Or rather, Rosa Luxemburg morning. After dropping off Edie in Vrygrond, I made my way to Community House, where I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd gathered for the Rosa Luxemburg seminar. I would estimate that it was at least 60% township people, many of whom I know from different community based struggles – in other words, it wasn’t the total academic wankfest that I feared. After milling about for some time, we were broken into groups of about 20 people. I was paired with Nina Benjamin (who now works at LRS) as the “respondent” to my input. In any event, we started with input from everyone about who they were and what they had learned over the past two days – a lot of people’s comments centered on the persistent NGO vs. social movement vs. political party debate, what was on a rather different level from where I pitched my input. Anyway, I forged ahead regardless… I think I was more successful at portraying how capitalism entraps and destroys us then I was at speaking on how resistance can get linked up, because a lot of the inputs suggested I had not been “systematic” enough on that point. Nina’s response was largely supportive, and probably clarified what was (unfortunately, as usual) a bit of a long winded input from my side.

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So I got invited to speak on a panel at the Rosa Luxemburg lecture series organised by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, ILRIG and AIDC. The topic is attitudes towards the state, the ANC and the “left project”. So here are some notes.

My starting point is that we have to understand capital as enclosure. Capitalism isn’t just about some people being rich and others poor – although that is one aspect of capitalism, capitalism is most clearly characterised as the imposition of the social relation of capital. Capital, as a social relation, organises the process of accumulation so as continually exploit the majority of humanity and the planet through the alienation of the product of their labour from those who labour. That “product of labour” can be a shoe, a car, but also it can be a social relation, such as the harmony within a family, or the labour which goes into reproducing life so that we can get up in the morning, go to work, raise the next generation of workers, etc. Anyway, capital doesn’t get exploitation and alienation “for free”, as some eternal human condition, but it achieves these things by continually enclosing people within its grasp, by cutting off all possibilities of life that don’t refer back to capital.

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