Issa G Shivji


The liberal democratic model imperialist-capitalist countries seek to universalise is 'essentially meant to rationalise, justify and protect and defend private capitalist property' in order to 'reproduce the system of class exploitation,' argues Issa G. Shivji.


In the era of globalisation, post-modernism and culturalism, many a Marxist intellectual of the 1960s and 1970s has metamorphosed, abandoning the class stand of the working people against the voracious capitalist system and imperialism. Not so Samir Amin. He has stood firm against capitalist barbarism. He does not mince his words nor does he capitulate to intellectual fashions. He does not seek accolades from Western scholarship nor does he curry favours to be counted among the 'best' 100 more


Africa’s ‘tale of treasures at one end and tragedies at the other cannot be understood’ without ‘locating it in the trajectory of worldwide capitalist accumulation,’ argues Issa Shivji.


Julius Nyerere was among ‘the most articulate, intense and militant’ of the first generation of African nationalists. Issa Shivji traces the development of a Pan-Africanist philosopher-king and his struggle to live a more principled politics.

As the East African Community seeks further integration, Issa G. Shivji explores the historical beginnings and vision behind such regional changes from a pan-Africanist perspective. Rather than debate specific forms of ‘economic integration’ or ‘political association’, Shivji seeks to discuss ‘whether we are asking the right questions’.

Issa G. Shivji writes of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's conceptions of nationalism in Africa, ideas which encompassed both the political through liberatory principles and the universal through transcending narrow identities. Debates around the economic success of his policies notwithstanding, Nyerere's greatest legacy, Shivji writes, was his sweeping vision of African unity.

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Looking to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's understanding for guidance, Issa G. Shivji stresses the contemporary importance of non-alignment for Tanzania and African countries at large. In the face of a multi-polar world where power is progressively drifting eastwards, Africa must revitalise its erstwhile spirit of national liberation and autonomy, Shivji argues.


Mwalimu Nyerere, writes Issa G. Shivji, “saw Tanzania essentially as a nation of village communities [that] was likely to be so for the foreseeable future.” He thus saw it as site of statist development and bureaucratic social service provision. Although there were “seeds of the conception of the village as a site of governance” in his thought, “there is no evidence that he advocated any consistent, political programme to evolve village governance.” Shivji thus calls on us take Mwalimu’s more

‘Can you really re-member Afrika in the images, symbols and languages of the master? Can you really dream the dreams of liberation in the language of the oppressors?’ These are among the questions raised in a new book by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Re-membering Africa, Issa Shivji writes in Pambazuka News. In a commentary shared at the launch of the book, Shivji says that wa Thiong’o’s latest work ‘captures an important intellectual moment in the long struggle of African people to re-claim and more

Professor Issa Shivji pays tribute in verse – in English and in Kiswahili – to the late Haroub Othman, former professor of Development Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam.

My dear friend and comrade, Ho:

I shan’t write a letter,
I can’t.
I shan’t sing a song,
Or recite a poem.
‘Cause I don’t have the talents.
I shall say what I feel,
Deep down in me.

Those were the days,
Of the Vietnam war.
Ho Chinh Minh was your more