Pambazuka News 823: The absolute necessity of revolution

Some 130 years ago, European powers met in Berlin to hatch an agenda of subjecting Africa and its peoples to mere vassals, property to be possessed and exploited for the benefit of white people. African Liberation Day celebrates the African people’s successful resistance to this oppression. The Day is also a proud commemoration of the role Africa has played in the advancement of human freedom.

It is important to understand the political significance of this Day. It is not just a Day to celebrate our African pride but also a date to remember the freedom fighters of the continent and to keep in mind all the battles still to be fought for the definitive liberation from neocolonialism. It is a Day to denounce all foreign interference in Africa.

History is not as far removed from the crises afflicting Africa today as many people seem to think. Imperialism has fought against the continent’s genuine independence and socialist development over the last five decades. As Nkrumah said, independence was only the prelude to a tougher struggle for the right of Africans to conduct their affairs according to their own aspirations.

The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence. The genocide has been studied most expansively. Thus, to understand the politics of the genocide and the politics of the “post”-Igbo genocide is to have an invaluable insight into the salient features and constitutive indices of politics across Africa in the past 51 years.

Who should be held accountable for the continued violations of rights, and the deprivations of life and dignity, experienced by African refugees and migrants?

Author Abdi Samatar’s muddled account of the history of Somalia is full of errors and inconsistencies. For reasons probably known to him alone, he avoids engaging with the existing scholarship on the post-colonial period. The author seems to be pursuing a certain political agenda, and not solely interested in providing a rigorously researched study of Somali history.

Nubians have lived in Kenya for a century, but they are still discriminated against by the government that treats them as foreigners. Getting a national identity card is very difficult. And even after that, Nubians are vetted throughout their lives. Now their efforts, including engaging regional human rights mechanisms, to negotiate the complex bureaucracy are beginning to bear fruit.

Gaddafi was certainly not killed for humanitarian reasons. He wanted to empower Africa. He had a plan to create a new African Union, based on a new African economic system. He wanted to introduce the Gold Dinar to back African currencies, so they could become free from the dollar. He wanted to protect Africa’s vast natural resources from Western looting. The imperialists eliminated him.

As in many post-colonies, the Socialist movement in Nigeria has failed due to the organic divorce of the movement from the struggles of the oppressed. Revolution is no longer seen as a practical necessity, largely because of the movement’s petty bourgeoisie class origins. To revive the movement, this class needs a deep and radicalising experience of privation and oppression out of which it can find no escape but revolution.

The third generation of African freedom fighters is growing impatient with the contradictions of ongoing coloniality in the Motherland. Europe and its allies continue their imperialist subjugation and plunder with the support of puppet leaders as Africans suffer. A new anti-imperialist wave is gathering momentum across Africa to complete the continent's unfinished liberation.

Every single revolutionary who has walked this Earth has said it: The liberation of humanity is impossible without the liberation of women. And, for the millionth time, here is why:

Pambazuka News 822: Standing up to capital

Preparations are under way around the world for protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, this July. Protesters will be resisting attempts to restrict civil liberties, criminalise protest and/or justify repression.The protests will include a congress, blockades, actions of mass civil disobedience and a big demonstration.

With allies like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Washington is causing immeasurable suffering on the Congolese people because they happen to sit on $24 trillion worth of resources that are critical to the American war machine.  If Americans want to act in solidarity with the Congolese they should stop pretending that US foreign policy is rooted in justice, and instead support citizen movements like TELEMA that are fighting for change in DRC.

The vision for an African-led clean energy revolution is in danger of being thrown off course because of attempts by the European Commission (EC) and France to hijack the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative.

The objective of the special issue is to examine the discourses of national, inclusive and equitable transformation as opposed to a mere exercise of power transfer between political elites.

Prospera is the hub of a dynamic, global movement of women's funds, philanthropic organizations driven to change the world for women, girls, trans people and their communities. Over the last year, the Prospera team and board has worked to develop a roadmap for the Network to successfully build up and implement the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. In this context, we have decided to hire a Deputy Director to work with the current Executive Director and help lead Prospera into its second decade. For more information, view the attached documents below.

Tagged under: 822, Jobs, Jobs, Prospera

As the South African government continues to march forward with the Traditional Khoi-San Leadership Bill, one must consider the nature of power it wishes to further instill. There is a nexus between corrupt traditional leadership, the tourism industry and rural dispossession. Here, the moral and historical thread lacing the Traditional Khoi-San Leadership Bill is examined.

Is it wrong to simply give money to the poor? Will giving money turn us into enablers and make the poor entitled? We don’t trust the poor to make the right choices with our money, so we do it for them. This is why it is common for aid to come with rules depending on the giver’s beliefs. But there  is evidence that giving money to the poor empowers them to make the right choices and uplift their lives.

In many parts of Africa, urban development is often anti-poor. In support of local and international capital, urban governments condemn and demolish property owned by impoverished people, pushing them into misery. The residents of Gulu Municipality in northern Uganda have come together to resist eviction meant to pave way for “modernization” of the city.

The revolutionary pan-Africanist would have been 92 years this week. His struggles for the liberation of Black people from imperialism and its twin, racism, remain as relevant and inspirational as ever.

It is an unconscionable tragedy of incalculable historical consequences that Barack Hussein Obama, the first African-descent president of the US republic in 233 years ended up with a dreadful presidential legacy supporting the Igbo genocide – executed on the ground by Nigeria, an Islamist-led state, and its suzerain state Britain.

Elites whipped up mass hysteria that Le Pen is a fascist to put the neoliberal globalist Macron in power. Macron and the rest of the globalist elite are advancing an order in which global capital freely chases cheap all over the world, then comes back to sell products with no tariffs, and even sues any government that becomes inconvenient for them.

It was a win for French imperialism. Once elected, Macron, like his predecessors, was scheduled to open his presidency with a visit to French troops stationed abroad, in this case Mali. They are tasked with defending French domination against both Islamists and rival imperialists – to defend, against the interests of humanity, the illegitimate notion of "Françafrique", that France has an inherent right to dominate much of Africa in collusion with other imperialists.

Special Issue: Activism in Africa

Student movements in many African countries have historically confronted contradictions of colonial and post-colonial rule. In Kenya, these movements sent generations of young people into the streets, underground, into exile or death. Isaac Otidi Amuke retraces heady years of involvement in student politics, and the rise and fall of arguably the most renowned activist at the University of Nairobi.

In the midst of a civil war in South Sudan, young artists are learning the art of building a social movement, claiming civic space and empowering youth to seize their destiny.

Morocco’s vociferous attempts to legitimise its occupation is the foundation of a duplicitous narrative it continues to propagate. Foreign journalists are often banned and censorship of the local press goes so far as to prohibit the printing of the name Western Sahara. This occupation is supported by the so-called leading world democracies such as the US and France. Saharawi cultural activists are fighting this oppression – with their words.

What does it mean to live under colonialism today? Despite numerous UN resolutions affirming the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, Morocco with international support continues its illegal and atrocious occupation. From about the age of 14, Saharawi journalist and activist Malainin Lakhal has been fighting for his people’s liberation. In Nairobi this week, he told Pambazuka News editor Henry Makori his experience.

 

Campaigns demanding the fall of something or someone have been a feature of the South African movements scene in recent times. How far have these campaigns succeeded in articulating and achieving their agendas? The author argues that fallism represents both continuity and discontinuity of the traditions of the historic liberation movements and emergent social movements in South Africa.

African citizens, activists and organisations are finding new and innovative ways to resist, organise and mobilise in the face of mounting restrictions on their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

The role of the activist within Rwanda is extremely fraught as it involves balancing the desire and need to express oneself in order to build a better future for the country, while entering increasingly dangerous territory for even attempting to do so. Diane Rwigara’s bravery is a call to other activists within Rwanda to begin to assert themselves peacefully on their government, reminding it that they want to be heard, reminding it that they too are part of its developmental project.

Without the courage and determination of the Gambian people, it is unimaginable that dictator Yahya Jammeh could have been forced out of power at the ballot box and into exile. The Gambia now does feel like quite a different country to the one many oppressed citizens always knew. No effort should be spared to consolidate the gains of democracy for the good of the people.

Last week's World Economic Forum (WEF)-Africa conference in Durban hosted some of the world’s most controversial politicians: not just Jacob Zuma and his finance minister Malusi Gigaba plus regional dictators Robert Mugabe, Yoweri Museveni, King Mswati and Edgar Lungu, but also the most powerful man in Europe, the notoriously-corrupt neoliberal German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.

Tagged under: 821, Economics, Patrick Bond

 

December 7-9, 2017

Columbia University, New York City

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSION EXTENDED TO JUNE 20, 2017!

When Ghana attempted to restructure the women-dominated shea industry in line with foreign imposed structural adjustment programmes, the women protested. Since then, technological assistance and other initiatives  by the government in collaboration with various knowledge institutions have enabled women shea producers to expand their professional knowledge and networks, and introduced them to new markets.

In Africa, water activism is characterized by building collective visions and sharing knowledge and experiences about the resource. But targeting state water policies and agitating for reform does not feature much in the objectives of trans-boundary water organizations. So, to what extent do civil organizations have the power to penetrate decision-making processes and ensure formulation of policies that prioritize the people?

As long as societies are built on needless greed and exploitation, the seeds of revolution and radical change will always be present - more so in societies where the potential for dissent has not been emasculated by a lifeless, uncritical penchant for “order”, conformism and a culture of silence enforced by the most cynical, most advanced mechanisms and stratagems of power.

Africa needs a democratic revolution led by the working people. For that to happen, the united peoples of Africa must start their own socialist party whose primary goal is to take over state power from the neocolonial bourgeoisie and their imperialist allies. Once in power, the party must embark on a revolutionary programme of actualizing Africa’s unfinished liberation.

Often too reform-oriented, current activism is incapable of midwifing radical transformation. Today’s activism is only mildly disruptive, is fragmented and addresses symptoms not systems. Its aims are short-term and it doesn't engage the masses. No coherent and convincing alternative visions are proffered. Instead, activists are busy petitioning the same oppressive powers they should be fighting. Entrenched systemic oppression can only be ended by a revolution.

Pambazuka News 820: Politicians, profiteers and the charade of democracy

Typical of Africa’s big-man “liberators”, Yoweri Museveni is unlikely to handover power to another leader. He has reached a point where he believes he alone is qualified to rule Uganda. Contrary to his self-glorification, Museveni is not in power because Ugandans love him. Rather, he has carefully manipulated national politics to enable him to rule for life.

At a time US and South African presidents Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma personify controversies over crony capitalism, corruption, populist rhetoric and self-serving economic strategies, will big business calm down the politicians – or just egg them on?

Zuma shouldn’t be president, that’s obvious. But that he is the problem and that to replace him with Gordhan or Rhamaposa is the answer, is totally misguided. The problem reaches back to Zuma’s predecessors and to economic policy as a whole. Zuma is a symptom, not the cause. 

The continuity of corporate capture, of corruption, of the arrogance of state and executive power, of the demobilisation of the grassroots, is crucial to understanding what Zuma has done and will continue to do. And this rot did not start with the rise of Zuma to the throne. It is deeply rooted in the politics of the ruling ANC party post-apartheid.

The idea of Le Pen becoming president is a frightening prospect to millions in France and elsewhere. But voting for Macron can only mean accepting France as it is today, with all that many people find unacceptable, and in opposition to the interests of humanity. What is needed instead is to seek to use this situation and the turmoil that it is creating to begin to work for a revolution to topple French imperialism and support revolution everywhere.

A set of previously secret documents, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, offers clear evidence of a remarkable, far-ranging and expanding network of outposts strung across the continent. In official plans for operations in 2015 that were drafted and issued the year before, Africa Command lists 36 U.S. outposts scattered across 24 African countries.

The World Bank Group has indirectly financed some of Africa’s most notorious land grabs, according to a report by a group of international development watchdogs. The World Bank’s private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is enabling and profiting from these projects by outsourcing its development funds to the financial sector.

The Compact does not have the right balance between public and private financing but is heavily prone towards the private side. A fair Compact should include a strong rules-based binding framework that much more clearly points to the important roles that the state has to play in ensuring sustainable investments, human rights and environmental protection as well as attracting investors (especially domestic) through infrastructure aimed at meeting the needs of the citizenry.

The stand taken by the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations to speak with one voice in negotiating trade agreements with the Europe is an exciting development. The ACP group must not be in any hurry to make commitments. They must also ensure wide involvement of their own citizens and resist any manipulations by a fragmenting Europe that still retains colonialist influence in the global South.

Human beings treasure uniqueness. But instead of turning inward to develop their creative potential and build positive character traits, they turn outward to science and technology. If the ancient Greeks created a pantheon of anthropomorphic deities to reflect the superego, why shouldn’t our generation create robots even if many people feel threatened by them in this embryonic phase of androids walking down the street next to humans and difficult to distinguish? Gods and heroes are a timeless human illusion and the AI industry is willing to oblige for a price.

The Saharawi people and their representative organizations, including the democratically elected SADR government, have long protested the illegal mining and export of high quality phosphate rock from an area of Western Sahara which has been under armed occupation by Morocco since 1975.  The trade has continued despite the commitment of the United Nations in 1991 to ensure for the people of Western Sahara a self-determination process, something otherwise achieved throughout Africa.

The film conveys the spirit of the period immediately after independence, when Africans at home and in the Diaspora were united by the single purpose of working for socio-political transformation of the African people. The challenge of building pan-African unity and prosperity remains for the present generation.

Pambazuka News 819: The Twin Towers: Christianity & Capitalism

Twenty-two years ago, on April 22, 1995, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred between 4,000 and 8,000 Hutu men, women, and children at the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda. UN human rights monitors, photojournalists, and UN peacekeepers all witnessed the massacre but neither Kagame nor any of his officers have ever been indicted for the crime in international courts.

Throughout his life, he refused to collaborate with the ruling elite and remained committed to the principle of internationalism as witnessed by him joining up with Namibian migrant workers in Cape Town in the 1950s, or later being the people’s doctor in Lusaka where he treated fighters from various national liberation movements in southern Africa.

How do we create new men in Africa? A process of consciousness raising, or the journey of men increasing their self-awareness of patriarchy or male domination, is required. The new man should be able to experience empathy, to care for others, show compassion and to discuss their emotions openly.

For the French president and policy of francophonie Africa, from de Gaulle in 1958 to Hollande in 2017, all members of the French establishment, the operational plaque for action in the Elysée palace has been: invade, intimidate, manipulate, install, antagonise, ingratiate, indemnify, expropriate, invade, intimidate. Nothing in this election will change that – only Africans can.

As the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hold their Spring meetings in Washington, DC, billions of dollars due to African nations are illicitly leaving the continent.

Although relatively better off than its neighbours, Kenya remains a struggling economy dominated by foreign-owned tourism, agriculture, the services industries and a small manufacturing sector stunted by huge imports and counterfeits. Endemic corruption, increased integration into the global capitalist economy and neoliberal policies that favour a small fabulously rich class have conspired to hold the majority of citizens tight in the jaws of poverty.

For more than a century Canadians have gone abroad to do “good” in poorer parts of the world. Whether they spurred positive change or simply became foreign agents should be of interest to international non-governmental organizations.

The Gambia seems to be on the path to recovery following the departure of long-time despot Yahya Jammeh. But beyond international goodwill, Gambians must now play their part by taking their destiny into their own hands, through continued demonstration of true patriotism and political maturity. The need for inclusivity in governance to facilitate national healing cannot be overemphasised.

The so-called middle class appears to be a “muddling class”. Rigorously explored differentiation remains largely absent – not to mention any substantial class analysis. Fortunately, though, the debate has created sufficient awareness among scholars to explore the fact and fiction of the assumed transformative power of a middle class.

Frelimo has ruled Mozambique since independence in 1975. The party’s sense of entitlement raises obstacles in achieving reconciliation or compromise. The existence of Renamo as a potential threat convinces members of Frelimo to close ranks, while the party’s long tenure of power means that it can sustain its client base in a political system that has become increasingly patrimonial.

The idea of Europeans establishing in Benin City a permanent display of looted Benin artefacts that continue to be in European ownership should be considered by every African as an insult to Nigerians and African peoples. Successors to looters become arbiters of the location and display of Benin artefacts. The wishes of the Oba of Benin are simply ignored. The Benin artefacts should be returned to the Oba of Benin and his people who may decide to organize a display showing artefacts that were looted in 1897 by a violent British army.

For more than 40 years, Morocco has forcefully and illegally occupied Western Sahara despite provisions of international law that recognize the country’s sovereignty. The suffering but resolute Saharawi people, especially the younger generation, are getting impatient with endless colonialism. African people and all who value human dignity and freedom must stand up in solidarity with Western Sahara by demanding an end to Moroccan occupation.

Donald Trump says he is a devotee, born again, his Christian conversion claimed through the James Dobson ministry. As a committed Christian he is bringing his private beliefs (how strong the man’s faith is, who can tell?) into the workplace. He is stacking his cabinet with a range of faith first, science second quacks, a move that in the face of Climate Change is an assault on all of mankind.

What is often described as “aid” to Africa is in fact part and parcel of the cycle of dependency stemming from centuries of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. The only real solutions for advancement of the continent must derive from the struggle of the masses against Western domination, which can only be effectively realized through Pan-Africanism and Socialism in practice.

Pambazuka News 818: Undoing the legacies of imperialism

Two Honduran cultural workers, feminists, and close friends of Berta Cáceres will tour 20 US cities between April 20 and May 23, 2017 to “sow the seeds of Berta.” Singer-songwriter Karla Lara and writer Melissa Cardoza will use music, writing, story, and discussion to grow the international movement for justice and grassroots feminism. Their tour’s goal is not to impart answers, but to spark collective ideas and engagement through creativity and dialogue.

Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” did not exist. Assad’s “use of chemical weapons” is an obvious, blatant lie. “Iranian nukes,” another blatant lie. The lies about Gaddafi in Libya are so absurd that it is pointless to repeat them. What is the reason for all the death and destruction and the flooding of the West with refugees from the West’s naked violence around the world? Violence for its own sake. That’s what America has become.

The deliberate destruction of Libya was a war crime by all standards of international law. That country was just one victim of the American plan to eliminate secular governments in the Middle East. Under the guise of a phony ‘responsibility to protect’, American propaganda gave an atrocity the appearance of a humanitarian act.

For Ngũgĩ, in the struggle against capitalist colonialism there is no home left to return to. Whether within one’s own country or outside, home is the place and space of struggle. Like for Frantz Fanon, for Ngũgĩ the struggle against colonialism is linked to the struggle against capitalism. It is a struggle against the bourgeoisie, both national and international.

Lesotho goes into yet another costly and unnecessary election in June – unnecessary because there was no reason to dissolve parliament after the current prime minister lost a vote of no confidence. He should simply have been replaced. But, sadly, a weak king and subservient judiciary that pander to the self-preservation antics of the executive could not protect the constitution and the public interest.

A major claim of the purveyors of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative is the expansion of the African middle classes. Africanist scholarship has built upon this narrative, placing heavy emphasis upon such key issues as definition, consumption and the fragility of the ‘new’ middle classes across the continent. This book, the latest such offering amidst a burgeoning literature, confirms this trend, and is set to become a standard work of reference.

Prof. Postol says that there should be two investigations, one conducted by UN experts to determine what actually happened in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, on April 4, the date of the alleged Syrian attack, and another to determine who fabricated the so-called intelligence.

Some arguments made today on why Africa cannot catch up with the West were also made 100 years ago when Africa was under European colonization, with the colonizers blaming everything but imperialism as the root cause of underdevelopment. The world economic structure has not changed, no matter the rhetoric of globalization. Africa remains semi-colonial: increasingly dependent on developed countries for overvalued manufactured goods while exporting raw materials at prices determined by commodity markets in the West.

Jemna is a beacon of hope for a Tunisia where its people have sovereignty over their land and resources. Jemna needs to be supported, celebrated and emulated for the sake of its people and for our sake.

The Moors invaded Spain in 711 AD and African Muslims literally civilized the wild, white tribes. Recent scholarship now sheds new light on how Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and philosophy helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

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