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What you want to say… Open Thread, 15th August, 2012 August 15, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. eamonncork - August 15, 2012

I think our friends in the GOP may have a problem.

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2. EamonnCork - August 15, 2012

I’ve been reading great stuff recently about the American Fantasy novelist John Crowley. Anyone here read him? He sounds almost too good to be true. Also, is Pavane by Keith Roberts any good?

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WorldbyStorm - August 19, 2012

Pavane is an interesting book, but not a great one, at least IMHO (in an odd way I’d prefer Kingsley Amis’s The Alteration which has a not dissimilar subject matter). Keith Roberts was quite a right winger, his Ladies from Hell collection of short stories from the late 70s is a good example, but that said he was always worth a read if you like the genre.

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Starkadder - January 18, 2013

I read some of his short stories, which were interesting.
“Little, Big” was reissued by Gollancz in their “Fantasy Masterworks” series about 10 years ago.

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ejh - January 18, 2013

I’ve read Pavane but I can’t remember a thing about it.

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Dr.Nightdub - January 18, 2013

It’s bsically a counter-factual view of English history – it assumes the Spanish Armada successfully conquered England, as a consequence of which the Enlightenment didn’t hit happen, the Industrial Revolution was delayed by a couple of hundred years so in the 1980s the main form of road transport is steam tractors and they’re still using semaphore as wireless hasn’t been invented yet. All a bit twee but probably lapped up by little-Englanders.

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3. ivorthorne - August 15, 2012

Marc Coleman is having a very special “Marxism is evil” show tonight – complete with foreboding music.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 15, 2012

Why do left-wing academics agree to go on this show?

This is why I do not listen to Newstalk. Marc Coleman is a moron of the highest order.

Incidentally, anyone know the parts of Neue Rheinishe Zeitung Coleman is quoting? He is claiming that Marx advocating exterminating the weak or something like that.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

Found it: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/01/13.htm

Written by Engels, not Marx. And the context is that the various nationalities of Eastern Europe have been played off one another for centuries. Engels holds that these national distinctions will be annihilated by a proletarian revolution. In other words, national identity will slough off and be replaced by identity on the basis of class.

Marc Coleman is the guy who thinks Donne’s ‘The Flea’ is actually about a flea.

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Jim Monaghan - August 19, 2012

For those who like a bit of theory. i am a bit of a fan of Rosdolsky. Sometimes Engels could be a little crude. http://www.laborstandard.org/Vol1No3/LowyReview.htm. I think Critique published the full article/booklet of Rosdolsky.

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Mark P - August 16, 2012

Jesus, RiD, I think I’d rather have Katie Taylor punch me in the face than listen to Coleman. Are you being held hostage somewhere with the radio on?

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

It was only for ten minutes and it was appalling. Never again. Never again.

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CMK - August 16, 2012

Who was the left wing academic on with Coleman?

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

I googled it. It wasn’t an academic at all but rather Conor Pope. Coleman was misquoting passages from marx and implying that Marx and Engels advocated mass genocide and murder.

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CMK - August 16, 2012

Conor Pope! I suppose he was dragged in because he wrote a very surprisingly sympathetic piece on Che Guevara and Cuba last week. Which must make him a Marxist in Coleman’s eyes. He probably thinks that anyone who takes a holiday in Cuba returns a committed Marxist-Leninist. Cute of Coleman, however, not to have someone like Kieran Allen on.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

I presume Allen would not be enough of a fool to go on.

Pope was well ambushed. Coleman produced some bloke whose uncle or cousin had been killed by Castro. This fellow, nevertheless, went to blame this death on Guevara. Pope pointed out that Guevara was dead before all of this happened. This was deemed irrelevant by Coleman and his guest.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

I should add that Coleman went on to blame every death on Karl Marx. He took a few quotes from Engels and one hopelessly misquoted sentence from a bit on the famine and said that Marx was equal to Stalin. Remarkable stuff. This is something akin to the ‘O’Reilly Factor’ on Fox News (O’Reilly is an idiotic right-wing pundit for those who are fortunate not to have seen the show. He is also responsible for the ‘You can’t explain that’ meme on the internet.)

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Blissett - August 16, 2012

I once recall hearing Bernard Durkan feeling the need to defend PS workers from Coleman. I thought that rather said it all really

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4. Michael Carley - August 16, 2012

Re Coleman. Having a quick listen, it wasn’t Conor Pope but Conor Kostick. And Coleman can’t pronounce Guevara.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

Really? I misread Coleman’s twitter feed.

You are made of sterner stuff than I, Michael, if you can listen to it again.

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Michael Carley - August 16, 2012

I’d only listened to the first couple of minutes. I’m listening now. Since I live outside Ireland, I don’t have the pleasure of Newstalk and it’s the first time I’ve heard Coleman. He. Is. Wojus. Quite apart from the dreadful delivery, there is not even a pretence at fairness. He starts off with Peter Bogdanor giving an evidence-free rant about Marxists, ending up with Marx being an anti-Semite. Now we have Coleman indulging the Lithuanian ambassador when he explains that his country tried to remain neutral in 1940: would Coleman accept that from the ghost of Dev?

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Michael Carley - August 16, 2012

It gets better. Coleman asks Bogdanor if there is any monitoring of far-left groups in the same way that Searchlight and such monitor Fascists. Rather than say `the Branch keep tabs on the lot of them, and a few more besides’, he says there is no such monitoring and, worryingly there has been upsurge in far-left activity in campaigns against the Global War on Terrorism. Coleman says it’s not fair to group peaceful protestors in with the far left, mentions Irish far left terrorism (Sticks and IRSP), and gets the answer that such groups try to take over the leadership of respectable groups.

And now, Noam Chomsky is a Marxist.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

Someone should email Noam Chomsky and tell him that. He will be surprised.

Bogdanor, of course, wrote pieces for David Horowitz’s ‘The Anti-Chomsky Reader’. I knew that he couldn’t resist getting a dig in at Chomsky, even though the topic has nothing to do with him.

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Mark P - August 16, 2012

Christ, what a cesspit.

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Ed - August 16, 2012

Poor Chomsky, he attracts these parasites like Bogdanor and Horowitz whose only chance of getting noticed is to write long mendacious character assassination pieces that say more about them than Chomsky and pimp them round the internet as loudly as possible.

I like this one from Bogdanor in particular:

“Paul Bogdanor, The Top 200 Chomsky Lies [PDF]
Documentation of 200 egregious falsehoods about communist mass murderers, modern history, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, 9/11, Latin America, the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Holocaust denial, etc. Also lists misquotations, numerical distortions and worthless sources used in his writings. (The original 100 lies are also available in Spanish.)”

http://www.paulbogdanor.com/chomskyhoax.html

Why do Spanish-speakers only got the first 100 lies? Can they not be trusted with the second 100?

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ejh - January 18, 2013

Peter Bogdanor

Not Paul? He’s the chap whose website was being quoted on another CLR thread which for some reason is still running.

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5. irishelectionliterature - August 16, 2012

Don’t know if anyone was listening to Matt Coopers show last night. The Current Irish no 1 album (Ed Sheeran) sold 418 copies to top the chart. 255 sales gets you into top 10.
150 into top 30,
79 into top 50.
63 copies to get into indie chart top 10.
Jedwards latest album , despite their popularity , has sold 6000 copies.

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

That anyone bought Ed Sheeran’s album depresses me.

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doctorfive - August 16, 2012

Crazy isn’t it?

Haven’t followed things too closely the last few years but I think Susan Boyle was the last one hitting anything comparable to the old days( 90s : / ). I always had a feeling it was easy enough hit number one here though, felt like every novelty act had one.

On Sheeran & co did you notice all the music at the closing ceremony was owned by EMI

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RosencrantzisDead - August 16, 2012

I didn’t watch the closing ceremony, but it would not surprise me in the slightest.

The Nineties was a more innocent time. When you think back, a lot of acts that dominated the pop charts were shamelessly commercial acts. They was really no attempt to hide this. Now, all of these bands are aimed at people who like to be snobbish about their music, so now commercial acts are all bloody singer-songwriters who act as if they’re Bob-fucking-Dylan.

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irishelectionliterature - August 16, 2012

That’s mad hadn’t realised that about the Closing Ceremony

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6. irishelectionliterature - August 16, 2012
Mark P - August 17, 2012

This is fascinating. Its a friendly and far from bitter account, but it’s ultimately very unflattering. I’d noticed that many of the central figures in the WSM (Alan, Chekov, James) had dropped out during that group’s recentish contraction, but I didn’t know why. I’ll have a few more detailed comments to post once I’ve reread it.

It would be well worth promoting a link to it as a main article, as it gives a huge amount of detail about one of the more prominent but less discussed Irish left activist groups.

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WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2012

+1

I’d wondered too what the score was.

And that’s a great suggestion re the Archive aspect of it.

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7. RosencrantzisDead - August 18, 2012

This piece by Yanis Varoufakis is very interesting: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/economics/why-valve-or-what-do-we-need-corporations-for-and-how-does-valves-management-structure-fit-into-todays-corporate-world/

He is assess Valve Software and holds it up as an example of an anarcho-syndicalist/non-capitalist workplace. Worth a look.

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8. crocodile - August 18, 2012

One of our old favourites, Stephen Collins, has a great rant in today’s IT. It seems he’s discovered this interweb thingy that allows unqualified people to comment on politics and economics and all those other important things that only real journalists like him know about.

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MIchael Carley - August 19, 2012

There is a striking difference between the considered and frequently witty tone adopted by people who write letters, or emails, to this newspaper for publication, …

A bit like the tone adopted in the print version of the Sindo.

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9. Mark P - August 19, 2012

The Morning Star decides to publish an article blaming the striking union and the violence of the mine workers for the cops massacring 34 workers in South Africa. Stalinist scum:

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122826

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10. Mark P - August 19, 2012

And here the scabs of the South African Communist Party demand that the cops arrest the leaders of the strikers:

http://www.sacp.org.za/main.php?ID=3722

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11. MadCyril - August 19, 2012

Mark P – you infantile approach is getting boring.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

There’s nothing infantile about criticising scabs. The SACP are scabs. The Morning Star is almost as bad, as it follows the SACP’s lead in trying to blame the strikers and their leaders for the massacre.

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WorldbyStorm - August 19, 2012

I’m hard pressed to understand how your “Stalinist scum” line fits into previous exhaustive efforts on your part to explain the use of Stalinist as a political descriptor.

Whatever about that, it’s not language appropriate for this site – as has been pointed out many times to a limited number of people who engage here in specific ways.

There’s many many ways to critique and criticise the current events in South Africa without dipping down to that level.

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Jolly Red Giant - August 19, 2012

WbS – Mark is right – the SACP are Stalinists – and the SACP are scumbags.

Anyone who not alone issues a statement blaming the workers for the massacre but echoes the NUM’s declaration of the striking workers as criminals and the desire of the ANC and NUM to see all 3000 strikers sacked deserve nothing from socialists but the utmost comtempt.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

Stalinist is a pitical descriptor. Scum is an insult, a rather mild one in the circumstances. Any organisation which seeks to blame the strikers and their leaders for the cops massacring them are pondlife. It isn’t actually possible to dip down to a level low enough to do them justice. Theres no debate to be had on this between socialists: you are with the strikers or you are with the SACP and the cops.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

Stalinism is to Mark P what auto-asphyxiation is to a Tory MP. The only time he gets to pull one off is when there’s a stalinist outrage.

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Roasted Snow - August 19, 2012

Yes, Mark P is right. In my book it’s which side are you on?

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EamonnCork - August 19, 2012

I’d agree wholeheartedly with Mark P on this one. The stance of the Morning Star and the SACP brings back memories of Communist Parties making excuses for what happened in Hungary in 1956 and after the Prague Spring. Scum seems like a reasonable enough description.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

The fact that the union in question has Trotskist links, that has nothing to do with Mark P’s outrage, no?

Mark P doesn’t give a bollicks about what is going on, about as much as the rest of ye did before the images ended up on youtube.

Now you’re all experts, which is handy.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

This is how Christopher Hitchens made a living.Take a headline, throw in some vitriol, and suddenly you’re passed off as an expert.

Stalinist scum.

Shame on you eamoncork for tagging along with this shite.

Fucking unbelievable.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

I suppose the deaths prior to the massacre, they were ok, yeah? The police who were murdered, that was just shits and giggles?

You can’t take the moral high ground in a battle where both sides are killing people.

you can pick a side, no problem there, but leave the morality at the door, otherwise you could find yourself having to justify the murder of policemen, as well as the murder of trade unionists by other trade unionists.

This is a nice little world you’ve entered into here eamonncork, hope you enjoy the company.

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WorldbyStorm - August 19, 2012

Let me be clear, if people want to criticise the SACP and so on? No problem. As far as I can make out as regards the current events I’m 100% there.

But there are certain terms which are particularly loaded and present problems in terms of how the discourse here is shaped.

People, you know the drill here. It’s very simple indeed.

I’m not forcing anyone to support the SACP, I don’t myself (and I’m disgusted with their stance). But I’m asking for minimum standards on the site as regards interactions because above and beyond this issue there are plenty of others which will get bogged down by precisely this sort of rhetoric. Mark P has the luxury of drifting in and out when the mood takes him. I have to moderate on a fairly continual basis seven days a week. That’s not a complaint, it’s voluntary on my part, but I don’t want any hostages to fortune that make all this more difficult, more contentious and so on than it has to be.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

I’m not particularly interested in the issue of which contributor is using the “no debate” sock puppet, but I do think that his method of argument is worth examining.

The intent is clearly to defend the SACP, but there’s no attempt to made to actually defend the SACP’s actual stance, presumably because even “no debate” know that it is indefensible. Instead there are just attempts to muddy the waters, to attack others, to create confusion. Anything to avoid the issue itself.

The SACP are attacking striking workers who have just been the victims of police mass murder and calling for their leaders to be arrested by those police.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

Just to point out that the AMCU’s key demand was for a 300 per cent pay increase – three hundred per cent.

what the morning star said – along with condemning the murders -was that the AMCU had played a very dangerous game by putting up impossible demands.

This, in the eyes of eamonncork, makes the morning star Stalinist scum.

You can read the same conclusion on the impossible demands below, along with some background to the tribal tensions within the mines.

The day anyone on this site takes Mark P at his sectarian word is to leave oneself hostage to fortune.

http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-17-beyond-the-chaos-at-marikana-the-search-for-the-real-issues

you’re either for the AMCU or you are scum, in the words of Mark P and, unfortunately, eamoncork now as well.

There’s no fear of a reasoned point from Mark P but tell me, eamonncork, does the moniker of “scum” also apply to the miners who are BaSotho from Lesotho?

http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-17-beyond-the-chaos-at-marikana-the-search-for-the-real-issues

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no debate - August 19, 2012

@ Mark P:

“The intent is clearly to defend the SACP, but there’s no attempt to made to actually defend the SACP…”

haha! what a fucking moron! I’m not here to defend anyone, as the issue is a hell of a lot more complicated than the X-Men/Batman/Avengers/Expendables moral universe that Mark P draws his world view from.

Which tribes are scum, and which aren’t?

complicated, isn’t it?

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

You get angrier with each post, but sadly you don’t become any more coherent.

Yes, the striking miners are demanding a wage increase from under 400 euro a month to 1,200 euro a month. 1,200 euro a month for an extremely dangerous and difficult job. There is nothing unreasonable about wanting a living wage, nor is there anything immoral about going on strike to demand one.

Those miners have been subjected to mass murder by the police force of a state run by the tripartite alliance. The SACP’s response is to attack the strikers and demand that the same police force arrest their leaders. This actually matters. It’s not point scoring. It’s not trivial. It’s not too complex an issue to follow.

The cops massacred strikers, the SACP takes sides against the strikers. And less significantly, the Morning Star takes a break from its usual dreary tedium to back the SACP’s approach. It’s shameful.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

Actually my points are quite coherent.

The morning star condemned the shootings. It also pointed out that the AMCU had played a dangerous game by making out that a 300 per cent pay increase was achievable overnight. There is not a union negotiator in the world who can get that for you. It was, and is, unrealistic.

however, all you saw was a tabloid opportunity for a “Stalinist scum” rant.

you even said that “you are with the strikers or you are with the SACP and the cops.”

given the inter-tribal tensions which are also at play here this is a ludicrous statement to make!

We’ve come to expect no less from Mark P, but to see others following him down this sectarian rabbit-hole, and stating with absolute certainty that those who are not members of the AmaMpondo or lBmvana tribes are “Stalinist scum” as only the striking members of those tribes are on the side of the angels here, causes one to sigh I have to say.

Mark P saw what he thought was an open goal against “Stalinist scum”.

Now he’s gotten himself into the nuances of the social and cultural forces which permeate the dynamics of South Africa’s tribal groupings – a matter which complicates class consciousness no more nor no less than race in the States or ethnicity in the North.

And eamonncork is with him on this. Sad, really.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

More pompous gibberish from our Stalinist sock puppeteer.

There is a strike. The strike is about wages. The strikers have been massacred by the cops. Self-described “communists” attack the surviving strikers, and demand the arrest of their leaders by the police force which has only just finished shooting strikers.

Are there complexities in the situation? Yes, of course, there are complexities in every situation. The role of the (Stalinist led) NUM bureaucracy in trying to prevent strikes and keep a lid on working class militancy is one such complexity. The fact that the former head of the NUM now sits on the board of the company which owns the mine in question is another. Yet despite these complexities, and despite your constant attempts to muddy the waters, the core of the situation is very clear. No amount of verbiage from you changes this in the slightest.

On one side we have miners on strike for a living wage. On the other we have a multinational mining corporation, the police who are shooting strikers, and the South African “Communist” Party. If your response to a massacre of striking workers is to call for the arrest of the strike leaders by the cops who carried out the massacre then yes, you are scum. In fact, you are lower than scum. There are no words vile enough for the SACP.

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no debate - August 19, 2012

Yep. Plastic bag over the head and orange peel in the mouth.

And typing with one hand I expect.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

That wasn’t a particularly witty insult the first time around, but, to be fair, it was very slightly more entertaining than the rest of your rambling, dishonest, contributions. Each of which has been aimed entirely at confusing the issues under discussion, at muddying the waters and at distracting from the disgusting behaviour of the SACP (and their apologists at the Morning Star).

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Ed - August 19, 2012

Oddly enough, the apartheid regime and its apologists used to harp on about ‘tribalism’ a lot; in particular, they liked to claim that the violence between the ANC and Buthelezi’s ‘Inkatha Freedom Party’, which was entirely orchestrated by the state security forces whose collaborator Buthelezi was, as mindless tribal violence between Zulu and Xhosa speakers (although the ANC had as many Zulu supporters as the IFP) which proved how savage the natives were. Odd to see this line of argument being echoed.

‘Stalinist scum’ more or less expresses what I felt on seeing that SACP statement. As for the idea that nobody knew or cared anything about this subject until they saw a youtube clip – I didn’t know about the particular dispute at this mine until the violence flared up this week. But I’ve been following SA politics since the early ’90s, and I did a fair bit of research on it for a pamphlet for the ISN a few years ago. So I can say without any doubt that while I was sickened by what happened on Thursday, I wasn’t entirely shocked. Given the trajectory of the ANC and SACP since 1994, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. This is what I wrote in that pamphlet:

” … the hostile tone deployed by ANC leaders has on several occasions been matched by the use of direct physical repression against protest movements.

“Trevor Ngwane describes the use of force in the execution of land clearances: “If you want to shift people from the place they’ve lived in for fifteen years – and from one shack to another, not to proper housing – then you have to bring in the Red Ants [special riot units], the crowbars, the back-up police. With electricity cut-offs, violence can be unavoidable.” The willingness of the ANC to order violence against its own supporters became clear in the summer of 2007, when COSATU led the biggest public-sector strike in South African history:

“Picketers came under repeated attack by police using tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and batons. The ANC government mobilised thousands of soldiers as strike-breakers in hospitals throughout South Africa. Thousands more, decked out in bullet-proof vests and armed with automatic weapons, were provocatively stationed at picket lines outside hospitals and schools, and near protest marches. More than 3000 health workers, deemed ‘essential workers’, were sacked for striking. The ANC government and mass media relentlessly demonised the strikers, in particular health workers and teachers, singling out isolated incidents to paint a false picture of widespread ‘intimidation’ and ‘violence’.”

“The most arresting comment made during the strike came from army spokesman Colonel Sydney Zeeman, who told reporters that the South African army had “deployed units nationwide in our traditional role of providing support for the police”. As Norm Dixon pointed out: “Zeeman could only be referring to the ‘tradition’ established under the hated apartheid regime!” There could hardly be a better illustration of the limits of change in the new South Africa.”

I don’t quote this to boast about how wise I was – I think anyone who looked at the facts would have drawn similar conclusions. I quote it merely to show that left-wingers horrified by Thursday’s violence, and by the statements issued by the SACP and ANC in the aftermath, aren’t just reacting on the hoof to a situation they know very little about.

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Ed - August 19, 2012

And another chunk from that pamphlet which seems very relevant:

“For the leadership of the ANC and the broader social milieu which surrounds them, the ‘cage’ imposed by capitalist globalisation has proved to be rather more gilded than for the great majority of their supporters.

“That much was obvious to The Economist, a magazine which has always possessed a sound instinct concerning such matters, when it identified the shifting class nature of the ANC in 1996:

“For all the fears that resentful ANC socialists would confiscate wealth, the new breed shares the same capitalist aspirations as the old. Though black incomes are barely a sixth of white ones, a black elite is rising on the back of government jobs and the promotion of black business. It is moving into the leafy suburbs, such as Kelvin and Sandton, and adopting the outward symbols of prestige – the BMW, swimming pool, golf handicap and black maid – that so mesmerise status-conscious whites.”

“The consolidation of the new post-apartheid elite has been noted within the ruling alliance. Reflecting on more than a decade of ANC rule, a COSATU document made a telling recommendation: “We need to return to the culture of service to our people, and challenge the culture of leadership entitlement mentality – ‘I did not struggle to be poor’.” Jeremy Cronin of the SACP has described “a rapid emergence within the ANC of a new capitalist class … it’s not a separate black bourgeoisie. There’s one bourgeoisie in South Africa, but a small but significant component of that South African bourgeoisie is now a black stratum, the majority of who are deeply linked into the ANC” .

“Not that the SACP itself has escaped this phenomenon. Dale McKinley gave a scathing report of an event held during the party’s 11th congress in 2002: “No doubt in need of some extra-curricular activity after days of somber discussions about how best to make good on the congress slogan ‘With and For the Workers’, the SACP hierarchy trekked off to Sun City for a fund-raising bash with the barons of South African capitalism. Seated at tables (that came with price tags of up to R35,000 [US$3352]) alongside representatives of worker-friendly corporations like Anglo-American and De Beers, the self-professed leaders of the ‘vanguard of the working class’ got down to real business.” The fund-raiser was said to have earned the SACP almost one million rand.

“McKinley is a hostile critic of the SACP, having been expelled from the party for his persistent opposition to the leadership and its political line. But his remarks found partial confirmation in the report presented by the SACP’s central committee to the next party congress, held in 2007:

“The capitalist world and petty accumulation for instance have tended to be very tempting even for some of our own cadres. We should make absolutely sure that resources that are raised in the name of the SACP, all find their way into the SACP! If some of our comrades decide to enter the capitalist world, they should be open about it, and not use the Party for such purposes … we were the first political party in this country to come out and demand of its members, especially the leadership collectives at all levels, to declare their interests. We are afraid to report that this has been done by very, very few comrades.”

“The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman famously described globalisation as a ‘golden strait-jacket’. For those lucky enough to find themselves close to the ruling circles of the ANC, Friedman’s theory has often proved to be correct. Those who voted the ANC into power might see things in a different light.”

All that needs to be added is that one of the leading members of the post-liberation elite, Cyril Ramaphosa, first made his name as the general secretary of the NUM, then became a millionaire businessman and is now on the board of directors of the mining company the massacred workers were striking against.

I’m afraid this is all it comes down to:

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

I hadn’t realised that you were that Ed, Ed!

That was a very interesting pamphlet.

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12. Jim Monaghan - August 19, 2012

A horrendous South African Massacre – Miner Trade Unionists Murdered – in Dublin 2 Competing Parties, SWP and SP, call similar protests at South African Embassy in Dublin – one at 1pm, the other at 5pm – shameful.
From my friend John M.

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pat - August 19, 2012

They are not really competing, since they are on at different times. If people can’t go to one they can go to the other. Offering people an opportunity to protest against the massacre of 46 workers is a positive thing no?

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Jolly Red Giant - August 19, 2012

The Socialist Party protest at the SA Embassy is part of a coordinated series of international protests organised by the Committee For a Workers international against the massacre and in solidarity with the striking miners and the Democratic Socialist Movement (the SA section of the CWI who are intervening in the strike).

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pat - August 19, 2012

The Socialist Party also called the protest before any other protest was organised, and therefore cannot be accused of any ‘shameful’ motives.

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13. Michael Carley - August 19, 2012

Cedar Lounge Revolution. Neither Trotsky nor Stalin, but:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/05/03/world/asia/20100503_CHINGLISH-4.html

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WorldbyStorm - August 19, 2012

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of Stalin or Stalinism. But one thing about this site is we get a lot of people from a variety of political positions and getting them to interact reasonably rancour free is part and parcel of – well, goal is a bit lofty, but you know what I mean.

The shootings are outrageous. The SACP position is terrible. The Morning Star is dismal.

Both of those should really think about how they have wound up in a position that any reasonable analysis would indicate a support for reaction.

I think the situation more broadly in SA is one where the ludicrousness of the SACP position in relation to the government and state is ever more evident.

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Mark P - August 19, 2012

I think the situation more broadly in SA is one where the ludicrousness of the SACP position in relation to the government and state is ever more evident.”

Agreed entirely.

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14. EamonnCork - August 19, 2012

It beggars belief that someone would attempt to justify the shooting dead of strikers who are looking for a wage increase. And justify it is what the Morning Star and our auto erotic asphxiation obsessed contributor did. How else can you describe the suggestion that the shooting is all the fault of ‘unrealistic’ trade union officials?
I actually wouldn’t imagine that the viewpoint that this is monstrous behaviour by the South African security forces is a particularly controversial one. And throwing in a few red herrings about ‘tribalism’ is strikingly similar to right wing attempts to justify similar massacres in the Apartheid era. Suggestions that people who criticise the massacre are actually just doing this to get in a cheap shot at the SACP beggars belief. Though perhaps it’s no harm to be reminded once in a while just how far Communist parties and newspaper will go when justifying misbehaviour by their side.

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combatliberalism - August 20, 2012

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

That one is admittedly more appropriate to this discussion, but I’ve always preferred this little number:

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15. P Mark - August 20, 2012

All very interesting stuff – still don’t see how Mark P using abuse as a form of discussion is sorted by any of this. His attacks on COSTU are fairly sad – there is a need for a good discussion about the degeneration of the leadership, and possibly wider among the cadre, of South African progressive movements – which results in them backing the murder of workers – but abuse, flag waving and general disruption are the characteristic of those who claim to be in the mould of Trotsky – although what the man himself would have made of these incidents is of course another matter.

Interesting discussion re the WSM documents also, would be great for such a public exploration of the issues affecting the wider Irish Left to be undertaken – a key issue would be if any progress for the wider Irish left could be undertaken in conjunction with the SWP, and the more hysterical types in the SP, or, which seems the more likely situation these groups, and there catch phrase, knee jerk approaches, lets protest outside the embassy, approach is part of the problem – by the way it seem reasonable, indeed necessary for people to protest outside the SA embassy following these murders, but after the sort of hysterics we’ve seen with SWP members draped in flags demanding the down fall of Gadhafi and his regime’s replacement with anything, I don’t think right thinking people will be attending either of the two demos planned by the hysterical ones.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

Rest assured, my tankie friend, that the SP will earn nothing but respect among ‘right-thinking people’ by protesting outside the SA embassy. There are many problems facing us if ‘progress for the wider Irish left’ is to be made, but thankfully this is not one of them, as the people with your strange, rather obsessive sectarian mentality are a tiny minority and won’t be able to get in the way.

I guess you’ll be pleased with this threat from the company:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0820/breaking11.html

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16. EamonnCork - August 20, 2012

Yes, because the murder of the workers is obviously kind of sort of regrettable but pales into insignificance when compared to Mark P’s use of intemperate language and something to do with the SWP and flags. That’s what really deserves the strongest possible righteous condemnation. Let’s get our priorities right.

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no debate - August 20, 2012

Well that’s up to you eamonncork. You decided to follow Mark P on this one because you thought that it was a clear-cut case. No ambiguities whatsoever. And because of that you thought it ok to call communists “scum.” Which is what you did. Call communists scum.

As far as apologetics goes, this from socialist world below on the murder of security guards and policemen by AMCU prior to the massacre.

” This provoked mistaken retaliations such as the torching of a car which led to the death of the two security guards on Saturday and the killing of two police officers on Monday. ”

Ahh, mistaken retaliations, four men dead. but, they’re probably scum as well so fuck it.

you wandered into a world you know nothing about, eamonncork, with Mark P as your Virgil.

How could you possibly think that would work out well?

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Ed - August 20, 2012

And I’ll double-down on that, friend – the SACP leaders who issued a statement demanding the arrest of union leaders without uttering a word of criticism about the massacre of 34 striking workers are scum, and they are scabs. All your efforts to blow smoke in people’s eyes with half-baked rhetoric can’t divert attention from this. You appear to believe that people should be immune from criticism because they are members of a Communist Party. Doesn’t work like that, I’m afraid – if you excuse a massacre of striking workers, you’re not going to be handled with kid gloves.

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no debate - August 20, 2012

” if you excuse a massacre of striking workers, you’re not going to be handled with kid gloves.”

Are you threatening me?

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Ed - August 20, 2012

Ok, that’s the point at which this mad, bad troll has jumped the shark and must be ignored. As will have been plain to everyone, including yourself, I was referring to the SACP, and to Mark’s description of them as ‘scum’ and ‘scabs’. Your pitiful attempt to twist this into a threat of physical violence against your person merely proves that you lie as compulsively as other peopel breath air.

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no debate - August 20, 2012

Well, we’ll see about that. Sounds like a threat.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

No, it doesn’t, as you well know. Please go away and troll somewhere else, your compulsive lying is a waste of everyone’s time.

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neilcaff - August 20, 2012

No internet troll, no matter how eccentric or baffling they appeared to be, can fail to be explained by ‘Flame Warriors’.

I think this may explain no debate/MadCynic/P Mark strange contributions…

http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/palooka.htm

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

Well either I’m the pied piper of Hamlin, successfully leading all the poor children away from the true path of respect for the SACP and Morning Star with the bewitching sound of my music.

Or alternatively everybody here bar you and your multiple personalities is more than capable of assessing the situation on their own. They are more than capable of picking a side when they see cops slaughtering striking miners. And they are more than capable of assessing a political force which then wades in to attack the strikers and demand that the same police arrest their leaders.

I see, by the way, that you can’t keep your toxic rambling straight. A few posts ago, you were denying vigorously that you were primarily concerned to defend the SACP scabs. Yet here, it seems that Eamonn’s gravest crime (well, his gravest crime other than agreeing with me and, for that matter, with just about everyone else who has posted here) is to agree that the SACP are scum. Funny that.

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no debate - August 20, 2012

Looks like you’re right there Mark P.

This is your site, that’s for sure. you’ve made it yours. any deviants from Trotskyist sectarianism are labelled scum, and eamonncork – and it seems everyone else here – is happy to go along with you.

you’re right. This is your site. Because when it comes to sectarianism, you’re the one enforcing the rules.

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WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2012

That’s a pointless way of looking at this no debate. If you want to interact fire ahead. If you want to comment as much as Mark P be my guest. I think we’re all in a position to judge the individual merits of commenters whether they’re Mark P or others on here without coming to the conclusion that it’s their site.

I’ve asked Mark P to stop using the ‘scum’ word. He hasn’t, I draw my own conclusions from that, but you’re no better with the Trot stuff.

You want to put up an argument against him, well perhaps a bit more of a measured tone, a lack of personalisation (near obsession with him), some facts perhaps and an avoidance of using equally loaded terms would help.

I’ve no doubt there’s greater complexity to this than is being presented, though that in no way detracts from the pisspoor responses from SACP and the Morning Star and the simple fact that a state shouldn’t massacre its own workers, but if you want to argue you’ve got to argue, not rant and not hector.

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no debate - August 20, 2012

you’re right. I have draw my own conclusions, and it’s pretty clear that on cedarlounge the tail wags the dog.

you’ve asked Mark P to refrain from “scum”.

He hasn’t, and continues to use it with all the subtlety of a Jim Allister, and all with your implicit support.

By the way, worldbystorm, it would have been nice if you had at least read the editorial in the morning star instead of just taking Mark P’s take on it.

The people you call scum here today will be on the frontline defending the NHS tomorrow.

Not that you care.

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

no debate:

It takes a certain amount of cheek for a sock puppet to run sniveling to site moderators, particularly after posting a whole string of insults himself, so full marks for that anyway.

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WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2012

Hold on a sec, I don’t implicitly agree with Mark P’s (and others) use of the term – and I’ve reiterated that on this thread a number of times. I had enough hassle with Alastair last year over scumbag as a term and it was precisely this sort of outcome I didn’t want where it is ported into general usage. Now I could go through the uses of it on the thread and delete it but I tend to trust to the good judgement of those here to think about it and desist from using it (and as I say people can make their own minds up about Mark P and whether the way he engages on occasion supports or detracts from the cause he espouses).

As it happens I have read the editorial and to be honest the line that least impresses me is the following (although a close runner up is the incredibly exculpatory line on the NUM)…

These include systematic violence, extravagant demands – such as a near trebling of pay at Marikana – and collaboration from the mining companies.

One of the NUM members killed early last week was a shop steward and the union insists that its key personnel were on a hit list drawn up by the AMCU leadership.

That’s a pointless thing for the MS to put out like that in the public domain. It knows it is anecdotal (and from what one can judge from the broader conflict high unlikely) and in the context of the situation reminds me of nothing so much as felon setting.

In relation to your now customary complaints about the CLR etc if you could get past the red mist that seems to descend across your eyes far too often in these engagements you would probably be able to mount a good and reasoned argument. But you can’t and you don’t. Nor do you seem to be able to see that you mirror and worse Mark P’s use of the term Stalinist. But that’s your problem and your fight and I’m not going to do the heavy lifting for you.

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

I realise that there really isn’t much point in engaging with you, given your complete dishonesty, but that’s really a very silly claim even by your standards.

1) This is not my site and indeed the people who do run this site take quite a different approach to me when it comes to appropriate language and terminology.

2) Most of the people commenting on this thread may have pretty much uniformly negative opinions on the stance taken by the SACP, but most of them are not, to my knowledge at least, Trotskyists. The issue here is not “Trotskyist sectarianism”, or any other figment of your paranoid imagination, it is the generalised revulsion which the SACP attracted by their own behaviour.

3) As you know well, neither I nor anybody else here, labelled anyone “scum” for being “deviants from Trotskyist sectarianism”. I labelled the SACP scum for responding to a police massacre of strikers by attacking the strikers and calling for those same police to arrest the strike leaders. It would never have occurred to me that being appalled by that sort of malevolence was a particularly Trotskyist phenomenon – I suspect that it’s a view shared by people across the range of Marxian and socialist politics. If you really think that it’s uniquely Trotskyist, then it appears you have a higher opinion of Trotskyism than I do.

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17. P Mark - August 20, 2012

No the problem is when proper discussions derailed by using these murders to attack NUM, COSATU. SACP and Morning Star as ‘Stalinist – all, apart from the latter, are mass organisations with various factions and approaches – such an approach closes down discussion and does not enable it. There is claims, it must be said coming from COSATU among others, in the South African media that the breakaway union is partly funded by other mining interests, there is also strong evidence that member of the NUM are working to a bosses agenda rather than a workers one – interesting stuff where workers die as pawns in others games – it is essential that we inform ourselves of the facts (this is not incident in Ireland) and consider what is going on here – that Mark P, the SWP etc. seem to have the full facts of who is at fault here within minutes of the event is not helpful – once considered it maybe clear that those he condemns need condemned, but what if other forces are playing the Trots like a fiddle? Including neo-liberal elements in the ANC and NUM? It’s an interesting one, and the sort of hysterics of Mark P lead people into supporting forces which have conducted ethnic cleansing in North Africa, that is the comparison I’m drawing. i.e. the whole manner in which the SWP and SP make judgments is not beneficial to a greater understanding of these issues.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

This is every bit as deranged as the sort of things that were said about the POUM during the Spanish civil war – ‘other forces are playing the Trots like a fiddle?’ – nudge nudge, fifth column, Trotsky-fascists, Hitlero-Trotskyites, agents of the Gestapo, innit, innit? For someone who objects so stridently to the term ‘Stalinist’, you really have the playbook memorised well.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

BTW, I’d say if we went back through all your different posts (under at least two sock-puppet handles), the word ‘hysterics’ or ‘hysterical’ must appear at least once in each one. Could we find a more perfect example of projection?

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P Mark - August 20, 2012

Anyway, Ed – don’t know what your on about re sock puppets – I withdraw the use of the term Trot and encourage you to deal with the here and now and not some formulaic approach to these issues. I read with interest your contributions above – they rang true to me from my discussions with the couple of South African trade unionists I’ve talked to. You will I take it be very aware of the serious ideological struggle going on within the SA progressive movements. Now would you do me the honour of dealing with some of the points I’ve raised – and a genuine appraisal of the forces at play here – including the leadership of the break away unions, whose biggest concerns, some contest, is that they were not getting a big enough bite of the corruption pie.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

Now I’m just baffled, to be honest – if what I posted above rings true to you, I can’t see where you’re coming from at all, why you’re so hostile to the comments being made by SP members on this thread (unless it’s simply because the latter are ‘Trots’). I think Mark P’s initial comments on the SACP statement – ‘scabs’ and ‘Stalinist scum’ – are perfectly understandable, given that the SACP had responded to the massacre of 34 striking workers by demanding that union leaders be arrested, without saying anything about criminal charges being brought against those responsible for the massacre (the equivalent of demanding immediately after Bloody Sunday that the leaders of NICRA be arrested while saying nothing about the Paras or their commanding officers).

There are times when you need to be nuanced and weigh up all sides of the question. But there are also times when you need to be blunt and come down firmly on one side. This is one of the latter cases.

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P Mark - August 20, 2012

If Mark P had condemned the SACP for that statement grand – instead he was intent on deriding anyone that sought to understand the background to this crime as ‘Stalinist’ – to the extent that he seems to now be claiming that I’m the same poster as ‘no debate’ – I’m not – while condemning, what would seem to me to be a planned massacre, I don’t think this must immediately correspond to support for an strike (which is declared illegal but certainly not immoral, but does have some interesting background in attempt to break the might of union – NUM – which may or may not need to discarded) , which has resulted in deaths prior to the massacre, is led by people with a questionable background and ideology – more needs to be known about this incident before a considered view is arrived at – for incidence say the SACP did throw its weight behind the rock drillers demands – it could lead to industrial chaos – an ungovernable South African state – who would that benefit?? On the other hand the SACP elite seems to have turned against mine nationalization – that doesn’t sound like a communist party to me – has the liberation leadership decided to cash in their chips? No longer interested in building a better South Africa, there is certainly evidence they have – but will I condemn the whole SACP, no I will not, nor the Morning Star on the basis of what would seem to be an initial misreading of the malaise that effects the communist movement in SA –, because following such a course of action allows for whatever working class solidarity there is to be to easily split – to whose benefit? A massacre such as this could be a well aimed first stage of an attack by the forces of reaction – to the best of my knowledge there is no leadership waiting in the wings to the left of Zuma to take over the reins in SA, there is to the right. Or again it may be the bubbling to the top of the inherent corruption within the institutions of the SA left – I’ll wait to make my own judgment on that – while largely dismissing Mark P’s views – which is unfortunate because I do enjoy his ‘clarity’ on some other issues.

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

Christ what a load of waffle.

To make any sense of this, you have to assume that the writer is naive beyond belief, naive to the point where the intentions of the SACP leadership – after 18 years in government – are somehow unknowable, uncertain, mysterious. Give them another 18 years, and another few dozen shot strikers and perhaps he’ll figure it out. It seems that years around what remains of the, ahem, “communist”, movement can have the strangest impact on some people’s faculties.

I will admit to finding the spectre of an “ungovernable” South Africa suffering from “industrial chaos” somewhat amusing as a rhetorical device. It seems even this half-hearted critic of the SACP is unable to avoid sounding like a right wing newspaper editorial when the possibility of workers actually fighting for better wages and conditions is raised.

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pat - August 20, 2012

The Socialist Party gets much of its information on issues relating to South Africa from its sister organisation that country, Democratic Socialist Movement.

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5894

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

To start with Mark did not attack the NUM nor COSATU as Stalinist – he class the SACP and the Morning Star as Stalinist scum for their blaming the workers in Marikana for the massacre carried out by the SA state forces.

P Mark is acting as an apologist for the SACP in his approach. Let’s look at what is well known –
1. The NUM are hugely influential within COSATU and the ANC for historical reasons.
2. The NUM is riddled with bribery and curruption right down to the shop-steward level.
3. Former NUM general Secretary, Cyril Ramaphosa (who still carries enormous influence within the NUM) is a member of the board of Lonmin, the owners of the Marikana mine. NUM officials have received houses, foreign holidays and shares in the mining companies to do closed-door deals with the mine owners to the detriment of the miners
4. The NUM has been losing tens of thousands of members over the past two years because it has become a company union and runs with the police and company thugs in enforcing these closed-door deals on the miners.
5. There are question marks over the outlook and methods of the AMCU – no one has ever disputed this, especially members of the Socialist Party who have like-minded activists in the Democratic Socialist Movement (the CWI in South Africa)working to build independent democratic trade unions in SA. The emergence of the AMCU is a symptom of the collapse of previously militant trade unions who have gone over to the state lock, stock and two smoking barrels to the state and now operate as an arm of the state.
6. The majority of the workers in strike in Marikana are not members of the NUM or the AMCU, they are workers fighting for decent wages and working conditions. The AMCU have received an echo simply because they are backing the strike whereas the NUM are attacking it.
7. The NUM have worked hand-in-hand with company thugs and the police in Marikana in attempting to crush the strike by the miners. When an NUM official addressed the miners at the start of the strike he was flanked by company goons armed with automatic weapons and was still run out of the meeting.
8. The NUM have called the striking workers ‘criminals’ who should be dealt with accordingly
9. The violence has been ongoing for more than a year – clashes have taken place in Marikana since June of 2011.
10. In this current dispute the first act of violence was perpetrated by the police and company thugs who opened fire with snipers on a demonstration of miners on the first day of the strike.
11. The massacre of miners on Thursday occurred after the police (with the assistance of the NUM) corralled 3000 striking miners behind a cordon or razor wire and fired volley after volley of tear gas and stun grenades into the corralled workers.
12. P Marks’s efforts at being an apologist belie the basic fact that workers on strike for a wage increase have been massacred by the South African Police. For a socialist there should be zero questioning, zero hesitation, zero equivocation, zero fudging, zero ‘informing ourselves of the facts’ – you either support the workers on strike or you are an appologist for the murder of these strikers by the police.

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P Mark - August 20, 2012

I refer you to this – “…that Mark P, the SWP etc. seem to have the full facts of who is at fault here within minutes of the event is not helpful…”

That you have discovered that I’m a rabid supporter of the NUM is news to me – yes I see that the SP sister organisation is calling for democratic unions and a general strike – now back to the discussion at hand:

Oh, as see – there is no need for discussion – “For a socialist there should be zero questioning, zero hesitation, zero equivocation, zero fudging, zero ‘informing ourselves of the facts’ – you either support the workers on strike or you are an appologist for the murder of these strikers by the police.”

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

P. – you threw in a dig about the AMCU, that it was funded by other mining companies – I demonstrated the abject sell-out of the NUM.

The only discussion necessary is what strategy is necessary to take this movement forward? What should the strikers do? What is necessary to build a fighting independent union for mine workers? what can socialists internationally do to assist these workers? etc.

There is no discussion on the massacre – you either support the striking workers or you become an apologist for the massacre of workers by the SA state forces.

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WorldbyStorm - August 20, 2012

JRG, I’m possibly taking you up wrongly, but I’m not sure I completely agree with you re the idea that one must support the striking workers on strike or you become an apologist for the massacre of workers by the SA state forces. That seems to me to elide two things, firstly a correct and absolute outrage against the use of murderous violence against the workers by the SA state forces and secondly their reasons for striking and the nature of their strike. The first is beyond question, we must protest about that and unreservedly. The second is a different matter. We can support them without necessarily supporting their demands.

I don’t want to seem like I’m disagreeing with you for the sake of it, or that I disagree with 90 per cent of what you say. I’m not and I don’t. On the primary issue that what took place was an outrage we agree. On the secondary issue, the response of the SACP and the Morning Star we are absolutely in agreement. It’s only on the tertiary issue that I would diverge and to be honest more in a general sense than the specific, for example knowing what I know I don’t think their demand for more wages is unreasonable, but that seems to be a separate issue.

One other thought. Zero questioning? That would worry me a bit. We’re socialists. We have to question. Doesn’t mean that we don’t have a framework within which to partly understand events, but that’s not in and of itself enough because contrary to the trope there’s lots that unexpected and new in this world.

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18. P Mark - August 20, 2012

“AMCU, which has opted for green apparel – “green represents life” – as opposed to NUM’s choice of red, says that it is apolitical and noncommunist…”

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/emerging-amcu-mine-union-favours-competitive-coexistence-joseph-mathunjwa-2012-06-06

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

Perhaps you should read the full article – rather than trying to pick out one stupid line that has zero relevence to the issue at hand.

You will note a reference to the Impala mine (which is probably the real reason behind the actions by the NUM, the mine owners and the state at Marikana).

The DSM have a detailed report on the situation at the Impala mine here (you will have to scroll down) –

http://www.socialistsouthafrica.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88%3Aimpala-workers-revolting-against-the-nums-betrayal&catid=1%3Alatest-news&Itemid=1

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19. P Mark - August 20, 2012

I encourage you to read the article I linked to again – it paints an interesting picture of the AMCU as a group more influenced by religion than Marx – I’ve already read the article you link to and refer you to my above posting where I note the SP sister organisation’s support of the democratic unions and a general strike

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

And did I not say in my original reply to you that there were question marks over the outlook and methods of the AMCU. I stated that the emergence of the AMCU is a sympton of the degeneration of the NUM – which the article clearly demonstrates. I am sure that at some point the mine owners will abandon the NUM and move to bring the AMCU under its wing and again the question is what can be done to build fighting democratic independent trade unions.

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P Mark - August 20, 2012

I think we agree – I’ll return with a fuller response later.

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20. Jim Monaghan - August 20, 2012

“Cyril Ramaphosa”. I suppose the creation of an African millionaire class equates to socialism in some quarters. The ANC has corrupted much faster than our revolutionary elite. SF of War of Independence to the FF of Haughey/Cowan and co, took a few years longer. The new union in not “marxist”. well if millionaires are the marxists can you blame them.Oh Mark, I assume your sister group are no longer in the ANC.

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Mark P - August 20, 2012

The predecessors of the Democratic Socialist Movement left the ANC many years ago, Jim.

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21. Mark P - August 20, 2012

Is the sock puppeting on this thread really necessary?

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22. Jim Monaghan - August 20, 2012

A South African view http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2719
I don’t actually know waht sock puppeting is. It was explained to me once and I forgot. I am glad they are out of the ANC, Mark, I didn’t know. I know a lot about far left groups, probably too much, but this I did not know.

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23. Karl - August 20, 2012

“There can never be justification for a massacre of striking workers and it is essential that the committee of inquiry set up by Jacob Zuma to examine the tragic events at Marikana makes this a central conclusion.

Nor should the committee concern itself solely with the most recent events – the murder early in the week of police, security guards and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members and the subsequent massacre of strikers by police.

The South African Police Service must explain why its officers were armed with automatic weapons when an order was issued last year banning the use even of rubber bullets during public protests.

Inadequate police training to deal with potentially violent situations, combined with officers’ anger at the butchery of two of their colleagues, was always likely to provide a combustible mix. ”

Morning Star Editorial 18th August 2012

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

You forgot to add their defence of the NUM and once again placing the blame for the violence on the AMCU –

“The NUM, South Africa’s largest union and a prime target for corporate hostility, has seen the oligopoly use every underhand trick in the book to undermine collective bargaining agreements and to divide the workforce. It accuses one company, BHP Billiton, of initially funding the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, led by Vuzimusi Joseph Mathunjwa, whose recruitment efforts across the platinum industry have common features.

These include systematic violence, extravagant demands – such as a near trebling of pay at Marikana – and collaboration from the mining companies.

One of the NUM members killed early last week was a shop steward and the union insists that its key personnel were on a hit list drawn up by the AMCU leadership.

None of this excuses police commanders of their responsibility for arming their officers to the hilt and ordering them to open fire with automatic rifles.

But it should give some people pause for thought before they repeat erroneous allegations that NUM is a sellout union or that President Zuma ordered the slaughter.”

A down-the-line defence of the NUM and Zuma and the ANC leadership. In case the Morning Star didn’t notice the ANC are in power in South Africa and have been for nearly 20 years.

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24. Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012

The Marxist Workers Tendency left the ANC I believe in 1990 (if my memory is correct) – the MWT had been subjected to some quite brutal repression by the ANC leadership and the SACP during the preceeding period. The MWT was initially organised in exile when some lawyers and intellectuals who were active in the ANC came across documents by the CWI on South Africa. Some of them left South Africa and lived in exile in order to work with the CWI. By the late 1970s the SACP had begun to attack what they called the ‘workerist tendency’ in the ANC and began pursuing a course of getting the ANC to expel members of the MWT. Slowly the CWI began recruiting activists living in exile like Nimrod Sejake in Ireland (the SACP thought Nimrod was dead and were apoplectic that he had joined the MWT) and after a period, recruitment work began in South Africa. Very quickly the MWT developed a significant base within the trade union movement and community organisations in the townships. Inqaba ya Basebenzi became one of the most widely read political publications in South Africa and led the MWT to at one time having the second largest section in the CWI with a membership well into four figures. As a result of the threat being posed by the MWT, particularly to the position of the SACP there were wholesale expulsions of MWT members from the ANC and the SACP went on a witchhunt against MWT activists in the trade unions and the communities. The MWT were targetted by the South African state and by Buthelezi’s Inkatha. The SACP are still terrified of the influence of the ‘workerist tendency’ that even to this day they issue statements proclaiming the ‘dangers of the resurgence of the workerist tendency from the 1980s’ and attacking the DSM and its work.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

Christ, you’re not wrong about that, this article from 2007 is as mad as a badger who’s read ‘Fundamental Principles of Leninism':

http://www.anc.org.za/docs/anctoday/2007/at36.htm#art1

Nice to see that they’ll quote Marx and Lenin in order to attack ‘syndicalism'; not so keen on the bits about overthrowing capitalism or fighting the bourgeoisie, I guess.

Are there any good articles online about the history of Trotskyism in South Africa? I read in a biography of Mandela that there were some Trotskyist activists on Robben Island with the ANC prisoners.

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combatliberalism - August 20, 2012

Peter Taaffe and the CWI produced a number of pamphlets which may be of use and are available from the Socialist Party online bookshop. Some should be online.

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Ed - August 20, 2012

Cheers

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Jim Monaghan - August 20, 2012

http://www.revolutionaryhistory.co.uk/rh04/rh0404.html

The above has a lot of the early history. The Trotskyists tended to organise in the later period around the Unity movement. The ANC was very supported by Moscow line parties, the PAC by the Maoists.

http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/nam/newafrre/writers/tabata.shtml

Tabata was a figure in the movement at one time. One wing of Trotskyism is involved with this http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/nam/newafrre/writers/tabata.shtml
The CWI and others have other formations. As in Ireland the far left competes more than it cooperates.

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Jolly Red Giant - August 20, 2012
Ed - August 20, 2012

Thanks, that link looks really interesting, will shamelessly abuse the work printer to run it off when I get a chance

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25. doctorfive - August 20, 2012

Had a quick flick through this in Eason’s today. Looks handy enough and should be of interest to quite a few of ye.

http://www.thehistorypress.ie/product.asp?P_ID=558

Similar enough to Coakley and Gallagher’s effort

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26. Roasted Snow - August 21, 2012

Being reflective, as I am, thought I’d share this, on the 31st anniversary of the ending of the ’81 hunger Strike.

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27. crocodile - August 21, 2012

Not sure how many round here will remember Dom Mintoff, though some may recall his daughter…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/21/dom-mintoff

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28. ipad3 pris - January 18, 2013

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29. Jim Monaghan - January 18, 2013

Precarity or job insecurity

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/17/sacked-model-modern-employee-outsourcing?INTCMP=SRCH

Aside from the amusing aspect outsourcing your own job for 20% of your salary, it shows what is happening to jobs on an international scale.
Frightening. Could this be an aspect of the austerity drive as the West reconfigures its economy in a brutal wat to cope with competition.

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LeftAtTheCross - January 18, 2013

My brother-in-law is a senior manager in a hi-tech multi-national and regularly travels to his company’s offices in the US, India and China. He mentioned over christmas that salary levels for senior engineers in the Indian and Chinese offices were approaching those performing similar functions is the European and US operations. Which doesn’t tie in at all with the story referenced above of course but is maybe symptomatic of variations on the basis of particular skills shortages.

As for it being part of the austerity drive…perhaps. We don’t see too much out-sourcing to low wage economies of senior banking jobs. Richie Boucher’s package was some €832,000 last year. And Paddy Healy’s comment yesterday pointed to the top 10,000 earners in the country having an average income of €595,000. Austerity isn’t about making the economy competitive, it’s about channeling the wealth upwards to the few from the many. They don’t care about international competitiveness, just about creaming the wealth for themselves at our expense.

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30. Jim Monaghan - January 18, 2013

The highly paid will be the last to be outsourced. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. I think the internet revolution is of sismic proportions. Look at some recent things HMV etc. On a footnote, out overpaid senior (not junior) officials such as judges are the best paid in Europe.
Look at the speed at which Dell moved from Limerick. There is a remorseless logic. Look at the restructuring Germany forced through when it absorbed the GDR. They are following a similar logic with the rest of the EU. Maybe not all the rationale but in my opinion part of it.

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