Where is ‘our generation’?

Where is “our generation”? I do not mean the generation of which I am part. I am rather speaking of the generation that the journalist and activist Zubaider Jaffer called Our Generation — which is the title of an interesting book that provides a personal account of the struggle; that generation that fought the street…

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The politics of redistribution

What does it mean to govern effectively in a highly unequal society? The African National Congress answer to this question is that governing is about “advancing the national democratic revolution”. At its essence, the NDR is about changing social and economic conditions created under apartheid, through tackling structural nature of poverty, inequality and unemployment. There…

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The Red Plug-In City

Plug-in City seems the right way to imagine how a large number of optional connections can be organised, randomised, mixed or matched. So says the Communist University (CU) in its launch of its Plug-In City. The CU is a blog, training workshop and more broadly an attempt by the “left” to use the internet to…

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The service domain?

Last year sometime, I registered a handful of domain names with a South African company. Having finally got some of the basics done, I thought I would have some use for one of the domains. So I contacted my company, and lo and behold, someone else owned the domain name. I phoned the company and…

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Mini-budget, mighty implications and the wooden spoon

I once heard Trevor Manuel say: “Let me take out my wooden spoon and stir.” Finally, I realised where his staff learned to use the phrase. Imitation is, after all, the highest form of flattery. It usually means that someone in the National Treasury is going to raise a controversial issue, with all the confidence…

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How do you stop an exploding man?

Now and then, a TV series grabs my attention. Heroes is one such series, and it has an example of how TV series are only part of the story, with the internet providing interesting glimpses into other parts of the story. In print, there are comics showing the story. In fact, visually Heroes has the…

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Margaret Legum: Thought Leader extraordinaire

In the traffic this morning, I was saddened to learn of the death of Margaret Legum. Margaret was an advocate for new economics. Her columns in newspapers provided a rare view that we could be doing better, and a view completely “out of the box”. In fact, her book is titled It Does Not Have…

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Amandla — the magazine

The broader left is seeing a revival in new forms of organisations, and in proposing alternatives in a complex world. A good reflection of this revival is Amandla — a new left South African magazine. As the website progresses I hope we will be able to claim the site as a “lefty” site that embraces…

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Development indicators: Has life improved for the poor since 2000?

When speaking about development indicators, I am reminded about how family problems are tackled. The mediators usually start from a position that there are three versions of this story — the two versions of the feuding parties, and the third the truth. In the case of development indicators, the government’s version of the truth is:…

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Aluminium smelters: The developmental state gone mad?

South Africa has no bauxite ore! Despite this geological fact, South Africa (and Mozambique) has aluminium smelters. Bauxite ore is the raw material for creating aluminium. The ore comes to us from Australia (and possibly Suriname and Brazil), we process the ore to produce aluminium and then ship it out. If we don’t have bauxite…

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