South Africa

South Africa: Capital's Dangerous Gimmick

With climate change posing one of the gravest threats to capital accumulation - not to mention humankind and our environment - it is little wonder that economists such as Sir Nicholas Stern, establishment politicians like Gordon Brown and Al Gore, and financiers at the World Bank and the City of London have begun warning the public. They are all pushing for more market solutions as the way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

This was the key theory motivating capitalist states' support for the Kyoto Protocol. And since February 2005, when the protocol was ratified by Russia and formally came into effect, a great deal more money and propaganda has been invested in the carbon market, including at a major Nairobi climate conference last month.

South Africa: "We Guard Billions, but are Paid Peanuts"

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Brian Mfisa starts work at 6 am for the international security firm Chubb. He guards a large house in the wealthy suburb of Melrose in Johannesburg.

Brian sits in a small wooden box, a "guard hut" that is dwarfed by the parameter walls of the house. He works 12 hour shifts and is paid R1600 (US$220) per month. Last month he was shot through the arm by a man attempting to break into the house. The next day he was back at work. Brian is still refused permission to go to the toilet while on duty and is forced to use a plastic bucket in the hut.

South Africa: Communists and ANC to Split?

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This is not the first time South African newspapers have announced a serious rift between the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (CP) and the trade union federation Cosatu. What's fresh this time around is that the union and Communist leaders are no longer denying it.

In the past they might have accused journalists of sensationalising "healthy debate" among alliance partners. On 18 May this year, about 20,000 workers gathered in Johannesburg during a one day national strike for jobs. They heard Zweli Vavi, the general secretary of Cosatu, say that the gulf between the people of South Africa and the cabinet of President Thabo Mbeki is the gulf between rich and poor. Now both the CP and Cosatu are discussing various futures, which include fielding independent Communist candidates in future elections.

South Africa: Burning Anger in the Townships

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There has been an explosion of riots and community uprisings across South Africa for more than 18 months.

Townships and squatter camps have been in flames as thousands of poor people burnt down local government buildings and fought against the police. These protests express the growing frustration among black South Africans at the dreadful state of public services, and their bitterness with the government.

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