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Monday -- 10.14.13 -- Petition, Solidarity Action and Common(s) Course Meeting

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Monday -- 10.14.13 -- Petition, Solidarity Action and Common(s) Course Meeting

0. About Monday
1. Please Sign Petition
2. Background to letter and Details of Monday's Rally
3. Common(s) Course Website and Reading

0. About Monday

What and When and Where: Monday October 14
pt. 1 Solidarity Action: 11:30 - 2:00pm, South African Consulate, 33 E 38th St, New York
pt. 2 Common(s) Course Discussion: 5:15 - 7:15pm. 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor Who: open to all


Dear Friends on this list,

We are circulating a petition which was drafted at the space in solidarity with the Abahlali BaseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement below. We ask that you sign and circulate to friends this letter posted below. For those who are in New York, there is also a solidarity rally being organized on Monday at 11:30am in front of the South African Embassy.

Read below for further details and the letter of solidarity.


For this Monday's meeting, we will be discussing a text by David Harvey from 'The Urban Experience' entitled: Money, Time, Space, and the City. The text is important in outlining how money is not simply a tool or medium of exchange, but rather an abstraction which carries out very concrete and material alterations in our social relations, mental
conceptions, relations to time, to space, to thought, to the city. We will begin with a brief introduction of the text outlining a few questions then attempt to map and outline the issues raised through our own experiences.

For now, the action and the thinking inhabit a space beside one another. But we hope through the creation of a common time/space of sharing thought, inquiry and discussion, we can further develop together mental conceptions which can inspire and translate into practices of commoning the city - practices which resist the social, temporal, and spatial dispersion the regime of money causes in each of our lives.

1. The Petition

Statement in Defense of the Abahlali BaseMjondolo members

To: James Nxumalo, Mayor, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South
AfricaSenzo Mchunu, Premier, KwaZulu-NatalJacob Zuma, President, Republic of South Africa

Since 2005, the ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO (Shack Dwellers) movement has mobilized to fulfill the needs of a large number of inhabitants in the city of Durban who live without access to land, housing, food, education and basic services such as clean water, sanitation, electricity and health careIn response to this mobilization, the South African Police Service, the Ethekwini Municipality and the ruling political party (ANC) have attempted to criminalize the actions of this movement.

In particular, we have observed:

The continued intimidation, beatings and unlawful detention of activists.

The torture of individuals held in detention.

The demolition and bulldozing of thousands of homes.

The use of the press to slander the movement and its various leaders.

All these forms of attacks have reached a climax from June 2013 until the present at Cato Crest, one of Durban’s most active settlements:

With the assassination of Nkululeko Gwala, the leader of the Cato Crest settlement on the night of June 26, 2013.

With the attempted assassination on September 21st, of Mngomezulu, one of the ABAHLALI movement’s leaders and two of his comrades.

With the demolitions of 100 homes despite five Durban High Court
injunctions against them.

With the assassination of Nqobile Nzuza a 17 year old girl, a grade 9 learner at Bonella High School and an Abahlali baseMjondolo supporter on the morning of September 30, 2013.

To this day we have received no word or results about any investigation or attempt to find the assassins of our gifted comrade and community leader Nkululeko Gwala. Nor has any explanation been given as to why the court injunctions have not been respected.

This brutal behavior is a denial of all the ideals of the struggles against Apartheid – a struggle that inspired so many of us everywhere. We, brothers and sisters all over the world, who identify with the legacy of this great struggle, want to express our protest against these injustices and solidarity with the ABAHLALI movement, which is a continuation of the struggle for liberation, for land, for equality and justice.
We remember the priorities of the ANC before the liberation. Land
redistribution was a central issue, given that 87% of land was in the hands of the white minority. After 20 years, less than 7% of that land has been returned to the African communities, mostly given to a Black elite, which serves the interests of neoliberal policies and organizations.

We are stating here that we hold all political parties in the South African government accountable for these abominable actions. To those in government, and most importantly to those who fought against apartheid, we ask that you act today to put an immediate end to these abuses. And we demand that the rightful aspirations of the ABAHLALI movement and all South Africans to a home, a life with dignity, and an end to the
concentrated land ownership of the pre-apartheid era be fulfilled.

There are two possibilities for signing this petition.

If you prefer the old fashioned way, you can send notice of your agreement by writing to abahlali (at)
Please include you name, any organizational affiliation.

You can also sign an online version at the link below:

2. Background to letter and Details of Monday's Rally

A few weeks ago, we circulated a note about the Urban Convergences Conferences at the New School and Silvia Federici's suggestion to visit a morning panel concerning struggles over land use and housing in South Africa. Those present were fortunate enough to hear from two remarkable individuals and organizers who are based in Durban and working with the Abahlali BaseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement.

They described their struggle for land and homes in the context a
post-apartheid South Africa and the intensification of police violence they have been facing in recent months. As a result of this encounter and out of a sincere need by the movement for expressions of solidarity, a group of friends associated with the space sat down together to write a letter petitioning all parties in government in South Africa.

Sadly, on the same evening this petition was being drafted, Nqobile Nzuza a 17 year old girl, a grade 9 learner at Bonella High School and an Abahlali BaseMjondolo supporter was assassinated.

We ask friends far and wide to sign and help circulate this petition.

Additionally, if you are in New York, members of New York City's social justice community led by Picture the Homeless will hold a solidarity rally in front of the South African Embassy to show support for our comrades in Durban.

Date: Monday October 14th
Time: 11:30am-2:00pm
Where: South African Consulate 333 E 38th St NYC

3. Common(s) Course Website and Reading

For weekly updates and details for meeting, please visit the website for the course:

Reading for Monday's meeting:


16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004

for directions/subscriptions/info visit:

4,5 -- Bowling Green
2,3 -- Wall Street
J,Z -- Broad Street
R -- Whitehall
1 -- South Ferry

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