Richard Pithouse

Richard Pithouse

Dr. Richard Pithouse teaches politics at Rhodes University where he teaches contemporary political theory and urban studies and runs an annual semester long post-graduate seminar on the work of Frantz Fanon.








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On Not Reducing Racism to Apartheid

Picture credit: The Sonorans Richard Pithouse - We would be more effective at dealing with the endemic racism in our society if we didn’t relentlessly speak in a manner that reduces racism to apartheid and ‘apartheid tendencies’. The reason for this is not because historical trauma should be repressed and its consequences in the present naturalised. On the contrary it is because the development of an adequate understanding of how our society came to be as it is requires us to speak a lot more about both colonialism and...

Shifting the Ground of Radical Reason

Picture credit: Dragaholic Richard Pithouse - For some time now much of the left has either been alienated from actually existing popular mobilisation or unable to make and sustain productive connections with it. But the emergence of new forces to the left of the ANC, forces with money, a national reach, easy access to the media and, in the case of NUMSA, an established and organised membership, is generating fresh optimism. However, the old fantasy that history will, in time, reward radical patience sometimes functions to prevent...

Riot Police in Parliament

Picture credit: President Jacob Zuma courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - When the ANC raised Jacob Zuma above the rule of law and the scrutiny of parliament they repeated, on live television, an aspect of the logic with which the subaltern classes are routinely governed. The democratic rights that have been enjoyed by the middle classes over the last twenty years are frequently denied to people who inhabit zones, like the former Bantustan or the urban shack settlement, where different rules apply. In these zones, despotic forms of power are not uncommon....

Lindiwe Sisulu and the New Denialism

Picture credit: Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, addresses Parliament during the State of the Nation Address in June this year courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - In 2005, early in her in her first term as Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu announced that the state had resolved to ‘eradicate slums’ by 2014. This was a time when the technocratic ideal had more credibility than it does now and officials and politicians often spoke, with genuine conviction, as if it were an established fact that this aspiration would translate into reality. It was not unusual for people trying to engage the state around questions of urban land and housing to...

South Africa: After the End of Our Innocence

Picture credit: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma courtesy GCIS/flickr Richard Pithouse - From our increasingly riotous streets to our ever more fractious parliament, it is undeniably clear that South Africa is not a country at ease with itself. And, as the language of those who come out to defend Jacob Zuma and what has become of the ANC grows more hysterical and sets itself against imagined ‘agents’, ‘criminals’, ‘Satanists’ and ‘Nazis’, the weakness and panic at the heart of the Zuma project becomes increasingly evident. What were...

Marikana, Gaza, Ferguson: 'You should think of them always as armed'

Picture credit: A protester in in Ferguson, Missouri courtesy Bilde. Richard Pithouse - In colonial wars the occupying power invariably reaches a point where it has to acknowledge that its true enemy is not a minority - devil worshipers, communists, fanatics or terrorists - subject to external and evil manipulation, but the people as a whole. Once this point is reached every colonised person is taken as a potential combatant and the neighbourhood and the home are cast as legitimate sites of combat. This is the moment when liberal paternalism breaks down. From its first...