Politics Beyond the State

18 06 2008
Politics Beyond the Sate in PDF
by Brother Filippo Mondini

Michael Neocosmos argues that there is a politics beyond the state and that, within this form of politics, lies the true and trustworthy alternative to the status quo. This ‘politics beyond the state’ is carried out by active citizens who think, and who engage themselves in politics as militants rather than as politicians. In Neocosmos’ words, citizenship, from an emancipatory perspective, “is not about subjects bearing rights conferred by the state, as in human rights discourse, but rather about people who think becoming agents through their engagement in politics as militants/activists and not politicians”.

The ‘politics’ which emerges from active citizenship is completely different from that of the state and the political parties. It is a politics which requires communal thinking, direct engagement, and new (different) style of leadership. It is a politics where everyone is important because every idea matters. By contrast, the politics of the state is a politics which requires only “opinions” concerning “ideas” thought by other people, intellectuals, NGO, churches and so on.

Several features of this concept of active citizenship which can be traced in the intellectual work and praxis of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM): Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Kicked out into cold of winter

18 06 2008
It’s relocation demolitions

COLD COMFORT: Wedson Kapene, 77, says that his shack in Ennerdale South was demolished by metro police who were watched by the local councillor. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSEL

The residents said they were taken by a surprise when they saw a metro police truck and other metro police vehicles arriving in the area with officers armed with crowbars and hammers. They said the metro police, who were accompanied by the local ward councillor, Thembalethu Nyembe, picked on four shacks and started demolishing them one after the other.

One of the victims of the unexpected raid, Momonaheng Putsoane, was left homeless with her five children .

“I don’t know what to do. I was called at work at about 1pm that my shack was being destroyed. When I arrived I found the councillor with metro police dismantling it. They took corrugated iron sheets away and said I would get them at the metro police offices when I wanted them,” Putsoane, a domestic worker, said .

Another resident, Sanna Bojang, said Nyembe had told her to occupy Putsoane’s stand.

“I am not going to leave. Mamonaheng (Putsoane) was brought here last month after she was moved from another stand. They will also relocate me. I have lived in this area since 1990,” said Bojang, a mother of three.

Nyembe admitted that he was present during the demolition of the shacks but said the department of housing had instigated the incident.

“Those people are there illegally. What happened today is the lawful relocation ,” Nyembe said.

Nyembe said he did not have the contact details of the officials from the department of housing.

Four families were yesterday left out in the cold at Ennerdale South informal settlement when their shacks were destroyed by the local councillor and Johannesburg metro police.