Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wanderers 2013.2.20

Not uncharacteristically, I was late this morning.  My thanks to Don for the reminder phone call.  I really didn't know what I was missing.

Alan Weider has recently finished a book looking at the role played by an activist couple, Ruth First and Joe Slovo, in the anti-apartheid campaign that analysts are still grappling with, and will for some time, as the benefits of hindsight keep flooding in.

Alan is not new to this general topic, the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, and what I caught of his talk was deeply informed.  That's coming from my own limited perspective as a member of a Quaker family that relocated to Lesotho in the 1990s and stayed there for about seven years.

I then moved to The Bagdad to hear a presentation from Momentis out of Dallas, an energy company seeking to offer Oregonians more choice as deregulation looms.  By 2016, companies like Just Energy expect to have access to market share.  Some of our Quakers have gotten involved in this venture.

A grass roots marketing campaign is being developed, one that recruits from the consumer base itself to expand its sales force.  Not a new idea in North America, though perhaps not in energy (Amway and Tupperware don't sell you Internet services or household gas).  Wanderer Patrick Barton was my guest, as I value his perspective on matters energetic.

Back to Alan's story:

Ruth was blown up by a mail bomb, placed by unprincipled South Africans who believed they had a mandate to murder (not a new misapprehension).  The monster behind this  atrocity came forward during the Truth Process.  Joe later died of cancer, having served in the Housing Ministry.

The USSR did funnel a lot of money to the anti-apartheid resistance back then.  Remember Cuba's involvement in Angola.  Joe was a Gorbachev fan.

I mentioned our family history during the Q&A.  Urners came to Lesotho after apartheid was officially over and many a diplomatic family was leaving Maseru, which had served as a base.  As Quakers, we learned about recent history through that particular lens, which was enlightening.  But for the accident in 2000, Jack and Carol would likely still be in Maseru, enjoying good times.  They loved that whole area of the world (though not exclusively).

I also mentioned my time at 2 Dickinson Street when the student body was asking Nassau Hall to divest of any stock holdings in companies benefiting from an apartheid regime.  Such holdings would seem antithetical to, and/or hypocritical of, a liberal arts institution, according to these 1970s student analyst-activists.

Madeline Albright, formerly US Secretary of State, is speaking at The Bagdad tonight.  Like last time, I'll miss it, but will hope to read reports.  Portland (PDX) has diplomatic relations with Washington, DC (WDC), as well as non-diplomatic relations.