Anna Selmeczi

“... we are being left to burn because we do not count”: Biopolitics, Abandonment, and Resistance

Shack Fire in the Kennedy Road settlement, Durban

Anna Selmeczi on popular resistance to the lethal segmentation of the urban order in South Africa.

Abahlali’s Vocal Politics of Proximity: Speaking, Suffering and Political Subjectivization

Abahlali baseMjondolo protest in downtown Durban

First published in 2012 this paper, written after sustained immersion in Abahlali baseMjondolo, examines the significance of what the author terms 'speaking suffering' in the movement's politics.

Dis/placing political illiteracy: the politics of intellectual equality in a South African shack-dwellers’ movement

Abahlali baseMjondolo.

The production and abandonment of surplus people also depends on rendering them as improper political subjects. In the prevailing political discourse, poor people’s struggles are deemed less than political through notions such as the idea that all protest is related to the pace of “service delivery” or accusations of violence, as well as often explicit characterizations of dissenting people as ignorant. Such discursive moves imply and reinforce a conception of the poor black majority as unable to think and practice their own politics; that is, as politically illiterate group of people.

Educating Resistance

Abahlali baseMjondolo protest in Durban

by Anna Selmeczi, 2010

While deeply sympathetic to David Harvey’s commitment to a politics that can move to a new and more just order this paper, based on the experience of a period of immersion in the shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, asks if Harvey’s commitment to scaling up the level of political action, alongside a project of political education, risks removing politics from the grasp of the people who are currently struggling, with a considerable degree of success,to restore their right to political speech and imagination.