The Centre for Civil Society based within the School of Built Environment and Development studies invites you to the seminar Inequality, the Criminalisation of Protest and Internecine Social Conflict by Patrick Bond, Bandile Mdlalose and China Ngubane.
Date: Friday 9 October 2015
Time: 12h30 – 15h00 (note extended time)
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal
In the wake of the tsunami of inequality talk that flooded into South Africa over the three days last week, as Thomas Piketty held forth, two major factors went silent: civil society agency and accurate measurement. First, who will change public policy – those with power who are simply persuaded by the ideas of the eloquent French social democrat? Or will it be activists in civil society who make the breakthrough – as they did fighting AIDS with free medicines and fighting apartheid with a diversity of tactics? Second, with Piketty pointing out the low quality of transparency by the elites, the broader question must be asked of whether the state is redistributing to the poor, or to ruling-party cronies (such as Chancellor House apparently offered Hitachi and as Danny Jordaan apparently offered Sepp Blatter)? When the World Bank answers such a question, it leaves out the second half on principle, yet is still widely cited as the source of reliable inequality data. One reason the Piketty debate was so shallow and top down, was the failure of the commentariat to consider social agency. One reason for that is the criminalisation of protest. Another is that the society is dramatically divided, not only across class, race and gender lines, but ideologically too, and across nations in terms of immigrants from elsewhere in Africa and from Asia. This seminar tackles each of these dilemmas with cutting-edge analysis from both the zone of academic theory and the community/labour coalface.
Patrick Bond, Bandile Mdlalose and China Ngubane are at the Centre for Civil Society, respectively as interim director, head of the Brutus Community Scholars programme, and Brutus Community Scholar.