Richard Pithouse

Richard Pithouse

Richard Pithouse teaches politics at Rhodes University. He holds an MA in philosophy and worked as an academic for many years. He has published widely in academic and popular publications and in recent years has been particularly interested in popular struggles for just cities.

Vote No

Picture credit: Ronnie Kasrils, Former Minister of Intelligence Services in South Africa Richard Pithouse - In recent days Ronnie Kasrils has been referred to as ‘a rebel, a Judas, a scoundrel’, as ‘Satan’, and as a ‘disruptive, reckless and counter-revolutionary’ figure spitting on ‘the long struggles and the sacrifices of our people’. Alistair Sparks, who is routinely introduced as ‘Respected journalist Alistair Sparks’ despite the fact that he’s often little more than an unthinking hack for conservative orthodoxies of various...

The Urban Land Question

Picture credit: Heavy cross to bear - community members from the township of Gugulethu hold a march to raise awareness of the "hellish reality" of township life (courtesy Abahlali baseMjondolo/flickr). Richard Pithouse - Urban land is acutely contested in contemporary South Africa. There are regular land occupations, some taking the form of quiet encroachment and some taking the form of overtly political acts. At the same time most municipalities have armed units that, often acting violently, and more or less invariably acting illegally, try to sustain the duopoly of the state and the market over the allocation and zoning of urban land. When land occupations are presented as simple acts of criminality,...

Marikana, Nkandla & Jacob Zuma

Picture credit: President Jacob Zuma courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - Jacob Zuma will not be redeemed by a ‘Lula moment’ or ‘second transition’. His name will go down in history with Marikana and Nkandla. Different people will call the precise moment at which the conflation of the idea of the ANC with the altogether more tawdry realities of the actually existing ANC became both irrational and immoral differently. For some people the tipping point was the South African Communist Party’s embrace of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in...

Homophobia on the March

Picture credit: Hello Artichoke Blogspot Richard Pithouse - Some people love and desire people of the same sex. This is true everywhere and it has always been true. From Egypt, to India, Peru and Zimbabwe there is ancient art illuminating the consummation of the eternal and universal presence of homosexual desire. In the classic literature of China, reaching back hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, it is described as the passion of the bitten peach. Homoerotic desire is described, with joy, in classic Arab poetry written more than a thousand...

Celebrating a Murderous State

Picture credit: Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and President Jacob Zuma on the red carpet outside Parliament courtesy GCIS. Richard Pithouse - The public discussion around the pageantry at the annual opening of Parliament often treats the event more like the Oscars than a serious attempt to take some measure of where we are. It is frequently received as if the dignity of the nation is invested in the quality of the spectacle produced by this performance of elite power. With politicians implicitly measured against celebrities disappointments are inevitable. This year the discussion about how people looked and dressed, a discussion...

Enduring Racism in Small Town South Africa

Picture credit: WhyHunger Richard Pithouse - The road from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown winds past one luxury game farm after another. John Graham, a British soldier, drove the Xhosa people off this land, the Zuurveld, between 1811 and 1812. His soldiers burnt their homes, destroyed their crops and killed any man that resisted. It was John Cradock, the governor of the Cape Colony, who had given Graham his orders. Cradock had some experience in these matters. He had crushed anti-colonial rebellions in Ireland and India before being...