Michael Schmidt from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) : “The two biggest political/social emergencies in South Africa (and southern Africa more broadly) are no doubt a) gender violence, and b) HIV/Aids. The slowness of the government in coming around to admitting that HIV causes Aids has strengthened grassroots activist organisations such as the Treatment Action Campaign, which uses a combination of lawsuits and street demonstrations to force the government's hand. The ZACF has no specific HIV/Aids policy (a failing of ours), but has been very pro-active in interrogating its own male members' behaviour towards women. We do, however, have too few women in our organisation. Violent crime, especially against women and children, has reached epidemic proportions especially in poor areas, and is often falsely blamed on Africans from other countries. Millions of refugees, from Somalia, the Great Lakes, DRC, Zimbabwe, etc., now live in South Africa, which means that xenophobia is increasingly used by the populists to divert anger from the indigenous comprador ruling class. But at base, these social distortions of crime are the result of extreme poverty in our region - which capitalism will refuse to solve because it relies on a cheap labour pool to feather its nest.”


“Ten years after the Asian financial cataclysm of 1997, the economies of the Western Pacific Rim are growing, though not at the rates they enjoyed before the crisis. There is no doubt that the region has been indelibly scarred by the crisis, the key indices being greater poverty, inequality, and social destabilization than existed before the crisis. South Korea's painful labor market reforms, for instance, have produced the quiet desperation that is resulting in one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. (...) In a global economy marked by strong tendencies toward stagnation, China as producer and the US as consumer are the twin engines that keep the world economy afloat. Yet keeping US economy going necessitates a constant flow of credit from China and the other East Asian countries to the US to finance middle class consumption of goods from China and Asia. In the meantime, countries that really need the capital from East Asia, such as countries in Africa, get very little of these reserves since they are not considered creditworthy.”
Walden Bello


The founder of the Lettrist movement, Isidore Isou, died this week. Lettrism was a French avant-garde movement, established in Paris in the mid-1940s. The philosopher and filmmaker Guy Debord also took part in it. Wikipedia : “In a body of work totalling hundreds of volumes, Isou and the Lettrists have applied their theories to all areas of art and culture, most notably in poetry, film, painting and political theory. The movement has its theoretical roots in Dada and Surrealism. Isou viewed his fellow countryman, Tristan Tzara, as the greatest creator and rightful leader of the Dada movement, and dismissed most of the others as plagiarists and falsifiers. Among the Surrealists, André Breton was a significant influence, but Isou was dissatisfied by what he saw as the stagnation and theoretical bankruptcy of the movement as it stood in the 1940s.”


“This August, Boston will remember the 80th anniversary of the execution of radical Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti whose trial is widely regarded as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American history. Calling attention to the continued repression of immigrants and radicals, the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society invites all to attend and participate in planned events. (...) We invoke our local history not only out of reverence for Sacco and Vanzetti, but to demonstrate how little has changed in the 80 years following their execution. Nationalist fearmongering and the repression of dissidents is as prevalent today as it was during the Red Scare in the early 20th century. The way in which Arab and Latin@ immigrants are rounded up, detained and deported today under the pretext of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs is eerily similar to the Palmer Raid targeting immigrants in the 1920s. And whereas the overwhelming majority of developed nations have abolished the death penalty, the retention of capital punishment in the United States keeps the U.S. in alarmingly poor company with other countries notorious for human rights abuses.”
Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society

--- Italian immigrant workers Sacco and Vanzetti in 1923