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Nelson Mandela

There have been so very few really great and admirable leaders. If only Africa had another such as Nelson Mandela. If only we all had.











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36 Responses to Nelson Mandela

  1. Windchaser December 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    There probably are plenty of them around, just hope they are exposed.


    • Andrea December 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      The US removed Mandela from the Terrorist Watch list in 2008.

  2. Golem XIV December 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks for the link. So Nelson Madela may have been a Communist. Shock horror! My grandfather was a communist.

    • Windchaser December 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      Yep, that was exactly the point.

    • Glenn Condell December 8, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      Many of the best people of the last century and more were communists, at least for some period of their lives. People like this bloke:


      Some of the worst were too of course, but you don’t write off the US just because it produces people like Dick Cheney and Lloyd Blankfein.

      How many rightwingers or neoliberals in that time can be counted among the best (if not the brightest)?

      The owners of the satanic mills now own the media and the think tanks and increasingly the parties and pollies, judiciary and bureaucracy, academe and perhaps most scarily the MI complex. They have managed over time to pervert clear thinking and speaking sufficiently enough to ensure that the beautiful idea that animates socialism/communism (all for one and one for all, do unto others, protect them/us from evil…. fairness, in a nutshell) is utterly lost in the learned revulsion, the imprinted Pavlovian fear and hatred that most now have whenever they hear those words.

      Mandela could have ridden a hundred worthy hobby horses after his Presidency but chose only a few for his imprimatur – I recall several times over the last few decades wishing he would just come out for this or agin that. But what he did was enough, more than enough to make him one of the immortals. He was human after all, like Churchill or Roosevelt.

  3. Graham December 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    When a well-respected person has just died, I suggest the link is at best beside the point.

  4. phil cool December 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Respected certainly, but principled? There is another story: that Mandela betrayed his people and sold out to the very business interests who had kept apartheid going.
    This is not new, a fuller acount can be found in Freedom Next Time pubished in 2006 by the same author.

    • Golem XIV December 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

      Well that was disturbing. I had always assumed that the cronyism aparent under the ANC had more to do with those who followed Mandela.

      It would be dissapointing to discover that Mandela had bben cynically involved in the emergence of the wealth apartide evident in S. Africa.

      It is true that S.Africa is awash in narco money and Russian corruption, but I had always associated it with those who currently run the ANC not Mandela.

      Perhaps Mandela was like Churchill in that he had one job he was fit to do but when that job was done he had no further vision.

      • Mick (luton) December 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

        When you enter the kingdom of Sodom & Gomorrah no matter how much you want to change it, it always manges to change you too. This is no criticism it is just the way of the world today, he was still a great man!

        • Phil (Mcr) December 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

          Exactly, he spent twenty-seven years of his life in prison. 27. Many of them in solitary or doing hard-labour in such bright sun shine that it damaged his eyesight.

          The apartheid government offered him deals in return for his freedom but he never took them. How many of us would do that?

          How many of us would have refused to seek revenge, even when the apartheid regime continued to kill blacks AFTER his release? It wasn’t a ”bloodless revolution” for them.

          And who knows what economic analysis was presented to him? The very rich threaten all kinds of chaos by pulling their money out. And this was at a time, remember, when (state) socialism was completely discredited.

          And while we’re at it, let’s remember the contribution of the Cuban army to the struggle. Defeating the South African army in Angola put the apartheid regime under such pressure that they had to recognise the ANC.

  5. Roger December 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Just as every cop is a criminal
    And all the sinners saints
    As heads is tails
    Just call me lucifer
    Cause I’m in need of some restraint
    So if you meet me
    Have some courtesy
    Have some sympathy, and some taste
    Use all your well-learned politesse
    Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
    But what’s puzzling you


    Mandella was a great man, no saint and there is no such thing as a Saint!

    The USA needs more Black Commies kicking its corrupt leadership up the arse.!

    “In a time in which Communist regimes have been rightfully discredited and yet alternatives to neoliberal capitalist societies are unwisely dismissed, I defend the fundamental claim of Marxist theory: there must be countervailing forces that defend people’s needs against the brutality of profit driven capitalism.”
    ― Cornel West, The Cornel West Reader

    • Cadam December 7, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks, Cornell. A critique needs to be considered and tested, not simply discredited based on its source. It would be nice to live in a time when neoliberalism can be critiqued by a person of color, a Communist, a gay or feminist activist or a Muslim. If more peoples’ voices are allowed to be heard, the more likely we will learn to recognize truth when we hear it.

  6. BobRocket December 7, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    It might sound harsh but Mandela fought against his oppressors and became conciliatory towards his jailors.
    The truth commissions probably prevented a lot of bloodshed and that is to be applauded but Stockholm syndrome can’t be ruled out.

    Mandela might be heralded a saint but to me Steve Biko was more a real man

    ‘if Biko were alive today, he would not be supporting any political party, would not even vote, but would be marching with the social movements against government’

    Let’s not forget, ‘amongst all the eulogizing’, our glorious leader David Cameron, who was anti UN sanctions and who visited SA during the apartheid era at the expense of SNI.
    That Barclays was engaged in active sanctions busting.

    It might seem strange that Cameron now supports sanctions against Iran except that Iranian money now has to flow through Qatar and Barclays are in hoq to Qatar.

    Two people died in Scotland due to the winds/floods on the night Mandela passed away, I’m sure those two were held in just as high regard by those who knew them personally.

    The death of anybody is a cause for sadness.

    The hollow hypocritical mumblings by talking head politicians on the blanket sycophantic mainstream media coverage just make me want to throw a brick through the screen.

  7. bill40 December 7, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Mandela achieved greatness by not surrendering to greed and revenge. For that alone he deserves his greatness. I didn’t admire him for what he was, I admired him for what he became.

  8. Anne December 7, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I think Mandela’s claim to greatness is that he managed to end Apartheid and prevent a bloodbath. certainly he didn’t end capitalism in South Africa but he did end a regime based on racism. Politically It made a huge difference to the black South Africans but not economically. But economic freedom is something to be fought for all over the world not just South Africa.

  9. groundedkiwi December 7, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    South Africa may have got one man, one vote, but nothing changed at the top. Their central bank remained under the same management.

  10. Anne December 7, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    It might sound harsh but Mandela fought against his oppressors and became conciliatory towards his jailors

    Perhaps in fighting for his own right to be recognised as a human being he recognised their humanity also?

    There are many people out there, whose activities are often discussed here, who really fear ‘peace and reconciliation’ between those who they wish to keep apart (on the basis of colour religion and many other things). They fear the unification of the many will prevent their greedy plans for the economic domination of the many by the few.

    Mandela was a man not a saint so of course he will have made mistakes. He succeeded in ending the vicious apartheid regime without a bloodbath he deserves respect for that! Under his leadership black South Africans gained their rightful political freedom. Yes the majority are still poor, he didn’t gain their economic freedom but that is something we all still need to fight for.

  11. desmond December 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    yes Mandala with support of all anti apartheid people took power away from white supremacists without the bloodbath that those same supremacists threatened. He did this by demonstrating that he was a true human being who walked the human walk and didn’t just talk the human talk. He won people over because they too were striving to be true human beings. Hopefully his life will inspire more people to look further at the nature of their own humanity. Its nothing to do with being a so called saint!

  12. Just me December 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    “Why imperialism mourns Mandela”


  13. Karalan December 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Nelson and Winnie Mandela: murderous racist thugs masquerading as humanitarians.


    • Phil (Mcr) December 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      The first video has white people singing the same song. I don’t speak Xhosa and I doubt you do either so I would like to hear from someone who does if the translation is accurate.

      The second video concerns a woman who was arrested on countless occasions by the South African state, was tortured and spent over a year in solitary confinement while her husband spent 27 years in prison – refusing deals in return for his freedom on many occasions.

      They were fighting against a system which regarded them as sub-human and kept tens of millions of blacks in wretched conditions. Tens of thousands were killed, tortured and imprisoned.

      And you’re asking that the people fighting that should be saints? You’re ignoring how brutalised people could be by such a regime?

      Did you hear Reagan’s voice-over in the second video? How do you feel about the mass slaughter he funded in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador etc.)? Or US ‘policy’ in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iraq etc.?

  14. Phil (Mcr) December 9, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Is America catching on?


  15. Joe Taylor December 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Did Mandela have “oppositional defiant disorder”?
    Has David Simon got it too?
    Maybe our David has as well, togther with most of his followers?


    • steviefinn December 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      “”By his heretical views on sport and soma, by the scandalous unorthodoxy of his sex-life, by his refusal to obey the teachings of Our Ford and behave out of office hours, ‘even as a little infant,'” (here the Director made the sign of the T), “he has proved himself an enemy of Society, a subverter, ladies and gentlemen, of all Order and Stability, a conspirator against Civilization itself. For this reason I propose to dismiss him, to dismiss him with ignominy from the post he has held in this Centre…””

      Aldous Huxley

  16. Paul Morphy December 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Given what he and others suffered under Apartheid, it would have been perfectly understandable if Nelson Mandela had sought retribution against the perpetrators.
    Instead he turned the other cheek and sought reconciliation. I may not have agreed with his politics (Communism) but Mandela put the welfare of his country before politics. And for that arguably he saved South Africa.

  17. Mike Hall December 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Sorry to be off topic

    Just a heads up for a two day promotion on an interesting e-book ‘Sack The Economists’, free today and tomorrow. Looks interesting, get’s a nice plug from Steve Keen.


    Intended to be accessible to all.

    Tangential relation to Mandela and SA maybe, as well as most everywhere just as ‘neo liberal’ ?

    What chance have reforming politicians got if the entire mainstream of economics is peddling cr@p ? (Not that many have any desire to reform what works nicely for them, as things stand.)

    • Joe Taylor December 11, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      Cheers Mike – got the book and looking forward to reading it.

  18. David Sheegog December 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    the truth about Mandela’s transition into power in South Africa

    These excerpts are from a chapter in “The Shock Doctrine” which I’ve finally found on Kline’s blog. If you can’t read the book, click the link to get a good idea of how the shock doctrine works all over the world, with this example from the transition from apartheid to ‘democracy’ in the Republic of South Africa. ds



    What was taken as a given by all factions of the liberation struggle was that apartheid was not only a political system regulating who was allowed to vote and move freely. It was also an economic system that used racism to enforce a highly lucrative arrangement: a small white elite had been able to amass enormous profits from South Africa’s mines, farms and factories because a large black majority was prevented from owning land and forced to provide its labour for far less than it was worth—and was beaten and imprisoned when it dared to rebel. In the mines, whites were paid up to ten times more than blacks, and, as in Latin America, the large industrialists worked closely with the military to have unruly workers disappeared.7


    What happened in those negotiations is that the ANC found itself caught in a new kind of web, one made of arcane rules and regulations, all designed to confine and constrain the power of elected leaders. As the web descended on the country, only a few people even noticed it was there, but when the new government came to power and tried to move freely, to give its voters the tangible benefits of liberation they expected and thought they had voted for, the strands of the web tightened and the administration discovered that its powers were tightly bound. Patrick Bond, who worked as an economic adviser in Mandela’s office during the first years of ANC rule, recalls that the in-house quip was “Hey, we’ve got the state, where’s the power?” As the new government attempted to make tangible the dreams of the Freedom Charter, it discovered that the power was elsewhere.

    Want to redistribute land? Impossible—at the last minute, the negotiators agreed to add a clause to the new constitution that protects all private property, making land reform virtually impossible. Want to create jobs for millions of unemployed workers? Can’t—hundreds of factories were actually about to close because the ANC had signed on to the GATT, the precursor to the World Trade Organization, which made it illegal to subsidize the auto plants and textile factories. Want to get free AIDS drugs to the townships, where the disease is spreading with terrifying speed? That violates an intellectual property rights commitment under the WTO, which the ANC joined with no public debate as a continuation of the GATT. Need money to build more and larger houses for the poor and to bring free electricity to the townships? Sorry—the budget is being eaten up servicing the massive debt, passed on quietly by the apartheid government. Print more money? Tell that to the apartheid-era head of the central bank. Free water for all? Not likely. The World Bank, with its large in-country contingent of economists, researchers and trainers (a self-proclaimed “Knowledge Bank”), is making private-sector partnerships the service norm. Want to impose currency controls to guard against wild speculation? That would violate the $850 million IMF deal, signed, conveniently enough, right before the elections. Raise the minimum wage to close the apartheid income gap? Nope. The IMF deal promises “wage restraint.”12 And don’t even think about ignoring these commitments— any change will be regarded as evidence of dangerous national untrustworthiness, a lack of commitment to “reform,” an absence of a “rules-based system.” All of which will lead to currency crashes, aid cuts and capital flight. The bottom line was that South Africa was free but simultaneously captured; each one of these arcane acronyms represented a different thread in the web that pinned down the limbs of the new government.


    Underlying all these facts and figures is a fateful choice made by the ANC after the leadership realized it had been outmanoeuvred in the economic negotiations. At that point, the party could have attempted to launch a second liberation movement and break free of the asphyxiating web that had been spun during the transition. Or it could simply accept its restricted power and embrace the new economic order. The ANC’s leadership chose the second option. Rather than making the centrepiece of its policy the redistribution of wealth that was already in the country— the core of the Freedom Charter on which it had been elected—the ANC, once it became the government, accepted the dominant logic that its only hope was to pursue new foreign investors who would create new wealth, the benefits of which would trickle down to the poor. But for the trickle-down model to have a hope of working, the ANC government had to radically alter its behaviour to make itself appealing to investors.

    This was not an easy task, as Mandela had learned when he walked out of prison. As soon as he was released, the South African stock market collapsed in panic; South Africa’s currency, the rand, dropped by 10 percent.21 A few weeks later, De Beers, the diamond corporation, moved its headquarters from South Africa to Switzerland.22 This kind of instant punishment from the markets would have been unimaginable three decades earlier, when Mandela was first imprisoned. In the sixties, it was unheard of for multinationals to switch nationalities on a whim and, back then, the world money system was still firmly linked to the gold standard. Now South Africa’s currency had been stripped of controls, trade barriers were down, and most trading was short-term speculation.

    Of all the constraints on the new government, it was the market that proved most confining—and this, in a way, is the genius of unfettered capitalism: it’s self-enforcing. Once countries have opened themselves up to the global market’s temperamental moods, any departure from Chicago School orthodoxy is instantly punished by traders in New York and London who bet against the offending country’s currency, causing a deeper crisis and the need for more loans, with more conditions attached. Mandela acknowledged the trap in 1997, telling the ANC’s national conference, “The very mobility of capital and the globalisation of the capital and other markets, make it impossible for countries, for instance, to decide national economic policy without regard to the likely response of these markets.”26

    The person inside the ANC who seemed to understand how to make the shocks stop was Thabo Mbeki, Mandela’s right hand during his presidency and soon to be his successor. Mbeki had spent many of his years of exile in England, studying at the University of Sussex, then moving to London. In the eighties, while the townships of his country were flooded with tear gas, he was breathing in the fumes of Thatcherism. Of all the ANC leaders, Mbeki was the one who mingled most easily with business leaders, and before Mandela’s release, he organized several secret meetings with corporate executives who were afraid of the prospect of black majority rule. In 1985, after a night of drinking Scotch with Mbeki and a group of South African businesspeople at a Zambian game lodge, Hugh Murray, the editor of a prestigious business magazine, commented, “The ANC supremo has a remarkable ability to instill confidence, even in the most fraught circumstances.”27

    • Jamie_Griff December 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks David – I’d been meaning to look this up.

      Mandela was an incredibly brave and principled leader but his whole life had been geared towards fighting an enemy whose methods were brutal and direct.

      The methods of the Chicago School were equally brutal but much, much more subtle and they steamrollered the ANC.

  19. ConfederateH December 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Reverend Manning says everything that whites don’t dare say about Mandela.


  20. Mike Hall December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Again, a bit tangential to Mandela, but maybe not so much his ‘compromises’ with neo liberal interests, if you’re curious about the present situation in Ukraine, there’s an excellent piece here:


    I think one of the most striking things about modern mainstream media is their deafening silence about the vested interests behind the ‘politics’ of policy decisions.

    That and the fact that such glaring omission from the discourse is so completely ‘normalised’ in the media. Journalism so effectively self censored now that most journalists are barely aware of it themselves, and would deny it to the rooftops if asked.

    Circus ‘Mandela’ just shows how slick and vacuous it all is.

  21. Ken Lorp January 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Do you think that Gerry Adams will be held in the same esteem when his time comes?

    Many years ago, a close friend of mine was living in a block of apartments in Durban. One morning, while she was in the lift, an explosion ripped through the building and killed a lot of residents. She was lucky that the lift-shaft provided protection, but one minute either way could have made her a casualty. The bomb was planted by the ANC.

    How, exactly, is that any different from what the IRA did?

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