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  • 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

  • Partisan Universalism: Essays in Honour of Ato Sekyi-Otu

    This book is a dedication to Ato Sekyi-Otu, the professor, mentor, and scholar. His students, collogues and admirers have penned appreciation and critique of his writing, theories and extended implications of his decades of work. Sekyi-Otu’s most notable texts that are taken issue in this series are Fanon’s Dialectic of Experience (1996) and Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays (2019). The authors provide commentary and engage in perspectives that Sekyi-Otu provides a foundation for.  The paradox of “left universalism” and “Africacentric” becomes a possible strategy in crafting an unrestricted, critically informed conception of recognition in the context of Indigenous, post-colonial African or Asian studies and oppressed groups of people. Sekyi-Otu’s idiosyncratic structural alignment to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit brings to light other interconnectivities such as Hegel’s undergird to the development of Fanonian ethnopsychiatry and the history of rationality. Sekyi-Otu helps readers better understand the tradition of political philosophy as a praxis for those who draw on his understandings of humanism and the complexities of universalist thought. His teachings impress upon us to think beyond the foundationalist claims of anticolonial theory and practice and the writers of this series have graciously taken his teaching to meet the questions of many contemporary and historical socio-political cleavages of thought.


    CONTENTS

    Preface by Ato Seyki-Otu

    • Introduction

    • Fanon for a post-imperial world:
 On universals and other human matters – Stephan Kipfer
    • The Sea Menagerie:
 Esi Edugyan’s Atlantic – Patrick Taylor
    • Reconsidering Fanon’s
language of recognition
in Indigenous studies – Sophie McCall
    • On Fanon and Lacan:
 Continuities and structural psychiatry – Gamal Abdel-Shehid
    • Aimé Césaire’s
 Two ways to lose yourself:
 The Exception and the rule – Jeremy M Glick
    • Universality:
 Notes towards rethinking
the history of philosophy – Esteve Morera
    • Husserl and Tran Duc Thao:
 Crisis, renewal, and
the ontology of possibility – Tyler Gasteiger
    • Can Kwame Gyekye’s
 moderate communitarianism take
the individual seriously? – Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
    • Speaking for, speaking through, speaking with – Jeff Noonan
    • ‘Innocuous Nihilism’, social reproduction
and the terms of partisanship – Susan Dianne Brophy
    • Universalism and immanent critique in
’The End of Progress and Left Universalism’ – Christpher Balcom
    • About the contributors

  • Extracting Profit: Imperialism, Neoliberalism and the New Scramble for Africa

    This African Edition of Extracting Profit is available only in East Africa at www.zandgraphics.com
    The original version was published by Haymarket Books and can be ordered here

    A piercing historical explanation for poverty and inequality in African societies today, and social impact of resource-driven growth.

    A piercing historical explanation of poverty and inequality in African societies today and the social impact of resource-driven growth, Extracting Profit explains why Africa, in the first decade and a half of the twenty-first century, has undergone an economic boom. Rising global prices in oil and minerals have produced a scramble for Africa’s natural resources, led by investment from U.S., European and Chinese companies, and joined by emerging economies from around the globe. African economies have reached new heights, even outpacing rates of growth seen in much of the rest of the world. Examined through the lens of case studies of the oil fields of the Niger River Delta, the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline and the East African infrastructure boom, this period of “Africa rising” did not lead to the creation of jobs, but has instead fueled the extraction of natural resources, profits accruing to global capital, and an increasingly wealthy African ruling class.

    Extracting Profit argues that the roots of today’s social and economic conditions lie in the historical legacies of colonialism and the imposition of so-called “reforms” by global financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The chokehold of debt and austerity of the late twentieth century paved the way for severe assaults on African working classes through neoliberal privatization and deregulation. And while the scramble for Africa’s resources has heightened the pace of ecological devastation, examples from Somalia and the West African Ebola outbreak reveal a frightening surge of militarization on the part of China and the U.S.

    Yet this “new scramble” has not gone unchallenged. With accounts of platinum workers’ struggles in South Africa, Nigerian labor organizing and pro-democracy upheavals in Uganda and Burkina Faso, Extracting Profit offers several narratives of grassroots organizing and protest, pointing to the potential for resistance to global capital and fundamental change, in Africa and beyond.


    Reviews
    • “Lee Wengraf’s Extracting Profit – Imperialism, Neoliberalism and The New Scramble for Africa is at once historical and contemporary. It unpacks ongoing resource crimes by analytically exposing its historical roots and pointing to ways by which the oppressed can cut off the bonds that lock in their subjugation.” —Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation

      “Lee Wengraf provides an important reminder that Africa’s position within the world economy is heavily determined by its unequal insertion into the global capitalist system and ongoing manifestations of imperialism.” –James Chamberlain, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute

      “Lee Wengraf’s Extracting Profit provides a breathtakingly detailed account and analysis of some of the major socioeconomic ills that have been plaguing Africa for centuries. Amongst the host of issues she tackles, arguably the most consequential are mass poverty in African societies, their indefensible economic inequalities and the steady plundering of the continent’s resources, starting from the slave-trade era up till the present-day.” –Remi Adekoya, Review of African Political Economy

      “Extracting Profit offers several narratives of grassroots organizing and protest, pointing to the potential for resistance to global capital and fundamental change, in Africa and beyond.” Developing Economics

      “Evidently, this book is well-researched and it contributes to the expansion of the frontiers of Marxist scholarship on Africa’s development dilemma within the global capitalist order. This book lends credence to the pioneering works of such notable radical scholars as Andre Gunder Frank, Walter Rodney, and Samir Amin among several others. It should be read by students and teachers of political economy, development studies, Marxism and philosophy.” Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

      Extracting Profit provides a great arch of scutiny from the earliest carve-up of the African continent, through colonialism, war, imperialism, to the recent neoliberal takeover. The book demonstrates the continued importance of Marxist analysis on the continent, asserting the centrality of class analysis and a project of revolutionary change. Wengraf provides us with a major contribution, that highlights contemporary developments and the role of China on the African continent that has perplexed and baffled scholars. An indispensable volume.” —Leo Zeilig, author of Frantz Fanon: The Militant Philosopher of Third World Revolution

      “The history of resource frontiers everywhere is always one of lethal violence, militarism, empire amidst the forcing house of capital accumulation. Lee Wengraf in Extracting Profit powerfully reveals the contours of  Africa’s 21st century version of this history.  The scramble for resources, markets, and investments  have congealed into a frightening militarization across the continent, creating and fueling the conditions for further political instability. Wengraf documents how expanded American, but also Chinese, presence  coupled with the War on Terror,  point to both the enduring rivalry among global superpowers across the continent and a perfect storm of resource exploitation. Wengraf offers up a magisterial synopsis of the challenges confronting contemporary Africa.” —Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley

      “One of the most well-known stylized facts of Africa’s recent growth experience is that it has been inequality-inducing in ways that previous growth spurts were not. Lee Wengraf, in her new book Extracting Profit , expertly utilises the machinery of Marxian class analysis in making sense of this stylized fact. Along the way we learn much about Africa’s historical relationship with imperialism and its contemporary manifestations. This book should be required reading for all those who care about Africa and its future.” —Grieve Chelwa, Contributing Editor, Africa Is A Country

      “In recent years countries in the African continent have experienced an economic boom—but not all have benefited equally. Extracting Profit is a brilliant and timely analysis that explodes the myth of “Africa Rising,” showing how neoliberal reforms have made the rich richer, while leaving tens of millions of poor and working class people behind. Lee Wengraf tells this story within the context of an imperial rivalry between the United States and China, two global superpowers that have expanded their economic and military presence across the continent. Extracting Profit is incisive, powerful, and necessary: If you read one book about the modern scramble for Africa, and what it means for all of us, make it this one.” —Anand Gopal, author, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes

      “Thorough and thoughtful, Wengraf’s book has a radical depth that underscores its significance. It’s definitely a must-read for anyone who cherishes an advanced knowledge on the exploitation of Africa as well as the politics that undermines Africa’s class freedom.” —Kunle Wizeman Ajayi, Convener, Youths Against Austerity and General Secretary of the United Action for Democracy, Nigeria

      “Extracting Profit is a very important book for understanding why the immense majority of the African population remain pauperised, despite impressive growth rates of mineral-rich countries on the continent. It continues the project of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. And in several ways, it also goes beyond it, capturing the changing dynamics of global capitalism 45 years after Rodney’s magnus opus.

      In this book, Lee Wengraf debunks the myth of “Africa Rising” and the supposed expansion of an entrepreneurial middle-class, revealing “reforms” imposed by international financial institutions as mechanisms for fostering imperialism in an era of sharpening contradictions of the global capitalist economy. The adverse social, economic, political and environmental impact of these are elaborated on as a systemic whole, through the book’s examination of the sinews of capital’s expansion in the region: the extractive industries.

      But, Wengraf does not stop at interrogating the underdevelopment of Africa. Her book identifies a major reason for the failures of national liberation projects: while the working masses were mobilised to fight against colonial domination, the leadership of these movements lay in the hands of aspiring capitalists, and intellectuals. The urgency of the need for a strategy for workers’ power internationally, she stresses correctly, cannot be overemphasized.

      Reading Extracting Profit would be exceedingly beneficial for any change-seeking activist in the labour movement within and beyond Africa.” —Baba Aye, editor, Socialist Worker (Nigeria)

  • Fanon Today: Reason and Revolt of the Wretched of the Earth

    Edited by Nigel C Gibson

    Frantz Fanon died sixty years ago in December 1961. In less than a decade, from 1952 to 1961, he wrote three books (Black Skin White Masks, (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961)) that have become recognized as classics of decolonization. After nearly four years working at Blida-Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in colonial Algeria, he officially joined the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) and began working full-time for the Algerian revolution while continuing his work as a psychiatrist in Tunis, where he opened a day hospital in 1958. Later, he became part of the Provisional Algerian Government (GPRA) as Ambassador to Ghana and represented the GPRA across West and North Africa.

    The Wretched of the Earth reflected his ongoing philosophy about liberation. What would become “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness” was presented to the National Liberation Army at Ghardimao on the Algerian-Tunisian border. Notes from psychiatric cases, as well as his critique of the Algeria school of ethnopsychiatry, would be reframed in the chapter, “Colonial Wars and Mental Disorders,” and his presentation at The Congress of Black Writers and Artists conference in Rome was included in his chapter “On National Culture.” The presentation opened with the words, “each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.”

    If these words are but one expression of the Fanonian measure, then the ideas this book offers revolve around the importance of Fanon thought to the various peoples and cultures being subjugated by colonialization. How can Fanon help them in their quest to be free from subjugation? Alongside the courage of all those participating in these movements, counter-revolution, most brutally seen in its almost permanent state in Syria, aided by global and regional powers, demands a real reckoning.

    Fanon was one of the first theorists of the anticolonial revolution to warn that the counter-revolution was not simply external. It is importantly internal and often aided by neo-colonial forces. Fanon found that one of the greatest weaknesses of anticolonial movements was their failure to consider, let alone create, a genuinely decolonized society, because they lacked an explicit revolutionary-humanist philosophy grounded in the experience of the masses. The tragedy of the anticolonial struggles, Fanon argues, is framed by the macro-political outlooks of the anticolonial movement leaders, and by the intellectuals who fetishize political power and see taking over the colonial apparatus as their prize. Fanon’s insights have proved essential to our understanding of the failure of countless anticolonial struggles. From our present retrogressive reality, this book demands that we recast our vision and ask: What might this generation of intellectual revolutionaries and social movements ask of Fanon, and what might have Fanon asked of them?

    If we wish to move forward, everything, Fanon writes in The Wretched, needs to be thought out again, and new beginnings should be fashioned in line with those caught up in local struggles. This return to the people is by no means transparent, Fanon warns, because demoralization has been buried deep by years of colonization. He insists that “the sense of time must no longer be that of the moment or the next harvest but rather that of the rest of the world.”  Fanon’s sharp critique of the wreckage wrought in the name of humanity does not tempt him to reject ideas of humanism as the master’s tools; rather, his quest, “new humanism,” is evoked throughout his work and makes especially relevant arguments for radical activists who are committed to promoting social change, dignity and equality.

    Sixty years is a long time in the afterlife of any thinker, and for Fanon, who was for many years dismissed not only as a humanist and advocate of violence but also as simply passé, the veracity and indeed recent popularity of his thought has been reflected in both the new editions and translations of his work. This collection will further develop some of the latest thinking on Fanon by asking questions from another standpoint—as Fanon called it, the “rationality of revolt.” Fanon reminds us in The Wretched of the Earth that the anticolonial intellectuals, enamoured with state politics and state power as the object of politics, often deny these movements any traction. At best, popular revolts are viewed as supporters for elitist plans, so, as Fanon puts it, any criticisms become quickly silenced. What unites the attitudes of some left critics, as well as those of local and state governments, is the idea that the poor cannot speak for themselves; indeed, when they speak out they must be speaking for other interests and forces. The nationalist intellectuals, Fanon argues, is incapable of rationalizing popular praxis because of their “incapacity to attribute it any reason” (2004: 97).  This idea is essential to Fanon’s critique in The Wretched of the Earth, as he emphasizes a dialectical relationship between thought and activity. This is the essence of what I have called “Fanonian practices.” In Fanonian Practices in South Africa: From Steve Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo I argued that just as revolutionary thought and the development of new concepts in conversation with Fanon, such as Black Consciousness in South Africa, can give radical action its direction, mass movements, often from outside of the realm of the political give direction to radical theoreticians. The engagements with Fanon in Fanon Today: The Revolt and Reason of the Wretched of the Earth begins from these spaces—by shifting the geography of reason to the revolt of the discounted and marginalized. This collection will ask and answer the question: How can Fanon help think through and understand the myriad global crises we confront?


    Table of Contents

    Introduction: The Rising of the Damned

    PART I. FANONIAN MILITANTS

    1. The Particular Lived Experience of the Black in Portugal
    Flavio Zenun Almada

    2. Black Mind in Motion
    Gene Reid

    3. Setting Afoot of a New People: Prison Intellectuals, New Afrikan Communism and the Making of Meditations on Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth
    Toussaint Losier

    4. Looking for Justice in a Compartmentalized World: Mothers and Police Killings in Kenya
    Wangui Kimari

    5. From ‘Caliban’ to ‘Cockroaches’: The Construction of Profane Space, Wretched Others and Political Agency in a Postcolonial ‘Ghetto’ Johannah-Rae Reyes and Levi Gahman

    6. The Power of Abahlali and Our Living Politic Has Been Built with Our Blood
    S’bu Zikode

    7. Fanon and Palestine: The struggle for justice as the core of mental health
    Samah Jabr and Elizabeth Berger

    8. Reading the Term ’White Syrian’ through Fanon: An Anti-Colorist Feminist Critique
    Razan Ghazzawi

    9. Voice of the Revolution: Radio and Women’s Empowerment
    Annette Rimmer

    PART II. STILL FANON

    10. Pakistan The Immediacy of Frantz Fanon
    Ayyaz Mallick

    11. All Quiet in this Non-Settler-Postcolony
    Ato Sekyi-Otu

    12. The Still Wretched of the Earth: A Critique of Imaginary Decoloniza- tion
    David Pavón-Cuéllar

    13. Of Signs, Symptoms, and Stereotypes: Fanon, Institutional Racism, and Institutional Subjectivity
    Miraj U. Desai

    14. Fanon, Movement and Self-Movement
    Nigel C. Gibson

    PART III. FANONIAN PRACTICES

    Section A: Fanonian Homes

    15. When Black Liberation Mattered: Frantz Fanon in the Theory and Practice of Pan-Africanism in the Black Power Era, 1965-1975
    Lou Turner and Kurtis Kelley

    16. Fanon, Postcolonial Criticism and Theory: Notes in Latin American Contexts
    Alejandro de Oto

    17. “‘Ó Bhun Aníos’: The Irish Language Revival in the North of Ireland Power, Resistance and Decolonisation
    Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh

    18. Generals to the Dustbin, Algeria Will Be Independent The New Alger- ian Revolution as a Fanonian Moment
    Hamza Hamouchene

    19. Discussing Fanon
    Abahlali baseMjondolo and Nigel C. Gibson

    Section B: Fanonian Practices in Brazil

    20. The Influence of Frantz Fanon’s Thought on Black Female Intellectual Production in Brazil
    Rosemere Ferreira da Silva

    21. The Wretched by COVID-19 and the Colonial Faces of Black Genocide in Brazil
    Deivison Faustino

    22. Territorializing Existence as Resistance: a Fanonian Reading on the Munduruku and the Riverside Peoples Collective Self-determination Processes in Amazonia
    Léa Tosold

  • Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence and Decolonization

    A collection of both historic and new writings on the nexus of strategic unarmed resistance, radical ideologies, and the long struggles to build movements for justice and liberation. Beginning with the work of Gandhi, Arendt and Thoreau, the volume grounds the theories which undergird nonviolent resistance to capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.

    The volume includes two sections exploring nonviolence in the long Black freedom struggle within the US. From Ella Baker to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer, from Vincent Harding and Grace Lee Boggs to Colin Kaepernick, the two sections on the Black liberation movement highlight the theory of nonviolence in direct and indirect ways and foreground the relevance of these historic texts for the present moment of political uprisings on both the left and the right. Black strategies for survival and power are analyzed in terms of the ongoing US economic and epidemiological crises as well as the global climate crisis and ecological collapse. A section on revolutionary nonviolence in Africa presents a previously unpublished piece on the role of armed struggle by Franz Fanon, as well as essays by Amilcar Cabral, Barbara Deming, Graca Machel, Kenneth Kaunda, and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge  This section clearly contextualizes the continent’s anti-colonial struggles with the practical thinking about military and unarmed tactics which those movements faced over the course of a half century.

    The section on nonviolence and feminist struggle highlights the work of Grace Paley, Audre Lorde, and Arundhati Roy, along with a little-read piece by Johnnie Tilmon, a leader of the 1960s welfare rights movement. The section on resistance against empire tilts toward Latin American scholars/activists with essays by Maria Lugones, Anibla Quijano and Berta Caceres. This section includes pieces that draw from current debates about the role of state power in building towards radical change and the push to build holistic perspectives on what liberation means for all peoples. The final section on social change in the 21st Century reflects on specific aspects of organizing which are facing campaigns and movements of today and tomorrow. Our goal is to provide challenges and insights for building effectively against all forms of oppression!

    Though primarily compiling key texts not often seen or contextualized together, the book also provides new strategic commentaries from key leaders including Ela Gandhi, Ruby Sales, ecofeminist Ynestra King, Africa World Press’ Kassahun Checole, and Palestinian Quaker Joyce Ajlouney. With a mix of past and current commentaries, from both academic and activist points of view, we uncover fault lines which have prevented mass, global movements of movements from solidifying over the last fifty years. Through this narrative, the book ends with visions of how best to use all that we know to bring about deeply rooted transformations in ways that will lift up not traumatize people as they move toward liberation.


    CONTENTS

    Foreword by Joyce Aljouni, Secretary-General, American Friends Service Committee

    Section 1: Contemporary Roots of Radical Nonviolence: Before and Beyond Gandhi (Intro by Ela Gandhi, Former Member of Parliament, South Africa
    o Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”
    o Hannah Arendt, Excerpt for “On Violence”
o Gandhi, “What is Satyagraha”
o Pyarelal, “Gandhi’s Communism”
    o Matt Meyer, “Total Revolution: Resistance, Blass and the 21st Century Relevance of JP Narayan and Narayan Desai”
    o Milan Rai, “Taking Gandhi with a Pinch of Salt”
    o Arundhati Roy, “When the Saints Go Marching Out”
    o Starhawk, “Reclaiming Nonviolence from Gandhian Puritanism”

    Section 2: So-Called “Civil Rights”: True Roots of the US Black-led Freedom Movement (Intro by Ruby Sales, Founder of Spirit House and Original SNCC Activist)
    o ML King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam”
o James Cone, “Martin and Malcom on Nonviolence and Violence”
    o Vincent Harding, “So Much History, So Much Future”
    o Ella Baker, “Bigger Than a Hamburger”
o Grace Lee Boggs, “The Beloved Community of MLK”
    o Fannie Lou Hamer, “Testimony Before the Credentials Committee, DNC 1964

    Section 3: Self-determination, Self-defense, and the Rise of Black Power (Intro by Barbara Smith, Kitchen Table Women of Color Press and Co-Author of Combahee River Collective Statement
    o Ragland, Meyer and Jeffers, “Refusing to Choose between Martin and Malcolm”
    o SNCC, “Black Power: A Position Paper”
o Simmons, “Truly Human”
o Dellinger, Williams, King, “Are Pacifists Willing to be Negroes?”
    o Paisely, “Bayard Rustin: A Unique, Clandestine and Enduring Queer Leader of the CRM”
    o Sally Bermanzohn, “Violence, Nonviolence and the CRM”
o Pulley, “We will Create our Freedom: The Importance of the Movement for Black
    Lives Platform”
    o Colin Kaepernick, “Amnesty International Speech”
    o Maroon Shoatz (with Steve Bloom), “Rage”

    Section 4: Revolutionary Nonviolence in Africa: Playing Between the Cracks (Intro by Kassahun Checole, Founder and CEO of Africa World/Red Sea Press)
    o Graca Machel, “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”
    o Franz Fanon, “Why We Use Violence”
    o Barbara Deming, “On Revolution and Equilibrium”
    o Amilcar Cabral, “Message to the People of Portugal”
o Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer, selections from Guns and Gandhi in Africa
    o Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, “Ubuntu and the World Today”
    o Kenneth Kaunda, “The Riddle of Violence”

    Section 5: “Combative Pacifism” Against Patriarchy: Feminist Critiques of Movement-Building (Intro by Ynestra King, Ecofeminist Author)
    o Skolkin-Smith, “Grace”
    o Women’s Pentagon Action Unity Statement
o Arundhati Roy, “Come September”
    o Audre Lorde, “Uses of Anger”
o Barbara Deming, “On Anger”
    o Johnnie Tilmon, “Welfare is a Woman’s Issue”
    o Beth Ritchie, “How Anti-Violence Activism Taught Me to be a Prison Abolitionist”
    o Nazan Ustundag, “The Wounds of Afrin, the Promise of Rojava”
o Leslie Feinberg, “Trans Liberation: A Movement Whose Time has Come”
o Andrea Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”

    Section 6: Resistance Against Empire (Intro by Wende Marshall)
    o Wende Marshall, “Tasting Earth” (excerpts)
o Anibal Quijano, “Coloniality and Power”
    o Martin, Johanson and Meyer, “Nonviolence Against Imperialism”
    o Maria Lugones, “Towards a Decolonial Feminism”
o Berta Caceres, “Goldman Prize Acceptance Speech”
o Hillary Klein, “A Spark of Hope: The Ongoing Lessons of the Zapatista
    Revolution 25 Years On”
    o Aimee Carillo Rowe, “Queer Indigenous Manifesto”
    o Haunani-Kay Trask, “Notes of a Native Daughter”

    Section 7: Revolutionary Nonviolence in the 21rst Century (Intro by Wende Marshall and Matt Meyer)
    o “People’s Strike and the Uprising Open Letter” (and PS Demands)
o “Jackson Rising Redux”: A Dialogue with Kali, Saki, Joshua, Rose, Wende and Matt
    o John Holloway, “A Cascade of Angers…Along the Road to Hope”
o Hilda Lloréns, “From Extractive Agriculture to Industrial Waste Periphery: Life in a Black-Puerto Rican Ecology”
    o Jai Sen, et al, “On Removing the Black: International Perspectives on the Movements of Movements”
    o Nick Estes, “The Empire of All Maladies: Colonial Contagions and Indigenous Resistance”
    o Wende Marshall, “To be Black, To Simply Live: The Burden of Revolutionary Nonviolence”

    Conclusion: “Why Outrage is Not Enough,” Wende Marshall and Matt Meyer

     

  • Religion, Politics, Science and Society: A progressive primer

    RELIGION DENOTES A SPIRITUALLY elevated moral disposition. Yet, religious strife is a rising and disturbing feature of the present era. It is a world-wide phenomenon. Hardly a region or religion is exempt as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists fight against perceived adversaries. Denominations of particular religions battle each other too. As sharp lines are drawn over key issues, room for reconciliation evaporates. National leaders enter the fray, adding fuel to the fire. Arms are taken up. Violence ensues and people suffer. What causes such confrontations? Are they purely faith based conflicts? Have they always existed? Can they be resolved and prevented? Can we reconcile religion with science, or are they to remain perpetual foes, thus promoting further social divisions? The belief that these questions are too critical to be left to experts—theologians, historians or sociologists—is what motivated me to write this book. The author does not write from the vantage point of a particular religion or as a specialist. He writes as a fairly informed humanist who fully respects the inalienable right of any person to practice the religion of his or her own choice. The goal is to explore the interrelationship between religion, politics and society by employing evidence and reason while avoiding bias towards any system of divine faith or the lack of it. He adds to the work of others, but does not present original research findings. Rather, he distills a broad range of existing historical and modern material in an interdisciplinary fashion. By combining usually dispersed material, his aim is to portray modern day religious conflicts in the context of other conflicts and tendencies in human society. This book presents an analysis of globally important religions and secular ways of thought that can provide a basis for people with different perspectives to engage with each other in a peaceful and hopefully productive manner.


    Table of contents

    1. Acronyms
    2. Preface
    3. Religion
    4. Five Religions
    5. Method
    6. Origins
    7. Hinduism
    8. Buddhism
    9. Christianity
    10. Islam
    11. Humanism
    12. Eugenics
    13. Science
    14. Mathematics
    15. Pandemic
    16. Finale
    17. Chapter Sources
    18. References
    19. Author Profile
  • People Resisting Xenophobic Violence: Understanding popular political responses to the South African identitarian crisis

    The book is concerned with popular responses to the crisis of xenophobic violence in South Africa. It argues, that xenophobia itself is not primarily a reaction to poverty, inequality, or any other set of social conditions. Rather, xenophobia must be considered to be a collective political discourse which has arisen in post-apartheid South Africa from an exclusionary conception of state nationalism. Where this work may be distinguished from the majority of research on xenophobia in South Africa is in the fact that its particular focus is on instances where ‘ordinary’ South Africans have challenged and resisted xenophobic violence in their communities through collective political mobilisation. I suggest that these sites of resistance deserve careful consideration in their own right. I argue that they may demonstrate a subjective break with the oppressive politics of state nationalism through the affirmation of alternative political conceptions. Drawing on the political theory of Sylvain Lazarus, and his principal thesis that people are capable of thinking politics in ways which can subjectively think beyond the social and the extant (underscored by his political and methodological axiom, people think), the book will argue that these sites of resistance show that people – and especially those who are considered to be marginalised from the domain of legitimate politics – can and do think politically, and it is in the thought of people that new and potentially emancipatory visions of politics may emerge.

    The first chapter of the book sets out empirically the rise of xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa, with a focus on the ways in which state politics and practices have produced a hegemonic xenophobic discourse in the country. Chapter Two situates this discussion within a review of the academic literature, arguing that sociological explanations are by themselves unable to account for the phenomenon.

    Chapter Three discusses three sites in which xenophobia has been effectively contested through collective political mobilisation: by Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Merafong Demarcation Forum (MDF) in Guateng in 2008, and in the Unemployed people’s Movement (UPM) in Grahamstown (now Makhanda) in 2015 (where I conducted fieldwork over a year). It is argued that the presence of collective political organisation before the outbreak of xenophobic violence provided the conditions for an effective challenge to xenophobic politics to occur.

    Chapter Four is largely theoretical, drawing primarily on the work of Sylvain Lazarus, as well as Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière. The chapter argues that it is essential to insist on politics as subjective, as it is only in the thought of people that emancipatory modes of politics which exceed socially located interests may emerge and be constituted through collective mobilisation into political praxis.

    Chapter Five sets out the methodological approach to my own research with members of the Unemployed People’s Movement in Grahamstown. The aim of the approach is to aid in the investigation of what Sylvain Lazarus has called ‘subjective singularities’, or specific forms of thinking which characterize a political sequence. Put simply, the approach endeavours to try to understand people’s thinking on its own terms, through the categories and idioms which are specific to that subjective singularity, and which cannot be sociologically reduced to external explanatory referents such as class, race, power, or identity. The aim is to be able to identify and elucidate the specific prescriptive thought which may emerge as people think and articulate their own struggles.

    Chapter Six sets out my discussions with 18 UPM activists. Based on the methodological approach indicated above, the purpose of this empirical chapter was not to provide any form of ethnography or sociology of the movement, but to try and elucidate, through the activists’ own categories, the subjective singularity which underpinned the movement’s anti-xenophobic politics during a particular sequence. The aim is not to extrapolate from the activists’ statements concepts, cases or types which might have broader application for the study of xenophobia generally, but only to try to understand and elucidate the forms of thinking which characterised this particular sequence in its subjective singularity. These forms of thinking, I argue, are notable and important in their own right.

    [Note: Additional material from the interviews with the UPM members, which I was not able to include in the MA thesis, will be incorporated into the book manuscript to extend and develop the investigation into the political thinking of UPM members and to delineate the character of the political sequence].

  • Role of African People in World Development

    As African people most of us are brought up to believe many myths about ourselves. One of these is that we are poor because we never grew out of the dark ages. Another such myth is that we will always need European guidance because of our backwardness. Not only has there been a lot of research done within the last few decades disproving these myths but the constant forward and backward motions of various societies in the world proves that a new beginning is always “in the cards” when a forward-looking vision and a determined set of energies are released.

    However, to be properly understood, all this must be put into historical perspective. This is what the author has done: starting from the early days of Egypt down to present day Southern Africa, he has analysed the long journey from development to underdevelopment and back towards development. The fact that European/North American domination has played such a large part in influencing the direction of this path, this manuscript is about both the history of African and European people as well as an economic analysis of foreign domination.

    Given the extensive nature of this task the author has deliberately downplayed statistics as most of the empirical details stated are taken from the research work of reputable scholars, reference to which is constantly engendered, so that the reader could independently pursue the documentation of all aspects of the work.

    Frederick Engels, the classical socialist philosopher, reflecting on the nature of scientific thinking stated:

    The analysis of nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects into definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organic bodies in their manifold forms, these are the fundamental conditions of the gigantic stride of our knowledge of Nature… But this method of work has also left us as legacy, the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, apart from the connection with the vast whole; of observing them in repose, not in motion; as constants, not as essential variables; in their death, not in their life.”[i]

    Most of the facts and events  have been documented in numerous scholarly writings. But one item of his concern is that most of these works have in one way or other fallen prey to Engels’s criticism, either on grounds of limited geography or of limited history (tackling only a short period). However, what is more usual for the more bourgeois–influenced scholars is to limit their scope to one or two of the arbitrarily imposed “disciplines” of Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, etc.

    Of course, it is understandable that the two types of limitations (geography and history) are not made without reason, as no one person could hope to cover a broad enough scope in a detailed and rigorous manner especially within easily readable limits. However, the need of scientists especially when covering as important a topic as the development process, to produce a work covering the broadest possible perspective.

    Given limited resources, the author has attempted to do just that – albeit in an introductory manner. It is his hope, however,  that more people start viewing development as a broad, holistic process and not just a phenomenon limited in space and time to economics or even political-economy. In this regard, the annual compilation of The Human Development Index by the UNDP whereby countries worldwide are ranked, not merely by GDP per capita – as is usually cited in classical bourgeois economics – but by Life expectancy, Fertility and Under-five Mortality Rates, Combined School Enrolment, Adult Literacy Rate, Urbanisation, and (generally) by a Human Poverty Index. This approach can only be viewed as a step in the right direction.

    An extra bonus for readers is that I have included quotes from a cross-section of classical scholars on the development process. Hence, readers can follow up on these references to further edify themselves.

    [i] Frederick Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1892), 406.

  • Social Media and Capitalist Accumulation

    There have been numerous studies done on social media or communication in general. However, most of these studies have neglected a recent and critical element of social media- Social Media Commerce. The present book is one of the first books to focus strictly and solely upon this phenomenon of social accumulation of profits through promoting commercial activities on social media. In this regard, the book presents itself to be a pioneering study within Digital Capitalism Studies.

    The introduction will lay out the basics of how communication is being used by capitalism to further oppression and exploitation. It will primarily talk about digital capitalism and the relationship which digital capitalism shares with labour within the society. The introduction will provide a basic framework within which the subsequent chapters can be located. Some of the concepts and ideas which will be highlighted in the introduction are:

    1. Digital Capitalism
    2. Usage of Communication as a means of production
    3. Societal Alienation within digital capitalism
    4. The element of “Accumulation” within digital capitalism and its importance within capitalism.

    The introduction will also provide an overview of Marxist-Humanist theory along with a brief history of its formation. The chapter will initially highlight some of the aspects of the work of Raya Dunayevskaya, the pioneer of the Marxist-Humanist theory. Taking cue from that, the chapter will then mainly discuss Henri Lefebvre, Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm, especially the aspects of their work relevant to current book. The chapter will also point out theoretical advances made by contemporary Marxist-Humanists like Kevin Anderson and Peter Hudis.

    The first chapter looks at the element of social media commerce in general. It will, at first, explain the fundamental aspects of “Social Media Commerce” and its differences with other modes of digital commercial activities such as e-commerce websites and used-goods-digital storefronts. It will present a chronological description of the evolution of social media commerce, specifically ‘Facebook marketplace’. The chapter will explore the political economic perspective of this mode of commerce and its intersections with the revenue model based on targeted advertisements. The chapter will introduce some of the central concepts used in the book, namely:

    1. Social Media Commerce
    2. Real Subsumption
    3. Social Media as a techno-social system

    The second chapter will emphasise the theory of ‘property’. It will highlight the various theories regarding how property has been conceptualised.

    This chapter will lay out the differences between personal and private property within capitalist social structures. The chapter will take references primarily from Marx’s Capital (All 3 Volumes) along with some of Engels’ works. In addition, the chapter will also provide an overview of the anarchist idea of property, mainly focusing on Proudhon and his debate with Marx and Engels. The final section of this chapter will also outline a theory of ‘digital and information’ property, which will be engaged with in details

    The third chapter will focus on the usage of social media commerce within the Global North, primarily focusing on the study conducted by the author in Aotearoa New Zealand. The chapter will talk about how social crisis and human needs play a part in making these practices popular within the non-capitalist classes. Apart from the general results of the study which has used volunteer sampling and in-depth interviews to gather the qualitative data, two detailed accounts of social media commercial sellers will also be included. One of the two subjects of the study is an immigrant from the east, which will aid in establishing the relationship between race and social media commerce.

    The chapter will emphasise the concept of “Property” within capitalism and the relationship between personal and private property from a political economic perspective. The chapter will analyse the relationship between these digital platforms and the other tangible methods of profit accumulation within capitalist and semi-capitalist economies. Finally, the chapter will put forward how under real subsumption, contemporary capitalism has transformed itself by inventing new modes of accumulation, which hinge upon dissolving the differences between personal and private property holdings.

    The final pre-conclusive chapter attempts to provide an overview of how accumulation proceeds through social media within the Global South. This chapter will be primarily based on the study conducted by the author within the city of Hyderabad in India, with questions similar to those used in the case of the Global North. This chapter will emphasise upon the concept of “freedom” from a Hegelian-Marxist perspective and its manipulation within social media commerce by capitalism. The methodology adopted for the chapter will remain same as that of the previous chapter, i.e., volunteer sampling along with in-depth interviews, a rationale for which will be provided.

    The chapter will analyse, or rather evaluate, the various elements of socio-economic crisis and human needs, as laid out in the previous chapter, within the context of the Global South. In doing so, this chapter will present a comparative analysis of social media commerce and its associated processes within the Global North and the Global South. The chapter will emphasise the various aspects of social structures, which play a pivotal role within capitalist accumulation processes. Specifically speaking, the third chapter will be about creating an intellectual dialogue between the Global North and the Global South, in terms of the relevance and usage of social media commerce by capitalism in both the contexts.

    The conclusion will start with putting forward the importance of digital spaces within the general social space. Taking cue from this, the conclusion will talk about how abject alienation within the social spaces renders the alienation within these digital spaces invisible. The chapter will mainly focus on the perspectives developed by Raya Dunayevskaya and Henri Lefebvre, in putting forward a Marxist-Humanist account of contemporary capitalist exploitation within digital capitalism. The conclusion will bring out the importance of human subjectivity in addressing the questions of capitalist exploitation.

    The conclusion will also focus on the factors of the successes of models like AIRBNB, in the Global North, and Oyo Rooms, in India. By doing so the conclusion will present a causal relationship between social alienation and the success of these models of capitalist exploitation. At the end, the conclusion will proceed towards analysing the usage of established communicative networks by capitalism to exploit the working class both digitally and physically, and the need of addressing this mode of exploitation from a Marxist-Humanist perspective, which takes an adequate cognisance of both human subjectivity and political economy.


    Table of Contents

    Introduction: Marxist-Humanist Theory

    Chapter 1 Social Media and the Commerce Therein

    Chapter 2 The Theory of Property

    Chapter 3 Accumulation in the Global North

    Chapter 4 Accumulation in the Global South

    Conclusion: Marxist-Humanist Approach to the Issue

    Notes

    Appendices

    Bibliography

  • The White Savior Complex in International Development: Theory, Practice and Lived Experiences

    Uniting scholars and practitioners from around the world, this book will address white saviorism as one of the perennial underbelly challenges of the global development aid industry. The introduction by Kanakulya and Sondarjee will first develop the conceptual building blocks to understand white saviorism in international development. Section 1 will then address various theoretical issues such as false consciousness of white saviors, epistemological marginalization of black expertise, Islamophobia, and the links between whiteness and patriarchy. Section 2 will present personal accounts of how practitioners in the Global South have experienced white saviorism first-hand. The conclusion, written by Themrise Khan, will explore the implications of white saviorism for the future of international development practices. Overall, this book will analyze how development practices can undermine voices in the Global South and perpetuate a harsh myth of white superiority. The innovative chapters it encompasses will serve as a basis for more empirical work on white savior practices in international development.


    CONTENTS

    Section 1: Sociological and Philosophical Perspectives on White Saviorism in International Development

     Chapter 1. False Consciousness and the Phenomenology of a White Savior Dickson Kanakulya, Department of Philosophy, Makerere University

    Chapter 2. Islamophobia as a White Saviorism Leila Benhadjoudja, Assistant Professor, School of Anthropological and Sociological Studies, University of Ottawa

     Chapter 3.  Generous but Exploitative: Exploring White Saviorism, Neo-colonialism and the Right to Natural Resources in Uganda Robert Karuru, Lecturer, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Makerere University

     Chapter 4. The Matriarchy Complex. White Western Women in Development Themrise Khan, Independent Development Professional

     Chapter 5. Smoking White Saviorism Out of Development Theoria and Praxis: Epistemological underpinnings and Emancipatory Insights Kizito Michael George, Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Kyambogo University

     Chapter 6. Parallel Planet Destination for Donor and Recipients Interests Vianney Ahumuza, Lecturer, Department of Foundation Studies, Uganda Christian University

     Chapter 7. Illicit Financial Flows and the Corrupting Effect of White Saviorism on International Trade Donald Omong Mark, Researcher at CED4, Systems Dynamics Group, University of Palermo

    Chapter 8. White Saviorism in Aid Campaign, or how #KONY2012 Centered Western Experience Maïka Sondarjee, Assistant Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

     SECTION 2: “We Don’t Need to be Saved” An Anthology of Voices and Experiences from Development Practitioners in the Global South

     Chapter 9-16. Contributions from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa (TBD upon approval of the concept note by the publisher)

    CONCLUSION

    How to dismantle the White Savior Complex? Themrise Khan (ed)

  • 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.