[DEBATE] : Who will rule SA? (Let's talk on Thursday @ 5pm)
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Dec 14 07:44:37 GMT 2007
(Next week the African National Congress goes through turmoil over
leadership. What are left forces outside the Alliance saying about the
threats and challenges ahead? At 5pm Durban time, an hour behind Britain
and six hours behind the US East Coast - I think it is - we'll do a
broadcast on skype with some leading local scholar-activists including
Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane. We're not sure how this will work but
hope you'll help us find out.)
Seminar: CCS Roundtable on Polokwane
Date: Thursday, 20 December
Time: 17:00-who knows
Venue: CCS Boardroom, MTB F208, Howard College Campus
WHO WILL RULE SOUTH AFRICA? WHAT DO INDEPENDENT ACTIVISTS WANT FROM
A DISCUSSION WITH SA, AFRICA AND INTERNATIONAL ALLIES, BROADCAST AT 5pm
SA TIME ON SKYPE
South Africa faces uncertain prospects of political leadership in the
period ahead, as the African National Congress conference in Polokwane
makes a choice between two presidential candidates, Thabo Mbeki and
Jacob Zuma. We've been waiting quite a while for the dust to settle.
The status quo is unacceptable by all accounts, save those of the top
two ANC leaders ('Nothing will change' Zuma has promised international
financiers who have panelbeat SA's pro-business economic policy, while
Mbeki repeatedly and dishonestly claims that the economy and society are
improving under his rule.)
Expressing a variety of policy/delivery grievances, independent
activists have ratcheted up protest activity to unprecedented levels,
with more than 20 000 separate demonstrations recorded over 24 months in
2005-07 and an increase in the rate this year. (SA is still the world's
leader in per capita social protests.)
As the ANC conference begins, independent progressives wonder:
* Is there an opening for the centre-left (and even the left), as trade
unionists and leading communists provide crucial backing for Zuma's
* Or would a president Zuma clamp down hard, given his and supporters'
traditions of militarism, nationalism, patriarchy, ethnicism and
* Or are Zuma's many weaknesses to be welcomed by independent leftists,
as the basis for a ridiculous, weak presidency?
* Can Mbeki pull out all the state's resources to win reelection to the
party presidency, or if not, still retain maximum power ahead of the
2009 national elections?
* Will the Mbeki-Zuma battle continue to degenerate into a full-fledged
conflagration that splits the ruling party?
* Or will the ANC 'big tent' once again open some flaps on the left and
draw dissidents back in?
* What structural power shifts might this contest signify, given both
the profound paranoia expressed by the neoliberal bloc and the ANC's
paralysed socio-economic imagination?
* Is the corruption-ridden ruling party capable of being reformed, or is
a new people's/worker's party inevitable?
* Should most independent activity aimed at social change continue to
eschew electoral politics?
As the ANC leave Polokwane, the Centre for Civil Society will attempt a
skype-broadcast seminar on 20 December at 5pm Durban time to consider
these and other queries.
If anyone wants to tap into this session, please contact me urgently so
can try out the connection. We intend to do both audio and video
broadcasting, and will accommodate as many in a 'conference call' format
as the technology and bandwidth permit. (You can download skype at
http://www.skype.com for free to gain access to this seminar.)
Those definitely taking part in the broadcast include Ashwin Desai,
Trevor Ngwane, Orlean Naidoo, Sufian Bukurura and Annsilla Nyar, with
others in the Durban area joining us in coming days.
(pbond at mail.ngo.za and skype account: patricksouthafrica)
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