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Everyone look busy, the Capi…

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The Capitalist Party of South Africa have tied their colours to an almost paleo-conservative ideological trend embodied mainly by the tea-party movement in the USA, by Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Viktor Orban of Hungary, and more extreme right-wing movements in Europe – to whom freedom has a very unique meaning.

Last week saw the launch of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP). Say that acronym fast and you may be forgiven for sounding as if you’re referring to the South African Communist Party. The Capitalist Party also registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), and would like to go to Parliament.

The launch of the ZACP is at once audacious and courageous (at least for its nomenclature), honest (for its unflinching ideological statement), curious (for its historical naiveté), irrelevant (everyone in Parliament does capitalism in some way or another – even the Economic Freedom Fighters), and a little amusing. Let us deal with the part that’s amusing first.

Anyone who has followed electoral politics, especially in the United States, may have heard persistent iterations of statements like “I am not a politician” which is usually followed by assinities like “I’m going to Washington to drain the swamp”. This is usually associated with more conservative or right-wing politicians and their followers. The claim draws on the idea that candidates who are “not politicians” have better “business sense” and would, therefore, deliver better outcomes. One Trump loyalist summed this up in the following way.

What appeals to me about …. Donald Trump, is the fact that he’s not part of the political system. He’s a businessman, like myself… I think it’s high time that we have someone in the White House that can understand the way the business world operates and make it part of the governmental part of our country to make it operate. We can operate our government like a business.”

This anti-establishment tendency (which has echoes on ersatz leftist parties like the EFF and the Black First Land First movement) defines populist rightist politicians like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Trump and Italy’s Matteo Salvini, who are “sent to Parliament to drain the swamp.”

We have the position, then, where leaders of the ZACP, notably the businessman Kanthan Pillay, are proud of the fact that they are not politicians, that they have no political baggage, but expect people to vote for them so that they can become politicians. Hard to figure that one out. It is amusing, though.

We’re capitalists and we’re proud of it

Extending the “we are not capitalist” (ergo we know better) meme, Pillay pointed out last week that “politicians have turned capitalism into a swearword. They make us guilty for working hard to improve our lives. And this guilt allows them to steal money from hard-working families and use the money for corruption.”

There are way too many EFF-isms (especially the logical fallacies and emotive appeals on behalf of “hard-working families”) in that expression. But, there is a skosh of truth in Pillay’s sentiment. Capitalism does tend to be something of a swearword for its association with greed, for its reproduction of inequality and for the way it has (historically) exploited labour, communities, biospheres, eco-systems and the environment, in general.

Capitalist innovation has, of course, given us great technological achievements. But let’s play with a counterfactual here. We cannot say, with absolute certainty, that we would not have had smartphones or satellite navigation systems in a non-capitalist society. Consider if only for amusement (but in all seriousness) the Soviet Union’s pioneering achievements in rocket and space exploration. (See the books, In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility. Into That Silent Sea, Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965 by Francis French and Colin Burgess). I make this point only to demonstrate that capitalism cannot make a totalising claim about progress – technological or otherwise. This is not an endorsement of Soviet Communism.

Capitalism Resuscitation, not the other CPR

The ZACP’s creation, and its apparent CPR (capitalism resuscitation, that is) comes at an interesting time in history. There are increasingly fewer scholars and thinkers around the world – those of note, anyway – who believe that capitalism, as we know it, has any future. You do not have to be a Marxist determinist to believe that capitalism is doomed. The only thing that remains uncertain is whether what will follow will be a Mary Shelley beast, a post-capitalist technology utopia, or a more dystopian world…. In the meantime, a great deal of work is going into preparing for whatever may come.

Capitalism as we know it is over…. We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources and the shift to less efficient energy sources,” Nafeez Ahmed explained in a report on how scientists at the United Nations are “preparing for the end of capitalism”.

That the ZACP wants to apply CPR to the dying monster is cute, though, and a little amusing. If only because everyone but the ZACP is preparing for a post-capitalism world.

We’re all capitalists, now

That sub-heading is misleading. It’s a reference, in part, to a statement, “we are all capitalists now”, by Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the central bank, to the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee in 2006. (If you have a subscription, see the report by Guy de Jonquières, “Comrades, set the renminbi free” published in the Financial Times on 15 May 2006). It is also an acknowledgement that everything in our lives in shaped by or dominated by capitalism. The following is an extract of a column published in Business Day on 26 September 2018.

Voluntarily or involuntarily, we are all complicit in sustaining capitalism. The clothes we wear. The food we eat. Our houses. Our children’s education. The books we read. The highlighter we use to mark those vital passages. The lipstick we wear. The stent in our artery. The bank where we save our money. The medication we buy to loosen that phlegm. The burial policy. The life insurance. The retirement annuity. The satellite TV that is piped into our homes. The microfibre that holds together the shirt of our favourite football team. The cigarettes we smoke. The ATM. Our social media platforms. Our new cellphone…. to deny all of this means we’re either blind or we’re deceiving ourselves.”

The ZACP should, therefore, have no problems in Parliament – should they get any seats in the legislature. There is, of course, the performance anti-capitalism that the EFF will, no doubt, provide. This, too, would be amusing if the EFF and BLF were not so very dangerous.

The Fallacies of Freedom

The ZACP have tied their colours to a paleo-conservative ideological trend embodied mainly by the tea-party movement, by Trump and Bolsonaro, and by the more extreme right-wing movement in Europe – to whom freedom has a very unique meaning. See, for instance, the American Freedom Defence Initiative led by Pamela Geller, recipient of the Guardian of Freedom award by Federation of Republican Women in the USA.

The ZACP glibly tosses into its gruel the phrase liberté, égalité, fraternité (French for liberty, equality and fraternity). The first point that can be made here is that liberty can come into confrontation with equality – especially in a country with extreme levels of inequality that are not “natural” outcomes. Liberty really means you can be as free as you wish, and free to be better or worse off than the next person, without any sense of compunction. Then there is the problem with knowing very little about big things…. Liberté, égalité, fraternité is the national motto of France, a fairly democratic republic with high levels of prosperity, democracy and trust (though imperfect), but it is also the motto of Haiti.

If you will indulge the diversion, dear reader, the following passage sums up just how desperate life in Haiti is, and how the best of mottos and slogans mean very little in the face of natural or human disasters.

Haiti has had slavery, revolution, debt, deforestation, corruption, exploitation and violence… Now it has poverty, illiteracy, overcrowding, no infrastructure, environmental disaster and large areas without the rule of law.”

I guess the point that needs to be raised is that you cannot wish freedom into existence. And then there is the ZACP’s economic policy, or what is apparent. It rests on things like “free markets” and free trade, limited government and deregulation. Here one wants to remain distant, but intellectually honest (without pretending to be “objective”). The ZACP, like the Free Market Foundation and other liberals, “classic” or otherwise, would help their case if they provided evidence of where or when over the past, say, 120 years there has been a place or time when markets and trade were absolutely free. The last time I recall the only country that had near complete free markets and no government intervention was Somalia.

In sum, then, the Capitalists Party is coming. Everyone in Parliament should probably pretend to be busy, because non-politicians want to become politicians and bring fully costed practical solutions to South Africa’s myriad problems. DM

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Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It’s the only thing that grew under Moyane’s tenure… the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You – the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them… gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don’t want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders…. you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

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People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.


People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

Montreal
– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in
Montreal.

The
worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

Israeli
strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

Speaking
after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

While
insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

Earlier
on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several
hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

Although
the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

The
SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The
police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

Following
the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

Several
thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

“Terrorist
Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

Pro-Palestinian
protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.


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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do

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“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach

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Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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