Growing concern about the extent to which organized crime is undermining stability and prosperity on the African continent is galvanizing a search for analytical tools and a clamour for more research to understand the contextual forces at play and how best to undermine them.
"We have concluded that drug use must be regarded primarily as a public health problem. Drug users need help, not punishment. We believe that the consumption and possession for personal use of drugs should not be criminalised. Experience shows that criminalisation of drug use worsens health and social problems, puts huge pressures on the criminal justice system and incites corruption. ... We caution that West Africa must not become a new front line in the failed "war on drugs," which has neither reduced drug consumption nor put traffickers out of business." - West Africa Commission on Drugs
Two recent reports, one from the West Africa Commission on Drugs cited above, and the second a report on Organized Crime in Southern Africa from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, stress both the significance of growth in organized crime on the continent and the need to avoid false solutions such as the "war on drugs" approach that criminalizes ordinary users as well as traffickers. Organized crime is an obstacle to development, the authors of the reports note. But, equally, no approach can be successful unless it addresses development and governance issues. Trafficking in drugs, wildlife, and people, moreover, all cross continental as well as national boundaries, and must be addressed in terms of both supply and demand.
The ruthless assault on Gaza has sometimes been presented in our media, and on occasion in some solidarity efforts too, as an issue that is solely of concern to Muslim people. It is true that in recent years state politics in both Palestine and Israel has taken on a more religious inflection. But this conflict began as a colonial occupation. It did not start as a religious war and has never been reducible to the question of religion. The assault on Gaza, like the devastation of the Congo or the ongoing disaster in Iraq, is everyones concern. In the particular case of Gaza, the way in which Islamophobia is used to legitimate oppression, is also everyones concern.
[In view of Israel's assertions that its current attacks on the Gaza Strip are an exercise in legitimate self-defense, Jadaliyya re-posts an analysis of this claim by Co-Editor Noura Erakat initially published in 2012.]
A man is either free or he is not. There cannot be any apprenticeship for freedom. Amiri Baraka said so. I concur. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, on March 6 1957, through the red of his teary eyes, above the ecstatic screams and buoyant cheers of folks relishing the feeling of “Massa nor dey, we go play and play hard”; folks he was about to re-name Ghanaians (did that mean we were once called Gold-Coastians?), folks majority of whom were unlettered, gave a memorable oration that ended with the mighty yell “Ghana is free forever!” At that very moment, Queen Elizabeth sniggered in far-away Britain, and Asaase Yaa died of embarrassment.
An entire 1,000-strong rebel brigade based in Syria’s Idlib province has reportedly defected to the Islamic State group, raising new questions as to whether other factions will rally behind the militant force that has swept through Iraq’s west.
Bim Adewunmi: A leading figure in the 70s Black Liberation Army, Shakur was given life for murder in 1977. Two years later, she escaped and has been on the run since. Is she still such a threat to US security that she warrants a $2m reward for her capture?
Action Aid Report, May 23, 2014 ▶ GLOBAL POLICIES ENCOURAGE LAND GRABBING AND WORSEN HUNGER AND POVERTY. “Allowing land to become vehicles for wealthy corporations and individuals to become richer while pushing vulnerable rural people into poverty and hunger is unjust, unwise and unethical,” it said in the report. http://www.trust.org/item/20140523061928-bn12w/
In an extensive interview, Numsas general secretary, Irvin Jim talks to Fazila Farouk of SACSIS about NUMSAs current strike, alliance politics as well as its United Front and Movement for Socialism. In response to a question about building greater solidarity between the middle class and the poor, Jim argues that Numsas movement for socialism is not only for people who are "red". He says that the middle class has a right to live the kind of life that it chooses, but that it also has a responsibility to make a contribution towards advancing "humanity".
Just before the 2014 national elections, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform announced a plan to redistribute 50% of commercial farm land to farm workers as part of ongoing efforts to redress historical imbalances in the country. The objectives of the plan are laudable: to deracialise the rural economy; to democratise the allocation and use of land by race, gender and class; and (less clearly) to support "production discipline" for food security and food sovereignty. Unfortunately, the plan is poorly conceptualised and appears to be a kneejerk response to pressure from the Economic Freedom Fighters. It has little chance of success.
In the absence of strong trade union support and with current arrangements not addressing the huge gaps between their salaries and those of their CEOs, todays workers view violence as an option. Given that the game is rigged against them, one ought to understand why a high percentage of shop stewards believe that non-striking workers should be "engaged with politically". While the violence accompanying strikes may be difficult to support, perhaps understanding it beyond the obvious anger faced by poverty-stricken workers will help to resolve strikes faster and close the wealth divide that is tearing this country apart.
Unions function in a highly unfavorable economic environment Protections for workers are not enforced Unions lack sufficient resources Growth of the informal economy challenges unions Women's participation in unions and union leadership is increasing but still limited Women in the informal sector are vulnerable
African trade unions must find new ways of organizing unorganized workers, particularly in the informal economy African trade unions must play an active role in public life African trade unions must speak out on national and international economic policies African trade unions must help shape policy decisions affecting workers African trade unions must step up their efforts to advance women's rights within unions, in the workplace and wider society African trade unions must intensify dialogue and collaboration across national boundaries, including with unions in other African countries and with regional and global trade union allies
Thembani Onceya: Introduce yourself. Gladys Mpepho: My name is Gladys Mpepho, I am the chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) in Rhini (Grahamstown). Thembani Onceya: Why did you join the UPM? Gladys Mpepho: The government made me join the UPM. The government has betrayed us, they treat us like we are nothing, they make empty promises and give false hope. My first encounter with the UPM was through Ayanda Kota. Ayanda was persuading the community in Phaphamani to “toyi toyi’ (march) to demand electricity in Phaphamani. I realised that the only way people can get the government to deliver services in our communities is if we fight because if we don’t fight our situation will never change.
In the midst of the revolutionary battles of recent years, it is easy not to notice that climate change is fundamentally changing the Middle East and North Africa we live in. This gradual transformation, much of it already inevitable, threatens ...
Last week Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) announced they are joining forces to establish a BRICS alternative to the World Bank. The BRICS bank will be capitalised to the tune of $50 billion or about the same size as the World Banks loan to Brazil. While the size of the initial capital allocation does not stack up in comparison to the World Banks, this could still prove to be a significant opportunity to change the global system more in favour of the developing world. However, if the new bank is going to be a game changer in Africa then it must invest in structural opportunities to improve growth and development on the continent and develop African confidence.
Foreign migrant labour in South Africa is unique compared to other parts of the world. A recent report by the Migration for Work Research Consortium notes that South Africa is unique because international migrants are less discriminated against than migrants elsewhere in the world. The paradox of high migrant labour employment against high domestic unemployment is hard to make sense of. Nevertheless, trends suggest that there are inherent biases in certain sectors of the South African economy where foreign African workers are preferred.
As the Israeli state rains its murder on the people of Gaza we are confronted with a stark demonstration of the ways in which there is, in so many quarters, official sanction for according radically different values to human lives. Some of us are taken as sacrosanct, others as disposable. It has often been suggested that in the case of Israel and Palestine the inequality in the value ascribed to human life can be rendered as a mathematical ratio. In this calculus there is no such thing as a life for a life, or a prisoner for a prisoner, or a set amount invested in the education of each child.
Why have biometric databases not become as controversial an issue here in South Africa as they are elsewhere? In the UK, a campaign against state control of personal identity called No2ID successfully opposed the governments attempt to introduce biometric ID cards. Germany has forbidden centralisation of population information. However, countries in the South have jumped on the biometric bandwagon, including South Africa, in spite of the many red flags about the technology. Interpol, the World Bank and private security multinationals have worked tirelessly to promote biometrics in the South to manage what they perceive to be problem populations and to keep them out of an increasingly fortified North.