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Edited by Íde Corley, Helen Fallon, Laurence Cox
These letters and poems are invaluable fragments of a living conversation that portrays the indomitable power in humans to stay alive in the face of certain death – to stay alive even in death.
Reading through the treasure trove of the letters and poems compiled here as The Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa evokes intense memories of his resolute struggles against an oil behemoth and a deaf autocratic government. His crusade frames one of the most tumultuous periods of Nigeria’s history; his tragic story evokes anger and demands action to resolve the crises that first led the Ogoni people to demand that Shell clean up Ogoni lands or clear out of the territory.
It was Saro-Wiwa’s leadership, in great part, that forced Shell out of Ogoni in January 1993. The letters are a testament of hope, being one side of robust conversations between two persons that many would find unlikely friends. We learn the lessons that indeed ‘friends love at all times and brothers (and sisters) are born for adversity’, as a proverb in the Bible states. This is where we must applaud Sister Majella McCarron for preserving and making public these letters that Ken Saro-Wiwa wrote to her between 20 October 1993 and 14 September 1995. The collection includes essays by the three editors, select bibliography and recommended resources.
You can read this book online for free.
This is a testament to the bravery of my father, Ken Saro-Wiwa. His words are an inspiration to anyone fighting against tyranny, and a reminder to oppressors the world over that the human spirit can never be broken.
– Noo Saro-Wiwa, author of Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (2012)
Here is a remarkable book of the correspondence from one of the greatest leaders of our time to a strong and gentle Catholic sister living half-way around the world. Ken Saro-Wiwa, enduring harsh treatment and facing cer- tain death, writes from detention in Nigeria about justice and honour and sets the bar for courage for the rest of us. Struggles for indigenous justice in the face of corporate tyranny continue to this day. Everyone engaged in these struggles will be moved and inspired by these haunting letters written by a legend.
– Maude Barlow, author, activist and National Chairperson of Council of Canadians
A poignant collection that unveils a remarkable friendship as much as it animates the memory of Saro-Wiwa’s indomitable spirit. It is perhaps one of the the bitter ironies of his life he had to feed the soldiers who guarded him as well as witness army captains fight over who should be his jailer.
– Brian Chikwava, writer and winner of the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writ- ing, Associate Editor, Wasafiri Magazine
More fully than any biographical essay would have done, the letters and the poems reveal the mind of the campaigner for justice while he is under arrest, courageously planning and prompting, writing and keeping himself informed, keeping his cause alive, but they also show Ken Saro-Wiwa as the anxious father worrying about his children and as the man alone thrown on his resources. The three lucid essays which frame the letters prove an excel- lent and informative guide to the events behind the letters and add to the importance of this publication.
– Abdulrazak Gurnah, novelist, Booker Prize nominee 2004, winner of the RFI Témoin du Monde Prize 2006 and Professor of English at the University of Kent
The letters and poems collected in this volume show with great eloquence that Saro-Wiwa confronted Abacha’s darkness, and the darkness of the international oil conglomerates, especially Shell, with anger, sadness, wit and humour. In nearly every letter and poem in the volume there is suffusing light and uncommon grace. I confidently expect that in time, this slim volume will take its rightful place among the most important works of prison writing and environmental activism in the world.
– Biodun Jeyifo, Harvard University
Following Ken Saro-Wiwa’s second arrest in 1994, Sr Majella McCarron approached Trócaire for help. His release became a priority campaign for us, and we engaged with Shell, the media and Government to try and com- mute the death sentences for him and the eight co-accused Ogoni leaders. I remember the despair in Trócaire’s offices on 10th November 1995 when we learned that all nine had been executed. The struggle of the Ogoni people is a part of Trócaire’s history, and the writings in Silence Would be Treason: Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa are a testament to Ken Saro-Wiwa’s spirit and courage, demonstrating that, even in the darkest of times, love truly can conquer fear.
– Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire
Clear and direct, these letters and poems are the last expression of a voice the regime was determined to silence: a voice for indigenous rights, environ- mental survival and democracy, many of those battles were won despite his death and whose voice comes alive today again in these extraordinary letters.
– Boletim Africanista, 2013
What is to be Thought? The Dialectics of Emancipation and Africa: political theory and political practice
Beginning from the understanding that it is imperative today to develop new concepts for the thinking of an emancipatory politics on the African continent (Fanon), this book proposes to focus on dialectical thought as the core subjective feature of all emancipatory political experiments on the African continent in particular. It traces a dialectical thinking to its origins in Ancient Egypt that arguably influenced Plato, and notes its opposition to the idea of representation in state politics during various historical sequences right up to the present. Starting from the fundamental conception that all people are capable of universal thought, and that an idea of universal humanity is central to popular thought during experiences of collective emancipatory struggle, the argument traces and analyses a number of emancipatory historical political sequences and their attendant contemporary narratives. Currently it is proposed to include
1) the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt (The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant – 4000 BCE) and Plato (as read by Alain Badiou);
2) Pre-colonial Africa and resistance to slavery: the Donsolu Kalikan (in the Manden/Mali, 1222), the Antonian Movement (in Kongo, 1684-1706) and its continuation in the Lemba Movement, and the Haitian Revolution (undertaken by slaves from Africa),
3) The National Liberation Struggles of the 1960s as thought by Fanon and Cabral, and
4) The mass popular struggles in South Africa during the 1980s.
The core of the political dialectic in each case differs and creates, during a limited sequence, what can be called a subjective political singularity that always combines dialectically a particular thought of resistance emanating from its specific social location with one of universal humanity during what is a process exceptional to hegemonic social relations.
It is further argued that whereas the political dialectic is not a given feature of African cultures as such, the latency of universalistic conceptions of humanity is identifiable within many African cultures. This means that rather than having to be invented ex nihilo, conceptions of the human universal in Africa have the potential to be (re-)activated in practice. Ato Sekyi-Otu and Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba are discussed as major contemporary African dialectical thinkers.
Coming to the present period, the book elaborates a theory of neo-colonial state politics through unpacking the core idea of representation and the absence of popular sovereignty. It is argued that the neo-colonial character of the state must be understood beyond binaries but rather, following Gramsci, as structured by objective dialectical relations characterising fundamentally distinct modes of rule. This objective dialectic is assessed, in addition to Gramsci, through a discussion of a number of well-known contemporary thinkers of the dialectic (Lenin, Mao, Dunayevskaya, CLR James, Carchedi, Anderson, etc).
These modes of rule enable the neo-colonial state to reproduce itself and social relations in conjunction with popular responses to such rule. Differing modes of state rule are identified and the formation of distinct domains of politics corresponding to them and founded on different forms of representation are elucidated. These domains amount to three types:
1) civil society (where the state rules through a relation of citizenship and the right to rights),
2) uncivil society (where the right to rights is inexistent and thus state violence is dominant), and
3) traditional society (where the state rules through custom and tradition itself the object of struggle).Using various cases from Africa, contradictions and struggles within each of these domains are analysed and the potential to draw on latent cultural conceptions of universality (when in existence) is discussed.In this manner both the dialectic of emancipation and the character of state power are thought conjointly and dialectical thinking is opposed to the idea of representation in politics as well as in social science. The concepts and categories used are explained in a simple manner understandable by all.
Finally and as a kind of concluding argument, it is proposed to rethink the idea of representation through a critical engagement with the political practices of what could be called the “heroic figures of liberation”. This will be undertaken via an assessment of the politics of Toussaint Louverture and Nelson Mandela in particular regarding the “colonial question” as identified by Aimé Césaire.
Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi
Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. with the highest percentage of Black people and a history of vicious racial terror. The concurrent Black resistance is the backdrop and context for the drama captured in the collection of essays that is Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi. The long-awaited release of this seminal anthology will unveil the strategies and methods being pursued by this ongoing movement for Black community control and people-centered economic development.
“Jackson Rising is an exploration of our experiment in radical social transformation and governance that is directly challenging the imperatives of neoliberalism and the logic and structures of the capitalist system in Jackson and beyond.”
—Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson
Undeterred by the uncertainty, anxiety and fear brought about by the steady deterioration of the neoliberal order over the last few years, the response from radical activists in Jackson, Mississippi has been to concentrate on building a radical anti-capitalist alternative from the ground up. Inspired by the rich history of struggle and resistance in Mississippi and committed to the vision of the Jackson-Kush Plan, these activists are building institutions rooted in community power that combine politics and economic development into an alternative model for change, while addressing real, immediate needs of the people.
The experiences and analyses in this compelling collection reflect the creative power that is unleashed when political struggle is grounded by a worldview freed from the inherent contradictions and limitations of reform liberalism. As such, Jackson Rising is ultimately a story about a process that is organized and controlled by Black working people who are openly declaring that their political project is committed to economic democracy and radical participatory governance.
“Jackson is rising and emerging as a model for resistance and visioning beyond the challenges of the present. It stands as the dynamic counter to economic redundancy, political marginalization, and systematic state violence.”
—Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace
Jackson Rising contains contributions from well-known community activists and organizers Hakima Abbas, Kali Akuno, Ajamu Baraka Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Kamau Franklin, Sacajawea Hall, Rukia Lumumba, Ajamu Nangwaya, Max Rameau, Makani Themba, and Jazmine Walker and Elandria Williams, as well as noted journalists and academics including Sara Bernard, Carl Davidson, Bruce A. Dixon, Laura Flanders, Katie Gilbert, Jessica Gordan-Nembhard, Michael Siegel, and Bhaskar Sunkara.
Cooperation Jackson is building a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi, anchored by a network of worker-owned, democratically self-managed cooperative enterprises.
“...the effort in Jackson is an inspiration and evidence of what can be done in the poorest of communities to mobilize, educate, and organize a counterweight to predatory capitalism and White supremacy.
“Jackson Rising” is also a call for help. The vision of “solidarity economics” means making links outside of Jackson and creating alternative economic relationships that can help worker- and consumer-owned businesses survive the blows of everything from business downturns to overt political repression. In Mississippi, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
“And given the national need to turn so-called red states in a progressive direction, Cooperation Jackson could be one beginning.”
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 armyâ€™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.
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
Great revolutions make history. Conservative resistance and counter-revolutions only delay their progress. The French revolution invented modern politics and democracy, the Russian revolution paved the way for the socialist transition, while the Chinese revolution connected the emancipation of those peoples oppressed by imperialism with the path to socialism. These revolutions are great precisely because they are bearers of undertakings that are far ahead of the immediate demands of their time. beacons that illuminate the still unfinished struggles of the peoples for the realization of these goals. It is impossible to understand the contemporary world by ignoring these great revolutions. To commemorate these revolutions, says Samir Amin, one needs both to assess their ambitions (the utopia of today will be the reality of tomorrow), and to understand the reasons for their temporary setbacks. Conservative and reactionary minds refuse to do so—they wish us to believe that great revolutions have been nothing more than unfortunate accidents, that the peoples who have made them were carried away by their deceitful enthusiasm, diversions from the normal current of history. This collection of essays helps to situate the lessons of the October 1917 Russian Revolution from a perspective of 100 years.
Samir Amin, born in Cairo in 1931, is one of the world’s greatest radical thinkers —a creative Marxist’. He is the director of Third World Forum (Forum du tiers monde), Dakar and President of the World Forum for Alternatives. He has published numerous books and papers, including The Law of Value and Historical Materialism, Eurocentrism – Modernity, Religion and Democracy: A Critique of Eurocentrism and Culturalism, Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or Ending Capitalism?‘, Global History – a View from the South and Russia and the Long Transition from Capitalism to Socialism.
You can read this book online for free.
Valiani has written a beautiful and insightful book of poetry about the birthplace of humanity; ‘the cradle of civilization’, Africa. The poems are gathered into four sections: “Womb”; “Land(s)”; “Tides”; “Wind”. Each section is prefaced by philosophy, findings and artifacts of “Maropeng” which becomes both subject and predicate for this soothing poetry: a lullaby for the soul’s remembering. Candice James Poet Laureate Emerita of New Westminster
Cradles is a collection poems on the nature(s) and nurturing that cradle us. They are divided into four parts: Womb is the first cradle, both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, under-acknowledged and often unmentioned. Beyond the physical womb of individuals, there are collective wombs that incubate on yet grander and greater scales. Land(s) are the cradles we typically identify as our ‘origins’, but as the Cradle of Humankind teaches, the many lands of today are interlaced in many concealed ways and originated in a single, little understood place. Tides are the many migrations and cycles of time that shape us. They can shift, upset and remake the nurturing of cradles; but also cradle us in cycles of wreckage. Wind sets us free of places and times of origin. This detachment can bring freedom, a sense of loss/lostness, and the many things in between. The freedom/loss/lostness spiral whirls with the wind and transforms. In surrendering to it we can alter its pace to our needs and desires.
Every couple of years, an inspired group of people, led by the editors of AwaaZ Magazine (www.awazmagazine.com), organise a festival in Nairobi, Kenya, that goes by the name ‘SAMOSA’—South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts— bringing together different communities through art, music, dance, film and discussions. In 2016, during the 7th biennial event, included was a colloquium organised in collaboration with the Department of Literature of the University of Nairobi. This unique collection of essays considers the issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in Kenya through an examination of literature, film, music, and theatre, providing reflections on women, statelessness and refugees.
A pleasant quick read on a complex subject of citizenship, identity and belonging. Ignites an interest in these issues as expounded in the arts and film. —Dr George Gona, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Nairobi.
This excellent compilation of papers by leading Kenyan academics, writers, public intellectuals and practitioners of various forms of art focuses on issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in literature, film, music and theatre. They cover a vast range of subjects that tell the story of Kenya’s past and present. —Ramnik Shah- Kenyan ex-lawyer who writes on migration and diaspora related subjects.
Muu-So is a story of creation. “To those willing to carry the clay pot, Muu, will be given the power balance and a sense of justice” proclaims the supreme deity, Maa Ngala Ba.” They will be named Muu-So, the pot carriers.” The story of creation has diverse interpretations across the world. This new story comes from the Sahel where one of the oldest civilisations once prevailed. It is a tale of the beauty of the process of creation and how it is also necessary to closely care for and love that which we are responsible for.
The book is aimed 5-12 years of age.
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
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
La présente publication du Réseau Pas de REDD en Afrique (No REDD in Africa Network) a pour but de démystifier le REDD, les projets de type REDD et toutes leurs variantes, et de montrer ce qu’ils sont vraiment : des mécanismes injustes conçus pour lancer une nouvelle phase de colonisation du continent africain. Les exemples présentés démontrent clairement que le REDD est une escroquerie et que les pollueurs savent qu’il leur permet d’acheter le « droit » de polluer.
First published in 1978, and winning the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize for that year, Finding a Voice established a new discourse on South Asian women’s lives and struggles in Britain. Through discussions, interviews and intimate one-to-one conversations with South Asian women, in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and English, it explored family relationships, the violence of immigration policies, deeply colonial mental health services, militancy at work and also friendship and love. The seventies was a time of some iconic anti-racist and working-class struggles. They are presented here from the point of view of the women who participated in and led them.
This new edition includes a preface by Meena Kandasamy, some historic photographs, and a remarkable new chapter titled ‘In conversation with Finding a Voice: 40 years on’ in which younger South Asian women write about their own lives and struggles weaving them around those portrayed in the book.
A great interview with Amrit Wilson in Montreal Serai (October 4, 2020).
‘This book is a wonderful, important and necessary reminder of all the black feminist work behind us and all that is left to do.’ —Sara Ahmed, feminist writer and independent scholar, and author of Living a Feminist Life
‘Finding a Voice acquires a new significance in this neoliberal era…an indispensable archive as well as a narrative of a past that is not past but reactivated and recast…’ —Kumkum Sangari, William F.Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
‘A ground-breaking book, as relevant today as it was in the seventies – and evidence, if ever such were needed, that the struggles of Asian, African and Caribbean women remain inextricably linked.’ —Stella Dadzie, founder member of OWAAD and author of Heart of the Race
‘Finding a Voice… was affirmation that our lives mattered, that our experiences with all their cultural complexities, mattered.’ —Meera Syal, British comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actress.
‘This new edition comes at a time…when we are experiencing the growth of the surveillance state and when our narratives are being co-opted and used against us. Finding a Voiceis not only welcome, it is necessary.’ — Marai Larasi, Director, Imkaan; Co-Chair of UK’s End Violence Against Women Coalition.
Amrit Wilson is a writer and activist on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. She is a founder member of South Asia Solidarity Group and the Freedom Without Fear Platform, and board member of Imkaan, a Black, South Asian and minority ethnic women’s organisation dedicated to combating violence against women in Britain. She was a founder member of Awaz and an active member of OWAAD. She is author, amongst other books, of Dreams Questions Struggles—South Asian women in Britain (Pluto Press 2006) and The Challenge Road: Women and the Eritrean revolution (Africa World Press 1991). The first edition of Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain won the the Martin Luther King Jr award.
It is the impact of oppression, racism and class which unifies South Asian women and the book comes at a time where we see the continued rise of the far right, misogyny, issues of class and the gig economy here and across the globe being played out in the media and perpetuated by male leaders going unchallenged by the state.
These new voices confirm how groundbreaking the book has been as a reference point for south Asian women now through listening to the voices of women from four decades ago, honouring their contribution and speaking in solidarity with them. As Wilson says in her introduction, it “reclaims our collective past as an act of resistance.”
An excellent read.
‘Reclaiming our collective past’: Amrit Wilson reflects on 40 years of anti-racist feminist work
By Sophia Siddiqui ARCHIVESPOLITICS 30th October 2018
The essays here contribute to developing and deepening an understanding of the ecological challenges ravaging Nigeria, Africa and our world today. They illustrate the global nature of these terrors. These essays are not meant just to enable for coffee table chatter: they are intended as calls to action, as a means of encouraging others facing similar threats to share their experiences.
Set out in seven sections, this book of 54 essays deals with deep ecological changes taking place primarily in Nigeria but with clear linkages to changes elsewhere in the world. The essays are laid out with an undergird of concerns that characterise the author’s approach to human rights and environmental justice advocacy. The first section rightly presents broad spectrum ecological wars manifesting through disappearing trees, spreading desertification, floods, gas flaring and false climate solutions.
You can read this book online for free.
The second section zeroes in on the different types of violence that pervade the oil fields of the Niger Delta and draws out the divisive power of crude oil by holding up Sudan as a country divided by oil and which has created a myriad of fissures in Nigeria. The exploitation of crude oil sucks not just the crude, it also sucks the dignity of workers that must work at the most polluting fronts.
Section three underscores the need for strict regulation of the fossil fuels sector and shows that voluntary transparency templates adopted by transnational oil companies are mere foils to fool the gullible and are exercises in futility as the profit driven corporations would do anything to ensure that their balance sheets please their top guns and shareholders. The fourth section builds up with examples of gross environmental misbehaviours that leave sorrow and blood in a diversity of communities ranging from Chile to Brazil and the United States of America.
Section five of the book is like a wedge in between layers of ecological disasters and extractive opacity. It takes a look at the socio-political malaise of Nigeria, closing with an acerbic look at crude-propelled despotism and philanthropic tokens erected as payment for indulgence or as some sort of pollution offsets.
The closing sections provide excellent analyses of the gaps and contortions in the regulatory regimes in Nigeria. It would be surprising if these were not met with resistance on the ground.
These essays provide insights into the background to the horrific ecological manifestations that dot the Nigerian environment and the ecological cancers spreading in the world. They underscore the fact there are no one-issue struggles. Working in a context where analyses of ecological matters is not the norm, decades of consistent environmental activism has placed the writer in good stead to unlock the webs that promote these scandalous realities.
Beyond the critique of neo-liberalism, there is therefore a pressing need to reflect about alternatives that will help Africa back out of this dead-end and find its own path. This is the perspective adopted by this book edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla, which compiles contributions of experts on Africa’s development issues. Can democracy help to achieve the changes that Africans aspire to? If yes, under what conditions? Otherwise, what is the alternative?
Edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla
The engaging and wide-ranging discussions published here explore contemporary political realities in Africa through a ‘social movement’ lens.
Detailing the nuances of social movement politics in 12 West African countries during the 2010-2013 period, they present a chronicle of the socio-political struggles that have taken place in the region. In so doing, this volume answers key questions related to these movements. What logic drives them? What forms do they take? What has been their political impact? Can we speak of a resurgence of social movements? If so, are these a response to the crisis of ‘representative democracy’? Did they give rise to new forms of expression and democratic participation? What challenges do they bring?
Discontent vis-à-vis liberalism in its political and economic dimensions seems to be the trigger of the numerous popular uprisings and protests that occur in the region. In spite of their ambiguities and limitations, these struggles currently seek to remove a double disconnect: that between citizens and the ‘representatives’ and that between the economy and society, between what capital wants and what the people aspire to.
Ndongo Samba Sylla, the editor of this volume, is a Senegalese economist, programme and research manager at the West Africa Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Author of The Fair Trade Scandal. Marketing poverty to benefit the Rich (translated from French by Pluto Press 2014), he is the editor of “Rethinking Development” (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation 2014). His recent research work deals with the history of the word ‘democracy’.
Ibrahim Abdullah – Souley Adji – Kojo Opoku Aidoo – Francis Akindès – Alpha Amadou Bano Barry – Fernando Leonardo Cardoso – Lila Chouli – Modou Diome – Moussa Fofana – Cláudio Alves Furtado – George Klay Kieh Jr – Claus-Dieter König – Severin Yao Kouamé – Fodé Mane – Issa N’Diaye – Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem – Ndongo Samba Sylla
Edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla
This volume is a compendium of analytical contributions focusing on recent political developments (2014-early 2015) in West Africa. Major events are reviewed, ranging from the popular uprising in
Burkina Faso, which put an end to Blaise Compaoré’s regime after 27 years in power, to the crisis raging in northern Mali, the human tragedy associated with the Ebola epidemic and the adoption of economic emergence plans by many States in the region. A special focus was placed on the issue of State sovereignty over policies and resources, as well as the role of social movements. Despite the cyclical perspective adopted in the contributions, the underlying message is that West Africa is currently standing at a crossroads. The question is whether the region’s States will collectively manage to implement the necessary changes to meet the expectations of their respective peoples, which are primarily made up of youths whose patience is wearing thin in the wake of three decades of political and economic liberalisation.
Ibrahim Abdullah * Mamane Sani Adamou * Coffi Cyprien Aholou * Francis Akindès * Alpha Amadou Bano Barry * Fernando Leonardo Cardoso * Lila Chouli * Modou Diome * Elieth Eyebiyi * Cláudio Alves Furtado * George
Klay Kieh Jr. * Issa N’Diaye * Abdoulaye Saine * Ndongo Samba Sylla * Mary Akosua Torgbe * Joseph Koffi Nutefé Tsigbé * Seydina Ousmane Zina
Edited by Demba Moussa Dembele and Carlos Cardoso
This book is based on a conference held in October 2012, African Countries and the Franc Zone: Remaining in the Trap or Opting for Monetary Independence. It reviews the global context, characterized by the systemic crisis of capitalism and the questioning of its legitimacy in several regions of the world, particularly in the global South. It provides an overview the challenges of economic and monetary emancipation; the consequences of the Franc Zone and its implications for the development of African countries, including the analysis of the latter’s economic and social record; and reviews the experiences of countries that gained their monetary sovereignty and the lessons for the creation of a West African currency.
In addition to providing the proceedings of the conference, the book includes essays by Nicolas Agbohou, Sanou Mbaye, Demba Moussa Dembele, Mohamed Ben Omar Ndiaye, Yash Tandon and Lansana Keita.
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, revolutionary, poet, liberation philosopher, and leader of the independence movement of Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde. Cabral’s influence stretched well beyond the shores of West Africa. He had a profound influence on the pan-Africanist movement and the black liberation movement in the US.
In this unique collection of essays contemporary thinkers from across Africa and internationally commemorate the anniversary of Cabral’s assassination. They reflect on the legacy of this extraordinary individual and his relevance to contemporary struggles for self-determination and emancipation. The book serves both as an introduction, or reintroduction, to one whom global capitalism would rather see forgotten. Understanding Cabral sheds light on the necessity of grounding radical change in the creation of theory based on the actual conditions within which a movement is attempting to develop. Cabral’s theoretical ideas and revolutionary practice of building popular movements for liberation are assessed by each of the authors as critically relevant today. His well-known phrase “Claim no easy victories” resonates today no less than it did during his lifetime. The volume comprises sections on Cabral’s legacy; reflections on the relevance of his ideas; Cabral and the emancipation of women; Cabral and the pan-Africanists; culture and education; and Cabral’s contribution to African American struggles. A selected bibliography provides an overview of Cabral’s writings and of writings about Cabral.
Senai Abraha * Makungu M. Akinyela * Kali Akuno * Samir Amin * David Austin * Ajamu Baraka * Jesse Benjamin * Angela Davis * Demba Moussa Dembélé * Jacques Depelchin * Mustafah Dhada * Jean-Pierre Diouf * Miguel de Barros *Aziz Fall * Grant Farred * Bill Fletcher Jr * Mireille Fanon-Mendès France * Hashim Gibril * Nigel C. Gibson * Patricia Godinho Gomes * Lewis Gordon * Adrian Harewood * Augusta Henriques * Wangui Kimari * Redy Wilson Lima * Ameth Lo * Richard A. Lobban, Jr * Filomeno Lopes * Brandon Lundy * Firoze Manji * Perry Mars * Bill Minter * Explo Nani-Kofi * Barney Pityana * Maria Poblet * Reiland Rabaka * Asha Rodney * Patricia Rodney * Carlos Schwarz * Helmi Sharawy * Olúfémi Táíwò * Walter Turner * Stephanie Urdang * Chris Webb * Nigel Westmaas * Amrit Wilson