The CLR James Journal

Volume 17, Issue 1, Fall 2011

On the Emancipatory Thought of bell hooks

Nigel C. Gibson
Pages 133-152

Speaking the Truth in Uncertain Times
Creating solidarity with the shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo

The impetus for this paper was the attack on the shack dweller movement in South Africa in September 2009. One question that emerged from the attack is what can committed intellectuals do to create active solidarity with movements of "the damned of the earth" in times of crisis. Thinldng of Fanon's critique of middle class anticolonial intellectual in The Wretched of the Earth and of Abahlali's insistence that their thinldng counts, the paper considers Fanon concept of political education rejecting the idea that it is something that a vanguard party, an avant garde artist, a self-appointed leader, the military or even a community educator provides. Instead, the paper advocates a radical ethical move toward a constant dialogue that encourages and appreciates the reason of those so often excluded from decision making. But while an ethical shift toward lived experience is a usefiil foundation, intellectual labor applies itself to a search for new beginnings through developing an intellectual space of action where, potentially, the reflecting "consciousness full of contradictions" can help articulate its philosophical principles and realize its notion in fiercely democratic grassroots movements which Abahlali's president, S'bu Zikode, calls a "living communism." One may recall that China and the tables began to dance when the rest of the world appeared to be standing still—pour encourager les autres. Marx, Capital (1977: 164)

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