Statement by Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Zizek and others in support of Abahlali baseMjondolo
9 October 2009
The South African shack-dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is an egalitarian, democratic organisation dedicated to the self-empowerment and self-education of thousands of disadvantaged people. We the undersigned support the resolve of AbM activists to play a leading part in the determination of their own future, and to help make, rather than suffer, public decisions about housing, land, and development. We condemn all acts of violence and intimidation against AbM members and the residents of South Africa's informal settlements. We condemn any participation or collusion of the government and police in the recent assault against AbM leaders and their families, and in the destruction of their homes and offices. We call on the government to do all that is required to repair the damage done in recent weeks, and to protect AbM activists and settlement residents from any future violence; we note in particular the repeated death threats against AbM President S'bu Zikode and Vice President Mashumi Figlan. We call on the ANC to respect and facilitate, rather than discourage, popular participation in the governing of South Africa.
* Bruno Bosteels, Spanish Literature, Cornell University
* Noam Chomsky, Linguistics, MIT
* Jacques Depelchin, History, UFBA/CEAO Salvador, Brazil
* Nigel Gibson, Honors Program, Emerson College
* Greg Grandin, History, New York University
* Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University
* Naomi Klein, writer and activist, Toronto
* Ernesto Laclau, Politics, University of Essex.
* Todd May, Philosophy, Clemson University
* Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
* William I. Robinson, Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara
* Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
* Slavoj Zizek, Philosophy, University of Ljubljana.