In the Streets

Could the great recession lead to a great revolution? Immanuel Ness 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.
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.
South Africa: A Cry for Deep Structural Change Imraan Buccus 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.
New York CIty's "Picture the Homeless" Forms Tent City Beka Economopoulos On Thursday at 11:00 AM, members of Picture the Homeless orchestrated a spirited occupation of a warehoused (vacant) lot, currently owned by the firm JPMorgan Chase, a recent beneficiary of billions in taxpayer bailout money. Homeless New Yorkers and their allies turned a fenced-off grassy lot in El Barrio/East Harlem into a vibrant Tent City, creatively adorned with makeshift dwellings, colorful art and banners. Under the slogan “NYC: A Place to Call Home,” they demanded that warehoused lots and buildings be accounted for by the city, and transformed into housing for poor and homeless people.
Calais No Border Camp 2009, (In)visible Subjects? Between the 23rd and the 29th of June a No Border camp was held in Calais. Estimates range between 500-800 participants in the camp, with many coming from outside of Calais, mainly from other parts of France such as Lille, the UK and Belgium. The camp was also visited and used by people from the nearby neighbourhoods and by about 100-200 migrants, the majority coming from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. During the week there were several actions in Calais and elsewhere (in particular the blockading of a detention centre in Lille) with many workshops, meetings and discussions also taking place. The camp culminated with a demonstration involving 2000 people (and an estimated 2500 police!) with unions, in particular the CNT, and parties such as the NPA travelling from outside of Calais to join the event.
Petition in Solidarity with Italian Arrestees Please sign and circulate ( The perfect Wave cannot be arrested! Call in solidarity with the students arrested the 6th of July in Italy In the night between the 5th and the 6th of July, 21 students were arrested in a sweeping police operation. They were charged with being involved in the mobilization of the 19th of May in Turin against the G8 University Summit. On that day more than 10,000 undergraduate and PhD students, as well as
Italian State Attempts to Arrest Anomalous Wave Last night 21 Italian students of the universities of Turin, Padua, Naples and Bologna have been arrested through a violent act of the Italian police. Sixteen students have been imprisoned, and other five have to stay under house arrest. Moreover two social centres and several houses have been raided and searched in Turin, Padua and Naples. The students arrested are in charge of resistance to police and violence during the G8 University in Turin on May. The Anomalous Wave occupied the universities, took the streets and blocked the cities against the unsustainable and illegitimate G8 University Summit, and against the crazy policy of the Italian government. During those days, Turin’s University was animated by several debates and meetings in which edu-factory collective participated too.
"A Homemade Politics" Abahlali baseMjondolo [Matt Birkinshaw, an anarchist from London, spent three months living in Abahlali baseMjondolo communes in Durban and Cape Town in 2008. This paper, prepared for a conference in Manchester, gives a brief but useful overview of the movement.] Rights, democracy and social movements in South Africa Matt Birkinshaw – Alternative Futures and Popular Protest, Manchester Metropolitan University, 15-17 March 2009 I spent three months in South Africa with Abahlali in 2008, spending much of my time living in Abahlali communities. The movement asked me to research and speak to people about the problem and politics of shack fires and I wrote a report on the issue for them which can be found at Introduction Abahlali baseMjondolo, the name is isiZulu for ‘people that stay in shacks’, is a South African social movement of poor, mainly African people centred around the city of Durban. The movement has around 10,000 paid-up members and more than 30,000 active supporters in over 40 affiliated settlements. They have recently formed a national alliance (The Poor People’s Alliance) with Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town, Landless People’s Movement in Johannesburg and the Rural and Farm Dwellers Network. The movement is remarkable for its thoughtful and ethical approach to an egalitarian, democratic evolving politics.
SOAS Occupied Over Retaliatory Deportation of Cleaners Free SOAS Cleaners Students and allies at the University of London’s School of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have occupied the university today to protest against managers’ attacks on migrant workers. Nine cleaners from the university were taken into detention after a dawn raid by immigration police on Friday. Five have already been deported, and the others could face deportation within days. One has had a suspected heart attack and was denied access to medical assistance and even water. One was over 6 months pregnant. Many have families who have no idea of their whereabouts. The cleaners won the London Living Wage and trade union representation after a successful “Justice for Cleaners” campaign that united workers of all backgrounds and student activists. Activists believe the raid is managers’ “revenge” for the campaign. Immigration officers were called in by cleaning contractor ISS, even though it has employed many of the cleaners for years. Cleaning staff were told to attend an ‘emergency staff meeting’ at 6.30am on Friday (June 12). This was used as a false pretext to lure the cleaners into a closed space from which the immigration officers were hiding to arrest them. More than 40 officers were dressed in full riot gear and aggressively undertook interrogations and then escorted them to the detention centre. Neither legal representation nor union support were present due to the secrecy surrounding the action. Many were unable to communicate let alone fully understand what was taking place due to the denial of interpreters.
Enric Duran, the Catalan 'Robin Hood of the Banks' has been released on 50,000 euro bail after being held in preventative detention for two months on fraud charges. Enric's upcoming trial for 'financial civil disobedience' offers another moment of publicity to Spain's 'We Can Live Without Capitalism' campaign is gearing up for its September 17th launch.
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