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
14 August 2007

Con Court life a drag?

Some people are speculating that the members of the Constitutional Court have recently drifted to the right, but it seems as if the Clerks who assist the learned judges with their research and contribute significantly to the intellectual debates at the Court are less inhibited.

I got hold of the invite below to a party organised by some of the Clerks at the Court. The party was organised in response to the practice in Umlazi, where woman are being forbidden (and in one case stripped naked) from wearing trousers and also in response to the recent murders of lesbian women in Soweto and elsewhere.

Pity some of the (male) judges are not attending as well. Wearing a dress might just help some of the male judges to embrace their (as yet underdeveloped) empathetic side.

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