ica 3rd space symposium at uct

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L-R: jackï job, Dee Moholo, Koleka Putuma, Khanyi Mbongwa (Vasiki), Ilze Wolff, Lois Anguria

The most decolonised academic space I have yet had the joy of experiencing. The conference continues today. If you’re in Cape Town, come. It’s free!
HERE is the programme. 🌸

intersectional or bullshit

fb_img_1459830146966.jpgPress release from Wits Fees Must Fall:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEMINIST AND QUEER DISRUPTION OF WITS SHUTDOWN, 04 APRIL:

Today, 04 April 2016, a group of students attempted to shut down Wits University in the name of Wits Fees Must Fall. These students were comprised of some members of the Wits student body and other popular faces from the #Fallist movements throughout the country. Leaders of this movement have been quoted in media confirming the shutdown as an act in solidarity with suspended, intimidated and deregistered from Wits as of today, 04 April 2016 as well as the continued struggle against outsourcing of workers on university campuses.

Through reliable sources and substantive evidence, we know that the plan to shut down the Wits campus was discussed at a private symposium this past weekend, convened under the banner of Fess Must Fall, the invite to which was not extended to the broader Fees Must Fall movement on different campuses as well as the explicit exclusion of feminist and queer persons. The feminist and queer bodies that have continued to challenge the problematic and archaic investment in the institutions of patriarchal masculinities by student leaders who have continued to erase and silence their narratives and participation in the struggle for free decolonised education and outsourcing.

As a collective, the democratic process of convening and mandating members to attend Fees Must Fall related events has always been one that is consultative and open. The collective mandates representatives at each turn as the movement maintains a flat democratic structure. Therefore, the symposium of the past weekend, facilitated through external funders that seek to infiltrate the movement, and the employ of what we suspect to be non Wits students and members of the public, is one we do not recognise and refuse to be held hostage by its political dictates and ambitions.

We have maintained our integrity as an intersectional; student led non partisan movement that is fighting for free decolonised education and the insourcing of workers.

As a movement, we fully support the disruption of systems of power that have continued to exclude black students from accessing the higher education space as well as the outsourcing and dehumanisation of black workers on campuses. However, we will never tolerate a situation in which these disruptions are allowed to happen at the expense of queer and feminist bodies wherein their bodies are only utilised for the purposes of protecting heterosexual black men on the firing line.

Since the inception of the #Fallist movements, the student’s movements have been plagued by incidences and complaints of latent and rampant misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia and transmisogyny and this must come to an end. The disruption of the shut down this morning was a step towards disrupting this problematic trend where feminist and queer bodies are only good to be used for protecting heterosexual black men.

The revolution for a decolonised South Africa where free decolonised quality education is a reality for every Black child is one that feminist and queer bodies have maintained will be intersectional or it will not be a revolution at all. However, this afternoon, feminist and queer bodies were assaulted, strangled, kicked and beaten by these black men in the service of the black revolutionary project. Black feminist and queer bodies continue to put their bodies on the line and continue to be disregarded and erased by heterosexual black men.

This practise by heterosexual black men to sacrifice feminist and queer bodies in this revolution will not be tolerated any longer. The exclusion, abuse, assault and endangering of Black Feminist, Queer, Trans and Disabled bodies by heterosexual black men will no longer be tolerated.

All identities of Blackness will be included in this revolution or it will be bullshit!

To all Feminist, Queer, Trans and marginalised bodies, we are convening at the Revolutionary benches (Green benches in front of Umthombo Building) from 10:30 on 05 April 2016.

#NotMyFMF #FuckyourErasure #AllofUsorNoneofUs

susan buck-morss on work in the age of mechanical reproduction

Angelus Novus (Klee)/Walter Benjamin

Angelus Novus (Klee)/Walter Benjamin

Susan Buck-Morss, writing in 2001 on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history, marked by the critique of progress in the name of a revolutionary time which interrupts history’s chronological continuum:

The only power available to us as we, riding in the train of history, reach for the emergency brake, is the power that comes from the past… One fact of the past that we particularly are in danger of forgetting is the apparent harmlessness with which the process of cultural capitulation takes place. lt is a matter, simply, of wanting to keep up with the intellectual trends, to compete in the marketplace, to stay relevant, to stay in fashion…

So, what in God’s name are we doing here? The litmus test for intellectual production is how it affects the outside world, not what happens inside an academic enclave such as this one. [Walter] Benjamin himself held up as the criterion for his work that it be “totally useless for the purpose of Fascism.”* Could any of us say of our work that it is totally useless for the purposes of the new global order, in which class exploitation is blatant, but the language to describe it is in ruins? Of course, we would be horrified if decisions on academic hiring and promotion were made on the basis of what our work contributed to the class struggle. The disturbing truth, however, is that these decisions are already being made on the basis of ensuring that our work contributes nothing to the class struggle. And that, my friends, is problematic.
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*Benjamin, preface to ‘Work in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. In: Benjamin 1969: 2 18.

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In Pandaemonium Germanicum, 5/2001, pp. 73-88. Read the full article: Susan Buck-Morss – Walter Benjamin – between academic fashion and the Avant Garde.

ameera conrad – on exhaustion over a lack of understanding

ameeraI am tired
God Almighty, I am tired
of being told that we need to move on,
that we need to forget,
that we need to put the past behind us,
that Apartheid is over.

They don’t understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture,
trauma
terror
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
slaves
whips at our backs –
The Man holding the whip did not build –
we built.

Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away.
Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
rotting,
pulled by rats.
A polite revolution over tea and crumpets, good Sir,
‘twas the order of the day.

When could we mourn?
When could we cry?
When could we scream
for our loved ones lost
our chances trampled on?

Please Mastah Baas Meneer,
Asseblief,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
en broers
gee my ‘n kans om te huil.

Let me stand up for myself
and for those who stood before me.
Let me march for myself
and for those who marched before me.
Let me call out AMANDLA
and raise my fist
and let me cry
after hundreds of years
let me cry.

— Ameera Conrad
4th Year
B.A. Theatre and Performance at UCT

Please visit Ameera’s blog, HERE.

UCT black academics: when they arrived!

A substantive account of what students are doing right now at UCT. Fiercely awesome.

briankamanzi

Foreword

Forgive me at this moment, it is difficult to not be romantic in my description of what I feel is History in the making. This story is dedicated to my friends and comrades who are making waves at the University of Cape Town on behalf of many students, on behalf of me, on behalf of our children to change the institutional climate from the restrictions it has been gripped with through it’s inception. This latest wave of energy takes its rightful place as one, among many, of the acts of resistance against the systemic forces that resist change and substantive “transformation” as voices take on a new interpretation of the never ending struggle for liberation.

Forgive me in my limitedness, as I am physically unable to recount to you all that happened but I hope you appreciate my account of what I remember.. along with the moments that, most…

View original post 1,412 more words

statement from students occupying uct’s bremner building aka azania house

BREMNER OCCUPATION STATEMENT

We, the Rhodes Must Fall movement, are occupying the Bremner building with the intention to 1) disrupt the normal processes of management and 2) force management to accept our demands. We have chosen to occupy the Bremner building, and the Archie Mafeje room specifically, because of its strategic and historical significance – it is the place where management carries out its activities, and these are precisely the activities we seek to subvert. In addition, the building is a historical site of protest – in 1968 UCT students opposed the university’s decision to rescind the professorship of one of the continent’s leading anthropologists, Archie Mafeje. We have chosen the Archie Mafeje boardroom to recognise his struggle against the very institutional racism we are fighting against.

We have claimed and transformed this space to begin the decolonisation of the university. We are implementing a programme of rigorous political education under the guidance of a group of black lecturers from UCT and other South African universities that interrogates and problematizes the neo-colonial narratives pertaining to Africa. This education forces us to reject these narratives and their normative nature because they re-inforce our displacement both geographically and existentially.

We have begun to question the entire neo-colonial situation, whether South Africa belongs to all those who live in it and whether it is us the people that are occupying this building or whether we are realising the fact that this building and its land always belonged to the people. This education has extended far beyond the falling of the statue and has reached the language of struggle. How do we organise, how do we mobilise and most importantly how do we get what we want. How do we resolve the tensions between Pan-Africanism and intersectionality, moreover how does that implicate our own movement. Management has told us that they are allowing us to stay in Bremner. This building that sits on the land of black people, this building that was constructed on the sweat and blood of black people. If UCT is not afraid at this point all we have to say is NANG’UMFAZI OMNYAMA MAX PRICE!

We are here because we are calling into question the legitimacy of the supposedly democratic process Dr Max Price has put in place to address the removal of the Rhodes statue.

It is infuriating that management is attempting to open up a process of debate through their plan of action. Alumni have been emailed and asked for input, and notice boards have been put up near the statue to allow for comment from the broader student body. This is unacceptable to the black (by this we mean all oppressed people of colour) students, workers and staff belonging to this movement. It is absurd that anyone besides those who experience the statue as a violent presence should have any say in whether the statue should stay or not. White students in particular cannot be consulted in such a process because they can never truly empathise with the profound violence exerted on the psyche of black students. Management is making clear through this process that they are not interested in alleviating black pain unless the move to do so is validated by white voices. Opening up the discussion to an alumni that is overwhelmingly white and male will only prejudice black people, and black women particularly, in the decision-making process. To refuse to explicitly acknowledge these skewed demographics is unacceptable. Our pain and anger is at the centre of why the statue is being questioned, so this pain and anger must be responded to in a way that only we can define.

Further, the ‘Have Your Say’ notice boards have only made UCT’s black community more vulnerable – UCT has crafted a space that allows students to be blatantly racist with impunity, at the expense of a safe space for black people. This shows that UCT either does not know the violence black people face here, or they truly have no interest in our protection. Finally, it is revealing that while black protestors are threatened with and are facing investigations, the racist backlash from white students has been met with silence by the university.

That the presence of Rhodes is seen as debatable shows that management does not understand the extent of the terrible violence inflicted against black people historically and presently. The push for dialogue around the statue reflects the disturbing normalisation of colonisation and white supremacy at UCT.

In his letter “From the VC’s Desk: Rhodes statue protests and transformation”, Dr Price states that there has never been such university-wide discussion on this issue. He does so without interrogating why this is the case. It is the fault of UCT management that discussion has been suppressed for so long. Black students have clearly not had any channels through which to express their pain within the university, and no genuine steps have been taken by UCT to provide such. It is telling that a student had to go to the lengths that Chumani did in order to garner the university’s attention on issues of black pain. The fact that management has clearly disregarded the experiences of black students, staff and workers for the last 21 years on this campus calls into question their legitimacy in dealing with the issue of removing the statue.

The illegitimate nature of this process is also illustrated by our walk-out last Monday in protest of the disingenuous Heritage, Signage and Symbolism seminar. After the walk-out, the remaining members of the seminar stopped the discussion to respect student protestors and our decision that any conversation on the statue can only happen on our terms. The fact that the Vice-Chancellor mentioned this seminar in his letter without contextualising it reveals that he is committed to upholding a process that is clearly to the detriment of black students.

We take issue with Dr Price’s reasoning that “it is a council decision”. Again, the only view relevant to the decision is that of black students, workers and staff, and we refuse to accept the trivialisation of this fact in the form of management prioritising white stakeholders. We are also fully aware that UCT senior management has taken unilateral decisions before with no delay – we refer here to the decisions taken on the admissions policy which was pushed through by senior management.

We stress that this movement is not simply about the removal of a statue, and removing the statue is only the first step towards the radical decolonisation of this university. The removal of the statue is the first condition of our campaign – from which point we will allow management to engage with us. We demand that Management accepts that there is no decision to make: this movement has decided that the statue must fall. We demand that Dr Price organises an emergency meeting of council this week Friday the 27th of March to discuss the processes involved in removing the statue from this campus. We will remain in Bremner building until we receive confirmation of this.