The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode Seventeen – Building an international comradeship of cyber cadre!

Building an international comradeship of cyber cadre!

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Today is the anniversary of the death of Steve Biko.

00:39 Stephen’s updates

  • Video editing using OpenShot and Blender
  • Blender rocks! There’s a learning curve, but it’s worth it
  • Got a lot of assistance from a fellow listener Julien who is also working on an activist web application project

03:55 Walton’s updates

  • Reading a lot of economics – nothing like a crisis to aid your understanding
  • The NHS is being privatised
  • Did a talk on social media at the Church of Scotland – our union organises there
  • Unite Faith workers branch

07:39 We’re doing something different this time

09:00 TAC and Cosatu

  • TAC campaigned against Big Pharma and the South African government
  • President Thabo Mbeki believed HIV was not the cause of Aids
  • Links with unions and other civil society organisations were critical to support
  • Black trade unions became legal in 1979 and were key players in the struggle against apartheid
  • Many TAC activists were UDF veterans
  • TAC has been very successful: South Africa now has the world’s largest HIV-Aids treatment programme

17:00 Unions and politics

  • Comrade Eduard introduces a word we haven’t heard in a while: “cadre”
  • South African unions are a lot more explicitly political than UK and US unions
  • South Africa has fairly union-friendly labour laws
  • We need to make trade unionism political – it’s not just about workplace issues
  • South Africa has one of the world’s most progressive constitutions
  • Walton misquotes Mao:

“There is great chaos under heaven—the situation is excellent.”

  • Stephen has some examples of SMU in the US– Labornotes is worth reading

28:22 Are African unions and social movements using FOSS?

  • Union density in South Africa varies widely by sector – agriculture and services not well organised
  • TAC’s office in Khayelitsha uses FOSS
  • This became a community hub, and allowed activists to make international contacts
  • The NHS is moving to Open Office

39:20 Eduard’s iPad rant

  • Closed systems like iPads take away the ability to experiment away form kids
  • Best way to learn about something is to break it

Some other South African social movements:

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2 thoughts on “The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode Seventeen – Building an international comradeship of cyber cadre!”

  1. I think Eduard’s points about SA union history are very true. Its sad to see the extent to which the unions are NOT following up their own politics in SA today. I don’t think there is some great conspiracy there though (although of course the politics of the unions are relevant to this), there rather appears to be a great crisis of organising. For example, the recent SAMWU strike effectively collapsed recently, and knowing the history of municipal worker militancy, this is tragic – a bit of news (but no analysis) here: http://bit.ly/pxkndY The recent cleaners’ strike was also pretty poorly organised – since every worker has a cellphone why didn’t the union (that was trying to co-ordinate a nationwide strike) use that? The COSATU unions continue to make political resolutions, but hardly ever seem to put feet on the ground (yes, the Alliance with the ANC matters here, but I think there’s also a crisis of capacity happening).

    BTW for many people in SA the competition of Linux isn’t licensed-Microsoft, its unlicensed-Microsoft, i.e. pirate closed software. The cost of dealing with viruses is horrendous though, especially in this age of memory sticks.

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