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“For every seat in the new Cape Town stadium…” January 27, 2010

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", activism, Cape Town, Politics, Quotes, Society, South Africa.
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A shocking fact of the day from Equal Education, one of the most dynamic and awesomely brilliant NGOs in South Africa:

” for every 7 seats in the 68 000 capacity R4,5bn stadium in Cape Town we could have had a brand new fully stocked school library.”

The equivalent of more than 9000 school libraries

Some relevant facts, again from Equal Education:

  • Only 7% of public schools in South Africa have functional libraries of any kind. (DoE’s* 2007 NEIMS Report.)
  • These 7% of public schools that have libraries are the former model-C schools who are able to establish libraries and employ librarians through their own funds, collected through fees.
  • Since 1997 the DoE has produced 6 drafts of a national school libraries policy. None have been adopted as official policy.
  • The DoE offers no specialists school librarian posts. All posts are for teachers, and most schools cannot spare a teacher to run the library because of high learner:teacher ratios.
  • The DoE closed its School Libraries Unit in 2002.
  • In November 2008 the DoE published for comment ‘National Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure’ which, in tables 15 and 18 states that every large primary school and every large secondary school should have a library of 80m2. The regulations still remain unconfirmed by the Minister and therefore are of no assistance to teachers, learners or education planners.

(*DoE = Department of Education)

Chomsky and “The Pledge” February 18, 2008

Posted by Andreas in activism, anarchism, Politics, Quotes, Society, South Africa.
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Last week, I wrote about the new pledge that South African school kids will be obliged to recite every morning. It seems much of the public criticism surrounding the pledge has to do with the content of the thing, particularly the first sentence (“We, the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom”), which some people consider to be divisive. Frankly I don’t have that problem. I think the text is fairly factual and accurate. I simply have a problem with anybody being forced to regurgitate it over and over again. It’s a blunt attempt at indoctrination.

Here’s Noam Chomsky on the subject (from a 1990 talk entitled “Containing the Threat of Democracy” published in Chomsky on Anarchism; my italics):

A properly functioning system of indoctrination has a variety of tasks, some rather delicate. One of its targets is the stupid and ignorant masses. They must be kept that way, diverted with emotionally potent oversimplifications, marginalized, and isolated. Ideally, each person should be alone in front of a TV screen watching sports, soap operas, or comedies, deprived of organizational structures that permit individuals lacking resources to discover what they think and believe in interaction with others, to formulate their own concerns and programs, and to act to realize them. They can be permitted, even encouraged, to ratify the decisions made by their betters in periodic elections. The “rascal multitude” are the proper targets of the mass media and a public education system geared to obedience and training in needed skills, including the skill of repeating patriotic slogans on timely occasions.

President Bomber February 11, 2008

Posted by Andreas in Politics, Quotes.
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John Pilger’s assessment of the candidates in the running for the US presidency”:

Barack Obama is a glossy Uncle Tom who would bomb Pakistan. Hillary Clinton, another bomber, is anti-feminist. John McCain’s one distinction is that he has personally bombed a country.

Charming prospects!

Said the axe to the lictor… January 25, 2008

Posted by Andreas in Quotes.
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Said the axe to the lictor: “Arbeit macht stumpf. It’s love that will set you free.”

L. Blissett

“All humans are irrational” September 24, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Quotes, rant, Society.

The human race is not divided into the irrational and the rational, as some idealists think. All humans are irrational, but there are two different kinds of irrationality – those who love old ideas and hate and fear new ones, and those who despise old ideas and joyfully embrace new ones. Homo neophobus and homo neophilus. Neophobus is the original human stock, the stock that hardly changed at all for the first four million years of human history. Neophilus is the creative mutation that has been popping up at regular intervals during the past million years, giving the race little forward pushes, the kind you give a wheel to make it spin faster and faster. Neophilus makes a lot of mistakes, but he or she moves. They live life the  way it should be lived, ninety-nine percent mistakes and one percent viable mutations.

The Eye in the Pyramid, First Book in the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

“The United States Government is in need of a guardian” September 7, 2007

Posted by Andreas in History, Politics, Quotes.
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MR. KHARIS: Does Mr. Celine seriously suggest that the United States Government is in need of a guardian?

MR. CELINE: I am merely offering a way out for your client. Any private individual with a record of such incessant murder and robbery would be glad to cop an insanity plea. Do you insist that your client was in full possession of its reason at Wounded Knee? At Hiroshima? At Dresden?

JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: You become facetious, Mr. Celine.

MR. CELINE: I have never been more serious.

The Eye in the Pyramid, First Book in the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

Quote de jeur #6 May 25, 2007

Posted by Andreas in History, Politics, Quotes, Society.

I came across this quote in a book called Escaping the Matrix by Richard Moore and thought it was quite scary and uncomfortably pertinent to our current situation, especially considering the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the future imperialist wars that are surely in the pipeline.

Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship… [V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Goering, interviewed during the Nuremberg Trials, April 18, 1946.

Quote de jeur #5 May 14, 2007

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", Environment, Quotes.
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In his book Looting Africa, Patrick Bond quotes the following from a petition to the World Petroleum Congress ,written during a 2005 conference organised by groundWork:

At every point in the fossil fuel production chain where your members ‘add value’ and make profit, ordinary people, workers and their environments are assaulted and impoverished. Where oil is drilled, pumped, processed and used, in Africa as elsewhere, ecological systems have been trashed, peoples’ livelihoods have been destroyed and their democratic aspirations and their rights and cultures trampled…

Your energy future is modelled on the interests of over-consuming, energy-intensive, fossil-fuel-burning wealthy classes whose reckless and selfish lifestyles not only impoverish others but threaten the global environment, imposing on all of us the chaos and uncertainty of climate change and the violence and destruction of war. Another energy future is necessary: yours has failed!

Quote de jeur #4 May 7, 2007

Posted by Andreas in anarchism, Life, Politics, Quotes, Society.
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There is no universal moral code that should dictate human behaviour. There is no such thing as good or evil, there is no universal standard of right and wrong. Our values and morals come from us and belong to us, whether we like it or not; so we should claim them proudly for ourselves, as our own creations, rather than seeking some external justification for them.

– CrimethInc.

Quote de jeur # 3 April 23, 2007

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", History, Politics, Quotes, South Africa.
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I’ve cobbled together a couple of quotes about African and Third World debt from Patrick Bond’s book Looting Africa.

In absolute terms, Third World debt rose from US$580 billion in 1980 to US$2.4 trillion in 2002 […]. In 2002, there was a net outflow of $340 billion in servicing this debt, compared to overseas development aid of $37 billion. As Brussels-based debt campaigner Eric Toussaint remarks, ‘since 1980, over 50 Marshall Plans (over $4.6 trillion) have been sent by the peoples of the Periphery to their creditors in the Centre’


[…] Africa now repays more than it receives. In 1980, loan inflows of $9.6 billion were comfortably higher than the debt repayment outflow of $3.2 billion […] by 2000, only $3.2 billion flowed in, and $9.8 billion was repaid, leaving a net financial flows deficit of $6.2 billion. […] By the early 2000s, the debt remained unbearable for at least 21 African countries, at more than 300 per cent of export earnings.