nine times


nine times

a student leader shot
in the back
nine times

not Sharpeville
not Langa
not Thormton
or Belgravia Roads
on the Cape Flats

not under apartheid
but right here and now

students’ residences raided
teargas and rubber bullets fired
doors knocked down

under democracy
a constitution lauded

a student leader shot
in the back
nine times

a woman to boot

(what will be said
when 16 Days of Activism
for No Violence against
Women and Children
is ritually celebrated)

so much has changed
so much transformed

so much

“Student leader shot in the back nine times” and “Sasco to ANC: Test free education” (Mail and Guardian, October 21 to 27 2016)


(Photo Credit: ewn) (Video Credit: YouTube / SABC)

Ava DuVernay’s 13TH is great, but where are the women prisoners?

Ava DuVernay’s 13TH is an important, must-see documentary concerning mass and hyper incarceration in the United States. It’s particularly powerful on the Constitutional sources of a national program to imprison thousands of African American men and communities of color. As film critic Manohla Dargis wrote, “Powerful, infuriating and at times overwhelming, Ava DuVernay’s documentary `13TH’ will get your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking. It shakes you up, but it also challenges your ideas about the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States, subject matter that could not sound less cinematic.” Who’s missing at the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration? Women. Where are the women prisoners in this account? Almost nowhere to be seen.

The most salient omission of women prisoners in the history as told by 13TH is in the section concerning the war on drugs. While the intent of that war, from Nixon to today, is brilliantly depicted, the fact that the war on drugs has made women the fastest growing prison population is never mentioned. In 2014, the National Research Council released The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, a review of the literature on mass incarceration in the United States over the preceding four decades, which reported the following:

For four decades, women have been the fastest growing prison population. The United States has one third of the world’s female prison population. The majority of women in prison are mothers. Women’s prisons are historically `under resourced’ and that situation is only getting worse. Women prisoners face particularly high rates of sexual violence from prison staff. Women prisoners have exceptionally high rates of PTSD, mental illness, and alcohol and drug dependence. Women prisoners have astronomically, shockingly high rates of abnormal pap smears. Here are some highlights:

“More than 200,000 women are in jails or prisons in the United States, representing nearly one-third of incarcerated females worldwide. The past three to four decades have seen rapid growth in women’s incarceration rates—a rise of 646 percent since 1980 compared with a 419 percent rise for men”

“Incarceration rates have increased more rapidly for females than for males since the early 1970s. In 1972, the prison and jail incarceration rate for men was estimated to be 24 times higher than that for women. By 2010, men’s incarceration rate was about 11 times higher. Women’s incarceration rate had thus risen twice as rapidly as men’s in the period of growing incarceration rates.”

“Compared with men, women are sentenced more often to prison for nonviolent crimes: about 55 percent of women sentenced to prison have committed property or drug crimes as compared with about 35 percent of male prisoners. Women also are more likely than men to enter prison with mental health problems or to develop them while incarcerated: about three-quarters of women in state prisons in 2004 had symptoms of a current mental health problem, as opposed to 55 percent of men.

“Women’s prisons historically have been under resourced and underserved in correctional systems, so that women prisoners have had less access to programming and treatment than their male counterparts. Women prisoners also are more likely to be the targets of sexual abuse by staff.”

“A majority of women prisoners are mothers, who must grapple with the burden of being separated from their children during incarceration. In 2004, 62 percent of female state and federal inmates (compared with 51 percent of male inmates) were parents. Of those female inmates, 55 percent reported living with their minor children in the month before arrest, 42 percent in single-parent households; for male inmates who were parents, the corresponding figures were 36 and 17 percent.”

That was two years ago. In the intervening period, from the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama to the Lowell Correctional Institution in Florida to Berks Family Detention Center in Pennsylvania to the California Institution for Women to prisons and jails and detention centers from Alaska to South Dakota to Texas to Oklahoma to Virginia to New York and beyond, the situation for women at the intersection of race, class, disability, justice and mass incarceration has worsened. At the same time, women have led and are leading campaigns to do more than end mass incarceration. Ava DuVernay’s 13TH is a great, must-see documentary because it sheds light on the systemic violence committed against people of color in the name of justice and `security’ and because it opens the door to the next great documentary in which must-see women prisoners lay out the map for a justice system that includes and honors all of us.


(Infographic Credit: Prison Policy Initiative) (Photo Credit: Female Report)

#NiUnaMenos: In Argentina, women declare a general strike against all violence against women

For the past two years, women in Argentina, and elsewhere, have been organizing and mobilizing to end violence against women, gathering under the banner, Ni Una Menos. Not One Woman Less. Today, Wednesday, October 19, 2016, they are organizing a general strike to address and end violence against women, from sexual to cultural to economic violence. The torture and murder of Lucía Pérez is the most recent spark, but the flame has been ongoing and growing. In the streets, alleys, and rooms of Argentina, women dressed in black have declared today is Black Wednesday, #MiércolesNegro: “In your office, school, hospital, law court, newsroom, shop, factory, or wherever you are working, stop for an hour to demand ‘no more machista violence’.” As Ingrid Beck of Ni Una Menos explained, “We’re calling it Black Wednesday because we’re in mourning for all of the dead women, all of the women killed simply for being women.”

Florencia Minici, also of Ni Una Menos, added, “With our rage at the femicide of Lucía in Mar del Plata, at the hatred of the mother who murdered her lesbian daughter, at the stabbing of teenagers in La Boca and with our anger at the repression of the National Congress of Women in Rosario, we call on everyone to come out from our workplaces and our homes … to make visible the femicide and the precarization of women’s lives.”

A communiqué from Ni Una Menos further noted, “Behind the rise and viciousness of the femicidal violence lies an economic plot. The lack of women’s autonomy leaves us more unprotected when we say no and so leaves us as easy targets for trafficking networks or as `cheap’ bodies for both the drug and the retail markets … While the average unemployment in Argentina is 9.3 percent, for women it is 10.5.”

The women of Argentina know and are signaling that violence against women is part of the current government’s neoliberal economic structural adjustment `development’ program. Leaving women without a say is as vulnerable to economic exploitation as to physical violence. Both are part of a political economic program of spectacular death for women. That’s why today’s mobilization is called a work stoppage and is thought of as a general strike, “the first national women’s strike in the country’s history.”

Two weeks ago, on October 4, the women of Poland, dressed in Black, filled the streets. Today, October 19, the women of Argentina are doing the same. For women around the world, Black is the new Black.

#NiUnaMenos #VivasLasQueremos #MiercolesNegro


(Image Credit 1: Le Monde) (Image Credit 2: Twitter / @NiUnaMenos)

In Poland, women in black strike for women’s and human rights

In Poland last week women went on a general strike, dressed in black. Thousands demonstrated in the streets of cities to defend their remaining right to abortion as the government pushed for a total ban on abortion. The concept of women’s general strike was first used in Iceland on October 25, 1975 when 90% of women stopped working, taking care of children, cooking etc. They wanted equality and were fed up with low wages, low consideration, low everything. The entire country stopped. The effect was profound. The Polish women were after the same effect, fed up with seeing political and economic manipulations control their sexual and reproductive rights and putting their lives in jeopardy.

Since Poland transitioned to a capitalist system, reproductive rights including the right to abortion have been the recurrent issue, and women have seen their rights steadily reduced. Women in Poland won the right to abortion for social reasons in 1956. Nina Sankari for 50-50 magazine, recounts the work of Maria Jaszczuk, the MP who sponsored the original bill. She put in the public debate the crude reality of women’s right to decide for their lives, breaking the code of silence. At the time, more than 300 000 illegal abortions were practiced a year with 80 000 of them ending up in the hospital leading to a 2% death toll. Thanks to this bill, Polish women had enjoyed this reproductive right for over 36 years. But the so called democratic process gloated about by the capitalist order demanded the end of this basic women’s right to decide for themselves. Nina Sankari recalls that in 2007 shortly before her death at 90 years old, Maria Jaszczuk expressed her sadness to see all these basic women’s rights being wiped out.

Nina Sankari notes the irony of the infamous democratic transition bringing the Catholic Church with its conservative neoliberal allies back to power. In 1989, when the new constitution was being designed, the Church vetoed the concept of separation of church and state, of laicity or neutrality of the church. The Polish Catholic establishment was ready to play a crucial political role in the country.

Consequently, in 1993 one of the most regressive anti-abortion laws in Europe passed, allowing abortion in only three cases: if the woman’s life is in danger, if the fetus has serious disabilities, and if the pregnancy is the result of a rape including incestuous rape. But that was not enough for the conservative forces led by Jarosław Kaczinski. He is the leader of Law and Justice party that won the elections in October 2015.

Currently, the xenophobic religious neoliberal right is looming large in Europe. The current Polish leadership is in line with Viktor Orbán’s leadership in Hungary proclaiming religious notions on family as divinely imposed and reducing public services, especially when women’s rights are at risk. These changes constitute a breach in European laws. Recently three cases from Poland have been challenged in the European Court of Human Rights. The latter found that women and girls in Poland “encountered unacceptable obstacles to access to safe and legal abortion.” It put Poland in violation with its responsibilities and obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Malta and Ireland are also in this position. Meanwhile, no official actions have changed this status quo. Only women and men’s street demonstrations have brought change.

This time, the Polish women’s strike defeated the bill that would have led to a total ban on abortion, including jail time for women seeking abortion and for doctors who would dare help them. As Gauri Van Gulik of Amnesty International said, “This is a huge victory for the millions of women and girls who mobilized, showed their fury, and successfully blocked a law which would have taken away their rights and endangered their health.”

This victory should lead to more actions in support of women’s rights and human rights. Each year in Poland, 1000 legal abortions are performed while an estimated 150, 000 clandestine abortions occur behind closed doors, not to forget that the lethal danger of clandestine abortion is spread according to social lines. The reduction of women’s rights accompanies many social and political restrictions. The women of Poland have shown the possibilities to counter the rise of the deadly combination of xenophobic, neoliberal and religious power.


(Photo Credit 1: The Guardian / Czarek Sokolowski / AP) (Photo Credit 2: BBC / EPA)

(This article is part of the on-going collaboration between Women In and Beyond the Global and 50-50 magazine. Click here for 50-50’s coverage of Poland’s women in black.)

In Spain, three women win a battle for workers’ dignity everywhere

Workers in the October 12 Hospital in Madrid

Workers in the October 12 Hospital in Madrid

Florentina Martínez Andrés, María Elena Pérez López, and Ana de Diego Porras did not know each other, but are linked in a struggle for workers’ dignity. All three worked for years on temporary replacement contracts. After years of working for the same employer, each woman was dismissed and informed that, under the law, she was not entitled to any compensation at all, because she was “temporary.” Florentina Martínez Andrés had worked full time for the same employer for two years. María Elena Pérez López had worked full time for the same employer for four years. Ana de Diego Porras had worked full-time for the same employer for nine years. But each was temporary and so … And so, each woman took their employers and the State to court, and last month, they all won, and so did Spanish workers generally.

Spanish labor law creates a formal three-tier structure: permanent workers, fixed term workers, and temporary workers. At termination of contract, permanent workers receive 20 days’ salary per year of service; fixed term workers receive 12 days salary; and temporary workers receive nothing. Ana de Diego Porras worked as an administrative secretary for Spain’s Ministry of Defense; Florentina Martínez Andrés worked as an administrative secretary for Osakidetza, the public health service of the Basque Country; María Elena Pérez López worked as a nurse for SERMAS, Madrid’s public health service. All three argued that workers received compensation upon termination of contract because they earned it through their labor, and that the hierarchical categories constituted a shell game used to divide workers and thereby to steal from some. In late September, the European Court of Justice, in three separate and linked opinions, agreed with the women workers.

Close to 4,000,000 workers in Spain are formally “temporary” workers, and so these decisions will have immediately significant impact. Additionally, the decisions suggest that the different between “full time” and “fixed term” will also have to be reconsidered. For example, 40% of doctors in public health institutions currently don’t have permanent positions. The lawyers representing María Elena Pérez López already have over 400 cases ready to go.

Taken together, the three judgments deliver a direct and frontal assault on public and private employer abuses and a labor system in which some workers are protected and others are abandoned. Further, the judgments undermine the common sense of precarious labor, which says that workers must be satisfied with living contingently, with zero security and zero dignity. Florentina Martínez Andrés, María Elena Pérez López, and Ana de Diego Porras said “No to the Zero!” … and they won! Actually, we all won.


(Photo Credit: Periódico Diagonal / David Fernández)

#RememberKhwezi: This woman was a revolutionary in the truest sense of the word

A million thoughts running and sprinting across my mind. Fezekile-otherwise known by her nom de guerre ”Khwezi” transitioned from this life two days ago. I have been numb, angry, grief stricken and like many of us, left with a sense of injustice, shame and guilt. This woman was a revolutionary in the truest sense of the word. She sacrificed her relative youth and life aspirations and laid down her life, for a truth that could not be contained in life and will not be crushed by death. I wrote and mobilised along with many other women across this country, many of whom were abused, spat at and received death threats for supporting Fezekile. I often wondered whether I could have done differently, more, been more vigourous and robust in protecting and loving Fezekile both before her exile and after her return. I am ashamed to have been reminded to become ‘un-numb’ when the four young activists, who at the IEC 2 months ago, jerked me out of my sleep walk.

I have sometimes thought of myself as brave. Fezekile was much more than brave. Bravery in fact looks like her and cowered in her presence. She deserves to be remembered as more than ”an accuser”. She was in fact the one who accused us as her name was taken, her face obscured, her mortal life in danger and her being displaced. Her fortitude quietly accuses and reminds me of the value of life, the cost of being steadfast, the disregard of women’s bodies, the ongoing rape of our decency & solidarity, the shame of silent forgetting. Those who knew her speak of her great humour, her deep compassion, her zest for life and learning.

She is a reminder of the brokenness of this country, the neglect of many children of struggle, the violations of trust and our complicity with masculine entitlement. But more than that, she is a reflection of what one day I hope to be. Truly Brave. Brave at all costs for the truth.

To quote Nawal El-Saadawi :

“You are a savage and dangerous woman.
I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.”


(Photo Credit: The Sowetan) (Image Credit: The Daily Maverick / Facebook)

#ShutDownBerks: 17 Senators, including Tim Kaine, say, “Shut down Berks!”

The United States built a special hell for immigrant women and children, Berks Family Detention Center. About 30 Central American women and children asylum seekers are currently held in Berks. Children aged 2 to 16 make up almost half the prisoners. The mothers have organized. They have gone on work strikes and hunger strikes. They have protested the toxic environment for their children, and they have protested the abandonment of their children. They have protested the inhumanity, cruelty and violence that is visited upon their children and upon them. Last month, 17 United States Senators, including current Vice-Presidential candidate Tim Kaine, wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson: “The lawmakers note that women and children as young as two-years-old have been in detention for nearly a year or longer at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. The letter expresses concern that children at the detention facility are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.”

The letter was signed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Senator Robert P. Menendez (D-N.J.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

Here’s their letter:

September 27, 2016

The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Johnson:

We write to reiterate our strong belief that the policy of family detention is wrong and should be ended immediately. Although we were encouraged to hear your announcement in August that the average length of detention for asylum-seeking mothers and children from Central America’s Northern Triangle has been reduced to 20 days or less, the ongoing use of family detention remains unacceptable.

We are particularly concerned about the children who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for prolonged periods at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. These children range in age from two to sixteen and many have been in detention for nearly a year or longer. Recent reports from a number of media sources indicate the children are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.

Detention of families should only be used as a last resort, when there is a significant risk of flight or a serious threat to public safety or national security that cannot be addressed through other means. We urge you to review these cases individually and release these children with their mothers immediately unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be otherwise ameliorated through alternatives to detention.

The mothers of these children fled three of the most dangerous countries in the world to seek refuge in the United States. The brutal physical, gender-based, and sexual violence in the Northern Triangle is well-documented. Many of these mothers have asylum claims based on rape, severe domestic violence, and murder threats, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay barring the deportation of some of them until those claims can be fully resolved. The decision by ICE to detain these women and children while they pursue their claims has placed these mothers in the impossible position of choosing between their legal right to seek long-term refuge in the United States and the immediate well-being of their children. It is unconscionable to keep these children locked up and goes against our most fundamental values.

There is strong evidence and broad consensus among health care professionals that detention of young children, particularly those who have experienced significant trauma as many of these children have, is detrimental to their development and physical and mental health. This evidence has been reinforced by specific examples of children in the Berks County facility who are experiencing adverse health outcomes due to detention. Reports indicate that room checks conducted by facility staff every fifteen minutes lead to habitual sleep deprivation among the children, and a pediatric assessment of a six-year-old child suffering from chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder indicates that after prolonged detention the child is now showing signs of extreme stress and anxiety.

Last week, the President hosted the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis. During this summit, the United States asked other countries to follow our lead and provide protection and increased resources for the millions of people currently facing persecution around the world. However, this summit took place against the backdrop of a system of family detention in the United States that is inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide safe and humane refuge to those fleeing persecution. The ongoing use of family detention is wrong. The prolonged detention of the mothers and children in Berks is taking a significant toll on their mental and physical wellbeing. We urge you to review these cases immediately and use your authority to release these children with their mothers unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated through alternatives to detention.



(Image Credit: Grid Philly / Jameela Walgren) (Photo Credit: Democracy Now)

From Dumfries to Dimbaza, the mothers are outraged

Tidiani Epps Jr.'s drawing

Tidiani Epps Jr.’s drawing

Children’s mothers and grandmothers are outraged. They are organizing and refusing to let their children disappear into the night and fog of casual institutional educational violence. They are tired of being tired of the injustice. These are three recent vignettes from the institutional war on children, told in the order of the children’s age.

In Dimbaza, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, a ten-year-old child was found to have done something wrong. He was accused of dangling a child over a bridge, a charge that he denies and denied at the time. According to the child, the principal then called on older boys to grab the child, strip him naked and parade him, crying by this point, through and around the entire school. The boy ran home and refused to return for two days. The boy’s mother and grandmother are organizing to have the principal removed and to have the entire matter investigated fully. The mother explained, “I want harsh action taken against the principal. My child was abused and humiliated. He will be traumatised for the rest of his life.”

In Montgomery County, just outside of Washington, DC, 11-year-old Tidiani Epps Jr was given an assignment to draw a picture about what he would like to see stopped or banned. Tidiani drew a picture of a lynching, of a Black man hanging from a tree with two Ku Klux members in attendance. Tidiani Epps Jr is Black. He wants police violence to end: “In this picture, I was trying to describe what was going on in the world, and what happened back then. It’s what happened back then, and a piece of what happened back then is still here today in the present, like racism. I just want it to stop. I don’t want to see this any more. Young black people get killed for no reason. It’s not fair or right.”

The school responded by sending Tidiani to a counselor who called the family and recommended he go to a crisis center for a mental health evaluation. They decided that a young Black child who knows that there is violence in the world and understands he is a key target of that violence must be potentially suicidal. Tidiani’s mother, Sade Green, sees it otherwise. She was livid at the school’s treatment of her child and at what it portends for his future: “My child has to walk to school every day. He is a young black male. He will grow up to be a black man. I have to let them know what’s going on in society. Nobody is safe. What kind of parent would I be if I didn’t try to teach them the rights and wrongs of what’s going on?” What kind of parent, indeed.

On the Virginia side of the Washington, DC, suburbs, in Dumfries, a middle school teenager, Ryan Turk, forgot to pick up his milk carton and returned to correct that. A “school resource officer” saw Ryan take the milk, stopped him and told him to go to the principal’s office. When Ryan refused, the “resource officer” arrested him, put him in handcuffs and charged him with disorderly conduct and petty larceny. Ryan Turk was offered “nonjudicial punishment”, also known as “diversion”, which he and his mother turned down, and so next month, Ryan Turk will stand trial for taking a 65-cent carton of milk that he was supposed to have. Ryan’s mother, Shamise Turk, explained, “My son is not going to admit to something he did not do.”

What are these three children, and all the children around them, being taught? Violence is good; spectacular violence is great; due process is for the birds, unless they’re Black; and no one in charge gives a damn about you. Fortunately, the mothers and grandmothers are outraged and livid, and they’re organizing. They’re refusing “the deals” offered to palliate and silence them. They’re refusing the mis-education of their children and the destruction of the present as well as the future. As 11-year-old Tidiani Epps Jr explained, “It’s not just black lives that matter. Everyone matters, but for right now, in this era, so many black people have been getting killed for no reason. It matters.” It matters.


(Photo Credit: Donna St. George / The Washington Post / Fairfield Citizen)

Women declare the days of “matrimony” in France

Every year since 1984, the European Days of Heritage take place during a weekend in September in many places in France. It means that monuments and other places of art and culture are open to the public free of charge. The word heritage in French translates “patrimoine,” which defines heritage as coming from the father or “pater”. Since last year, a group of feminists has organized a counter event called the “matrimoine” (matrimony) to shed light on the forgotten cultural, political, artistic heritage arisen from women.

This year, the official theme was “heritage and citizenship.” Needless to say, the emblem of the French republic Marianne, the woman with a naked breast, is an empty symbol for women’s history. The official website bragged about the importance put on symbolic places of birth of citizenship while the Matrimoine group focused on the symbolic places of the elimination of women from public spaces. Not to forget that full citizenship for French women came late, after the Second World War.

The first author of a theater play in Europe was a woman, Hroswitha de Gandersheim, a German abbess. In France the national theater “la comedie francaise” formed by Moliere in the 17th century used the talent of the playwright Catherine Bernard in 1689. On the other hand, between 1958 and 2002 none of the national theater productions came from a play written by a woman despite the great number of women playwrights.

We went to the center of Paris close to City hall “Hotel de Ville” and “Tour Saint Jacques” to attend the event about the transmission of women’s knowledge, from the “witches” or from the alchemists.

We talk with Moïra Sauvage, one of the initiators of this movement, and with the two comedians, Morgane Lory and Veronique Ataly, who incarnated some witches, their lives and the horror of their deaths, tortured and burnt alive. Their adage said, “Cure with plants rather than with prayers.”



(Image Credit: Le Matrimoine)







#FeesMustFall is a global teachable moment

“Rhodes becomes the university currently brutalised by police”

“Rhodes becomes the university currently brutalised by police”

A specter is haunting the global university: the specter of democracy. All the powers of the old world have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: State and media; liberals and conservatives; radicals and police spies. Where is the party in opposition?

Across South Africa, students and some supporters have been forcing the State, and everyone else, to think and re-think the structures of “public education”. Whose public, and whose publics? How was that public, and which publics were dropped from the Public? The South African academies, and the media and more, have been focused on various aspects of this student-led and student-driven struggle. Today, for example, we read that students have presented a program for free tertiary education and that State security is planning a “zero tolerance” policy. For many South Africans, much of this is reminiscent of the “old days.”

But where is the rest of the world in this scenario? Whatever position(s) one takes, this, #FeesMustFall, is a global teachable moment. After three decades of critical discussion of the corporatization of higher education; racial, sexual, gender, class, ability and other forms of institutional violence on and by campus; the continuing colonial and imperial curricular and pedagogical practices; the intensifying exclusions from universities and then within the same; and so much more, this, #FeesMustFall, is a global teachable moment.

As a student led and student driven struggle, #FeesMustFall speaks to and extends recent similar movements in Chile, India, Canada, France and many points between and beyond. It also speaks to and extends earlier student led movements, including African, Asian and Latin American liberation struggles and those of ethnic and sexual “minority” and other disenfranchised communities. And it speaks to and extends earlier student led women’s movements. There’s no accident or surprise in #RhodesMustFall and #OutsourcingMustFall emerging into #PatriarchyMustFall. None of these individual struggles is at an end, by the way.

So, where are the teach-ins around the world? Where are the series of articles from various Left and alternative publications? The silence on this is roaring. It’s not too late, however, as this epochal struggle enters into a predictably new phase. South African students don’t need “our” counsel or advice. We, those of us outside of South Africa, need to pay attention to the light South African students, and South African academic communities, are shedding on the problems of exclusion and violence in the form of debt. As many have said, over the past twenty some years, let’s turn the state of debt into the new international. Let’s create a #FeesMustFall curriculum for our students and colleagues; let’s talk about #FeesMustFall in our classrooms and our Department meetings. And let’s write. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing.

(Photo Credit: The Daily Vox)