The Elite and Community Protests in South Africa
Over the last few weeks in South Africa, community protests and land occupations have once again erupted. People are simply infuriated at continuously being ignored and treated as subhuman by the state and the elite, and for this reason they have been taking to the streets. While barricades have literally been spreading from township to township, politicians of every sway - from the DA to the ANC - have been condemning these protests. Along with thinly veiled threats, politicians have also branded the people involved as criminals. Not to be outdone, a number of business and conservative church leaders have formed a 25 person council to work with the government to end the protests through embarking on a ‘moral regeneration' campaign. The fact that the elite have branded the protestors as evil and in need of moral regeneration should come as no surprise. This is because the elite have a deep-seated contempt for the vast majority of people. In fact, they have been waging an ideological, economic and physical war on the majority of people for years through neo-liberalism. Indeed, the only reason why the elite are now so upset by the community protests and land occupations is because they have realised that they are now beginning to reap the whirlwind of this war.
Could the great recession lead to a great revolution?
From the Christian Science Monitor
For the first time in generations, people are challenging the view that a free-market order – the system that dominates the globe today – is the destiny of all nations. The free market's uncanny ability to enrich the elite, coupled with its inability to soften the sharp experiences of staggering poverty, has pushed inequality to the breaking point.
As a result, we live at an important historical juncture – one where alternatives to the world's neoliberal capitalism could emerge. Thus, it is a particularly apt time to examine revolutionary movements that have periodically challenged dominant state and imperial power structures over the past 500 years.
November 21st and 22nd, 2009
Hartford, Connecticut USA: at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Ave.)
We are pleased to announce the beginning of the North American Anarchist Studies Network (NAASN). We see this as a space to develop theoretical and empirical work that pays critical attention to anarchism and items of interest to the anarchist milieu. Likewise, we see the creation of this network as a way for North American anarchists who do scholarly work to be able to support each other in our endeavors and create a space for critical dialogue and reflection. This conference, then, is not only a place for us to discuss our research, dialogue with one another in panels, and educate ourselves through presentations. It is also a place for discussing the development and future course of the NAASN–so if you would like to be involved, please do so! As well, this provides us with a venue for discussing the role of the theoretician and the researcher in the larger project of dismantling capitalism, the state, and domination in all of its forms.
We are calling for papers, panels, and presentations to be given at the founding conference. Creativity in format and presentation is encouraged, as are submissions from people who may not currently have a university affiliation. As anarchists, we want to disrupt rather than perpetuate the lines drawn between the official academy and the production of knowledge. Papers, panels, and presentations should focus on work on anarchism or topics of interest to the anarchist milieu. Importantly, we see this as an occasion for dialoguing with one another to learn and grow, and would like to avoid sectarianism, personal attacks, and debating-to-win.
Fanonian Practices and the Politics of Space in Postapartheid South Africa:
The Challenge of the Shack Dwellers Movement (Abahlali baseMjondolo)
Presentation at the Frantz Fanon Colloque, Algers July 7, 2009
Nigel C. Gibson
The nation does not exist in the program which has been worked out by revolutionary leaders … [but] in the muscles and intelligences of men and women.
Fanon, Les damnés
Je vous remercie de m'avoir invité à ce colloque, je suis absolument ravi et honoré d'être ici, parmi ces personalités, ainsi que les personnes qui ont un lieu l'historique avec Fanon. Ce document fait partie d'un projet plus vaste appelé pratiques “Fanonian en Afrique du Sud.”:Une partie de l'idée est de reconnaître la pertinence du vécu de Fanon, les mouvements entre les damnés de la terre.
To speak about Fanonian practices in postapartheid South Africa one first needs to think about the question of method in two not necessarily opposite directions. First, as an engagement with Fanon’s critique of decolonization in its contemporary South African context; and second, from the perspective of new emergent movements of the damned of the earth that challenge philosophy. At the same time, since philosophy—not simply practical philosophy but an elemental philosophy of liberation—is always already present in the strivings of liberation of the damned of the earth, a philosophic moment makes itself heard when the exchange of ideas becomes grounded in both the strivings for freedom and lived experience from those excluded, marginalized and dehumanized and when, as Marx puts it, philosophy grips the masses. These dialogues—often hidden, underground and subjugated—make up what could also be called a philosophy of liberation.
OCTOBER 9TH-12TH, 2009 IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
During the weekend of October 9th-12th, the Anti-Racist Action Network will be holding its 15th annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA. We are inviting all members of Anti-Racist Action as well as all anti-fascists who agree with our 4 Points of Unity (see the end). The conference, taking place over 4 days, will include ARA's annual plenary, caucuses and discussion on current issues facing antifascists. Various workshops and several social events are also planned. Organizations will be tabling all weekend as well.
The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics
Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano (eds.)
Download book as PDF (Open Access)
This volume brings together essays by different generations of Italian thinkers which address, whether in affirmative, problematizing or genealogical registers, the entanglement of philosophical speculation and political proposition within recent Italian thought. Nihilism and biopolitics, two concepts that have played a very prominent role in theoretical discussions in Italy, serve as the thematic foci around which the collection orbits, as it seeks to define the historical and geographical particularity of these notions as well their continuing impact on an international debate. The volume also covers the debate around ‘weak thought’ (pensiero debole), the feminist thinking of sexual difference, the re-emergence of political anthropology and the question of communism. The contributors provide contrasting narratives of the development of post-war Italian thought and trace paths out of the theoretical and political impasses of the present—against what Negri, in the text from which the volume takes its name, calls ‘the Italian desert’.
Classwargames Communique Number 6
In the legend of the founding of the Order of the Garter, medieval England’s most prestigious military order, Edward the Third plays Chess with the Countess of Salisbury. Queens, bishops, rooks, knights and pawns would decide this battle of the sexes. Edward Plantaganet staked a King’s ransom, in the form of a ruby, for the Countess’ virtue. Checkmate – the domination of one sex over another. How different is Debord’s game from its illustrious predecessor! This time around, the two players are loving comrades not rival aristocrats. In their book of The Game of War, Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho take on the roles of South and North. This illustrative contest is a marital affair: the tabletop becomes an erogenous zone where the inventor and his wife face each other in libidinous combat. Foreplay begins with North’s fond caress of South’s western arsenal, which soon succumbs to oblivion. Responding to this advance, South runs his cavalry up North’s left flank, and then North invitingly shifts her balance eastwards. Seizing the initiative, South fondles the tip of North’s mountain range before engaging in a penetrative action which comes tantalisingly close to entering North’s central arsenal. But, in a sudden forward thrust, North counter-attacks, her forces enveloping South who – with one flank now fully exposed - lingers in a fort before retreating back into his own territory. Finally, experiencing the ‘little death’ of surrender, South’s army becomes flaccid and resigns – totally exhausted - from combat.
The King and the Situationist had one thing in common: they were both beaten in a wargame by a woman. Yet, for the Countess of Salisbury, her victory was as much her undoing as a defeat would have been: the jewel in her possession being taken as proof of the yielding of her honour. Edward’s game of Chess was one of aristocratic domination, and led to the gesture of donning the Countess’ garter: the patriarchal symbol of the inner circle of the English elite to this day. In contrast, Alice’s victory over her husband was a cause for mutual celebration. In their Situationist wargame, competitive play stimulated psychological intimacy between the sexes. Winning or losing were equally pleasurable experiences. In both stories, the woman defeats the man in a simulation of military combat. But it is only in the account of The Game of War that the vanquished gladly shows his respect for the vanquisher. When Guy and Alice moved their pieces across the board, playing at war was making love by other means.
South Africa: A Cry for Deep Structural Change
The protests that have swept the country are a demand for an end to the contempt of the ruling elites for the poor. Our country is burning, and the leading lights in the new cabinet are out shopping for expensive cars. The long-standing disconnect between the political class and ordinary people has become a chasm.
The rebellions have made it abundantly clear that we cannot go on as before.
Why Richard Florida's honeymoon is over
From The Toronto Star
Uzma Shakir scanned the crowd, tapping her pen on the table. It was her turn. It was hot – too hot, an early-summer evening scorcher. All the chairs were filled. Latecomers spilled out the back and on to the gritty sidewalks on Bloor St. W. near Lansdowne.
She stood. "I am the creative city," she said. Laughter. "That's what Richard Florida says. I make it really exotic."
But the laughing stopped quickly. "Richard Florida's exotic city, his creative city, depends on ghost people, working behind the scenes. Immigrants, people of colour. You want to know what his version of creative is? He's the relocation agent for the global bourgeoisie. And the rest of us don't matter."
Honeymoons, typically, are short. For Florida, who arrived in Toronto just over two years ago to head the Martin Prosperity Institute, a University of Toronto think-tank created just for him, it's officially over.