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Mandela’s Legacy

If you have been close to any News source today then you know that ailing former leader of South Africa Nelson Mandela has passed away.

A lot of people will be talking about his life and struggles, and apt comparisons to Ghandi and MLK – but one of the key things that probably won’t be discussed much is his accomplishments in modernizing and opening SOuth Africa’s economy to the formerly oppressed. That may well be his greatest accomplishment – to mold a country back together after a century or more of dysfunction …

During Apartheid the South African economy was held up by the twin mineral riches of gold and diamonds. Unfortunately those mines are pretty much played out. Besides trying to create a system wherein black Africans shared in the economy with their white counterparts the country needed to restructure the basis for i’s economy in terms of producing new goods to trade. Doing so meant breaking up the Apartheid Plantation system wherein whites owned 95% of the arable land in the country, slicing off a portion (not all) of these holdings into community corporations which could develop businesses. This launched the South African wine business into world competitiveness. It also allowed the country to develop regional trade relationships for manufactured goods and agricultural products. The result was that the income level of both white and black South African rose significantly.

The country still has a long way to go. One of the principal problems is a massive influx of immigrants from other parts of Africa who want to share in South African’s success. The formerly black Township of Soweto swelled from 3 million to nearly 20 million  people today in the last 15 years. The result of this is a 25% unemployment rate, despite a relatively healthy economy.

Rest in Peace President Mandela, and look proudly what your country has accomplished, your Long Walk is ended.

Remembering Nelson Mandela’s Unsung Economic Legacy

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, was the most important leader in South Africa’s history and one of the global giants of his time. What people often overlook, however, is the role Mandela played in building up Africa’s largest economy. Nearly as consequential as Mandela’s moral example was his skill in managing the transition from apartheid without widespread violence, repression, or economic collapse.

Mandela believed strongly in the link between economic and political progress. Soon after his release from prison, Mandela argued that there must be “a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed.” At the core of white minority rule had been the “homelands”: a system that kept almost half of South Africa’s population confined to semi-independent or supposedly sovereign states without the freedom to move or look for jobs in the rest of the country. The collapse of apartheid meant the end of those restrictions. The myriad legal restraints that prevented blacks and “coloreds” from gaining promotions—or access to jobs at all—were removed as well. From a state made up of 11 “countries” and three legally distinct racial groups—all with markedly different rights to move, work, and invest—South Africa became one economy. Think of it as opening borders to mass migration under the worst possible circumstances.

The dismantling of the homeland system, however, was by no means a certainty in the early days of Mandela’s presidency. The supposedly “sovereign” homeland of Bophuthatswana, home to 2.5 million, and semi-autonomous Kwazulu both threatened civil war over the dismantling of the homelands.  Relations between the African National Congress and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom party have remained tense—and sporadically violent—since the end of apartheid. But national unity and economic stability were both preserved largely through negotiation and compromise.

South Africa’s gross domestic product growth rate, meanwhile, picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5 percent from 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3 percent from 1995 to 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62 percent from 1993 to 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt. Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster—by 93 percent over that period.

As educational opportunities expanded, secondary enrollment rates increased from 50 percent to 70 percent from 1994 to 2005. The government also rolled out a range of infrastructure services: The proportion of the country that cooked using electricity from the mains climbed from 45 percent in 1993 to 73 percent by 2011, for example.

South Africa has become an increasingly important source of economic opportunity for its neighbors. South African investment accounts for around 70 percent of intra-regional investment flows. Imports from the Southern Africa Development Community—the regional trade block which South Africa joined upon its independence—climbed from $16.3 billion in 1993 to $68.7 billion in 2006. The number of migrants in South Africa—nearly all from other countries in the region—increased from 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent of the population between 1990 and 2010. There are now approximately 3.3 million SADC nationals living in South Africa; remittances from those migrants back to their home countries amount to close on $1 billion a year, according to South Africa’s FinMark Trust. The trust reports a 2005 survey of Zimbabwean remittance recipients in which more than half of respondents “agreed that they would have grown sick with hunger” in the absence of remittance payments.

Some tragic mistakes were made by President Mandela and his successors. The HIV/AIDS crisis and the government’s late and sporadic response to it shaved years off life expectancy. In 1993 4 percent of pregnant women in the country were HIV-positive. That climbed to 28 percent 10 years later, before finally leveling out. Today, a little more than one in 10 of the population is HIV-positive. Unemployment has remained stubbornly high—around 25 percent—and the gap between rich and poor is still wide. In 1993, the average white had an income more than nine times the average African. By 2008 that had dropped—but only to a little less than an eightfold income gap according to analysis by Leibbrandt.

Progress against poverty was even slower than these figures might suggest. That’s because inequality within the African population grew rapidly for the first decade of independence—a trend arrested only by the rapid expansion of social safety net programs in the last few years. (About 30 percent of South Africans benefited from social grants in 2010—up from 13 percent in 2002). Poverty in South Africa remains almost uniquely an African phenomenon. All but six percent of whites have piped water in their homes, for example, while two-thirds of Africans lacked access to it.

It’s worth considering the alternatives. At independence, South Africans looked north to Zimbabwe as a reasonably successful model of how things could work out after a difficult transition to majority rule. They’re extremely lucky that South Africa, under Mandela’s guidance, took a different path. Starting in the 1990s, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe ordered land “reforms” that took property from white farmers and awarded it to his cronies and henchmen, slashing output as a result. By the turn of the century, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate was heading over 100 percent; by 2006 it would top 1,000 percent. Zimbabwe’s economy remains in a state of punch-drunk torpor.

Some may be disappointed that Mandela failed to create an African lion to challenge the East Asian tigers in terms of growth and poverty reduction. But the nonviolent absorption of a considerable majority of the population into an economy from which they had previously been excluded, all while incomes and access to services improved and civil rights were respected, was an incredible accomplishment—one that owes much to Mandela’s leadership. Let’s hope his successors preserve that legacy.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Africa

 

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Shopping While Black…

In New York no less… The kid had a debit card no less, which he had to punch in the correct code to use, and a drivers license  – with his picture on it confirming his identity. Kind of hard to fake that. Worse, any cop could have pulled up an ID picture on his PC/Radio to confirm that the license was valid and had not been tampered with on the spot.

This one was sheer stupidity, racism, and harassment.

 

Black College Student Arrested For Buying A Designer Belt, Barneys & NYPD Slapped With Lawsuit 

Barneys New York and the New York Police Department have been slapped with a lawsuit by Trayon Christian, a college student from Queens, who was arrested at the luxury department store in April.

“His only crime was being a young black man,” Michael Palillo, Christian’s attorney, told The New York Post.

The Post reports that the 19-year-old was at the store buying a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt, but following the purchase, he was stopped by undercover officers that were allegedly called on by a Barneys sales clerk who believed the transaction was fraudulent.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, states that the NYC College of Technology freshman was asked by the cops: “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt?” He was then handcuffed and taken to a local precinct.

Despite showing the officers the receipt for the belt, his ID and the debit card used, “Christian was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” Palillo said.

Christian, who saved up money for the pricey accessory from his part-time job at college, said he returned the belt and never plans to shop at the Madison Avenue store again. His story comes just days after another instance of racial discrimination was reported in Baltimore when a black woman was allegedly fired from Hooters for having blonde highlights.

Barneys has not commented on the matter and Christian’s lawsuit against the store and the NYPD is for unspecified damages.

Head over to The Post to read more.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Why Obamacare Is Here to Stay

It is really very simple. The essence of which is captured by the following three images…

The post-Raygun destruction of the American Middle Class not only means a loss in ages. Faced with ballooning medical costs driven by private insurers, companies have shifted payment of health coverage off the “benefits” list and onto the shoulders of the employee. Now, even your average college grad is only one illness away from poverty.

 

And then – there is Mom…

The biggest non-criminal racket in the world is care for the elderly in the US. Conservatives would have you believe it is “Death Taxes”, which is a crock designed to fool the stupid into believing that the $10,000 a month it will cost you to put Mom or Dad in a senior center is irrelevant. For most of the middle class anymore, there quite simply isn’t any intergenerational wealth being passed on because of this.

Let’s be very clear. There is going to be a war in America on this come next election cycle. It is going to get ugly, when folks wake up and see these images with their mother, their kids, or brother or sister…

Even Tea Bagger hog calls to racism against the black President doesn’t trump mom dying.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Cynthia McKinney… The Tripoli Trixie?

During the Vietnam War many dubbed Jane Fonda as Hanoi Jane for her visit to North Vietnam during the War.

Looks like we got our very own Tripoli Trixie in moonbat extraordinaire, ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Not much different in reality than some of the moonbats on the right like Michelle Bachman or the Sno’ Ho’ – just without the benefit of a Faux News network to try and propagandize some credibility out of inane ramblings.

And while I agree with Cynthia’s assessment of the economic issues in this country – I think it is rather myopic to lay the gutting of the middle class in America, which started under Raygun solely at President Obama’s feet. Quite frankly, when you as the electorate can be fooled into believing that spots on a little blue dress are more important than your missing paycheck…

You deserve to get effed.

But Khadaffi is a scumbag. Tripoli Trixie has no business over there sucking up to that monster.

Former U.S. congresswoman McKinney speaks on state TV in Libya

A former U.S. congresswoman slammed U.S. policy on Libyan state TV late Saturday and stressed the “last thing we need to do is spend money on death, destruction and war.”
The station is fiercely loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and her interview was spliced with what appeared to be rallies in support of the embattled Libyan leader.
“I think that it’s very important that people understand what is happening here. And it’s important that people all over the world see the truth. And that is why I am here … to understand the truth,” former Rep. Cynthia McKinney said during a live interview. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Giant Negros

 

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Shut ‘Em Down!

You know – those Union Pension and retirement funds make up a large part of Wall Street Capital. Because Koch Industries is privately owned, it isn’t subject to  Investor pressure. However, many of their co-criminals and “pardners” are…

M&I Bank branch on Capitol Square closes after protests

M&I Bank’s branch on the Capitol Square, at 1 W. Main St., closed Thursday after demonstrators, protesting campaign contributions by bank executives to Gov. Scott Walker, gathered outside the bank and several pulled their money out.

Sara Schmitz, a spokeswoman for M&I in Milwaukee, said in an e-mail the bank shut its doors “under the advisement of the Madison Police Department and due to the significant number of protesters surrounding the Capitol.”

Madison police said hundreds of people had gathered at the front entrance to the bank.

“(The) concern was if the crowd continued to grow, it would be difficult for us to guarantee access and safety for those trying to get in and out of the bank,” police spokesman Joel DeSpain said. He said police did not tell M&I officials to close the bank.

Members of several labor unions stopped at M&I twice between 9 and 9:30 a.m., said Joe Conway, Jr., president of Local 311 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. The protest was peaceful, he said.

Several protesters went inside and closed their accounts, displaying checks that totaled $192,000 withdrawn, Conway said. Schmitz declined to comment about any withdrawals.

Some of the products produced by Koch – which could be subject to boycott…

Georgia-Pacific LLC, based in Atlanta, and its subsidiaries, have approximately 300 manufacturing facilities across North America, South America and Europe, ranging from large pulp, paper and tissue operations to gypsum plants, box plants and building products operations, and more than 40,000 employees worldwide.

Georgia-Pacific’s familiar consumer brands in North America include Quilted Northern®Angel Soft®,Brawny®Sparkle® Soft ‘n Gentle®, Mardi Gras®,Vanity Fair®, and the Dixie® brand of tabletop products.

INVISTA B.V. and its subsidiaries (INVISTA) deliver exceptional value for customers through market insight, technology innovations, and a powerful portfolio of some of the most recognized global brands and trademarks in the nylon, spandex and polyester value chains, as well as other specialty products

Consumer brands include STAINMASTER®carpetANTRON® carpet fiberCORDURA®fabric, and COMFOREL® fiberfill.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2011 in American Greed

 

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Tunisia, Cairo, Tehran, Benghazi, Beijing…Wisconsin

One brutal dictator or repressive government after another, in perhaps the largest series of mass demonstrations th world has ever seen – people are taking to the streets for political freedom, and economic rights…

In Tunisia and Cairo, the world was riveted as everyday citizens braved sometimes brutal violence by their repressive governments to suppress their will… And overthrew dictators.

The battles in other countries like Libya promise to be even more bloody, as hundreds are murdered by the Ghadaffi’s Secret Police and Army thugs. And China, prepares for perhaps another Tienanmen Square style repression suppressing the upstart “Jasmine Revolution”.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin – Americans start the fight to take their country back from the neo-fascists…

The revolution may not be televised… But it will be on YouTube.

 

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Van Jones and the Koch Brother’s Plantation

About time Progressives began to push back on this pile of guano fostered by the uber-right…

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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