Bert Olivier

Searching for a new political cosmology

This morning my eye caught a report about Brazil’s climate-change denialist, neoconservative president, Jair Bolsonaro — evidently in an attempt to divert attention from his own egregious responsibility for the fires that rage unabated in (what is rapidly ceasing to be) the Amazon rainforest — accusing Leonardo DiCaprio of ‘paying’ non-governmental organisations to set fire…

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Walls and razor wire, or acceptance of different others?

Two days ago, November 9 2019, marked 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, and the irony has not escaped some people, that today one witnesses walls going up again everywhere. Nick Miller, in the Sydney Morning Herald (November 2 2019), for example, writes: Thirty years ago the Berlin Wall fell, pulling the…

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South Africans should stop thinking in terms of race

It was with a heavy heart that I read the news, first, of Herman Mashaba’s resignation from the position of mayor of Johannesburg and from the Democratic Alliance (DA), and soon afterwards of that of both Mmusi Maimane (leader) and Athol Trollip (chairman) from their respective leadership positions in the DA, and from the party…

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Criminality of the brutal variety

By the term, ‘criminality’, I don’t simply mean the perpetration of crime, or criminal acts; I have in mind something far more fundamental, even primal, in the sense of that which remains behind when criminologists, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists have exhausted all avenues of causal explanation when it comes to the ‘grounds’ or causal antecedents…

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Panayza Lesufi displays his lack of understanding of what a language is all about

I feel sorry for the ANC, to have an MEC for education in Gauteng who displays his ignorance of what a language is, fundamentally, for all and sundry to see. As has been widely reported, he has opined that the establishment of a Solidarity and community-funded Afrikaans-medium university would “perpetuate racist agendas”, and would be…

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Education policy and the future of water

On Tuesday, I watched a video on the deteriorating water situation in the Arabic state of Jordan, which foregrounded to me the imperative, that countries give a central place to essential concerns such as the continued availability of water in their education programmes, from primary school through high school to universities. Unless they pay urgent…

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Why women suffer in our society

I have written about the position of women in our patriarchal society from various perspectives on this site several times before – in the context of guns and violence against them, on a fundamental level on the link between patriarchy, writing and images, on why one should respect women for their extraordinary qualities, and on…

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Theoretical psychology: A direct attack on neoliberalism in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a beautiful city. It is also a financial black hole for South Africans. With a currency that is constantly edging lower against international currencies because of an inept and corrupt ANC government which cannot manage the country’s economic relations in such a way that its toxic internal political conflicts do not impact negatively…

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When work becomes inhuman, and when competition ruins relationships

Some time ago I wrote a piece on Shoshana Zuboff‘s recently published The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, and already other signs are beginning to appear that this invidious phenomenon is spreading in the workplace too, as surveillance of workers to ensure optimal productivity. In a recent edition of TIME magazine (‘When humans become robots‘; July…

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The possible destruction of the world as we know it? (And Vaclav Havel’s far-reaching insights)

On a virtually daily basis, one is confronted with more dreadful news pertaining to the destruction of the world as we know it – or knew it – by forces that seem to be, almost irrefutably, related to anthropogenic climate change in the shape of global warming. For example, a report on Yahoo News (27…

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