Since the inception of the Black First Land First Student Movement (BLF-SM), we have maintained the clear call for Free Black Centered Socialist Education. This call is rooted in the liberation of black people and the total crushing of the anti-black system that maintains black oppression. We want decolonised education in a decolonised society, not the opposite as the commission suggests.
The Fees Commission is a response to a black people’s call, #FeesMustFall, which is informed by the spirit of decolonial theory.
On 6 September 2016, the Fees Must Fall collective disrupted white power to re-establish power dynamics for a “new commission.” The reorganisation of the programme was to ensure a reconstruction towards decolonisation. It is this theory that #FMF subscribes to and forms the basis that informs the commission. Decolonisation is the disruption of the patterns of power and its replacement with new reorganised power.
When the commission was interrupted in East London, the white man chairing the commission, Judge Jonathan Heher, (on the presumption that he remained in power) kept interjecting. After being informed that he no longer presides over the commission as power was being reconstructed, he stood up and walked out and the black people next to him followed. As BLF-SM we ask the following questions: what does it mean when black people follow the white man who is the embodiment of power? Does the commission become invalid when the white man leaves because power left?
In Cape Town, the commission was reorganised by FMF as it reduced the call for free education to economics. The presentations by various entities that have been a stumbling block to free education, argued for free education for a section of the poor. BLF-SM rejects this concept as it is informed by co-option of struggle, so as to reorganize the black oppressed and to maximize exploitation of labour and resources. Free education for the poor does not aim to contribute to the decommodification of education and lacks the obligation of the state to ensure black centered education.
The commission cannot continue in good faith and give legitimacy to institutions and various organisations that have repressed student activist voices through expulsions, interdicts, suspensions and academic and financial exclusion.
As BLF-SM, we wish to state that the Fees Commission is rejected because it does not respond to the holistic black intersectional call made by Fees Must Fall, nor does it embody a reimagination of learning instead it places a bias on white-supremacist outlook through its norms of power. This speaks to the post 1994 normalisation of black oppression, via commissions which started with the TRC white wash. This commission is a prolonging of a conversation that is essentially rooted in justice: return of land labour and ways of living.
We thus maintain our broad call for direct and indirect action against the white supremacist system as well as those agents who act on its behalf. The call is broad, and all action will be informed by the readiness of the people, and is fundamentally separate from the call of those agents, who work to maintain black oppression.
Black First Land First – Student Movement: What we want?
1) Free Black Centered Socialist Education – An education that is rooted in putting black people first both in learning content, how it is transferred, who transfers and directed by the primary purpose which is black liberation. The basis of this education must comprise of transforming the institution and all stakeholders through conscientisiation of the black struggle for liberation, and consisting of an inward intersectional struggle outlook that deals with oppression of black people within the struggle for a decolonised society. An education that is socialist in nature, ending the capitalist exploitation of learning, but again placing black people at the centre of the institution.
2) End Outsourcing – Insource all workers, paying all a living wage and ensuring full institutional benefits for employees.
3) Shackville TRC – A national commission based on justice for students and workers. Immediate demilitarisation of campuses. Insourced security must serve to protect students and workers. All students and workers who have been suspended, interdicted, expelled, dismissed, financially and/or academically excluded must return. This is the basis for the commission to seek justice for participants in the broad #FeesMustFall Struggle
Black First Land First Email:[email protected]
Mandla Mbuyisa: 061 908 2139,[email protected]
Mischka Lewis: 078 611 1234
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