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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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...

Gaza is Everyone's Concern

Picture credit: Free Gaza/flickr Richard Pithouse - Every time a man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act. - Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, 1952 The ruthless assault on Gaza has sometimes been presented in our media, and on occasion in some solidarity efforts too, as an issue that is solely of concern to Muslim people. It is true that in recent years state politics in both Palestine and Israel has taken...

Gaza & the Long History of Liberal Brutality

Picture credit: Boys in Gaza fenced in behind a barricade courtesy Dale Spencer/flickr Richard Pithouse - As the Israeli state rains its murder on the people of Gaza we are confronted with a stark demonstration of the ways in which there is, in so many quarters, official sanction for according radically different values to human lives. Some of us are taken as sacrosanct, others as disposable. It has often been suggested that in the case of Israel and Palestine the inequality in the value ascribed to human life can be rendered as a mathematical ratio. In this calculus there is no such thing as a...