This morning I came across a whole host of interesting articles – including, for starters, the editorial in today’s Cape Times by Achille Mbembe. It is in fact an edited version of the foreword to Fiona Forde’s new book, An Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema and the ‘new’ ANC (read an excerpt published in the Mail & Guardian here). I haven’t found the piece online yet, but his discussion of ‘lumpen-radicalism’ certainly stayed with me… Mbembe writes the following:
‘A life of shame, social humiliation and dishonour is thought to be retrieved from abjection through conspicuous display and consumption of wealth, war envy and a version of manhood that is spliced with a culture of militarism.’
Interesting and timely insight given the scenes around Luthuli House yesterday, where Malema and other Youth League leaders faced charges of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing seeds of division. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, have a look back at Malema’s Nation by Christi van der Westhuizen, published in the SARB newsletter in December of last year.
Next on today’s reading list, click over to Judith Butler‘s latest contribution to the Guardian’s Big Ideas series, which aims to – on a monthly basis – ‘dissect a phrase that’s become an intellectual cliché in order to analyse its true meaning’. Butler unpacks Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil, describing its origins at the close of the Adolf Eichmann trial:
‘Arendt wondered whether a new kind of historical subject had become possible with national socialism, one in which humans implemented policy, but no longer had “intentions” in any usual sense. To have “intentions” in her view was to think reflectively about one’s own action as a political being, whose own life and thinking is bound up with the life and thinking of others. So, in this first instance, she feared that what had become “banal” was non-thinking itself. This fact was not banal at all, but unprecedented, shocking, and wrong.‘
Finally, and last but certainly not least, debate has continued this week over Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s call for a wealth tax, and the A Moral Imperative to Speak event held at UCT on 24 August. This is the write-up the event received in Today’s News on campus, and podcasts are also available here if you couldn’t make it that day! And, as jy kon Afrikaans lees (which unfortunately I cannot), have a look at IJR Executive Director Fanie du Toit’s response, which appeared in Die Burger yesterday.
As always, your comments and feedback are welcome! And more reading suggestions too, please…