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Bond, Patrick & Ngwane, Trevor (2009) Anti-capitalist community resistance to energy privatization and carbon markets in South Africa. International Conference on Ideas and Strategies in the Alterglobalisation Movement : 1-17.

In South Africa, a massive energy crisis broke out in early 2008, following long-running battles between community organizations and state electricity suppliers, and at the same time a fierce debate arose over how to address climate change. The lessons we draw are 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. The need for a South African red-green politics that links cheaper consumption of basic-needs electricity – especially by low-income people (in contrast to gluttonous smelters and mines) – to the production of electricity in massive coal-fired generators (to be augmented by nuclear in coming years) will challenge radical social movements like the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, Earthlife Africa and the Energy Caucus (a left-leaning network of civil society groups). A small new political party – the Socialist-Green Coalition– even emerged from the left social movements, reflecting the need for red-green fusion. Will these forces advance towards a red agenda of higher free lifeline electricity consumption for the masses, to a reversal of SA’s CO2 emissions, via renewable electricity both on- and off-grid?

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