john perkins on empire’s power tools

“Fear and debt. The two most powerful tools of empire.”
– John Perkins

Image: #Umhlangano

Image: #Umhlangano

lucky dube – monster (2006)

From his album Respect, released in 2006, the year before he was killed during a hijacking.

I had a dream last night
One that will stay with me for a long time
One that will stay with me,
For as long as I live.
We were living in a world, there was no pain
We were living in the world there were no hungry people
Everyone was at peace with one another

There was a man in my dream
He told me he’s from the future,
Coming to give something better [Repeat x3]
Even though I know that

[Chorus]
One monster dies another one comes alive.

I had a dream last night
It was my dream but I know it is a dream
Of a lot of people in the world
To be living in a world, with no homeless people
To be living in a world where little children
Don’t have to die, because their parents are poor
When we came to this world
We were prepared to fight a battle.
But we found a war
When we came to this world,
We were prepared to fight demons
But we found the devil himself

There was a man in my dream
He told me he’s here
To gimme something better
Even though I know that

[Chorus]
One monster dies another one comes alive.

homo sacer

A really clear, simplified explanation of Giorgio Agamben‘s discussion of Homo sacer: someone forcibly reduced to bare life, cf. Simone Weil’s forcible destruction of the “I”.

Read also Achille Mbembe on people reduced to being conceived of as surplus or waste:

“Perhaps to a degree hardly achieved in the rest of the Continent, the human has consistently taken on the form of waste within the peculiar trajectory race and capitalism espoused in South Africa. Traditionally, we speak of “waste” as something produced bodily or socially by humans. In this sense, “waste” is that which is other than the human. Traditionally too, we speak of the intrinsic capacity of capitalism to waste human lives. We speak of how workers are wasted under capitalism in comparable fashion to natural resources. Marx in particular characterizes capitalist production as thoroughly wasteful with what he calls “human material” just as it is with “material resources”. It squanders “human beings, living labour”, “squandering not only flesh and blood, but nerves and brain, life and health as well”, he writes. In order to grasp the particular drama of the human in the history of South Africa, we should broaden this traditional definition of “waste” and consider the human itself as a waste product at the interface of race and capitalism. Squandering and wasting black lives has been an intrinsic part of the logic of capitalism, especially in those contexts in which race is central to the simultaneous production of wealth and of superfluous people…

… One of the most brutal effects of neo-liberalism in South Africa has been the generalization and radicalization of a condition of temporariness for the poor. For many people, the struggle to be alive has taken the form of a struggle against the constant corrosion of the present, both by change and by uncertainty.

In order to reanimate the idea of “the human” in contemporary South African politics and culture, there is therefore no escape from the need to reflect on the thoroughly political and historical character of wealth and property and the extent to which wealth and property have come to be linked with bodily life.”

And HERE is another discussion, by Richard Pithouse, which further sets out the colonial history of the discourse around people in a state of exception (in the context of shack dwellers).

for the “treasonous”, the belville 6 – by ameera conrad

image

Outside Parliament, 21 October, 2015. Photo: Imraan Christian

He stood in front of us
held his palms up
be calm comrades
sit down comrades
do not do anything to antagonise them
Comrades.
They knew his face, though we could not see him between the arms of a chokehold.

He sat on the floor among us
legs crossed under him
Senzeni na?
Senzeni na?
They stunned us, clicked tazers.
White-police-coward-not-man
pulled him out and away.
Another chokehold.

He fell to the floor
when the first grenade cracked
through the crowd.
Pulled up and bashed against shields
holding his burned face
dragged across the gravel.
Senzeni na?

He sat on the steps
quietly
consoling comrades
away from the crowd
They ripped him to his feet
he showed his empty palms
into the back of a van.
No fists.
Empty palms.

He held his hands over his head.
He held his empty hands over his head.
He held his open palms over his head.
He held his head.

this is for zuma, ramaphosa and all the other rotten, murderous, lying scumbags in high places

When I try to write anything about Zuma and our government, police force and judiciary, and the foreign companies who have them in their thrall, only the foulest swear words I know will come out.

So, I’ll quote Frantz Fanon: “Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonists.”