democracy

Christina Engela's picture

Reja-vu

POI is getting a white-wash from government, and from figures who think it is a good idea to censor the free Press. Some say it will redress the wrongs under the still existing (yet hardly enforced) Apartheid-era secrecy law. (Of course they are hoping that by using the "A-word" the lemmings will decide in favor of the POI without bothering to think further than - "oh it must be better then".) Instead of just scrapping it, or using the original draft replacement law from three years ago, which was in line with democratic values - they want to replace it with an "upgrade", a V2.0 - no doubt soon to be followed by an "Apartheid v2.0". The working title for this little exercise in retribution could be something on the lines of "the Formerly Oppressed Strike Back", and we all have a pretty good idea of who the main characters will be, and how it will play out. After all, we've seen it all before - just across the border in what used to be a fairly prosperous neighboring country.

While the in-fighting between the different splinter-groups within the "Tripartite Alliance" and the ANC itself can be very amusing at times, mostly it is worrying and damaging to our young and currently faltering democracy. Most especially of concern are the shenanigans of the ANCYL leader, who is single-handedly demonstrating to us just how close we are to a complete failure of that democracy. If he isn't criticizing the Constitution or democratic values, or his own superiors in the ruling party, or its alliance partners, or the country's President - then he appears to be setting himself up to replace them. And goodness knows, nobody in the ANC ever seems to have the balls big enough to give that disruptive little communist the WWF smack-down he seems to be cruising for. No other political party in the world, no matter how liberal, would put up with this level of international embarrassment on account of a mere YOUTH league representative and employee. But yet, they do - and every day Kiddie Amin seems to be increasingly a law unto himself, egged on by his masses of ignorant and uneducated supporters with one foot still in revolutionary thinking.

Every day we South Africans have grown used to watching the news to see this buffoon open his mouth to change feet at our expense.

Give people like this enough time and enough room to maneuver and pretty soon they will be making official statements about how "un-African" certain diverse groups are, how "threatening" and how "immoral" - while of course using ideologies foreign to Africa as a means to decide what "un-African" means.
Christina Engela's picture

Blah, Blah, Click, Click

I don't think laws in South Africa are formulated by the SA people anymore - these days laws just break the news when they are about to be passed by parliament - like the POI and Media Tribunal - and as they clearly demonstrate, these are one-sided and extremely partisan, working against democracy. This is not transparency, this is not "due process". We need more "Glasnost" in South Africa!

Everywhere, I hear people complaining about politicians and politics, people whining that "The elected should remember how they got elected - and every decision they take should be given the litmus test "Is this good for the people?". When they remember that being elected is an expression of trust by the people and not a ticket to entitlement we might get somewhere."

Of course, as this person (a good friend of mine from High School days) says - "If anyone looks up the dictionary definition of democracy they might be in for a shock."

Chambers dictionary defines democracy as - "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively, and is administered by them or by officers appointed by them; the common people; a state of society characterized by recognition of equality of rights and privileges for all people; political, social or legal equality."

And as he pointed out: "Now, where exactly does it say "majority rule"? Democracy means that every person has an equal voice - and equal responsibility."

Thank you Morne' - *applause* - If everyone thought like that (in particular the last sentence), I would have no problem getting volunteers to help in canvassing or advocacy. Clearly, not everyone thinks the same way, or even thinks at all. We live in a culture of placing blame, passing the buck and scapegoating. But my friend's observations did not end there, however.
Christina Engela's picture

Take A Stand

Many people are talking about leaving South Africa for greener pastures. Who can really blame them? With a government seemingly doing its best to ruin the country after the brilliant success of the Soccer World Cup a few short months ago, who isn't left with a sense of shock and uncertainty? With a multi-pronged attack on democracy and the underpinnings of the Constitution coming from various government departments, the future for South Africans seems bleak indeed. But never so bleak as when there is a realistic chance of standing up to the hijackers of democracy - and those who should be taking a stand are doing so in the emigrations queue at the airport.

There are days when I feel the same way - for example, when I see apathy all around me. Two weeks ago I was at a petition signing against the "Protection of Information" Bill and Media Tribunal. So many people just shrugged and said "it won't help" or they "don't do politics". Of course it won't help - if people think as they do. They have given up, surrendered without a fight. They're impotent, defeated. Others are so STUPID they don't even know what "freedom of the press" even means. And yes, of course - they went to school. What they did there though, is anybody's guess. It is so frustrating.

Being involved with an Opposition party, I hear things. I hear how positive they are about the coming municipal elections in 2011 and general elections in 2014. They really believe they can win. They really believe we can get this country back on track. And I'm going to do more than just sit back and give them a chance to prove it, I'm going to help them make it happen.
Christina Engela's picture

Ignorance As A World-view

South Africa is a beautiful country with all sorts of worthwhile natural resources and stunning, sweeping vistas and other interesting stuff that usually makes it onto the back cover of some tourism magazine you might flip through while sitting on the bog - or, as introductions on websites or Facebook groups for conservative political parties which try to sound interesting and aspire to make other people's business, theirs.

Unlike those people, who seem overly concerned about whether other people's kids are taught facts about evolution in schools instead of fantasy and philosophy involving their invisible friends - I don't care to write about how pretty the landscape is, or whether or not the skyline looks like sunset after a bomb went off.

Unlike people who get their knickers in a knot over whether sex education includes "safer sex" instead of "abstinence only" practices (or non-practices, as the case may be) or educates the gay and trans kids as well, without making anyone out to be some kind of threat to religion, the state or "the family" - I really couldn't give a toss what they believe.

Unlike people who define love and marriage by their reproductive potential alone, and how many more children they can bring into the world (because we know the world needs more children, unless they happen to be different) - I certainly don't care about what kind of hardware people who love each other enough to tie the knot are packing down below - or what Jan and Janine Conservative do in the privacy of their own relationships.
Christina Engela's picture

What Is Happening To Our Democracy?

I doodled about the matter surrounding the government's current assault on South Africa's democracy on my white board last night, and found what I'd come up with rather thought provoking, so I thought I would build it into a Powerpoint slide and share it with you.

You see, currently we are facing the brunt of a broad-based attack on the freedom of the press as well as the civil rights of the ordinary citizen - in the form of the Protection of Information Bill, the "Pornography Bill" being pushed by the Dept of Home Affairs - and the newly newsworthy "Employment Services Bill" - all of which would turn democracy on its head and steer our country on a course which could only lead us to disaster.

Feel free to look it over, I think it says more than a 1000 page article could at this point. After all, it basically says what I've been shouting and waving my arms about the past 3 years. Feel free to pass it on and publish it if you will. Just get is out and warn people to get off their apathetic rear ends and take an interest in their own well being.

Both the "Protection of Information" Bill and "Porn Bill" (although I've been led to believe this is still only a three page conceptual document at this stage) could lead to far more invasive laws and practices than those thinking they will be "protecting children" and "sensitive information" may expect. Who knows what some elements would deem necessary to "protect children" or the "security of information"? Wire tapping? How private will your phone calls be under such a law? How about reading people's emails? ISP's would have to install censoring software as used in China to block IP adresses, or to block content - will they be able to read or censor your outgoing emails as well? It's very clear to me that there would be some degree of overlap between these two Bills, justifying the two-way arrow I placed between them, covering a wide scope of things that the increasingly paranoid, power hungry government-slash-ruling party would find interesting.
arvan's picture

A woman among warlords

Malalai Joya is an Afghan politician who has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan."  As an elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from Farah province, she has publicly denounced the presence of what she considers warlords and war criminals in the parliament.  She is the author of "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice"


More at The Real News

Joya: US backed fundamentalism is at the root of the Afghan problem; foreign troops should get out now

arvan's picture

Riccardo Campa - Toward a transhumanist politics

(Posted at RePublic)

Riccardo Campa

The central transhumanist idea of self-directed evolution can be coupled with different political, philosophical and religious opinions. Accordingly, we have observed individuals and groups joining the movement from very different persuasions. On one hand such diversity may be an asset in terms of ideas and stimuli, but on the other hand it may involve a practical paralysis, especially when members give priority to their existing affiliations over their belonging to organized transhumanism.


In order to remedy this inconvenience I have produced a document – the Italian Transhumanist Manifesto [1] – which (at least in my intentions) represents a positive synthesis of different transhumanist tendencies and philosophical propensities. In this article I shall present a few ideas “extracted” from that Manifesto – those concerning politics – hoping to contaminate with these ideas other organizations that are active abroad or internationally.

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