Constitutional Hill

Some animals are not more equal than others

Any egalitarian-loving communist would be horrified by the suggestion that President Jacob Zuma is entitled to more respect than a working class person living in an informal settlement. Yet, in present day Animal Farm South Africa, where some of the pigs want us all blindly to chant that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, the South African Communist Party (SACP) of KwaZulu-Natal wants legislation to be drafted to protect the dignity of the president to prevent people from “insulting” him. The proposal is both unconstitutional and unconscionable — but perhaps not surprising coming from an organisation that blindly supported Stalin’s Gulag.

KwaZulu-Natal SACP secretary, Themba Mthembu, said on Monday that many countries had realised after a President was appointed that “some respect needs be given to that person”. According to him, President Zuma had been the subject of a “barrage of attacks which were unfair and lacking in fact and truth… We want to prevent criticism, which is an insult to the office of the president. They can criticise, as long as they don’t insult and undermine the head of state.”

It is true that so called “insult laws” are in place in many countries across the world. In Iran, a prominent journalist was sentenced to 16 months in prison in 2010 for calling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a megalomaniac. During the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, you could go to jail for four years for insulting the President. In Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has also used laws against insulting the president to silence his critics in the media.  In Lebanon, a man was arrested in 2010 for calling President Michel Sleiman a “hypocrite” and “the worst kind of failure” on Facebook. And in the Netherlands, there were two separate arrests in 2007 of citizens calling Queen Beatrix a whore. And, in 2006, Poland launched a national manhunt for a man who farted loudly in response to a request from police to show more respect for then President Lech Kaczynski.

But in South Africa, a law specifically protecting the President’s dignity or protecting him from insults is not only completely unnecessary, but would also never pass constitutional muster.

The South African common law already provides for the worryingly expansive protection of the dignity of everyone — including the President. Anyone who believes that someone has infringed on his or her dignity can sue that person for damages.

If the President wanted to sue for the infringement of his dignity he would have to prove, first, that somebody deliberately did or said something, which impaired the President’s dignity. In other words, this aspect of the tests asks how the President himself understood the words, action or the image, as he must show that his subjective feelings were indeed wounded.

However, not every subjective slight of the President’s feelings would have legal impact. Only wrongfully inflicted infringement of his dignity would be actionable. This is an objective test. It requires the conduct complained of to be tested against the prevailing norms of society (also referred to as the current values and thinking of the community) in order to determine whether such conduct can be classified as wrongful. These prevailing norms must be judged with reference to constitutional values and norms and must give effect to them.

These values and norms would include the need to protect freedom of expression and the obvious requirement that politicians could not enjoy absolute protection from being offended or hurt. In fact, I would argue that our law would seldom deem it wrongful for the President to be criticised, insulted or even ridiculed as he is just another politician who has voluntarily exposed himself to the rough and tumble of politics.

This is perhaps why the KwaZulu-Natal SACP believes that the President needs special protection against insults and criticism. But any law that prohibits the rest of us from “insulting” or “undermining” the President would be unconstitutional. Such a law would place a fundamental limit on the right to freedom of expression to protect one person.

This kind of limitation will, however, never stand. The limitation would protect only one person — the President – and would therefore not be a law of general application as envisaged by the limitations clause. One would therefore not be able to argue that such an egregious limitation of the right to freedom of expression is justifiable in terms of the limitation clause, as the limitation clause would not apply.

But even if the limitation clause did apply, the Constitutional Court is almost certain to find that the limitation is not justifiable in an open and democratic society. This is because the purpose of the limitation would be illegitimate. It would be aimed at protecting the President from certain criticism and would elevate the President above other citizens. The limitation would therefore undermine the Rule of Law, which requires that no one should be treated as being above the law and everyone should be equal before the law. When the purpose of a law limiting one of the rights in the Bill of Rights is to undermine the essence of the Rule of Law, such a limitation could never stand.

Moreover, the infringement of the right to freedom of expression would be so severe and the harm it seeks to address so trivial, that no court in South Africa would find that the limitation is justified. This is because a law that provides special protection for one politician — usually the leader of the largest political party in Parliament – from harsh criticism, ridicule or actions which could undermine his status as a politician, would have a chilling effect on free speech. It would send a signal that the President is so special, so exalted, so important, that he cannot be subjected to the normal robust criticism and ridicule that all politicians in a democracy are expected to tolerate. The democratic essence of the governing system itself would be undermined by a law that treats a sitting President more favourably than other politicians also competing for the votes of citizens.

In our constitutional democracy, the President is not entitled to better treatment or more respect than the rest of us merely because he was elected by 400 members of the National Assembly for a term of 5 years to serve as the head of the government. The President of South Africa – whoever it may be — is just another (potentially grubby, scheming and self-righteous) politician and his or her appointment as President does not elevate him or her to a special lofty status, which entitles him or her to be respected by anyone.

While one could argue that it would be polite to show some respect for the office of President, this does not entitle the President him or herself to be respected by the rest of us. The President is our servant, not the other way around. As our servant, he is entitled to be treated with the respect he has earned.

If the President is good at his job and ensures that textbooks are delivered on time and that houses are built and services delivered; if he does not enrich himself or turn a blind eye when his family members and cronies become corrupt; if he demonstrates respect for himself and for the people of South Africa by acting tirelessly to solve our problems instead of solving his own family housing crisis, then all good citizens would respect the President of the country — no matter which party he leads. Decent South Africans would then also be entitled to judge those harshly who fail to respect a President who acts as a true servant of the people. But that is entirely different from demanding that legislation be drafted to protect the President’s dignity.

After all, respect is earned. One cannot legislate it into existence.

  • Zoo Keeper

    The SACP are dependent on the goodwill of the Zuma administration to keep their remora strategy going. No surprise they are brown-nosing madly!

    Also, communism is an avowed enemy of democracy, liberty and freedom of the individual. Closing down space in criticising leaders so democracy is undermined is an essential tenet of communism.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    ‘The proposal is both unconstitutional and unconscionable — but perhaps not surprising coming from an organisation that blindly supported Stalin’s Gulag.’

    Hey get over it. I used to suffer such a naive and fundamental belief in ‘nonracialism’ that I never thought I would to ever have to defend those once self-evident principles against comrades in the struggle or hypocritical cunts like yourself.

  • Chris (Not the right wing guy)

    Some animals are already more equal than others. Ask Chumani Maxwele.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    What we have to realise is that under Apartheid black people where constently critisised and insulted by privileged whites for hundreds of years. Now it is the time for black people to critizise and insult whites if we really believe in justice and equality.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    ‘but perhaps not surprising coming from an organisation that blindly supported Stalin’s Gulag.’

    Just remind us again liewe Pierretjie, after you got your degree at Apartheid Stellenbosch, where do you go to study? Was it not the USA who also supported Apartheid?

  • Granny Weatherwax

    Nice one, ozoneblue. Isn’t it amazing how when one has no reasonable argument or logical, relevant points to make, one resorts to swearing and name calling. You really put the Prof in his place… I bet he’s writing his resignation letter now, completely cowed by your elegant response to his article. (I’m not surprised Cosatu resorts to violence and intimidation to get their way if ozoneblue represents the level of their debating skills. It would be laughable if it were not so desperately sad.)

  • StevenI

    Hey Ozoneblue calm down – if you keep ranting and raving your stability levels will get bad and the little whisper of blue will become black ozone (no racial overtones inferred).

    You’ve gone a tad over the top by rewriting history “Apartheid black people where constantly criticised and insulted by privileged whites for hundreds of years”.

    Whilst the learned professor might have orientations different to you I don’t think that calling him the “C” word will get much of a raise out of him.
    From an educational view point there were not many “1st world countries” that didn’t support the Nats in some form or another (Nats=whiteys).

    With regards to getting over Stalin’s Gulag you might want to go to Russia where you will see that even during the cold war the Russians after Stalin’s death got rid of all of the statues monuments to Stalin because he was a monster.

    Jacob Zuma is (I’ve never met him personally) a really nice guy who commands respect (note not demands). Unfortunately he is a seed of poison and any learned person in the ANC knows this but is too cowardly do to show dissent.

    Go for the secret(e) vote of no confidence I dare you.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    So help me out here. Which part of this is wrong?

    “Prof Pierre de Vos is the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance and teaches in the area of Constitutional Law. He has a B Comm (Law), LLB and LLM (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLM from Columbia University in New York’

    http://www.publiclaw.uct.ac.za/staff/pdevos/

    This is the same guy who who preaches about ‘white privilege’, how all whites benefited from a system that is called a ‘crime aganst humanity’ and even advocates now that ‘progressive judges’ in new South Africa should support new regime of racist policies that would discriminate againt young white kids even when they are poor and had absolutely nothing to do with Apartheid – while he steadfastly holds on to his own job?

    What sort of credibility can such a morally reprehensible and frankly disguting self-serving hypocrite possibly have.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Ozonebuoy

    “liewe Pierretjie, after you got your degree at Apartheid Stellenbosch, where do you go to study? Was it not the USA who also supported Apartheid?”

    Ozone, much as I admire your forensic skills, your mastery of nuance, and your unrivalled command of LOGIC, this particular argument seems like a little bit of a “stretch.” Perhaps a stronger point would be that Pierre’s liberal individualism has led him to elide the plain fact that the Zille, Shapiro and Brett Murray attacks on Mr Zuma’s privacy, equality and dignity are offensive not just to Mr Zuma, but to ALL Africans.

    Thanks so much.

  • Dmwangi

    I wonder if Ozone, an avowed Marxist, and PdV, who appears hostile to it, know that critical gender studies and CRT are derivatives of Marxism. Yet PdV loves the latter, while Ozone despises it. PdV loathes the former, while Ozone is its most prominent protagonist. The irony!

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    He did call cde Zuma a “chauvenist pig” – I have noticed that post mysteriously dissapeared from Thought Leaders archives when Zuma was elected prez.

    I assume “chauvenist pigs” just like all those other millions of African men who got fucked over by USA led global capitalist system and its proxy the Apartheid SA regime.

    That Cold War that never happened you know.

  • Chris (Not the right wing guy)

    Dear Prof De Vos

    I know how you feel about freedom of speech, and banning people from this forum. But today I’m begging of you to please please ban this person who sometimes call him or herself ozoneblue, and sometimes goes by other names. He has now clearly shown himself to be completely incapable of any rational thoughts. Every minute spent on reading his rants is a minute of your life you will never get back. I’m afraid it has reached the stage where this person is chasing away bona fide readers of your blog, and preventing others from engaging in depate, because they don’t want to be part of the circus created by this individual.

    Alternatively, is it not possible to get an “ignore button” so I can at least hide his/her foolish comments from appearing on my screen.

  • John Roberts

    It’s been clear to most people for a long time that the ANC doesn’t understand the law or the Constitution.

    I am prepared to compromise.

    I’ll respect Zuma when he stops pissing on the Constitution. Which will be never.

  • Brett Nortje

    “If the President wanted to sue for the infringement of his dignity he would have to prove, first, that somebody deliberately did or said something, which impaired the President’s dignity.”

    Of course, Zuma may then be called to the stand. And face cross-examination.

  • Brett Nortje

    Dear Themba

    2000 of you chose this clown to be the public face of South AFrica
    There should be a law against that! Have you no shame? Is that why you need legislation?

    Do you think you might protect the dignity of the Office of President better
    by being more careful with your choice of who fills the position?

    Isn’t the ANC the real transgressor?

  • Brett Nortje

    I’m a huge OBS fan.

    I think he is representative of the kind of white person who would support the ANC, being your typical pisscat or boomkop or someone with an antisocial personality disorder or I-hate-mummy-and daddy issues.

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    Chris (Not the right wing guy)
    November 13, 2012 at 21:00 pm

    Hayibo Chris,

    Prof MO admonished me much, much earlier for saying that OB is the IDIOT GUY!

    Some even engage with the moron!

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    Brett Nortje
    November 13, 2012 at 21:23 pm

    Hey G

    “I think he is representative of the kind of white person[!]”

    Me too.

    Thanks.

  • John Roberts

    Chris (Not the right wing guy)

    November 13, 2012 at 21:00 pm

    Have you tried Tippex ?

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    oops!

    Let’s redo.

    Brett Nortje
    November 13, 2012 at 21:23 pm

    Hey G

    “I think he is representative of the kind of white person[!]”

    Me too.

    Thanks.

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    John Roberts
    November 13, 2012 at 21:33 pm

    JR,

    “Have you tried Tippex ?”

    You gotta admit that OB is the worst kind of crap that exists!

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    Brett

    I supported ANC right untill it became abundantly clear that it is another criminal capitalist and racist organisation. Code word Jackie Selebi.

    And white people better wake the fuck up, their socalled struggle is a big fat lie. A vehicle for the most obnoxious capitalist self-enrichment that if left unchallenged will most certainly lead another African genocide.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    So perhaps one should rather ask how does a self-confessed Friend of the Mafia get promoted head of INTERPOL. Surely they must have done some background checks.

  • John Roberts

    @ozone cunt

    Pierre has never denied he benefitted from being white. At least he contributes now to society.

    You’re just a ball of sour piss that has but a single means of debate : ad hominem. And that shows your IQ. Or lack of it I mean. You’re worse than the ANC mate.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    Sure he fucking benefitted from Apartheid. He continue to earn over R 600k a year while the empoverished massses including thoe 500 000 “stupid” whites in caravan parks can hardly scrap enough together for a daily meal or to feed their “patriachal”families.

  • mdk

    @Ozoneblue Ad hominem attacks display your weakness of character. Debate the point….

  • Brett Nortje

    Ek stem saam jou hier:

    “And white people better wake the fuck up, their socalled struggle is a big fat lie. A vehicle for the most obnoxious capitalist self-enrichment that if left unchallenged will most certainly lead another African genocide.”

    Al die magte skuif in posisie en ons sit mooi in die middel.

    Maar, jy het ‘n geneigdheid om die baba met die badwater uit te gooi. Het jy ooit in jou lewe gedink Anglo aandele sou ‘junk’ word? Die ‘blue-chip’ van alle SAanse ‘blue-chips’? Die grootste ondernemer en indiensnemer in Suid AFrika? Uit Suid Afrika uit? En nou se Standard & Poor Anglo se aandele is op pad om ‘junk’ te word?

    En dit is alles die ANC se skuld. Hulle en hulle ZANU maatjies soek nie kompetisie vir minerale nie.

    De Vos kan baie meer in die privaatsektor skep. Dit is een van die kenmerke van ‘n kennis-ekonomie, en die rede dat 18jaar van SADTU onderwys so ‘n verpletterende effek het.

    Ignoreer vir JR. Sy is ‘n goeie een om van ‘ad hominem’ te praat!

  • http://facebook thabo mbekii

    morning all can you pls make me understand what is the sentencing of that lady who killed 5 children in the north west province is it 12years per child or just 12 years alone and wat is this concurrently thing? sorry fo being out of the topic

  • Mike

    @ozoneblue – when the president stops appointing people like Menzi Simelane to ensure that justice is not done then the SACP and KZN ANC branch are entitled to raise this matter of respect but until there argument has no credibility.
    You live in a fantasy world whereby you make up generalisations about how whites insulted blacks, forgetting that whites have been the biggest contributers to christian church coffers in the 100 years that has been vital to containing the increase of poverty .

  • Jeffman

    Who was it who said, ‘The only good commie is a dead commie’? Some general in the cold war? Why do we still have a communist party? Communism is gone in Russia where it started. But oh no , here in South Africa we still have these dumbasses shouting “comrade” this and “comrade” that and wearing hammer and sickle t shirts! WTF !!! Do these guys not read history books or newspapers? YOU ARE IRRELEVANT!!!!!

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    An armed gang stormed an ANC branch meeting in Ekurhuleni and allegedly threatened to shoot anti-Zuma ANC members, according to a report.

    The Star reported on Wednesday that eyewitness Sbongile Ntlonti said the gang, nine men and a woman, intimidated branch members at Rondebult, near Spruitview.

    This was because they believed these members wanted to nominate Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as the ruling party’s new leader, instead of President Jacob Zuma.

    The pro-Zuma group claimed they were from the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association.

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2012/11/14/gang-threatens-to-shoot-anti-zuma-anc-members-at-branch-meeting

  • Brett Nortje

    See, Maggs? The ZANUfication of the ANC is complete.

    How much different is this to threatening violence against Zille for visiting Nkandla, or rationalising those threats afterwards?

    The ANC needs to take a long, hard look at itself. In the 80s we used to say “Yes, but, the SAP keep detaining the UDF leadership so how are they supposed to stop violence against AZAPO and Inkatha?”

    What is the bullshiiit excuse now?

  • John Roberts

    @Ozone whatever

    Pierre may earn 600K and some whites may be jobless and some blacks may be billionaires.

    It’s called capitalism. Happens everywhere. Nothing to do with skin colour. I know you were not fortunate enough to get an education but it’s not too late (unless you live in Limpopo)

  • Donovan

    Hey John Roberts, the Constitution allows me to piss on the Constitution, or do you want me to only just say how beautiful it is?

    And for the record the SACP never supported Stalin’s Gulag. They did support Stalin and the Soviet Union, but not the Gulag. They may have not believed it took place, but they did not support that it was the correct course of action.

    On the base of it, the argument for legislation proposed by the SACP, who is not represented in our Parliament or any of the provincial legislatures or the local government councils, is not correct and should not even see the light of day. However, what raising this matter can do is to highlight that many talking heads in the country speak of Jacob Zuma like he is not the President of the country. Thus there is nothing inherently wrong in criticising and even making fun of Jacob Zuma, but do it whilst factoring that you are referring to a sitting Head of State. I think Trevor Noah seems to know how to strike that balance. The argument that Jacob Zuma’s actions are what is the problem is not a strong one, since the problem cannot be that a President must be faultless, a veritable angel or saint, but that when we criticise the President, let us remember that he is our President. Its the same as our flag, or national emblem or national anthem, what our view on them or criticisms of it, we must treat it with a sense of respect. Thats all.

  • Mike

    @Donovan – maybe you are showing age and maybe the unpalatable truth is hard to swallow but Joe Slovo knew all about the Gulag’s of Stalin.

  • Mike

    @ Jeffman – Communism was started in Paris by the communes a group of people that was responsible for more deaths in Paris, something like 15,000, than the french revolution itself.
    I have been to the Pere Lachaise cemetary where they where eventually executed themselves after a military coupe.
    Everywhere where there has been resistance to communism the response by communists have been to murder the population.

  • Donovan

    @Mike….read the rest of the post. PS there aren’t any people called the “Gulag’s”. The Gulag was a process of expropiation and nationalisation, particularly in the rural areas of the Soviet Union. However, Stalin used the process to not only kill tens of thousands of landowners (the Kulaks) but to also eliminate perceived political opponents. The SACP supported the process of expropriation and nationalisation of land, as well as not to bow down to the resistance of the landowners (Kulaks), who were being supported and assisted by the United States, but they did not support the liquidation of the Kulaks. Joe Slovo may have privately known or even believed that the Kulaks needed to be liquidated, but he never would have had the courage to even raise that possibility in the SACP. So the SACP supported the nationalisation or collectivisation programme of agricultural land, but they never supported the elimination of a whole people nor did they advocate that that it was correct for Stalin to use this process to eliminate Party opponents and/or challengers.

  • Donovan

    Mike and Jeffman….just look at the activism in Europe and in the United States today, in the wake of the financial implosion, before you claim Communism is dead, and only South Africa gives it the time of day. The Paris Communes was not the start of communism.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Donovan

    “the SACP never supported Stalin’s Gulag. They did support Stalin and the Soviet Union, but not the Gulag”

    I would be the last one to support shipping millions of people to Siberia to freeze to death. But you must remember that the Soviet Union was encircled by the forces of neo-liberal US imperialism. Stern measures were needed. Also, Donovan, when you condemn Cmd Stalin’s decisive action with respects to senior members of the Communist Party, you must recall that most of them were in league with Leon Trotsky, a traitor who conspired with the liberal media to defame Cmd Stalin. (All of this was revealed in exhaustive NKVD investigations.)

  • John Roberts

    Donovan

    I think you’re a bit thick mate.

    The Constitution does not allow you to piss on it.

    Pissing on the Constitution means disregarding it. Your logic would have us belive that hate crimes, discrimination etc. are OK because the Constitution allows you to piss on it !

    Get fucking real you moron.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    I don’t believe the holder of the office of president should be subject to any kind of protection.

    He is just the temporary holder, you cannot equate that person to the national flag or other impersonal representation of the nation.

    He is in the position of pre-eminence, and therefore must be subjected to more than anyone else. If he’s an idiot or whatever, people must be able to voice their opinions as they fell fit without fear or favour.

    According “respect” which means bowing down to the president is an anathema to real democracy. The president should be the least respected person ironically!!

  • Donovan

    John Roberts, the Constitution allows me to literally piss on it, it just does not allow me to piss on you…pity

    Zoo Keeper, then how come Trevor Noah makes fun of the President, criticises the President, but in no way can any person claim that Trevor Noah is disrespectful towards the President. Trevor Noah reveals that it is possible. And further according respect does not mean bowing down. And a former President remains a former President, that is for life it cannot be taken away, so the respect remains. This does not mean you cannot criticise or make fun of the President sitting or former.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    The SACP is a remora on SA politics. Its imply attaches itself to the ANC and feeds off the scraps. Under Zuma it has become powerful beyond its imagination, about 1/4 of Cabinet posts are held by the SACP.

    The SACP has conspicuously failed to field an electoral candidate in any election in the country’s history.

    How can the SACP claim any legitimacy at all?

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    How would you define respecting a president then?

  • Donovan

    ZooKeeper, the constitution allows the SACP to claim legitimacy. The SACP’s legitimacy is decided by their strategies and tactics. You not liking their strategies and tactics is not their concern, thats your own problem. For the record in the first cabinet of the Gauteng province in 1995, there was over 80% who were know SACP leaders. Did that make the provincial government of Tokyo Sexwale illegitimate? Or did that mean that the Gauteng SACP illegitimate or that it was more powerful than COSATU or SANCO? Where do you get these intellectual leaps of faith from?

  • Donovan

    Zookeeper, I do not want to get in semantics with you, but suffice to state, watch any of Trevor Noah’s stand-up routines, he makes fun of the President, he mimics the President, but you can see that he recognises President Zuma as his President, he does not detract from that. For you to recognise President Zuma as your President (that is if you are a citizen of South Africa) you must believe that he is your President, regardless whether you support him or not. Remember the Shield painting, one of the persons who defaced the painting, stated that he did not support President Zuma but he felt that it was incorrect to disrespect the President with a painting like that. That is the difference. As I indicated in my first post, one does not believe that there should be legal protection, but when disagreeing with the President do it in a manner that continues to recognise that this is your President, your leader of the country, you were a part of a legitimate process that chose this person amongst all others.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    The SACP may be legit in terms of its existence just like the AWB, but in terms of its occupation of office, that it where it lacks legitimacy.

    There can be 2 Ministers and 2 Deputy Ministers who are not from the National Assembly, any more are illegally appointed.

    Provincially, all have to be members of the provincial assembly. The SACP cannot hold any provincial posts, and only 4 national posts.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    Accepting the president is the president is one thing, but how to accord him respect is a matter of individual choice.

    An essential element of freedom is choice. The painting is just an example of how different people choose to express themselves. Part of being in a free society is being free to be insulted by others.

    Please note that black painters have routinely portrayed Zuma with his piece out and in a manner more degrading than the famous painting. No fuss over those though is there?

    Or was it because it mocked Lenin? The architect of the 20th century’s greatest atrocities and demi-god of the SACP (Note most of the proponents were SACP like Mantashe etc).

  • Mike

    @ Donovan – according to Solhenitzen the gulags were the camps that people were sent to. Never said they were people and by the way the french are quite certain that the communes of Paris was the original communist political party or do you think the names just by co-incidence are similar

  • Mike

    @Donovan – go to wikepedia for the coomunes of paris, they existed just before the split of the anarchists and marxists and it is estimated that they slaughtered between 30,000 to 50,000 parisians.
    Nice people the commies everywhere they have been in charge, Soviet Union Vietnam Cambodia Africa the result is always the same, the murder there population and you thought the NATS were bad

  • Donovan

    Mike….your grammer suggested that you thought they were people, you used the term “Gulag’s”, with a capital G and an apostrophe. The French would claim that, wouldn’t they? The French are the same people who had a President for most of the eighties who claimed to be socialist, Francois Mitterand. But the economic system of France was social welfarist and not communist. And its foreign policy still subscribed to De Gaullist practice especially with regard to Africa and its former colonies. There is a difference between a commune and a communist system, ruled by a party of the proletariat. Eurosocialism never claimed to be communist, this is just a latter day tactic used by subscribers to Friedman and his Chicago boys school of economics.

  • Jeffman

    @Mike and Donovan, thanks for the history lesson. However will you agree that where communism was fully implemented as state policy it was a colossal failure resulting in it’s ultimate rejection? hile capitalism has it’s(relatively minor) shortcomings, it is still vastly preferable to the poverty,lack of rights etc inflicted by communism. Are there any serious economists today who espouse communism as a policy which can be even remotely succesful? Does it not belong rightly in the dustbin of failed and unworkable economic theories? If not , why not?

  • Donovan

    Zoo Keeper, we seem to be making some progress. So you agree that the SACP is legitimate. You also agree that the SACP is not represented in any legislative body of government. Yet it is you who claimed the following “about 1/4 of Cabinet posts are held by the SACP.” There are no posts held by the SACP, I think we can agree that your statement here is incorrect.

    It is not a matter of individual choice to respect the President for being not just the President, but also your President. That is par for the course a part of democracy. How or the degree of respect does not fall into the equation, because first and foremost the President is YOUR President. Criticising the President is a right of everybody, whilst recognising the President as your President is an obligation and duty of all. That cannot be regulated, but lack of adherence must be frowned upon and rejected by all South Africans.

  • Donovan

    Jeffman, communism is yet to be implemented anywhere, so it cannot have failed yet. If you want to read a serious economist try Michael Hudson, or a host of heterodox economists, at London School of Economics, as well as SAOES, also based in London. Right now though the argument about neo-liberal capitalist economics failing is very strong. There have not been relatively minor shortcomings of capitalism. The poverty and removal of rights, whilst serious violent oppression has not only occured under capitalist systems, but with connivance of political and business leaders. Nay, one could even argue that it was the political and business leaders who ensured that poverty deepened and rights removed whilst illegally arresting and torturing and killing people and opponents. There are numerous examples. But lets try just one, in the ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ Guantanamo Bay is allowed to exist to imprison people without any regard for their rights (please note that an even bigger prison has been established in Bagram, Afghanistan by the Americans). Passed into law, is a right of the American President to call for the execution, the so-called ‘kill-list’, of any person the President deems requires execution. That person can be American or foreign national, and the execution can take place on American soil or outside the country. Whilst at the same time, the American President and its Congress can provide billions of dollars for big business, particularly finance and banking companies, but are not allowed to help people who are poor or victims of bad business practice. The same in Europe. So today, you are witnessing thousands upon thousands of people taking to the streets in more than five countries in Europe. Neo-liberal capitalism is failing, not the idea of private-ownly businesses or even a free market, but neo-liberal capitalism is failing. And the failures are ocurring along the same lines that Communists writers have predicted for years. The only way the current system will remain in place is to take away rights and oppress dissension.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Donovan

    “communism is yet to be implemented anywhere, so it cannot have failed yet.”

    Donovan is right. I say the same thing to the harsh critics of Christianity, especially the vile “New Atheists.” Like Communism, Christianity teaches radical egalitarianism that has never anywhere been imposed as national policy!

    Thanks.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    Blade Nzimande, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin…?

    I can recognize the occupant of the office of the presidency as the president, but because I am free I can still paint him with his nob out.

  • Zoo Keeper

    Donovan

    European countries are in turmoil because their government spent more than they earned because of socialist policies.

    You can’t blame capitalism for their troubles, but you sure can blame socialism.

  • John Roberts

    Donovan

    You gotta be fucking dumb to think anyone was talking literally about pissing on the Constitution.

    The Constitution also allows me to fuck your mother. But I got tired of waiting in the queue.

  • John Roberts

    “European countries are in turmoil because their government spent more than they earned because of socialist policies.”

    That’s rubbish. It happened and is happening because the countries were given access to easy money by the ECB when they joined the EU. They borrowed more than they could repay. It has nothing to do with socialism. Those loans are now maturing and the governments can’t pay them hence the need for refinancing (which was only allowed if draconian austerity measure were implemented)

  • Donovan

    Zoo Keeper, you don’t believe that do you? Private banks spent too much, not governments, private banks. When they investments went south, they then needed to pay other private banks who they borrowed from. Their governments were told then that these banks were ‘too big to fail’, and therefore they needed to be bailed out. Especially, because the money owed was to banks in the rich and powerful EU countries, particularly Germany, and if they were not paid, then the German economy would collapse, which would mean the EU would collapse. In the case of Europe, countries have lost the right to print their own currency, unlike the US. So these governments were forced to borrow money to bail out private banks who then used that money to pay their (private banks’) debts to other private banks. Now, these governments are being told that they must repay a loan, which they will never be able to, by cutting pensions, cutting social welfare, cutting education, and laying off people. This is also modern-day neo-liberal capitalism coming home to roost, nothing vaguely socialist, let alone communist in this. Don’t worry though the propaganda machine has been working overtime, making it seem that the darker Europeans are more lazy than the blue-eyed pink variety, and that these people do not want to pay any money whilst they enjoy soft fat lives. Read about Iceland, who refused to borrow the money and allow the banks to go under, their story is so different, you could even say they were using communist policies.

  • Mike

    @Donovan – The title of PDV article comes from the The Animal farm and was written by a person with first hand experience about communism.Try also reading some of Alexander Solhenitzen books relating to the 20 or years he spent in a Gulag, note spelt with a capital G.
    As they say in the classics those that dont learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and the problem with communism is the manner in which people are elected ie absolute obedience to the party and this is the flaw and that is some people in the system are more equal than others.
    We see it with Jacob Zuma where he should be standing trial but he has surrounded himself with sycophants in the NPA who ensure that justice for connected ANC cadres is not done.

  • Donovan

    Jacob Zuma is not a communist. I have not tried in any way to defend Stalin, nor have I attempted to justify any torturous actions, be it in Siberia or Guantanamo Bay. I am sure Solhenitzen’s ordeal should not be overlooked. But right now in the United States, Bradley Manning has been kept in isolated incarceration, without being charged, there have been reports of torture, but no person is saying lets do away with capitalism because it breed opression.

  • Deloris Dolittle

    @ Donavan

    Is there an actual law that says I have to repect the president because he is MY president? I think not. He is not MY President, I did not vote for him or his party, he is merely the President of the country I reside in. Respect is earned through actions not office, and he has done very little to deserve my respect. It is nonsensical to say that we should respect him just because he is President. What if he gives an order to the landless to invade farms or to the SAPS to shoot anyone who disagrees with him. Will you still respect him simply because he is YOUR President. Sorry, but I am not one of teh sheep that follow blindly.

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    John Roberts
    November 14, 2012 at 14:23 pm

    Hmmm.

    “But I got tired of waiting in the queue.”

    So JR you’ve earned your reputation as a handy man, eh!

  • Mike

    @Donovan – Ah but in a democracy we at least know that he is being incarcerated under communism people just disappeared.
    But again our Moslem jihadists love to claim democratice rights when they have been caught but they themselves exploit freedom and democracy in carrying their acts of terrorism.
    You probably wenrt around in the seventies when airlines all over the world had a serious problem with terrorist hijackings all by the same ilk the red brigade black september and so forth, people who dont belive in democracy and freedom of the individual.

  • Deloris Dolittle

    @ Donovan

    And since when has Trevor Noah becaome the measuring stick of how we should or should not deal with our President?

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    Zoo Keeper
    November 14, 2012 at 14:14 pm

    ZooKy,

    “Blade Nzimande, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin…?”

    Add Pravin Gordhan, Yunus Carrim, Ben Martins …

    But all are in parliament through their ANC membership, not their SACP membership!

  • Donovan

    Deloris, no one made Trevor Noah the measuring stick (one is presuming you actually mean yardstick), but he proves it can be done, that it is not as impossible or complicated like it is made out to be.

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    Mike
    November 14, 2012 at 14:31 pm

    Mike,

    “We see it with Jacob Zuma where he should be standing trial but he has surrounded himself with sycophants in the NPA who ensure that justice for connected ANC cadres is not done.”

    Surely then that makes him smarter than all the legal experts, all the institutions of democracy, all those opposed to him, all the opposition parties combined.

  • Donovan

    John Roberts, besides being stupid, you resort to schoolboy bully tactics to try and get a non-existent point across. I realise the mistake I made in thinking that one could have a half-decent polemic with you. In the words of Shakespeare, ‘when ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise’.

  • Donovan

    Mike…And people did not just dissapear in the US. What was McCarthyism a bad dream? The false illusion of capitalism is that it makes you believe that you are free. Also please realise that democracy is not anti-communist, and neither is communism anti-democracy. Most importantly, capitalism is not a synonym for democracy.

  • Mike

    @Donovan – you are making an ass out of yourself, under McCarthyism they had to face a tribunal that was set up to destroy the reputations of people they did not just disappear.

  • Donovan

    Mike…that is only the Hollywood version….

  • John Roberts

    “…you resort to schoolboy bully tactics to try and get a non-existent point across ”

    That’s rich Donovan seeing as though the first salvo was fired when you said you wished you could piss on me .

    You’re a dumb little schoolboy now go finish your homework and collect your mother’s takings.

  • Donovan

    Deloris, neither am a sheep that follows blindly. Is there a law that forces any person to respect the President, I dunno. But is there a law that say’s you must stand when a judge enters a Court, is that a law or just a rule or regulation of court, or a time-held practice. As a citizen of this country, President Zuma is not just the President he is also your President. Regardless whether you support him or not. Regardless, whether you voted for his party or not. Besides he is not elected President by his party. He is elected President by Parliament, and all members of parliament respect him as their President, regardless if they did not vote for him as President or not. Remember once the votes are counted, the parliamentarians sworn in, then you even if you voted or not accept the legitimacy of the election and its outcomes. Part of its outcomes is that it elected President Zuma as our (which includes you) President, your leader of the country, thus you were a part of a legitimate process that chose this person amongst all others.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Donovan

    Donovan is right. The “official” record does not reflect the gruesome reality that many of the alleged communists that appeared before McCarthy’s committee in the U.S. Senate were, immediately afterwards, taken down to the Capitol basement and dispatched with a single bullet in the back of the skull. So how different was the FBI from the NKVD? (Also, millions of other American were sent to the frozen wastes of Alaska. Talk about moral equivalence!)

    @ JR

    Thanks so much for your very witty references to Donovan’s mother. I laughed and laughed!

  • Donovan

    John Roberts this was my first post:

    “Donovan

    November 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Hey John Roberts, the Constitution allows me to piss on the Constitution, or do you want me to only just say how beautiful it is?”

    This was your response:

    “John Roberts

    November 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Donovan

    I think you’re a bit thick mate.

    The Constitution does not allow you to piss on it.

    Pissing on the Constitution means disregarding it. Your logic would have us belive that hate crimes, discrimination etc. are OK because the Constitution allows you to piss on it !

    Get fucking real you moron.”

    Who fired the first salvo? You called me thick, used foul language, and then called me a moron. My response on not being allowed to piss on you, was just in the same line as you, except mine was funny, and your’s was elitist and overly agressive.

  • Mike

    @MDF – What a load of crap – if they appeared before the tribunal which is on record, notwithstanding that the press and TV was present, then how did they just disappear without nobody knowing about it.
    Really really this comment is the most stupid comment of the year that I have read.

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    I see the DA has now asked prez Zuma and COSATU, in the interest of SA, to intervene in WC. Although neither them nor their racist supporters have any respect for either of the two.

  • Brett Nortje

    WTF does this mean, Donovan?

    “Donovan says:
    November 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm
    ZooKeeper, the constitution allows the SACP to claim legitimacy. The SACP’s legitimacy is decided by their strategies and tactics.”

    The nice ‘progressives’ are giving you a freebie because of your race. How ‘progressive’ is that?

    I say you’re talking crap. ZooKeeper’s analogy is probably correct – I would not be surprised if the AWB had more members than the SACP. Does that not make them ‘more legitimate’?

    Remember when Cosatu had to pay the SACP’s rent to keep the Sheriff from carting off their office furniture? LOL!

    When the SACP referred to itself as as a ‘vanguard party’ this did not imply that the whole Communist Party had to be able to fit into a van! LOL!

  • John Roberts

    @Donovan

    You forget that I was being truthful about what a dick you are whereas you were just conjuring things up about me in response.

    WDYSTT ?

    Thanks

  • LoyisoQola

    WOW! A law protecting the president! The odd thing here is that these communist idiots would probably be the first to take it to the Constitutional Court if a more Capitalist and more intellectual President took over – I say more intellectual because a person of proven intellect would probably disassociate himself from the Communist clan which has failed to realize its own overdue extinction from relevance.

    I wonder if that Law would have a “Truth” clause – for example would it be a valid defense to calling the president a foolish buffoon, if one could actually prove he is a foolish buffoon!

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    Yep. Almost as “irrelevant” as the largest Communist party in the world. The Communist Party of China. The future of the 21st centuary, pouring more develpomental aid into Africa than all of the capitalist colonial superpowers combined.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Ozoneboy

    OB is right. You will always have whingers who whine that the Communist Party of the PRC has deviated a little bitty from the egalitarian ideals of the revolution and Chairman Mao. But I am frankly grateful that the pragmatic Central Committee has recognized that a tiny degree of strictly temporary inequality must be tolerated if Beijing wants to sustain 8% growth!

    Thanks

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    OB, apologies, that last e-mail may have come across a little cynically. All I wanted to say was that the mere fact that a Communist Party is not committed to absolute equality TODAY does not mean it has abandoned its ideals. Like the CPSA, the Chinese Communist Party remains committed to a completely equal society sometime IN THE FUTURE. Minor increases in inequality in the short term do not derogate from our absolute ultimate commitment to a CLASSLESS SOCIETY.

    Thanks.

  • Brett Nortje

    OBS is exaggerating as usual. The USSR also poured aid into Africa – as long as $$$ went back the other way.

    Remember the soviet jeeps in Mozambique that got 4km/l?

  • Maggs Naidu – (maggsnaidu@hotmail.com) – Zuma MUST go!

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    November 14, 2012 at 20:33 pm

    Dworky,

    “our absolute ultimate commitment to a CLASSLESS SOCIETY.”

    So Dworky in such a society, will we all be equal to OzoneBoy?

    Will we all be able to refer to opposition MPs’ “flea-infested bodies” while creating laws to prevent people from insulting the president?

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    @mfd

    Are you not very impressed with the decisive manner that Anti Zille and the free market is handling the poverty situation in WC. I wonder if they want cde Zuma to step in before or after they tabled a motion of “no confidence” against him in our parliament?

    http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71656?oid=340089&sn=Detail&pid=71616

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Ozone

    ” you not very impressed with the decisive manner that Anti Zille and the free market is handling the poverty situation in WC”

    No, frankly, I am not that impressed. Like you, I remain convinced that Mr Malema would do much, much better!

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    @mfd

    Definitely. Mr. Malema has dropped a couple of notches on my shitlist since he has conceded that his liberation songs are racist and has apologised to Solidarity/Afriforum for advocating genocide against us boers.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Excellent, OB. Frankly, my personal admiration for Mr Malema has never flagged. It is is good to have you rejoin me in the unmistakably sane conclusion that Aunty Zille is much worse than Malema!

    Thanks!

  • http://www.ozoneblue.co.za ozoneblue

    At long last Anti Zille shows us all how a freemarket democracy works. Not nearly as evil as in Communist China.

    ZILLE calls for SANDF to curb protest.

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