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Geography Archives: South Africa

Proudly South African.

Reconcile this

The world joined most South Africans in cheering when Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, the apartheid regime was largely dismantled, and multiracial elections were eventually held.

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South American Federation of Trade Unionists

Let’s Rebuild a Democratic Global Trade Union Movement

This whole project to hollow out institutions has only one aim which is the creation of a predatory state whose only reason for existence is to accumulate and plunder the country’s resources for the benefit of family members of Jacob Zuma, as well as the network of greedy, corrupt families who also benefit from crony […]

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Prime Minister Fidel Castro 1961

Fidel, Today and Forever

You always understood that politics was not the art of the possible—a conservative vision of politics—but rather the art of making the impossible possible, not through voluntarist actions but by understanding that politics is the art of building a social, political, and military correlation of forces that allows us to transform the existing conditions of […]

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Race to Revolution

A History of a Counter-Revolution

Gerald Horne.  The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.  NYU Press, 2014. In the conventional, celebratory liberal historical narrative about the Founding Fathers, the post-revolutionary persistence of slavery in the United States, along with women’s lack of essential political and legal rights, has long been regarded as […]

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Dresden and Its Dangerous Demonstrators

Dresden, Saxony’s beautiful capital, has a distinguished history.  One ruler, August the Strong, could bend horseshoes with his bare hands and, so legend has it, sired 354 children.  In 1697 he pushed and bribed his way onto the royal throne of neighboring Poland, made possible by his quick conversion to Catholicism.  (His wife, refusing the […]

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Democracy, Hypocrisy, and President Gauck

In the USA Republicans are jubilant.  Jubilation here in Germany is about an event twenty-five years ago: “We beat those red SOBs!”  But is there not, hidden behind the confetti, helium balloons, and crowing of the victors in both Germany and the USA, an occasional jarring note of anxiety? A man with good reason for […]

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The Light Brigade: Cuban Doctors Fight Ebola

The Ebola epidemic . . . whereas most of the world tightens frontier control and essentially flees from the problem, Cuba opens a new chapter of solidarity and faces the danger.  By sending 255 doctors and nurses to West Africa to deal with the latest Ebola outbreak, the heroic island — with few resources except […]

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I See Palestine

In response to Roger Cohen, “Why Americans See Israel the Way They Do,” New York Times, August 3, 2014. . . . The bias of the cowboy-and-Indians movies I grew up on in the 1950s has long been exposed: swallowing up Native American land was the aim, and the myth of the dangerous savages who […]

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Rwanda, Twenty Years Later

Twenty years later, full light has not been thrown on the shooting down of the plane of the then president of Rwanda, Habyarimana.  The event was immediately followed by the genocide of the Tutsis by Hutu militias.  Two hypotheses remain to this day equally possible: 1) the plane was shot down by Hutu extremists, making […]

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As a Class for Itself

  Numsa General Secretary’s Presentation to the Cape Town Press Club, February 11, 2014 I speak to you today with a powerful and united mandate from 341,150 metalworkers. They made their views extremely clear in our workers’ parliament in December last year — the parliament we called the Numsa Special National Congress.  In that parliament […]

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Germany: Fast Food, Slow Decisions

Let me begin with food — fast food.  Let me invite you in.  Looking around, there’s no denying it: this is Burger King.  It could be in Augusta, ME, or Anaheim, CA, and the fatty Whoppers taste the same.  But it’s not — most customers here speak German, some maybe Turkish (the biggest minority).  For […]

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South Africa Under the ANC: A Flawed Freedom

Has the time come when it might be possible to move past the well-deserved praise-song phase of the marking of Nelson Mandela’s death in order to strike a more careful balance sheet on the meaning for present-day South Africa of his storied career? Of course, it remains extremely difficult to speak dispassionately on such matters […]

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Mandela Was Not a Hallmark Card

Long-time South African educator and President of the New Unity Movement, R. O. Dudley had a quote that he used when speaking of various iconic South African struggle leaders: He “had arms, not wings.”  It is a phrase that we should remember when speaking of the late Nelson Mandela, but unfortunately, press coverage in the […]

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