Letters from our readers

On “French Communist Party backs killing of South African miners



For another unprincipled attitude, and more of the same pseudo-leftist spinelessness, see the article published under the byline of the general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi, in The Sowetan of 21 August. The more intense the confrontations between police and workers, the more readily these same workers will see through the smoke and mirrors of charlatans like Vavi.


21 August 2012

On “South Africa’s mine massacre


I had written many times to your wonderful web site, even recently, about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which I experienced as a 10-year-old. Our apartment near the parliament building gave me a wonderful perspective. I believe the Left has made tragic mistakes expecting the Russian Revolution with its unusual features to be reproduced. “Grey is theory and green the tree of life,” Lenin quoted Goethe.


In fact, there were all manner of contributory causes, but it is worth noting the immediate precipitating event. There was a march of intellectuals organized by the Petofi Club which would have ended as numerous such protest demonstrations, achieving virtually nothing.


Only the secret police, the AVO, opened fire on a peaceful crowd demanding to read a proclamation on national radio. That led to an extremely bloody uprising, largely, not entirely, organized by an inspired Workers Council created in opposition to the Stalinists, and interestingly first organized in Gyor, a model industrial town where the Stalinists thought they had a base.


South Africa, how things look before a revolution.


Toronto, Canada
18 August 2012


Mainstream media here in Australia are unanimous in presenting this new Sharpeville, as a result of a conflict between two rival unions, then consigning it to silence. The graphic video images on our television screens, obviously taken from the police lines, who must have brought in the journalists to witness the power of the state and its allies, such as unions and capitalist enterprises. This shows clearly where the political and economic barricade is positioned, and this is in every country on this planet, whether “developed” or “developing.” Apparently, there is no classification of a country that is economically at a standstill, or retracting. Ah, sorry, there are the “failed states” that are ready for neo-colonialism!

Thank you, WSWS for the incise analysis, without which we would be condemned to the tasteless gruel of “news”…

18 August 2012

On “Sydney Film Festival—Part 6: Bernardo Bertolucci’s rise and fall


This is a really stimulating review to begin the weekend. It raises many issues not only about the relationship between Marxism and psychoanalysis (a discipline not entirely rejected by Trotsky whose original observations are still timely) but also that problematic relationship between artistic political commitment and historical context.


Yes, like Scorsese (in a different context) another key talent has declined. I was fortunate to see both parts of Novecento when it opened in London in the mid-70s and was sadly disappointed. Unlike Visconti's complex The Leopard, Bertolucci’s conclusion did not seem to go beyond that macho working class cliche of the proletariat being more virile and having a “bigger ‘un” than the squire. Is it accidental that the photo accompanying this article makes Bertolucci look like a middle-aged, balding version of Tarantino? Here I do admit to using vulgar Freudian humor. Pass the butter, please!


Tony W
18 August 2012