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Ruth First

‘A REVOLUTIONARY LIFE’: RUTH FIRST (1925-1982)

On behalf of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London) Commonwealth Advisory Bureau, you are cordially invited to attend our upcoming conference ‘A revolutionary life: Ruth First 1925 – 1982’ which celebrates the life of anti-apartheid activist, investigative journalist and scholar Ruth First.

The conference will take place on the 7th June 2012, 10:00 – 19:00 at Senate House in Bloomsbury, London, and will include, among others, Justice Albie Sachs, Gillian Slovo, Shula Marks, and Bridget O’Laughlin.

Registration fee: £10 (standard); £5 (students/unwaged/retired) – includes lunch and wine reception.

Website: http://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/events/eventdetails0.html?id=11489

We hope that you are able to attend. Please feel free to circulate this message to any colleagues or students who may be interested in attending.

————

Chloe Pieters
Events Assistant
Institute for the Study of the Americas / Institute of Commonwealth 
Studies
School of Advanced Study
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

SOUTH AFRICA TODAY: HOW DO WE CHARACTERISE THE SOCIAL FORMATION?

The 2011 ILRIG April Conference
Community House, Salt River, Cape Town
29 and 30 April 2011

Since 2007 ILRIG has been hosting an annual conference in April, either on behalf of, or in partnership with, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. It is our intention to continue this tradition of conferences in April as an interface between critical analysts showcasing their work and activists in the labour and social movements debating the nature of the current juncture and strategic challenges facing our movements. In 2010 we looked at the causes and consequences of the global capitalist crisis and the possibilities for developing anti-capitalist alternatives.

In 2011 we have decided to call for papers and to invite participants on the question: how do we characterise the Social African social formation today?

2011 is the 17th year of the achievement of democracy in SA. But in that time, instead of the mass struggles of the 1970s; 1980s and early 1990s leading to radical transformation we have seen a decline in the extent and depth of those struggles and the triumph of a neo-liberal order. South Africa has joined the BRICS as an aspiring power, South African corporations have become global players, the composition of the ruling class is still overwhelmingly white and we are now the most unequal society in the world. At the same time we have an ex-liberation movement in government, carried there by the struggles of a black working class majority and with a ruling Alliance which includes the biggest trade union federation and a long standing Communist Party. More recently we have seen the rise of movements and community-based activists who have waged struggles quite relentlessly for some 5-10 years – serving as a source of optimism and renewal on the left and yet not galvanising into a social force capable of speaking in its own name, let alone challenging the neo-liberal order. We have also seen a readiness of some organised workers to strike and test the limits of the partnership that comprises the ruling tripartite Alliance.

Part of the many challenges facing activists today is characterising what the nature of the new order is in South Africa today – unlike in the apartheid period where the nature of that order was starkly apparent. This means that activists battle with the tension between the legitimacy of their cause and the legitimacy of the liberation credentials of the current government and its associated democratic institutions in the state.

On the left, in the broadest sense, this tension has been variously characterised as “a society carrying out transformation against residual apartheid forces”; a victim of global forces imposing neo-liberalism “from the North”; a developmental state; a natural consequence of a nationalist or a social democratic project triumphing over a more radical alternative; and even the triumph of neo-apartheid.

How do we characterise this social formation? What configuration of social forces led to this conjuncture and what are the strategic, programmatic and organisational consequences of taking one characterisation over another? How does one’s choice/s inform how one sees international solidarity in Africa and the wider world today?

The conference will consist of two components:
1. Inputs by speakers on the basis of draft papers submitted by interested activists and analysts – South African and international, and
2. Workshopped and parallel sessions in which ILRIG facilitators engage the issues raised
at facilitated sessions using educational methodologies

Themes:
1. The recent evolution of the capitalist class in SA, its relations to other capitals globally, its “racial” and gendered make-up; its mode of accumulation and its relation to the state
2. The recent evolution of the ANC, the changing social composition of its cadre, its relations to the state and to the capitalist class, and to the dominated classes.
3. The working class of SA today and its changing “racial” and gendered nature as well its re-composition across both the sphere of production and reproduction; its consciousness and struggles and how do these impact, or otherwise, on various organisations today.

To this end ILRIG is inviting papers from any interested person.

! Final papers must be submitted by 21 April 2011 Where possible, ILRIG will provide travel and accommodation for successful candidates. All communication must be directed to Russell Dudley ilrigaprilconference@gmail.com or 084-915 9709

Publication
After the Conference the papers will be published in an annual journal to be edited, published and distributed by the conference hosts.

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The Man in Black

COUNTERFEIT ASYLUM: THE GIFT OF GENDER IN CONFINEMENT

Professor Daniel Moshenberg, Director of the Women’s Studies Program and co-convener of Women in and Beyond the Global, George Washington University in Washington, DC

Tuesday 05 April 2011
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Venue: FB4.26 (4th Floor Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus), Queen Mary University of London

In the last half-century, the so-called `strong passport’ so-called democracies have turned the application for asylum into a criminal justice procedure. In so doing, these nation-States have redefined citizenship as they have redrawn the maps of national sovereignty. Take, for example, the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, South Africa. It is a prison filled with people who have committed no crimes but rather are deemed unworthy of citizenship. Seen from the perspective of asylum seekers, the overwhelming majority of whom are Zimbabweans, there is no South Africa, there is no Zimbabwe. There is rather South Africa/Zimbabwe, bound and separated by punctuation, by power, but not by a border. For Zimbabwean women, the life in Lindela, a private prison opened initially by the African National Congress Women’s League, is particular and particularly dire.

A consideration of the political economy of asylum in the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia in the current neoliberal global Moment finds variants of this narrative repeated endlessly. Asylum has come to mean detention. But what is asylum and how has it become part of the global carceral fabric?

Asylum has become part of a political economy of worthy and unworthy citizens. When processed through the prison industrial complex, scholars have tended to use a Foucault – Agamben frame of control and discipline, of bio-politics and bare life. This paper suggests not so much an alternative as a supplementary reading. Historically, asylum was not about states of exception, but rather exceptional states, states capable of responding to a plea of mercy, states capable of bestowing the gift of citizenship on otherwise unworthy people.

Professor Moshenberg proposes to re-read the political economy of worth and unworthy in asylum procedures, when seen from a perspective that centers on Black women asylum seekers. A somewhat Derridean reading of debt cycles, gift cycles, violence, national sovereignty, is merged with a reading, via Marx and Negri (and their readers), of labor, accumulation, surplus, and value. In the end, he argues that Black women asylum seekers are global precarious citizens, are, more precisely, citizens of global precarity.

If you would like to attend please email: a.alele@qmul.ac.uk

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Utopia

APORDE: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS 2011

Call for Applications

APORDE
African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics

5 – 19 May 2011
Johannesburg, South Africa

Supported by
the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa (the dti), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the French Embassy in South Africa, with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)

We are pleased to announce that the fifth edition of the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) will be held in Johannesburg (South Africa) from the 5th to the 19th of May 2011.

APORDE is a high-level training programme in development economics which aims to build capacity in economics and economic policy-making. The course will run for two weeks and consist of lectures and seminars taught by leading international and African economists. This call is directed at talented African, Asian and Latin American economists, policy makers and civil society activists who, if selected, will be fully funded.

We encourage everyone with an interest in development to read and distribute this call for applications. Please note that we receive many high quality applications and that, as a result, entry into APORDE will be very competitive (only 30 applicants will be selected).

APORDE is a joint initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Embassy in South Africa. Alice Amsden (MIT), Thandika Mkandawire (LSE), Michel Aglietta (Institut Universitaire de France), Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge) and Ben Fine (SOAS) are among the lecturers who have taught on the programme. Nicolas Pons-Vignon (CSID, Wits University) is the APORDE Course director.

For more information, visit http://www.aporde.org.za

APORDE is being conducted in a climate when there is much greater contestation of ideas around the possible options for economic development and industrialisation than in many decades. An initiative like APORDE can make a very important contribution in offering us new insights and reflections on the critical questions of building a developmental state and mounting a serious industrial policy.

Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of South Africa

Background
Africa is probably the continent most affected by the poor availability of cutting-edge research and teaching in economics. While only a few African countries have experienced sustained economic development in the past 50 years, African governments and civil societies are weakly equipped to respond critically to external initiatives aimed at their development and to generate endogenous strategies. The tide is, however, gradually turning: in South Africa and in other African countries, the need for “more” (rather than merely “better”, which has often proved to mean “less”) state intervention in economic affairs is increasingly recognised.

Crucially, economic take-off appears bound to remain a pipedream unless it is premised on developmental policy; while South Africa’s DTI is leading the way with its industrial policy, few African decision makers feel equipped to design and implement such policies, a gap which APORDE aims to help filling.

APORDE
APORDE will allow talented academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America to gain access to alternatives to mainstream thinking on development issues and to be equipped in a way that will foster original thinking. Participants will receive intensive high-level training and interact with some of the best development economists in the world and with other participants.

APORDE will cover essential topics in development economics, including industrial policy, inequality, poverty, financial crises and social policy. Lectures will equip participants with key information pertaining to both mainstream and critical approaches. Day lectures will last for three and a half hours, while a number of shorter lectures will also be organised. The programme of the seminar will be communicated at the beginning of 2011 and posted on the APORDE website. For information, the programmes of the first four seminars are available on http://www.aporde.org.za

All costs – travel, accommodation, conference fee and per diem – will be covered for selected applicants.

The seminar will be held in Johannesburg from the 5th to the 19th of May 2011.

The venue will be confirmed at a later stage.

Applications
Applicants must demonstrate first-class intellectual capacity and (at least some) prior knowledge in economics, as well as proficiency in English. However, the objective of APORDE is to draw participants from a broad range of backgrounds; persons who have demonstrated exceptional capacity in their professional lives are invited to apply.

The main body of participants will be drawn from Africa, but we welcome applications from Asians and Latin Americans who have research or work experience related to Africa.

Prospective applicants should send:

* A completed application form (available on http://www.aporde.org.za);
* An official transcript (showing courses taken and grades obtained);
* 2 reference letters, where possible 1 academic and 1 professional, which should be sent directly to aporde@ifas.org.za <mailto:aporde@ifas.org.za> or faxed to +27 11 836 5850;
* Proof of English proficiency for applicants whose main medium of instruction or work is not English. Results of standard English proficiency tests (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS) will be preferable, but other proof may also be accepted (e.g. a sample of written work in English).

Applications, accompanied by a covering letter indicating the applicant’s full contact details (including e-mail address and telephone numbers), should be sent to aporde@ifas.org.za to the attention of Nicolas Pons-Vignon.

The application should actually reach Nicolas Pons-Vignon by Monday 6 December 2010 at midnight at the latest.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Please note that individual acknowledgement of applications will be sent by e-mail only. Candidates will be notified by e-mail of the outcome of their applications at the latest by early March 2011.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Red

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 6th SEPTEMBER 2010

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

Please note the Rouge Forum Broadside, “Why Have School? Education and the Resistance linked here:
http://richgibson.com/WhyHaveSchoolSept%202010.pdf

Why have school (?) is a fine, back to school, exercise.

…and note too, the South Africa public workers’ strike (including educators) in retreat (a familiar echo of political betrayal):

A strike by more than one million public sector workers in South Africa has been suspended. Trade Union leaders say they have not accepted a pay offer by the Government, but will halt the strike for three weeks to allow their members time to consider it. The BBC reports some 1.3 million civil servants went on strike demanding a pay rise of 8.5% and a housing allowance of 1000 rand ($US135) per month. The government has offered 7.5%.President Jacob Zuma last week ordered his ministers to negotiate an end to the strike, which is entering its fourth week. The government’s renewed offer was initially refused by the unions and the Congress of South African Trades Unions. The strike has seen strong criticism of President Jacob Zuma, who the unions helped bring to power in 2009. Analysts say the unions are angry that they have received little from him.

See: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/56194/south-african-strike-suspended

Good luck to us, every one

Rich Gibson

The Rouge Forum: http://richgibson.com/rouge_forum/

 

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Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com/

 

LINKS INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIALIST RENEWAL – LATEST

What’s new at Links: Thailand, 1 million reads, Neville Alexander on SA, renewables & tax, Besancenot on Greece, William Morris, Philippines, Bolivia, Arabic

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Thailand: Past the point of no return

By Danielle Sabai

[This article was written before the Thai government’s crushing of the Red Shirts’ protest site in Bangkok on May 19, 2010. However, it provides important background to the events.]
May 17, 2010 — The political crisis engulfing Thailand is not a clap of thunder in an otherwise calm sky. The discourse about a country where “everyone lives in harmony and where there is no class struggle but a people united behind its adored sovereign” has nothing to do with reality. For several decades, the Thai people have been subjected to authoritarian regimes or dictatorships and a king in their service. The Thai élites have however not succeeded in preventing regular uprisings against the established order, including those in 1973, 1976 and 1992, all repressed by bloodbaths.

Read more

1,000,000 articles read, 750,000 visits — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

May 21, 2010 — At 11.59pm on May 19, 2010, the 1,000,000th article was read at Links International Journal of Socialist (since records began being kept on April 4, 2008). The article was accessed somebody in Toronto, Canada — the 744,733rd visit to Links — who entered site at the fascinating speech by veteran South African revolutionary socialist Neville Alexander. On May 21, at 5.50pm, Links International Journal of Socialsit Renewal received its 750,000th visitor, who was from Thailand and who read one of Giles Ji Ungpakorn’s essential articles on the struggle for democracy in that country.

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Neville Alexander: South Africa – An unfinished revolution?

[The following address — the fourth Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture, held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on May 13, 2010 – was delivered by renowned South African revolutionary socialist and theorist Neville Alexander. From 1964 to 1974 he was imprisoned on Robben Island. Strinivasa Rajoo “Strini” Moodley (December 22, 1945–April 27, 2006) was a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. In 1976, he was convicted of terrorism in a trial involving members of the South African Students’ Organisation and the Black People’s Convention, and imprisoned on Robben Island. The speech is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Neville Alexander’s permission.]

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Australia: Tax billionaire companies to fund rapid transition to renewable energy

By Dick Nichols
May 24, 2010 — Even as the Australian federal Labor government sticks its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme [carbon trading scheme] into the freezer the climate change crisis intensifies, demanding a response adequate to its enormity. The goal dictated by climate science is annual emissions reductions of 5% from now to 2020 — the critical “transition decade”.

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Olivier Besancenot: `We are all Greek workers!

By Olivier Besancenot and Pierre-François Grond, translated by Richard Fidler and Nathan Rao

May 14, 2010 — Le Monde via The Bullet — The events in Greece concern us all. The Greek people are paying for a crisis and a debt not of their making. Today it is the Greeks, tomorrow it will be others, for the same causes will produce the same effects if we allow it.

Read more

Debunking the `Menshevik myth’: William Morris and revolutionary politics

By Graham Milner
With some great revolutionary figures in world history, and in international labour history in particular, it has been found necessary for historians or biographers to dig out their subjects from beneath “a load of calumny and oblivion”, “a mountain of dead dogs”. With others, however, a different problem exists. Lenin pointed to this when he wrote that the ruling classes, following upon the deaths of great revolutionaries, often attempt — after having met the ideas and actions of such men and women during their lifetimes with “furious hatred … and slanders” — to turn them into “harmless saints … by way of `consolation’ to the oppressed … while at the same time emasculating and vulgarising the real essence of their revolutionary theories and blunting their revolutionary edge”.

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Philippines: The May 10 elections and the left

By Sonny Melencio, Manila
May 17, 2010 – The May 10, 2010, election has been bandied about as the cleanest and the most peaceful since the restoration of this exercise after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. This is attributed to the computerised election which ensured the quick counting of votes so that there would not be sufficient time for any of the trapo (traditional politician) to cheat.

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Democracy Now! debate: Is Thailand’s Red Shirt movement a genuine grassroots struggle?

May 18, 2010 — In Thailand, the government has rejected an offer by anti-government protesters to enter talks after a bloody week in Bangkok that has left at least thirty-eight protesters dead. Some fear the standoff could lead to an undeclared civil war. The protesters are mostly rural and urban poor who are part of a group called the UDD, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, more commonly known as the Red Shirts. We host a debate between Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a Thai dissident living in exile in Britain who supports the Red Shirt movement; and Philip Cunningham, a freelance journalist who has covered Asia for over twenty years.

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Thailand: Why Obama is silent on the Bangkok massacres

By Shamus Cooke
May 16, 2010 — When the White House is quiet as protesters are butchered in the streets of Bangkok, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicity. One can only imagine what the US government’s response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the US media and US President Barack Obama would loudly condemn such an act, in contrast to the muted response to Thailand’s bloodbath.

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Bolivia’s mining dilemmas: Between Mother Earth and an ‘extraction economy’

By Federico Fuentes, Cochabamba
May 15, 2010 — The tremendous success of the April 19-22 World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, has confirmed the well-deserved role of its initiator — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales — as one of the world’s leading environmental advocates.

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(Updated May 21) Thailand: International left solidarity with the democracy movement

Statements by the New Anti-Capitalist Party of France, Socialist Alliance of Australia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Fourth International, Focus on Global South, Australia Asia Worker Links. See also Asia-Pacific left statement — `Resolve crisis through democracy, not crackdown!’, by Asian left and progressive organisations.

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The Flame, May 2010 — Green Left Weekly’s Arabic-language supplement

May 2010 — With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly — Australia’s leading socialist newspaper — publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

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Links seeks to promote the international exchange of information, experience of struggle, theoretical analysis and views of political strategy and tactics within the international left. It is a forum for open and constructive dialogue between active socialists coming from different political traditions. It seeks to bring together those in the international left who are opposed to neoliberal economic and social policies. It aims to promote the renewal of the socialist movement in the wake of the collapse of the bureaucratic model of “actually existing socialism” in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com