Politics at a Distance from the State' Conference
Continuing Education Centre, Rhodes University
Grahamstown, South Africa, 29th-30th September 2012
*Supported by the Ministerial Special Project of the Humanities and Social Sciences, via the Centre for Education Policy Development, & the South African Humanities Deans' Association
The conference is intended as a space at which academics and activists sympathetic to, supportive of, or involved in 'politics at a distance from the state' can freely explore, discuss and debate this type of politics.
It considers anti-statist politics inSouth Africaand beyond, including anti-statist moments and currents in the anti-Apartheid movement, and contemporary attempts at building alternative, pre-figurative forms of communality inSouth Africaand abroad.
Attendees will include activists from and reflections on the 1980sBCM, UDF and trade union movement, writers like John Holloway, Jacques Depelchin, Michael Neocosmos, Richard Pithouse, and Lucien van der Walt (co-author of “Black Flame”), plus today's movements supportive of 'at a distance' politics, like shack-dweller movement Abahlali baseMjondolo. Other attendees will include members of the Landless People’s Movement, theMandelaParkand other Backyarders, the Unemployed Peoples Movement, and the Church Land Programme.
For further information, please contact:
*Kirk Helliker, Sociology,RhodesUniversity: email@example.com
*Tarryn Alexander, Sociology,RhodesUniversity: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday September 29th
9 am: WELCOMINGAND OUTLINE OF AIMS
Inputs by Kirk Helliker, Lucien van der Walt
9:30 am: REFLECTIONS ON WORLDAND HUMAN CRISIS
Facilitator: Richard Pithouse
Open discussion, with key inputs by John Holloway and Jacques Depelchin
11:00 am: Tea
11:30 am: REFLECTIONS ON THE ANTI-APARTHEID PAST: RECOVERING “PEOPLE’S POWER” & “WORKERS CONTROL”
Facilitator: Warren McGregor
Open discussion, with key inputs on the United Democratic Front, the Black Consciousness Movement and the Independent Trade Unions, from Saleem Badat, Nicole Ulrich, Mark Butler and others.
1:30 pm: LUNCH
2:30 pm: REFLECTIONS ON THE PRESENT: PRESENTATIONS BY POST-APARTHEID SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
Facilitator: David Ntseng
Open discussion, with key inputs by Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Backyarders, farm-workers committees, Landless People’s Movement, the Rural Unemployed People’s Movement.
ENDS AT5:00 PM.
6:15 pm:FILM SCREENINGAND DISCUSSION ON THEME OF “RESIST, OCCUPY, PRODUCE”: Argentina 2002,Spain 1936,South Africa …?
7:45 pm: SUPPER
Sunday September 30th
9 am: OPENING UP FUTURE/ S, BUILDING TOMORROW/S
Facilitator: Kirk Helliker
Open discussion, with key inputs by Michael Neocosmos, Richard Pithouse and Lucien van der Walt.
11:00 am: Tea
11:30 am: CLOSING SESSION: REFLECTIONS
Open session: reflections and assessments, networks and connections, publishing and debating.
1:00 pm: LUNCH
ENDS AT 2:00 PM.
* Can movements "change the world without taking power"?
* Can movements take power without taking state power?
* What lessons can social movements and unions, today, learn from the 1980s push to develop self-governing organs of "People's Power" and "workers' control"?
* “Politics” and “democracy” is often reduced to party politics / electioneering. But can we imagine and do different ways of organising, based on demands for dignity, self-management, and participation?
* Should social movements participate in state elections?
*What sorts of movement structures and ideas maximise participation, changes in consciousness and direct action? What can we learn from contemporary struggles, regarding these issues?
*Is the notion of "building tomorrow today", associated with 1980s "workerism," useful for today's movements?
*”The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” (Steven Bantu Biko). What does this mean for today’s movement politics?