Month: May 2010

POVERTY, POLITICS, AND THE 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP IN SOUTH AFRICA

Why is it that governments can find billions of dollars for global sporting events and little to deal with the grinding poverty that affects impoverished populations? Canada applauded itself for the $135-million in aid and disaster relief it sent to an earthquake ravaged Haiti while spending nearly $6-billion on the two-week long Vancouver Olympics. A similar contradiction is revealing itself in South Africa, where massive amounts of public and private spending on the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup are expected to salve a faltering economy and crippling poverty. Most South Africans, however, will see little direct or sustained economic benefit from the games let alone muster the funds to even purchase a ticket.

What is trumpeted as a branding and investment remedy to South Africa’s economic woes may very well become another Greek tragedy – where the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics has contributed to an economic meltdown. These global games offer dual incentives to both local and foreign business elites and little to a frustrated local population. On the one hand, investment, sponsorship and tourism opens new markets to foreign capital while local business elites profit from a heightened global image. At least, this is the story sold by both the state and World Cup planners. Central to this strategy is selling South Africa as a marketable and consumable brand.

The transition from apartheid to democratic rule in South Africa has been well documented. During this period, the pressures of both domestic and foreign capital forced the emergent African National Congress (ANC) government to follow the economic paradigms of the past and encourage foreign investment. The sanctions that once crippled the economy gave way to a period of increasing investment and relatively stable economic growth. Promoting a comfortable and gentrified image of South Africa perfectly serves the ruling African National Congress’s redistribution through growth policy that is intended to drum up foreign investment while selling off government owned assets. The Soccer World Cup effectively opens these economic and political spaces necessary to further neoliberal policies and development.

MOVE THE SEAT OF THE PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT (PAP) FROM THE GALLAGHER ESTATE

Robben Island is the liberation struggle living foundation to build the Pan African Parliament adjacent the prison complex. Sharpeville, Langa and Soweto are the alternative struggle foundation to house the Pan African Parliament. The construction of the Parliament on the Island, Sharpeville or Langa is imperative to link the liberation in South Africa to the liberation of Africa spearheaded by the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

The current location of the Pan African Parliament, the Gallagher Estate, Midrand, South Africa, bears no root to the liberation struggle, and regrettably now manifests the major conference center for conception and formulation of the post apartheid New South Africa and Africa’s Renaissance, dependent on the dictates of the piper who funds the program.

The location is today’s citadel for migration and domicile for the struggle leadership ensconced in gifted houses and moneyed entrapments away from the township masses. The townships are the black vote reservoir resurrected only on election days.

THE EVOLUTION OF MEDIA COVERAGE PRE AND POST 1990

As the sixteenth year of ‘freedom’ ushered in, one sadly observed the evolution of media/press reportage over the years and concur that indeed the media is free only to those who own it. The media also shapes national culture and sets the limits of national discourse and reflects the interests of the ruling class.

The SABC as an institution is pathetic. It is partisan and animated by ideology. With corporate-controlled media consolidating its foothold on media ownership as well as spreading its tentacles globally, news content altered dramatically. We are continuously being fed a steady diet of rehashed intellectual pap. Almost invariably issues are perfunctorily dealt with and treated peremptorily coupled with un-insightful political debates.

THE IRONY OF CAPITALIST LOGIC

Neo-colonial governments in Africa are always trying to satisfy the needs and wants of the so called investors. There are two important constituencies in the minds of these puppets governments, namely tourists and investors. All institutional development viability is justified on the basis of these two pillars of economic mirage.

The recent jitters in international equity markets are evidence of crazy logic of international capitalist system. Why should Stock Market Index have a free fall in Africa or Brazil when America Companies have failed to manage the granting of loans? Why is it that when American corporation’s management steals from investors locally, the Stock Market in so called developing markets plunges? Why is it that when evidence of corrupt practices which caused the collapse of Asian Tigers a decade ago do not have the same effect on American accounting scandal? There are many examples of such inconsistencies and double standards.

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