Patrick Bond

A far-reaching strategic debate is underway about how to respond to the global financial crisis.

In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided and conquered. Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist whose 1972 classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa provided detailed critiques of corporate looting.

“We are the creditors!” insist a new layer of African social activists, victimised by the ongoing Third World debt crisis but now gathered to fight back.

Durban’s University of KwaZulu-Natal vice-chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba is expected to deliver an edict that the UKZN’s Centre for Civil Society (CCS) will close on December 31.

The March 29 election in Zimbabwe is very likely to result in President Robert Mugabe winning, by hook or by crook, a slim majority so as to avoid a run-off.

Should poor people be given pit latrines and other devices to limit their consumption of water? A resounding yes was heard at the Africa Sanitation conference held during February at the Luthuli International Conference Centre in Durban.

It is tragic but understandable that South African society ranks — with the United States and China — at the bottom of a recent worldwide climate-consciousness survey by polling firm Global Scan: only 45% of us believe global warming is a “serious problem”.

In 1997 at Kyoto, Al Gore bamboozled negotiators into adopting carbon trading as a central climate strategy in exchange for Washington’s support — which never materialised.

Internationally known environmental activist Sajida Khan passed away on the night of July 15 in her Durban home at age 55. She was suffering her second bout of cancer, and chemotherapy had evacuated her beautiful long hair.

A mixed message — combining celebration and auto-critique — came from the Nairobi World Social Forum, held from January 20-25 in a massive sports complex 10km from the city. The 60,000 registered participants heard triumphalist radical rhetoric and yet, too, witnessed persistent defeats for social justice causes, especially within the WSF’s own processes.

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