Music Break No.102 — Winter In America edition

“… The stakes are very high: literally, survival of organized human society in any decent form,” Noam Chomsky tells Brooklyn Rail, as the former British colony of the United States of America, inaugurates its 45th president. So, this weekend’s Music Break goes out to our American family, who are set to face four years of struggle against a new set of rulers, led by “a mendacious and cathartic white president.” The political decisions made in the nation with the largest military, some of the biggest corporations and the loudest media companies in the world, affect all of us.

But let’s not be too quick to panic. If American citizens are firm in their resistance, the regime will be checked by a balance of powers, precedent (we’d recommend some political history, e.g. Corey Robin and Stephen Skowronek) and law-making and enforcement regime that is spread between 50 semi-autonomous states (though the power these states enjoy, could see some of them–those governed by hard-right Republican Party politicians–introduce retrogressive laws around trade union organizing,  the minimum wage, abortion or gender rights).

For starters, you can play these sounds to drown out the noise of Donald Trump’s inauguration speech today.

Music Break No. 102 – Winter in America edition

Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.