Patrick Bond


The ubiquitous ‘development goals’ chosen by the United Nations – first Millennium (MDGs) in 2000 and now Sustainable (SDGs) – were and are and will be a distraction from the real work of fighting poverty done by social justice activists, including Africans.


An intelligence document has surfaced claiming that the white establishment through the private sector has a huge influence in the running of the National Treasury and that the history of this influence dates back to the early 1990s when the ANC and the white, apartheid-founding National Party were in negotiations. The white establishment felt it was too risky to leave the running of the government solely in the hands of the ANC.


Governments across Africa are obsessed with foreign direct investment. Yet every year the continent losses billions of dollars through illegal financial outflows connected with FDI. More money is lost through legal transfers of super-profits and foreign investors are responsible for distorting national economies.


Will the bloc’s policies and structures be deployed to fight the poverty, ecological destruction and climate change, privatisation and corruption, illicit financial flows and Resource Cursing associated with current global lending, or will they amplify these features?


More than 150 Marxists met in Johannesburg to ponder some 70 papers at the World Association for Political Economy forum, where 82-year-old Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin was named winner of WAPE’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite the diversity of viewpoints, there seemed to be concurrence that a convincing, unifying intellectual critique of both local and world-scale capital is needed.

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Mere ‘be-nice’ appeals and marches will not address the root causes of xenophobia in South Africa. Jacob Zuma’s ANC government is at fault not only for neoliberal, pro-corporate, job-killing policies, but for tightening immigration regulations, compelling refugees to live under illegal informality. That requires resistance.

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Can Africans with dot-connecting talents now more forcefully consider an eco-socialist model? We need to recover the socialist traditions of Fanon, Lumumba, Cabral, Rodney, Ruth First, Sankara and Chris Hani; and to these add environmentalist, feminist and other intersectional activisms. Or perish.


After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address last week, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?

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South Africa is losing its power, literally: it’s a process called “load shedding” that will last for the foreseeable future. The state energy utility Eskom is careening out of control, begging for an emergency $4.5 billion bailout within the $120 billion national


Economically, the overall IMF objective is stabilising crisis-prone world capitalism on behalf, mainly, of Western financiers.