Messages From The Mad Drummer

I, myself, indeed, The Mad Drummer, himself, am currently Spontificating musical notes in Spotify to all proselytes within hearing range.

Ye of the Apple faith might rejoice at the arrival of my work. Go forth proselytes and pray at the altar of Saint Steve of Jobs

Less the children of the damned and Deezer be forgotten, The Mad Drummer has some scalps for the children this festive season.

 

 

 

Social Media Rant

Creepily, Facebook just asked me if I think they’re making the world a better place. So I opted to go full rant in my response, and let it all hang out. Not because they’ll give a shit, but catharsis maybe?

I’m unsure what social media platforms are supposed to be at this stage. As a medium to interact and engage with friends, facebook isn’t that great anymore. As such it’s now more of a platform to market oneself and one’s products. However, in this regard Facebook has failed somewhat too, with the prioritization of big business and big budgets. It is no longer as effective as a small entrepreneur to market products, as big business can essentially always pay more for their products to bombard customers in every corner of the web.

This was not the case before, where small entrepreneurs used to stand a chance of having their products appear equally next to big business if people liked the product. This in essence defeats the previous open opportunity the internet and social media used to represent. It is all but monopolized now.

Monopolies breed inefficiency, laxity, and cut out innovation in favour of their own products and services, which often times are archaic, overpriced, and make use of excess slave labour. This is one way Facebook may not be making the world a better place.

Secondly, Facebook’s algorithms seem to place quantity over quality. Therefore, poorly researched and written fake news articles are more likely to become popular, despite them not even being factual. This may be a technical programming issue, however many minority activist, and intellectual groups view this as an active assault on intellectualism and minority views, with Facebook curating information in favour of privilege (again, returning to point one where he/she who pays most, appears most) .Thus Facebook could be seen to be promoting non-intellectualism, and poor quality literature.

On the plus side, Facebook is a great place to network with those in your field if you’re an introvert. Similarly, with some meticulous curating, socializing can be bearable on Facebook, and keep one in contact with those who are far away. Also, with much sifting and effort, one can occasionally use Facebook to find, and/or organize events, but the above caveats still apply.

 

New Mad Drummer Single

 

 

I’ve been getting a lot of streams for my last Mad Drummer single, Kratos, on Spotify of all places?????

Anyway, I decided to quietly repackage and release an older composition, now officially as the Mad Drummer. It should be available on all the major music platforms some time in the next month. You can currently stream and buy it via Bandcamp and Souncloud. Shout out to the  weirdos (or weirdo) banging Kratos in Italy of all places??? It is greatly appreciated.

Hopefully I’ll be able to put out another EP sometime next year, but quite busy with writing right now…

 

 

Police Abuse and PTSD

Short article detailing police abuse during FeesMustFall last year, and resulting PTSD in students.

The article contains links to two documents that are probably well worth a read.

I touched on some of these abuses in a paper I wrote last year, published in The Thinker. The two documents in the article go into greater detail about protest protocol according to South African law, and have witness accounts of events from last year.

My research was largely based on news reporting from independent media, and conflict resolution theory, so there is a bit more meat in these documents from a law, and eye witness perspective.

On The Nature of History, Heritage, and Dicknanigans

Recently, the unstoppably evil sociopathic force that is Jacob Zuma, has had himself memorialized twice, to the applause of faux black excellence, and overblown struggle credentials.

Observing Zuma and his new brand of ANC, recent discussions of history and heritage come to mind. Much like their fore bearers, The National Party (who wrote the book on thumb sucking a new history for political gain) the ‘ANC’, and Zuma, are quite clearly trying to rewrite a contemporary South African history that paints them in a flattering light.

As absurd and depraved as these moves are, they present a great opportunity to reflect on why heritage and history must consistently be brought up, discussed, pondered, reformed, and occasionally re-written in light of new information. An ongoing process that should continue forever. Maybe future African generations will lead #ZumaMustFall movements (wait…hang on…) and opt to erect statues of African leaders with more integrity?

Anyway, many a white conservative (along with their ever annoying sloth shaped familiars, the neo-liberal pacifist) wonder why persons of colour of are so concerned with constantly re-evaluating the popular history, that they were so often haphazardly written out of. Well, here we find an example the white conservative may be able to fathom more easily.

The current corrupt ANC’s attempts at repainting themselves as the “real struggle heroes”, the “returners of land”, and the “slayers of white monopoly capital”, are pretty much the reasons why. Recent ANC history, compared to what the ANC used to be, is embarrassing the say the least. What the current ANC is doing, in how it chooses to socially re-construct South African (and African history) is nothing new, or out of the ordinary. It is pretty much what white supremacists did when they arbitrarily decided that white is right, and thumb sucked a history to go along with it.
Furthermore, Zuma is also illustrating the matter of rich, tasteless, powerful men, memorializing themselves, based on the narratives they decide. Again, a common colonial strategy, that Zuma has shown such a penchant for perpetuating. The man seems to be on a crusade to be the perfect case study for what Fanon and Mamdani have tried to tell us about colonial hangovers. Also, spoiler alert #MugabeDidItFirst.

So how to memorialise the contemporary ANC, and their Supreme Leader Jacob “The Teflon Don” Zuma. Well, definitely no rape charges, avoid any mention of state capture, definitely don’t mention corruption charges. Keep it Disney; just good ol’ stories of ‘the struggle’ blah blah. Probably throw something in there about radical economic transformation, white monopoly capital, and oh, those pesky ‘clever blacks’.

Is this ringing a bell?

The list goes on.

So, I’m sort of hoping this example might resonate more with white conservatives as it fits their general ignorant view that persons of colour are incapable of doing anything right.  Hopefully they can but extend their brains a bit, reflect, realise that many of their white heroes are no better than Zuma, and constructed a bullshit history of their own too? Probably not.

I’m also hoping persons of colour aren’t falling for the same old Dicknanigans that many of our white counterparts have fallen for throughout history, as the ANC is going full-retard with reconstructing their contemporary image. Probably more likely?

Meh, think I’ll just watch Dicknanigans again, and pretend none of this is happening.

 

A Festival of Chairs: A Festival of Chairs: Rhythms to The ANC Apocalypse

Context Texts:

 

#NotAMartinLutherKingJrQuote

During times of protest and riot violence, Martin Luther King Jr. quotes tend to fly around gleefully, as we can’t have violence on both sides, as Mr. Trump has so well illustrated to us. Currently I’m doing some research on Dr. King Jr.’s speeches, preparing an essay around some points I made in a previous post. 

So I’d just like to confirm, that these are totally not Martin Luther King quotes, as Martin Luther King Jr. did not care for systemic issues, was completely against direct and disruptive protest action, regularly condemned his fellow peers for disrupting the white spaces of the time,  and got especially offended whenever riots broke out.  Also, I’m totally not a wolf.

  • “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.”
  • “As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.”
  • “This government has failed the Negro. This so-called democracy has failed the Negro. And all these white liberals have definitely failed the Negro.”
  • “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. “
  • “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.”
  • “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
  • “I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”
  • “But it’s not pitiful for us any longer; it’s actually pitiful for the white man, because soon now, as the Negro awakens a little more and sees the vise that he’s in, sees the bag that he’s in, sees the real game that he’s in, then the Negro’s going to develop a new tactic.”
  • ” And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
  • “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. “
  • “And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.”
  • “The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.”
  • “I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. “
  • “In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.””
  • “So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.”
  • “You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.”
  • “Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.”

 

 

The Dangers of the Neo-Liberal Pacifist

The Neo-Liberal Pacifist Defined

 

  1. Preaches fanatic non-violence when it suits them.
    1. Generally complies with non-violence logic within the confines of their own domestic democracy.
    2. Fails to apply the same logic when regarding other countries conflicts.
    3. Fails to coherently apply logic to domestic protests and riots.
  2. Creates a false dichotomy of good vs bad protest action based on two ill-conceived notions.
    1. Applies fanatic non-violence doctrine, meaning any protest action that turns violent is bad, irrespective of how violence occurred. Eg, ignores possibility of police being antagonistic.
    2. Romanticizes past protest action as examples of successful non-violent protest, ignoring the reality that there were violent aspects (Case Study: The Civil Rights Movement)
  • Supports Structural and Cultural Violence, knowingly or unknowingly.
    1. Preaches fanatical non-violence, but narrowly defines violence as physical.
    2. Ignores, psychological, cultural, and structural violence as causes of physical violence.
    3. Constantly seeks negative peace (the absence of physical violence), over positive peace (the absence of physical and structural violence), specifically within own democracy.
    4. Defines successful democracy as the existence of negative peace.
  1. Above three points negatively effect the possibility of establishing meaningful peace.
    1. Supports poorly formed foreign policies that might escalate violence in other countries.
    2. Antagonizes domestic groups with legitimate structural grievances by dismissing them as violent.
    3. Allows hate filled groups which contribute to structural violence to exist, as long as groups remain non-violent.
    4. Incapable of distinguishing between moral and amoral grievances, as only  criteria for amorality is physical violence.
    5. Is easily persuaded by weak political rhetoric that escalates, rather than deescalates violence. Eg “There’s violence on both sides”, or “America does not negotiate with Terrorists.”
    6. Easily persuaded by fanciful phrasing, or quotes removed from context. Uses such phrasing and quotes to defend incoherent, and untenable, non-violent position.  Eg “Violence begets violence”, or “Love trumps hate”, quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi and Mandela.

Reflections on Mamdani

Yesterday (2017/08/23) I streamed a talk by Mahmood Mamdani at UCT. The talk in many ways was reflective of #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall, and Mamdani’s hand in inspiring much of the protest action UCT, South Africa, and the world have recently been seeing.

There are two aspects I’d like to reflect on. Both refer to the decolonization project according to Mamdani, which I think directly ties with much discussion occurring around the nature of African academics and intellectuals. Notably, my father, Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, an economist, often brings up what he feels to be a dearth of meaningful South African academics, within his field and others.

The first point that stuck is Mamdani’s mention of Theory construction. He discussed the issues Africa has faced, around the Western One-Size-Fits-All  approach the West has often taken to non-Western nations. For example, the blind application of free-market economic models imposed on many third-world nations by the IMF, where many of these economies were not ready. In some instances their local industries were not ready to compete with an influx of better developed Western goods and companies, or their poverty and inequality levels required a more corrective socialist approach to bridge income disparity.

Mamdani believes the decolonization project includes the construction of African Theory, in order to come up with our own models that actually effectively work for our context, instead of blindly applying Western theory to African cases. I believe this is a great challenge for all non-Western intellectuals to take, to develop theory that reflects context and history.

The second point that struck me is regarding a question that was asked. One of the students asked how might a decolonized Africa look. Fascinatingly, Mamdani did not jump and say, hey look, I have all the answers, it will look like A, or B. He acknowledged the deficit and paradox in Africans being the “victims” of European lenses in much of our learning.

However he doesn’t make this a negative. He proposes that he has no idea how a decolonized Africa would look, as it is a burgeoning thing. He suggests we deeply sift through the Western literature to find what we can use and what we can’t. He suggests we simultaneously cultivate and push what native African language and knowledge we have not lost through the colonial project, and again sift through for what we can use in envisioning the future of Africa.

To me this speaks to an Afrofuturism of sorts, that would be the product of both western and non-western thought. Please note, I am not expert in Afrofuturism, so I use this term very loosely. Now this approach does rub some of the more radical students the wrong way, as they are completely anti-western. However I agree 100% with Mamdani that one does not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I think a completely anti-Western position might look nice on paper, but is an almost impossible position to maintain. Mamdani notes here that all great societies, no matter where they were, flourish via cross-pollination of ideas. Western thought itself, while often attempting to isolate itself, was informed by non-western thought, whether acknowledged or not.

This leads me to African Speculative Fiction, among many other African art projects currently on the rise. My mother, Renosi Mokate, also an economist, attended a forum in Dar Es Salaam, held via Woman Advancing Africa. One of the panelists, lamented that authors such as George Orwell envisioned future societies, while African authors were failing to envision a future Africa.  I wholeheartedly disagreed, suggesting the individual may need to delve deeper into the vast treasure trove of African Science-Fiction that already exists. I also mentioned that African Speculative Fiction, while on the rise, is not yet completely mainstream, so the casual Speculative Fiction fan may not even realize what is out there, as breakthroughs into the bigger Western markets (which often dominate our own media outlets) have only just started to occur. I admit, even as an African Speculative Fiction author, I am victim to this, and I’m well behind on my African Speculative Fiction reading. This is something I’m working hard to rectify.

What I couldn’t  say with 100% certainty is whether we are imagining what a decolonized Africa would look like. My gut feeling though is that many probably are. I note again that I am still a bit of a novice to the vast amount of available literature.  I’ve also noted via interactions in the African Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Group and the African Speculative Fiction Society that many African Science Fiction authors are well read in the areas of  African literature and African philosophy. I’m sure much of this has informed their work.

Either way, I believe this is a great project for African Science-Fiction authors to pursue Like the many Science-Fiction authors before us, we might inspire those in the “hard” and “soft” sciences in their endeavors, and contribute to the conversations of  what a decolonized Africa might look like. We might also contribute to the issue of theory construction in the same manner.