresce Dale T. McKinley - Beneath all the recent debates, polemics and general noise around the state of the South African nation, the character and content of nationalisation and issues of national identity and pride centred on the upcoming Soccer World Cup lays a fundamental problem which is rarely discussed or even acknowledged -- the acceptance and embracing of the ideology of nationalism.  Why is this a problem though when such acceptance appears as both ‘natural’ and ‘realistic’...

American Labour Movement Marches on Wall Street

Last week, in the run up to May Day, observed as a national holiday in 80 countries, the American labour movement organized a march on Wall Street -- after many years. The march was aimed at highlighting the plight of 11 million Americans who have lost their jobs as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession caused by the Wall Street instigated sub-prime mortgage market crash. Richard Trumka, president of America’s labour federation, AFL-CIO, contends Wall...

Health Reform: Prevention is Cheaper than Cure

Picture: stethoscope Glenn Ashton - South Africa is located at ground zero for HIV and TB. Our health is further impacted by the ravages of poverty and poor diet. When a treatable illness becomes a chronic condition, people cannot work regularly or properly. An unhealthy nation is a dysfunctional nation.  Health is one of the fundamental human rights recognised by both the UN Declaration of Human Rights and by our Constitution. The manner in which this right is constitutionally framed is important, as it not only...