South Africa: Mining conflicts multiply, as critics of “extractivism” gather in Johannesburg

by Patrick Bond

Pambazuka News | November 10, 2018

Photo source: Zambian Eye

The World Social Forum’s “Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivism” convenes from 12-15 November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, just after the Southern Africa People’s Tribunal on Transnational Corporations. In between, at the notorious 2012 massacre site on the platinum belt to the west, there is a launch of a new book – Business as Usual after Marikana– critical not only of the mining house Lonmin but of its international financiers and buyers.

This is the moment for a profoundly critical standpoint to take root, unhindered by ineffectual reformism associated with Corporate Social Responsibility gimmicks and the mining sector’s civilised-society watchdogging at the mainly uncritical Alternative Mining Indaba. That non-governmental organisations-dominated event occurs annually in Cape Town every February, at the same time and place where the extractive mega-corporations gather.

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Congo in the abyss

by Ann Garrison

Pambazuka News | October 29, 2018

Photo credit: Africa Faith and Justice Network

Ann Garrison spoke to Swiss Congolese historian and activist Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko about recent developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ann Garrison:  On 12 February 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 4.49 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and 630,500 refugees in neighbouring countries. The IDP population had nearly doubled in the previous year alone, mainly as a result of clashes and armed attacks. It sounds like conditions on the ground in Congo are getting worse, much worse.

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Political authoritarianism amidst growing inequalities in Southern Africa

by Patience Mususa

Photo source: Council on Foreign Relations

With the end of the cold war, the independence of Namibia in 1990 and the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994, the Southern African region entered an era of relative political stability and competitive multi-party politics. But the peace dividend proved unable to finance the hopes and promises, and more and more political analysts point to the “mixed bag” of democratisation processes. 

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Africa: Goliath versus David: Mining industry against rural communities

by Mafata Mogodi

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Bleeding African economies

by Dhiru Soni

Pambazuka News | October 25, 2018

Photo source: Encyclopedia Britannica

The legacies of colonial rule, both generally and in particular categories of colony, have and still continue to affect post-colonial economic development in Africa through the extraction of resources and illicit funds. The new agency for this is the “Corporation”, which has its origins in the East India Company sanctioned by Queen Elisabeth I as a royal charter. 

The Corporation, which was a revolutionary European invention contemporaneous with the beginnings of European colonialism, and which helped give Europe its competitive edge – has continued to thrive long after the collapse of European imperialism. It was arguably one of the West’s most important exports to the colonies, and the one that has for better or worse changed the trajectory of most countries in Africa as much as any other European idea.

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Is it time for Africa to teach Europe what democracy and passive racism are?

by The Citizen

Pambazuka News | October 15, 2018

Vote counting at the Swedish General Election of September 2018

The extraordinary double standard that exists towards Africa whereby some European countries that have totally flawed and corrupted systems presume to lecture Africans on their systems and assume to take a superior stance is symptomatic of a mind-set that represents a very potent form of passive racism in Europe. 

Picture it. The aftermath of a national election, where senior international observer from a leading European country declares of the election process he has just witnessed: “In all the many election observations I have been on, I have not seen anything that comes close to how undemocratic the voting system is”; and then goes on to say “It is just so far beneath anything remotely resembling European election standards, or anything we would allow, even in Eastern Europe.”

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Land is power in Swaziland

by Peter Kenworthy

Pambazuka News | September 26, 2018

A new Amnesty International report focuses on forced evictions of poor farmers in Swaziland carried out by local police. Land and forced evictions are central to Swaziland’s undemocratic system, says an activist who grew up in Swaziland’s rural areas.

“Land is life”, a new Amnesty International report on forced evictions in Swaziland called “They don’t see us as people” declares. This is to be taken very literally in the small absolute monarchy, as “the majority of the population rely on substance farming” to feed themselves.

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