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Seminars 2009

  • Water Policy in Durban, South Africa

  • Traditional farming in Umzinyathi

  • Resilience, Resolarisation and Relocalisation

  • Politics of protection/crime/policing

  • CCS Seminar on UKZN worker rights

  • Ethics, Resistance and Global Justice

  • Grassroots Mobilising within Refugee Communities

  • Seminar on the DRC

  • South Africa's capitalist crisis and civil society

  • Seminar on the Durban public transport crisis

  • National Health Insurance: Can SA afford it?

  • Barack Obama's presidency and civil society reactions

  • Thinking about the Legacy of Mbeki's Politics

  • Seminar with outsourced workers on the UKZN campus

  • Democracy and Civil Society in Ghana & South Africa

  • Seminar on water rights

  • Burma Solidarity Seminar

  • Zimbabwe farm labour, social justice and citizenship

  • Community resistance to energy privatisation and ecological degradation

  • The War of Warwick Junction

  • Footsak, On the Ball for 2010

  • Contesting Johannesburg extractive industries

  • 'Racism and Whiteness''Racism and Whiteness'

  • New water wars, from city to countryside

  • Azania Rising: The demise of the 1652 class project

  • Communities coping with climate change

  • Winning municipal concessions for low-income communities

  • Social movements in Catalan and Bolivia

  • The Tamil people under seige

  • Environmental confrontations - Political parties meet civil society

  • The Legacy of Anti-apartheid Sports Boycotts

  • The Rwandan Genocide 15 Years On

  • Wentworth Crime, Gangs and Civil Society

  • Seminar: Governing lives through hydropolitics in eThekwini

  • Seminar: Post-Apartheid Political Economy and State Policy

  • Seminar: African Development Bank water projects

  • Seminar: Zimbabwe Civil Society confronts Mugabe's Economy

  • Seminar: ICTs and social movements

  • Seminar & Film: Climate Change and Eco-Social Resistance in South Durban

  • Seminar & Film: Free Water: Policy, Practice and Protest

  • CCS Seminar & Film: Finding our Voices' - The value of dissent

  • CCS Seminar: AIDS, Sex, Culture and Civil Society, 11 February

  • CCS Seminar: Should Israel be boycotted? If so, how?

  • CCS Seminar: Participatory community audio/video as a tool for social research

  • CCS Seminar: World water Forum

  • Film Screening & Seminar: Silenced voices? Zimbabweans in Durban

  • Water Policy in Durban, South Africa

    CCS Seminar today (apologies for late notice)

    Topic: Participation and Influence in Water Policy in Durban, South Africa
    Speaker: Kristine Wasrud
    Date: Friday 11 December 2009
    Time: 12.30 – 14.00
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building C1, Howard College, UKZN

    Several academics hold that participation has a positive effect on
    empowerment, hence increase people’s and communities’ ability to
    influence the decision concerning themselves. At the same time
    participation and inclusion of the civil society may only be a way of
    claiming that decisions made by the power-holders are legitimate,
    resulting in a disempowerment of people that are ‘included’ in the
    decision-making processes. With the background in South Africa’s
    constitutional right to access to water, and the current conflict
    between this right and the need and idea of cost-recovery, how has this
    influenced the water policy on local level. In the case of the public
    flats of Westcliff, this community, along with the Crossmoor and
    Bayview, these communities have made some important advances in the
    relationship with the municipality with regard to water policy and other
    socio-economic rights. Through continual struggle and opposition to the
    municipality’s policy of cost-recovery, the communities have managed to
    start a more productive interaction with the government. Important
    questions with regard to this success are how were the communities able
    to influence, were they able to influence or was the changes results of
    something else, what is the results of the interaction that has been
    done, what did they do that made them special, and how has this
    engagement influenced the municipalities engagement with other communities?

    Kristine Wasrud is a masters-student enrolled in the programme of
    Culture, Environment and Sustainability, at the Institute for
    Environment and Development, at the University of Oslo.

    Traditional farming in Umzinyathi

    Topic:The Feasibility of Traditional Farming in Promoting Rural
    Development in Umzinyathi, KZN

    Speaker: Umesha de Silva
    Date: Wednesday 9 December 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building C1, Howard College, UKZN (NOTE NEW VENUE)

    Agriculture has played a dominant role in the development and shaping of
    Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies and cultures throughout its history. To
    date, no other continent is more intertwined and associated to peasantry
    and smallholder production than Africa. Nevertheless, over the past
    three decades, following the process of the agrarian transition also at
    work in other regions of the globe, the continent has witnessed an
    erosion of smallholder farming that has influenced the production and
    reproduction of rural poverty and the marginalization of rural areas.
    This presentation asks if traditional farming has experienced a decline
    in rural KwaZulu-Natal, and which factors may have contributed to this
    decline. Consequently, is it worthwhile for the state and development
    practitioners to attempt to re-invigorate agriculture given the
    magnitude of these influences?

    CCS Visiting Scholar Umesha de Silva is currently a Masters student at
    the University of Ottawa, writing her thesis on the future of
    traditional farming in South Africa. Umesha has previously worked as a
    policy officer in the Financial Guarantee Policy Division and currently
    acts as a consultant for the International Development Research Centre
    on food security issues in South, South East and East Asia.

    Resilience, Resolarisation and Relocalisation

    The Centre for Civil Society invites you to a seminar:

    Topic: Resilience, Resolarisation and Relocalisation
    Speakers: Sinegugu Zukulu and John Clarke
    Date: Monday 30 November 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building F208, Howard College, UKZN

    Two of the main civil society critics of titanium mining at Xolobeni in
    the Eastern Cape, Sinegugu Zukulu and John Clarke of Sustaining the Wild
    Coast, are passing through to explore not only the current state of the
    struggle against Australian mining capital and the SA state, but a
    longer-range view. The two will discuss philosophical roots and
    orientations to environmental justice, seen from the unique mix of
    grassroots and technical knowledges that have been brought to bear in
    the campaign to keep resources in the soil.


    The issue of the mining rights for the Xolobeni titanium-bearing
    deposits, on the Wild Coast, will be finalised by the end of this month
    or early next month, Department of Minerals and Energy (DME)
    spokesperson Bheki Khumalo tells Mining Weekly.

    In the company's latest annual report, ASX-listed Mineral Commodities
    (MRC) chairperson Joseph Caruso says that the approval of the mining
    rights application for Xolobeni has been an arduous process. MRC
    believes that, due to the importance of the Xolobeni project to the
    area, the Minister will continue to support the issuing of the Xolobeni
    mining rights; however, the issue date has been deferred, pending the
    outcome of the appeal, says the company. However, he adds that the
    company will continue to pursue the project, as its merits are
    substantial, although the company will minimise expenditure on the
    project pending the outcome of the appeal.

    In August 2008, MRC reported that the DME would award it the mining
    rights for the Kwanyana block within the Xolobeni mineral sands tenement
    area, adding that the mining rights would be signed in October.

    However, in September, the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) - comprising
    affected community members and represented by the Grahamstown Legal
    Resources Centre (LRC) - filed a notice of appeal with the Minister of
    Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica.

    The ACC requested the Minister to suspend, and then appeal, the decision
    to grant the mining rights. The basis of the appeal was that the mining
    rights were granted to MRC without sufficient and reasonable notice to,
    consultation with, or invitation for comments from, the Xolobeni
    community as an interested and affected party.

    The DME acknowledged receipt of the appeal, but by March had not
    complied with the rest of the requirements in terms of the Mineral and
    Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 within a reasonable period,
    LRC Xolobeni case lawyer Sarah Sephton told Mining Weekly in a previous

    The final decision on whether or not the mining licence would be granted
    was still unclear as there were strong arguments both for and against
    granting the mining rights.

    The proposed Xolobeni mineral sands project, near Port Edward, will be a
    dry mining operation as the area being mined is relatively small.
    Between 13-million tons and 15-million tons of minerals are expected to
    be mined a year, should the project go ahead.

    Tormin Project In December 2008, MRC was granted mining rights for the
    Tormin heavy minerals project, on the West Coast of South Africa. Final
    processing plant design and engineering are now taking place.

    The company has commenced procedures to appoint an engi- neering group
    to update the existing feasibility study. Based on a positive outcome to
    this phase of the work, the company will let a tender for a turnkey
    project to produce zircon and rutile concentrate, says Caruso in his
    statement to shareholders.

    On the current schedule, the plant should be operational by the end of
    calendar 2010, Caruso adds.

    Uranium Prospects In April, MRC advised that it had entered into a
    letter of agreement with Africa Uranium Limited (AUL) - which provides
    for MRC to have exclusive rights to fund AUL's mineral exploration
    activities, in return for equity in AUL.

    AUL is an unlisted public company with a 70% interest in the Hoasib
    uranium project in Namibia, and has submitted a prospecting licence
    application for the Usakos uranium project in Namibia.

    AUL also has uranium projects in the Karoo Basin, in South Africa, which
    were explored between 1970 and 1985, but AUL exploration has been
    limited because of a lack of funding.

    The agreement provides for MRC to spend up to $7-million, to earn a 50%
    equity interest in AUL. It also provides for MRC to acquire a further 1%
    stake in the company for $700 000.

    MRC's minimum expenditure commitment is $1-million. Should MRC stop
    funding after this expenditure, it will have earned a 10% stake in AUL.

    Other Ventures As far as other operations are concerned, MRC through its
    subsidiary Kariba Kono, owns a diamond tailings dump in Koidu, Sierra
    Leone. The company resolved to sell its subsidiary or its assets in
    Sierra Leone, and had an agreement in place with ROK Diamonds.

    MRC says that the diamond pan plant supplied by Promet Engineers Africa
    for the project failed. The sale to ROK was not concluded, and MRC took
    the engineering company to court, where the companies settled the
    matter, and A$2-million was paid to MRC, without admission of liability.

    All plant and machinery delivered under the construction contract remain
    in the possession and ownership of MRC.

    MRC also holds a 9,13% stake in oil and gas consultancy Petro Ventures
    International, which MRC says has secured three project areas in the UK,
    Hungary, and off the Romanian coast.

    The company's other interest lies in listed gold production and
    exploration company Allied Gold. MRC is said to be one of the biggest
    shareholders in Allied Gold, holding more than 15-million shares in the
    company, at a value of some $6,5-million.

    Interested parties hoping that MRC will not be granted more mining
    rights in South Africa point to the fact that mining junior MRC is not
    actually physically involved in any mining projects, lacks experience,
    and is likely seeking to merely sell its projects to a larger mining
    Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

    Politics of protection/crime/policing

    The Centre for Civil Society invites you to a seminar:

    Topic: The Politics of Protection: Crime and Policing Outside of the State in
    Post-Apartheid South Africa

    Speaker: Nick Smith
    Date: Thursday 26 November 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building F208, Howard College, UKZN

    Despite citizen’s having access to South Africa’s first democratic
    police force and massive reform within the organization, policing by
    groups outside of the state – for example, lynch mobs, vigilantes, and
    civic associations – is broadly practiced. This pattern is not limited
    to South Africa. Similar forms of extra-state policing are widely
    practiced in other transitional democracies in Latin America, the former
    Soviet Union, and throughout Africa. This presentation asks: Why has
    extra-state policing been so prevalent in South Africa’s townships since
    the end of apartheid? What can the South African case tell us about the
    high rates of extra-state policing in other transitional democracies?
    What does the prevalence of extra-state policing suggest about the
    difficulties of democratic state building?

    Nick Smith is currently a PhD student at the University of Chicago,
    doing his dissertation on the increase in violent crime in
    post-Apartheid South Africa. Nick holds a BA from the College of William
    and Mary and MAs from the George Washington University and the
    University of Chicago. He also spent a year as part of the Ideology and
    Discourse Analysis Programme at the University of Essex. Nick previously
    worked as a research assistant at the United Nations Development
    Programme Washington Liaison Office.

    CCS Seminar on UKZN worker rights

    The Centre for Civil Society and UKZN Workers Forum invites you to a seminar on worker rights:
    TOPIC: Problems faced by contract workers at UKZN
    SPEAKERS: Trevor Ngwane (CCS) and representatives of the UKZN Workers Forum

    DATE: Wednesday, 28 October 2009
    TIME: 1-2pm
    VENUE: Lecture hall G5, Westville campus

    Organised by the Centre for Civil Society and the UKZN Workers Forum
  • Cleaners

  • Security

  • Gardeners

  • Catering

  • Maintenance

  • Teaching, Administration & Support Staff

    At UKZN there are 2 types of contract workers Outsourced workers who
    are employed by contract companies.These workers are treated like slaves
    by their bosses, the contract companies / labour brokers.
    These workers do useful and important work for the university but are treated
    like outsiders by the administration. Many of them take home about R1 000 a month.
    No study benefits, no study leave, no medical aid, no housing subsidy, no pension.
    No respect, no appreciation, no satisfaction. The university refuses to take
    responsibility for their well-being.Sometimes they work without proper equipment,
    no mops, no brooms, no soap, no overalls, no walkie-talkies. If they complain they are
    threatened with expulsion or transfer to other work sites off campus.
    Already Magnum Shield has victimized and expelled 9 security
    workers for attending a workers’ seminar held at Howard College.

    Contract workers employed by the university
    These workers are employed by UKZN on perpetual contract.
    Many are in administration, support services and some are tutors/lecturers.
    Some are on 3-month contracts. They have no job security and are at the mercy
    of the head of department or senior manager.
    If they are “cheeky” their contracts are not renewed.
    Their contracts are biased and one-sided in favour of the university.
    They are oppressed.

    For more details please call the Centre for Civil Society at 031-260 3195

    Ethics, Resistance and Global Justice

    The Centre for Civil Society invites you to a seminar to be held as follows:

    Topic: Ethics, Resistance and Global Justice
    Speakers: Bengt Brülde and Stellan Vinthagenand
    Date: Monday 26 October 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building F208, Howard College, UKZN

    PART ONE: Under what conditions and on what grounds is it morally right
    to resist, and when it is morally wrong? Or more specifically: (i) When
    is it morally permitted, and (ii) when is it morally obligatory, i.e.
    wrong not to resist? A common suggestion is that it might be justified
    to resist if there are substantive injustices that can be reduced or
    eliminated. Unjust acts, practices, procedures, rules, laws, or systems,
    e.g. oppression, violation of rights, torture, exploitation, or
    corruption, can all justify resistance. The basic idea is this: If some
    powerful agent violates human rights (in the broad sense), e.g. if it
    does not respect, protect, or fulfil human rights, then resistance may
    well be the most appropriate response. Some violations are worse than
    others, however, e.g. actively violating a right may be worse than
    failing to protect it or promote it. So, how should we identify rights
    violations (and violators)? To answer this question, we need to what
    human (and civil) rights we have, what duties these rights imply (and
    who are the duty-bearers), on what grounds can rights be justified, and
    who is responsible for fulfilling our rights, e.g. how the corresponding
    duties should be allocated.

    PART TWO: The emerging discipline of “resistance studies” has relevance
    for our critical support of resistance movements that are dealing with
    contemporary globalization, especially the prospects of some of these
    movements to make the world a more just place. “Resistance studies” is a
    recent research field (Amoore 2005; Couzens 2005; Duncombe 2002; Lilja
    2007; Scott 1992; Vinthagen 2005; Vinthagen & Lilja 2007, and 2009)
    which tries to understand the concept of “resistance” (to undermine
    power) in its various forms. Several different definitions and
    perspectives of “resistance” exist. A fruitful definition will be
    presented, one which allows us to look both into collectively organized
    resistance (be that violent or nonviolent such) and into the more
    informal, individualized and hidden forms of “everyday resistance”.
    Various resistance strategies and theories of social movement
    mobilization will then be presented, in order to outline in what sense
    transnational resistance movement could make real difference to injust
    world order structures.

    The speakers:
    Bengt Brülde works as an associate professor and senior lecturer in
    practical philosophy (mainly ethics) in the Department of Philosophy at
    University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the Department for Nursing, Health
    and Culture at University West (Sweden). He also writes books and has a
    weekly feature on ethical issues on Swedish national radio. Brülde's
    current research covers four main areas: (a) The ethics of happiness and
    suffering, e.g. how the goal to promote happiness and reduce suffering
    fits into ethics as a whole, and how a “happiness principle” is best
    formulated. (b) Public health ethics, especially how the ultimate goals
    of public health activities should be formulated. (c) Global justice
    issues. (d) The right to health: its content, its justificatory basis,
    and what duties it implies (with an emphasis on “duties across
    borders”). More information: Bengt can be

    Stellan Vinthagen is senior lecturer in Sociology and Peace (and a
    development worker), with a focus on nonviolent resistance,
    globalisation and social movements, based at the School of Global
    Studies’ Department of Peace and Development Research, Göteborg
    University; and at the Department of Social and Behavioural Studies,
    University West, Sweden. His PhD (2005) in Peace and Development
    Research explored the sociology of nonviolent action. Stellan is the
    author of two books, a co-author of two books (one more soon published),
    and editor of two books and has written several journal articles and
    papers at conferences. He is a visiting lecturer at several
    institutions, e.g. College of International Citizenship (CIC),
    Birmingham. He is co-founder of the Resistance Studies Network, a member
    of the peace and development scholar network of Transcend and the
    Nonviolence Commission of the International Peace Research Association,
    an associate of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future
    Research, an advisor to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict,
    a Council member of War Resisters’ International. He is also a movement
    activist (since 1980) and educator in conflict transformation and civil
    disobedience (since 1986). Stellan has been in totally in prison a year
    for peace work, e.g. in England (6 months, 1998), because of a
    nonviolent direct disarmament action against the nuclear submarine
    Trident. In January and June 2007 he was arrested and hold over night
    because of participation in Academic Seminar Blockades of the nuclear
    submarine base in Faslane, Scotland, together with over 70 other
    academics (see

    A book on the conference proceedings is being edited.
    He currently is organizing a Ship to Gaza together with others.
    He lives in the Ecological village Lilla Krossekärr, on the island Orust,
    at the West-coast of Sweden, north of Gothenburg.
    For relevant publications, see his CV at (Link
    Stellan can be reached at
    Address: School of Global
    Studies, University of Gothenburg,
    Box 700, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Grassroots Mobilising within Refugee Communities

    The UKZN Centre for Civil Society and Social Movements Indaba-KZN invite
    you to a seminar with Helen McCue (Australian Community/Labour/Refugee Activist)
    Topic: Grassroots Mobilising within Refugee Communities:
    Perspectives on Palestine and Australia
    Speaker: Helen McCue (Australian Community/Labour/Refugee Activist)
    Date: Friday, 18 September
    Time: 10am - 12pm

    Venue: Memorial Tower Building F104, Howard College, UKZN

    Helen McCue is best known as a co-founder of Rural Australians
    for Refugees (2001).A trained nurse educator she worked with the
    World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Middle East in 1981,
    was then seconded to the United Nations Relief and Works Organisation
    (UNRWA) in Lebanon, and subsequently worked as a volunteer in refugee camps
    in Beirut 1982-83. In 1984 she co-founded the trade union aid body
    Australian People for Health Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA),
    and was its first Executive Director and regional adviser in South Africa
    and the Middle East until early 1994.She founded the Women Refugee Education
    Network (1996) and the Wingecarribee Commmunity Foundation (2001),
    and was involved in the establishment of Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group (1997).

    Seminar on the DRC

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: The Business of Civil War - Transnational Governance and Trade
    in the Debris of the Congolese State
    Speaker: Patience Kabamba
    Date: Tuesday, 15 September
    Time: 11am-12:30pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    The current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows that
    lack of a government does not necessarily mean lack of governance. The
    latter could be provided by non-state actors. The study also questions
    the failed state theory.

    Patience Kabamba has degrees from the Sorbonne in Paris (undergraduate),
    the UKZN School of Development Studies (masters) and the cultural
    anthropology department of Columbia University (PhD). He is presently
    Visiting Lecturer at Emory University and was formerly Instructor at
    Columbia University and an Africanist expert at the Woodrow Wilson
    Center in Washington, DC. His forthcoming book is The Business of Civil
    War (Routledge 2009).

    Background information on the DRC from the CCS Library

    Abbas, Hakima (2007) Africa's long road to rights. Pambazuka : -.

    All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention (2002) Cursed by Riches:Who Benefits from Resource Exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?. All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention : 1-52.

    Amisi, B Baruti (2005) Social Capital, Social Networks and refugee migration: An exploration of the livelihood strategies of Durban Congolese refugees. Centre for Civil Society : 1-44.

    Amisi, B Baruti (2006) Social Capital, Social Networks, and Refugee Migration: An Exploration of the Livelihood Strategies of Durban Congolese Refugees. Centre for Civil Society : 1-48.

    Barouski, David (2006) Update on the Congo. Centre for Civil Society : -.

    Dizolele, Mvemba Phezo (2007) In Search of Congo’s Coltan. Pambazuka : -.

    K.K. Mukwaya, Aaron (2003) Pan Africanism and the Security Dilemmas in the Security Complexes in the Great Lakes Region : Uganda’s Regional Foreign Policy under the Movementocracy Governance, . Codesria 30th anniversary conference : 1-25.

    Kamwimbi, Theodore Kasongo (2006) The DRC elections, reconciliation and justice. Pambazuka : -.

    Kassem, Mahmoud & others (2002) Letter from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the UN Security Council. United Nations : 1-59.

    Lyon, Susan (2003) The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Four books and a Film. Centre for Civil Society : -.

    Majavu, Mandisi (2003) Congo Still A Sensitive Subject. Zmag : -.

    Majavu, Mandisi (2005) Congo; A Story of “Unimportant People”. Centre for Civil Society : -.

    Mamdani, Mahmood (1998) Understanding the Crisis in Kivu: Report of the CODESRIA Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo September, 1997. Centre for African Studies University of Cape Town : 1-29.

    Renton, Dave (2003) The Congo: as the troops land. Centre for Civil Society : -.

    Thomson, Susan M & Wilson J Zoe (2005) Rwanda & the Great Lakes Region: Ten years on from Genocide. Special Issue International Insights : 1-312.

    Wamba dia Wamba, Ernest & Majavu, Mandisi (2004) Congo: The Transition. Zmag : -.

    Zeilig, Leo & Witte, Ludo de (2007) Anti-imperialism and resistance in the Congo. Centre for Civil Society : -.

    South Africa's capitalist crisis and civil society

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: SA capitalist crisis and civil society macro policy advocacy
    Speakers: Dick Forslund and Patrick Bond
    Date: Monday, 7 September
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    Over the past year, the South African economy has crashed dramatically,
    and all indications are that any recovery will lag a world upturn -
    itself terribly weak due to deep-rooted contradictions in the capital
    accumulation process. What are the structural and policy reasons for
    SA's crisis, and what reactions have we seen in civil society? What,
    specifically, has organised labour done to address the problems, and how
    do interest rates and exchange controls feature in today's and
    tomorrow's class conflicts? Are there also environmental factors to
    consider, and might resolutions to the crisis be found in
    community-based social struggles? The presenters will discuss arguments
    to be published in the next issue of Amandla! magazine.


    Dick Forslund is an associate researcher with the Alternative
    Information and Development Centre in Cape Town, and a senior lecturer
    at Stockholm University's School of Business. His recent book, Give Me
    the Money, examines the financialisation of everyday life in the Western
    World. He has prepared a briefing paper on political inflation rate
    reporting and class interests.

    Patrick Bond is senior professor of development studies and director of
    CCS, and the author of several books on SA political economy. He has
    recently been advising trade unions on economic and social policy,
    having drafted more than a dozen state policies during the late 1990s.

    The politics The politics of inflation rate mesuring and reporting
    Plutocratic vs. ”sociocratic” approach
    By Dick Forslund

    Seminar on the Durban public transport crisis

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: Durban transport crises - Community and driver's seat views
    Speaker: Dudu Khumalo
    Date: Tuesday, 1 September
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    The privatisation of Durban's bus service six years ago was an
    unmitigated disaster for commuters, communities and drivers. At a time
    the taxilords are threatening to strike in order to shut - or take over
    - a new generation of Bus Rapid Transit facilities in other cities, the
    resurrection of a public bus service in Durban is vital. What are the
    conditions faced by workers? What can communities do to pressure the
    city for a resolution to the crisis?

    Dudu Khumalo, a CCS Community Scholar, is a former trade union organiser
    and public transport commuter.

    National Health Insurance: Can SA afford it?

    Seminar: National Health Insurance: Can SA afford it?
    Speaker: Patrick Bond
    Date: Monday, 24 August
    Time: 6-8pm (Bond)
    Venue: Memorial Tower Bldg F208, UKZN

    The government's National Health Insurance (NHI) proposals have
    been criticised as being too expensive for South Africa. Yet for the
    vast majority of South Africans, private medical aids are out of
    financial reach, and indeed scheme members are having severe problems
    with medical savings accounts and rising copayments. Are the claims of
    economists and corporate executives correct? Or will NHI potentially
    generate savings for those who move from the private sector, and also
    increase overall social well-being?

    UKZN political economist (and CCS Director) Patrick Bond has been doing
    research on healthcare financing since the mid-1990s, while on the
    faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and in
    service to the SA Department of Health. He subsequently carried out
    costing exercises on NHI options for the Congress of SA Trade Unions. He
    directs the Centre for Civil Society. This talk is cosponsored by UKZN
    Lifelong Learning.

    Barack Obama's presidency and civil society reactions

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Center for Civil Society for
    a seminar on US politics

    Seminar: Barack Obama's presidency and civil society reactions
    Speaker: John Berg, Professor of Government, Suffolk University, Boston
    Date: Monday, 24 August 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: MTB F208, Howard College Campus, UKZN

    The circumstances that brought Barack Obama to the presidency of the US
    left his political position surprisingly undefined. He is the first
    Black president, but has never been strongly identified with the Black
    community. His electoral majority was based as much on opposition to the
    legacy of George W. Bush and on concern with the state of the economy
    than on any specific program commitments by Obama. Even his most
    definite commitment, to withdraw US troops from Iraq, has proved
    surprisingly flexible. This talk examines Obama’s record to date, in the
    context of the forces from civil society and the global economy that
    surround him, to attempt to answer the question “Who is Barack Obama?”

    John C. Berg has been a US Senate aide, an activist against the Vietnam
    War, a political prisoner, and a participant in many progressive
    political campaigns. He received his PhD from Harvard University in
    1975, and subsequently taught political science at Suffolk University,
    where he is now Professor of Government. He is the author of Unequal
    Struggle: Class, Gender, Race, and Power in the US Congress (1994), and
    editor of Teamsters and Turtles? Progressive US Political Movements in
    the 21st Century (2003).

    Thinking about the Legacy of Mbeki's Politics

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Center for Civil Society for a seminar on South African politics

    Seminar: Thinking about the Legacy of Mbeki's Politics
    Speaker: Dr Essop Pahad, former Minister in the Presidency
    Date: Tuesday, August 4 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Howard College Auditorium, UKZN (NOTE VENUE)

    What legacy do we have from the past decade for the period ahead? One of the most influential South Africans during Thabo Mbeki's presidency, Dr Essop Pahad, will offer a frank account, and field critical questions from a panel including Patrick Bond, Orlean Naidoo and Trevor Ngwane from the UKZN Centre for Civil Society.

    Dr Essop Pahad has been a leading political activist since 1958 when he joined the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress. After an exiled period of struggle, during which he edited the World Marxist Review, Pahad served
    in Parliament and ultimately as Minister in the Presidency under Thabo Mbeki. He is the editor of a new analytical journal, The Thinker. According to the website: '“The Thinker” seeks to open up the space for
    public discourse, the clash of ideas, to stimulating intellectual debate and scientific analysis. “The Thinker” will be a partisan journal for progressive change but non-partisan with respect to party political positions and activities. It will strive to give all its contributors the freedom to express what they think; understanding that openness in the context of ideas, theoretical divergences and multidimensional practice is a necessary condition for fundamental social transformation. We are committed to open up the space for honesty expressed views mindful that the ideas, analysis and Commentaries that we will publish may be uncomfortable for some and anathema for others. As we embark on this journey we are resolved that “The Thinker” will be as solid as Rodin’s “Le Pensuer” and solid as the Metal in which it was cast.'

    Mbeki’s legacy — what legacy?
    Coenraad Bezuidenhout M&G

    A flip through a KwaZulu-Natal newspaper the other day revealed former
    minister in the presidency Essop Pahad had been defending former
    president Thabo Mbeki’s legacy in front of a group of Durban students
    last week.

    Rather hard-pressed by, among other, a few combative researchers from
    the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Centre for Civil Society, Pahad
    had a couple of interesting quotations attributed to him, some of the
    more brow-raising of which expected us to believe that: the government
    was in the habit of promising services to the people that it could not
    deliver; it was the norm for one administration to leave “gaps” for the
    next to “fill”; socialism was probably the only desirable alternative to
    remove class distinctions in service delivery; since everybody was going
    to die regardless of their HIV status, Mbeki’s administration
    prioritised the fight against pharmaceuticals selling expensive drugs
    above the efficient roll-out of anti-retrovirals and since it would boil
    down to him being seen as a tool of the West, Mbeki criticised Mugabe
    but resisted pushing for regime change in Zimbabwe.

    With messages such as these, one may quite rightly ask what type of
    legacy it is that Pahad set out to salvage? I believe there is much the
    former minister can do to help the former president recover his lost
    honour. Therefore, regardless of whether the former minister may or may
    not agree that a change of tack would be in order, I would like to
    recommend one anyway, starting with some time out to catch a good movie
    and to read up a bit on political history.

    Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon graced our cinemas earlier this year. The movie
    may make Pahad recall something of his recent nightmare experience at
    the UKZN, but the truth is we have never had the equal of the
    Frost/Nixon interviews in South Africa. Knowing that it was indeed one
    of the former minister’s favoured scapegoats while in office, Pahad may
    also gesture to that fateful encounter in Die Wilderness between the
    architect of the “third force”, PW Botha, and his chief apologist, Cliff
    Saunders, a couple of years ago. But since no public broadcaster would
    touch PW’s last pearls of wisdom with a barge pole, Pahad would do well
    to cast his mind’s eye back even further.

    If he did, he would learn that South Africa has had its fair share of
    fallen leaders. Before the Groot Krokodil (“Great Crocodile” as PW was
    known in Afrikaans) we had BJ Vorster. BJ was not only a contemporary of
    Nixon. Within the context of apartheid, the information scandal that
    felled Vorster was at least the equal of Watergate, which ended Nixon’s
    presidency. Both scandals entailed a range of unlawful activities that
    included money laundering, apparently with the knowledge of these two
    former heads of government. For Vorster it would have been about the
    consolidation of the apartheid regime; for Nixon, a victory in the ’72
    election was at stake.

    If he embarked on this journey, Pahad would find that Vorster had to
    vacate his position as prime minister in 1978 in much the same way that
    Mbeki did in 2008. While it was a parliamentary investigation that made
    a crisis of confidence in Vorster’s leadership a fait accompli, the fact
    that Parliament was entirely dominated by the National Party gave it
    much the same ring as Mbeki’s “recall” by the ANC. Pahad will also note
    that where the final chapter in Mbeki’s public life has yet to be
    written, Vorster met a rather dreary end when he had to stand down again
    after a short stint as ceremonial state president in 1979. The reason: a
    judicial enquiry — rumoured to be a witch hunt hastily arranged by his
    successor, PW — found that BJ always had deep knowledge of wrongdoings
    perpetrated in the name of the information scandal.

    Had the cultural boycott not been in full swing and Frost could subject
    Vorster to an interrogation at the time, the latter would probably have
    been able to pronounce of Botha in his own characteristic drawl, just as
    Nixon first said of his political opponents: “I gave [him] a sword and
    [he] stuck it in. And [he] twisted it with relish. And, I guess, if I’d
    been in [his] position, I’d have done the same thing.” Having considered
    these examples, Pahad would have to admit that, despite his insistence
    that there is continuity in Jacob Zuma taking over the reins of the ANC
    and the country from Mbeki, the latter could definitely echo Nixon’s
    immortal words too. After all, Mbeki tried to pre-empt things by already
    getting his sword in, in 2005 after Zuma was implicated in arms deal
    corruption by the Durban High Court.

    In September of last year though, Pietermaritzburg Judge Chris Nicholson
    found that the corruption case against Zuma was procedurally flawed and
    that political interference from Mbeki was apparent in the National
    Prosecuting Authority’s decision to charge Zuma. This, as we know,
    afforded Zuma the chance to bring Mbeki to a fall. Notwithstanding any
    satisfaction there was to be had from a subsequent appeal court finding
    earlier this year that Judge Nicholson’s finding went outside his
    jurisdiction, even Mbeki must have realised that the many unanswered
    questions around his presidency would keep his status as fallen leader
    firmly in place. Pahad may want to cling on to a key moment in the
    Frost/Nixon-encounter, where Nixon answers “well, when the president
    does it, that means that is not illegal”. It would be a false peace,
    though, for Mbeki has never been pardoned for any of the allegations
    against him in the way that Nixon was pardoned by his successor, Gerald
    Ford. Pahad would therefore serve his former boss well if, instead of
    peddling vague and ill-advised defences to protect his legacy, he used
    these examples from history to give his former boss some good and honest

    As Vorster and Botha’s altercation showed, things may change quicker
    than anticipated, despite a veneer of continuity. Though President Zuma
    has never appeared to be the vindictive type, it must be remembered that
    he emphasises leadership of the collective, and that there are still a
    number of actors in the wings baying for Mbeki’s blood. And just as the
    collective does not end with Zuma, the ANC will also not end with Zuma.
    There may therefore still be many future political ructions or court
    actions, which could prompt further investigation into issues such as
    the case against former police commissioner Jackie Selebi and the arms
    deal. Mbeki would therefore be well advised to take every step to win
    back the approval of the public at large.

    In order to do this, Pahad would have to bring Mbeki to some form of
    acknowledgement that while they might feel his residency was squeaky
    clean, there are many who did not like its many unresolved controversies
    and its perceived darker aspects. Aside from every point that Pahad so
    unfortunately failed to defend at last week’s gathering at the UKZN,
    Mbeki would also have to display some reassuring frankness about a
    number of other questions. These include why he never instituted a full
    judicial inquiry into the arms deal when there was real concern over
    corruption on his watch. He should also say what he believes would
    constitute actual interference in the prosecuting authorities, and what
    assurances he could provide that he did not do it in the Zuma case or in
    the prosecution of Selebi.

    Regardless of whether it is about rebuilding his image, about sensible
    civil participation or pure personal interest, Mbeki has registered a
    real desire for an active post-presidential career. There are also good
    reasons why he should have it. It is indeed to his credit that he led
    South Africa in its transition to a modern state against strong internal
    resistance. Like Nixon, Mbeki delivered some of his biggest triumphs on
    the diplomatic front. His continued efforts resulted in the African
    Union, the institution of the peer review mechanism and a much improved
    international position for South Africa through its inclusion in the
    United Nations Security Council and by securing the ear of the G8 group
    of nations.

    These are the big successes of Mbeki’s presidency on the basis of which
    he, like Nixon, can serve in the interests of broader society going
    forward. Should Mbeki show a willingness to have the accusations against
    him confronted in public, there is no reason why he could not continue
    to serve the broader interests of society. This is, if it is in any way
    possible for him to exhibit the same non-partisanship that Nixon did. He
    voluntarily served both his Republican and Democratic successors with
    advice; critically reflected in his extensive biographical writings on
    his time in the presidency and did not let his personal or
    party-political proclivities exercise undue influence on his
    facilitation of foreign policy or peace negotiations. If not, Pahad
    should be frank enough to warn Mbeki that the best he may hope for is to
    become an increasingly lone voice in the wilderness.

    Pahad defends Mbeki's legacy
    By Slindile Maluleka and Siphamandla Mbewa (Daily News)5 August 2009

    Essop Pahad, the former minister in the Presidency, speaking in Durban
    on Tuesday, defended former president Thabo Mbeki's legacy.

    Addressing an audience at UKZN's Howard College about Mbeki's term,
    Pahad also touched on Mbeki's successor President Jacob Zuma, saying
    that he was not new in the leadership of the ANC and the government.

    You cannot do something the same way as your predecessor, there are
    opportunities for the new administration under Jacob Zuma to implement
    policies that would bring in a closer evaluation of ministers in
    Parliament. There's also room for improvement in terms of interpersonal
    relations between ministers and their deputies, and hopefully after the
    next election whoever comes in will try to improve upon the previous
    administration, Pahad said.

    Centre for Civil Society (CCS) community scholar Molefi Ndlovu, who was
    critical of the Mbeki administration, said the main fundamentals of
    Mbeki's legacy were privatisation of state companies, support for
    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's policies, Nepad and economic policies.

    The social backlogs that the Zuma administration is faced with at the
    moment, are a legacy that the Mbeki administration has left behind, he

    Responding to Ndlovu's comments, Pahad said that it was not possible to
    deliver all the services that were promised to South African citizens,
    in a period of 15 years.

    Gaps left behind by the previous administration, should be filled by
    the administration that comes in to deliver on services needed by the
    people of South Africa.

    Another critic and CCS community scholar Orlean Naidoo, expressed great
    concern on the issue of services that were not delivered to people who
    were not members of the ANC during Mbeki's term.

    Ordinary citizens ended up defending their homes against policies that
    resulted in tariff hikes which resulted in the eviction of some and an
    increase of homelessness was noted, she said.

    She also said that in the Mbeki administration, there were class
    divisions when it came to delivering services.

    Pahad suggested socialism as an alternative, saying this would make it
    easier to deliver services to the community.

    Someone in the audience posed a question about the slow pace of roll-out
    of antiretrovirals during Mbeki's administration although billions were
    pumped into the Department of Health for the fight against HIV and Aids.

    Whether or not it was being used properly, is another matter. Whether
    you are HIV positive or negative, we are all going to die. Mbeki's
    administration fought against pharmaceuticals selling expensive drugs,
    Pahad said.

    Someone else attending the talk asked Pahad about Mbeki's silence on
    Mugabe's policies. He replied that Mbeki had in fact criticised Mugabe's

    He added that although the former president criticised Mugabe's
    policies, he did however resist being used as a tool by the West pushing
    for a regime change in Zimbabwe.

    This article was originally published on page 7 of The Daily News on
    August 05, 2009

    Seminar with outsourced workers on the UKZN campus

    Exploited Oppressed Over worked Under paid No respect No appreciation No satisfaction

    That’s life for the workers who clean and protect our campus
    Cleaners, Security, Gardners


    • How to feed a family on less than R1 000 per month
    • How to sweep the campus pavements without a broom
    • How to clean the university floors without enough soap
    • How to work under threat of transfer to a faraway work site
    • How to live in fear, keep quiet even if you have grievances

    Organized by the Centre for Civil Society & the UKZN Workers Forum

    TOPIC: “Our problems as outsourced workers on UKZN campus
    DATE: Wednesday 12 August 2009
    TIME: 12:00
    VENUE: PDR hall, Students Union
    Howard College

    All welcome

    Publications on outsourcing at universities from the CCS library

    Collinson, Jacquelyn Allen (2000) Social Science Contract Researchers in Higher Education: Perceptions of Craft Knowledge. Work, Employment & Society Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 159–171: 1-13.

    Compton, Robert (2008) American Academic Labour Unions: When the Struggle is Not So Local. CCS Seminar Series : -.

    van der Walt, Lucien & Bolsmann, Chris & Johnson, Bernadette & Martin, Lindsey (2002) On The Outsourced University: A survey of the rise of support service outsourcing in public sector higher education in South Africa, and its effects on workers and trade unions, 1994 - 2001. Sociology of Work Unit University of the Witwatersrand: 1-46.

    Democracy and Civil Society in Ghana & South Africa

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for a seminar on African politics

    Seminar: Democracy and Civil Society Research in Ghana and SA: Work of
    the Georgetown Center
    Speaker: Barak Hoffman
    Date: Monday, 27 July 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    In a shocking victory in Ghana’s 2008 presidential election, the
    opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) prevailed over the
    incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) by one-half of one percentage point,
    after trailing far behind the NPP according to most opinion polls. What
    were the attributes of voters for each party? Standard theories about
    elections in Africa suggest that they are little more than ethnic
    headcounts and that parties typically are a thin cover for ethnicity.
    Data from a survey we conducted shortly before the 2008 seriously
    challenges this view. The NDC and the NPP drew support from a range of
    ethnic groups and there was little evidence of ethnic block voting.
    Moreover, while supporters of each party do not fit a clear ethnic
    profile, they possess strong beliefs about the parties. For these
    reasons we contend that the perceptions of the NDC and the NPP shaped
    the outcome of Ghana’s 2008 election far more than the ethnic identity
    of its candidates. What relevance do these findings have for South
    African politics? And how might a university research centre -
    especially one based in Washington, DC - contribute to the debate over
    the character of democracy and civil society in Africa?

    Barak D. Hoffman is the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy
    and Civil Society at Georgetown University. Prior to coming to
    Georgetown, He was a research fellow at the Center on Democracy,
    Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He has also
    worked as en economist at the United States Department of the Treasury
    and the United States Agency for International Development. He received
    his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San
    Diego, and his BA and MA in Economics from Brandeis University and
    Michigan State University, respectively.

    Seminar on water rights

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for a seminar on water rights

    Seminar: Water Rights Strategies: Transformation or Legitimation?
    Speakers: Sean Flynn and Maj Fiil
    Date: Friday, 24 July 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    SKYPECAST (see below)


    What are the potentials and problematics of using litigation strategies
    to promote pro-poor water policies in South Africa? Various questions
    are raised by noting the double-edged sword of rights narratives. Can
    human rights strategies transform, or do they only legitimate, the
    status quo? Is there potential for critical/radical rights-based
    mobilization? How can we apply participatory research methodologies to
    empower activists in communities and use research and strategic planning
    to enable communities to challenge structural inequalities?

    Sean Flynn - an American University School of Law Professor - and
    Participatory Researcher Maj Fiil were early participants in research
    and social movement organising in Johannesburg that led to the
    litigation against prepaid water meters that will be heard in September
    in the Constitutional Court. Flynn, educated at Harvard and a former
    employee of public interest Ralph Nader, was a clerk to Chief Justice
    Arthur Chaskalson a decade ago, and is involved in social policy-related
    rights struggles across Africa. Educated in Denmark, Fiil helped
    establish the African Water Network of anti-privatisation movements from
    more than two dozen African countries and has worked across the world in
    public interest water advocacy.

    (THIS SEMINAR WILL BE SKYPECAST. If interested in joining the discussion, please send a note to and be prepared to be rung for the skype conference at 12:20pm on Friday.)

    Burma Solidarity Seminar

    Seminar by Burmese prime minister (exiled) Sein Win on solidarity
    (SKYPECAST), 21 July

    Speaker: Dr Sein Win, Burmese exiled Prime Minister
    Topic: Burma and international solidarity
    Venue: Howard College Campus, Memorial Tower Building F167
    Date: Tuesday, 21 July 2009
    Time: 12:30-14:00
    SKYPECAST (information below)

    Free Burma Protest

    Sein Win at CCS 21 July 2009

    Thein Win at CCS 21 July


    The dictatorial junta running Burma is under intense pressure, after
    hauling Aung San Suu Kyi into court on ridiculous trumped up charges and
    refusing to let her see UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his
    recent visit. The regime is making small concessions around
    constitutional negotiations, but the fate of Burmese democracy will be
    decided based upon internal movement strength plus international
    solidarity. At a crucial time for assessing conditions in Burma, CCS is
    delighted to host the main exiled opposition leader and national Prime
    Minister, Dr Sein Win, who will provide Durban and
    national/international listeners with new ideas on the strategies and
    tactics required for the non-violent democratic struggle.

    Dr. Sein Win was elected Prime Minister following the formation of the
    National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) in Manerplaw
    (Karen State) on December 18, 1990. He was elected representative from
    Paukkaung Constituency, Pegu Division, in Burma’s May 1990 general
    elections. He is the son of U Ba Win, one of Burma’s top political
    leaders and elder brother of General Aung San, the architect of Burma’s
    independence and founder of the Burma Army, and first cousin of Daw Aung
    San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s democracy movement and 1991 Nobel
    Peace Laureate. U Ba Win and General Aung San were both assassinated by
    political rivals while the Cabinet was meeting on July 19, 1947, the eve
    of Burma’s independence.

    Dr. Sein Win earned his Doctorate in Mathematics from Hamburg University
    in Germany. He taught at Colombo University in Sri Lanka, at Nairobi
    University in Kenya, and at Rangoon University in Burma. He became
    involved in politics when the military brutally cracked down on the
    people involved in the pro-democracy uprising of 1988. He is the
    chairman of the Party for National Democracy (PND). The party, with Daw
    Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo as patrons was set up in 1988 as a backup
    party, if the military authorities decide to ban the National League for
    Democracy (NLD).

    When the military junta refused to honor the election results and
    instead started arresting NLD leaders and elected representatives
    throughout the country, the NLD caucus held a series of secret meetings
    and decided to send some of its MPs to the liberated areas to form a
    provisional government. The main task of that legitimately elected
    government is to help restore democracy and human rights in Burma.
    Currently Dr. Sein Win is serving his fifth-term as Prime Minister of
    the NCGUB.

    (Dr Win will be accompanied by a leader of the Free Burma Campaign South
    Africa, Johannesburg-based Dr Thein Win.)

    SKYPECAST ACCESS: If you would like to be included in a skypecast,
    please contact as soon as possible - but no later than
    21 July at noon South Africa time, to arrange it via 'patricksouthafrica' skype address.
    CONTACT: Helen Poonen, 260 3195

    Dr Sein Win and Dr Thein Win at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre
    for Civil Society 21 July 2009

    Dr Thein Win, Free Burma Campaign South Africa:

    Thank you for joining us.

    We were with Ela Gandhi at the Mahatma Gandhi award ceremony last night,
    which honored Aung San Suu Kyi. Dr Sein Win, our prime minister,
    accepted on her behalf.

    Durban is an important site for solidarity with Burma. The regime's
    first major South African appearance after being granted official
    recognition in 1994 was here. We also had the first protest, on that
    occasion! Cosatu and the SA Communist Party have been strongly
    supporting our movement.

    We also got strong verbal support and statements to free Aung San Suu
    Kyi, but that's as far as they have gone. Even former president Mbeki
    gave us support, but it was just rhetoric.

    During that period, Ebrahim Ebrahim was head of parliament's foreign
    committee and there were hearings on our struggle, but they led nowhere.

    We were dismayed in 2007 when in the UN Security Council, South Africa
    acted against us, voting down our resolution to put our freedom on the
    Security Council agenda. The reason given - that our problem was not a
    regional conflict but a local one - made no sense.

    But in the new government, there is hope. As deputy foreign minister,
    Ebrahim Ebrahim called in the junta's representative recently to
    communicate the need for Aung San Suu Kyi's unconditional release, at
    the time her trial for violating house arrest conditions begans. They
    also suggested they could provide mediation services involving us as the
    liberation movement along with ethnic minorities and the regime. We
    don't think the regime will agree, however.

    Yesterday, at the Gandhi award, we were very pleased that important
    public officials - Premier Zweli Mkhize, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
    and Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim - all honored our prime
    minister. Mkhize said that it looks like there will be engagement on our
    behalf with the UN. So we are cautiously optimistic. Of course, if
    change occurs, it is in part due to the role of grassroots activitists.
    In 2007, there was massive criticism of deputy minister Aziz Pahad,
    including protests and international ridicule. We hope we do not go back
    to those dark days.

    Let me introduce Prime Minister Sein Win.

    Dr Sein Win, Prime Minister of the Burmese government in exile, the
    National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma:

    Thank you for inviting me.

    Let me give you some basic background. The majority of our people are
    Burmans - 60% - and they occupy 50% of the land mass. We have Kachin in
    the North, Shan in the East, Karen in the Southeast, and many other
    ethnic groups; we have a very complex society. We need a solution where
    all the ethnic groups are satisfied. This has been proven in history,
    with armed conflicts arising because of the failure to address ethnic

    Why is Burma a special case requiring solidarity? There are many
    countries in Asia with armed forces which dominated the state. None is
    as bad as Burma. Others, like Thailand and Indonesia, have changed, with
    democratisation. Indonesian elections were held recently, and a former
    general was elected. In South Korea and Taiwan, the army gave way to

    The Burmese military, however, has not reformed. In all those other
    countries, though they do not have a long tradition and experience with
    democracy, their economies grew, even during the military regimes.

    However, in the case of Burma, our economic situation is deteriorating.
    In 1962, we were on par with Thailand. They have raced ahead, and we

    The young generation does not know this. In 1962 I matriculated and
    started my first year at Rangoon University, so I remember.

    We missed the train, we missed modernisation, we missed democracy.
    Everything has gone down since then.

    The military is clearly the problem.

    To introduce myself, I was a teacher at Rangoon University, teaching
    mathematics. When in 1988, politics became possible, I joined my cousin
    Aung San Suu Kyi's party. In August, there were the famous massacres,
    with 10,000 killed, 3,000 in Rangoon alone on a single day, 8/8/88.
    Between 1962 and 1990 we had no elections. I was elected in one
    constituency, but the military halted democracy. Many of us went into
    exile to set up a government. This government in exile contains those
    members of parliament elected.

    What Aung San Syu Kyi has asked for the whole time is democracy,
    dialogue and a peaceful transition. We expect a people's government will
    settle the problems in the society, by determining the fears and
    interests of our people.

    But this will not come without a struggle. We wanted to use the United
    Nations mechanisms to improve the situation, so we have lobbied there
    since 1992. Every year the General Assembly has passed resolutions, but
    up to now, this has not budged the regime. We have a special envoy to
    the Secretary General, Mr Gambari, and very recently Ban Ki-moon himself
    came to Burma to meet Than Shwe, the head of the junta.

    In 2003, Aung San Suu Kyi's convoy was attacked by a paramilitary, and
    she herself was nearly killed. She was put under house arrest, and now
    they are talking about putting her in prison.

    From then, we were asking that the case be brought to the UN Security
    Council. We needed the help of the member countries, so we looked to see
    who would help us. We were hoping for civil society to help us,
    especially Archbishop Tutu, as well as other Nobel laureates. But we
    need country governments to support us. The US government was not a good
    choice for us, given its role as a superpower.

    So we tried other countries, as well as the United Nations. But there,
    in 2007, we could not pass a resolution, because China and Russia vetoed
    it. We were shocked when South Africa supported that veto. We know why
    China vetoed it, they work closely with the regime. But we don't like
    the Burma-Russia connection either. The military junta is trying to
    build a nuclear reactor with Russia's help. We don't need a nuclear
    reactor, we have enough oil and gas, and we could build hydroelectric
    power. We have suspicion about their motives of building a nuclear
    reactor now.

    So we are stuck at the UN Security Council. We will keep on trying, but
    at present it is stuck.

    Second, we tried to get sanctions against the regime from various
    countries. We got from the EU a 'common position', such as visa
    restrictions. But the EU does not want to impose economic sanctions. The
    neighbouring countries are not for sanctions. Burma is a very poor
    country, with an agricultural base. Most products are natural resources
    - oil, forest products, agriculture and minerals - but the main thing is
    that we are in a strategic geographic position. Our neighbours have
    interests. India's 'Look East' policy includes relations with the
    Association of SE Asian Nations, and India wants to build an Asian
    highway, and control unrest in the northeast, and India is also
    interested in whether China moves further into Burma. Chinese interests
    in Burma include geography - it is the shortest route to the Indian
    Ocean. So Burma is at the cross-roads of Asia and the generals are
    exploiting this interest. Are sanctions going to work? We are
    reconsidering this difficult situation. We are now saying we want
    'selective sanctions', which are more surgical and pointed against the
    military leadership.

    The third factor is protest from inside. We had a major uprising,
    especially by monks, in 2007, and the military's repression of that
    resistance was severe. Our job is to generate solidarity for the protesters.

    Where does that leave us today? What are our prospects? Right now the
    prospects for democracy are low. They are likely to imprison Aung San
    Suu Kyi, on a trumped up charge of 3-5 years in prision.

    The military claims that in 2010 there will be an election. They want us
    to forget about our 1990 electoral victory. Than Shwe even told Ban
    Ki-moon, visit us again and you may find me as a civilian. So what is
    our position?

    Ok, we don't look backwards at the 1990 election, we will look forward.
    If the election is free and fair, we will compete. The problem is that
    the election is tied to a constitution written by the military. If it is
    tied to this constitution, then it willl have no meaning. Consider four
    reasons we expect problems.

    The first is that the commander in chief will appoint 25% of the seats
    in parliament.

    Second, there is no chance to amend the constitution.

    Third, the constitution calls for the next leader to have military
    experience, which disqualifies Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Fourth, the constitution allows the military to take over, to have a coup.

    The NLD position is that this is not a good constitution. The regime
    says that 94% of the people support this constitution, something we
    disagree with.

    All countries should send a clear message that this is not acceptable.

    So far, the UN has not interfered. But Ban Ki-moon has said that the
    2010 election should be 'credible.' The word has many meanings. Ban
    Ki-moon says the constitution should not influence the election, because
    the constitution is so unjust.

    Many of us outside the country say we will not accept this election, and
    neither will many political parties inside the country. This is what I'm
    trying to tell governments, that the army wants to pretend to hand over
    power while still staying in power! That is the situation now.

    The military rank and file are not united, with many desertions. But
    Burma has many child soldiers working in the arumy.

    The situation is fluid, but we need a great deal more support from
    outside Burma.

    Young activists who left Burma are now in Thailand. Political prisoners
    inside Burma get support. The ethnic Karen guerrillas get support. The
    Thai government does not give us formal support so we must act
    clandestinely. There are many illegal refugees, living with a false
    passport. There are many organisations in civil society and the media,
    including a radio station broadcasting shortwave and satellite
    television from Oslo, reaching Burma. We also rely on BBC, VoA and Radio
    Free Asia to get our message about what's happening outside and inside.
    We have strong independent media, partly thanks to the Norwegians. These
    are examples of people-to-people support.

    In 1992 we started to build the Free Burma Campaign chapters across the
    world. They succeeded in getting widespread sanctions by 1997, starting
    in the United States. Already, however, Unocal was there exploring for
    oil. We forced them to leave, because of a lawsuit. The settlement they
    won was a confession that they were wrong. Chevron then took its place
    so we are working on that company.

    The sanctions movement is growing, but to be very frank, there are holes
    in the sanctions. In 1988 there was only 3 months' worth of foreign
    exchange reserves. They survive by selling Burmese resources, including
    money laundering and drugs. We hoped we could squeeze them. One strategy
    was the Massachusetts selective purchasing law. The state decided to not
    give any contract to companies investing in Burma. The case was very
    important, but unfortunately there were legal challenges to the law, and
    we lost it. We hoped that law would be expanded to other states, but the
    US Supreme Court ruled it illegal.

    Then the military regime found offshore oil, which gives them $3 billion
    annually. So to squeeze them on trade is also difficult since our
    neighbours trade. Still, we are trying to get more sanctions, especially
    against the military. The European networks are especially strong, and
    they meet twice a year to decide their actions and sanctions targets.

    There is the Asian InterParliamentary Forum for Burma, with elected
    officials who formed a support group. Since Asian governments are
    reluctant to criticise the Burmese military, we have appreciated
    individual parliamentarians.

    There is also people-to-people activism from the trade unions.

    Let me add two things. One is the drug problem, and the other is the
    relationship to North Korea. There is opium and we are second to
    Afghanistan. They are also producing amphetamines. There are also ethnic
    groups in these areas. Many ethnic groups have armed forces. The most
    powerful is the Wa ethnic group, with 25,000 men under arms. They are
    very strong, and have a ceasefire with the military, since 1989. In 2010
    the military is saying there should be only one armed force in Burma,
    and they are asking the Wa to become a border force. There is a tension
    between the ethnic groups and the military. This relates to the
    military's reliance on drugs.

    The North Korean government had a role in bombing a South Korean
    official, so that meant no relations. But now there are diplomatic
    relations. The military regime looked at Indonesia as a model, but after
    Suharto was thrown out, they have changed their opinion. Now they look
    at North Korea as a model. We are worried about the nuclear capacity.
    There is also a controvesy around tunnels being built with the help of
    North Korean engineers - for what, we are asking. North Korean ships
    have gone to Rangoon, as well.

    If in ten years Burma gets nuclear technology, this will create regional


    Thein Win:
    I also want to share the need for grassroots activities here, because
    international politics are not helpful now. We are participating in all
    the solidarity campaigns here, like Palestine and Western Sahara and
    Swaziland and Stop the War against Iraq and Afghanistan. We appreciate
    all the solidarity activism.

    Sein Win:
    The support base for the generals is very weak, aside from the army. The
    troops follow their orders very loyally, and if ordered to shoot, they
    will shoot. People are mainly farmers. People have difficulty getting
    water and electricity for cooking. Day to day survival is a challenge.
    So to organise for mass power is difficult. Yet support for the military
    regime is from a very small group.

    Thein Win:
    The Free Burma Campaign South Africa includes Myo Naing and myself as
    the main activists and we have support from Graham Bailey, David Kramer,
    Dale McKinley, Patrick Bond and a few other activists. But even if it is
    a small group, our campaigning and especially our allies in Europe and
    the US have done remarkable work, for example, pulling Coca Cola out of
    Burma. This is because of pressure from universities in the US. In Asia
    we have Free Burma Campaigns in several countries. We help each other
    where we can. And we also help other exiles.

    Background Information from the CCS Library

    Engdahl, William (2007) The geopolitical stakes of 'Saffron Revolution.

    Pilger, John (2005) John Pilger denounces EU appeasement of Burma. Centre for Civil Society

    Sagar, Satya (2007) Global Hypocrisy on Burma. Znet

    Sagar, Satya (2007) Burma: Do-it-Yourself Democracy.

    Zimbabwe farm labour, social justice and citizenship

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: Zimbabwe farm labour, social justice and citizenship
    Speaker: Blair Rutherford (Carleton University)
    Date: Wednesday, 17 June
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    On the Promise and Perils of Citizenship: Zimbabwean Farm Worker
    Struggles on the Eve of Jambanja

    Increasingly, struggles in the name of citizenship have emerged in
    southern Africa, intertwining with claims on the state as well as
    sub-national and multi-national authorities. To analyse how new social
    citizenship claims can grip, embolden and channel struggles in
    particular directions with varied results – the promise and perils of
    citizenship more broadly – we should pay attention to intermediaries and
    promulgators of such visions of citizenship, the techniques of promoting
    their claims, and the cultural politics and political economies of
    belonging, in locales of those being hailed and targeted. Drawing on a
    detailed example of a farm worker struggle in the late 1990s and early
    2000s in Zimbabwe, I explore how such a dialogic analysis can explain
    how citizenship has become a highly politicized object of struggle since
    the 1990s, one that has led to new conflicts, alliances, and
    governmental interventions. By exploring some of the practices,
    techniques, and registers of these citizenship struggles in regards to
    farm workers in Zimbabwe and southern Africa more broadly, I aim to
    attend to wider shifts in the political importance of citizenship as
    well as its entanglement in particular localities. Through an
    examination of how farm workers are situated through such struggles, I
    show the promise and limits of citizenship in addressing social justice
    concerns of a group historically marginalized through racialized,
    classed, and gendered processes in a neoliberal and, in some instances,
    politically oppressive social landscape.

    Blair Rutherford teaches in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology,
    the Institute of Political Economy and is the Director of the Institute
    of African Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Since
    1992, he has carried out research on the politics of land, labour, and
    citizenship in Zimbabwe and in South Africa, beginning with research on
    farm workers in Zimbabwe and currently focusing on undocumented
    Zimbabwean migrants in northern South Africa. He is the author of
    Working on the Margins (Zed Books, 2001) and has published widely in a
    number of academic and more popular journals.

    Community resistance to energy privatisation and ecological degradation

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: Community resistance to energy privatisation and ecological

    Speaker: Trevor Ngwane
    Date: Thursday, 11 June
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    In a paper presented to the International Conference on Ideas and
    Strategies in the Alterglobalisation Movement at the Gyeongsang
    University Institute for Social Sciences, in Seoul late last month,
    Trevor Ngwane discusses South Africa's energy crisis, as seen from below
    and above. He tracks long-running battles between community
    organisations and state electricity suppliers. He argues that en route
    to a renewable energy future, the leading social forces can amplify
    campaigning for ‘decommodification’ (free basic electricity as a human
    right) and ‘deglobalization’ of capital within the energy sector, by
    highlighting multinational corporate abuse of state resources,
    especially cheap electricity. These campaigns might follow other
    inspiring social movements which have won access to AIDS medicines and
    repelled water privatisation. A South African red-green politics would
    link cheaper consumption of basic-needs electricity – especially by
    low-income people (in contrast to gluttonous smelters and mines) – to
    our need to curtail production of electricity in massive coal-fired
    generators (to be augmented by nuclear in coming years) due to the
    climate crisis.

    Trevor Ngwane is a CCS post-grad student who was formerly a trade union
    organiser and Wits sociology lecturer. He is also secretary of the
    Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee.

    The War of Warwick Junction

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society:

    Seminar: The War of Warwick Junction - A civil society view
    Speakers: Gaby Bikombo, Judy Mulqueeny, Harry Ramlal and Caroline Skinner
    Date: Tuesday, 9 June
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F167 (NOTE NEW VENUE), University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    At central Durban's busiest intersection, Warwick Junction's Early
    Morning Market is a facility that has thrived for nearly a century.
    Initially, Indian traders and then all black people found an outlet for
    their garden vegetables and other goods. This historic market, so
    crucial to the lives of several thousand traders and their dependents,
    is under attack from gentrifiers: bureaucrats led by city manager
    Michael Sutcliffe and a for-profit developer intent on importing
    national name-brand shops. The 2010 World Cup is the excuse to 'clean'
    the area of 'criminals' and 'upgrade' the infrastructure. The officials
    argue that black working-class consumers need this mall for their
    convenience and prestige. Critics say that traders will be priced out of
    their livelihood, will be unable to afford rentals, and will be
    prevented from supplying reasonably-priced perishable goods to commuters
    who cannot afford products offered by corporate retailers. With the
    might of the police already arrayed against the poor - such as in the
    tear-gassing of market traders last Saturday night and the closure of
    the market last Wednesday - how will traders respond in coming days?
    Some of the leading activists and their supporters will use this seminar
    to discuss the current balance of forces, strategies and tactics.

    Our discussants: Gaby Bikombo is a trader from the Democratic Republic
    of the Congo who cofounded the Eye association. Judy Mulqueeny is an
    eThekwini councillor who is also active in the SA Communist Party and
    the anti-xenophobia movement. Harry Ramlal is a leader of the Early
    Morning Market Association and a key negotiator in the current conflict.
    Caroline Skinner is an academic at the UKZN School of Development
    Studies who has conducted extensive research on the Warwick market.

    Footsak, On the Ball for 2010

    Speaker: Peter McKenzie
    Seminar: Footsak, On the Ball for 2010
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    Date: 28 May 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm

    Three innovative artists will kick a ball across the African continent
    from South Africa to France, leading up to the Football World-Cup 2010,
    hosted in Africa for the first time in history. The game strategy will
    be a relay of on location participatory artistic process, exploring
    ideas linking one city to another, leaving behind a trail of actions and
    reactions, where each step informs the next. Inventive and enthusiastic
    football supporters and their clubs will be central as resources and
    catalysts. Consequently the artists will initiate encounters with “those
    who make it where they are” - the local artists, musicians, dancers,
    poets and other inhabitants. An audio and visual journal will give
    insight to the aspirations and spirit of these collaborations, and will
    result in installations, exhibitions, publications and films for
    international distribution. The game and nature of football will be used
    as a basis for our organic planning - a interesting paradox, one that
    encapsulates the spirit of the project, where strategies and ideas, as
    in football, may give way to intuitive interaction. The ball - seen as a
    way of life, passing from one to the other, inter-dependence, the
    essence of the African philosophy of Ubuntu, the individual in concert,
    complementary energy created through exchange, the art of living What
    are we kicking at? What is the ball? Whose kicking it? Where to? These
    are the questions the artists will be sharing. As it goes, does the ball
    transform into a tin can, a plastic bottle, a wall, a pathway, a feeling
    or a preoccupation at a point in time? What is the game plan that people
    conceive to confront the challenges, conform to uplifting possibilities
    and confirm life through innovation? Is there another way to play the
    game when the goal posts are continually moving? The project aims to
    explore alternative thoughts, show portraits of people and the creative
    strategies that they bring into play to resolve local problems, those
    who initiate other philosophies and concepts, who implement new ideas
    into life-styles. Over the past eight years, living between Durban and
    Marseille, the artists have been linked through artistic exchanges,
    residency programs, exhibitions, outdoor installations, multimedia and film.

    The project brings together three organizations in a trans-continental
    initiative; Dala (art/architecture/activism in Durban) represented by
    Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Twasa (photographer collective in Johannesburg)
    represented by Peter McKenzie and Les Pas Perdus (multi disciplinary art
    fabric in Marseille) represented by Guy-André Lagesse. Their art
    continually questions its role, relevance, consequence and functions in
    conjunction with a broad spectrum of civil society.

    Contesting Johannesburg extractive industries

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for
    a seminar on Contesting Johannesburg's extractive industries

    Speaker: Björn Surborg, University of British Columbia
    Date: Monday, 25 May
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    World City Research has been criticised for its hierarchical, static and
    western centric approach as well as a neglect of some of the important
    interactions between scales of governance. I am intending to undertake a
    case study of Johannesburg, South Africa, that traces the city's
    connections to a variety of other places to which it is closely tied.
    These places will not be limited to the so called Global Cities but
    include the urban and the rural, east and west, global south and north.
    The study thus does not attempt to construct one global network of world
    cities, but a network that has as a specific starting point,
    Johannesburg, and is centred around this place. This specific
    sub-network is part of a globally diffused and decentralised network of
    networks, of which powerful world cities are a part, but by no means the
    only one. Extractive industries are an elementary ingredient of the
    world economy and a major industry for many countries in the global
    south. Using the primary sector for the analysis is thus also an attempt
    to return to the origins of world city research in world systems theory,
    which means an analysis of globally uneven exchanges, an aspect which
    has seemingly disappeared from contemporary world city research. The
    research will be constructed around two central question: 1) How is the
    city of Johannesburg integrated into the world economy through the
    resource sector and what are the primary connections to other places? 2)
    How do individual and institutional actors in the city of Johannesburg
    work to articulate and strengthen these linkages?

    Björn Surborg is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography,
    University of British Columbia. His research interests are located
    somewhere around the intersection between urban and regional studies and
    development studies. While he focused in his previous work on the
    development of the internet in Vietnam, his attention has shifted more
    recently to a critical review of Johanesburg's position in the world
    economy. He is currently deputy editor of the journal City - analysis of
    urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action.

    'Racism and Whiteness''Racism and Whiteness'

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for a seminar, 'Racism and Whiteness'

    Speaker: Robert Jensen, University of Texas/Austin
    Date: Thursday, 21 May
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    Radical activist, public intellectual and journalist, Robert Jensen is
    an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of
    Texas at Austin. Jensen is a powerful and inspiring speaker and dissects
    the multifaceted nature of US power. Jensen's latest book, All My Bones
    Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, is published
    by Soft Skull Press. He also is the author of The Heart of Whiteness:
    Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005);
    Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights,
    2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the
    Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2001); and co-author with Gail Dines and Ann
    Russo of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality
    (Routledge, 1998). He was co-editor with David S. Allen of Freeing the
    First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression (New
    York University Press, 1995).

    White people's burden
    Robert Jensen
    School of Journalism
    University of Texas

    This essay is excerpted from The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race,
    Racism and White Privilege, City Lights, September 2005.

    posted on Alternet, August 31, 2005.
    by Robert Jensen

    The United States is a white country. By that I don't just mean that the
    majority of its citizens are white, though they are (for now but not
    forever). What makes the United States white is not the fact that most
    Americans are white but the assumption -- especially by people with
    power -- that American equals white. Those people don't say it outright.
    It comes out in subtle ways. Or, sometimes, in ways not so subtle.

    Here's an example: I'm in line at a store, unavoidably eavesdropping on
    two white men in front of me, as one tells the other about a
    construction job he was on. He says: There was this guy and three
    Mexicans standing next to the truck. From other things he said, it was
    clear that this guy was Anglo, white, American. It also was clear from
    the conversation that this man had not spoken to the three Mexicans
    and had no way of knowing whether they were Mexicans or U.S. citizens of
    Mexican heritage.

    It didn't matter. The guy was the default setting for American: Anglo,
    white. The three Mexicans were not Anglo, not white, and therefore not
    American. It wasn't four guys standing by a truck. It was a guy and
    three Mexicans. The race and/or ethnicity of the four men were
    irrelevant to the story he was telling. But the storyteller had to mark
    it. It was important that the guy not be confused with the three

    Here's another example, from the Rose Garden. At a 2004 news conference
    outside the White House, President George W. Bush explained that he
    believed democracy would come to Iraq over time:

    There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people
    whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and
    self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that
    people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that
    people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than
    white can self-govern.

    It appears the president intended the phrase people whose skin color
    may not be the same as ours to mean people who are not from the United
    States. That skin color he refers to that is ours, he makes it clear,
    is white. Those people not from the United States are a different color
    than white. So, white is the skin color of the United States. That
    means those whose skin is not white but are citizens of the United
    States are ...? What are they? Are they members in good standing in the
    nation, even if their skin color may not be the same as ours?

    This is not simply making fun of a president who sometimes mangles the
    English language. This time he didn't misspeak, and there's nothing
    funny about it. He did seem to get confused when he moved from talking
    about skin color to religion (does he think there are no white
    Muslims?), but it seems clear that he intended to say that brown people
    -- Iraqis, Arabs, Muslims, people from the Middle East, whatever the
    category in his mind -- can govern themselves, even though they don't
    look like us. And us is clearly white. In making this magnanimous
    proclamation of faith in the capacities of people in other parts of the
    world, in proclaiming his belief in their ability to govern themselves,
    he made one thing clear: The United States is white. Or, more
    specifically, being a real American is being white. So, what do we do
    with citizens of the United States who aren't white?

    That's the question for which this country has never quite found an
    answer: What do white Americans do with those who share the country
    but aren't white? What do we do with peoples we once tried to
    exterminate? People we once enslaved? People we imported for labor and
    used like animals to build railroads? People we still systematically
    exploit as low-wage labor? All those people -- indigenous, African,
    Asian, Latino -- can obtain the legal rights of citizenship. That's a
    significant political achievement in some respects, and that popular
    movements that forced the powerful to give people those rights give us
    the most inspiring stories in U.S. history.

    The degree to which many white people in one generation dramatically
    shifted their worldview to see people they once considered to be
    subhuman as political equals is not trivial, no matter how deep the
    problems of white supremacy we still live with.In many comparable
    societies, problems of racism are as ugly, if not uglier, than in the
    United States. If you doubt that, ask a Turk what it is like to live in
    Germany, an Algerian what it's like to live in France, a black person
    what it's like to live in Japan. We can acknowledge the gains made in
    the United States -- always understanding those gains came because
    non-white people, with some white allies, forced society to change --
    while still acknowledging the severity of the problem that remains. <>

    But it doesn't answer the question: What do white Americans do with
    those who share the country but aren't white? <>

    We can pretend that we have reached the end of racism and continue to
    ignore the question. But that's just plain stupid. We can acknowledge
    that racism still exists and celebrate diversity, but avoid the
    political, economic, and social consequences of white supremacy. But,
    frankly, that's just as stupid. The fact is that most of the white
    population of the United States has never really known what to do with
    those who aren't white. Let me suggest a different approach. <>

    Let's go back to the question that W.E.B. Du Bois said he knew was on
    the minds of white people. In the opening of his 1903 classic, The Souls
    of Black Folk, Du Bois wrote that the real question whites wanted to ask
    him, but were afraid to, was: How does it feel to be a problem? Du
    Bois was identifying a burden that blacks carried -- being seen by the
    dominant society not as people but as a problem people, as a people who
    posed a problem for the rest of society. Du Bois was right to identify
    the color line as the problem of the 20th century. Now, in the 21st
    century, it is time for whites to self-consciously reverse the direction
    of that question at heart of color. It's time for white people to fully
    acknowledge that in the racial arena, we are the problem. We have to ask
    ourselves: How does it feel to be the problem? <>

    The simple answer: Not very good.

    That is the new White People's Burden, to understand that we are the
    problem, come to terms with what that really means, and act based on
    that understanding. Our burden is to do something that doesn't seem to
    come natural to people in positions of unearned power and privilege:
    Look in the mirror honestly and concede that we live in an unjust
    society and have no right to some of what we have. We should not affirm
    ourselves. We should negate our whiteness. Strip ourselves of the
    illusion that we are special because we are white. Steel ourselves so
    that we can walk in the world fully conscious and try to see what is
    usually invisible to us white people. We should learn to ask ourselves,
    How does it feel to be the problem?

    Why White People Are Afraid
    By Robert Jensen, AlterNet 7 June 2006.

    What do white people have to be afraid of in a world structured on white
    privilege? Their own fears.

    It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a
    white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have
    to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? It may be
    self-indulgent, but it's critical to understand because these fears are
    part of what keeps many white people from confronting ourselves and the

    The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact
    that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that
    we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to
    achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the
    product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over
    which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard
    we work or how smart we are, we all know -- when we are honest with
    ourselves -- that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many
    white people are afraid of that fact.

    A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have --
    literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the
    economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more
    just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white
    privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have
    living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that
    dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the
    distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would
    change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That
    redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world
    in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that
    possibility can be scary.

    A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which
    non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that
    whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the
    conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow they
    (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any
    non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at
    some point become the majority demographically.

    Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of
    wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political,
    economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the
    result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white
    people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long
    treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the
    heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a
    fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people
    capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?

    A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become
    more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The
    fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually
    every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial
    justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds
    and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but
    most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be
    appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new
    kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What
    if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist
    vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them
    as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about
    ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?

    I work in a large university with a stated commitment to racial justice.
    All of my faculty colleagues, even the most reactionary, have a stated
    commitment to racial justice. And yet the fear is palpable.

    It is a fear I have struggled with, and I remember the first time I ever
    articulated that fear in public. I was on a panel with several other
    professors at the University of Texas discussing race and politics in
    the O.J. Simpson case. Next to me was an African American professor. I
    was talking about media; he was talking about the culture's treatment of
    the sexuality of black men. As we talked, I paid attention to what was
    happening in me as I sat next to him. I felt uneasy. I had no reason to
    be uncomfortable around him, but I wasn't completely comfortable. During
    the question-and-answer period -- I don't remember what question sparked
    my comment -- I turned to him and said something like, It's important
    to talk about what really goes on between black and white people in this
    country. For instance, why am I feeling afraid of you? I know I have no
    reason to be afraid, but I am. Why is that?

    My reaction wasn't a crude physical fear, not some remnant of being
    taught that black men are dangerous (though I have had such reactions to
    black men on the street in certain circumstances). Instead, I think it
    was that fear of being seen through by non-white people, especially when
    we are talking about race. In that particular moment, for a white
    academic on an O.J. panel, my fear was of being exposed as a fraud or
    some kind of closet racist.

    Even if I thought I knew what I was talking about and was being
    appropriately anti-racist in my analysis, I was afraid that some
    lingering trace of racism would show through, and that my black
    colleague would identify it for all in the room to see. After I publicly
    recognized the fear, I think I started to let go of some of it. Like
    anything, it's a struggle. I can see ways in which I have made progress.
    I can see that in many situations I speak more freely and honestly as I
    let go of the fear. I make mistakes, but as I become less terrified of
    making mistakes I find that I can trust my instincts more and be more
    open to critique when my instincts are wrong.

    New water wars, from city to countryside

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for
    a seminar about water and civil society

    Seminar: New water wars, from city to countryside
    Speaker: Tony Clarke, Polaris Institute, Ottawa
    Date: Friday, 15 May 2009
    Time: 2-3:30
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    Since the April 2000 battle of Cochabamba, Bolivia, most of the major
    struggles over the control of water have been in urban settings,
    focusing on the privatization [or corporate takeover] of public water
    systems. Yet, with the explosion of mega cities around the world,
    notably in the global south, established urban water sources are rapidly
    drying up, thereby creating conditions for a massive transfer of
    freshwater from the countryside. In effect, more and more freshwater is
    being stolen from the lands traditionally occupied by peasants and
    indigenous peoples, thus setting the stage for major conflicts with
    urban workers. The case of Mexico will be used to illustrate this
    emerging phenomena and how work is being done to re-organize and
    re-unite urban workers with rural peasants and indigenous around a
    common struggle for water justice.

    Tony Clarke is the founder and director of the Polaris Institute in
    Canada which works with social movements in developing strategies and
    tools for social change on water, energy and trade policy issues. He
    holds a masters and doctorate in social ethics from the University of
    Chicago and is the author or co-author of several books including Blue
    Gold: The Battle Against the Corporate Theft of the World's Water [2002;
    Inside the Bottle: Exposing the Bottled Water Industry [2005/7]; and Tar
    Sands Showdown: Canada and the new Politics of Oil in an Age of Climate
    Change [2008]. In 2005, he was awarded Sweden's Right Livelihood Award
    [better known as the 'alternative Nobel prize'] for his contributions to
    the global water and trade justice movements.

    Azania Rising: The demise of the 1652 class project

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for
    a seminar, Azania Rising: The demise of the 1652 class project, which advances alternatives to capitalist class society in Africa

    Speaker: Molefi Mafereka Ndlovu, CCS
    Date: Wednesday, 13th May
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    This seminar addresses the problem of a cosmetic elite in Africa. We
    consider whether the Marxist construct of class remains relevant in the
    struggle for total liberation from the fetters of the Colonial
    Capitalist Mode of Production which continues to nurture white
    supremacist ideology and gross socio-economic disparities across the
    continent. Capitalism produces and reproduces itself as an antagonistic
    structure of class relations; it divides the population again and again
    into antagonistic classes. Within the material and social relations are
    produced and reproduced the material conditions of existence. Marxist
    analysis maintains that the prior distribution of the means of
    production distinguishes classes between the ‘possessors’ and the
    ‘dispossessed’. The historical incorporation of Africa and its
    non-capitalist systems into an evolving capitalist mode of production
    has resulted in an even more complex set of class relations. The
    predominate mode of production in most of Africa remains the Colonial
    Capitalist Mode of Production. No class analysis of Africa is complete
    without considering this basic fact. In all regions on the continent,
    social class formations survive only as long as they complement Colonial
    relations of production.

    Molefi Mafereka Ndlovu is a CCS Community Scholar, in 2008 named as one
    of South Africa's leading 100 youth by the Mail&Guardian.

    Communities coping with climate change

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for
    a seminar about climate change, mitigation and adaptation in local

    Seminar: Communities coping with climate change
    Speaker: Rehana Dada, CCS
    Date: Monday, 11 May 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    The world already feels the influence of human-caused climate change.
    Even if carbon emissions were reduced to point zero this afternoon,
    there will still be extreme impacts on human health and the ability to
    sustain livelihoods, particularly in Africa. It is enormously important
    to focus on mitigation to ensure that atmospheric carbon is kept low,
    but it is also crucial that the world begins to develop coping
    mechanisms for the many projected impacts. Adaptation to climate change
    would need to include such measures as seeking alternative crops or
    alternative farming methods for commercial farmers, altering development
    lines along the coast and changing industrial and domestic behaviour to
    be able to cope with reduced water availability. Adaptation will also
    need to focus on subsistence communities, where households rely directly
    on natural resources for at least part of their livelihoods. For
    example, changing rainfall regimes will affect crop success or water
    availability, and biodiversity range shifts will affect access to wild
    food. These rural communities who are least responsible for climate
    change will be among the most affected, but are currently also among the
    most ignored in planning around climate change.

    Rehana Dada is an environment and science broadcast journalist with
    interests in climate change. She is working on a masters degree with the
    Centre for Civil Society, School of Development Studies, University of
    KwaZulu-Natal, where she co-edited the book Climate Change, Carbon
    Trading and Civil Society (UKZN Press, 2009):

    Winning municipal concessions for low-income communities

    Seminar: Winning municipal concessions for low-income communities
    Speaker: Orlean Naidoo, CCS and Westcliff Flats Residents Association
    Date: Friday, 8 May 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    The Chatsworth community's justice struggles are decades old but since
    mid-1998 took on renewed importance by heralding the rise of SA's new
    social movements. After a decade of combat with the municipality over
    water, electricity, housing and other grievances, the communities began
    registering victories in the upgrading of their area.

    Orlean Naidoo is a CCS Community Scholar, and since 1998 has been a
    leader of the the Westcliff Flats Residents Association, a
    community-based organisation situated in Chatsworth. The organisation
    recently launched a website:
    The exhibit 'See our Voices' captures images of Chatsworth's poors:

    Social movements in Catalan and Bolivia

    Seminar: Social movements in Catalan and Bolivia
    Speakers: Joan Canela i Barrull and Helena Olcina i Amigo
    Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
    Time: 12:30am-2pm
    Venue: SDS upstairs seminar room (NEW VENUE), Memorial Tower Building
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    Joan Canela i Barrull is a Catalonian journalist. During the 90’s he was
    a member of the squatters movement in Barcelona, and a spokesperson of
    the Barcelona Squatters Assembly (Assemblea d’Okupes de Barcelona),
    based in the neighborhood assembly of Sants (ABS) where cofounded the
    newspaper La Burxa. At 2005 he cofounded a weekly newspaper of all the
    social movements of Catalonia and the world, Directa.

    Helena Olcina i Amigo is a graphic designer, photographer and social
    activist from Valencia, where she campaigned against the NATO military
    base. In 2000 she was coeditor of L’Avanç, the first publication of
    Valencia social movements, and in 2004 she moved to Barcelona to write
    for La Burxa. She has designed hundred of placards and websites for the
    social movements in Catalonia.

    Both have traveled widely in Europe and Latin America (Bolivia,
    Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico) to report on social movements.

    The Tamil people under seige

    Seminar: The Tamil people under seige
    Speakers: Three representatives of the Tamil liberation movement youth
    Date: Tuesday, 21 April 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus
    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers
    have been fighting for the right to self-determination of tha Tamil
    people of Sri Lanka since 1982. This liberation struggle like most
    others, was born from the discrimination and violence perpetrated
    against the ethnic Tamil society by the Sihala dominated Sri Lankan
    Government since the country gained independance. After achieveing no
    success in demanding equal rights through political and peaceful means,
    the Tamil youth took up arms.

    The delegation consists of Tamil youth activists from Canada, UK and
    Australia. They are in South Africa hoping to lobby support from the
    South African Government and community for the Tamil cause.

    The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers
    have been fighting for the right to self-determination of tha Tamil
    people of Sri Lanka since 1982. This liberation struggle like most
    others, was born from the discrimination and violence perpetrated
    against the ethnic Tamil society by the Sihala dominated Sri Lankan
    Government since the country gained independance. After achieveing no
    success in demanding equal rights through political and peaceful means,
    the Tamil youth took up arms.

    The delegation to the Centre for Civil Society consists of Tamil youth
    activists from Canada, UK and Australia. They are in South Africa hoping
    to lobby support from the South African Government and community for the
    Tamil cause.

    The Tamils need support
    Green Left Weekly Editorial 18 April 2009

    *One of the great crimes of modern times is occurring on the island of
    Sri Lanka without a word of protest from governments the world over. The
    Tamil people are facing genocide.*

    Already this year, the death toll of Tamil civilians exceeds 4000. Often
    dozens, and in some cases hundreds, are slaughtered in a single day in
    Sri Lankan Army (SLA) bombings of the so-called safe zone, into which as
    many as
    300,000 people are crowded.

    Those Tamils who flee this zone are being placed into concentration
    camps by the SLA.

    This brutal reality is almost entirely unreported, and not simply
    because the Sri Lankan government refuses to allow journalists access to
    the scene of its crime. Instead, the mainstream media is once again
    siding with the powerful.

    When the issue is reported at all, the Sri Lankan government’s
    propaganda is repeated — the propaganda of a regime that refuses to
    allow a free press, with one of the world’s highest rates of journalists
    being murdered each year.

    According to Sri Lankan propaganda, the military are merely fighting
    “terrorism”. It claims its war is merely against the Liberation Tigers
    of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an armed group fighting for an independent Tamil
    homeland in the island’s east and north.

    Yet Sri Lanka’s actions prove its war is against the Tamil people as a

    The actions of the LTTE are a response to the decades of discrimination
    and violent repression meted out to the Tamil minority by a state
    dominated by the majority Sinhalese ethnic group. Support for armed
    struggle grew among Tamils in response to the violent anti-Tamil pogroms
    in 1983 that killed more than 3000 people.

    The solution to ending the decades-long war on the island, and bringing
    about desperately needed peace, is to end the oppression of the Tamil

    First, and most urgently, there must be a permanent ceasefire declared.
    The mass killings must be ended. Food and medical supplies must be
    allowed into the “safe-zone”, without which aid agencies are warning of
    a terrible humanitarian crisis.

    The Tamil people must regain their freedom of movement — the
    concentration camps must be closed.

    Once this occurs, the conditions for a negotiated settlement to the
    crisis, which can resolve the issue of self-determination for the Tamil
    people, will exist.

    However, powerful governments, in defense of powerful interests, are
    allowing the Tamil people to be sacrificed. In return, the powerful are
    manoeuvring for access to lucrative shipping routes and ports.

    To avoid upsetting the racist and undemocratic regime in Colombo, that
    regime is allowed a free hand to implement a “final solution” to the
    Tamil question. Once again, the corporate elite is placing profit over
    human life.

    People around the world who believe in social justice must raise their
    voices. The Tamil diaspora is desperately attempting to bring the plight
    of its people to the world’s attention. In their hundreds of thousands,
    they have marched in cities around the globe.

    In India, dozens of Tamils have self-immolated to bring attention to the
    situation. In Australia, six young Tamils went on hunger strike for
    almost a week. They refused food or water, with a serious risk of death,
    in an appeal to the Australian government to press Sri Lanka to call a
    permanent ceasefire.

    We cannot let them stand alone. Those who believe in social justice —
    political parties, trade unions, churches, social movements — must speak
    out against the atrocities occurring right now.

    The powerful have abandoned the Tamil people, it must be ordinary people
    all over the world who use their power to force action.

    When Israel levelled Gaza, millions marched in opposition. That movement
    must continue, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign
    seeking to isolate apartheid Israel is beginning to have effect. But
    that display of “people power” needs to be repeated on behalf of the

    International solidarity helped end apartheid in South Africa, despite
    Western governments siding with the regime. It helped the East Timorese
    win their independence, despite Western governments — including
    Australia — siding with Indonesia.

    It is placing Israel on the back foot, despite the most powerful nations
    on Earth backing the oppressors of the Palestinian people.

    Now, international solidarity must be mobilised to save the Tamil people
    and stop the genocide.

    Environmental confrontations - Political parties meet civil society

    Seminar: Environmental confrontations - Political parties meet civil
    Speakers: Leading eco-social spokespersons from political parties and
    civil society
    Time: 2-5pm
    Venue: Howard College Auditorium, University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard
    College Campus

    We are fortunate that at short notice, a number of prominent
    environmentalists from SA political parties (including the ruling
    party's head of policy) and Durban civil society can lock horns in
    constructive debate. The parties have skilled spokespersons who know
    environmental problems and policies, and know what change they want from
    the state.

    But probably no one knows the health of the environment better than
    victims of corporate malfeasance and state neglect in civil society.
    Durban suffers a myriad of eco-catastrophes, and CCS are honored to have
    the presence of leading advocates from communities witnessing pollution,
    climate change, inadequate water/sanitation, unsafe energy, bad housing
    and healthcare, land dispossession and other immediate red/green
    environmental crises.

    CHAIRS: Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife, CCS

    POLITICAL SOCIETY - Environmental analysis and promises, 2-3pm
    Tebogo Phadu, African National Congress
    Gareth Morgan, Democratic Alliance
    Ruth Rabinowitz, Inkatha Freedom Party
    Lance Greyling, Independent Democrats
    Speaker, Congress of the People
    John Devenish, Socialist Green Coalition

    CIVIL SOCIETY - Eco-social grievances, 3-3:30pm
    Desmond D'Sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance - pollution
    Orlean Naidoo, Westcliff Flat Dwellers - electricity
    Simphiwe Nojiyeza, SA Water Caucus - adequate water
    Dudu Khumalo, CCS - adequate sanitation
    O'Brien Gcabashe, Qadi Families Evicted From Inanda Dam
    Muna Lakhani, Institute for Zero Waste in Africa - waste
    Rehana Dada, CCS - climate change

    TEA BREAK - 3:30-3:45pm

    DEBATES and OPEN FLOOR - 3:45-5pm

    A film and briefing session by Sinegugu Zukulu, of Sustaining the Wild Coast, a group that is in struggle against an Australian mining house
    intent on stripping Xolobeni of its titanium, thus wrecking its social and environmental fabric

    The Legacy of Anti-apartheid Sports Boycotts">The Legacy of Anti-apartheid Sports Boycotts

    Seminar: The Legacy of Anti-apartheid Sports Boycotts
    Speaker: John Minto
    Date: Thursday, 16 April 2009
    Time: 10am-noon (NOTE NEW TIME)
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    The 1960s-90s sports boycott of apartheid was one of the most successful
    sustained campaigns of international solidarity. One central figure was
    Dennis Brutus (CCS Honorary Professor), who prevented all-white South
    African teams from playing in the Olympics from 1968 onwards. Another
    who made rugy and cricket impossible between New Zealand and apartheid
    South Africa was John Minto.

    Minto is a political activist who was spokesperson for HART - the New
    Zealand Anti-Apartheid Movement - during the 1980s, and a leader of the
    campaign to stop the 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand. Early last year
    Minto was in the SA news for rejecting nomination for government's
    Oliver Tambo award, on grounds that African National Congress economic
    policies oppress the majority. Minto has been a high school teacher for
    the last 25 years, and currently works for Unite Union – a trade union
    for low-paid workers in New Zealand. He is also a spokesperson for
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland and is National Chairperson of the
    Quality Public Education Coalition.

    John Minto speaks at UKZN

    The legendary New Zealand sports and anti-apartheid activist John Minto
    gave a seminar at UKZN on April 16, covering civil society analysis,
    strategies and tactics associated with cricket and rugby boycotts during
    the 1970s-80s. Minto was introduced by Honorary Professor Dennis Brutus,
    himself a lead figure in anti-apartheid sports activism.

    As a result of the activism against a 1981 tour, Springbok rugby never
    played a major country again. The impact on New Zealand relations with
    the Maori people was profound. NZ official rugby had earlier agreed to
    implement apartheid - by refusing Maori players a chance to play -
    during its own tours of South Africa in the 1960s. By 1970 the Maoris
    were allowed 'honorary white' status, which we said was demeaning and
    tokenistic. The Maori people also challenged us to turn the
    anti-apartheid movement into an anti-racism movement. This led to a huge
    conscientisation of NZ society.

    Minto also criticised the rise of neoliberalism in New Zealand in
    subsequent years; probably no country went so far as to liberalise and
    privatise state services. Minto was offered the 'Companions of Oliver
    Tambo' award by the African National Congress last year, but because of
    the post-apartheid SA government's adoption of neoliberal policies,
    which have increased inequality, unemployment and misery, Minto declined
    the award. (Brutus had been offered entrance to the SA Sports Hall of
    Fame at the same time, but turned it down on grounds of residual racism
    in SA sport condoned by the Hall.)

    Poor are worse off now, says activist
    Francis Hweshe (Cape Argus) 15 April 2009

    Just before bedding down for the night on a pavement in Delft, a veteran
    New Zealand anti-apartheid activist said that despite democracy in South
    Africa, there was greater economic inequality now than under white
    minority rule.

    John Minto, in the country for the first time, made headlines last year
    when he rejected then-president Thabo Mbeki's nomination for the
    Companions of Oliver Tambo Award.

    In rejecting it, he wrote to Mbeki that it seems the entire economic
    structure which underpinned apartheid is essentially unchanged.
    Oppression based on race has morphed seamlessly into oppression based on
    economic circumstances.

    Commenting on the timing of his first visit to South Africa, Minto said
    it was a mere coincidence that it co-incided with the coming elec-tions
    on April 22.

    He said the purpose of his visit was to see what has happened 15 years
    on and what has changed for the most vulnerable. He said he wanted to
    take a message home for those who had fought against apartheid.

    Asked whether his anti-ANC stance regarding the party's social and
    economic policies had changed, he said: The faces at the top have
    changed from white to black but the substance of change is an illusion.

    Minto visited a few Cape Flats communities yesterday and then spent the
    night with the Delft pavement dwellers, evicted from the N2 Gateway
    housing project last year.

    He was expected to meet with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu today
    before continuing his trip across the country.

    Asked why he wanted to sleep on the pavement, he said: It's a small act
    of solidarity.

    The sentiment is strong. I talked to a number of people and they said
    that they had political rights but no social and economic rights, he said.

    Minto said people had lost faith in the ANC, taking a swipe at the
    government's free- market approach, which he said favoured the rich few
    and suppressed the poor majority.

    He said he had read the ANC and Cope election manifestos and that they
    contained nothing inspiring.

    There are just words that don't transform into anything, said Minto.

    He equated the ANC with Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, saying that in the
    coming five years the situation was bound to get worse for the poor.

    Minto said society should be judged by how it aimed to change the lives
    of the poor.

    The Rwandan Genocide 15 Years On

    Seminar: The Rwandan Genocide 15 Years On
    Speakers: Nelson Muhirwa and Jean Chrisostome Kanamugire
    Date: Wednesday, 8 April 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Queries: or 031-260-3195

    Speaker: Nelson Muhirwa
    Topic: Historical Backgrounds of genocide:

    This presentation covers ethnic relations in historical context, and
    disputes the rewritten history. Nelson Muhirwa holds a bachelor degree
    in commerce and management from the Private Institute of Business and
    Management in Rwanda. He worked in the office of the former President
    prior to the genocide, and later moved to the Bank of Kigali. He is
    himself a genocide survivor. He is 41 years old, married and living in
    South Africa.

    Speaker: Jean Chrisostome Kanamugire
    Topic: Justice and reconciliation since the genocide

    Jean Chrisostome Kanamugire is a PhD candidate in the UKZN Faculty of
    Law, Pietermaritzburg. He holds LLB and LLM (Environmental Law) degrees
    from the same University. His research interest is water pollution
    control, business law and human rights. He is interested particularly in
    how justice can contribute to reconciliation and vice-versa. He was
    involved with the South African Non-Government Organisation Coalition in
    the preparation of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial
    Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban in 2001.

    Wentworth Crime, Gangs and Civil Society

    Seminar: Wentworth Crime, Gangs and Civil Society
    Speaker: Oliver Meth, CCS
    Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Meth is a CCS visiting scholar, and lifelong resident of Wentworth. His
    research investigates ways in which gang related activities and crime in
    Wentworth impede community life, and he contrasts the ways in which the
    municipality and civil society have responded to these challenges.

    Nightclubs fuel violence in Wentworth
    The Mercury,(Eye on Civil Society column) 2 September 2008

    The city made a big mistake by licensing liquor joints last year, argues
    Oliver Meth

    The shots rang out shortly after 1pm on Saturday last week, and many of
    us ran out of the Barracks - blocks of flats next to the Engen refinery
    - to find yet another teenage corpse: Zukz MacDonald. He joined Tersia
    Heslop, Roman van Schalkwyk and Sebastian Roskruge as some of this
    year’s victims of Wentworth violence.

    A growing epidemic of drug usage and gangs is causing the death of too
    many of our youngsters. Violence is raging out of control. Nightclubs
    seem to be the main site, and gangs the main source.

    With a population of 27,000 residents and a 40% unemployment rate,
    Wentworth is desperate. The area was designated as ‘Coloured’ during
    apartheid-era racial planning.

    We catch the bulk of pollution emitted in the South Durban Industrial
    Basin. Factories line Wentworth’s northern, western and eastern
    perimeters. The huge oil refinery, mockingly called ‘the ship that never
    sails’, is a constant threat, with leaking pipes, nighttime toxic gas
    emissions, and periodic infernos.

    Our location and working-class/poor status give Wentworth the reputation
    of a difficult community. Environmental pollution, drug infestation, and
    an epidemic of gangsterism plagued the area during the 1980s-1990s, and
    we are now suffering a rebirth of all three.
    A huge increase in oil refining is expected, thanks to the planned R50
    billion pipeline that will carry petrol to Gauteng. But affected
    communities object that the path chosen reeks of environmental racism.

    As for gangs, the pattern is familiar. ‘We done the time, they done the
    crime’ says a rueful Peter Usher, who a quarter century ago was a member
    of the local Wentworth Trucks gang. He and four others were sentenced
    collectively to 79 years for the murder of a crippled member of the
    competing Woodstock Vultures gang. To this day the Trucks passionately
    proclaim their innocence and seek redress in the new political dispensation.

    Younger gang members seem to carry the ‘legacy’ of the 1980’s – and
    quite bluntly live for revenge. So the cycle of violence, drug usage,
    and prostitution has been kickstarted, reminding residents of the early
    1980s when gangs were rife and people were afraid to walk the streets at

    It is here that I was born and raised by my gran, in Reiger Road, in a
    bleak, dilapidated council housing unit. “The 80’s, it was like a war
    zone”, she tells me. After five in the afternoon, violence erupted. In
    the morning it was quiet, except for mothers were crying, week in and
    week out, standing in front of open graves.

    For decades that was the story of Wentworth - a small community under
    siege while gangsters openly conducted turf wars in the streets. Around
    1999 members of the community rose up and changed that.

    For the past eight years it seemed as if the peace was holding, but then
    the nightclubs scrambled back into town.

    A decade ago, the late Catholic Priest Father Cyril Carey, the prominent
    environmental activist Des D’Sa and many others dedicated their services
    to the community of Wentworth. They arranged peace negotiations with
    gang members and the closure of places which fostered violence. But it
    now seems that the peace they worked so hard for is over.

    D'Sa himself nearly lost his life in January, in a petrol bomb attack on
    his family’s own small council flat.

    Who should we blame? And who has the power to make a difference, here?

    The situation in Wentworth got out of hand when nightclubs – Room47,
    Hip-Pop Palace, Atmosphere and Revolution - were allowed back into the
    area by City Manager Michael Sutcliffe. Violence broke out seriously at
    Room 47 a year ago, when six murders were traced to the nightclub within
    a month, according to D’Sa.

    “There was collusion between Wentworth police and owners, especially in
    the case of Da Flava, now called Revolution. We also had five murders
    last month, and a number of other shootings and stabbings.”

    D’Sa continues, “The level of drug abuse is very high, even in primary
    schools. No school is untouched. This is why the gangs have sprung up,
    to control turf around these sites.”

    “This is linked to organized crime, we believe. There has been a
    migration of trouble from the Point and West Street, coinciding with the
    new liquor licenses,” he charges.

    Crime syndicates brought in well-known lawyers to manage licensing
    applications at the Area Based Management office in Jacobs.

    Representing the Wentworth Development Forum, D’Sa sent Sutcliffe appeal
    after appeal but to no avail. Last week he read that the City Manager
    would crack down on liquor licenses – but not in Wentworth.

    “We are angry that Sutcliffe is kicking out illegal liquor outlets from
    his own neighbourhood, as he lives in a penthouse on the Point.”

    Sutcliffe told the press, Regulation of liquor licences should be dealt
    with firmly.

    Complains D’Sa, “This guy is cleaning up the mess in town, but
    transferring all the rubbish to our area. The cops cannot handle it,
    even if they are straight. The senior police are scared of these gangs.
    Rape and HIV incidence is rising rapidly. Kids are high on drugs and are
    more promiscuous. There are unlicensed firearms everywhere.”

    This leaves civil society to pick up the pieces left by a failed state.
    Mothers patrol the area around Umbilo Secondary to make sure learners
    are not accosted by gangsters. D’Sa and other courageous citizens persevere.

    One day Sutcliffe will be within earshot, and asked to declare why he
    let the nightclubs come back, bringing us all the drunkenness, drugs,
    violence and murders.

    Oliver Meth is a community scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Centre for Civil Society.

    Seminar: Governing lives through hydropolitics in eThekwini

    Seminar: Governing lives through hydropolitics in eThekwini
    Speaker: Sofie Hellberg, University of Gothenburg
    Date: Wednesday, 1 April 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208,
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    What are the implications of water access, for how people have lived,
    live and wish to live their lives in different parts of eThekwini
    municipality? People’s relationship to water is connected to and
    affected by different instruments of policy and different technologies.
    The seminar reviews theoretical and methodological foundations of a
    doctoral dissertation in progress, as well as tentative findings derived
    from data collected during recent field work.

    CCS Visiting Scholar Sofie Hellberg is a PhD Candidate from University
    of Gothenburg in Sweden, and working on her Ph.D dissertation on water
    service delivery in eThekwini Municipality. The dissertation takes its
    point of departure from the notion of biopolitics and looks into how
    instruments of policy implementation are restricting and/or making
    possible certain ways of life and how these are interpreted incorporated
    and/or contested in the local contexts of Durban as they are manifested
    in people everyday lives.

    Seminar: Post-Apartheid Political Economy and State Policy

    Seminar: Post-Apartheid Political Economy and State Policy
    Speaker: Simone Claar, Goethe University, Frankfurt
    Date: Thursday, 19 March 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Over the last fifteen years, the South African government adopted a
    neoliberal economic policy and at the same time faced the challenge of
    service delivery including adequate housing, water, electricity, social
    security, access to education and the health system. In this
    presentation of a masters-level thesis from Marburg University, Claar
    focuses on successes and failures of government policies, especially
    with regard to labour and poverty.

    A CCS Visiting Scholar, Claar studied political science at
    Philipps-University Marburg. She spent 2005 at the University of
    Stellenbosch. She is presently a doctoral student and research associate
    at the Political Science Institute at the Goethe University, Frankfurt.
    She is analysing political, economic and social processes in
    contemporary South Africa, especially in relation to trade and
    international political economy.

    Seminar: African Development Bank water projects

    Seminar: African Development Bank water projects and civil society reactions
    Speaker: Simphiwe Nojiyeza
    Date: Thursday, 12 March 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    The African Development Bank has funded a variety of water and
    sanitation projects for the poor. Are these sustainable, and how do
    civil society institutions react? The seminar provides evidence from
    doctoral work in progress, in relation to Integrated Water Resources
    Management strategies, from Burundi, Ghana, Malawi, Morocco and Uganda.
    These are key pilot sites in the US$14.2 billion rural water supply and
    sanitation initiative launched by the African Development Bank in 2003.
    Is 'water as a human right' an appropriate framework for civil society
    in these contexts?

    Simphiwe Nojiyeza is a long-standing researcher in the water/sanitation
    field, and a doctoral student at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society.

    Seminar: Zimbabwe Civil Society confronts Mugabe's Economy

    Seminar: Zimbabwe Civil Society confronts Mugabe's Economy
    Speaker: Deniz Kellecioglu
    Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    The current economic and social situation in Zimbabwe is chaotic and oppressive. The Zanu PF)/MDC government is confronted by Mugabe's legacy of crony capitalism and looting, monetary laxity and currency destruction, the world's highest-ever inflation rate, deindustrialisation, services breakdown, mass unemployment, shortages of most essentials available to the masses, and an extremely high cost of living. How did this happen, and what can we expect in the near future? Are 'sanctions' an issue? This paper provides the latest reliable statistics, including on donor aid, debt and other controversial topics.

    The contradictions in civil society responses will be explored, as
    well, given the divergent interests between donors/financiers and social
    networks such as the Zimbabwe People's Convention, Zimbabwe Social
    Forum, trade unions, women's groups and community organisations.

    Deniz Kellecioglu Is also the information officer for the Swedish NGO Africa Groups of Sweden, which employs him. Deniz is monitoring, analysing and describing the socioeconomic and political dynamics of Zimbabwe. Earlier, he assisted on research on two books about global development by Stefan de Vylder, a veteran development economist, and taught part-time in economics at Stockholm University, where he graduated in 2002.

    Seminar: ICTs and social movements

    Seminar: ICTs and social movements: From Chiapas to Brazil to South Africa
    Speaker: Kalinca Copello, Sussex University
    Date: Friday, 6 March 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    The production of knowledge about society has advanced enormously with
    the advent of ICT documentation of progressive social movements.
    Precedents for research on ICTs in South African social movements will
    be considered from Latin America: the Zapatistas of Chiapas state in
    Mexico, and a Brazilian NGO (the Committee for Democracy in Information
    Technology) plus a network of ICT movements (Movimentos em Rede). How do lessons from these cases inform a major research initiative into South African social movement ICT activities?

    Kalinca Copello worked in Brazil with projects promoting the social
    inclusion of low-income communities by using information and
    communication technologies as tools to encourage active citizenship. She
    co-founded Movimentos em Rede (Movements Through Networks), an NGO
    focused on fostering the social movement and network communications of
    community-based organisations. In 2004 she was awarded scholarship to do
    a MA in International Public Services at DePaul University. Her research
    there culminated in a thesis titled The Zapatista Movement¹s Social &
    Electronic Network Impact on NGOs: Chiapas Lessons. She is currently
    pursuing a doctorate in the Science and Technology Policy Research
    Department at University of Sussex, looking at the role of ICTs (mobile
    and Internet) for grassroots participation in social movements.

    Seminar & Film: Climate Change and Eco-Social Resistance in South Durban

    Seminar: Climate Change and Eco-Social Resistance in South Durban (plus
    the 50/50 documentary by Rehana Dada, Climate Crisis)
    Speakers: Lisa Ramsay, Schwarzanne Leafe
    Date: Friday, 27 March, 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F188 (NOTE NEW VENUE) University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Next week, South Africa's Climate Summit will be held at Gallagher
    Estate. The SA government has received good publicity for its Long Term
    Mitigation Scenario, but civil society offers heated critiques of the
    coal/nuclear energy construction programme, and the failure to adjust
    electricity tariffs to incorporate climate considerations. SA is one of
    the world's worst CO2 emitters, with an energy sector twenty times worse
    than the equivalent US sector measured in per capita terms per unit of
    economic output. But how do such problems relate to people on the
    ground, in Durban's communities?

    A new booklet, Climate Change for the People of South Durban, is one
    of the most important social education innovations in community
    organising, and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance is
    already one of the world's leading CBO/NGOs on the danger of industrial
    emissions. In this work, SDCEA's research team - led by Lisa Ramsey -
    take forward the concerns of vulnerable residents, for whom flooding,
    rising seas and wetlands, and other extreme weather events add to the
    existing dangers of living in Ethekwini's main industrial corridor. The
    issue also may decide the fate of the Durban-Johannesburg petroleum
    pipeline, which is now bound up in the environmental impact assessment
    appeal process because of SDCEA's claims of eco-racism and climate damage.

    In addition to a discussion of the booklet (to be available at, we will screen the 2007 film made by CCS
    Masters Student Rehana Dada for SABC's 50/50 tv show: Climate Crisis.

    Lee Ramsay is a doctoral candidate at Cambridge University Department
    of Geography, and primary author of the new booklet.

    is a CCS Visiting Scholar attached to the South
    Durban Community Environmental Alliance, and a victim of the area's
    industrial pollution.

    Seminar & Film: Free Water: Policy, Practice and Protest

    Seminar: Free Water: Policy, Practice and Protest
    Speakers: Orlean Naidoo and Patrick Bond
    Date: Wednesday, 18 February, 2009
    Time: 12-2pm (NOTE NEW TIME - 1/2 HOUR EARLIER START)
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    The topic of Free Basic Water requires continual revisiting, in no small
    part because of a major new motion picture, FLOW, devoted to the cause.
    Other reasons include:

  • the Phiri, Soweto community won a Johannesburg High Court case to
    double Free Basic Water access (to 50 liters/person/day) and ban
    prepayment meters, but the case goes to the Supreme Court of Appeals
    from 23-25 February since Johannesburg Water and the national water
    department and Treasury refused to accept that existing policies are

  • Durban last year shifted from six kiloliters/household/month of Free
    Basic Water to nine, but added an onerous 'indigency policy';

  • in Istanbul, there is a meeting next month of the triannual World
    Water Forum and the People's World Water Forum in an opposition session,
    and in 2012 there is a strong chance Durban will host the WWF;

  • SA's 2009 election will pit the African National Congress against
    political parties that promise better delivery; and

  • there continue to be numerous social protests against inadequate
    delivery of water and sanitation.

  • On Monday 16 February, CCS Community Scholar Orlean Naidoo and other
    civil society activists met with the national Director General of water,
    Pam Yako. In addition to a report-back and summary of debates on
    implementation of Free Basic Water, we will also view the film FLOW,
    which profiles cholera-stricken KZN communities and the Bayview area of
    Durban's Chatsworth community, where systematic reconnection of
    disconnected water and electricity continues.


    Orlean Naidoo is a long-time Chatsworth community leader, whose
    organisation has been fighting for Free Basic Water for more than a
    decade, and whose present dealings with the Durban metro offer prospects
    of success for Chatsworth and other communities.

    CCS Director Patrick Bond has been involved in municipal water debates
    since the early 1990s, and played an amicus role in the Soweto water
    case won by Phiri residents last year.

    FLOW - the film: Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation
    into what experts label the most important political and environmental
    issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis.

    Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's
    dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics,
    pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water

    Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the
    rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the
    film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind
    the water grab, while begging the question CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?

    Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the
    people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water
    crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming
    blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

    NYT Critics' Pick
    This movie has been designated a Critic's Pick by the film reviewers of The Times.

    Oscilloscope Pictures

    New York Times movie review: The War Between Public Health and Private Interests
    September 12, 2008

    A documentary and a three-alarm warning, “Flow” dives into our planet’s
    most essential resource — and third-largest industry — to find
    pollution, scarcity, human suffering and corporate profit. And that’s
    just in the United States.

    Yet Irena Salina’s astonishingly wide-ranging film is less depressing
    than galvanizing, an informed and heartfelt examination of the tug of
    war between public health and private interests. From the dubious
    quality of our tap water (possibly laced with rocket fuel) to the
    terrifyingly unpoliced contents of bottled brands (one company pumped
    from the vicinity of a Superfund site), the movie ruthlessly dismantles
    our assumptions about water safety and government oversight.

    Still reeling, we’re given a distressing glimpse of regions embroiled in
    bitter battles against privatization. In South Africa, villagers drink
    from stagnant ponds, unable to pay for the water that once was free, and
    protesters in Bolivia — where waste from a slaughterhouse is dumped into
    Lake Titicaca — brave gunfire to demand unrestricted access to potable

    And lest we begin to comfort ourselves with first-world distance, Ms.
    Salina cleverly frames this section with the protracted conflict between
    the residents of Mecosta County, Mich., and the gluttonous demands of a
    Nestlé bottling plant.

    Naming names and identifying culprits (hello, World Bank), “Flow” is
    designed to awaken the most somnolent consumer. At the very least it
    should make you think twice before you take that (unfiltered) shower.

    Directed by Irena Salina; directors of photography, Pablo de Selva and
    Ms. Salina; edited by Caitlin Dixon, Madeleine Gavin and Andrew
    Mondshein; music by Christophe Julien; produced by Steven Starr;
    released by Oscilloscope Laboratories. In Manhattan at the Angelika Film
    Center, Mercer and Houston Streets, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1
    hour 24 minutes. This film is not rated.

    CCS Seminar & Film: Finding our Voices' - The value of dissent

    Join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society for a film and discussion

    Seminar: 'Finding our Voices' - The value of dissent
    Speakers: Dennis Brutus and Moya Atkinson
    Date: Monday, 9 February 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    FINDING OUR VOICES, narrated by Martin Sheen and produced by Holly
    Stadtler, Victoria Hughes and Laurel Jensen, is a testimony to the peace
    & justice movement in the US since 9/11/2001 and the subsequent invasion
    of Iraq. Using a blend of 4 years of street footage, interviews, and
    coverage of the lives and actions of individual dissenters, we paint the
    picture of a heroic struggle for the soul of America. While the film
    explores contemporary dissent in light of history, at core this is a
    film about individuals who from courage and conviction risk their jobs,
    reputations, and even their freedom for the lives of our soldiers, and
    the lives of those living in the Middle East... for peace. As they lift
    their voices, they call the rest of us to find ours so that in the days
    ahead none of us will be afraid to answer the question 'what did you do
    for your country and the world.'

    Dennis Brutus is a lifelong peace and justice activist, honored many
    times for his role in not only South African anti-apartheid politics,
    but for giving the US anti-war movement context and non-violent
    strategies and tactics. He served on the George W. Bush War Crimes
    Tribunal, and he is an honorary professor at the UKZN Centre for Civil

    Moya Atkinson is active with the Code Pink anti-war movement, the
    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Northern
    Virginians for Peace and Justice. She was an early backer of the film
    'Finding our Voices'.

    REVIEW: Finding Our Voices: Stories of American Dissent
    Written by Miranda Marquit (The Panelist)Wednesday, 2 July 2008

    One of the things that bothered me in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq
    in 2003 was the lack of debate over the merits of the invasion. My
    husband was treated to almost-nightly rants about why no one was
    speaking out against this war, and why no one was asking tough questions.

    Why, I demanded again and again, isn't the media doing its watchdog
    duty? (Looking back, I realize that I should have been more vocal in my
    own community.) What I didn't know was that some people were speaking
    out. However, in the midst of fears of being labeled unpatriotic (and
    being barred from White House press conferences and maybe not being
    embedded with the troops) prior to the invasion of Iraq, many of these
    stories weren't being covered by the mainstream media.

    When I saw Finding Our Voices: Stories of American Dissent, I
    understood that there were significant protests about going to war with
    Iraq. The movie takes an interesting look at the stories of a few of the
    people who spoke out against the invasion of Iraq, before it began, and
    who continue to speak out about it five years later. It is a look at
    dissent in America, and puts the dissent over the Iraq War in context
    with the history of debate, protest and social change from the earliest
    moments of our country's formation. The documentary looked at such
    anti-war organizations as Code Pink and the efforts of representatives
    like Jim Moran (one of the minority who voted against giving the
    President authorization to start a war) to prevent the war.

    Certain stories were presented in a way that was a bit melodramatic, and
    I suspect that there was a little puffing-up of the impact that some of
    these people actually had. Some of the comments about being surprised
    about being arrested were a bit much, since many activists (and I
    suspect -- though I can't prove -- that these were some of them)
    purposely do just what is needed in order to get arrested to bring more
    publicity. But the overall message was good, and the assertion that some
    activists that had not been arrested are on FBI watchlists with
    restricted travel abilities is disturbing.

    I enjoyed the story of John Brady Kiesling, one of the diplomats (he was
    in Greece) that resigned in protest over the planned invasion of Iraq.
    He put the decision to go to war with Iraq in the context of American
    values. He asked the question: Is this us? Is this really the America we
    want to be? The stories that I found most intriguing also framed the
    discussion surrounding the Iraq War as one of values. They were stories
    of two soldiers who began speaking out against the Iraq War after
    actually serving there. My husband's cousin is getting ready for his
    third tour of duty in Iraq, so seeing what soldiers had to say about the
    war really interested me.

    Camilo Mejia spoke about some of the interrogation tactics used on the
    Iraqi prisoners, saying he couldn't believe that, as an American, this
    was something considered acceptable. He also shared his fears, saying he
    was scared to say something, lamenting that he would be seen as a
    traitor for speaking out to defend others' rights.

    John Bruhns also offered interesting insights from a soldier's point of
    view. He said he became skeptical of the morality of the war in Iraq. He
    pointed out that pretty soon after toppling Saddam Hussein, US soldiers
    were raiding homes two or three times a week, kicking in doors and
    looking for anti-American propaganda and weapons. After this happens two
    or three times a night in multiple communities, Bruhns said, the people
    don't feel liberated. They feel occupied. If this happened in our
    country... He sympathized with Iraqis who confusedly fought intruders,
    expressing the simple truth that if someone came to America and started
    doing the same thing, he'd fight to the death to defend his home.

    Damn straight, I said to my husband.

    In the end, though, points about values were what really interested me,
    the movie is really about the value of dissent. All major social change
    in our country -- from efforts of the Founders to throw off the reign of
    a tyrant to the suffragettes to the Civil Rights Movement -- has come
    from dissent. The Reverend Graylan Hagler summed up the position of
    dissent quite nicely in the movie when he pointed out how easy it is to
    slip from a democracy to a fascist state when people don't question the

    Miranda is journalistically trained freelance writer who enjoys working
    out of her home nestled in the beautiful Cache Valley in Utah.

    CCS Seminar: AIDS, Sex, Culture and Civil Society, 11 February

    Topic: AIDS, Sex, Culture and Civil Society
    Speaker: Ida Susser, City University of New York Graduate Centre
    Date: February 11, 2009
    Time: 12H30-14H00
    Venue: CCS/SDS Board Room, Room F208, Memorial Tower Building, Howard College Campus
    RSVP and Queries: or 031-260 3195

    Moving from her own story growing up in South Africa, Susser's new book looks at the impact of the AIDS epidemic on a particularly vulnerable group – both biologically and socially – women. She touches on global inequalities underpinning the AIDS epidemic, the impact of social conservatism in the US, the logic of Mbeki’s AIDS denial and civil society reactions.

    Ida Susser is Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and adjunct professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at the HIV Center, Columbia University. She is a founding member of Athena: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in the Global Response to HIV/AIDS.

    CCS Seminar: Should Israel be boycotted? If so, how?

    Seminar: Should Israel be boycotted? If so, how?
    Speakers: Dennis Brutus, Lubna Nadvi, Monica Rorvik and
    Salim Vally
    Date: Tuesday, 27 January 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    SKYPECAST: to tune in, contact patricksouthafrica
    on skype from noon (SA time) on 27 January

    Attendees (not including those on skype- cast)
    at our discussion of the Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement

    The Israeli attacks on Palestinians over the past month represent a
    'crime against humanity', with Gaza now comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto,
    according to leading UN officials. International civil society's desire
    to dissuade Israel from further mass murder has accelerated discussion
    on Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions (BDS) implementation, in a manner
    not disimilar to anti-apartheid strategies and tactics from the
    1960s-90s. But this raises questions for our seminar:

    Should academic relationships be boycotted? CCS is particularly
    concerned about the merits of Israeli intellectual work that promotes
    civil society.

    Should cultural relationships be boycotted? The appearance of the
    Israeli ambassador to SA at the Catalina Theatre to support the Musho
    Treatre festival's Sounds from Here play on 13 January generated a
    lively protest and led to Ambassador Dov Segev-Steinberg cancellation of
    a wine and cheese event

    Monica Rorvik of the UKZN Centre for Creative Arts will also provide
    their perspective based on extensive experience with the BDS debate.

    How should Durban's extensive economic relationships with Israel be
    addressed by civil society? The Veolia company's privatisation (public
    private partnership) of South Durban waste water treatment is in the
    spotlight because of the firm's expulsion from Sweden last week,
    partially due to their controversial profits from Isreali exploitation
    of Palestine. Huge shipping interests permit Israeli goods to come into
    Africa, and yet last April a shipment of three million Chinese bullets
    ordered by Robert Mugabe's army was halted by church/labour activism.
    Should Durban civil society ratchet up pressure on SA's extensive
    economic relations with Isreal?

    Our distinguished speakers will address these and related issues, in a
    spirit of reasoned intellectual, social inquiry:

    Dennis Brutus, CCS Honorary Professor and celebrated poet, was a
    leader of the anti-apartheid cultural, sporting, academic and economic
    boycotts during the 1960s-90s, and has been a supporter of BDS for
    several years.

    Lubna Nadvi teaches Political Science and International Relations in
    the School of Politics at UKZN. She is also a community activist and a
    founder of the Action Group for Palestine.

    Monica Rorvik is an official of the UKZN Centre for Creative Arts, one
    of South Africa's leading sites of cultural promotion.

    Salim Vally is a Wits University researcher and leader of the
    Palestine Solidarity Committee.

    NOTES (by Patrick Bond) on Israeli BDS seminar
    (these were rapidly typed)

    - welcome and background to seminar, including CCS's search for a
    position on the boycott (current Israeli relationships are through the
    Israeli Centre for Third Sector Research, in turn via the International
    Society for Third Sector Research), with different positions articulated

    - background to need for punitive policies
    - paper below makes detailed points
    - Boycott National Committee is the largest representative organisation
    * ending occupation/colonisation and taking down wall
    * recognising full equality for Palestinians in Israel
    - PACBI - cultural workers and academics
    * specific targeting of Israeli academic institutions due to complicity
    * due to Israeli academic institutions (primary-tertiary) being
    themselves discriminatory against Palestinians
    * due to Israel's destruction of Palestinian academic institutions
    * due to Israeli academics supporting military and occupation capacity
    of Israeli state
    * Hebrew University is a prime example
    * Israeli Centre for Third Sector Research's Hagai Katz's reply to
    invitation was insensitive to Israel's war crimes
    * in contrast many Israeli academics take a strong stand against the
    * PACBI specifically permits such academics to be exempted

    - background to Centre for Creative Arts activities
    * emphasis on voices of oppressed, including Palestinians
    * this year at Time of the Writer, exiled Palestinian will be here
    from Egypt
    * huge problems with visas and additional travel required
    - background to 2001 contribution from Israeli government
    * Arab Palestinian poet living in Israel was last case, in part because
    Israeli state abused her identity
    * no further direct funding from the Israeli state since that 2001 festival
    * films from Israel are sometimes at Durban International Film Festival,
    and occasionally they receive Israeli funding in their production and
    are therefore called Israeli films (this is specific to films, that
    their country of production, or passport comes from their funding --
    the Israeli films Durban International Film Festival would choose are
    NOT state funded, but funded by progressive organizations)
    * hence a complete boycott would be unfortunate
    * Israeli cultural attache met UKZN's Lliane Loots (Jomba dance festival
    case) in 2008 and she and CCA formally said there would be no Israeli
    dancers sponsored until matters change in Palestine

    - focus on apartheid academic boycott
    - academic, cultural, economic and political boycott of Israel needed
    - background to Durban interest, including large Gaza solidarity march
    on 9 March and protest against Israeli ambassador's 13 March visit
    - academic boycott is part of an international thrust
    - fighting apartheid, the academic angle was important
    - on question of whether progressive (anti-apartheid) academics should
    be exempted, a long University of Texas discussion led to a unified
    position with no exemptions, and this position was very effective

    - focus on activism
    - Palestine Solidarity Committee launched at World Conference Against
    Racism here in August 2001, and PSC has had these discussions regularly
    - no strategy/mechanism to date
    - formal BDS campaign began in 2005
    - power point
    - what boycott priorities?
    * consumer boycott - logos
    * should academic be total? still needs clarification
    * mechanisms and strategies need to be worked out
    * progressive pro-Palestinian academics are those we need to engage with
    and support, as they speak out against their government
    * Palestinian solidarity activists have called for a cut-off of ties to
    the Israeli state
    * two governments in Latin America have taken the lead: Venezuela and
    * proposal for a BDS conference to take this forward
    * sports aspect of the boycott - should we play with Israeli sports
    time? - is also important

    - Durban harbour especially important on economic ties, including Veolia
    S.Durban waste-water contract connection, and example of the Zim bullets
    turned back in April 2007

    - the essential point is to take our cue from Palestinians
    * it's a very rich discussion
    * these are nuanced not crude positions
    * we need to use these as a point of reference
    * invariably there are gray areas, e.g. Pogrund trip a few years ago
    - Israeli embassy uses patronage to push positions, so CCA refusal of
    their funding is excellent
    * Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid showed Israeli film in Canada; is
    a good example of an exception
    - Neville Alexander offered nuanced position, in support of boycott
    - the nature of these type of sanctions is that they are invariable
    * SA white academics acknowledge that the int'l boycott forced them to
    wake up and be active

    ARNOLD MASHAVA (researcher in UKZN School of Chem Engineering)
    - are we boycotting out of emotion, or in a rational way?
    - Israel promotes R&D in ag, chemicals, water
    - in case of SA, how much would academia and industry lose?
    - can we boycott the products and still lead a good life?
    - we haven't seen R&D from Arab League
    - in Durban we lost Blue Flag beach status because of waste, and Durban
    needs protocol for industry permits, and Veolia Water is leading
    wastewater treatment company in the world and by boycotting Veolia from
    privatising, are we serving Durban's interest? it's doing a great job in
    managing Durban's wastewater
    - Israel's doing a lot better than the Arab League on environmental issues

    I would offer these comments, from the perspective of Northern Ireland.
    In the UK university system, the attempt by the main lecturers' union to
    mount a boycott of Israel a few years ago was defeated by a disparate
    opposition that included not only the usual pro-Israeli /
    anti-anti-semitic voices but also some pro-Palestinian groups arguing
    that progressive individuals should not be covered by a boycott. Then
    there were those progressives opposed in general to boycotts for
    humanitarian reasons. The end result was that the movement was really
    fragmented, not only by the usual destabilisation from political
    opponents, but also by this internal disagreement. Ultimately the
    campaign was completely undermined. Given Denis's thoughts on this, and
    the success of the boycott of apartheid, there's clearly a need for the
    clear relaying, around the world, of a unified call from Palestinian
    groups for BDS, so that the calls for boycotts around the world have a
    definite 'mandate' from the Palestininan people. Similarly, artists and
    cultural producers continually try to distinguish between 'progressive'
    and 'non-progressive' institutions in Israel that they can work with..
    this must weaken the boycott overall.

    - spoke at UN, and raised the Two State Solution as unsatisfactory, an
    answer that got the most applause
    - alternative view is thinking of a single, democratic, secular state -
    largely sympathetic response

    GIFT MASENGWE (PhD student):
    - issue of justice is paramount
    - we must provide alternatives and intensify the boycotts, and not rely
    on the more developed countries

    hear hear - well said denis. the doctrine of 'parity of esteem' here in
    northern ireland is nothing less than imposed segregation and
    perpetuated sectarianism. more 'peace walls' separating communities have
    been built over the last ten years. the two-state 'solution' is simply a
    mandate to build more walls.

    TAHMID QUAZI (PhD student):
    - in communications, and aware of needs for alternatives
    - if we are reliant on pro-Israeli companies, we are feeding its aggression
    - the full list of companies to be boycotted is too extensive, e.g. our
    addiction to MS and Coke
    - on Israeli technology, yes, it's advanced; but let's not blame the Arabs
    - ultimately this is about justice, and injustice imposed by Zionist
    regime, with culture/sports used to cloud the issue
    - for boycott, we need to be more surgical (e.g. Checkers example)

    - Japan development example, including use of US patents
    - for wastewater management, the right technologies are from Veolia
    - does Israel have a right to defend itself? what led to

    if the boycott campaign is compromised by the need to 'balance' our need
    for israeli technology then it's become depoliticised - i agree very
    much with patrick re veolia

    - on Veolia, critique

    - more on Veolia
    - SA has lots of technical competence, e.g. nuclear and chemical weapons
    - Isreal has caused tremendous enviro hardship
    - Arab League argument is non sequitor because Arab despotic regimes are
    enemies of Palestinians
    - Nazi concentration camps were built by technical experts - but they
    forgot how to be human, so drop the pragmatic techie argument
    - don't forget Samora Machel's advocacy of solidarity

    - how to use boycott to inflict maximum damage to state machinery?
    - we need a BDS conference to get clarity
    - alternative: 'buy South African'

    - do we put profits before acts of solidarity? we would not have got
    freedom if we did not sacrifice profits
    - academic/cultural boycott - follow the clear position from Palestine
    - on economics, many parastatals use Israeli products (Canada picket of
    bookstore, and Scotland picketing a water company)

    thanks patrick, it's a privilege to take part in this forum, and to
    express solidarity not only with palestine but with comrades in south
    africa too. if you have notes to email later, please send them to me
    also on

    note from Adam Habib (endorsed by Alan Fowler) opposes boycott: The
    academic boycott in SA was very selectively applied. Where academics
    were coming to serve progressive activists we ignored it. Where visits
    were directed to official govt institutions we demanded its
    implementation. As for ICTR, I would suggest that we do not simply call
    for a boycott. Rather we force them to evolve the program in ways that
    would undermine the right wing agenda in Israel. Two years ago when I
    was invited and attended, I said I will do so only on condition that
    Palestinian intellectuals were on the program. This time we could demand
    not only inclusion of Palestinian intellectuals but a panel or two on
    the incursions, its impact etc.

    Hagia's response to Patrick clearly puts him and his institution on the
    side of the Israeli war machine. They should be boycotted

    Any support for the Israeli regime should be avoided, and ICTR
    conference in March should be boycotted

    We will discuss internally and on Thursday at our CCS meeting get an
    official organisational position.

    Action Group for Palestine is moving forward on this as well, and will
    be asking UKZN management to take a formal position too.

    Thanks for your participation!

    Salim Vally,
    School of Education,
    University of the Witwatersrand*

    The AAUP’s decision to openly debate its position on the academic
    boycott of Israeli institutions deserves praise. But my experience—as a
    formerly oppressed person whose general freedom and specific academic
    freedom were once denied, as one who received succor from international
    solidarity and eventually benefited from the isolation of and defeat of
    the ancien régime, as a former chairperson of South Africa’s Freedom of
    Expression Institute, and as an academic colleague who values
    interactions with his peers throughout the world—leads me to support an
    academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

    Academics and Society
    In the struggle against the apartheid state, conceptions about any arena
    of social practice were inextricable from wider conceptions of social
    justice and encompassed not only political freedom. These wider
    considerations constituted the framework on which both ethical and
    strategic judgments were made and practical choices decided. This was
    true in relation to the isolation of South Africa from the international
    sporting arena, in relation to the divestment campaign, in relation to
    the resolutions of the United Nations relative to apartheid, and,
    indeed, in relation to the issue of academic boycotts.

    In each of these, the primary consideration was the pursuit of a set of
    actions that would bring censure and condemnation of the violence of the
    apartheid regime through international cooperation in support of the
    resistance struggles waged internally by the people of South Africa.
    These practices recognized not only the indivisibility of civil,
    political, and economic freedoms but also the interrelatedness (through
    the divestment campaign) of the violence of apartheid and the very forms
    of exploitation on which the whole of apartheid’s political edifice was
    constructed. Political, social, and economic issues were regarded as
    inseparable and were seen as mutually foundational to the idea of
    resistance and the practices—boycotts included—it shaped.

    The academic boycott was never regarded as a privileged strategy, nor
    were academics regarded as an exceptional category. The reasons for this
    were simple. First, the strategies adopted by the liberation struggle
    placed onerous conditions on millions of individuals and many
    institutions in society, some more than others. Particularly for workers
    and the poor, the sacrifices they were asked to make exceeded those of
    other social classes, and in some cases it meant not only the loss of
    jobs, family, and health but also direct physical confrontation with a
    brutish state. Second, academic boycotts were supported by the majority
    of those academics who understood their role to be engaged and socially
    committed intellectuals.1
    Academics so engaged did not regard themselves as privileged when it
    came to making sacrifices, even though their sacrifices were, relative
    to those of others, less onerous and demanding. Third, we simply did not
    regard intellectual work as outside of accountability. Finally, the call
    for an academic boycott was considered a legitimate and necessary
    extension of the freedom struggle into other arenas of social and
    political engagement and practice.

    The “objective test” by which the issue of an academic boycott, or any
    other such strategy, must be evaluated can only arise from a
    consideration of the conditions of each case. That is, it is determined
    contextually, not a priori or ahistorically. Academic freedom in the
    conditions of civil war, violent occupation, genocide, or conquest and
    subjugation must surely bear some reference to these very conditions for
    the criteria of its determination. Failure to recognize this will mean
    that the very concept of freedom more generally, and academic freedom in
    particular, becomes both meaningless and bereft of any practical

    Morality and Ethics
    At the outset, the AAUP authors state that their report was written in
    response to the British Association of University Teachers’ initial
    announcement favoring an academic boycott as a response to a Palestinian
    call. The Palestinians had grounded this call on “the spirit of
    international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice
    and oppression.” This moral ground is negated by the AAUP for the sake
    of “preserving and advancing the free exchange of ideas” and “the search
    for truth and its free expression.” That all moral debate within the
    academy should be viewed only through this categorical imperative and
    the singular principle of “academic freedom” is, philosophically and
    ethically, a dubious position. It is also certainly a politically
    dangerous position to take, for it does not take the situational,
    teleological, or ethical positions into consideration.

    Given the fact that Palestinians are continuing to suffer occupation,
    colonization, and physical apartheid (and even a wall that not only
    “secures” the Israeli state but also imprisons the people of Palestine),
    their situation seems very close to that of South Africans under
    apartheid. But the notion of academic freedom in the AAUP report does
    not allow us to critically question the foundation, formation,
    existence, and oppressive character of the state of Israel. So while the
    AAUP may be correct in theory to distinguish between the “free exchange
    of ideas” and “government policies,” the distinction doesn’t hold in
    concrete situations. Consider the view of Arthur Goldreich, a founder of
    the architecture department of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy who in the
    1940s was a fighter with Israel’s Palmach and in the early sixties a
    member of the African National Congress’s armed wing: “I watched
    Jerusalem with horror and great doubt and fear for the future. There
    were those who said what’s happening is architecture, not politics. You
    can’t talk about planning as an abstraction. It’s called establishing
    facts on the ground.”2
    Goldreich was expressing dismay at the way architecture and planning
    evolved as tools for illegal territorial expansion.

    The Palestinians are not asking for a boycott to defend their own
    transcendent academic freedoms against state intervention or policies
    but in order to prevent the state of Israel from using its own academies
    as tools of state propaganda in a symbolic offensive against Palestinian
    rights. This is important because in this context symbolic resources are
    to this struggle what economicmaterial struggles are to other conflicts.
    And if this is the case, then a type of boycott that is “symbolic,” to
    use the AAUP’s characterization, is completely analogous to an economic
    boycott in other circumstances, which the AAUP has less difficulty with
    and tacitly endorses in the case of labor conflicts within the academy.

    I would also argue that a boycott is a tactic in the struggle for free
    speech by a representative majority of Palestinian academics who are
    attempting to get a larger public hearing for the issue of how the
    “common good” can best be realized. By this means, other issues about
    free speech in the academy will come to be addressed, such as the role
    of state sponsorship of certain types of academic research and
    publication and the tactics various affiliates of the Israeli state use
    to suppress the free speech of academics around the world.

    The AAUP’s report also directly suggests that academics are incapable of
    exercising the right moral judgment to produce an “objective test for
    determining what constitutes an extraordinary situation.” This is stated
    in such a way that the answer is already embedded in the question
    itself, for the document says, “there surely is not.” This undermines
    academics, who are shown in the document to be incompetent or unable to
    produce such an objective test while people are being killed, atrocities
    are being committed, and violations of all nature of human rights are
    taking place. What, given international law and universal human rights
    conventions and declarations, are we to make of the following statement
    in the AAUP’s document: “what //some //see as the Israeli occupation’s
    denial of rights to the Palestinians”? (Emphasis added.)

    While this document accepts the fact that different strategies,
    including boycotts, are needed in some circumstances—and quotes Nelson
    Mandela on this—it denies any role for boycott except for economic
    boycotts, thus negating the very quotation it uses to make its argument.
    The AAUP argument is an attack on the moral demand for an academic
    boycott, seeing it as bad tactics. When, in places, the document does
    take the moral demand more seriously, it is entwined so obtusely with
    economic argumentation that it ends up reducing all nuances, which is of
    necessity an academic task, and fudges them in a shallow way.

    Finally, a large weakness in this document is an enormous confusion over
    the issue of tactics and principles, or means and ends. Conveniently,
    other people’s positions are classified as poor tactics, while the AAUP
    position is defined as more principled, and its own tactics are very
    quickly converted into principles.

    Academic Freedom under Apartheid and in Palestine
    The university in South Africa played a critical role in reproducing the
    structural inequalities and injustices that were found in that society.
    Universities in South Africa—including the “liberal” ones—were closely
    linked to the state: they received much of their funding from the state;
    they provided the “scientific,” commercial, and intellectual bases for
    the state to continue functioning; and they were the prime knowledge
    producers for the state and its bureaucracy. Moreover, a large number of
    academics were directly linked to the state, furthered the apartheid
    agenda at universities, conducted research on specific issues as the
    state required, and even spied on other academics and students. It was
    such research that provided the “Christian” theological justification
    for racism. It also provided some of the basis for the security forces’
    military operations against neighboring countries and liberation
    movements. But of course, there was resistance to this, and the
    university was, as we called it, an important “site of struggle.”

    The Israeli university is not that much different from what the South
    African one was. Israeli universities and a number of individual Israeli
    academics play key roles in providing the intellectual support for the
    Israeli state and its endeavors. Certain Israeli universities have very
    strong links to the military establishment, particularly through their
    provision of postgraduate degrees to the military. A number of Israeli
    academics provide the practical and ideological support necessary for
    the maintenance of the occupation and even for the ethnic cleansing of
    Palestinians, extrajudicial killings, racial segregation, and land
    expropriation. Consider the homicidal rant of one Arnon Soffer, who has
    spent years advising the Israeli government on the “demographic threat”
    posed by the Arabs: “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza,
    it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even
    bigger animals than they are today. . . . So, if we want to remain
    alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”3

    In the main, Israeli institutions of higher learning, according to the
    testimonies of a number of Israeli academics, certainly are not
    consistent with the principle that “[i]nstitutions of higher education
    are conducted for the common good . . . [which] depends on the free
    search for truth and its free exposition.”4
    The “common good”—whether “common” includes only Israelis or both
    Israelis and Palestinians—is not served when universities and individual
    academics support racism, ethnic cleansing, and the continued violation
    of international law. Can we ask colleges and universities to be
    “institutions committed to the search for truth and its free expression”
    when they willingly support a state and military complex that promotes
    discrimination among their student bodies and when they have no regard
    for their fellow academics (Palestinian and dissenting Israeli
    academics) whose academic freedom is trampled and denied at every turn
    by the patrons of these colleges and universities? Avraham Oz, in his
    comments on a May 2005 conference titled “The Demographic Problem and
    the Demographic Policy of Israel,” held at the University of Haifa,
    points out that it was not just an individual academic that lent
    “credibility to this conference which promoted ethnic cleansing”; the
    guest of honor was the rector of the university, Yossi Ben-Artzi.5
    the South African liberation movements called for academic boycotts
    against South African institutions and academics, the institutions that
    were targeted included the academic bastions of apartheid (such as the
    University of Stellenbosch and the University of Potchestroom), the
    liberal white universities (such as the University of the Witwatersrand
    and the University of Cape Town), as well as the black ghetto
    universities (such as the University of Durban-Westville and the
    University of the Western Cape). The “victims” in this case included
    white and black academics, liberals and racists, those who supported
    apartheid and those who supported the antiapartheid struggle. The South
    African experience highlights a comment in Committee A’s statement, that
    an academic boycott “inevitably involves a refusal to engage in academic
    discourse with teachers and researchers, not all of whom are complicit
    in the policies which are being protested.” South Africans understood
    this very well when we called for such boycotts against our country.

    Further, the assertion that an academic boycott against Israeli
    institutions will compromise academic freedom needs, of necessity, to be
    followed by the questions: Whose academic freedom? and Who benefits from
    this “academic freedom”?

    In the South African context, we understood that sanctions and boycotts
    were targeted against the state and various institutions within broader
    South African society—businesses, institutions of higher learning,
    sporting institutions, and so on—so that black people, primarily, might
    be liberated from the shackles, injustices, and humiliations we faced.
    It is true, as Ronnie Kasrils, the South African minister of
    intelligence, argued, that ultimately it was both black and white South
    Africans who were liberated.6
    the international community recognized and acknowledged the oppression
    of black people and the need for their liberation.

    In the Israeli-Palestinian context, we should be asking whose academic
    freedom and whose human rights it is that we want to protect. It is
    Palestinians who are living under occupation. It is Palestinians within
    Israel who are being discriminated against on the basis of their
    ethnicity. Ultimately, as Kasrils and Victoria Brittain argued in the
    Guardian, both Palestinians and Israelis will be liberated.7

    If we are to ask “whose academic freedom,” then we are forced to
    consider what academic freedom actually exists for Palestinians. Is the
    academic freedom of a professor in Birzeit University equal to that of a
    professor at Haifa University, when the former is under occupation by a
    government that is supported by the latter? Palestinian academics daily
    run a gauntlet of soldiers, checkpoints, roadblocks, and the threat of
    arrest, detention, and death in order to be able to get to their
    institutions to perform basic tasks like teaching and researching. They
    often teach classes that are sparsely populated, usually because
    students could not get through the checkpoints. Students sometimes are
    trapped in their universities for days, unable to get home because of
    curfews and checkpoints.

    And the basic rights of academics, as explained by the United Nations
    Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), do not
    exist for Palestinian academics in the occupied Palestinian

    CCS Seminar: Participatory community audio/video as a tool for social research

    Seminar: Participatory community audio/video as a tool for social research
    Speakers: Pamela Ngwenya, Molefi Ndlovu, Claudia Wegener
    Date: Wednesday, 21 January 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    Participatory Video (PV) was pioneered as a community development tool,
    but has recently been incorporated into the social sciences as a
    research method. With experience of using PV in a variety of community
    projects as well as for research, the seminar will introduce the general
    concept and method of PV and highlight the strengths, affordances and
    challenges encountered when deploying PV as a tool for research. As for
    innovative community audio, the Durban Sings! project has already made
    great leaps in documenting the voices of Durban's oppressed communities: As one example, the team took the
    following audio in central Durban while documenting rising xenophobic
    state/social violence: Albert Park, October 2008: A gathering of
    makeshift shelters in a public park in the city of Durban, South Africa.
    A group of Congolese have been living here under plastic cover since
    June. Pots over open wood fires, washing on lines between the trees,
    many children are running around the huts. What happened? What made the
    group settle here under precarious conditions? What happens to the
    children when it's raining…? Gideon, a local passer-bye talks to
    Delphine, one of the group who is now living at Albert Park (track
    03-08). Delphine responds with questions and songs and tells their
    story. Rebecca and Oliver, from the Centre for Civil Society are regular
    visitors. They join the conversation (track 02) while preparations for a
    chicken-curry are going on in the background. More songs follow.
    The seminar will be presented by Pamela Ngwenya, Molefi Ndlovu and
    Claudia Wegener.

    Pamela Ngwenya is a visiting postgraduate student from the University of
    Oxford. Her doctoral research concerns the ethical dimensions of sugar,
    and considers different ethical philosophies and concepts (including
    feminist and posthumanist notions of the embodiment) in conversation
    with empirical work on Caribbean sugar. She also studied at the
    University of Edinburgh and University of Calfornia, Davis, and also
    worked as a research assistant at the Centre for the Study of Democracy
    and for the University of California on an international project
    concerning the colonial history of chocolate. She also spent some time
    with the United Nations Development Fund for Women, working on a needs
    and capacity assessment of women in agriculture in Barbados. For the
    past three years Pamela has been training and practicing video
    production, focussing on participatory practices and youth work. She is
    now an associate of 'Insight', a leading participatory video
    organisation based in the UK and has carried out over a dozen
    participatory video projects in the UK and the Caribbean and is now
    helping to implement projects in Southern Africa. Pamela's general
    research interests include: food and agricultural change; ethical
    philosophies; feminist geography; bodies and technologies; the politics
    of nature; video methodologies; and ethnobotanical practices.

    Molefi Ndlovu is a CCS Community Scholar and student of community
    development at UKZN, and has done research on student/youth politics,
    social movements, energy and water. He was named amongst 100 leading
    young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian last year. He is presently
    working on community audio, drawing on experiences with Soweto's RASA FM
    pirate community station.

    Claudia Wegener is a German-born, London-based specialist in internet
    audio and community radio. She helped to innovate the Durban Sings!
    project, amongst many other initiatives to raise the voices of the

    CCS Seminar: World water Forum

    Seminar: Whither the World Water Forum? Durban?
    Speakers: Dale McKinley, Orlean Naidoo, Dudu Khumalo, Bryan Ashe
    Date: Monday, 19 January 2009
    Time: (NEW!): 10-11:30am
    Venue: CCS/SDS seminar room, Memorial Tower Building Room F208
    University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus

    The triannual World Water Forum has evoked intense criticism from the
    water justice community. In The Hague (2000), Osaka (2003) and Mexico
    City (2006), the WWF attracted vibrant protests, including a 10
    000-strong march against the Mexico forum site. Even more protests will
    be launched by those opposed to water commodification at the Istanbul
    WWF in March 2009, with two alternative forums being planned in reaction
    to the World Water Council's elite festival. The water justice movements
    have demanded that the WWF cease operations in Istanbul (see below). In
    the event this demand is not agreed to, the South African government -
    in competition with France - is considering inviting the WWF to Durban
    in 2012. When global governance confabs arrived in Durban in 2001 (World
    Conference Against Racism) and Johannesburg in 2002 (World Summit on
    Sustainable Development), the reaction by civil society was impressive:
    huge protests, sophisticated critiques and unprecedented unity amongst a
    normally fractious left. If the WWF continues, what are the pros and
    cons of a WWF in Durban, a site celebrated by the world's water mafia
    for successful commodification under the guise of 'public-private
    partnerships', pilot 'free basic water' strategies, installation of
    'urinary diversion' sanitation (a.k.a. the 'neoliberal loo'), and mass
    disconnections, even of schools? Bring 'em on? Shoe 'em away? An
    open debate with varied insider-outsider positions is anticipated.

    Dale McKinley was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and studied in the United
    States where he received his PhD in Politics/African Studies and was a
    student activist at the University of North Carolina. He is a co-founder
    of the Anti-Privatisation Forum and currently the organisation’s
    treasurer, as well as a leader of the Coalition Against Water
    Privatisation. He has published two books and scores of book chapters,
    journal articles and newspaper articles.

    Orlean Naidoo has been a CCS Community Scholar since 2007 and works on
    water/sanitation in Chatsworth and various other sites. She has
    coauthored articles about the water struggle and is a leading community
    activist in Durban.

    Dudu Khumalo works as a CCS Community Scholar and in various other water
    research consultancies. She has authored water articles for Agenda and
    The Mercury, and campaigned on behalf of people displaced by the Inanda Dam.

    Bryan Ashe coordinates the SA Water Caucus, and has been involved in
    discussions regarding prospects for SA's hosting of the WWF in 2012.

    An Open Call to the Global Water Justice Movement to Mobilize Against
    the False World Water Forum

    Let us join together in Istanbul, Turkey, March 14-22, 2009 to protect
    water as a human right, global commons and public good to expose the
    illegitimate power of the World Water Council!

    Following the successes of past resistance against World Water Forums,
    most notably the mass mobilizations and Jornadas en Defensa del Agua in
    Mexico City in 2006,

    Using the principles in the Mexico Declaration and previous joint
    declarations of the water justice movement as the basis for this call to

    Respecting the struggles, waged daily by grassroots activists to improve
    water conditions for people and nature,

    And standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Turkey who
    are organizing an extensive slate of counter events in Istanbul and
    around the country in a strong show of resistance,

    We call upon social movements, networks and individual water activists
    committed to principles of equity, justice and sustainability, to
    mobilize against the upcoming 5th World Water Forum.

    This 5th World Water Forum, as with the previous 4 World Water Forums,
    is being organized by the World Water Council—a body created and
    controlled by the global private water industry and which continues to
    promote water privatization, destructive dams, commodification and
    commercialization, projects and policies proven to harm people and
    communities; local food systems, livelihoods and indigenous resource base.

    The time is here to end the reign of these Water Barons and launch a
    truly inclusive and accountable forum to deal with the grave situation
    facing humanity and the planet.

    Together we will work to counter privatization efforts, – including
    mining of water for industries or for chemical intensive commercial
    agriculture –, and high-risk hydropower around the world and in Turkey
    where the government has dangerously proposed the construction of
    destructive dams and the privatization of lakes and rivers.

    We will continue to support local campaigns and social movements in both
    the South and North, working strongly with Red Vida, the Africa Water
    Network, the international movement against destructive dams and the
    European Public Water Network. We commit to augment condemnation of the
    World Water Council with the promotion of viable alternatives such as
    Public-Public Partnerships, community-control models based on principles
    of rights and responsibilities to the commons and water democracy.

    This gathering simultaneously provides opportunities for water justice
    activists to learn from and support each other's efforts, as well as to
    lobby government representatives who will be in attendance at the
    official Forum.

    As in Mexico in 2006, Kyoto in 2003 and the Hague in 2000, it is
    important to challenge the destructive neo-liberal, pro-privatization
    and pro-large dams agenda of the Forum organizers, but even more
    important, to launch a process and new Water Forum tied to actual State
    obligations, within a United Nations framework and working with local
    community-based efforts and actors to achieve water justice.

    We call upon governments to join with the governments of Uruguay,
    Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba, who in 2006 signed the 4th World Water
    Forum Counter Declaration, demanding implementation of a truly open and
    transparent multilateral process.

    We call upon the United Nations and its member governments to accept
    your obligation, as the only legitimate global convener of multilateral
    forums, to publicly commit to hosting a Forum on Water, which is linked
    to state obligations and is accountable to the global community.

    We call upon all organizations and governments who choose to attend the
    5th World Water Forum, to commit to making this the last and to join in
    the launching of a legitimate Global Forum on Water, emerging from
    within the UN processes and supported by States.

    We call upon all who share our commitment to mobilize in their own
    communities during the World Water Forum, in a show of solidarity with
    those struggling for water justice and as a call to the global community
    to mobilize on this critical issue.

    We finally call upon all committed activists, elected representatives,
    government representatives and progressive organizations to join in the
    upcoming mobilization standing alongside our allies in Turkey.

    Global Week of Actions for Water Justice
    March 14-22, 2009

    As part of the call to the global water justice movements to mobilize
    against the false World Water Forum, we commit to mobilize for the
    Global Week of Actions for Water Justice. The global week of action
    serves as a common platform for movements, peoples' organizations,
    activists and citizens, elected representatives and governments
    committed to water justice— for all communities to access safe,
    affordable water for drinking, fishing, recreational, and cultural uses
    in an equitable, effective, democratic way.

    We invite and urge movements, organizations, and citizens around the
    world to undertake actions in their own countries that reflect their own
    struggles, character, and possibilities. This can either be a seminar or
    forum about your struggles, rally or symbolic action, a concert or press
    conference, etc. All actions related to our common goal of water justice
    are welcome—from more modest actions to larger mobilizations.

    We invite you to share information about your plans by sending us a
    short paragraph outlining your planned activities and engagements
    (including date and place), contact details, including Country and
    Organization. Information can be sent to

    This week includes special dates:

    Calendar of Actions

    March 14: The International Day of Action for Rivers

    March 22: World Water Day

    We once again invite you to go to to find out
    more about how you can support these efforts. With you, together we can
    build a truly global week of action for water justice.

    Signatories to the Open Call:

    Abdelmawlaa Ismail, Coordinator of Egyptian Committee for Right to Water
    and Right to Water Forum in the Arab Region | Africa Water Network |
    Aquattac, European Network of Attac water activists | Amigos de la
    Tierra Argentina | Association pour le Contrat Mondial de l'Eau, France
    | Attac, Finland | Attac, Germany | BanglaPraxis, Bangladesh | Berlin
    Water Table, Germany | Blue Planet Project, Canada | Centre for Law,
    Policy and Human Rights Studies, Chennai, India | CeVI, Italy | Centre
    for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project, Durban, South Africa |
    Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua, COMDA,
    Mexico | Comité de Enlace de la Red VIDA, the Americas | Coordinadora de
    Defensa del Agua y de la Vida, Bolivia | Corporate Accountability
    International, USA | Corporate Europe Observatory | Council of Canadians
    | CUPE, Canada | Enginyeria Sense Frontere- Catalunya| Federación de
    Funcionarios de OSE, Uruguay | Federación de Trabajadores Fabriles de
    Cochabamba, Bolivia | Focus on the Global South | Food & Water Watch,
    USA | Frances Libertes, France | Freedom from Debt Coalition,
    Philippines | Friends of the Earth, Canada | Friends of the Earth,
    Finland | Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong | Hemantha Withanage, Centre
    for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka | Italian Committee World Water
    Contract | Jubilee South - Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
    (JS APMDD) | National Commission in Defense of Water and Life, Uruguay |
    Playapart, Italy | Polaris Institute, Canada | Raja Kassab, Association
    pour un Contrat Mondial de l'Eau Maroc, Morocco and Right to Water Forum
    in the Arab Region | Solidarity Workshop, International | SuKo, Germany
    | Transnational Institute, Europe | Umeedenao Citizen Community Board,
    Pakistan | Water Movements Italian Forum | Water Movement, Norway |
    International Rivers, US

    Film Screening & Seminar: Silenced voices? Zimbabweans in Durban

    Please join us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society (all are welcome):

    Seminar: Silenced voices? Zimbabweans in Durban
    Speaker: Mavuso Dingani
    Date: Tuesday, 6 January 2009
    Time: 12:30-2pm
    Venue: Memorial Tower Building Room F208, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Howard College Campus

    Silenced voices?, a film, is about Zimbabwean political exiles living in
    Durban, South Africa. Through the voices of two exiles, a tale unfolds
    of brutal repression and crushed democratic aspirations. But the trumph
    of the human spirit is undeniable because even in exile the hope for a
    free Zimbabwe is still at the centre of the their lives.

    Mavuso Dingani, is a Zimbabwean writer living in Durban. He has been
    politically active for more than a decade. This is his debut as a filmmaker.

     Other seminar programmes
     WISER Seminar Series 
     UKZN History Seminar Series 
     The Wolpe Trust 

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