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Zenophobia and thuggery

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Brian
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« on: April 15, 2015, 08:23:19 AM »

This was written by one of my best friends and a former colleague Bongani Khonjwayo:

"Lets use all platforms and chatrooms and all forms of communication to condemn this inhuman dibilitating xenophobic scourge. What type of a nation that does not listen to its leadership? What has happened to our conscience as a peace loving and neighbourly people in South Africa? Are we now saying through our actions that apartheid was better? Are we saying our people who died in the frontiers of war against apartheid died in vain? Are we saying people who sacrificed their lives in the African diaspora in support of our fight against apartheid did that in vain? Are we saying that Nelson Mandela and others deserved to be imprisoned for 27 years? Are we saying black on black violence that was sponsored by the apartheid regime as our national freedom was ushered in was right? Are we saying Dr Verwoed was right when he said natives cannot think for themselves? Are we saying the dompas system of identification was right? Are ee saying the work seekers permit system which required a man to undress infront of a white young Afrikaans speaking officer to examine if you were free from sexual deseases to qualify for work seekers permit was right? This cannot be the South African nation that we fought to free from slavery. NO TO XENOPHOBIA NO."

Please feel free to share if you support his impassioned plea.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 09:36:28 AM »

What type of a nation that does not listen to its leadership?

The best type.

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Are we saying people who sacrificed their lives in the African diaspora in support of our fight against apartheid did that in vain?

Pretty much any death for any cause will be in vain eventually. The wheels of history tend to turn in vicious cycles. The question is usually whether you think the temporary benefit gained was worth it.

Anyway, while I feel for the guy's stance I've come to realize posting any such kind of plea online is akin to preaching to the choir. The people doing this stuff don't do internets.

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Brian
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 09:43:29 AM »

Bongani did say:  "use all platforms and chatrooms and all forms of communication to condemn this inhuman dibilitating xenophobic scourge." ...and I think you underestimate the spread of smart phones BM.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 10:23:45 AM »

Perhaps you overestimate my level of snobbery.  Grin

I think the people engaging in this stuff are the poorest of the poor, and no I don't think smartphones have penetrated that far, nor do I think they care to waste valuable SMS/MMS money sending this message around, especially since their proclivities are already clear.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 10:25:19 AM »

Basically the eternal optimist in me is starting to break down and admit that we may soon be facing a general genocide in SA. If this trend of blaming others for poverty and then killing them continues.
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Brian
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 13:22:30 PM »

The cynic in me says its all a well-orchestrated campaign by thugs and/or political groups but that elements in the attacks are there merely to see what they can get out of looting and destroying for the sheer hell of it. Anarchy is much more fun than a job or peace. The over-used notion of 'Ubuntu" is certainly as dead as a door-nail. Mob violence has no solution except to fight fire with fire (hoses) or rubber bullets or even dogs. However the real causes of this must still be ascertained. I would love to see the king of the Zulu's arrested for hate speech and fomenting unrest.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 13:31:52 PM »

This is all so telling of the anger brewing in this country, that seemingly has nowhere to go. So any scapegoat, statue, or group can and does fill in as target. Very troubling.
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brianvds
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 14:40:54 PM »

Funny how the xenophobes complain about immigrants stealing jobs that they themselves don't want to do in the first place. How very American of us. :-)
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2015, 08:58:59 AM »

Could go in the monuments thread too

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Hermes
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 14:36:38 PM »

What we are witnessing here is a failure of African nationalism.  The weak point in nationalism is always the definition of the nation.  Usually that nation does not correspond to nationality.  Be it Afrikaner nationalism of African nationalism, it seeks to discriminate between an in group and an out group.  The term African is ambiguous and could refer to either a citizen of Africa or a race group.  Whereas the African National Congress has from time to time said that South Africa belongs to everybody who lives in it, their policies are obsessed with race and the very name of the party implies that being African trumps being South African; that is to say that the Black man from across the Limpopo is more in than the White man from this side of that river.

With regards to immigration, the ANC maintains strict measures concerning prospective immigrants from other continents, but has allowed the immigration of millions of Africans from neighbouring countries even if they have very low levels of literacy.  This influx accelerated during the Mbeki-era.  Because Africa has such a vast population of very poorly skilled people, it aggravates an existing oversupply in the market for unskilled labour.  The result of such an increase in supply is of course downward pressure on wages and increased unemployment.  We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand, but not by price controls: minimum wages will never solve the problem.  Unfortunately the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand in the labour market.  On the one hand the will to control African immigration is lacking while at the same time it maintains an antagonistic relationship towards Business.  The demand side of the equation is further impeded by infrastructure failures, poor service delivery and protective labour laws.

Claiming that South African labourers don’t want to work is simply not true.  We see them queueing for daywork as gardeners on the street corner and the unsuccessful ones returning to their homes disappointedly daily.  There are those who have good jobs and then strike for higher wages of course, but that’s a simptom of labour laws that are too protective rather than an unwillingness to work.

The same oversupply situation that bedevils the unskilled labour market also affects micro businesses.  There are simply too many traders trying to sell the same wares.

The violence we see now is a reaction to this state of affairs.  It is, in essence, a failure of African nationalism.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2015, 14:55:11 PM »

... it seeks to discriminate between an in group and an out group.

Look: nationalism, patriotism, religious "affiliation", clubs, gangs, schoolyard bullying, or international power-blocks: IMHO it all harkens back to the same (fallable) human trait: Tribalism.

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... maintains strict measures concerning prospective immigrants from other continents

This bewilders, truly. I have a (highly skilled) friend who came over from the first world and for nearly 6 months couldn't work when our govt. couldn't get it's ass in gear and renew his work permit. Meanwhile, in Joburg CBD....

The problem I have is we could probably handle more of the charity-cases more easily if we made it just as easy for SKILLED, PRODUCTIVE people to work here. But we don't, we encourage the exact opposite of what we need. This has truly become the ANC's best applied skill.

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We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand

The solution is to leave it alone and let it fix itself. Supply and demand balance naturally, the trick is to not alter either artificially. That's how free markets work, any form of market manipulation is folly.

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the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand

... thus these are bad ideas anyway. The main thing the ANC need to do is to STOP getting in the way.
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brianvds
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2015, 15:26:59 PM »

Claiming that South African labourers don’t want to work is simply not true.  We see them queueing for daywork as gardeners on the street corner and the unsuccessful ones returning to their homes disappointedly daily.  There are those who have good jobs and then strike for higher wages of course, but that’s a simptom of labour laws that are too protective rather than an unwillingness to work.

Many of those sitting on street corners are in fact immigrants. :-)

I can only speak from personal exprience here; not sure whether actual studies have been done on this. Recently, the school where I work advertised several posts for teaching assistants. They need not have more than matric, and if they sent in an impressive CV or did well in an interview, even someone with lower qualifications would get the job. We received almost a hundred CVs. Of which not a single one was from a South African citizen.

The South Africans we do employ almost invariably turn out useless and get fired within a month or two.

Well, there's the South African education system in action. We have, for the past two decades, warned that we are creating a generation of completely unemployable people. Well, that generation has now hit the streets, and the chickens have come home to roost.
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Hermes
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 17:39:21 PM »

Quote
We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand

The solution is to leave it alone and let it fix itself. Supply and demand balance naturally, the trick is to not alter either artificially. That's how free markets work, any form of market manipulation is folly.

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the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand

... thus these are bad ideas anyway. The main thing the ANC need to do is to STOP getting in the way.

I have no doubt that our high levels of unemployment, especially on the lowest skill levels, is among the top national priorities that needs to be addressed.  This implies that the demand for labour must be stimulated and the supply thereof, especially unskilled labour, must be curbed.  I do not propose that government should attempt this by artificial interference in the job market, but by creating an environment in which the free market system may flourish and achieve these balances.  The demand side measures I allude to in my post include being supportive of Business, providing essential infrastructure, delivering services and following labour legislation that encourages employment.  On the supply side of the equation government should curb immigration of labour categories where there already is a surplus.  I do not agree that these are bad ideas.  Failure to take these measures has created a volatile situation.  The essence of my previous post is that African Nationalist thinking is at the root of this failure.
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Hermes
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2015, 17:56:23 PM »


Many of those sitting on street corners are in fact immigrants. :-)

I can only speak from personal exprience here; not sure whether actual studies have been done on this. Recently, the school where I work advertised several posts for teaching assistants. They need not have more than matric, and if they sent in an impressive CV or did well in an interview, even someone with lower qualifications would get the job. We received almost a hundred CVs. Of which not a single one was from a South African citizen.

The South Africans we do employ almost invariably turn out useless and get fired within a month or two.

Well, there's the South African education system in action. We have, for the past two decades, warned that we are creating a generation of completely unemployable people. Well, that generation has now hit the streets, and the chickens have come home to roost.

I have on occasions employed casual labour and agree that you have a mix of South Africans and foreigners competing for the same jobs.  On your experiences in education I cannot comment, but would be careful not to extrapolate it very far.  Poor educational standards are another example of failed service delivery causing a surplus of poorly skilled labour.
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brianvds
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 04:42:58 AM »

I have on occasions employed casual labour and agree that you have a mix of South Africans and foreigners competing for the same jobs.  On your experiences in education I cannot comment, but would be careful not to extrapolate it very far.  Poor educational standards are another example of failed service delivery causing a surplus of poorly skilled labour.

Many of those immigrants seeking unskilled labour are highly qualified. They are probably more clever in how they go about looking for a job, and able to make a better impression on potential employers, so that perhaps they compete our local, uneducated job seekers out of the market. But such people usually very rapidly work themselves out of poverty and, given half a chance, will become employers.

With our local people, even relatively entrepreneurial ones trying to make a living by selling stuff on street corners, I often notice a disastrous lack of creativity. For example, I often notice the same bloke trying to sell trinkets to motorists. The spot he has chosen is a traffic circle, where no one in his right mind will stop right in the middle of traffic to buy crap he doesn't need.

Some years ago, another one tried to sell avocados at a traffic light. But he only sold them in bags of, at an estimate, twenty or thirty. Who on earth buys thirty avocados at a time? I advised him to split up his produce into smaller bags, and indeed even told him that I would personally buy from him if he did (as I would have; I wasn't just saying so). But I noticed a few days later that he was still hawking his huge bags, largely unsuccessfully.

Among my students at school I notice the same lack of any hint of creativity, or engagement with their school work or indeed even with life itself. They thoughtlessly plod along, secure in the knowledge that the government will look after them. They get this attitude from their parents, I presume. I now and then have occasion to observe it directly. E.g. some years ago, when I worked as tutor, one of my clients had a wall sized ANC flag as only decoration in the sitting room. I had to wonder whether growing up steeped in party politics was a good thing for any kid, especially when the party in question has a reputation for making promises it can't possibly keep. A few years ago, at a different school, when I asked the teenaged students whether they didn't think it would be a good idea to try doing a bit better in their school work, I was quite openly told that they did not need to, because as soon as everything has been nationalized and redistributed, they would all have houses and cars, and thus they did not need to actually work for anything. :-)

In fact, young black South Africans of today remind me pretty much of my own generation in the middle 1980s, when us whities were at the height of our power and arrogance, and just before the sudden collapse. We were spectacularly ambitionless and undisciplined. It was a time when a white skin guaranteed you a job, even if only as some sort of protected labourer like a Railway Police officer (remember those?) or the lift operators and photostat machine operators we had in the department of manpower when I worked there in the late 1980s.

Compare this with several immigrants of my acquaintance, both black and white, who came to this country with the clothes on their backs, and now enjoy a middle class lifestyle.

Seems to me that on the whole, immigration is a good thing. Ask 19th century America.

Anyway, I'm just rambling and has kind of lost track of what the thread is about or what I was trying to say in the first place. :-)
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Hermes
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2015, 12:00:27 PM »

There is an ethical aspect to immigration control that merits consideration.  In the developed world it has become unacceptable to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, conviction and so forth, yet discrimination on the basis of nationality is common practice.  We may seemingly not discriminate on the basis of what colour a person was born or what gender a person was born, but it is quite fine to discriminate on the basis of where a person was born.  Being born north of the Mediterranean Sea, for example, gives one a huge advantage over being born south thereof.  This jars with liberal thinking.  One intuitively feels that the venue of one’s birth should be of little if any consequence.  (Admittedly venue is not the only determinant of nationality.)
 
The counter argument may be that a country does not become successful purely by luck, but also by collective effort and achievement.  Japan, for instance, has no mineral resources, yet it has achieved a very high standard of living.  The citizens of a successful country are therefore not just privileged; they are entitled to better living conditions.  They should not be obliged to share their prosperity with immigrants from failed countries that cannot get their house in order.  I appreciate that immigrants may become productive citizens, but large numbers of unskilled migrants are more likely to become a burden on a developed country’s welfare, which is why immigration control originated.

Would a world without borders be a better world?
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2015, 12:27:49 PM »

Would a world without borders be a better world?
For half the world, yes.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2015, 14:06:40 PM »

I'm inclined to think the resources/wealth/good times would be spread so thin the std. of living of the poorest would barely change.

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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2015, 15:15:18 PM »

Compare this with several immigrants of my acquaintance, both black and white, who came to this country with the clothes on their backs, and now enjoy a middle class lifestyle.


But no, you're on exactly the right track. I've been to middle Africa and seen devastating poverty. The kind of stuff that makes joburg CBD look like London. BUT, you go there and the people are polite, motivated, hard-working, honest people. Strife may be the very thing making them so. They know damn well nobody is coming to save the day.

And so I found with myself. Whereas some older people I know did nothing to secure their retirement, medical needs, etc... I never grew up with the expectation that the government would help me out. I now see older people who feel cheated out of benefits they thought they'd enjoy forever.... and now have no backup plan.

But me, my generation, it was different: I knew from day one I was responsible for everything I need and want. AND I had BEE against me from my first step: I was told by institutions "Sure, you could apply for this bursary, but don't bother, you're too white". Once I had qualified, I was told the same thing by firms hiring graduates. Every card in the deck has been stacked against me for my entire adult life.

That's why this sentiment resonates so much with me. I had to fight to get somewhere in life and in the process have blown straight past the achievements of familial forefathers. They were too complacent, took too much for granted.

And this is also why I pick Rand over Marx any day.
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brianvds
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2015, 17:30:05 PM »

There is an ethical aspect to immigration control that merits consideration.  In the developed world it has become unacceptable to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, conviction and so forth, yet discrimination on the basis of nationality is common practice.  We may seemingly not discriminate on the basis of what colour a person was born or what gender a person was born, but it is quite fine to discriminate on the basis of where a person was born.  Being born north of the Mediterranean Sea, for example, gives one a huge advantage over being born south thereof.  This jars with liberal thinking.  One intuitively feels that the venue of one’s birth should be of little if any consequence.  (Admittedly venue is not the only determinant of nationality.)

I once jokingly asked my brother whether the gardener he had appointed was a legal immigrant. He said something that resonated with me: "I don't care. How can giving someone a job possibly be construed as a criminal offence?"
 
Quote
The counter argument may be that a country does not become successful purely by luck, but also by collective effort and achievement.  Japan, for instance, has no mineral resources, yet it has achieved a very high standard of living.  The citizens of a successful country are therefore not just privileged; they are entitled to better living conditions.  They should not be obliged to share their prosperity with immigrants from failed countries that cannot get their house in order.  I appreciate that immigrants may become productive citizens, but large numbers of unskilled migrants are more likely to become a burden on a developed country’s welfare, which is why immigration control originated.

Would a world without borders be a better world?


Well, I profoundly respect the Japanese and what they have achieved. But then, Japan is and always had been a very homogeneous society. South Africa has not; in this respect, we bear a strong resemblance to America of the late 19th century. In Africa, we are the land of opportunity. Partially thanks to government incompetence - all the services the government is incapable of providing now have to be provided by the private sector.

Open borders are messy things, as America can testify. But America was pretty much built by first- and second generation immigrants. I very much doubt if they would have achieved their position of world prominence if they had strictly limited immigration in the 19th and early 20th century. As far as I'm personally concerned, immigrants are welcome.
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brianvds
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2015, 17:51:01 PM »

But me, my generation, it was different: I knew from day one I was responsible for everything I need and want. AND I had BEE against me from my first step: I was told by institutions "Sure, you could apply for this bursary, but don't bother, you're too white". Once I had qualified, I was told the same thing by firms hiring graduates. Every card in the deck has been stacked against me for my entire adult life.

White South Africans are the new 19th century European Jews: an increasingly unpopular minority with some quite openly discriminatory laws against them. That is partly why they have rapidly gotten themselves into pretty much the same position: richer and better educated than ever before. And unlike what happened in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe, I don't think we need to worry about death camps, the "Night of the Long Knives" or any of that crap.

This is why I don't complain or worry too much about BEE, affirmative action, suggestions that we pay heavier taxes or a once-off compensatory fine or whatever. All of that has achieved precisely the opposite of what was intended: whites became ever stronger, and the supposed beneficiaries of such laws became ever more decadent and plain useless.

Sooner or later, all South Africans of whatever race or creed will have to accept the reality that you have to work in order to live, and that wealth is not something a few evil, reactionary whites are hiding in a pot under their beds where it can conveniently be nationalized and redistributed but that it consists of the flow of money and energy and resources through the system, and that the only way to share in it is to bloody well WORK in that system.

Hence Mr. Malema and company are most welcome to try out whatever measures they like: confiscate farms, destroy statues, change the names of streets and towns, introduce new discriminatory legislation... thus far, all such measures have achieved nothing more than to make things even worse for their own supporters, and to create ever more new opportunities for anyone with any hint of education and work ethic. Such people include South Africans of all races, and also immigrants.

It should be noted, mind you, that AA laws are not as all-pervasive as the right wingers may like to believe. Over the past two decades I have worked with many black colleagues, and as far as I could gather, not a one of them got their job through affirmative action. I suspect that it is nowadays easier for a white person to get a relatively well paid job than to become a waiter at Wimpy (when last have you seen a white waiter in a Wimpy?) or a petrol attendant.

Thanks to our public school system, companies face a bit of an AA conundrum: they have quotas to fill but no qualified black personnel with which to fill the high level jobs, so they make up the difference at the lower levels. And thus, AA helps to ensure that the poorer part of the population will remain poor. Until such time as they realize that they will have no choice but to work themselves up the ladder. 
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