Power, Money Define A Modern ANC

INDEPENDENT MEDIA ANC president Jacob Zuma shares a joke with party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.The writer claims many people join the ruling party not because of ideological belief but to have material advantage. File picture: Paballo Thekiso

INDEPENDENT MEDIA ANC president Jacob Zuma shares a joke with party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.The writer claims many people join the ruling party not because of ideological belief but to have material advantage. File picture: Paballo Thekiso

Johannesburg – One of the favourite sayings of ANC leaders over the years, and most often directed at those of its members who have departed the organisation for various reasons, is: “It is cold outside the ANC.”
It doesn’t take a political analyst or life-long movement activist to figure out the metaphorical meaning.

Simply put, the “warmth” inside the party is defined by being part of the ANC’s unequalled access to and use of institutional power – whether as applied to the ANC or the state it largely controls – and the accompanying material benefits (read: money) derived. Twenty years into ANC rule it is that “warmth” that has, in turn, come to define the party itself.
None other than the ANC number one himself confirmed this, even if for very different reasons, not long after he had ascended to the presidential thrones of party and country.

Speaking to the ANC Veterans League back in 2009, Zuma declared – without a whiff of contradiction or irony – that “money and positions have undermined the ANC (and changed its) character and values”.
He was quickly followed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who proclaimed that: “When selflessness, one of the principled characters of our movement, is being replaced by a newfound expression of selfishness, wherein personal accumulation becomes the main cause for divisions, we must know that the movement is in decline.”

No doubt both Zuma and Mantashe were attempting to present themselves as the “new” champions of some kind of moral regeneration campaign within the party. After all, they had succeeded in ousting Mbeki and his neoliberal technocrats, with Cosatu and the SACP leading the way, by claiming that theirs was a politics of returning the ANC “to the people” through a principled, accountable and exemplary leadership.
As has most often been the case with the ANC since 1994, however, the reality is a far cry from the rhetoric. Even if present before at the individual level, under Zuma’s leadership the pursuit of money and power (position in the ANC and the state) has become the sine qua non of membership and more specifically, advancement. Closely tied to this organisationally bound accumulation path is an effective “requirement” of an obsequious loyalty to Zuma himself, a willingness to defend and cover up for number one, whatever the cost.

Over the past several years the cumulative result at the macro-organisational level has been quite dramatic. The ANC has morphed from its earlier transition days as a “modern” bourgeois political party designed to consolidate a class-based system of power overlaid with narrow racial interests to an inveterately factionalised, patronage-centred, corrupt, rent-seeking and increasingly undemocratic ex-liberation movement.

In turn, this has framed more particular examples of the ANC’s inexorable political and organisational descent:
* The retreat into the political shadows of ever-increasing numbers of the “older” generation of members and leaders who have become disillusioned with the party’s trajectory and its present leadership.
* The marginalisation, expulsion and, on occasion, murder of those in the ranks who have opposed, questioned and/or exposed the conduct of leaders of the party and the state who are, in one way or another, part of the Zuma battalion.
* The ascendance of a new breed of militarised, dumbed-down, “yes baas” storm-troopers and securocrats whose core purpose is to police the masses and guard the party/state gates against unwanted questioners and intruders.
* The embracing and catalysing of a politicised ethnic identity alongside xenophobic, homophobic and misogynist attitudes and behaviour that potentially foreshadows an inward turn towards a pseudo-”traditionalist”, social proto fascism.
* The widespread disintegration of the ANC’s grassroots structures into mostly corrupt, localised factional vanguards “servicing” various party dons;
* The sustained socio-political rebellion of its “natural” constituencies among the poor and working class, the general response to which is a dismissive arrogance combined with heavy doses of repression; and
* The spectacle of professed “communists” and “radical” unionists enthusiastically espousing a politically and socially reactionary politics, defending and covering up corruption as well as engaging in the gradual balkanisation (and in some cases, liquidation) of organised working-class forces.

Such ANC characteristics have not however, as might be expected, led to a parallel decline in the number of ANC members. Indeed, if ideological and organisational coherence, actual job performance and delivery of mandates (whether as party or state leader and/or official), respect for rights enshrined in the constitution or adherence to the general letter of the law were the main criteria for prospective members, then the ANC would surely be an unpopular choice.
Instead, over the past decade or so there has been a considerable increase in membership growth. What this shows is that more and more people are being drawn to join the ANC not out of political/ideological belief or because they think the party is the best vehicle for sustaining democracy, advancing political cohesion or contributing to effective public service.
Rather, and as several recent research contributions to a special issue on the ANC at sub-national level of the journal Transformation reveal, the key drawcard of ANC membership is the pursuit of power and material advantage (most often in the form of money). This is directly tied to patronage and clientism, which have become the dominant forms of political and organisational direction and leadership under Zuma.

Flowing from the top downwards, these forms have ensured that each successive level of leadership and structure (within the party and the state) is umbilically linked to a particular faction competing for political control and position in order to access resources. In the process, internal democracy and lines of accountability become little more than irritants, pushed to the margins of rhetorical spin.
Not surprisingly, the cumulative result is that the line between party and state, at whatever level, has become more and more blurred. ANC structures, from top to bottom, graft on to the parallel state structures like parasites feeding off the bounty. The two “bodies” become progressively intertwined, the trajectory of one dependent on the other. Where there is mutual benefit to be had, the various “bodies” will co-operate, but it is just as likely that they will enter into (factional) conflict where there is competition.

Besides the sorry organisational and political state of the various ANC “leagues”, the ANC’s own core structures are in trouble.
By all accounts, a majority of ANC branches are either largely dysfunctional or racked with factional battles. The party itself has acknowledged that the majority of its provincial executives and parallel provincial structures are “unstable”. The “best practice” example of this is to be found in none other than number one’s backyard, with the conference of the ANC’s largest region – eThekwini – having to be postponed indefinitely due to infighting and allegations of cash for votes.
With crass accumulation as well as open and often violent factional conflict combined with regular exposures of massive fraud and manipulation of meeting and election procedures, the general state of things in the ANC looks more like a mass drunken fight in a casino than a 100-year-old party governing a country.

About the author
Dale T McKinley is an independent writer, researcher, lecturer and political activist. See: http://www.dalemckinley.org/

Previously published by The Star: http://the-star/a-modern-anc

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Free Access To Oxford University Press Resources On Refugee Law

pflogo_opilIn response to the refugee crisis in Europe, Oxford University Press has made more than 30 book chapters, journal articles, and pieces of content from online resources freely accessible to assist those working with refugees on the ground, as well as anyone who would like to know more about the framework of rights and obligations concerning refugees. The materials are structured around four key questions: who is a refugee, what rights do they have, what are transit states’ obligations, and what are the duties of the state where a refugee applies for asylum. Other useful resources are linked to at the bottom of the page.

  1. Who is a refugee?
  2. What rights do refugees have?
  3. What are the obligations imposed on states which refugees pass through en route to their destination of choice (transit states)?
  4. What are the obligations imposed on states in which refugees apply for asylum?
  5. Helpful Links

Read more: http://opil.ouplaw.com/page/refugee-law#

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The University of Chicago Press ~ The History Of Cartography

CartographyThe first volume of the History of Cartography was published in 1987 and the three books that constitute Volume Two appeared over the following eleven years. In 1987 the worldwide web did not exist, and since 1998 book publishing has gone through a revolution in the production and dissemination of work. Although the large format and high quality image reproduction of the printed books (see right column) are still well-suited to the requirements for the publishing of maps, the online availability of material is a boon to scholars and map enthusiasts.

On this site the University of Chicago Press is pleased to present the first three volumes of the History of Cartography in PDF format. Navigate to the PDFs from the left column. Each chapter of each book is a single PDF. The search box on the left allows searching across the content of all the PDFs that make up the first six books.

“An important scholarly enterprise, the History of Cartography … is the most ambitious overview of map making ever undertaken …. People come to know the world the way they come to map it—through their perceptions of how its elements are connected and of how they should move among them. This is precisely what the series is attempting by situating the map at the heart of cultural life and revealing its relationship to society, science, and religion…. It is trying to define a new set of relationships between maps and the physical world that involve more than geometric correspondence. It is in essence a new map of human attempts to chart the world.”—Edward Rothstein, New York Times

“It is permitted to few scholars both to extend the boundaries of their field of study and to redefine it as a discipline. Yet that is precisely what The History as a whole is doing.”—Paul Wheatley, Imago Mundi

“A major scholarly publishing achievement.… We will learn much not only about maps, but about how and why and with what consequences civilizations have apprehended, expanded, and utilized the potential of maps.”—Josef W. Konvitz, Isis

Go to: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/index.html

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The Gates of Damascus

Someone else’s things are in the house: school notebooks that don’t belong to Asma, a cardboard box of cheap cookies Hala would never buy, a small bottle of Syrian perfume. My cupboard is full of junk, and there’s an unfamiliar dress hanging on the line.
Hala comes in around noon, in a hurry, plastic bags full of groceries in both hands. She looks tired – her face is swollen. ‘I thought you’d never come back!’ We hug, clumsily as always.
‘We have guests,’ she says.
‘Yes, I noticed.’
‘Sahar and Aisha, they’re not staying long.’ Sahar is a Christian, I suddenly remember, her husband a Muslim. There you have it – the religious differences everyone has been talking about during the last few days don’t apply to Hala and her friends.
‘Have you heard the news? They say the prisoners are going to be released. Sahar is having her house fixed up; that’s why she’s staying here.’
‘What about Ahmed?’
Hala shrugs. ‘He asked me to bring him his winter clothes. That means he’s planning to stay for a while.’

She begins peeling potatoes in the kitchen; the children will be coming home any minute. I bring in the folding table from the hallway, pull up a plastic chair and apply myself to the green beans. Hala gives me a searching look. ‘How was it? Anything interesting happen?’ She sounds skeptical.
I tell her about Father Léon’s weird cap, the grumbling hikers, the ups and downs of Louise’s love life. I suddenly realize that when I arrived in Syria I didn’t even know whether Hala was a Christian or a Muslim – we didn’t talk about those things back then.
‘Do you consider me a typical Christian? Have you ever thought of me that way?’
Hala laughs in surprise. ‘No, what makes you think that?’
‘Oh, I don’t know, I just wondered.’

Read more

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Lieve Joris On Congo ~ The Rebels’ Hour In Brief

At a time when UN Peacekeepers are trying hard to maintain peace in the Congo, award winning author and journalist Lieve Joris discusses her work in the region and shares the history of the conflict as seen by a Tutsi rebel leader who eventually became a high-ranking general in the Congolese army. Lieve Joris is one of Europe’s leading travel writers with reporting that has spanned the globe—from Hungary to Africa.

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High Amsterdam ~ Ritme, roes en regels in het uitgaansleven


Omslagontwerp: Lucas Mees. Foto omslag: Ziggy Love – RoXY

Nu bijna compleet online: Ton Nabben – High Amsterdam. Ritme, roes en regels in het uitgaansleven.

1. Van acid tot zerotolerance
2. Theoretische visies op drugs, jeugd en uitgaan
3. De Amsterdamse panelstudie
4. Uitgaan en drugs tussen interbellum en jaren tachtig
5. Van RoXY tot regelgeving
6. Het nieuwe Amsterdamse uitgaansleven
7. De drugsmarkt van de Amsterdamse uitgaanswereld
8. Ecstasy: het succes van een ‘psychedelische amfetamine’
9. Cocaïne: terug van nooit echt weggeweest
10. Amfetamine: de radicalisering van energie
11. Anesthetica: tussen euforie en narcose
12. Regels en roes in het uitgaansleven
13. Samenvatting en conclusies
14. Summary and conclusions

15 Bijlagen & Literatuur


Foto: Maurice Boyer – Vondelstraatrellen Amsterdam 1980

Amsterdam 1981. Krap dertig jaar woon ik inmiddels in deze stad. Ik weet nog goed dat Mokum in haar voegen kraakte toen ik mij hier vestigde. De stad leed onder een taaie economische crisis. Heroïne ontwrichtte het leven van veel jonge Amsterdammers en ‘verdwaalde’ toeristen. Het wallengebied oogde vitaal én verloederd. Krakers, waarvan vele student, veroverden tientallen panden per jaar. De jeugdwerkloosheid steeg tot wel 30%. De do it yourself mentaliteit gold als creatief antigif tegen het doem- en no future denken. Sociologen typeerden ons als de ‘verloren generatie’, in straatjargon ook wel de ‘traangasgeneratie’ genoemd. Schermutselingen met de politie en mobiele eenheid waren schering en inslag. Niks nieuws, want de stad was vanaf de jaren zestig al het strijdtoneel van nozems, kuiven, hippies, provo’s, opgeschoten tuig, rapaille en in mijn tijd punks, krakers en autonomen. De stad stond onder curatele en smachtte naar andere, betere tijden.

De door provo ontketende anarchistische stadssfeer was met het naderen van de eeuwwisseling gaandeweg verdampt. ‘Amsterdamned’ ontpopte zich als ‘glAmsterdam’. Pep, punks en protest transformeerden tot house, hip en happening. De strijd om de straat maakte plaats voor nachtenlang dansen tot aan het ochtendgloren.

Anno 2010 is de economische barometer na een zeer welvarende periode weer tot onder nul gezakt. Vooralsnog oogt de stad rijker en mondainer dan toen. Het toerisme is een stuwende bron van inkomsten geworden. De studentenpopulatie is fors gegroeid, evenals de dienstensector en het uitgaansleven. Technologie, creativiteit en innovatie zijn de nieuwe speerpunten van beleid. Met een uitgekiende citymarketing gooit Amsterdam als cool city weer hoge ogen. De slogan ‘Amsterdam heeft het’ is veranderd in ‘I Amsterdam’. Tussen al het stadstumult had ik destijds als twintiger, werkloos of niet, één doel voor ogen; tegen mijn dertigste wilde ik weten welke richting het op zou gaan met mijn leven. Read more

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