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

     


    This is not a book to rush through, but one to savor as one would a fine wine.  The relevance of the analyses goes far beyond Southern Africa, and beyond Africa, but leads one to consider the dimensions and challenges faced by a 21st century emancipatory project.—Bill Fletcher, Jr., trade union activist and co-editor of Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy  of Amilcar Cabral.

    A tour de force from a scholar who exemplifies the value of praxis, in this volume John Saul encourages us as always to face grim realities while inspiring us to hope. Also: a cracking good read! — Shireen Hassim, Canada Research Chair, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. She is author of Women’s organizations and democracy in South Africa: Contesting authority.

    Both detailed and illuminating, this is a theoretically and historically grounded work from a veteran Marxist scholar on the major challenges facing the struggle for the genuine liberation of Africa. — Karim F Hirji, Tanzanian professor and scholar-activist, author of Under-Education in Africa.

    In his careful re-historicizing of so many political personalities and movements, past and present, John Saul has again demonstrated the essence of his prodigious career: more than six decades of a deeply reflected life of public intellectual activism and committed and brilliant Africanist scholarship. — Pablo Idahosa, Professor of African Studies and International Development Studies, York University, author of The Populist Dimension to African Political Thought: Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Julius Nyerere


    John S. Saul, born and first educated in Toronto, Canada, moved to Tanzania almost sixty years ago and, since then, has also taught in Mozambique and South Africa as well as back in Canada at York University. In Tanzania, he discovered the centrality of the war for freedom from white rule and global capitalist dictate then taking shape further south – in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Both his scholarly interest and his activist bent drew him to support and to seek to better understand the struggles in these nations-in-the-making, a political choice that now culminates in a final trilogy of books under the general title, The Rethinking Southern African Liberation Trilogy. The first volume of this trilogy, On Building a Social Movement: The North American Campaign for Southern African Liberation Revisited, was published by Africa World Press / Fernwood Books (2017). The present book is the second in that trilogy, with a third volume entitled Class, Race and the Thirty Years War for Southern African Liberation – A History set to conclude his work to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.

    Here, Saul’s extended first chapter lays out the broad premises of the thinking that has guided his endeavours, ideas that takes the core reality of economic production and exploitation centrally but that are alive to the tangible impact on outcomes of a wide range of other social realities, including class, race, gender, sexuality, nationalism, the environment, politics and the state. A second section covers the essential unity of theory and political practice that underpins Saul’s findings. And a third and final section paints illuminating pictures of some core aspects of the diverse regional contexts — sites of both recolonization and continuing struggle, and all contexts whose trajectories will be further explored in his forthcoming third volume.

  • 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

  • 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.

    And in an updated Preface, the author analyses the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and escalating climate emergency, as both the crises and resistance to extraction accelerate across the continent.


    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)

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

     


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

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

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

    Co-publisher: Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies

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

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

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

  • I am a man of peace: Writings inspired by the Maynooth University Ken Saro-Wiwa Collection

    This book marks the 25th anniversary of the execution of Nigerian activist and written Ken Saro-Wiwa. The 21 essays, by international contributors, and 42 poems by new and established poets, are inspired by his ideals and activism.

    The volume includes contributions by people intimately connected with Saro-Wiwa. His brother Dr Owens Wiwa recounts how his older brother awakened and nurtured his awareness of the tremendous damage Royal Dutch Shell was doing to their homeland, in collaboration with the then Nigerian military government. His firsthand account of the brutality of the military government and its impact; his unsuccessful efforts to save the life of his brother; his time in hiding and subsequent escape, with his family, from Nigeria and his efforts to retrieve the remains of his brother for burial, makes for very moving reading. Likewise, Noo Saro-Wiwa shares her story of growing up in England with strong links to family in Nigeria, and the trauma of hearing of her father’s execution while at University.

    Maynooth University, where the editor works as Deputy Librarian, holds the death row correspondence from Ken Saro-Wiwa to Sister Majella McCarron. McCarron provides two personal essays. One, a reflection on the events that shaped her work with Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria and her subsequent efforts to save the lives of the Ogoni 9: the second essay explores her experience as a table observer of the Shell to Sea campaign, which strove to have gas, discovered off the west coast of Ireland, refined at sea rather than inland.

    The damage that Shell has caused in Ogoni and the issue of redress are topics addressed in essays by experts including Mark Dummett, of Amnesty International, who investigated how Shell and other oil companies have caused or contributed to human rights abuses through their operations in the Niger Delta. Daniel Leader, a barrister and partner at Leigh Day’s international law department, the firm who have led a number of ground breaking human rights cases, including a series of cases against Shell on behalf of Nigerian communities, explores the issue of legal redress. Architect, environmental activist, author and poet Nnimmo Bassesy’s wide ranging essay presents Saro-Wiwa as activist and writer and creator of the Ogoni Bill of Rights, against the backdrop of the UNEP report of the Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland, which recorded that drinking water in Ogoni had benzene, a carcinogen, at over 900 times the level permitted


    I welcome the publication of this volume which highlights the work of Trócaire and other people and organisations
    to fight for a more just world. Trócaire campaigned strongly for the release of the Ogoni 9 and continues to campaign for justice in the face of state and corporate violations of human rights. The writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and those inspired by his work keep the flame of justice lit.

    Dr Caoimhe De Barra, Chief Executive Officer, Trócaire.

    The publication of I am a Man of Peace: Writings Inspired by the Maynooth University Ken Saro-Wiwa Collection highlights the shift towards peaceful protests as a means to a more sustainable end. It is a justification that one’s dreams for the greater good can still be attained without bloodshed. Ken preached, lived, and practiced peace in his search for justice even in the face of stiff opposition. Years after his death, Ken’s ideologies and philosophies have proved relevant today.

    Dr Owens Wiwa, Executive Vice-President, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

    Sister Majella McCarron’s choice of Maynooth University for this unique donation was particularly appropriate, given the University’s long involvement with issues of inclusion and justice in Ireland and abroad. This deep-rooted commitment is today articulated in our University Strategic Plan, where a strategic goal is ‘to build on our achievements to date and become a model University for equality, diversity, inclusion and inter-culturalism, where social justice, addressing inequality and empowering people are central to our mission.’ This book makes a significant contribution to that goal.

    Dr. Gemma Irvine, Vice-President of Equality & Diversity, Maynooth University.

    Writing can urge us to pause, to think, and to discover what we really want to say. Sharing that writing calls for courage and support. In this publication, as Jessica Traynor suggests, we see the evidence of a new generation of Irish and new Irish citizens engaging with complex issues through poetry. Reading their poems, we may begin to understand more about each other and ourselves. By bringing together these Irish and new Irish voices the book contributes to building a shared discourse which is essential for trust, community and hope.

    Dr Alison Farrell, Founder of the Summer Writing Institute For Teachers (SWIFT) and Co-founder Irish Network for the Enhancement of Writing (INEW)

  • in, against, beyond, corona

    The corona crisis reveals what is wrong and toxic — in ourselves, in relation with others, and in relation with the rest of non-human nature. But we can also look for what is good and life-affirming. The authors argue that the future must be founded on ‘kindness, social solidarity and an appropriate scale of time’, a future that cherishes life and the connections that transcend borders. This pamphlet is a vital contribution to much needed reflections and discussion.

    This is a fabulous book. Usually a blurb or endorsement like this is supposed to enhance the book, but in this case the flow is in the other direction. For me it is a huge honour to be associated with it. Like many others, I have been trying for months to get my head around what is happening, trying to formulate my ideas, and then here it is, in these pages, so clear, so understanding, so challenging. How we now go on to shape the interconnectedness between people and between people and other forms of life will determine the future of humanity. The best, most sensitive, most realistic, strongest thing that I’ve read on the Corona Crisis. — John Holloway, Professor, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico, and author of In, Against, and Beyond Capitalism:
    The San Francisco Lectures

    This pamphlet, part of Daraja Press’s Thinking Freedom Series, is written by Mark Butler with his colleagues at the Church Land Programme, a small independent non-profit organisation based in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, that seek to distill learnings that emerge from the work of militants on the ground.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

  • Dialectics of revolution : Hegel, Marxism, and its critics through a lens of race, class, gender, and colonialism

    This book collects four decades of writings on dialectics, a number of them published here for the first time, by Kevin B. Anderson, a well-known scholar-activist in the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The essays cover the dialectics of revolution in a variety of settings, from Hegel and the French Revolution to dialectics today and its poststructuralist and pragmatist critics. In these essays, particular attention is given to Lenin’s encounter with Hegel and its impact on the critique of imperialism, the rejection of crude materialism, and more generally, on world revolutionary developments. Major but neglected works on Hegel and dialectics written under the impact of the struggle against fascism like Lukács’s The Young Hegel and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution are given full critical treatment. Dunayevskaya’s intersectional revolutionary dialectics is also treated extensively, especially its focus on a dialectics of revolution that avoids class reductionism, placing gender, race, and colonialism at the center alongside class. In addition, key critics of Hegel and dialectics like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, Pierre Bourdieu, and Richard Rorty, are themselves analysed and critiqued from a twenty-first century dialectical perspective. The book also takes up the dialectic in global, intersectional settings via a reconsideration of the themes of Anderson’s Marx at the Margins, where nationalism, race, and colonialism were theorized alongside capital and class as key elements in Marxist dialectical thought. As a whole, the book offers a discussion of major themes in the dialectics of revolution that still speak to us today at a time of radical transformation in all spheres of society and of everyday life.


    The exemplary clarity of the writing will make this collection especially valuable to newcomers to Marxian theory, and to anyone curious about Hegel’s relationship to Marxism. But the work’s greatest value surely lies with its powerful reminder that “the pull of the universal, of the emancipatory future, is always there, even if for the moment driven deep down, beneath the surface of society.” Tony Smith in Science and Society 85(4), 539-41, October 2021

    This is a collection of essays of paramount importance written by one of the most noteworthy authorities on Marx and Hegel within the field of Western Marxism. … Anderson is uniformly brilliant in his analysis of Marx as a multidimensional thinker who developed a multilinear pathway for revolution for societies outside of Western Europe, putting to rest the charges of determinism and Eurocentrism and patriarchal thinking that had tempted many in the left away from critical engagements … Dialectics of Revolution makes it clear why Anderson is among the leading lights writing on Marxism and revolution today. —Peter McLaren, author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution

    Kevin Anderson’s Dialectics of Revolution collects four decades of Anderson’s studies of Hegel, Marx, dialectics, and revolution. … Anderson provides much provocative material in developing critical theory and revolutionary practice for the contemporary era. —Douglas Kellner, author of Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism

    This deeply intellectual, and yet highly accessible, work breathes new life into dialectical Marxism, reconciling the debates over identity politics and class struggle and positing a dialectical Marxist-humanism. … that recognizes that the revolutionary struggle for freedom is the struggle against class, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression. … This book is not only timely and relevant but urgently necessary. — Lilia Monzo, author of A Revolutionary Subject: Pedagogy of Women of Color and Indigeneity

    1. Introduction

    Part 1: Marxism and Hegel

    1. Dialectics in brief
    2. Hegel, the French revolution and after
    3. Lenin’s encounter with Hegel
    4. Lenin, Bukharin, dialectics, and imperialism
    5. Marcuse, Hegel and critical theory
    6. Lukács on the young Hegel

    Part 2: Dialectics today

    1. Dialectical reason and its critics
    2. Derrida on Marx: Return or deconstruction?
    3. Resistance vs. emancipation, from Marx to Foucault
    4. Class, Gender, Race, and Colonialism
    5. Marx at the Margins: Ten years later

     

  • Class, gender, race & colonialism: The ‘intersectionality’ of Marx – Thinking Freedom Pamphlet

    It is important to see both Marx’s brilliant generalisations about capitalist society and the very concrete ways in which he examined not only class, but also gender, race, and colonialism, and what today would be called the intersectionality of all of these. His underlying revolutionary humanism was the enemy of all forms of abstraction that denied the variety and multiplicity of human experience, especially as his vision extended outward from Western Europe. For these reasons, no thinker speaks to us today with such force and clarity.

    It is clear today that the emancipation of labour from capitalist alienation and exploitation is a task that still confronts us. Marx’s concept of the worker is not limited to European white males, but includes Irish and Black super-exploited and therefore doubly revolutionary workers, as well as women of all races and nations. But, his research and his concept of revolution go further, incorporating a wide range of agrarian non-capitalist societies of his time, from India to Russia and from Algeria to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, often emphasising their gender relations. In his last, still partially unpublished writings, he turns his gaze Eastward and Southward. In these regions outside Western Europe, he finds important revolutionary possibilities among peasants and their ancient communistic social structures, even as these are being undermined by their formal subsumption under the rule of capital. In his last published text, he envisions an alliance between these non-working-class strata and the Western European working class.

  • Rinky-Dink Revolution: Moving Beyond Capitalism by Withholding Consent, Creative Constructions, and Creative Destructions—English (Spanish and Korean editions also available)

    This pamphlet tackles the question: how do we get from A to B, capitalism to post-capitalism?

    It is critical reading to understand why:

    • Capitalist-oriented industrial agriculture and its destruction of habitat are the upstream causes that led to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other past and future pandemics of devastating, emerging viral pathogens. 
    • COVID-19 may trigger a collapse of the global capitalist system but it is not the cause.
    • Health-care and public-health systems organized around capitalist principles don’t do well in pandemics, compared to those not organized around capitalist principles. 
    • The current economic collapse, triggered by a pandemic, opens a door for revolutionary transformation.

    The pamphlet is available in Spanish and Korean.

    Rinky-dink Revolution involves actions and inactions that are easy, safe, mundane, unglamorous, and feasible within every person’s life.

    Howard Waitzkin’s Rinky-Dink Revolution … is small to be sure—light-weight, unimposing in appearance, and with an abbreviated wing-span of just 72 pages total, including 11 pages of fore-and-after-matter. A quick read. But rinky-dink? Quite the opposite. …

    Like the best revolutionaries in all times and places Howard Waitzkin is guided by a powerful sense of possibility as well as deep feelings of love. He’s pissed off to be sure, because he pays attention to the crimes of racial capitalism. But he also knows that “even anger at injustice makes the brow grow stern,” and that being pissed off will not take us where we need to go—only love and joy and generosity can do that. He illustrates over and over that the greatest weapon in the cause of liberation is our beating human hearts longing to be free.

    This book is bantam-weight, as I said—the perfect mini-manifesto to slip into your back pocket or your backpack, a worthy companion as we mount the next action or tend the community garden. — Bill Ayers.  Rinky-Dink billayers.org

    But what exactly does revolution look like? Is it putting on a beret, slinging an AK-47 over your shoulder, and trying for that far-away look in your eyes? Well, no, that’s called suicide by cop (and nobody is going to put your face on a T-shirt). In the short pamphlet/e-book/PDF/audiobook Rinky-Dink Revolution (available on a donation basis from Daraja Press and at Monthly Review), Waitzkin suggests instead that we engage in postcapitalist forms of social organization. He gives us examples such as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the Rojava in northern Syria, Jackson, Mississippi, and Rustbelt collectives such as the Horizontal Stateline Autonomous Zone in Northern Illinois. … Waitzkin calls it a Rinky-Dink Revolution because it’s everyday stuff that you can do while you scour the thriftshops in search of that beret.— On Howard Waitzkin’s Rinky-Dink Revolution. Counterpunch.org

    Howard Waitzkin presents a clear, straightforward intervention for revolutionary change in the global capitalist economic system. He covers much ground, with sophistication, while keeping the argument grounded. His focus on ways to facilitate a challenge to capital and to build further revolutionary transformation is crucial at this historical juncture. The discussion of creative constructions and creative destructions is particularly useful. —Brett Clark, Professor of Sociology, University of Utah, and author of The Robbery of Nature: Capitalism and the Ecological Rift

    The end of capitalism is possible. Waitzkin takes us a step further in the creative process for transformation. Through specific examples from organized groups within the United States and abroad, this work constitutes a practical guide for everyone. Waitzkin encourages our creativity for organized, safe acts and omissions to transcend capitalism. —Nylca J. Muñoz Sosa, lawyer, public health leader, and activist focusing on health justice and decolonization in Puerto Rico

    Waitzkin is among the expanding list of authors who openly reject the imperative of capitalism for infinite economic growth. He clearly understands that the world can provide better lives for all of humanity while reducing the total mass of capitalist production, which is overwhelmingly wasteful…. Rinky-Dink Revolution is a great contribution to probing how we can live our lives in ways that prepare us for the society we hope to bring into being. It is more than worth reading – it is something to think deeply about.

    Don Fitz. February 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal 

    Contents

    Moving beyond capitalism now 8

    Peculiar ways to struggle without confronting capitalism 12

    Rinky-dink revolution and revolutionaries 21

    Creative constructions 36

    Creative destructions 49

    The death of capitalism and the birth of something else 65

    About the author 68

    Acknowledgments 69

    Vision statement: Moving beyond capitalism—now! — Howard Waitzkin and Firoze Manji 70

    Audiobook

    You can listen to the audiobook here:

  • Mobilités, circulations et frontières: Migrations, mobilités et développement en Afrique Tome 1

    Ce livre est un apport précieux pour demander à changer de focale et de perspective au sujet des migrations à l’intérieur du continent africain. Celles-ci sont bien plus importantes quan- titativement, mais aussi économiquement et historiquement, que les migrations de l’Afrique vers l’Europe. Elles sont beaucoup plus silencieuses et infiniment moins étudiées que celles du Sud vers le Nord. Ces migrations sont vitales, tant pour les pays de départ que pour ceux d’arrivée. Ainsi, des millions de jeunes partent chaque année pour les pays de la côte, et cela sans susciter les mêmes résistances, fantasmes et peurs qu’en Europe.

    Cet ouvrage a le grand mérite d’intégrer les migrations dans la perspective plus large des mobilités, puis d’en examiner les liens avec le développement. Il est rédigé par de jeunes chercheurs africains, qui produisent à partir de leurs terrains spécifiques des analyses à valeur générale sur les sociétés contemporaines. Ils contribuent ainsi au renouvellement des sciences sociales à partir des pays africains.


    On peut en revanche souligner que l’ouvrage a relevé un défi important : celui d’éclairer à la fois les dynamiques de l’expérience migratoire, des trajectoires suivies par les migrants et des espaces migratoires à l’intérieur de l’Afrique. — Sylvie Ayimpam, « Mobilités, circulations et frontières. Migrations, mobilités et développement en Afrique », Anthropologie & développement [En ligne], 51 | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2020, consulté le 23 février 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/anthropodev/1068 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/anthropodev.1068

    These companion volumes are refreshing because they introduce us to many less well- known instances which amply illustrate just how mobile African populations really are at the regional, intra-regional and global scales. Paul NUGENT, University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

    Un ouvrage d’une grande actualité qui aborde la question des migrations sous un angle radicalement nouveau et original : l’articulation dynamique entre la migration, la mobilité et le développement en Afrique de l’Ouest. Ces deux volumes bilingues renouvellent le débat sur les migrations : de quoi faire réfléchir ensemble l’Afrique et l’Europe.Marie-Caroline SAGLIO-YATZIMIRSKY, INALCO, CESSMA Paris (France)

    Christian Bouquet, « Quelques éclairages nouveaux sur les migrations africaines », EspacesTemps.net [En ligne], Books, 2020 | Mis en ligne le 20 November 2020, consulté le 20.11.2020. URL : https://www.espacestemps.net/en/articles/quelques-eclairages-nouveaux-sur-les-migrations-africaines/ ; DOI : 10.26151/esapcestemps.net-jc2a-6b03

    Avec la participation de Naluwembe BINAISSA, Alimou DIALLO, Nyalo Barkissa DRABO, Sylvester KOHOL, A. Aziz MOSSI, Loppa NGASSOU, Lawrence Rafaih OKELLO, Mutiat Titilope OLADEJO, Zakaria SORÉ, Astadjam YAOUBA et Irissa ZIDNABA.

  • Stratégies familiales, diasporas et investissements: Migrations, mobilités et développement en Afrique Tome 2

    À rebours des thèses soutenant que la migration contribue au développement ou que l’in- vestissement dans le développement réduit la croissance de la migration « irrégulière », ce livre marque une rupture tonifiante avec les idées communes abondamment véhiculées dans la littérature sur les liens entre migration, mobilités et développement en Afrique. Il accorde un intérêt manifeste pour la plus grande part des mobilités africaines, lesquelles se situent à l’intérieur du continent, et à la formation des diasporas en dehors des fron- tières nationales et continentales. Cette considération conjointe des mobilités « Sud-Sud » et « Sud-Nord » permet de remettre en cause l’hypothèse selon laquelle il existe des diffé- rences fondamentales entre elles.

    Cet ouvrage examine les fluctuations ordinaires des mouvements de populations – à travers l’Afrique, comme dans le reste du monde –, qui étendent les familles, génèrent de nouvelles relations, reconfigurent les connexions économiques et politiques, et sont intégrées dans l’expérience quotidienne des millions de personnes qui y prennent part.

    The in-depth knowledge of the mostly African authors adds to the quality of a research field, which was for long far too Eurocentric. Ilke ADAM, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)

    Il était temps de mettre en lumière ce que migration et mobilité représentent en Afrique. L’ouvrage offre une perspective originale et décoloniale sur le sujet. Eric HAHONOU, Roskilde Universitet (Denmark)

    Christian Bouquet, « Quelques éclairages nouveaux sur les migrations africaines », EspacesTemps.net [En ligne], Books, 2020 | Mis en ligne le 20 November 2020, consulté le 20.11.2020. URL : https://www.espacestemps.net/en/articles/quelques-eclairages-nouveaux-sur-les-migrations-africaines/ ; DOI : 10.26151/esapcestemps.net-jc2a-6b03

    Avec la participation de John O. IGUE, Saydou KOUDOUGOU, Pierre-Joseph LAURENT, Bassirou MALAM SOULEY, Hamidou MANOU NABARA, Marème NIANG NDIAYE, Amadou SARR DIOP, Sadio SOUKOUNA , Eric Stève TAMO MBOUYOU et Astadjam YAOUBA.

  • Africa Matters – Cultural politics, political economies and grammars of protest

    Africa Matters: Cultural politics, political economies, & grammars of protest provides a sampling of insightful articles from the first five issues of Nokoko, journal of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. It brings together pieces that the journal’s editorial board felt were particularly perspicacious in their analysis and resonant in their crafting. Uniting them in this book permits a new dialogue to emerge around the key themes of cultural politics, political economies and grammars of protest. Their intersection here sheds light on important issues for Africans in the twenty-first century.

    Table of Contents


    Introduction: On the matter of African mattersBlair Rutherford and Pius Adesanmi

    Two cities: Guangzhou / LagosWendy Thompson Taiwo

    Catherine Acholonu (1951- 2014): The female writer as a goddess—Nduka Otiono

    Filming home, plurality of identity, belonging and homing in transnational African cinema—Suvi Lensu

    ‘Spare Tires’, ‘Second Fiddle’ and ‘Prostitutes’? Interrogating discourses about women and politics in
    Nigeria—Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin

    The South African Reserve Bank and the telling of monetary stories—Elizabeth Cobbett

    The neoliberal turn in the SADC: Regional integration and disintegration—Jessica Evans

    Indian hair, the after-temple-life: Class, gender and 137 race representations of the African American woman in the human hair industry—Nadège Compaore

    The role of radio and mobile phones in conflict situations: The case of the 2008 Zimbabwe elections and xenophobic attacks in Cape Town—Wallace Chuma

    The story of Cape Town’s two marches: Personal reflections on going home—Stephanie Urdang

    Beyond an epistemology of bread, butter, culture and power: Mapping the African feminist movement—Sinmi Akin-Aina

    Setting the agenda for our leaders from under a tree: The People’s Parliament in Nairobi—Wangui Kimari and Jacob Rasmussen

    Politics across boundaries: Pan-Africanism: Seeds for African unity—Gacheke Gachihi

    Afterword: Incorporeal words: The tragic passing of Pius Adesanmi—Blair Rutherford

    About the contributors

    About the Institute of African Studies

    Nokoko podcasts

  • Dictators as 
Gatekeepers for Europe: 
Outsourcing EU border 
controls to Africa 


    The USA is divided around the wall President Trump wants to build along the Mexican border. Europe has long answered this question at its own southern border: put up that wall but don’t make it look like one.

    Today the EU is trying to close as many deals as it can with African states, making it harder and harder for refugees to find protection and more dangerous for labour migrants to reach places where they can earn an income. But this is not the only effect: the more Europe tries to control migration from Africa, the harder it becomes for many Africans to move freely through their own continent, even within their own countries.

    Increasingly, the billions Europe pays for migration control are described as official development assistance (ODA), more widely known as development aid, supposedly for poverty relief and humanitarian assistance. The EU is spending billions buying African leaders as gatekeepers, including dictators and suspected war criminals. And the real beneficiaries are the military and technology corporations involved in the implementation.

    Originally published as Diktatoren als Türsteher Europas: Wie die EU ihre Grenzen nach Afrika verlagert.(Ch. Links Verlag, 2017), this English translation includes updated materials and analyses. Accompanying video at https://www.dw.com/en/the-gatekeepers-of-europe-outsourcing-border-controls-to-africa/av-45599271

    You can read this book online for free.

    Translated by: Lydia Baldwin | querzaehlen and Emal Ghamsharick

    Europe delegates, shameful as it is, its dirty work on migration to African States, some of which hasten to endorse this role with servility. They hope to stay in the race and be treated on an equal footing with a Europe … In a word, colonization is draped in new clothes, but its consequences are the same as ever for people, for women, children and men who sometimes have no other way out than to flee a daily life that kills them. This is an important book for understanding these conditions.

    Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, Frantz Fanon Foundation/Fondation Frantz Fanon

    Migrants die of thirst in the Sonoran desert, drown in the Mediterranean, are murdered by gangs in Libya and Mexico, and disappear forever in doomed journeys that leave no trace.  When we speak of immigration policies in rich countries today, we are really speaking about complicity in mass murder.   This study brilliantly exposes how so-called liberal governments in Europe are outsourcing the violent repression of migrants to authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and local tyrants in Africa.

    Mike Davis, writer, political activist, urban theorist and historian; Professor Emeritus, University of California, Riverside

    This book makes a depressing reading for any concerned African by clearly exposing how often European leaders and opinion makers continue to portray African migration with a mix of disdain, fear, racism and backward arguments. A unique contribution.

    Prof. Carlos Lopes, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town and African Union High Representative for Partnerships with Europe.

  • Silence Would Be Treason: Last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa (Expanded 2nd Edition)

    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

  • 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.

    Chris Hedges and Kali Akuno on the Gentrification of Jackson, Miss. (Video)

    Mississippi, USA: An Interview with Kali Akuno by Cat Brooks on KPFA’s UpFront

    Jackson Rising: At Last, a Real Strategic PlanBy Richard Moser, Black Agenda Report

    Left Out, a podcast produced by Paul Sliker, Michael Palmieri, and Dante Dallavalle, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists, and organizers on the Left. In this episode, we sat down with Kali Akuno — the co-founder and co-directer of Cooperation Jackson.

     

    Real Change

    “...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.”

  • Wither the Franc Zone in Africa?

    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.

  • The great climate robbery: How the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it

    In 2012 GRAIN published ‘The great food robbery’. We thought it was high time to do a sequel.

    Over the past twenty-five years, GRAIN has worked with social movements and organisations around the world to defend local food systems and cultures from the advance of industrial agriculture. Part of our work has involved documenting the ill effects of this industrial food system – the growing hunger, the destruction of rural people’s livelihoods, the loss of biodiversity and cultures, the exploitation of labour and a range of health calamities – and analysing the ways through which this system expands, from seed laws to free trade agreements to secretive land deals.

    But another important part of our work has involved connecting this analysis of the food system to larger issues affecting the planet and linking peoples’ struggles situated within the food system to those happening in other areas. Climate change is one important example of this.

    CAD $ 25.99