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Archive for November, 2008

The Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement began in Durban, South Africa, in early 2005. Although it is overwhelmingly located in and around the large port city of Durban it is, in terms of the numbers of people mobilised, the largest organisation of the militant poor in post-apartheid South Africa. Its originary event was a road blockade organised from the Kennedy Road settlement in protest at the sale, to a local industrialist, of a piece of nearby land long promised by the local municipal councillor to shack dwellers for housing.

The movement that began with the road blockade grew quickly and now includes tens of thousands of people from more than 30 settlements. In the last year and a half the movement has suffered more than a hundred arrests, regular police assault and ongoing death threats and other forms of intimidation from local party goons. It has developed a sustained voice for shack dwellers in subaltern and elite publics and occupied and marched on the offices of local councillors, police stations, municipal offices, newspaper offices and the City Hall in actions that have put thousands of people on the streets. The movement also organised a highly contentious but very successful boycott of the March 2006 local government elections under the slogan ‘No Land, No House, No Vote’. Amongst other victories the Abahlali have democratised the governance of many settlements, stopped evictions in a number of settlements, won acces to schools, stopped the industrial development of the land promised to Kennedy Road, forced numerous government officials, offices and projects to ‘come down to the people’ and mounted vigorous challenges to the uncritical assumption of a right to lead the local struggles of the poor in the name of a privileged access to the ‘global’ (i.e Northern donors, academics and NGOs) that remains typical of most of the NGO based left. The movement’s key demand is for ‘Land & Housing in the City’ but it has also successfully politicised and fought for an end to forced removals and for access to education and the provision of water, electricity, sanitation, health care and refuse removal as well as bottom up popular democracy. In some settlements the movement has also successfully set up projects like crèches, gardens, sewing collectives, support for people living with and orphaned by AIDS and so on. It has also organised a 16 team football league and quarterly all night multi genre music competitions.

The best way to make direct contact with Abahlali baseMjondolo is to send a letter to:

Abahlali baseMjondolo
Kennedy Road Informal Settlement
286 Kennedy Road
Clare Estate
4138
Durban
South Africa

 

For more information on this, go to http://www.abahlali.org/

 

Please inform people about this!

 

-Hotep

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Hotep Family! Much love and respect to you and yours!

May the Amadlozi continue to protect and guide us through these tumultuous times!

This weeks post is going to be relatively short, just some words from Brother Mumia Abu-Jamal; political prisoner and utter genius!

FREE MUMIA!

 

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal examines the Obama candidacy from a Black nationalist perspective. (the “ours” in his title refers to African American people. Posting a point of view does not imply Kasama’s endorsement of those views. (Thanks to Iris for suggesting this post.)

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

With the attainment of the required delegates to claim the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. president, Sen. Barack H. Obama (D. ILL.) has written a new page in American history. For by so doing he succeeds where Channing Phillips, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Sr., and Al Sharpton could not – by gaining the necessary delegates to demand nomination. Of course, there have been numerous Black candidates for president, but these have been third party efforts designed more to raise issues, to organize or protest than to actually win elections. Some of the best known have been Eldridge Cleaver (former Black Panther Minister of Information), Dick Gregory, Dr. Lenora Fulani, and the former congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney.

But this is a different kettle of fish, for Obama’s candidacy is the closest to make it to the winner’s circle. What also distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is he doesn’t come from civil rights, Black liberation, socialist or anti war movements. (He often remarks at speeches, “I’m not against all wars, I’m just against dumb wars.”)

Indeed, although his detractors may try to paint him as a leftist liberal this is hardly true.

On issues both foreign and domestic he would’ve been more at home in the Republican Party of his senatorial forebear, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. For though he is Black by dint of his African father, he has studiously avoided Black political groups in his long, harrowing climb to the rim of the White House. He has studiously avoided the very real and long standing grievances of Black America. In fact, he tried to run a ‘post-racial’ campaign until Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D.N.Y.) (and her rambunctious husband, former Pres. Bill), brought race front and center during the Super Tuesday February primaries, by trying to pigeonhole him as ‘the Black candidate’. This primary wounded Obama, and as he won in the delegate count, he also lost a number of primary states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are necessary for a win in November.

Politics is the art of making people believe that they are in power when in fact, they have none. It is a measure of how dire is the hour that they’ve passed the keys to the kingdom to a Black man. As in many American cities, Black Mayors were let in when the treasuries were almost barren, and tax bases were almost at rock-bottom. With the nation’s manufacturing base also a thing of history, amidst the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty, brown face to front for the Empire. ‘Real change that you could believe in’ would be an end to Empire, and an end to wars for corporate greed, not just a change of the shade of the political managers. That change, I’m afraid, is still to come.”

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