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Occupy JSE

The Protestor Has No Clothes On

by Lindokuhle Nkosi / 18.10.2011

Remember the nineties? Remember the over-sized low-slung jeans, one-leg turned up over Timberlands. Remember the ski glasses, doo-rags and luminescent Fubu sweatshits? Remember how silly we sounded; slanging, twanging, yo yo homesing? We were the quintessential picture of inauthenticity. A MacDonalds Mcburger being sold at a Shisa-nyama as a Makhathini. We all knew something was amiss, but still South Africa spawned its own generation of dawgs and wigga’s. All genuine members of the Republic, desperate for their slice of the American dream.

And so like exposed Tommy Hilfiger underwear, like Slutwalk and the word “swag”, we’ve imported a movement created by Americans for Americans, slapped on a “South African sounding” name “Operation Ubuntu” and with the click of a Facebook Like button… we have a revolution.

Occupy Wall Street

Someone somewhere decided that the 15th of October was World Revolution Day, but we don’t know what we’re revolting against. I’ve been invited to join the group and say “enough is enough”, but no-one knows enough of what? As the twitter masses (I use this term very loosely) gather on the pavement outside a closed JSE; while across the road at Sandton City, tills ring and cards are swiped. Curious bypassers wonder what the handful of protestors is angry about, the protestors wonder too.

Occupy South Africa – Operation Ubuntu is a “leaderless, resistance movement”. Their mission statement consists of paraphrased quotes
from Zeitgiest 1 and 2, conversations held in Newtown at one o’clock in the morning over green tea and a spliff. The calls range from anything like economic freedom to self-sustenance and reliability. Haven’t we heard this before? Has this not been Julius Malema’s much decried stance? So now when an anonymous person in a V for Vendetta mask says the exact same thing, it suddenly makes sense?

Occupy Ubuntu

In our haste to keep up with the Kardashians, we imported the movement as is, not once stopping to see if it indeed was the right fit. Would a social media campaign penetrate to all the relevant spheres of South Africa? If protestors turned up in the same numbers as they did in the U.S, how would they fit on a 5m wide pavement? The New York protestors specifically Occupied Wall Street because their largely unregulated banking system fucked them over. Does the JSE hold similar significance to South Africans? And most importantly, what are we protesting? These questions found their humiliating response in the crowd, which at its largest, consisted of less than a 150 people. And the lack of common purpose meant the protestors were left fighting amongst themselves. Protestors from Thembisa wanted basic services, protestors from Bryanston wanted their potholes fixed, while some complained that their occupation had been hijacked by protestors singing songs that the others couldn’t understand. At 17h30, less than six people remained.

The major downfall of OccupyJse was the lack of an actual cause. Their mission statement relied heavily on the notion of a unified consciousness, without ever clarifying what that consciousness is? Rebranded Operation Ubuntu (to give it some local flavour of course), it evokes the South African ideal of unity, of a person’s humanity being informed by their interactions with others; and yet, aside from giving it a name that we as South Africans are familiar with, nothing has been done to make this a movement driven by South African desires and issues. And while I’d like to be able to laud the movement for its noble intent, no real intentions have been made clear. The “whoever you are, whatever grievance you have” attitude has watered down what could been a very powerful opportunity to direct and channel anger towards a national goal – and turned into something a lot like the comments section of the Sandton Chronicle. A lot of bitching, but not enough relevant cause for complaint.

Operation Ubuntu

*All images © Lindokuhle Nkosi.

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RESPONSES (65)
  1. Anon says:

    There’s not much content to this piece, when you look back at it.

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  2. Sarah Dee says:

    It’s probably at leadt marginally more effective towards positive change than your nay-saying piece of “social activism doesnt belong in the middle class” critical analysis is in a bourgeois culture mag.

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  3. Sarah Dee says:

    I mean, you’re basically saying, “Bourgies, stick to apathy, you’re better at it”.

    I mean, yes, the middle class are hypocritical beyond measure, but here is a movement that seeks to create awareness of a common cause of ills identified by Malema, on a discursive level that makes the problems of the poor relevant to the middle class, who are, by complicity, the greatest culprits of inequality. It’s lame in some ways, but the middle class is lame. Just look at these comment boards. But it’s not harmless. It’s fucking evil how little the sandton shoppers care about anything. And if some kids believe the best way to get their peers to understand that things are fucked is by referencing a movie they might have seen, well Fuckin A. Let it be.

    The middle class HAVE to wake the fuck up. Anything that might work we should try.

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  4. mud-debunker says:

    Lindokuhle, brave words; well done for having the courage to point out out the pointlessness of this exercise

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  5. Sarah Dee says:

    Also, what is the national goal you mention? Conveniently undefined.

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  6. brandon says:

    Hey thanks for defining Ubuntu for us, Lindo: ‘a person’s humanity being informed by their interaction with others’. How vague and open-ended the concept is. How universally welcoming. How non-dictatorial. Being informed by interaction with others. Rather than pre-determining outcomes. Rather than applying your own prejudices beforehand. Ubuntu suggests an eventually you couldn’t quite predict. Why cant you apply it to the occupations going on right now? Why do you have to be such a rank African nationalist? Calling for a “national goal” like Marshall fucking Tito. You made it out to one protest and it was an ineffectual shambles. Even Apple started in a garage. This is only the beginning, but you’re already calling for ends. I hate the dumb, dismissive insularity you display here. The sense that SA is a country of a special type. It isn’t. We’re locked into global capitalism as much as the next developing country. Especially since the ANC let big companies transfer operations overseas as part of the 94 compromise. China continues to ravage the local textile industry. “South African desires and issues” surely include mass unemployment, falling living standards and start inequality? These are international social issues exacerbated by the criminal irresponsibility of “their largely unregulated banking system”. Their banking system is our banking system. Do you think the Reserve bank is transparent, accountable and interested in what you have to say? You seem resigned to your own ineffectuality. Which is sad.

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  7. JacquiThepoet says:

    LOVE IT! you’ve hit the nail on the head… irrelevant crap to the face of suffering and poverty in this country which is BLACK! totally useless crap.

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  8. T says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this piece. I get that South Africans want to stand in Solidarity with the US, but structurally our problems are fundamentally different. We should be (to use the lingo,) Occupying the Union buildings. Education, Information Bill, the fact that the Scorpions still haven’t been re-instated. These are some of our biggest problems. Our banks (in comparison) are well regulated. Our banks did not need a bailout while CEOs were still receiving astronomical bonuses. We’re not looking at a double-dip recession. We don’t have graduates working 2 jobs just to be considered poor. This “occupation” was not well thought out. I appreciate the stand people are taking though. We’ve got many causes to fight for at home. Lets start looking around us.

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  9. Anyone who has a pension will know that the US economy effects us says:

    Gainfully employed individuals who are lucky to have a pension fund would have noticed that their investments were seriously affected by the collapse of the global economy in 2008/2009. To say South Africans are hardly affected by what happens in the US are complete morons, for white South Africans to protest on behalf of the poor is hardly something to look down upon.

    WAKE UP SA

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  10. lindokushle says:

    conveniently undefined like the point of Operation Ubuntu? Im not saying the middle-class should be apathetic, however, just because everyone has problems doesnt mean that the problems are the same. Its very simplistic to say that the people who didnt support OccupyJse are apathetic, nothing was high-lighted for people to support and get behind. It was badly planned and ill-thought out- why are you occupying a closed jse? You say its the middle-class duty to support such campaigns, but whats the point if the soccer mom who had a tshirt printed for the protest, is the same person complaining that the Thembisa protestors have highjacked her event? Are only certain protest meant to happen in the pristine streets of Sandton, while the hood ones stay in hood?

    This “by any means necessary`’ strategy doesnt guarantee results. South Africans must find their own voices.

    Also, its important to distinguish between monetary policy and fiscal policy. Popular statements like “their banking system is our system” are sensationalist and largely untrue. The Reserve Bank has constitutionally enshrined independence-maybe if you read up on the nuances of the South African landscape you’d be less prone to buying into global conspiracy theories, and provide yourself with opportunity to place things in their proper South African context. Our issues are complex; class, cash and colour wars are intertwined, and though on the face of it they might seem similar to global ones, the roots of the problems are not the same. There is no one-size fits all solution, especially not an imported one.

    Make your own protests, define your own goals. I can bet (unless the concept of gambling is too capilalist for you) that when the ANCYL marches to the JSE in two weeks, it will draw more than OccuppyJSE did. Also, have you completely missed the irony of comparing Apple’s success (largely made possible by America’s capitalist system) to OccuppyJse?

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  11. Anarchy says:

    Probably what put alot of people off Occupy SA was that the weirdos were organising it, yes… anarchists! I blame them for the poor attendance of Occupy SA.

    But lets remember that it was in solidarity with a global call to occupy, there just wasnt enough time to bus in protesters from the townships.

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  12. lindokushle says:

    South African remakes that have been done better: Survivor SA
    Come dine with me-South Africa
    Urban Gentrification

    maybe OccupyJSE was on par with the Apprentice-South Africa?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    – #occupy wall street started as a leaderless movement. Committees were subsequently formed and a manifesto drawn up – do a bit of homework on the movement before you start deriding the local arm.
    – #occupysa is regrouping to return this saturday.
    – Great that the ANCYL is coming too – the more the merrier.
    – Our government is as corrupted by corporate interests as any other, if not more so.
    – Last Saturday a real feeling of unity emerged from the disparate groups that were in attendance. Connections were made and communication continues. This is far from over.
    – Fuck you for deriding us for being white and concerned, even though we aren’t necessarily the worst off. It’s called being unselfish you smug wanker.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I found the piece to be calling not apathy in the face of popular trends within protest, as social media seems to bleed into IRL more and more often, but rather to refocus these efforts into effectual change.

    It wasn’t a big change in our personal situation that motivated these protests in South Africa, as it happened in Wall Street, and other cities around the world. Rather, it was motivated by what was hot on twitter. Reacting to internet trends isn’t a revolution, and not the beginning of ‘change’. It’s as dumb, vague and bull headed in its naivety as most of what we’ve seen before.

    I think on Wall Street there is exciting room for change. I think outside the JSE some confused people baa’d like good sheep for a bit, got proof for facebook updates, and went home feeling like they just Che’d the fuck out of their Guevara.

    We’ve had reason here before. We’ve had a medium, a voice. Why did it take some first world americans getting uppity about their percentages before a middle class decided to make a Saturday outing to JSE with a picnic basket packed and some colourful signs (got to make sure you hit CNA before lashing at the ANC!) and goofed about a bit aimlessly on the side of the road. The fact that this is what motivated these protests makes me disregard them. When the same people start making actual stands for purpose, reason, passion, and not facebook, I’ll pay more attention.

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  15. Sarah Dee says:

    Lindokuhle,

    You miss the irony of your own protests.

    When I pointed out the vagueness of your own assertion of a “national goal” it was to point out your hypocrisy at criticising the vague goals of the occupy movement by promoting your own just as vague goals. In other words, you made it clear in your last comment that you are not actually putting forward a criticism of the movement’s amorphousness, and proposing a more finite approach as you say you are. You are actually counterposing vagueness with vagueness ideological agenda. You are not being truthful about what your problems with the movement ACTUALLY are. Ideological, not logistical. Either its dishonest or you don’t understand your own position.

    Anyway, you confirmed your own hypocrisy by using the pointless circular logic of relating your suggestions back to the very thing you criticised.

    Wake up.

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  16. Sarah Dee says:

    *counterposing vagueness with vagueness with a different ideological agenda.

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  17. Lindokushle says:

    This is getting elliptical. You’re very passionate about your opinion, so much so in fact, that you seem to think you can read minds, or have intimate knowledge of my social position

    Your indignation is…cute. Lucky for you, your maid will pick up your toys when you throw them out the cot. Lets put it this way, from outside the bubble, the perspective is different. This is the perspective of the people for which you purport to speak. The ones who were born “awake” and need no reminders. Protests- we’ve been having it.

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  18. Zsig says:

    Corporations get rich by manufacturing and selling goods. Advertisers get rich by converting items of luxury into items of need. Banks get rich by funding the desire to acquire more and charging interest on the ensuing debt. If you don’t get it, maybe a 1 day protest will make you feel better.

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  19. Poster says:

    In the end it’s still more useful than Mahala.

    People concentrate too much on this ad hominem “green tea and spliff in Newtown” spiel and forget that it’s actually something being done at the end of the day. Instead of taking it down, we should have more.

    And going on about American hegemony and imitation while having your article published on a website with a large Ray-Ban ad as a backdrop just leads me to further question what it is exactly that you would like to be done.

    Nothing at all, it seems.

    Or tons of deliberation first, then nothing.

    Why is this article necessary? What is the goal?

    Seems to exist just for its own sake.

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  20. Fake Max says:

    I’m confused, does this mean Ray-Ban is the 1%?

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  21. Sarah Dee says:

    I like that you resort to disparaging, sexist comments because I pointed our your hypocrsiy. And that you accuse me of assumptions by making assumptions.

    It means that you haven;t got a clue what to do when someone makes a valid point against you.

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  22. Lindokushle says:

    and still only 150 protestors including media attended. You can call it what you like, but it wasn’t supported. That’s your problem, not me. Listen to what the detractors are saying, be level-headed, and try to find a real way to make it work. Clearly, South Africans weren’t sold on plain mimicking.

    Direct your disappoint and good intentions into making sure that the next time you have a good idea, it is well thought-out and implemented.

    Might be more useful than Mahala but its definitely not reaching as many people.

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  23. Lindokushle says:

    *disappointment

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  24. Sarah Dee says:

    You fundamentally miss what the movement embraces in terms of inclusive spontaneity over overdetermined premeditation, which will always be tainted with a particular agenda. And the idea that the problem is too big to reduce.

    The Durban one spent ages discussing amongst the group how the problem is manifested in South Africa. It may not have been a mass movement, but it was literally the first time I have ever had the opportunity to openly speak about a problem that is transracial/transnational/transcultural with people who experience it differently. The Durban movement is planning on weekly protests, which allows for a constancy that will be useful to accumulating supporters, particularly in communities outside of the ones who are plugged into social networks.

    Unfortunately people like you, and other publications like the egregiously neoliberal Daily Maverick (whose position is very much the same as yours), have seen fit to condemn it in its infancy, to arouse suspicions before there is anything to suspect and try to obliterate confidence in a movement in South Africa which is very much in its infancy. It’s a reactionary position that doesn’t take into account factors outside a very limted framework of understanding and actively detracts from the possibilities for social change in this country.

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  25. Sarah Dee says:

    But you keep doing that. It gets you Mahala comments.

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  26. T says:

    I think the point here is that while embracing “inclusive spontaneity”, dont blindly apply a cause that is not relevant. #OccupyWallst was inspired by the Arab spring but Americans didn’t just blindly call for the ousting of their leaders. Instead they looked at THEIR problems, such as unjustified wallstr CEO salaries and irresponsible and unregulated behaviour in wall street, which went unabated due to Corporate control of their congress and their politicians; inaccessible healthcare, huge military spending etc and addressed the root cause.

    Yes we also have issues with our democracy, But they are not the same! A person with university education in South Africa can move out of poverty. Even the issue of China and our industry is largely a policy issue (and again, we need to look to government and not JSE) And this cut-and-paste mentality is not progressive. JSE doesnt have the lobbying power wallstr has since most of our politicians aren’t funded by JSE companies, but by foreign donors.

    All of our voices are important when used to address the real issues.

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  27. Sarah Dee says:

    I dont know what makes you believe that it has been cut and paste. Nor that anger at Wall St. is irrelevant to South Africans. Anglo and de Beer, two of the biggest mining companies involved in SA mining are listed on internation exchanges. In a not very indirect way, it is money generated by South African resources that is going toward political lobbying in the USA. I don’t understand why people are so wilfully myopic.

    This IS a global problem. This is not cut and paste, or blind solidarity. It is the SAME problem. the sovereignity of states is an illusion in 2011.

    If you had been at some of the protests, you might have discovered that extensive discussions about the local relevance of Occupy took place, because there are local issues to deal with, but the root cause is the same thing.

    Th only relation of Occupy to the Arab spring was the success of a persistent popular movement. The imported content of Occupy to SA is the entire objection to as small group of multinationals fucking the world for EVERYONE. Do you know why piracy in Somalia has taken off? Not because of some greedy Somalis, but because US companies have been dumping nuclear waste in their waters. A wikileaks cable revealed that Obama’s advisors told him that the economic logic for companies needing to dispose of waste doing so in Africas waters was “impeccable”.

    Do you not see how we cannot only look at things “in a South African context”? Of course we need to see the specificities, but it would make sense to disregard global capital flow if the JSE was the only institution that had any effect on our economy. But that’s just retarded.

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  28. Sarah Dee says:

    That wasn’t meant to imply that Anglo and de Beers specifically fund the US lobbying, but that the flow of capital in this era is transnational, and that South African resources don;t belong to South African people in the way we think they do.

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  29. Sarah Dee says:

    And another objection to you article.

    One of the Occupy movement’s primary message is that capital an politics are too closely intertwined. You imply that the reason people who support the Occupy movement don;t support the Youth League in its nationalisation plans is because of some anti-black, classist prejudice.

    Is it not clear that in a “South African context” the manifesation of the problematic relationship between capital and politics is in tenderpreneurship? And for this reason alone, Julius Malema is hardly the ideal figurehead for a rallying against it?

    Not to mention that the calls for nationalisation are probably being pushed by floundering BEE mining companies looking for a bailout, and that nationalisation will be more about inheriting their debt than acquiring their resources. This is a pretty convincing argument when you look at the revised proposals by the league that BEE partners remain significant shareholders through the nationalisation process. Makes it easy to take back a majority share from the stae once the debt has been dealt with.

    My personal opinion is that nationalisation is a good thing, and supporting the youth league possible, but not until things like the Ratanang trust dont exist. Democracy is not possible under capitalism.

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  30. billy bob says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Re: “democracy is not possible under capitalism”

    Okay, cool I hear you. This, to me, is going to be the most fraught and divisive issue as this thing starts to take shape. Amongst other factions, these Occupy movements are going to be split up – there are going to be the Fukuyamans (in the vein of his latest defence of liberal democracy: “origins of political order, vol. 1”), who believe it’s a matter of tightening up, ending cronyism, having a certain geopolitical specificity when transferring liberal democracies to other parts of this world. This isn’t completely illogical and probably defines overwhelming amounts of people involved in these Occupy movements.

    There are going to be the Rawlsians, who see this as a matter of large-scale redistribution, to allocate resources “to the greatest benefit to the least advantaged”, which triggers off all the nationalisation etc. issues.

    There are going to be the Marxists, which I presume based on your comment (which essentially gestures to Zizek, also Badiou) you are most closely allied with, who think that liberal capitalism is a fundamentally bankrupt enterprise which conditions circumscribed possibilities for democracy. These guys want to completely rethink the system, which is fine, but they also (ultimately) want overthrow, whole-scale political refiguring, only they aren’t (yet? or ever?) precisely clear on what this new configuration is going to look like, or how it’s going to work.

    I support Occupy movements inasmuch as it has the spirit of universalist resistance that’s lacked for so long. I support it also because South Africa and every other country is caught up in a structural network of liberal capitalist modernity which governs capital flow on a transnational level.

    However, the different opinions above (just three of possibly hundreds) are going to collide and split this movement asunder, which is really something to be wary of, even this early on. Inevitably, people are going to quote Churchill, “democracy is the worst form of government except for [all the rest].’ Others are going to draw on the Khmer Rouge and Stalinist gulags to say that, in practice (which is where it counts), this system is borne out by history as the safest curtailing of power we’ve seen. Others will deny the relationship between capitalism and democracy, point to failed 20th century experiments in African socialist democracies. Etc. etc. etc. all over the place. All these opinions (some more delusory than others),

    My question is this. In light of your bold closing statement: “democracy is not possible under capitalism”, and given the plurality of perspectives that I argue is going to ensure this Occupy movement remains endlessly fractured, let me ask you, personally: as one voice amongst many (in both unity and disharmony), what is it that you want, if you don’t want capitalism? because you don’t want the Rawlsian or the Fukuyaman gestures. To you, that’s still capitalism under which democracy is not possible. So, what? I understand at this stage we all want to protest, with justifiably inarticulate anguish, at something, what we used to call “the man”, but now more accurately call “the system”.

    Point me to the constructive research you’ve engaged with that envisions “democracy” proper, with all the complexity and conflict of the world, possible in the absence of capitalism? I’m on the side of the Rawlsians here. I want wealth distributed, I want big corporations taxed, I want minimum wages raised, I want Hollywood actors’ salaries to be seriously cut, I want an end to corruption, I want local control of local wealth, I want the severance of structural adjustment programmes, I want the rich to recognise they got there through “the system” not by being “the man”. But seriously, I think tossing around with utopian relish phrases like “democracy is not possible under capitalism” is the kind of thing that’s going to nullify changes made under the aegis of capitalism, the actual changes we’re going to see, because capitalism is sure as shit resilient enough to weather a (even if global) disarticulated protest of this kind.

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  31. billy bob says:

    Just reading over the comments again, Sarah, and here’s another of yours:

    “You fundamentally miss what the movement embraces in terms of inclusive spontaneity over overdetermined premeditation, which will always be tainted with a particular agenda.”

    This is, I think, another instance of the same problem. Why is “inclusive spontaneity” opposed to “overdetermined premeditation”? Can inclusive spontaneity not be overdetermined by the pure virture of its inclusivity? And what do you mean “tainted by a particular agenda?” Do you think that this inclusive spontaneity is going to hold itself together, agendaless, for all time? The problem is precisely that there are AGENDAS – in the plural – which are just submerged in this triumphal moment of presently inclusivist backlashing. The real work still has to be done, and getting overly excited about this is committing yourself to the same prematurity as those who dismiss it completely.

    A real wake-up call is going to come in when these protesting middle-classes start to realise what they’re going to have to give up in this newly envisioned world, the sacrifice that they’re going to be making… that’s when i think you’ll find a lot of them shutting the fuck up very fast and finding they don’t want dramatic changes which quake on their bourgeois vibes too strongly.

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  32. Raymond Bankcroft says:

    I just don’t like the exasperated, smarter-than-thou way that Sarah Dee writes. I think she’ll find that becomes a real hit when she starts talking to working-class folk who don’t understand the complexities of her highly academicised (she’s clearly been afforded the luxury of slow-moving philosophical thought) ideas. Also, I get this feeling that she’s “playing revolutionary”. And lastly, I don’t like the way she snaps and and throws accusations at Lindokuhle without actually giving flesh to them. She comes across us being quite reactionary, quite jittery, caught up in her own opinions and waiting for her turn to speak instead of listening to the criticisms against the movement, and taking strength from them, because this movement needs a strong foundation if it’s going to survive, or like billybob says, it’s going to crumble.

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  33. Sarah Dee says:

    Billy Bob, I hear you too. The democracy is not possible idea from Chomsky. Here it is elaborated: http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/197305–.htm

    I strongly agree with him.

    As for the potential divisiveness, I think you’re right too. But I think the primary goal of this movemnt is about forcing a very reluctant acknowledgement of the problem, through a multiplicity of voices, and that’s where inclusiveness comes in. I do think there will be problems later, but hopefully the initial goal of opening up the space for those problems at all will hve been achieved. Because this space did not exist in the broad public sphere before.

    As for Raymond, I do not condescend to speak about the working class. I think its both the imperative and the prerogative of the middle class to interrogate their own involvement in a problematic system, which has an effect down the line of the working (and unemployed) class. I also think that, having been afforded the “luxury” (or as as I would rather say, “opportunity”, because its not something that should be frowned upon and removed from our society) of slow-moving philosophical thought, I would be a shameful human being not to put it towards thinking about issues of social justice.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    This post on mahala is like the pot calling the kettle…

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  35. billy bob says:

    Hi Sarah. The Chomsky link is dead – could you re-send?

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  36. Clompski says:

    Oh dear, Sarah, it’s people like you, who live in a vague cloud of self-righteous verbosity, who when they eventually get some sort of power, pass policies divorced from reality, kill countless people, and then walk away without being held accountable. You dress your second-hand polemic up in academic-speak so that you feel it has some sort of substance, and then come up with purlers like:
    “Democracy is not possible under capitalism.”

    Brainwashed much?

    At the moment capitalism means so many different things to so many different people that using the word has become quite fraught, but I guess for you kind capitalism has become the Big Bad, even though you have doubtlessly benefited extensively from capitalism. All those protesters using Macbooks and iPhones and really truly and magnificently failing to get that the only reason they can afford these things, or that these things exist, is capitalism.

    The problem here is not the exchange of labour for cash – it is the centralisation of power. Whether this happens through government (socialism and its various expressions) or corporatism isn’t ultimately important.

    What’s important is that if you create an opportunity for power to be centralised, for the many to control the few, you’re going to find a determined psycho who’s going to want to be one of the few and spend his days ass-raping the many – psycho doesn’t care if he exercises power from behind a government desk or a corporate desk.

    So the problem is one of structure combined with human nature and the pervasive presence of psychotic personalities in our societies.

    You can occupy Wall Street, the JSE, the Randburg Waterfront and your local branch of La Senza and you’ll change nothing until you realise the #1 thing the 99% can do is take itself away from the command of centralised power structures, encourage the growth of political power at community level, disentangle ourselves from the banking, government, corporate and energy grid, and get some good old fashioned independence back.

    Instead you get people like billy bob essentially calling for social change that would by definition require centralisation of power. This means psycho has to move office from JP Morgan to the White House. That will really inconvenience him.

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  37. Sarah Dee says:

    I dont know what makes you beleive that the only form centralisation of power has to be a grouping of people with structural authority. This is the libertarian delusion.

    Power centralises itself.

    That’s how increasing deregulation has allowed Goldman Sach’s to overtake the authority of the US government. The psycho used to be in the White House, then GW Bush said fuck it, let me share the love with my psycho friends. And now look where we are.

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  38. Sarah Dee says:

    Also must point to the irony of your posting THAT comment, on Mahala, on the internet, via computer, via the power grid.

    Your smarmy condescension is less than convincing.

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  39. Sarah Dee says:

    Further, Clompski, when I state that democracy is not possible under capitalism. That is all I mean. I am not stating my preference for democracy, only that the current conditions are utterly unsustainable.

    It’s just plain opportunism on your part. A chance to assert your unelaborated idealism at the expense of whoever else’s suggestions you can tenuously grab onto and twist into something that suits what you want to say. Because people like you, only mean anything when you occupy negative space.

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  40. Clompski says:

    The internet is decentralised you moron. A+ for failing to get it. Please explain to me how using a computer or the Internet compromises my position? Trust me, having to use a monopoly (Eskom) to power this thing allows me to fully savour my dissatisfaction with the status quo. Of course you’re also assuming an attachment to absolutes on my part, when perhaps I am advocating an erosion of centralisation of power, rather than the current trend in the opposite direction.

    Anyway.

    Certain structures facilitate centralisation of power. Certain structures don’t. This isn’t rocket science, leave the lingo you learnt on your autoproctology course aside for a second and try understand and communicate clearly.

    Yes psychos are going to try centralise power and control – have been doing so for as long as there have been psychos. They’re specifically going to try centralise political and economic power and control, often in combination.

    And your last comment – that really hurt :~(

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  41. Dear Sarah Dee says:

    More unsubstantiated soundbytes coming out of your mouth. Here’s the latest:

    “This is the libertarian delusion.” which you accuse Clompski of. Now please explain to us what that means, and where that’s located in his argument. Go on, that isn’t rhetorical. Put your intellect where your love for reductive, essentialist, critical, (currently) fleshless soundbytes are.

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  42. Sarah Dee says:

    I dont know why you’re reading an internet comment board if you want substantial information. @DSD

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  43. Sarah Dee says:

    @Clompski

    It was you who suggested disconnecting from the power grid. You tell me how you plan to do it. You don;t seem very committed.

    The internet is decentralised, but you’re deluded if you think that it’s not tainted by structures of power.

    Idealism is not always a good thing.

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  44. Sarah Dee says:

    And it makes me want to cry when you call me a moron. That really hurts. Cuts to the soul. [Insert sarcastic emoticon]

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  45. Dear Sarah Dee says:

    Right, so all have comments then haven’t had “substance” because they’re on a comment board? You’re just deliberately evading the question. Also, notice my criticism might extend to support Bankcroft’s thing about you being jittery: notice how you’ll type three comments in succession – as though you can’t hold yourself still for one second, think about what you’re saying and then express yourself. Jitterbug.

    Now tell us about the libertarian delusion. Go on. Are you just using fancy phrased criticisms to conceal the fact that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about?

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  46. Sarah Dee says:

    Yeah I’m totally a jitter bug. I’m retardedly ADD. But I am also neither stupid, nor insecure in my argument.

    I am deliberately evading the question because answering it would require space , time and exertion of myself that I don’t believe is validated by the amount of people, nor the calibre of people who are trolling comment boards during the work day. I wouldn’t expect someone else to do it for me.

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  47. Sarah Dee says:

    These comments do have some substance, but only as much as the medium allows. Tthe medium neccessitates soundbytes. Which, incidentally, should be a further indicator to Clompski of how power is exterted through the subtlest of nuances.

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  48. Dear Sarah Dee says:

    Well, your substanceless soundbytes are of very little value in a sustained discussion of at least four of five people looking to properly think through some of the contradictions of the Occupy movement.

    And the medium does not “necessitate” soundbytes. You have defended yourself against several criticisms (from Bankcroft and billy bob) properly, but you have a love for just throwing out phrases that sound hip without willing to explain what you mean. Instead of condescending by telling us about how we’re all trolls of a particular “calibre” (I’m sure the working-classes you speak of/for also have a calibre, one equally immune to your “academicised” language and the complexities of your unexpounded arguments).

    Talking about libertarian delusions and democracy doesn’t work blah blah means nothing who needs immediate social reform. That’s a luxury. And I love the arrogance of you coming on here, saying that this “space did not exist in the broad public sphere before.” A projection of your own subjectivity onto the world. Because like Lindokuhle said, a self-explanatory soundbyte that works to do more than conceal and condescend, “Protests- we’ve been having it.” You are your buddies show up on the scene talking about the end of capitalism and libertarian delusions… now it’s time to take it seriously at last! this has a heritage before you. Recognise that and stop being so goddamn arrogant and condescending. You definitely think you’re smarter than the rest of us, and that’s not an appealing attitude.

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  49. billy bob says:

    Sarah, although I don’t like his/her tone, I think DSD has got a point.

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  50. Clompski says:

    Sara Dee is one of those exceedingly rare individuals who has never been wrong in her entire life. What I kind of admire is the way thoughts seem to be spat out in haste, then criss-crossed to create some sort of impression of (non-existent) underlying complexity, and everything is then evaded, but that’s just fine because we’re just trolls who she can’t be bothered to explain herself to, but could be bothered to engage with, because… well because.

    Dear Sara Dee, when I say off the grid, I don’t say what you mean by off the grid. For me the word grid represents strands of reliance on control structures that are becoming increasingly hard to break. I don’t mean I want to go live in a cave and live off wild herbs. The internet is tainted by special interests? Sure it is, but there are other forces at work here which have created a free market for ideas, and for now that’s good enough for me.

    How would I like to get myself off the grid? Well, I’d like to create some food independence for myself, and I already do. Just kinda makes sense and it is fun too. I threw out my TV a while ago, and I don’t waste time with the mainstream media. I’d love to get out of debt and have an empty, unused bank account, I actively try to barter my services for others’ services and useful things or skills I need. I only approach the drug cartels and their pimps when I need something chopped off or sewn back on, or a painkiller. i don’t eat plastic food, I make my own entertainment. It’s not perfect, it may even be misguided, but it feels pretty groovy, and it doesn’t seem to do much to serve the man/system.

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  51. ramatosta says:

    Agree with Chompski. Sarah comments in a flurry of two or three far too hastily and not thinking through what she’s saying. But also, when she has something to say, she can spend up to three or four paragraphs saying it, when she can’t answer a criticism it’s because

    we’re all trolls
    we not of a high enough calibre
    she can only talk in soundbytes BECAUSE OF the medium
    this isn’t the place for sustained discussion

    The arrogance of the above – that she doesn’t have to defend herself, because we’re stupid for not understanding her – is staggering! try us out, Dee. Try us out and see how stupid we actually are, because a lot of the comments above seem measured, fair and contributive to me. Including yours. But you wouldn’t return the compliment, I’m sure.

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  52. Sarah Dee says:

    The comment about trolling has less to do with an insult towards any of you personally, than it does a criticism of the forum generally, which becomes increasingly narrow as the post itself ages. Who do you tink is reading this other than us? Never mind the fact that the Mahala comment boards are in fact notorious for trolling and viciousness. I’m sorry if it came across as a direct accusation. It wasnt meant to be.

    My “trolling” comment was immediately followed by “I wouldn’t expect someone else to do it for me.” Because what I was saying is that the medium is flawed. Because as you can see above, all it does is polarise and simplify, and we end up with overly reductionist mis/understandings of each other’ perspectives. And a lot of hate rather than synthesis. It reduces us all to trolls.

    I have not once used an outrightly disparaging term here. Any disparaging terms like “cute”, self righteous”, “moron”, have only been directed towards me. I’m not sure how I got to be understood as the abusive one.

    I use the words I use and write the way I do because i am trying to be precise, not because I want to be verbose and convoluted. Being right is not the end goal here. The point I am trying to make is that it is actively damaging to society to be scornful of people who want to mobilise for social change in a situation that is clearly a mess, no matter what their position in the social hierarchy is. And that they should do it in whichever way to which they have access, and for which they can feel conviction, rather than doing nothing at all. And I DO feel that I’m right about that. I wouldnt be arguing for it if I didn’t. Unless I was a troll.

    But if I hadnt written that, and I asked you to recount what my perspective on this issue in fact was, my bet is that some of you would have had to go back and reaggregate what I said. Because this is a bad forum and weird assumptions start creeping in. In fact I agree with DSD’s propositions for the most part, but he launched into his interaction here with a comment that presumed incorrect things about my opinions, insulted me with words like “brainwashed”, and then made some statements that I disagree with, and some that I do. But the stage was already set for a face off. This forum sets up absurd miscommunications based on how little information can be communicated within its framework. People take some offence to one thing someone says, and abandon everything else.What happens to all that information? It’s best to keeo it simple, and let it be fleshed out in minds and google windows of co-commentators. Those spaces are less cluttered with hate. If I haven;t elaborated some things. It’s because I dont want to, becauseof the risk of inflammation rather than thought.

    If I don’t think that this is the right place to do anything except make brief suggestions about things, that we can independently contemplate. If we pretend that we can give each other the whole story, and that this is a neutral space for uncluttered communication, then we’ll be badly misleading each other.

    We can take away the “comments” weve given each other om this “comment board” as starting points for thought, and actually think about them, rather than bickering over tone. Because there have been some really interesting “soundbytes” here. But the venom and selective hearing kinda kills it for me. It actually makes me feel sad.

    So cheers.

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  53. Sarah Dee says:

    The comment about trolling has less to do with an insult towards any of you personally, than it does a criticism of this forum generally. Never mind the fact that the Mahala comment boards are in fact notorious for trolling and viciousness. I’m sorry if it came across as a direct accusation. It wasnt meant to be one.

    I though that would be clear considering my “trolling” comment was immediately followed by “I wouldn’t expect someone else to do it for me.” Because what I was saying is that the medium is flawed. Because as you can see above, all it does is polarise and simplify, and we end up with overly reductionist mis/understandings of each other’ perspectives. And a lot of hate rather than synthesis. It reduces us all to trolls.

    I have not once used an outrightly disparaging term here. Any disparaging terms like “cute”, self righteous”, “moron”, have only been directed towards me. I’m not sure how I got to be understood as the abusive one.

    I use the words I use and write the way I do because i am trying to be precise, not because I want to be verbose and convoluted. Being right is not the end goal here. The point I am trying to make is that it is actively damaging to society to be scornful of people who want to mobilise for social change in a situation that is clearly a mess, no matter what their position in the social hierarchy is. And that they should do it in whichever way to which they have access, and for which they can feel conviction, rather than doing nothing at all. And I DO feel that I’m right about that. I wouldnt be arguing for it if I didn’t. Unless I was a troll.

    But if I hadnt written that, and I asked you to recount what my perspective on this issue in fact was, my bet is that some of you would have had to go back and reaggregate what I said. Because this is a bad forum and weird assumptions start creeping in. In fact, I agree with DSD’s propositions for the most part. Somehow opportunity passed us by to actually note that. But Clompski, for example, launched into his interaction here with a comment that presumed incorrect things about my opinions, insulted me with words like “brainwashed”, and then made some statements that I disagree with, and some that I do. But the stage was already set for a face off. My response was equally full of misunderstanding. Then DSD contributed his contradiction of, “Well, your substanceless soundbytes are of very little value in a sustained discussion of at least four of five people looking to properly think through some of the contradictions of the Occupy movement.” followed immediately by “Talking about libertarian delusions and democracy doesn’t work blah blah means nothing who needs immediate social reform. That’s a luxury.”

    Can we at least be honest about what we’re doing here and not attack each other for the exact same things we support doing? It’s not a game of one-up.

    Because this forum sets up absurd miscommunications like that based on how little information can be communicated within its framework. People take some offence to one thing someone says, and abandon everything else.What happens to all that information? It’s best to keep it simple, and let it be fleshed out in minds and google windows of co-commentators. Those spaces are less cluttered with hate. If I haven’t elaborated some things, it’s because I dont want to, becauseof the risk of useless inflammation rather than thought.

    If I don’t think that this is the right place to do anything except make brief suggestions about things, that we can independently contemplate. If we pretend that we can give each other the whole story, and that this is not a hostile space, then we’ll be badly misleading each other.

    We can take away the “comments” weve given each other in this “comment board” as starting points for thought, and actually think about them, rather than bickering over tone. Because there have been some really interesting “soundbytes” here. But the venom and selective hearing, even my own, kinda kills it for me. It actually makes me feel sad.

    So cheers.

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  54. Sarah Dee says:

    Apologies that it got posted twice. I dont know howthat happened.

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  55. Sarah Dee says:

    Oh I see, I confused Clompski and DSD handles and posted accidentally before correcting. That’s my jitteriness again.

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  56. Sarah Dee says:

    Bye for reals this time.

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  57. Dear Sarah Dee says:

    Actually, I’m a woman, thanks. Thanks for assuming.

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  58. Sarah Dee says:

    Apologies. So am I. I’m glad to be speaking with women.

    But do you see what I mean about unneccessary offence and anger that this forum generates.

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  59. Dear Sarah Dee says:

    I do. Mahala’s forum isn’t exactly known for being a friendly place where people get together to measuredly exchange ideas.

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  60. Sir Milo says:

    Lindo and Sarah should just make out! It would be awesome! Free Love in Mandela Land!

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  61. Gregory says:

    Can I watch Please!!!! got condoms for the Eyes!

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  62. Anonymous says:

    luminescent Fubu sweatshits are one of my fav 90s memories

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  63. Gobigowski says:

    Everyday is a Protest

    Here on Albany Grove
    I am mesmerized by whoonga aromas
    The Nigerians are Pimping
    The whores are nursing their infected thingies
    Nollywood Dvd’s on sale
    Pussy is Fifty Rands
    Everything is Grand

    The internet is cheap
    And no one gives a shit
    A crackhead just collapsed
    no one attends to the piece of shit
    A car guard is searching her for her last pennies
    his hand down deep in her panties

    I am banned from the “coolest” happening in Town
    Because i am relentless clown
    but the beer cools me down
    on my face you couldn’t find a frown
    coz school is almost out
    and there is a slight breeze through town
    Many pink beavers to adore
    Love is a globe away

    on Albany grove, the blues are blue
    the shoulder are heavy
    the walls stink of sin

    But Albany Grove is honest
    Does not pretend
    Has no classes
    is not a class
    and is generally unaffected

    Everyday in Albany Is a Protest!

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  64. hippiegoth says:

    Regarding the 2nd paragraph’s opening sentence: isn’t SlutWalk Canadian in origin? Not the same country as the USA, you know.

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