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Patrick Bond: BRICS Lessons in (Un)sustainable Urbanisation

What is to be done, in the wake of Warsaw climate summit’s conclusive failure to cap emissions last weekend? The answer: walk out of the United Nations process when it needs delegitimation, and work much harder to curtail pollution in your home sites of struggle, everyone in civil society agreed.  For the 40 percent of Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Obama In South Africa Renews Traditional Anti-Imperialist Sentiments

Barack Obama’s weekend trip to South Africa may have the desired effect of slowing the geopolitical realignment of Pretoria to the Brazil-India-Russia-China-SA (BRICS) axis. That shift to BRICS has not, however, meant deviation from the hosts’ political philosophy, best understood as “Talk Left, Walk Right” since it mixes anti-imperialist rhetoric with pro-corporate policies.  Overshadowed by Read more…

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Patrick Bond: South Africa’s Sub-Imperial Seductions

  Thanks are due to an odd man, the brutally-frank Zambian vice president Guy Scott who last week pronounced, “I dislike South Africa for the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States”, and to our own president Jacob Zuma for forcing a long-overdue debate, just as the World Economic Forum Africa summit opens Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Brics Cook The Climate

As they meet in Durban on March 26-27, leaders of the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – must own up: they have been emitting prolific levels of greenhouse gases, far higher than the US or the EU in absolute terms and as a ratio of GDP (though less per person). Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Introducing Brics From Above, And Brics-From-Below

In Durban, South Africa, five heads of state meet on March 26-27 2013 at the International Convention Centre, to assure the rest of Africa that their countries’ corporations are better investors in infrastructure, mining, oil and agriculture than the traditional European and US multinationals. The Brazil-Russia-India-China-SA (Brics) summit also makes space for 16 heads of Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Politics, Profits And Policing After The Marikana Massacre

As the official South African judicial investigating commission into the Marikana Massacre draws to a close in 2012, with many weeks of testimony in 2013 still ahead, what did the SA Police Service (SAPS) learn from their behavior?  SAPS Brigadier Zephania Mkhwanazi – who heads ‘public order policing’ and hence control of demonstrations – was Read more…

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Patrick Bond: South Africa’s Sanitation Cesspools

  DURBAN – This week’s World Toilet Summit offers an opportunity to contemplate how we curate our crap. Increasingly the calculus seems to be cash, generating contradictions ranging from local to global scales, across race, gender, generation and geography. Nowhere are they more evident than in the host city, my hometown of Durban. We’ve suffered Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Will Next Year’s BRICS Summit Leave Another Disgrace In Durban?

The heads of state of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa BRICS network are coming to Durban in four months, meeting on 26-27 March at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Africa’s largest venue. Given their recent performance, it is reasonable to expect another ‘1%’ summit, wreaking socio-economic and ecological havoc. And that means it is time for the Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Jim Yong Kim Comes To Joburg: But Will World Bank President Visit Marikana And Medupi?

“One of the things you learn as an anthropologist, you don’t come in and change the culture,” Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim told wealthy alumni when contemplating the institution’s notorious hazing practices, prior to Barack Obama’s request last February that he move to the World Bank.   Kim’s Harvard doctorate and medical degree, his founding Read more…

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Patrick Bond: In Climate Of Repression, Who Can Surf South Africa’s Micro-Protest Wave?

The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse-words ‘popcorn Read more…

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