[Debate] FW: I Thus Caught That Colonial Mind-Set At Work
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Mon Apr 16 19:43:52 BST 2012
Mzi, Walsh & Sharife have shaped the issue, which is captured very, very
well in the context of dire/grave circumstances (Zizek - just to provoke
Neville :P - : the situation is catastrophic but not serious...).
Walsh: "At the very least, there is certainly some self-analysis to be
done around the role that (mostly white) academics and the current
“revolutionary vanguard” have played in black people’s movements." And
that the kaleidoscope views of Heinrich and Mandisi on "reality" of our
peoples predicament is rather complementary despite the filibuster.
Mzi on the role of intellectuals as well as the good work, potential and
extreme difficulty of working with social movements. (To which I would
add the question of legitimacy in general , as well as the issue of
"agency" of the people when faced with "technical" onslaughts, like
IFIs, WTO, etc.)
Sharife on the importance of stepping back and abstracting somewhat to
that ephemeral Archimedean point from which we can depersonalise these
issues, at least for non-players (as the players in the game can read
how all this applies to them and perhaps push to aim to be more
convincing, perhaps we may even manage cordial disagreement - as this
issue is bigger than the symptoms we see in the present case).
My view on issues of legitimacy (my favourise bugbear on civic action
South of the Limpopo) there are multiple grounds for legitimacy, even
from armchair anarchists. Whatever it is that allows us to come
together, we do need to figure it out as there are too few of us and the
problems enormous. It is not about whether there is or is not a
vanguardist movement, but about us not being alone in this - communities
or intellectuals. We do need to move out of this "wisdom of the people"
versus "intellectual" dichotomy. Either can be wrong as much as right.
Concrete issues as well as /ideas/ move people, as history attests...
Regarding Mandisi, his situation is unenviable. BCM certainly has a
defining role to play, just as it did in the past. Class, race, gender
etc issues are complex matters in of themselves, and how they relate
makes it even more complex. As Sharife points out the issue of blackness
poses its particular challenges - particularly when the State is
following degeneration with almost Fanonian precision - but this merely
makes the urgency of BCM revival more important, rather than less. The
position of BCM in SA at this time is critical particular since the
Social Question (w its economic race intersection) is neglected by the
State; and intellectuals as well as the people are, as Mzi points out,
not quite up to the task at present... and then there is the thorny
issue of how to give credence to views of intellectuals that are
technical/reformist/ /and/ hard to place in social movements concrete
struggles... it cannot simply be that these are irrelevant (which may be
relevant for COP17 reviews).
Perhaps at the risk of being simplistic, race is one of those
over-determining factors in SA. But its general relevance cannot be
dogmatically affirmed in all circumstances, and like in economic policy
may defer to other progressive analysis like class. Its uses can be
opportunistic, and this list discussion is testament at least to our
collective rigour. But the importance of BCM in reviving the spirit of
the people and garnering their ideas in the context of the when the
proverbial 'last white policeman has left' is decidedly more complex
than in the immediate poco periods - and some deference needs to be
shown for the general sentiment, even if some cannot agree on the
particular instance. The further development of a cultural pride (in the
widest sense, transcending tribalism as well - dare I say it for the
wider context) as well as a distinguishing definition that BC means an
oppositional stance to neoliberalism, or reformist wise even economic
nationalism, would be more than welcome. But we hardly get through the
cross fire of poeisis so we do have to look at some of the relationship
issues.... as well as how we express solidarity (generosity of spirit)...
It is edifying that the question/fact of blackness can be opened up this
way, and that all folk can weigh in. There are always personal
inflections in politics, and we are seeing some of that here.
To abstract from the particular. There are many instances where the race
issue is not dealt with appropriately.It cannot simply be my race/class
right or wrong, but neither is is that simple as the equations are
larger for those with a strategic programme. Here constant vigilence,
like the Debate community, would be appropriate, but not if we are just
interested in being right, and not open to at least entertain
Not even the centre can hold - but one would not get this from the
shenanigans in most of the state and party politics... the centre cannot
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