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
28 October 2009

CSD SEMINAR – Democracy under Threat?: What attacks on grassroots activists mean for our politics

In light of the recent attacks on Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) in Kennedy Road, Durban, the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) at University of Johannesburg/Rhodes University will hold a seminar entitled Democracy under Threat?: What Attacks on Grassroots Activists Mean for our Politics where grassroots activists, scholars and human rights campaigners will discuss threats to free political activity and their implications.

 Venue: Training Centre, 6th Floor, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) – map attached

Time:   9am to 3pm

Date:   Wednesday, 4 November 2009

RSVP:   Johnny Selemani – jaselemani@gmail.com / 073 553 0726

           Kate Tissington – kate.tissington@wits.ac.za / 072 220 9125 (by Friday 30 October 2009)

 

Speakers:

Steven Friedman, Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD)

Pregs Govender, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)

S’bu Zikode, President, Abahlali basMjondolo

Mnikelo Ndabankulu, Spokesperson, AbM

Zodwa Nsibande, General Secretary of the Youth League, AbM

Michael Neocosmos, Monash University

Richard Pithouse, Politics Department, Rhodes University

Andile Mngxitama, Foundation for Human Rights (FHR)

Marcelle Dawson, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg (to be confirmed)

Noor Nieftagodien, History Department, University of the Witwatersrand

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