Showing 21–40 of 71 results

  • Politics, Democratization and Academia in Uganda: The Case of Makerere University

     

    The value of this brilliant, thoroughly researched, and vigorously written book extends far beyond Makerere University and the case study of its academic union that is a central feature. The authors raise questions applicable to universities worldwide: the meaning of “democracy” for members of the academy, the relationship of the university to government, and the responsibility of academics and the media to the society that they ostensibly serve. Makerere’s failure to advance gender equity is the main focus of one chapter and a leitmotif in several others. A probing and sometimes personal analysis of the Law School, with which all the authors are associated, complements its contribution to the cause of democracy in Uganda. At once reflective and challenging, the authors invite further exploration by academics and policy-makers around the world.
    Carol Sicherman author of Becoming an African University: Makerere, 1922-2000 (2005), Professor Emerita, Lehman College, City University of New York

    Penned by brilliant legal academics, this anthology about that African academic giant—Makerere University—takes the reader on a fascinat- ing and engaging journey about the history of the organizational expression of African intellectuals and their links to the democratic struggles in Uganda. Arguably the best text on academia I have read in a long time, the book provides a deeply examined and superbly chronicled account of the manner in which Makerere University has been a thorn in the side of successive dictatorial governments, while also unpacking the warts that threaten to blight the academy; simply magnificent!
    Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    This is a very valuable and a timely contribution to our understanding of sites of struggle in African countries. It focuses on Makerere University as a site of struggle for democratisation. The authors have done a marvellous job. If the sister universities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were to produce studies, we would have a veritable trilogy of struggles at our universities in East Africa.
    — Issa G Shivji, Professor Emeritus of Public Law & First Julius Nyerere Professor of Pan-African Studies, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Alma mater to presidents, public intellectuals and pundits of all disciplines, Makerere University has attracted considerable scholarly and popular attention, both in respect of its prominence and achievements, as well as with regard to its failures and foibles.  As the oldest (and arguably best-known) university in Uganda and the wider eastern and central Africa region, Makerere looms large in the history of higher education on the continent.

    This book explores the relationship between a public university of unique historical importance and the contestations over democratization that have taken place both within campus and beyond.  It is pivoted around the late-20th century struggles by university staff and students for improved living conditions against the backdrop of the early programs of structural adjustment and economic reform pursued by the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) government adopted soon after taking power in 1986.

    Although seemingly introverted in focus, in many respects these efforts represented the earliest forms of political resistance against a regime of governance that promised a great deal, but disappointingly delivered considerably less.  Collectively, the chapters demonstrate that there is neither a single narrative nor a textbook formula about the relationship between the academy and democratic struggles.  Instead of forcing an unsupported and false consensus on the definitive role of Academia in politics, the book seeks to stimulate a robust debate on the subject.

     


    CONTENTS

    Preface by Hon. Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa

    1. Introduction: The Academy and Political Struggle in Uganda J. Oloka-Onyango
    2. The Role of Academia in the Democratization Process Benson Tusasirwe
    3. For whom doth the Academic bell really toll? Unpacking the engagement of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in Uganda’s Democratization struggles Maria Nassali
    4. Intellectuals and the Fourth Estate: Analyzing the Coverage of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in the Ugandan Media (1989-2020) Ivan Okuda
    5. Between Activism and “Hooliganism”: Civic Engagement and Democratic Struggles in Makerere University Students Guild Dan Ngabirano
    6. Juggling the Personal and the Political: The Case of Female Academics at Makerere University Sylvia Tamale
    7. Contending with the past and building for the future? The Paradoxical contribution of Makerere University School of Law to dictatorship and democratization in Uganda Busingye Kabumba
    8. Conclusion: The Political Economy of University Education: Revisiting democratic alternatives for Makerere and Uganda Frederick W. Jjuuko

    Contributing Authors

  • The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’

    Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa gained global popularity among students, scholars, activists and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy transformed the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past. Because it stridently took the traditional historians and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also pilloried by the defenders of the status quo. And, in these neoliberal times, mainstream scholars and pundits proclaim that it is no longer relevant for Africa.

    In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting the path towards genuine development for its people. After giving a broad picture of Rodney and his times, Hirji examines in detail the criticisms levelled against his work, and conducts a focused review of modern day textbooks on African history. It is seen that most of the claims against Rodney lack a sound basis and that direct representations of his ideas are replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias. Yet, the long term influence of Rodney on African history is unmistakable.

    Hirji’s succinct, coherent defence of an intellectual giant who lived and died for humanity is an essential read for anyone with an interest in Africa and related regions.

    You can read this book online for free.

    Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (HEUA) gained global popularity among progressive students, scholars and activists, and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy was a prime contributor to shifting the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past as well as for visualizing its possible trajectory. Because it stridently took the traditional historians of Africa and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also vociferously criticized by the defenders of the status quo.
    In these neoliberal times, its visibility has waned. Mainstream scholars and pundits from and outside of Africa proclaim that it is no longer a relevant work for Africa. In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting a path towards genuine development for the people of Africa.
    Hirji considers Rodney in his unitary persona as a historian, theoretician and activist. He begins by outlining the publication history and contents of HEUA, and noting the comments it has drawn from varied quarters. This is followed by a depiction of the global context within which it saw the light of the day and the flowering of progressive thought and vision in those vibrant times. The retrogressive reversal, in thought and social reality, that has transpired since then is summed up next. An assessment of how HEUA has weathered this storm is also provided.

    The next chapter presents a brief portrait of Rodney as a revolutionary, with the focus on his seven years at the University of Dar es Salaam. This is followed by an overview of the methodological framework utilized in HEUA.

    These five chapters lay the foundation for the main substantive part of Hirji’s book. This part begins with a detailed evaluation of the criticisms that have been levelled at HEUA. Subsequently, by a review of eight textbooks of general African history in common use today is provided. The aim here is to assess the persistence, if any, of ideas of the type promoted by Rodney in such books and identify the manner in which HEUA is directly depicted therein. Do these books give an adequate and fair depiction of Rodney to modern day students?

    The penultimate chapter argues for the continued relevance of Rodney and his seminal text for Africa (and the world) in this anti-people, pro-capital, pro-imperial neoliberal era. Hirji concludes with a lively account of his own interactions over six years with Walter Rodney. With the focus on the issue of building socialism in Tanzania, a key dimension in the evolution of Rodney’s thinking is described in a critical spirit. The fundamental question addressed is, in our often dark, demoralizing political environment, what do Rodney and his life have to teach us on the matter of navigating between hope and struggle?

    The conclusion emerging from this book is that in the first place most of the criticisms of the content, style and practical value of HEUA lack merit. The representation of Rodney in mainstream books is as well replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias.
    Despite these misrepresentations, Rodney and his ideas retain their signal value for understanding African history, for engaging with its present day conditions, and for projecting distinctive future scenarios for the continent. Hirji’s succinct work is a consistent, coherent defence of an intellectual giant, an astute historian and a compassionate revolutionary who lived and died for humanity. It is an essential read for anyone with an interest in African history, and the fate of Africa and the regions that are historically related to it.

    Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy
    Karim F Hirji

    CONTENTS

    Preface
    1. The Book
    2. The Global Context
    3. A Grand Reversal
    4. Rodney, the Revolutionary
    5. Rodney and Historiography
    6. Criticisms of the Book
    7. Rodney in the Classroom
    8. Contemporary Relevance
    9. Hope and Struggle
    Major Writings of Walter Rodney
    References
    Author Profile

  • The imperative of Utu / Ubuntu in Africana scholarship

     


    Written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, this publication celebrates the birth of Black studies as a liberated academic zone. Professor  Mũgo reflects upon the significance of Africana studies, specifically within the context of America’s predominantly White universities, revisiting the hers/his/torical context that birthed Black studies as a field of knowledge. She reflects on the ownership of knowledge, its production, dissemination and custodianship while proposing utu/ubuntu as imperatives in defining transformative education. The hypothesis and heart of the argument is that knowledge and scholarship can either be colonizing, alienating and enslaving; or, alternatively, they can be conscientizing, humanizing and liberating, creating new human beings with the agency to transform life and the world, for the better. The latter constitutes what Professor Mũgo calls utu/ubuntu rooted-scholarship which, she argues, should define Africana studies, research and scholarship, all of which needs to have both a mind and heart. This should be the mission and vision that led to the birth of Black Studies as an academic. She dismisses the false myth of dominating, colonizing and imperialist cultures that claim to have a monopoly of knowledge and whose purpose is to justify the dehumanization of the conquered, the attempted erasure of their knowledges, heritages and ultimately, entire cultures.

    The essay urges us to reflect on a number of critical questions: What is the objective of Africana research and general search for knowledge? In whose service are teaching, research work and publications by Africana scholars? Do their conference papers bring any Africana knowledge systems to the round table of ideas? Is the knowledge they produce liberating and humanizing, or for the advancement of careerist ambitions? What does Black scholarship contribute towards what Paulo Freire called the ‘dialogical education for problem solving’?


    It is hard not to be effusive about the author of this pamphlet. Let’s just say it loud: Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo is a legend in her own time. And ours. Ours because, as she would say, paraphrasing universal African wisdom: without us, there is no her. From her native Kenya, a source to which she returns continually for yet more ancient wisdom; to Zimbabwe, where she once found refuge on being forced to flee her native land in the face of political persecution; to the United States of America, to which she eventually emigrated; and beyond, way beyond, Professor Comrade Sister Mugo has been a lodestar and wonder—in the academy and in the community, locally and globally. This pamphlet is a discursive offering to Africana studies, a notebook on a field of study born of struggle, student-led struggle. The organizing principle is Utu-Ubuntu, the universal African moral conception centered on the paramountcy of the soul over material accumulation. It is a stinging rebuke to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, heterosexism and all the other antihuman isms, Utu-Ubuntu. Here, indeed, is an Africana studies manifesto, one that should be required reading for all students of the field, in and out of the academy. She never ceases to educate, to enlighten, to energize—this soul sister, this scion of Utu-Ubuntu, this magnificent struggler in the cause of African vindication and human liberation, Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo. — Michael O. West, Professor of African American Studies; History; African Studies, Penn State University

    An insightful essay that insists that Africana research and scholarship has “to have both mind and heart” to be truly emancipatory — for that is the essence of the meaning of Ubuntu and of Utu, the Swahili equivalent. That is the basis for challenging the dominant colonizing cultures that seek to dehumanize our people. The inimitable Micere Mugo forces us to think about the purpose of teaching and research: whose interests do they serve? — Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    An excellent celebration of the contribution of Utu/Ubuntu – African Indigenous Knowledge – to Africana scholarship by Professor Micere Mugo, an icon of Africana Studies. This epistemological imperative for the creation of ‘liberated academic zones’ advances the post-modern and critical theory traditions, while firmly establishing Africa’s unique contributions, not only to Africana Scholarship, but also to the Global Academy and to humanity. — Filomina Chioma Steady, D.Phil. (Oxon.) Professor Emerita and Former Chair, Africana Studies, Wellesley College

  • We Rise for Our Land: Land Struggles and Repression in Southern Africa

     


    By chronicling rural people’s struggles across diverse contexts, this collection gives us some signposts of emancipatory politics in the African countryside. Accessible and theoretically grounded, this exciting collection by leading African scholar-activists chronicles rural people’s struggles, from resistance to alternatives. Activists and scholars engaged with rural struggles need to read this book.
—Ruth Hall, professor, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

    A remarkable, well-argued and theoretically diverse collection of essays on the land question in Southern Africa, a topic as old as colonialism and as new as the newest impositions of global capitalism. Land struggles and resistance in a new and powerful light.
    Boaventura de Sousa Santos, author of The End of the Cognitive Empire, 2018

    This book makes a powerful contribution to the existing and growing literature on land and agrarian questions in southern Africa. Empirically rich… the book is essential reading for scholars, intellectuals, students and activists involved in the everyday struggles and responses of those communities who are directly affected by neoliberal policies. Highly recommended.
—Lungisile Ntsebeza, Emeritus Professor in African Studies and Sociology in the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town.

    Co-publisher: Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies

    In recent years southern Africa has aroused the interest of domestic and foreign investors targeting several sectors. The agrarian and extractive capital has been the most penetrating in the countryside, causing land conflicts, displacement of local peasant communities and in worse cases, deaths. Being mostly neoliberally oriented, SADC states have positioned themselves in favour of capital. This collusion results in State measures that are hostile to the peasantry of their countries. The measures taken by the States, both in policies and in repressive actions, are endorsed by of high-level government officials, Ministers, Presidents, Kings and traditional Chiefs. As far as traditional chiefs are concerned, even in situations where the presence of capital is dangerous, ‘feudal’-type power relations prevail, oppressing mainly young people and women.

    The peasantry and rural people in general have not, however, been passive in this process. Alone or in alliance with non-governmental organizations and activists, they have positioned themselves strongly against such dynamics and have raised their voices questioning developmentalist logics that are imposed on them, but that take away their means of production and violate their rights. In fact, resistance movements to capital are taking place throughout the region, even if the response to this has been repression by the states.

    This book, which takes a scholar-activist stance, is written by authors, men and women, who critically study the dynamics of agrarian and extractive capital in southern Africa. In their academic and activist work, they seek to bring useful theoretical, conceptual and practical contributions to the struggles of agrarian and rural movements that represent the ‘subalternised’ rural and urban people. The book brings contributions in forms of chapters from DRC, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, eSwatini (Swaziland), Mozambique, and Madagascar.

  • Revolutionary Hope vs Free-Market Fantasies: Keeping the Southern Africa Liberation Struggle Alive – Theory, Practice, Context

    We are pleased to announce that your book Revolutionary Hope vs Free-Market Fantasies Keeping the Southern Africa Liberation Struggle Alive: Theory, Practice, Context has been nominated for the Rik Davidson / Studies in Political Economy Book Prize in Political Economy. 


     

  • Moving Beyond Capitalist Agriculture: Could Agroecology Prevent Further Pandemics?

     


    Moving Beyond Capitalist Agriculture is born out of the coordination between scholars and community organizers and it should be shared widely. The group behind it, the Pandemic Research for the People, is an expression of collective wisdom and necessary unease. In fact, organization and solidarity are two values to be cherished in this moment of multiple crises. COVID-19 is a neoliberal disease and agroecology that frees the land and people of greed and towards food sovereignty is the pathway out of this mess. — Saulo Araujo, US Friends of the Landless Workers Movement

    If you want to know more about the connections between racial capitalism, industrial agriculture, environmental destruction, and epidemics and pandemics, then this is a great place to start. But this pamphlet is more than just an analysis of the immense problems generated by capitalism. More importantly, this pamphlet represents an attempt to overcome this system and to develop revolutionary alternatives to it. Rather than falling into the tempting illusion of reform, the authors of these texts give invaluable insights into how we might support and develop revolutionary forms of agro-ecology that can sustain and reproduce life outside of the racial capitalist machine that is destroying it.” — Arturo Castillon, co-author, The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising

    Increasingly threatening climate disaster coinciding with a pandemic has tragically illustrated that the world doesn’t have the luxury of dealing with one crisis at a time – and capitalist agriculture is at the root of both. The authors show convincingly that there is a better way: one that’s based on self-determination and building on human cooperation, not competition. This publication makes a strong case for agroecology as a crucial part of a future that puts people above profit; a future that assures people`s health by allowing planetary health to flourish. It will bring clarity to everyone trying to understand how the next pandemic could be averted whilst building a more just world — Vijoleta Gordeljević, Health economist and environmental health policy expert, People’s Health Movement.


    Pathogens repeatedly are emerging from a global agrifood system rooted in inequality, labor exploitation, and unfettered extractivism by which communities are robbed of their natural and social resources. A crisis-prone economic system that prioritizes production for profit over meeting human needs and ecological preservation is organized around intense monocultural production that, along the way, allows the deadliest of diseases to emerge. The Pandemic Research for the People (PReP) focuses on how agriculture might be reimagined as the kind of community-wide intervention that could stop coronaviruses and other pathogens from emerging in the first place. We address how mainstream science supports the same political and economic systems that helped produce the pandemic. Then we introduce agroecology, an environmentalism of the peasantry, the poor, and indigenous, long in practice, that treats agriculture as a part of the ecology out of which humanity grows its food. Agroecology—a science, movement, and practice—combines ecological science, indigenous and peasant knowledges, and social movements for food and territorial sovereignty to achieve environmentally just food systems.

    Peasant- and indigenous-led agroecology is uniquely positioned to limit the spread of zoonotic viruses: Post-capitalist agroecology champions the indigenous and smallholders who protect agricultural biodiversity. A diverse agroecological matrix of farm plots, agroforestry, and grazing lands all embedded within a forest can conserve animal biodiversity in the landscape. Agricultural biodiversity can make it more difficult for zoonotic diseases to prevail. Such a mode of conservation also takes into account the economic and social conditions of people currently tending the land, rather than a conservation that uproots people to foster the private accumulation of capital.


    Contents: Introductory note / Globalized food systems, structural inequality, and COVID-19 / What is mutual aid? A COVID-19 Primer / Can agroecology stop COVID-21, -22, and -23? / Moving Beyond Capitalist Agriculture

  • Abolitionist Agroecology, Food Sovereignty and Pandemic Prevention

     


    COVID-19 has exposed the racialized nature of food systems, but also potentially grants opportunities to build anew. Maywa Montenegro explores a series of breakdowns, from fractured supply chains to uncontrolled infection among essential food workers, among Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities scythed through by the virus along old grooves of race and class oppression.

    She traces the likely origins of COVID-19 to spillover sites forged by agroindustrial expansion into forested regions where pathogens spring free and infect humans. Industrial animal agriculture drives these ecological changes that incubate future outbreaks. Pandemics have their roots in the violent separation of communities from their territories, seeds, knowledge and wealth. Racism enables such theft as fundamental to capitalist expansion.

    To tackle pandemics and food injustices, Montenegro calls for an abolitionist agroecology. No anti-capitalist alternative can ignore the racism that is central to transnational food system. Scholars including Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Mariame Kaba have argued that although abolition is frequently seen as an oppositional strategy — to eradicate, for example, prisons and police — abolition is equally propositional. An abolitionist agroecology cracks open multiple possibilities that respond to the exigencies of a pandemic planet — there is no ‘normal’ to which we can safely return.

  • Aporias de Moçambique pós-colonial: Estado, Sociedade e Capital

    Este livro escrutina o impacto significativo da independência em diferentes sectores da sociedade moçambicana. Quarenta e cinco anos após a independência, Moçambique conheceu várias transformações. O Moçambique pós-colonial é hoje, em muitos aspectos, diferente do Moçambique colonial. No entanto, existem muitas questões permanentes relativas a essas transformações e ao seu impacto na maioria do povo moçambicano.
    Ao salientar as contradições de todos os processos políticos e sociais em Moçambique pós-colonial, neste livro levantamos questões que visam desconstruir alguns mitos sobre o país.
    Temas como estado, desenvolvimento, política, cultura, nação, políticas públicas, políticas agrárias e outros são questionados em abordagens teóricas inovadoras e progressivas, a fim de compreender o passado, o presente e o futuro de Moçambique numa perspectiva crítica. Por conseguinte, cada tema do livro é tratado de uma perspectiva crítica para melhor captar as aporias dos últimos quarenta e cinco anos de independência.
    A liberalização política que deveria permitir mais partilha de poder e mais respeito pelos direitos políticos e cívicos consolidou, pelo contrário, um regime autoritário que utiliza a ajuda internacional e os benefícios da indústria extractiva não para transformar o país, mas para construir a sua hegemonia política, económica e social em todo o país.
    Defendemos neste livro a tese de que é impossível compreender a verdadeira dinâmica social, política, económica e cultural sem considerar o “povo” como uma categoria essencial de análise.
    Apesar de muitas transformações positivas que ocorreram após a independência, Moçambique ainda preserva muitas heranças coloniais e, portanto, várias transformações estão ainda por implementar.
    Neste trabalho afirmamos que Moçambique é governado por elites que são incapazes de descolonizar o projecto de desenvolvimento que ainda está ancorado na agenda da capital internacional.
    O objectivo deste livro é dar uma melhor compreensão do que tem sido o processo de independência em Moçambique e porque é que o país pós-colonial ainda é colonial na sua estrutura política e económica. Assim, são dados muitos exemplos para dar ao leitor a possibilidade de confrontar as perspectivas teóricas aqui utilizadas com os casos concretos.
    Todos os estudos deste livro mostram que quarenta anos de independência não foram vividos da mesma forma pelas elites que governam o país e pelas populações que vivem sob o seu domínio. Por um lado, as elites no poder e os seus parentes beneficiaram, e ainda beneficiam dos recursos do país, enquanto que uma grande parte da população continua à espera das promessas da independência.
    De um ponto de vista político a económico, os estudos que compõem o livro destacam como o “desenvolvimento” em Moçambique tem estado em contradição com as necessidades do país. Significa que o actual modelo de desenvolvimento responde muito mais à capital internacional do que à transformação social de Moçambique.

    CAD $ 33.00
  • The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising

    There was nothing but darkness in the spring of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged and shut down the economy. But as right-wing protesters demanded an end to the lockdown, a much bigger social conflict was brewing under the surface. A rebellion exploded in Minneapolis in response to the brutal police murder of George Floyd in late May, during which a police station was overtaken and burned down. The uprising quickly spread across the United States as protesters looted downtown urban centers, set fire to cop cars, vandalized government buildings, and fought the police. The Black proletariat led the charge, but white, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous proletarians also joined the fight, demonstrating new possibilities for building alliances. While anti-police rebellions continued throughout the summer and fall, the uprising receded with the start of the winter. But this conflict is far from over.

    In an effort to think through the experience of the uprising and prepare for the great struggles that are coming, The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising provides an in-depth analysis of what exactly happened during the 2020 uprising, its potentials, internal limits, and strategic implications.

  • A region in revolt: Mapping the recent uprisings in North Africa and West Asia

    A wave of mass protest movements has spread across North Africa and West Asia, including Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. The mass protests have much in common, from opposing authoritarian regimes and worsening economic situations to demanding radical changes in social relations. Despite their similarities, each protest movement operates under different conditions that cannot be ignored. The specific historic, political and economic contexts of each country have determined who the key actors of the uprisings are and their location across old and new divides. This book elaborates on these similarities and differences to paint a clearer picture of these movements and draw out lessons to inform future struggles.


    Sam Salour summarizes A Region in Revolt: Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Asia, edited by Jade Saab. A collection of essays that provides a comprehensive review of the 2018-2019 wave of struggle in the region. In the third part of this multi-part series, Salour provides an introduction to the book and then outlines the essay “The Revolutionizing Nature of the Lebanese Uprising” by Jade Saab and Joey Ayoub.


    Edited by Jade Saab, a Lebanese/Canadian researcher at the University of Glasgow, the contributors include Azza Mustafa and Sara Abbas (on Sudan); Hamza Hamouchene and Selma Oumari (on Algeria); Zeidon Alkinani (on Iraq); Jade Saab and Joey Ayoub (on Lebanon); and Frieda Afary (on Iran).

    Insightful, timely analysis of the uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. The book  … demonstrates that the uprisings…carry the unyielding spirit of people’s resistance and struggle against both imperialism and local oppressive regimes.— Haifa Zangana, Iraqi novelist, author, artist, and political activist and author of Dreaming of Baghdad.

    Whereas there is a plethora of books on the 2011 [Arab Spring] upsurge, this book is the only comprehensive overview of the second wave of revolt, which is here analysed from the standpoint of the popular struggle. — Gilbert Achcar, Professor at SOAS, University of London, author of The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising

    A rich and informed account of the popular uprisings that have emerged across the Middle East in recent years. … [T]his book is a powerful testament to the new generation of activists who continue to seek long-term revolutionary change in the region. – Adam Hanieh, author of Money, Markets, and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East (CUP 2018).

    Last year a wave of militant protests spread across North Africa and West Asia, in a sustained, historic series of popular struggles. Emma Wilde Botta reviews A Region in Revolt: Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Asia edited by Jade Saab. A Region in Revolt: Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Asia edited by Jade Saab is the first and, to my knowledge, only comprehensive review of the uprisings that took place in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Each chapter is written by activist-scholars from the respective country who provide an overview of each country’s specific political and economic conditions. They show that, far from being ahistoric spontaneous events, the 2019 uprisings built upon past struggles, by tracing the legacies of resistance in each country and showing how they have impacted the newly emerged movements.

    A Region in Revolt captures all of the hope and inspiration of the 2019 uprisings. One of the most significant achievements of these movements is that, in the words of Hamouchene and Oumari, ‘people discovered their political will and realised they are in control of their own destiny.’ These were undeniably class revolts, fueled by anger over poverty, unemployment, austerity, and corruption. Yet, the people in the streets largely imagined themselves as citizens. The challenges of how to bring people into motion as workers, how to develop independent working-class organizations, and how to develop a political alternative to capitalism continue to be pressing. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown another obstacle in the way. But there is no doubt that future struggles are on the horizon. A Region in Revolt helps us answer the question of what we can do now to prepare for them. – Emma Wilde Botta is a socialist activist and writer based in Oakland, California. She has written extensively on the Arab Spring, the Gulf States, Iran, and US imperialism. Her writing has appeared in TruthOut, the International Socialist Review, roape.net and Socialist Worker.

    United we stand: anatomy of five revolutions: Mike Phipps reviews A Region in revolt: Mapping the recent uprisings in North Africa and West Asia, edited by Jade Saab, published by Daraja Press (Ottawa) & TNI (Amsterdam): We are nearly ten years on from the Arab Spring, a series of uprisings across the Middle East. When it began, argues Jade Saab in this important new book, it “was presented to the world through an orientalist lens… the awakening of the backwards Arab world.” For the west, it provided retroactive justification for the invasion of Iraq: “All democracy in the region needed was a nudge in the form of an illegal invasion and a million dead civilians.” This narrative allowed reactionary regimes in the region to paint the uprisings as western plots to destabilise their countries. Both these interpretations were bolstered by military interventions in Libya, Syria and Yemen. These military interventions upped the stakes considerably for any nascent popular uprising. If movements called for the fall of the regime, the regime could respond: “Do you want to become another Syria?” Yet the uprisings continued, and it is not too hyperbolic to refer to the last couple of years as a Second Arab Spring. This second wave is the focus of this book. The demands raised by these uprisings go beyond a change of political leadership: they call for a fundamental restructuring of society. The countries in question share similar political economies with an emphasis on extractivism and speculative investment. The spoils of these activities bypass ordinary people, fuelling the migration of skilled labour out of the region and massive rates of unemployment, especially among young people. They also share a common problem: “Debilitating national debt means that foreign finance has a vested interest in maintaining ‘stability’ in the region.” So unlike during the 2011 Arab Spring, “Western nations have refused to withdraw support from the various ruling classes in the region even though the intensity of protests has reached similar levels.” …

     

    A Region in Revolt Edited by Jade Saab, Daraja Press If you’ve enjoyed [RED PEPPER’s] analysis of the ‘second wave’ of uprisings across some of North Africa and West Asia, then this book is a timely exploration of ground uncovered. Looking across Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, this collection of essays draws out the similarities and differences of the movements that are demanding radical social change under authoritarian regimes. One of the few books to explore the second wave of revolt, it is a fitting testament to a new generation of activists and their ongoing struggle for revolutionary change. RED PEPPER Winter 2020.

  • Love after Babel and other poems

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Love After Babel wins Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award by the Caribbean Philosophical Association
    Congratulations to Chandramohan S!


    Love after Babel is a collection of poems that deal with themes such as caste, the resistance of Dalit people, Dalit literature, islamophobia and other political themes, with almost one hundred poems divided into three sections (Call Me Ishmail Tonight; Name Me a Word; Love after Babel). The introduction is by Suraj Yengde (award-winning scholar and activist from India, author of the bestseller Caste Matters, inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Initiative for Institutional Anti-racism and Accountability, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School).

    Chandramohan’s poems are dialogues of the ‘ self’ with the ‘other’. He brings to life a world that subverts myths, literary canons, gender and caste stereotypes by pooling in sparklingly new metaphors with sensitivity and care. He draws his images from contemporary incidents as well as myths and legends of yore, and delves deep into the politicized realm, thus ‘rupturing the hymen of demarcations’ of identity, resistance, repression and love.

    —Babitha Marina Justin, poet, artist and academician

    Chandramohan’s poetry is an extraordinary combination of a strong individual voice, crying out against a deeply felt sense of personal abuse, and a sophisticated understanding of the long history and mythology of such abuse, in India but also in the world at large. Mythological figures like Shambuka and Urmila illluminate, and are illuminated by, modern atrocities.   The poems are by turns shocking, moving, and exhilarating.  —Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty is an American Indologist whose professional career has spanned five decades.

    Chandramohan S has the stark ability as a poet to react to any social happening, and these turn out to be in the most responses to societal happenings, plunged into the dark interiors of human behavior. So these could be related to caste oppression. Economic exploitation, religious polemics etc. But the poetic ability or the agility is always there to handle a situation born out of politico- social situations. There lies his remarkable dexterity as a poet commentator. His lines are direct, and even angry. But that does not matter. This is poetry- at its best.  No wonder then that, his poems have been published world wide. He is perhaps now one of the very few, if not the only Indian poet in English to have taken the burden of social and political repression, as a distinct and livid political idiom. To read his poems is also painful, but the poetry is in the pain!—Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India. He has been writing and publishing his poetry for the last 33 years.

    Love after Babel selected by as one of Twelve books that form part of the arsenal of Dalit writing by Suraj Yangde.

    surajyengde
    @surajyengde

    Had an honor to introduce this extremely riveting collection of humanity-filled radical lines “Love After Babel” told by the incomparable art form—Dalit Poetry. Chandramohan is confidently flirtatious with his words. by

  • Mau Mau From Within: The Story of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army

    Karari Njama: Photo by Geoffrey Mwangi curated by Kairu Kuguru.

    The inside story of the struggles of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, referred to by British colonialism as the ‘Mau Mau rebellion’, is little known today. The autobiographical material written by Karari Njama (a senior leader in the Mau Mau hierarchy) and compiled by Donald L. Barnett was first published by Monthly Review Press in 1966, as Mau Mau From Within: An analysis of Kenya’s Peasant Revolt. It was reprinted in 1970; it has remained out of print for many years. As the late Basil Davidson put it in his review of the first edition: “Njama writes of the forest leaders’ efforts to overcome dissension, to evolve effective tactics, to keep discipline, mete out justice … and to teach men how to survive in those merciless forests. His narrative is crowded with excitement. Those who know much of Africa and those who know little will alike find it compulsive reading. Some 10,000 Africans died fighting in those years . Here, in the harsh detail of everyday experience, are the reasons why.”

    The book is an extraordinary story of courage, passion, heroism, combined with recounting of colonial terror, brutality and betrayal. It is a story of how the very idea of being ‘Kenyan’ was intimately linked to the idea of freedom, a connection that was destroyed not only by the firepower of the British, but also by those who collaborated and established themselves as the beneficiaries of neocolonial rule. Disconnecting notions of freedom from identity left only a caricature that rapidly descended into tribalism and ethnicity.

    This momentous story of the struggle for freedom described here is relevant not only for a new generation of Kenyans but also for all those engaged in emancipatory struggles internationally. For so long as the experiences arising from the struggles described in this book are perceived as merely ‘African’ or ‘Kenyan’, it is not possible to fully grasp the contributions they have made to the struggle for a universalist humanity.

    What is recounted in this publication is more than an ‘analysis of a peasant revolt’. It is above all a history of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army. As Ngūgī wa Thiong’o points out in his Preface to this new edition, ‘we don’t have to use the vocabulary of the colonial to describe our struggles.’ We were tempted to rename the book ‘Kenya Land and Freedom Army from Within.’ But because the original title has wide recognition, and and as one of the characteristics of movements of the oppressed is to appropriate derogatory terms used by their oppressors and repurpose them as an expression of pride in their own experiences, this book retains the original title, but with a change in the subtitle as ‘The Story of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.’

    We were delighted that Karari Njama was able to provide us with a Prologue to the new edition (Kamoji Wachiira, a former political prisoner, connected us with Karari and translated the text of the Prologue). Shujaa Hon Dr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Secretary-General of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association reminds us how the veterans of the liberation movement, like Karari Njama, continue to live in extreme poverty today despite the enormous contribution that they made to the struggle for freedom.

    Kenya’s leading writer and academic, Ngūgī wa Thiong’o, points out in the Preface, how so much of the narratives about the Kenya Land and Freedom Army has been written from ‘without’, emphasizing the importance of a book that speaks to the personal testimony from within the movement. We are honoured to have Mīcere Gīthae Mugo, Emerita Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, provide reflections on the importance of the republication of this historical text. There are many who, as children, lived through the terrifying events of the Emergency during which so many were tortured and killed by the British (and their local collaborators) and whose psyche remains deeply affected by what they witnessed.  Kamoji Wachiira describes some of these experiences vividly in his Introduction to the new edition. He highlights the extent of betrayal by successive post-independence governments, and the development of the post-independence revival of resistance which he was a central part of. He also emphasizes the importance for a new generation of Kenyans “to gain not only a deep understanding of Kenya’s revolutionary history but also to reflect on what lessons may be drawn for the struggle to achieve real freedom.”

    The original publication had no biographical information about Don Barnett. Few are aware of the extent of Don’s political engagement with the cause of liberation, of which Mau Mau From Within was only one aspect. He was a founder of the Liberation Support Movement in Canada, and had close contact with the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola). Don sadly joined the ancestors in 1975. We are fortunate, however, that Don and Daphne’s son and daughter, Michael Barnett and Dawn Barnett, were able to provide, together with Ole Gjerstad, a revealing biography.

    We have endeavoured to retain the content of the original book (but for a few minor corrections) including the original Selected Bibliography. An updated Further Reading list is provided.

     

  • The In-Between World of Kenya’s Media: South Asian Journalism, 1900-1992

    This book, originally published by AwaaZ in Kenya, provides insights into journalists of Indian origin who wrote about the struggles of Kenyan people.

    CAD $ 26.00
  • Transforming ourselves, Transforming the World: An open conspiracy for social change – Second Edition

    You can watch / listen to a conversation between the author, Brian K Murphy, and David Austin here.

     


    This is a new edition of the book originally published by Zed Books in 1999. The book includes an Introduction written by David Austin and an Afterword from the author, Brian Murphy.


    This book is for all those – community workers, adult educators, social activists of every kind – who want to overcome pessimism and play a part in changing society in the direction of peace, justice and dignity for all human beings. As author Brian Murphy— the independent analyst, organizer, educator and writer, and former staff member of the social justice organization, Inter Pares—points out, many of us are pessimistic about our ability to change the world when confronted by destructive political and corporative forces and the destruction they wreak. Murphy reveals the social and personal dilemmas which hold people back from social engagement, and argues that the various constraints we face can be overcome.

    In this new edition, David Austin explains in his Introduction why this book, first published in 1999, is perhaps more relevant to our times than ever, offering insights from his own experiences of engaging critically with the book and with others. (David Austin is author of Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution, Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal and the editor of Moving Against the System, The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness.)

    And in his new afterword, Brian Murphy reflects on the continued relevance of the original text, emphasizing how our humanity is being corroded and commodified. To reclaim our humanity, he argues, we must transform ourselves to transform the world.


    Brian Murphy’s immensely inspiring book,Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World, deeply challenges us to think and rethink everything we knew and thought we knew.—Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation & Right Livelihood Award Laureate in 2010

    We need more conversations like the one in this book, which are rooted in hope while honestly working through a foundational way of seeing and understanding ourselves in the bigger picture.— Christina Warner, Co-Executive Director and Director of Campaigns and Organising, Council of Canadians.

    This is one of the coolest, enjoyable and important books I have read in recent years. Written from the heart as well as the head, it is a breathtakingly visionary, unique and insightful take on the life of the ultimate activist.—Hope Chigudu, Feminist activist

    The republication of Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World is a gift for our troubled times. All of us who share the drive to change our society will find encouragement and nourishment. This book offers a break from an all-too-common type of “activism” that demands harmful suppression of our individual creativity, freedom and health. What we have here is a celebration — and an entirely convincing validation — of a way of changing the world that is always nurturing and open-ended; a process of possibility and becoming, as we build on humanness to realise greater humanness. As Murphy puts it: “‘I will act, because it is sane, and healthy, and human to do so. We will act together, because it is sane, and healthy, and human, and more effective to do so. … This is how we can begin to develop an open conspiracy’”. I’m energised to sign up to this “open conspiracy”, and I’m sure many more readers will be too. — Mark Butler, co-author with Church Land Programme (South Africa) of in, against, beyond, corona


    Table of Contents

    Introduction to Second Edition: David Austin

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    The Challenge
    1 The Courage to Be
    2 The Dilemma of Action and the Psychology of Inertia
    3  Confronting the Dilemmas: Beyond Inertia

    Possibilities in Process
    4 The Missing Link
    5 The Individual, the Visionary
    6 Challenging the Established Rationality
    7 Imperatives for Modern Education

    The Open Conspiracy
    8 The Open Conspiracy: Allies for Health and Action
    9 Theatres and Strategies: Embracing the Future
    10 Education and the Open Conspiracy

    Conclusion

    Eclectic Notes on Knowledge and Action

    Afterword
    Afterword to the Second Edition – Brian Murphy
    Related Reading
    Further reading

    Index

  • Song of Gulzarina: Special offer USdefeatAfghan

    A suicide bombing is being planned in a residential street in Manchester. Behind it lie Saleem Khan’s vivid memories – some full of regret and yearning, others humorous and yet others overshadowed by the surreal brutality of the war in Afghanistan.

  • You’re Not Here

     


    One brother goes missing in action in Afghanistan, the other falls in love with an Afghan girl in England.

    Bitter divisions engulf an English town where young Muslims oppose the British army’s presence in Afghanistan, whilst white youth condemn the Muslims as traitors.

    To the disgust of his white friends, 17-year-old Jake Marlesden, whose brother is missing in action in Afghanistan, is in love with Leila Khan, an Afghan. When Jake tries to find out what happened to his brother, neighbour turns against neighbour and lover against lover.

    Leila joins young Muslims protesting against the returning bodies of dead British soldiers, and Jake stands with the families of the soldiers. The lovers fall apart.

    But far off events, and sinister forces at home, bring the lovers together again in a journey in which they will not only discover themselves, but also heal the wounds of their families and friends.

    This is the sequel to You’re Not Proper.

    Set in and around Manchester, You’re Not Here is informed by Mehmood’s experience of growing up a working class Pakistani in northern England, combatting racism on the streets and being arrested. The novel explores the British Asian experience in the context of the “war on terror” and Islamophobia. “I have lived and fought against various waves of racism in Britain, but the current Islamophobic one, the new racism, is far more insidious and divisive than those which preceded it,” says Mehmood in his blog.

    This novel is a sequel to You’re Not Proper, which explored, in the author’s words, “what it is to be a Muslim teenager in the west today”. While it featured two teenage women’s search for identity and belonging — one with a Pakistani father and white Christian mother, the other her Hijab-wearing school friend — Mehmood’s sequel is, interestingly, told from the point of view of a white working class British youth.

    Jake’s father was in the army. His elder brother is missing in action in Afghanistan. Jake is in love with a Muslim girl. We are introduced to diverse Asian characters and to white racist friends of his brother, and to the tensions both within and between the two communities, through Jake’s eyes.

    While the novel reads like a pacey thriller, the teenage love story is treated with convincing tenderness. And there is sympathy for British soldiers. One scene features physically and mentally scarred ex-soldiers discarded by the state, and Military Friends and Families Against War make an appearance. 

    http://socialistreview.org.uk/438/youre-not-here

     

    The narrative is packed with authentic voices, often humorous observations and insights, The novel reads like a thriller. It reaches an action-packed and moving climax, but, unlike a thriller, we are left uneasy about what may happen next.
    Helen Goodway, Red Pepper, Summer 2019

  • For the love of the struggle: Memoirs from El Salvador

    The Spanish edition of this book was presented as an offering during the ceremonial mass commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the slaying of 6 Jesuit priests by the army during El Salvador’s civil war.

     

    You can watch Brian Murphy interviews Andrés McKinley here.

     

    From his home in El Salvador where he has lived over four decades, the author shares an intimate personal and political memoir that follows his remarkable journey from the comfort and security of a picturesque New England town to a stirring and heroic engagement in common cause with the struggle for peace and justice in El Salvador.

    After four years as a Peace Corp worker in northern Liberia beginning in the late 1960’s, followed by a stretch back in the United States as a street worker in the ghettos of North Philadelphia, McKinley finds himself in Central America as an aid worker in 1978. He quickly becomes engulfed by the political violence of the region and engaged with the people and their struggles against five decades of military dictatorship, centuries of poverty and exploitation. The story is marked by terror, adventure and courage, by trials and tragedy redeemed by the beauty and transcendence of people in struggle.

    Originally based in Guatemala heading up a Catholic relief agency, his commitment to the struggles for change in the country attracts the attention of the military, and his own government, forcing him to leave the country in late 1980. He moves to El Salvador where he begins a gradual incursion into the revolutionary struggle of this country, in a commitment that will last the rest of his life.

    Interwoven with this personal journey, is the story of Teresa Rivas, her husband Antonio, and their five children, a peasant family whose commitment as catequists with the Jesuit, Rutilio Grande, led to their eventual incorporation into the guerrilla forces of the FMLN after Grande’s assassination in 1977. The book describes the circumstances under which the author meets Antonio Rivas and family in the war zones of El Salvador, falls in love with them and their cause, and commits to accompanying their struggle through its darkest hours during the most violent years of the war. It also describes their life after the war, with resettlement in the lowlands of Guazapa where many ex-combatants were building a new life.

    Interwoven with these stories, is the epic of a decades-long people’s struggle for economic justice, human rights and authentic democracy in El Salvador. The book lays out the social, economic and political origins of the armed struggle that caught fire in the 1970s, and the experiences of a people in desperate pursuit of non-violent options for democratizing their country and assuring a dignified life for the impoverished and marginalized majority of its population. It explains in detail the gradual emergence of the objective and subjective conditions for revolution in El Salvador, including the difficult choice for the use of violence as the only available option for transformative change in the country.

    The book also details the challenges of reconstruction after the Peace Accords that end the war in 1992, and the tragedy of opportunities lost during the immediate post-war period in the face of the ongoing resistance of traditional opponents to reform. The author—himself deeply involved during these years in support of non-violent political organizing and advocacy—describes the efforts to sustain peace and to resolve the issues that continue to threaten the country with political violence. One of these is the water crisis that threatens the viability of the nation and life itself, and the book reveals the processes of organizing behind the ultimately-successful 17 year struggle to ban metallic mining—an historic victory in 2019 approved by a vote in the National Assembly, and without precedent in the world.

    As the memoir closes, the author reflects on his choice to be in El Salvador over the past 43 years, and the country as he finds it in these changing times; on the family with whom he has shared love and life there; on his continuing relationship with Antonio Rivas and his surviving family; and his gradual reconciliation, from a distance, with the country of his birth.

    With a Foreword by Charlie Clements, author Witness to War (Bantam, 1984) and Former Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

     

    Andrés McKinley has penned a beautiful, moving love story – a stunning tribute to his family and country of birth and to his family and country of re-birth. Read it also as a tribute to a generation whose best and brightest members seized the opportunity to be a part of the social justice movements that were unfolding around the world. Theirs was not a journey for fame or for fortune. Baby-boomers, read this book to remember; others, read this to understand not only the sacrifices made but, more importantly, the fulfillment gained. May others follow Andres’s path to love, wherever it may take take them. — Robin Broad (Guggenheim Fellow) and John Cavanagh (director, Institute for Policy Studies), coauthors
    of The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed (Beacon Press, 2021).

    The voice is simple, authentic, articulate, and consistent and coherent throughout. Given the unique and dramatic personal story that Andrés tells, it is actually understated and quiet—restrained intensity is how I might describe it. What really sets it apart, though, is the intimacy, care and respect with which he describes and tells the stories of the Salvadorans with whom he shared life and struggle throughout these years (and for that matter the villagers in Liberia in his early Peace Corps years). … It is a work of great humility, even as it tells a heroic tale without flinching, and in great detail. Nor is he romantic about the course that the struggle has taken; he is unflinching in that as well, and so leaves history open-ended but blessed with the grace of those who struggle. — Brian K. Murphy, writer and organizer, former policy analyst at Inter Pares, who writes at MurphysLog.ca

    This is a very impressive book which tells a truly remarkable personal story, without the story becoming purely personal. In fact, there is a great deal of political history in the book, which I can confirm as I also studied as well as lived through some of the Salvadorean civil war. The truly incredible Salvadorean peasants who stayed in the war zones despite army incursions and US backed aerial bombing, are just as he describes them. They led me also to a lasting respect and love for them, even with- out the long term depth of experience of the author. The way the author brings us so many personal stories is very powerful. We get to know the friends he makes and then to feel as he did, when they lost their loved ones in this horrendous violence un- leashed on the Salvadorean poor and their allies by the Salvadorean wealthy elites, their military and US backers. — Jenny Pearce, Research Professor, Latin America and Caribbean Centre, London School of Economics

    Andrés McKinley’s book For the Love of the Struggle is a moving and personal account of his involvement in the fight for justice in El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980s. But more than the events he describes, with great detail and political insight, it is his love for the people of El Salvador that sets this book apart. From working with church related organizations, to joining the guerrillas in the liberated zones, to his work along the communities opposing metallic mining, it is his relation- ship with the people, particularly the humbler ones, which stands out.

    Most books that deal with the civil war in El Salvador end with the signing of the Peace Accords, which put an end to the armed conflict and laid the foundation for a more democratic and just El Salvador. As important as the Peace Agreements were, they did not solve all the problems and conflicts of the country. When several rural communities were threatened in the early 2000s by the efforts of trans- national gold mining interests, they rose in defense of their rights through social organization and peaceful opposition. In spite of the repression they suffered, after 17 years of struggle they finally prevailed, showing how people united, can bring about change.

    This belief is particularly important now, at a moment in which our democratic insti- tutions are being threatened precisely by those who should be the first to protect them. It is the role of organized civil society to defend what we have conquered and McKinley’s book is an excellent and timely reminder that this is something possible and necessary to achieve.— Francisco Altschul is a former Salvadoran Ambassador to the United States

  • Being human after 1492

    Richard Pithouse’s extraordinary overview of the what is means to be human after 1492:

    On 9 August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The movement that grew out of the rebellion that followed inaugurated a new sequence in the struggle against racism in the United States. As with previous sequences in that struggle it quickly acquired an international dimension, including here in South Africa. One aspect of this international moment has been an urgent confrontation with the reality that what Césaire called ‘abstract equality’ does not, on its own, mark an end to the racialization of life.

    In the United States, and elsewhere, there is a sense that history is as present as it is past. Just over a decade ago, Baucom observed that “what-has-been is, cannot be undone, cannot cease to alter all the future-presents that flow out of it. Time does not pass or progress, it accumulates”. It is the sense that time accumulates into the present that has often led to the invocation of William Faulkner’s famous line from Requiem for a Nun in discussions about race: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    The past does not merely haunt or shape the present via the enduring power of deep and impersonal structural forces. Across Europe, and in settler societies like Australia, Brazil and the United States, racism is an increasingly explicit and menacing presence at the centre of political and social life. White revanchism has rallied, often under demagogic leadership, to secure the racial order that emerged from the event of 1492. It has already resulted in Brexit in England, the impeachment of an elected President in Brazil and the election of a figure as grotesque as Trump in the United States.

    We will not be able to transcend the epoch that began in 1492 without a politics that can confront and defeat this revanchism. And we will not have transcended this epoch until “things, in the most materialistic meaning of the word” are, as Fanon insists, “restored to their proper places”. But the catastrophe from which we are all derived is not solely a matter of material dispossession and accumulation. As Michael Monahan argues, in conversation with Wynter, “the history of colonialism is also the history of the emergence of the idea of Europe and of Europeans, and . . . it is such ideas and cultural practices that inevitably shape our consciousness, conditioning what counts as normal and, ultimately, as rational”.

     

  • Lenin150 (Samizdat): 2nd expanded edition

    For all the official historiographic efforts at forging a mythologised image of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov as the austere, no-nonsense, professional revolutionary, the really existing flesh and blood Lenin understood and appreciated that the most materialist action an individual must carry out without fault to metabolise the struggle for communism is to breathe. Not just biologically respire but consciously breathe. Breathe for oneself and breathe for and with others. If it is indeed our desire to breathe new life into the long choking red star, a new oxygenic Communist politics of walking and breathing is what we must aspire to, inspire, respire and encourage.

    See the Description below for further details.

  • Struggling to be seen: The travails of Palestinian cinema

    The book explores the challenges Palestinian filmmakers confront to develop a cinema that gives expression to the national narrative. It is based on collaborative research involving Film Lab Palestine, Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange and Sheffield Hallam University. We explore the political, economic and cultural contexts that impact on Palestinian film production and some of the barriers encountered in profiling and screening Palestinian films, to shed light on the complex terrain that is traversed to sustain and develop a film industry and film culture in historic Palestine and beyond.

    Table of contents

    Image credits
    Introduction
    The struggle to develop a national cinema
    The experience of Filmlab Palestine
    Visualising the Palestinian past
    Roadblocks, borders and hostile environments
    The screening and reception of Palestinian films
    The Palestinian short film
    Conclusion
    Filmography
    Appendix 1: Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution
    Appendix 2: 70 Years of Nakba: Audience response
    Appendix 3: Love and Desire in Palestine: Audience response
    Appendix 4: Selection of leaflets from film screenings
    About the authors

    Praise for Struggling to be seen

    To so nimbly and elegantly traverse Palestinian time and space is itself a defiance of the occupation’s brutally enforced barriers. The authors’ unstintingly political examination of Palestinian cinema has much to offer both those in the know and readers new to this extraordinary body of work. — Kay Dickinson, Professor, Film Studies, Concordia University

    Working extensively through primary sources, conducting research and interviews across generations of Palestinian filmmakers, the authors offer the reader an ambitious and wide-ranging essay which charts the development of a national Palestinian cinema, from an historical and critical perspective. By exploring the constellation of political, social and aesthetic concerns that shape this cinema, this authors challenge us to rethink the stakes behind the contemporary development of a Palestinian cinema industry, its audience reception, in historic Palestine and beyond.— Samia Labidi, cultural programmer & artistic curator

    Illuminating and compelling, Struggling to be Seen lays bare the historical, enduring but also emerging (colonial and neocolonial) obstacles to the development of a film industry and film culture within the West Bank and Gaza. Though familiarly sobering (in its re-confirmation of the scale of injustice facing Palestinians), the book provides up-to-the-moment and an interdisciplinary account that provides rich, fresh terrain that reveals new and exciting progressions within Palestinian film culture. —Michele Aaron, Reader in Film and Television, University of Warwick, author of Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography and I (Edinburgh Univer- sity Press, 2014) Director, Screening Rights Film Festival.

    Struggling to be Seen is a must read for those who are interested in under- standing the multilayered challenges that face Palestinian cinematography from its production phase to its screening phase. The book is a short read which takes the readers through the different stages which shaped the Palestinian film making enterprise. Struggling to be Seen shows the restrictions that Palestinian filmmakers face from the initial stages to funding and screening. The authors tell a story of a people whose sense of self-reflection is suppressed by the Israeli oppressive machine which con- stantly works at erasing the Palestinian peoplehood, detaching it from its past.— Nahed Habiballah, Assistant Professor and member of the Board of Directors of Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center, Arab American University, Ramallah, Palestine