Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
22 May 2008

Anti-xenophobic vigil in Cape Town

I don’t really place adverts on this Blog but this strikes me as very important and encouraging. There will be a protest vigil (organised by pro-poor organisations) against xenophobic violence outside Parliament, Plein Street corner of Roeland Street on Friday 23 May 2008 from 5pm to 6pm. An email states:

We need to make the biggest statement that we can. We need to get the message out that we are against xenophobic violence. Please bring your partner, child, work-mate, friend, whomever you can think of bringing along. We need to lift the atmosphere of fear! We need to persuade ourselves that poor turning against poor is not the answer. The poor need to be united to collectively solve their problems.

Please print out this e-mail and make posters to place up where you work, learn or live for the benefit of those without e-mail. Place this advert on or in any forums you are aware of.

AbaForeigners AbaRefugees Sawubona iSouth Africa ! Foreigners and Refugees are Welcome in South Africa!

Called by Cape Town Action Forum Affiliates: – COSATU, SA Municipal Workers Union, National Mineworkers SA, Walmer Estate Civic, Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign, Right to Food Campaign, Keep Left, APDUSA and others

If I was not traveling outside South Africa (where I will be enjoying the hospitality of foreign governments and their people), I would have attended.

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