Special Issue: Celebrating the life and legacy of Samir Amin

I was requested by the Pambazuka News editors to give a brief tribute to Samir Amin.  I will do precisely that—a brief tribute to one of Africa’s leading intellectual luminaries, whose intellectual legacy offers great potential for African Renaissance in the 21st century.  

Samir Amin was an exceptionally humble person. In spite of his huge influence on younger generations, he never treated them patronisingly or with condescension. Samir did not see himself as a leader, teacher or mentor. He treated younger scholars and comrades as his equals, engaging with them and critiquing them where necessary

Natasha Issa Shivji, a young Tanzanian academic and activist, gives a moving tribute to Professor Samir Amin. 

Samir Amin was an economist and intellectual, that has left his marks on academia, as well as on activists.

Immanuel Wallerstein, one of the close colleagues and comrades in the struggle of Samir Amin, shares a personal experience of working with him. 

Samir Amin revolutionised economics by centering the global South. The Real News Network’s Ben Norton explores the radical legacy of the Egyptian-French anti-imperialist Marxist with scholar Ali Kadri.

Pambazuka News 872: Honouring Samir Amin, the Battle of Omdurman and Africa’s elusive democracy 

Major developments related to internal and external relations are taking place in Horn of Africa states. However, those new breakthroughs are threatened by western economic and military imperatives. 

This essay seeks to explain why the concept of Afro-centricity has been an important feature of the Pan-African tradition. 

After several years of high-level consultations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally hinted that Russia would organise its first Russia-Africa summit of African leaders and ministers to roll out a comprehensive strategic road map outlining concrete economic sectors for investment, issues relating to trade and culture for Africa.

Spike Lee adopted the Africana tradition of story-telling in his award-winning film about a 1970s Black detective, Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington, son of Denzel) who, as the first black cop in the city, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and also infiltrated a radical Black Students’ Union in Colorado Springs and eventually helped to save the life of the female president of the students’ union (Laura Harrier). 

Samir Amin lives as long as peoples’ revolutionary journey moves forward. And, peoples’ revolutionary march is unending, as revolutionary advancement opens path for further revolutionary advancement. 

Over the past two decades, the world could have been hoodwinked by Western governments’ imposition of targeted sanctions on then Zimbabwean president Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s tyrannical regime, on the pretext of human rights abuses and electoral fraud. However, was that the real reasons for these targeted sanctions on Mugabe and members of his ruthless regime?

Swaziland will hold national elections on 21 September. But according to reports that examine the country’s last national elections in 2013 and many Swazis, Swaziland’s political system is undemocratic and only serves to keep its absolute monarch in power.

The March undertaken by the women of South Africa to mark the opening of Women’s month is a stark reminder that women are still demanding basic respect, and the right to be treated as equals even amongst their most intimate partners. The struggles of women across the world are far from homogenous. From Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar: the atrocities committed against women are an indictment on humanity.

By “the people,” Leftists include, principally, “those people who do not exploit other people, but are themselves exploited; those who stand at the lowest point of the social ladder, those who are essentially excluded from the governance of their country; those who, strictly speaking, have little or nothing to defend in the present social order; and those who cannot liberate themselves without liberating society as a whole”. 

The historic Zimbabwe presidential and parliamentary “harmonised’ elections of 30 July 2018 have just been concluded. The final results tally saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa getting 2,460,463 votes (50.8 percent), ahead of his nearest rival Nelson Chamisa who got 2,147,436 votes (44.3 percent). The 50.8 percent by the President meant he scrapped above the legal 50 percent plus one vote necessary to avoid a run-off election. 

Samir Amin’s celebrated life was amongst the most trying, but also rewarding, of his generation’s left intelligentsia. Following Amin’s death in Paris on Sunday, his political courage and professional fearlessness are two traits now recognised as exceedingly rare. Alongside extraordinary contributions to applied political-economic theory beginning 60 years ago, Amin’s unabashed Third Worldist advocacy was channelled through unparalleled scholarly entrepreneurship when establishing surprisingly durable research institutions.

National harmonised parliamentary and presidential elections in the Southern African state of Zimbabwe were held on 30 July, but opposition forces rejected their outcome seeking to continue Western sanctions and attempted isolation.

For Nigerian Leftists currently studying or re-studying Nigerian politics, the month of July 2018 has offered fresh and interesting materials. But for me and some close comrades, what has so far happened this month further clarifies—not by any means solved—several existing problems that may here be grouped into four tasks.

Next month, the Sudanese people will commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Omdurman Battle, which is widely known in Sudan as the Kararey Battle after the name of its location, in the northern part of Omdurman. 

Looking at the spate of rape allegations in the halls of power and trust – is it starting to make sense now that America has a long-established bully culture that has fed its pervasive rape culture?

Judging by media and popular accounts, with all the inherent limitations therein and biases attached thereto, President Putin’s recent visit to South Africa for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit was an overwhelming success. Based on the tone of commentary and analysis prepared thereon, President Putin is widely admired in South Africa and across the African continent for his strong leadership qualities, although not everybody agrees with his country’s policies. 

The attempt to assassinate Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, has failed. This news is days-old, but the facts are reiterated here starkly. The event raises serious questions for “progressive” critics now in close collaboration with imperialism.

Issue Title

On the 18 July 2018 the world celebrated the international centennial anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. It was a significant moment in history for us to pause and reflect on the intrinsic values exhibited by one of Africa’s greatest sons, our very own global leader and icon – Madiba.

Delegates at the recently concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa made a public declaration against unilateralism coming from Washington. 

He is the President of Rwanda and the current President of the African Union, feted by the Brookings Institute, one of the most venerable ideological pillars of US capital interests. So why is Paul Kagame manifesting more and more signs of paranoia? Let us consider just a few possibilities: 

The late Ali Mazrui speaks in this article to major political issues relevant to Ethiopia today, as the country undergoes a peaceful revolution.  In his own words, he speaks through my adaptation of his various writings, speeches, and lectures on constitutionalism in Africa.  The reader should also take pleasure in Mazrui’s witticism, in the ease with which he clarifies complicated concepts, and in his neologism (electoral polygamy)—qualities for which he had earned worldwide recognition.  In the article, Mazrui’s ideas have been Ethiopianised where necessary.

The following talk was given by Ameth Lô in a French-language panel, “L’aurore de notre libération,” in Montreal on 20 May 2018, at “The Great Transition: Preparing a World Beyond Capitalism” conference.  

In this essay, the author argues that, for Africa and the global South, the BRICS countries offer a promising tangible alternative to the declining Western powers and their institutions of global economic and political governance. 

The heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are meeting in Johannesburg’s corruption-ridden financial district of Sandton for a two-day annual summit. Pretending to challenge Western imperial hegemony over poor nations of the South, this bloc has itself proved to be no different. 

Can the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc rise to the occasion, as Donald Trump jerks Western imperialism out of traditional alignments? With war-talk against Iran blowing through Trump’s tweets, and with Washington’s trade wars raging against both China and traditional allies, there was talk here in Johannesburg about counter-hegemonic prospects during the last week of July. 

Outlining a number of reasons, the author explains that the government of South Africa  is still planning to expand its nuclear energy generating capabilities. 

This is an edited version of a keynote address by Professor Horace Campbell at the emancipation wreath laying at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park on 25 July 2018 under the theme “Our heritage our strength, Celebrating the African Resilience”.

When it comes to control of the populace, what are the imperialist, anti-imperialist or sub-imperialist characteristics of the BRICS network of countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa? Can the BRICS deliver progressive outcomes – as some of its proponents claim – or not?

The author’s investigation reveals how Germany uses South Africa—and other African countries—as its air borders to prevent some Africans, with valid Schengen visas, from travelling to Germany. The article uses the case of Zimbabwean congregants. 

Ten years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the global economy is still stagnant and there are few prospects for a recovery. As a result, we have seen a deepening of the social crisis with rising unemployment and inequality, which is what underpins the war against women, increased crime and violence, and the unravelling of the social fabric, especially here in South Africa.

The Trump administration withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council, while racism, social deprivation and war intensify. The administration, however, denies the escalating oppression and impoverishment of the masses. 

This is a brics-from-below reader put together for the 23-24 July 2018 Johannesburg Teach-In ahead of the July 2018 BRICS Summit hosted by South Africa. 

The timely City Press article by Benzi Ka-Soko on Sunday, 15 July 2018, titled “Affirming Sobukwe’s Legacy Is Imperative”, is an excellent and timely intervention in acknowledging Sobukwe’s towering, yet concealed and obscured, role in the Azanian (South Africa) liberation struggle, both as a political ideologue, an intellectual and a philosopher par excellence. 

Pambazuka News 870: The struggle for self-determination continues 

Building on our history as the continent’s first indigenous activist-led fund for and by sexual and gender minorities and sex workers, UHAI is looking for a radical and visionary leader.

Tagged under: 870, Jobs, UHAI EASHRI

To say that I was shocked to read in the media that Zimbabwe president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – during his recent visit to the Johane Masowe Apostolic sect – accepted their declaration that women should not lead, would be a grave understatement, but, rather I was dumbfounded – such comments are not to be expected of a leader of a modern society in the 21st century.

The time has come for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which has the most monarchies in the world, to abolish its dated system of tribal kings. Nigerian citizens should not have their loyalties divided by anachronistic and irrelevant kings created by colonisers for the benefit of colonialism.

The article provides historical illustrations on the current political alliances in Nigeria. 

This article is a situational analysis of the current political environment in Madagascar prior to the November 2018 general elections. 

On 14 July 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly received two African leaders, Gabonese Ali Bongo Ondimba and Sudanese Omar al-Bashir, within the framework of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

The last 20 years is globally the Harry Potter generation—a generation that has made a philosophy of life out of wishful thinking; the narcissism of the young stemming from a class that can afford and choose to remain imbeciles, we owe it to Harry Potter novels and films among other things. 

The author discusses about trade and aid in Africa demonstrating that the two can complete each other when there is good governance. 

Contradictions between regional security and imperialist interventions marked the recently concluded ordinary African Union summit. 

In September 2018, leading pan-Africanists will gather in Accra, Ghana to celebrate the birthday of Osagyefo Doctor Kwame Nkrumah and to discuss ways of pushing the “Africa Must Unite” agenda. 

Tagged under: 870, Pan-Africanism, Zaya Yeebo, Ghana

The author argues that the focus on land and traditional leadership in the current debate about land reform is used to avoid the real issues of unequal racial land distribution, which is the essence of the apartheid regime’s discrimination policies. 

It is now Nicaragua. Rightists-induced extremist violence and death, armed gangs-triggered bloody strikes, and imperialism-imposed sanctions have gripped Nicaragua for months. All of these are part of imperialist intervention in the Latin American country defying the world imperialism. Imperialist intervention is an already-turned-old game currently going on in a number of countries. 

Adaobi Nwaubani narrates in the NewYorker the fact that there is hurt in every family that is self-inflicted. Having the humility to confess past wrongs and ask for forgiveness is part of the healing. Having the courage to forgive those who wronged you frees you from the resentment, which Mandela called a poison that you take and hope that it kills your enemy. 

Pambazuka News 869: Trump trade wars, BRICS labour and neo-slavery in Italy

On 13 July 2018, the 84th birthday of Olumo Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Laureate for Literature, I honour him by revisiting a debate that is raging on the Internet over what many call my misreading of his work, especially with reference to my interpretation of his play, Death and King’s Horseman. Literary experts have been marvelling about the “Author’s Note” that accompanies Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka. 

Over the past seven months, ever since the military coup that ousted former Zimbabwe dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November last year, the country has been inundated with several slogans and mantras meant to legitimise and justify those who took power – however, what is most painful is the use of blasphemy, through the abuse of God’s name for political expediency.

A call for book chapters on the on-going relationship between China and Africa. 

Italy’s race relations between white Italians and its African migrants and black Italians, while not stellar may not be as dire as race relations in America, but economic opportunities afforded to blacks in Italy, is certainly not as promising as in America.

Rosatom—Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation—has recently signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with a number of African nations to build nuclear power plants within their borders. I spoke to David Himbara, a professor of international development and African energy activist, about the likelihood of Rosatom actually building these nuclear plants.

The author writes about the importance of Ethiopia hosting the 19th plenary assembly of the Catholic Church’s Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, in a country rich in religious traditions. 

There is a question that has vexed me – and, I am sure, so many others – as to why, after being subjected to so much untold suffering for nearly four decades by the Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), any “normal” person would still prefer to vote for their tormentor to keep on tormenting them.

Across the world, trade unions are under unprecedented threat, as just witnessed in the United States where the Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court decision denudes an already weak labour movement of public sector power, for conservatives are aiming at “starving unions of funds and eventually disbanding them altogether.” Where, then, does organisational hope for working people lie?

Ottilie Abrahams was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable personalities of contemporary Namibia. She led through example as a political leader, grassroots activist, feminist and educationist from early on in her life.

A meeting of 40 unions and civil society formations was convened by the South African Federation of Trade Unions on 28–29 June 2018 to broaden participation and to shape the agenda of the Working Class Summit (WCS) to be held on 21- 22 July 2018 at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus. 

There is no definitive model of criminal justice in the United States. Instead, one’s ideas on criminal justice are shaped by philosophical viewpoints, criminological theory, and the most up-to-date research. It is the aforementioned factors that create the six models of criminal justice used today by all areas of the justice system.

The author writes about the current trade wars between the United States of America and its allies and their potential impact on global capital. 

In this essay we will take time to clarify some areas that seem to confuse some people in the on-going Biafra separatist movement in Nigeria. Over the years, as will be expected; the move for the independence of Biafra has undergone some transformations. These changes seem to have created a sort of mixed messages in the minds of both observers and participants. So, at this point it is really important that we try to clarify some of the seemingly ambiguous aspects of the movement. 

Foreign apathy towards African notions of being and belonging might be destroying African families living in Western societies.

 Pambazuka News 868: The “Anglophone Crisis” and elite politics   

Activists are promoting the need for a broad-based coalition of popular forces to fight for the rights of the working calss. 

We are Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians living in the United States. Our open letter is a follow up to a letter that 32 leaders of conservative organisations sent to President Trump that was copied to you in your capacities as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the head of the host nation to the African Union. 

Some reflections on the various political alliances involving the Nigerian Left. 

Professor Adebayo Adedeji, one of Africa’s foremost development thinkers, who passed on last April, will be laid to rest on 7 July. He was instrumental to the formation of several Regional Economic Communities in Africa, earning him the title of “Mr. ECOWAS”. This is an articulation of the immortal vision of this great son of Africa, who became a professor at 36 and government minister at 40.

The on-going state-building efforts in Somalia require a leader who is genuinely patriotic, competent in post-conflict statecraft, and conscious of the social ills stoking conflict, violence, and divisions in the country and who is willing to cooperate with other actors in those state-building efforts. 

On Tuesday, 19 June 2018, our United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced United States’ withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) now meeting in Geneva. The UNHRC is stacked with human rights abusers including Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and, till now, the US itself, but this is still an ugly gesture, like refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, ditching the Paris Climate Accords, and shredding the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

After years of supporting a market-led land reform programme and not heeding criticisms of this policy, the African National Congress (ANC) leadership has adopted a radical policy of land expropriation without compensation, which would make it legal and within the constitutional bounds for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. 

Faced with persistent criticisms, Russia has finally announced it will most likely host the first high-level Russia-African Union forum next year, a replica or a carbon copy of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation or European Union–African Union summit, signalling its readiness to work towards deepening and strengthening multifaceted engagement with Africa.

During the Vietnam War, American historian Howard Zin wrote: “all wars are wars against civilians, and are therefore inherently immoral” and “political leaders all over the world should not be trusted when they urge their people to war claiming superior knowledge and expertise.” 

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