What will it take to fix our municipalities?
Yesterday, we launched the 78th issue of Amandla magazine that focuses on the local government. Amandla Collective’s Shaeera Kalla was in conversation with Issue #78 contributor Ayabonga Cawe. We are in the middle of what some call the ‘silly season’, while the poor are plunging deeper into the abyss of poverty due to the high unemployment rate and severe joblessness aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, politicians are out in full force waxing lyrical about what they plan to do in addressing this calamity as they campaign for the upcoming local government elections. These are empty promises poor communities receive every five years when politicians are on the campaign trail. Very little has changed since the dawn of democracy but every five years brings a glimpse of hope to some neglected and excluded communities as they believe things will change for the better once they vote. In this special issue of Amandla, we featured a different crop of leaders. Community leaders who have been active in our communities for years, campaigning for decent housing, land, affordable basic services, jobs and against corruption have decided to come together to campaign in this year’s local government election under a common banner – the Cry of the Xcluded. They are not politicians but activists. They affirm that their campaign is not only about the crisis of local government or for the delivery of better services, but for a SOCIALIST South Africa where the enormous wealth of this country would be freed from the greed of the few and be used to ensure that everyone has a decent life, a life of dignity. Also in this issue, Ayabonga Cawe delves deeper into municipal dysfunction and how it negatively impacts economic production. Poor service delivery does not only affect households but some municipalities are also losing investors as factories are closing down and moving production to towns with better infrastructure and this has a negative impact on job-creation efforts and poverty alleviation. Cawe states that no industrialist will locate themselves in an area without roads for example. Lastly, we also looked at water scarcity in Eastern Cape and Gauteng. Our constitution states that everyone has the right to clean water and basic sanitation and Chapter 4 of the National Development Plan envisages a South Africa that recognises the importance of secure and equitable access to water and sanitation as catalysts for socio-economic development. But for communities like Lurholweni township, in the Amadiba administrative area in Mbizana, Eastern Cape this is nothing but a pipe dream as their taps run dry. Twenty years later, there is no free basic water in Lurholweni. Water provision is private, via the informal economy.
October 29, 2021
The Gendered Impact of Covid-19 in South Africa
This webinar illustrates that equity is a central issue in public health and that there is an inescapable link between poverty, the feminization of poverty and access to health care, particularly in the South African context. This webinar furthermore, seeks to build systems of solidarity among affected marginalised groups as a result of the pandemic. Hosted by the Alternative Information and Development Centre + the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southern Africa
September 07, 2021
Why We Must Transform Eskom!
Is there a way to save Eskom, manage the climate crisis, protect jobs, and keep electricity a public service all at the same time? For a while now, an international coalition of trade unionists, researchers, and environmental groups under the banner of the Eskom Research Reference Group has been working on a research document that answers “Yes!” to all of the above. In anticipation of this document’s launch on the 23rd of July, Keamogetswe Seipato of the AIDC joined Sandra van Niekerk of the Reference Group for a conversation around some of the key elements of this research. #EskomTransformed: Achieving a Just Energy Transition for South Africa.
July 22, 2020
How to Stop Climate Change (Systems Change not Climate Change Ep 6)
This episode outlines the various ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in pursuit of preventing a 1.5°C increase. Timestamps: 1:27 - The overall solution 2:05 - What is a climate model? 3:18 - 1.5 to stay alive 4:23 - How to reduce emissions 6:20 - Nature as a solution 7:20 - Carbon sequestration 9:55 - Going net-zero 10:26 - Not just solutions to climate change 12:02 - The puzzle of climate change Key questions: What needs to happen to stop climate catastrophe? How does nature help us in stopping climate change? What are the alternatives to releasing emissions, why are they appealing? Additional materials: IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC (Summary) https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/05/SR15_SPM_version_report_LR.pdf Climate solutions https://drawdown.org/solutions One million climate jobs http://aidc.org.za/download/climate-change/OMCJ-booklet-AIDC-electronic-version.pdf Miguel Altieri: On agroecology, and why it is the solution to hunger and food security https://www.tni.org/en/article/miguel-altieri-on-agroecology-and-why-it-is-the-solution-to-hunger-and-food-security Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 23, 2020
Climate Justice (Systems Change not Climate Change Ep 5)
The episode unpacks the two major components of climate injustice. Firstly, the uneven contribution of emissions by countries, individuals, and corporations, both presently and historically. Secondly, the uneven effects of the climate impacts, on both developing nations/global south and on the poor and working-class. Timestamps: 1:59 - What do we mean by justice? 3:12 - The core components of climate injustice 3:38 - Country contributions to climate change 4:54 - South Africa’s role 6:01 - Historical emissions 8:19 - Class contribution to emissions 10:10 – Uneven impacts of climate change 10:17 – Example of cyclones and hurricanes Key questions: Why is climate change an issue of justice? Who is responsible for climate change? Who and how will climate change affect differently? Additional materials: Climate justice - in depth http://www.foeeurope.org/climate-justice-in-depth The unfair burden of climate change https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/unfair-burden-climate-change Who has contributed most to global CO2 emissions? https://ourworldindata.org/contributed-most-global-co2 World's richest 10% produce half of global carbon emissions, says Oxfam https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 22, 2020
Part 2 of the Impacts of Climate Change (Systems Change not Climate Change Ep 4)
The second episode on the impacts of climate change that focuses on the melting of ice as well as storms. Some other impacts are touched upon. Timestamps: 1:11 - Recap 2:28 - Why the melting ice matters 4:02 - How sea-level rise happens 5:25 - Why sea-level rise matters 7:24 - Melting of sea-ice 8:53 - Storms 9:19 - Cyclone Idai 10:52 – Other impacts Key questions: What are the impacts of the ice melting in the arctic? What’s the difference between the melting of sea-ice and ice on land? How does climate change affect storms? What are some other impacts of climate change? Additional materials: Sea-level rise explained https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/ Cold and calculating: what the two different types of ice do to sea levels https://theconversation.com/cold-and-calculating-what-the-two-different-types-of-ice-do-to-sea-levels-59996 2019 Cyclone Idai: Facts, FAQs, and how to help https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2019-cyclone-idai-facts Hurricanes and Climate Change https://www.c2es.org/content/hurricanes-and-climate-change/ Climate Change Will Expose Half of World’s Population to Disease-Spreading Mosquitoes By 2050 https://e360.yale.edu/digest/climate-change-will-expose-half-of-worlds-population-to-disease-spreading-mosquitoes-by-2050 Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 22, 2020
Part 1 of the Impacts of Climate Change (Systems Change Not Climate Change Ep 3)
The first episode on the impacts of climate change that introduces the feedback loop process and explains how climate change creates droughts and wildfires. Timestamps 1:00 – Recap 1:57 – Why a 1°C increase matters 2:42 – Why we say climate change 4:44 - Droughts 5:54 – Feedback loops 6:26 – Droughts as a feedback loop 7:32 – The Cape Town drought 8:38 - Wildfires 10:17 – Arctic wildfires 11:06 – Arctic wildfires as a feedback loop Questions Does a 1°C increase matter? Why do we usually call it climate change instead of global warming? How do impacts of climate change interact with one another, what is this process called? Links Temperatures: Warming projections https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/ Arctic fire fills the skies with soot. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145380/arctic-fires-fill-the-skies-with-soot How feedback loops are making the climate crisis worse. https://climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-feedback-loops-are-making-climate-crisis-worse Drought and climate change. https://www.c2es.org/content/drought-and-climate-change/ Harsh winters under climate change https://climatekids.nasa.gov/harsh-winter/ Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 22, 2020
Emissions - Systems Change Not Climate Change (Ep2)
The episode gives an overview of emissions: what they are, the important ones with regards to climate change, and where they come from. Additional materials: Emissions by sector with interactive infographics. https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/02/greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-country-sector The carbon cycle https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/CarbonCycle What is methane? https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a28858699/what-is-methane/ The F-gases https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/f-gas_en Key questions: · What are emissions? · Which gases the primary emissions causing climate change? · Where do each of these gases come from? Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 19, 2020
Global Heating - Systems Change not Climate Change (Ep1)
This episode explains the processes that warm the earth and why global heating is different to the usual, natural processes. Key questions: How is 'climate' related to 'weather'? What are 'greenhouse gases' and how they affect the earth’s temperature? What is the difference between the 'greenhouse effect' and 'global heating'? Additional learning materials: Greenhouse Effect 101 https://www.nrdc.org/stories/greenhouse-effect-101 Image of Greenhouse Effect https://climatechange.lta.org/wp-content/uploads/cct/2015/02/Greenhouse-effect.jpg Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/weather-vs-climate Visit us at: https://www.aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/
June 19, 2020
Systems Change Not Climate Change - Intro
Welcome to System Change not Climate Change, an audible course for activists on the climate crisis! The course is primarily aimed at youth activists, particularly those in school, but is certainly suitable for adults as well. With that in mind, the course will aim to cover the basics, but there will also be something for those who already know a fair bit about climate change. Visit us at: https://aidc.org.za/systems-change-not-climate-change-podcast/ for more information.
June 19, 2020
Building a new Eskom: Fully Public and Serving the People
Building a new Eskom: Fully Public and Serving the People with Daniel Chavez, Sean Sweeney and Brian Ashley The crisis at ESKOM must not be used to further liberalise and privatise the energy sector. The proposal to break-up ESKOM into different companies WILL lead to greater privatisation of the energy sector. Electricity will become more expensive and jobs will be lost. Another strategy is possible and necessary. A “New Eskom” is necessary. Eskom must remain publicly owned, but it must be radically transformed and the process of corporatization and marketization that began in the late 1980s must be reversed. AIDC together with NUMSA, NUM and other trade unions, supported by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and Transnational Institute are developing proposals for addressing the crisis of ESKOM in ways that enhance energy democracy and a just transition to a low carbon development path. With inputs from Daniel Chavez (TNI), Sean Sweeney(TUED) and Brian Ashley (AIDC)
August 16, 2019
Nationalism: Lessons from India with Vivek Chibber
"The on-going calls for ‘radical economic transformation’ as well as arguments about how lack of ‘economic freedom’ undermines political independence, sharply raise questions about the nature of the ideology that drove the liberation struggle, African nationalism. As we examine African nationalism, it is vital to reflect on nationalism that developed in other parts of the global South. India is good case study to consider. Emerging in the 1880s, Indian nationalism drove the struggle against British colonial rule and anchored the mass movement that won political independence in 1947." At a joint Amandla, Tshisimani and IFAA Forum on 2017 Vivek Chibber presented a lecture on Indian nationalism from the days of the Bombay Plan, which advocated strong economic planning measures, to the turn to neoliberalism. Chibber also touched on contemporary right-wing and ethnic nationalism in India. Chibber is an American-based academic, Marxist theorist and Professor of Sociology at New York University. He is the author of Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India (2003) and Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2013).
August 14, 2019
Hegemony in and the Hegemony of Gramsci with Luca Jourdan and Valerio Romitelli
Gramsci is now a "star in the firmament" of humanities. Can his fame help us to better understand his thought or does it risk producing a misinterpretation of his thought? We will try to answer this question by focusing on the idea of hegemony, likely Gramsci's most famous analytical category
August 06, 2019
Patriarchy, Power and the Labour Movement with Prakashnee Govender
"In this period where activists have begun to expose the pervasive nature of patriarchy and misogny in activist spaces - this is a period where the labour movement needs to authentically and genuinely deal with the pervasiveness of patriarchy and misogyny in the workplace but also in the unions that are meant to protect workers. What we find in the labour movement is an entrenched culture of patriarchy and sexism with many womxn and queer people not being in leadership roles within the unions, many people being sexually harassed and violated and being told not to say anything as it will cause fragmentation and divisions with in the unions and that all policies that unions have developed around gender have not substantially been implemented and they are relegated to gender desks with limited or no power. If the labour movement in South Africa is actually committed to the liberation of workers from capitalist exploitation then how do we deal with this pervasive culture of sexism in the labour movement in order for all workers to be truly liberated." With guest speaker Prakashnee Govender
July 30, 2019
Understanding Brazils general strike: Six months after Bolsonaro with Adriana Gomes Santos and Antonio Neto
On Friday the 14th of June, Brazil witnessed one of the largest general strikes in recent years. Workers from various sectors joined the General Strike against the Pension Reform, in defense of Education and by jobs. Segments in the transport sector, public servants, education professionals, metallurgists, bankers, construction workers, petroleum worker's and traders joined the day of struggle against the Jair Bolsonaro government's attacks on social security rights, employment and education cuts. This forum gives an overview of Brazil under the Bolsonaro administration. It does so by situating Brazil within the broader Global Political Economy, going over the developments that have taken place under Bolsonaro and have led to one of Brazil's largest general strikes in years. In addition the offers an analysis of the state of working class politics and resistance in Brazil during the Bolsonaro era.
July 05, 2019
Confronting Inequality: The South African Crisis with Michael Nassen Smith
South Africa’s distorted distribution of wealth is one of the biggest challenges facing the country’s economy, with unemployment sitting at an unsustainable 27.7%. In terms of wealth, the top percentile households hold 70.9% while the bottom 60% holds a mere 7%. 76% of South Africans face an imminent threat of falling below the poverty line. With such statistics, the inequality crisis in this country is at a desperate level and strategies to remedy this challenge seem shallow and lack urgency. In this context, the Institute for African Alternatives has brought together a series of papers written by eminent South African academics and policymakers to serve as a catalyst to finally confront and resolve inequality. With papers from former Public Prosecutor Thuli Madonsela, Ben Turok and former President Kgalema Motlanthe, this book provides a guide to how the nation can confront and resolve the inequality plaguing the country. The nation is headed to the polls later this year and books such as this are vital for providing a strong guide on how those in power can address South Africa’s biggest economic crisis. A great contribution to the current political discourse, the book both confronts the issue and provides strategies on how to remedy inequality.
May 02, 2019
20th Century South Africa: A Developmental History with Bill Freund
The twentieth century has brought considerable political, social, and economic change for South Africa. While many would choose to focus only on the issues of race, segregation, and apartheid, this book tries to capture another facet: its drive towards modernisation and industrialisation. While considering the achievements and failures of that drive, as well as how it related to ethnic and racial policy making, Bill Freund makes the economic data come alive by highlighting people and places. He proposes that South Africa in the twentieth century can actually be understood as a nascent developmental state, with economic development acting as a key motivating factor. As a unique history of South Africa in the twentieth century, this will appeal to anyone interested in a new interpretation of modern South African economic development or those in development studies searching for striking historical examples.
May 02, 2019
Class, Race, Gender and Knowledge with Helena Sheehan by Amandla!Media
How do class, race and gender impact on the production of knowledge? Is it enough to include those who have been excluded from advanced knowledge? Or has knowledge itself been tainted by the exclusions of class, race, gender and colonial conquest? How to proceed with such realisations? How do we decolonise our minds and our universities? Should we repudiate existing knowledge and start again at zero? Or should we return to the indigenous knowledge of our ancestors? Or should we engage in a radical and critical transformation? How has Rhodes Must Fall dramatised these dilemmas? What does Marxism have to offer in working through these issues? About the Speaker: Professor Helena Sheehan is emeritus professor at Dublin City University where she taught history of ideas. Her books include: Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History, Irish Television Drama: A Society and Its Stories, The Syriza Wave and Navigating the Zeitgeist. Her publications also include many journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. Her most recent articles have appeared in Monthly Review and Jacobin. She has lectured in many countries, from the US to the USSR, from Ireland to South Africa. She has come to South Africa five times previously, including two sabbaticals, to study transformation in higher education. She has been active on the left for many years, beginning with the US new left in the 1960s and persisting through many campaigns, movements and parties. She believes that Marxism is the unsurpassed philosophy of our times.
March 11, 2019