Showing all 15 results

  • Insurgent Feminism: Writing War

    Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War brings together ten years of writing published on Warscapes magazine through the lens of gender and advances a new paradigm of war writing. War is always, ultimately, fought upon the backs of women, often under the pretense of saving them. Yet, along the way, the brutalities unleashed on women during wartime remain relentless. In this collection, insurgency emerges in the raw and meticulous language of witnessing, and in the desire to render the space of conflict in radically different ways. There are no paeans to courageous soldiers here, nor pat nationalist rhetoric, nor bravado about saving lives. These perspectives on war come out of regions and positions that defy stereotypical war reportage or the expected war story. They disobey the rules of war writing and do not subordinate themselves to the usual themes and tropes that we have become so used to reading. Instead, Insurgent Feminisms advances a new paradigm of war writing. These perspectives on war come out of regions and positions that defy stereotypical war reportage or the expected war story. Insurgent Feminisms comprises reportage, fiction, memoir, poetry and conversations from over sixty writers and includes contributions by Nathalie, Handal, Anne Nivat, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Suchitra Vijayan, Chika Unigwe, Bélen Fernández, Uzma Falak, Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek, Gaiutra Bahadur, Robtel Neajai Pailey, Sumana Roy and Lina Mounzer, among several others.

    Bhakti Shringarpure co-founded Warscapes magazine in November 2011 and it has now transitioned into the Radical Books Collective.

    Veruska Cantelli is a writer, translator and editor who teaches interdisciplinary studies at Champlain College in Vermont, USA.

    USD $ 30.00
  • “Not Bad for a N—, No?” / «Pas mal pour un N—, n’est-ce pas? »

    Written during the seventy-fifth anniversary celebrations of the publication of Frantz Fanon’s Peau noir, masques blancs (“Black Skin, White Masks”), “Not Bad for a N—, No?” offers reflections on the circumstances of the publication of this classic work with Fanon’s insights on what he called the attempted “murder of man” and the urgent need for humanity to become “actional.”

    Écrit lors des célébrations du soixante-quinzième anniversaire de la publication de Frantz Fanon de Peau noir masques blancs, «Pas mal pour un N—, n’est-ce pas? » offre des réflexions sur les circonstances de la publication de cette œuvre classique avec les idées de Fanon sur ce qu’il a appelé la tentative de «meurtre de l’homme» et le besoin urgent que l’humanité devienne «actionnelle».

  • Left Alone: On Solitude and Loneliness amid Collective Struggle

    Left Alone brings together 15 authors and seven visual artists from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America to individually and collectively reflect – in words and images – on an urgent psycho-political issue that has not yet been explicitly addressed through a left-political lens, that is, Left Loneliness. Combining academic and more personal-political texts, including an interview, poetry, rap and a powerful short story, the book explores the contributors’ personally and/or vicariously lived experiences of Left Loneliness from a variety of genres and left political currents: Marxist, Feminist, Anti-/De-Colonial, Anti-Racist, Queer, Post-Soviet, Anarchist, Anti-Ableist and others. Says Feminist writer Sara Ahmed: “Loneliness might be what we are threatened with if we persist in being or doing what we are being or doing.” In this sense, Left Loneliness is neither a metaphor nor a secondary contradiction and definitely not a type of petty bourgeois ‘personalism.’ Rather, it might be considered one of the rank-and-file psycho-affective elements that both shapes and results from our myriad, intersecting, unremitting, yet always fragile and potentially shattering political attempts to revolutionise our inner and outer worlds. Given its (growing?) existence in our everyday left subjectivities, the book argues that Left Loneliness and related states of solitude, isolation and alienation, among others, have both debilitating and productive (epistemic) dimensions, with very concrete psycho-somatic repercussions for Left Mental and Physical Health and hence our capacity to persist and build on “being or doing what we are being or doing.” Given that continuing and deepening our multiple ongoing struggles for liberation will depend on our constant ability to (re-)create, sustain and care for both our individual selves and the communities that we are a part of, the aim of Left Alone is to contribute to the strengthening of these personal collectivities in action in-against-and-beyond capitalism, colonialism and heteropatriarchy by inviting comrade-readers into what we hope will be a deeply stimulating and enabling personal-political engagement with texts and images hailing from Argentina, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey/Kurdistan, Jamaica, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Germany and the USA. In short, in the words of one of the book’s authors, Lena Grace Anyuolo from Kenya, “My sisters and brothers, Come, Let us gather, To lay the structures for a joyous existence.” Yes, let’s.

  • White Saviorism in International Development: Theories, Practices and Lived Experiences

    This captivating volume dives into the complexities of racism and White Saviorism in North/South relations. With contributions from 19 experts across the Global South, this book examines its prevalence within Western initiatives for international development. Through a blend of theoretical topics, testimonies, stories and personal experiences these contributors shed light on implicit as well as explicit forms of White Saviorism – all with sensitivity to broaden an understanding through multi-dimensional approaches that truly transcend borders.

    Edited by: Themrise Khan, Kanakulya Dickson, Maïka Sondarjee

    Combining praxis-informed theorization and accounts grounded in authors’ own experiences in the White Savior Industrial Complex, these succinct and accessible chapters bring the realities of racial capitalism in international development to life. I was both educated and enraged! — Alana Lentin, author of Why Race Still Matters

    This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand how many people contribute to upholding an oppressive White supremacist global system. — Amiera Sawas, Researcher and Advocate

    This is a terrific work of deep unmasking and engagement with the proverbial but the always invisible elephant in the room of international development, that of the White gaze—correctly rendered here as the “industrial-colonial-patriarchal-White savior complex.” Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, author of Epistemic Freedom in Africa: Deprovincialization and Decolonization

    White Saviorism in International Development unveils the hypocrisies undergirding development projects led by the Global South for the Global South. … It examines the intimate linkages between coloniality, development, and White Saviorism.— Jairo I. Fúnez-Flores, Texas Tech University

    White Saviorism in International Development is an important and timely book that should be read by all international development students and practitioners. — Dylan Mathews, CEO Peace Direct, Chairperson CIVICUS Alliance

  • Homestead, Homeland, Home

    This is a collection of observations and meditations by Ghanaian Professor Emeritus (York University, Toronto) and philosopher Ato Sekyi-Otu on events, issues, people and ideas culled from recent history and the world, from the US and Canada to Ghana. If there is a persistent thread in these entries, it is this: Virtually all of them testify to the ironic truth of the saying that there is no place like home, no place, that is to say, which looks like the lodestar called home or comes close to approximating its promise of being a just space of human flourishing. Most of the entries are, therefore, harsh, particularly those on the USA. That is because that nation, in his view, has, in recent history, made a major contribution to rendering the world and every homestead we inhabit unhomely and sabotaging attempts to better it. But no one or place is spared, certainly not the author’s native land, Ghana. Canada appears intermittently in these pages in rather fragmentary and contrastive observations. That paucity of comments may be taken to be the complement the author pays to Canada as a place of relative civility and glimmers of decency in a mad and cruel world. It is a short work of predominantly gloomy pictures. But there are a few countervailing images and invocations of hope here and there. There are 166 entries of unequal lengths arranged around 14 headings. These epigrams are contrapuntal variations on the philosopher’s searing imprecation and visionary invocation: unfinished ode, resounding with intermittent fury, to the dawn of human existence set free from all tyrannizing enclosures.

    This is the work of an unusually awesome intellect and flawless scholarship. As Ato himself may agree, if our scholars and writers have to do their work using the English language, then we of the neo-colonies are doing that language a whole lot of good. If the book was about nothing else than Professor Sekyi-Otu’s merciless dissection of the wretched story of the life and career of Kwasi Kwarteng, an arch-conservative member of the British Conservative Party, that alone makes the book a compelling read.

    — The late, Ama Ata Aidoo,
    author, poet, playwright and academic, author of
    Changes: A Love Story and Dilemma of a Ghost

    More precious, untimely observations from the most important black political philosopher writing in English. Read, learn, savor, be provoked, read again, repeat.

    Paul Gilroy,
    author The Black Atlantic

    The echoes of Fanon pervade this incisive analysis that spares no one, refuses any postulation of idyllic longings, and interrogates our responsibilities in every aspect of the histories that live within us. This work offers a powerful and incisive reflection on human freedom and responsibility in an affirmation of dignity that can only fully emerge upon recognition of the cruelty of the inhumanities that pervades our histories and their geographies.  It is an existential call to lay bare so that we might understand the biting complexity of indignity and reach through its morass to discover the depths of our humanity no matter how deeply that humanity is assaulted.  Homestead, Homeland, Home charts this journey with biting clarity and takes irony as a “vital organ of truth and justice” to the apogee of its power.

    Jacqueline M Martinez, Professor of Communication, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

    Arizona State University,
    Vice-President, Caribbean Philosophical Association

    I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud reading this book and the number of times I had to put it down in chest-tightening anguish. Ato Sekyi-Otu long ago demonstrated that he was a first-rate scholar. With these meditations, though, these ‘peeves’ as he hilariously describes them, he reveals himself a member of an even more remarkable group – those who dare attempt to rouse a world lost in shadow gazing. Homestead, Homeland, Home dissects global society and reveals a malignant inhumanity. It is a challenge and resource for those who can be shaken and a damning indictment on those who will not. It is bracing, severe, funny, heartbreaking, brilliant and very, very cool.’

    Bryan Mukandi, Senior Research Fellow,
    School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia

    This is a book of peeves well worth peeving about. It is testimony from a great elder of political thought whose heartfelt commitments to dignity, freedom, justice, and humane existence irritate his soul as a witness to the continued cruelty, degradation, and double standards unleashed against the Damned of the Earth; it is erudite outrage at so many ignored opportunities to make good on political responsibility to build a better world, a world otherwise. Every sentence, every paragraph, every page, every chapter is a Sankofic demand against historic amnesia and an encomium to re-member and, in doing so, courageously embrace our shared responsibility to build institutions for the urgent repair of nothing short of humanity’s homestead in which we are, in Sekyi-Otu’s words, “compelled to recognize that only we can save ourselves.”

    Lewis R. Gordon, author of
    Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization and
    Fear of Black Consciousness

    Homestead Homeland Home: Critical Reflections is political-philosophic tour de force by Ghana’s leading public intellectual Ato Sekyi-Otu. Each chapter brims with insight, irony (humorous and often indecent, like the George W. Bush highway in Accra), and analytical precision as he subjects the homesteads, Canada and the USA and the homeland, Ghana, to his partisan universalist critique. Ee weaves his reflections with the thoughts of philosophers, thinkers, and sages of the human condition and the poets, songwriters, and dreamers of human liberation.

    Nigel Gibson, author of
    Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination

    Raging against the solitary confinement of despair into compartmentalized finitudes and possessive particularisms, Ato Sekyi-Otu continues in these epigrammatic reflections to put his unmistakable mixture of resentment and fury at the service of a new principle of hope. In search of a place to call home, untethered to any exclusionary metaphysics of difference, he makes short shrift of the willful amnesia surrounding the criminal junction of capitalism, slavery, colonialism, and anti-black racism, with their interlocking systems of subjugation; refuses the preaching of collective guilt and abject misanthropy alike; and instills in the reader a concrete utopian belief in freedom from the dominion of race, egalitarian self-determination, and partisan universalism as common sense. These fragments of a vision of humanity unbound will leave no one untouched by their relentless tarrying with the world’s prose and intermittent poetry.

    Bruno Bosteels, author of The Actuality of Communism

    For those familiar with Sekyi-Otu’s work, Homestead, Homeland, Home is another instalment of what are gift offerings of his extraordinary mind and intellect. And for those not familiar, they better start reading these reflections right now, and don’t stop until you are fully done with them. Here is something to arouse the consciousness with beauty, poise, and quiet brilliance.

    Ato Quayson, Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Stanford University


  • International Brigade Against Apartheid: Secrets of the People’s War That Liberated South Africa

    Edited by Ronnie Kasrils with Muff Andersson and Oscar Marleyn.

    First published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd in 2021, ISBN: 978-1-4314-3202-8, this Daraja Press edition is available in North America and East Africa

     

    I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the global anti-apartheid movement until I read this extraordinary collection of essays. This book blew my mind!
    Robin D.G. Kelly

    We hear for the first time from the international activists who worked secretly for the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK), in the struggle to liberate South Africa from apartheid rule. They acted as couriers, provided safe houses in neighbouring states and within South Africa, helped infiltrate combatants across borders, and smuggled tonnes of weapons into the country in the most creative ways. Driven by a spirit of international solidarity, they were prepared to take huge risks and face great danger.

    USD $ 27.00
  • Kenyan Organic Intellectuals Reflect on the Legacy of Pio Gama Pinto


    Pio Gama Pinto has long been the ‘unsung martyr ‘ in Kenya’s revolutionary history. It is a real mark of the consciousness of the new generation of organic intellectuals from the social justice centres that they chose to read, discuss, critique, and write about Pinto. A must read! —Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    I am inspired by reading your thoughts. Pio has shown you how: Constancy in your ideals.
    Perseverance in your actions. Use every opportunity to further justice. Use every opportunity to subvert injustice.
Speak out. Always place the Alternative before the people. Find what is already available, small or big, to further social justice.
Much is already in the Constitution and laws. Enforce it. Pio created political space from blank walls and barbed wire. 
Finishing your book, I felt renewed. I thank you.
    Pheroze Nowrojee, Senior Counsel, author of Pio Gama Pinto, Patriot for Social Justice (2007).


    This booklet on Pio Gama Pinto has been produced in the tradition of ‘looking back, in order to move forward’ to not only salvage history but also to use it as a mirror to reflect on the current political, economic and social conditions in Kenya. The essays, dubbed reflections, that appear in the booklet are a product of the efforts and dedication of young women and men under the banner of the ‘Organic Intellectuals Network’ in Kenya. We use the concept of ‘organic intellecutal’ as developed by Antonio Gramsci.

    Members of the Organic Intellectual Network selected the book Pio Gama Pinto: Kenya’s Unsung Martyr 1927-1965 by Shiraz Durrani (Vita Books, 2018) as a basis for discussion for celebrating and remembering the life of Pio Gama Pinto, Kenya first Martyr, a dedicated and selfless individual in the struggle for freedom in Kenya. Pinto has not been fully appreciated and recognized for his efforts in the fight for independence and post-independence struggles that were characterized by ideological confrontation between capitalism and socialism. Each of the 14 participants in the discussions were asked to write their reflections on what they had learned, based on their daily struggles as activists, students and revolutionary community organizers in their communities. These discussions were accompanied by several activities at the beginning of 2021 to remember Pio Gama Pinto on the 56th anniversary of his assassination in 1965. These activities included reflections at his memorial grave and the production of a Pio Gama Pinto podcast.

    The short book aims at retrieving and providing a genuine national direction for the struggles of Kenyans based on historical clarity devoid of any obscurity and distortion. It is our hope that these simplified reflections will introduce Pio Gama Pinto and socialism to the Kenyan people and across the world.

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

     


    CONTENTS

    Preface by Hon. Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa

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

    Contributing Authors

  • Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence and Decolonization

    Insurrectionary Uprisings is a compendium of essays that explore what it will take to win a world based on love and justice. From historical writing, including Thoreau, Gandhi and Arendt, to essays that address the multiple crises we face in the 21st century, the volume brings together authors and thinkers from around the globe. With an emphasis on the quotidian violence of racial monopoly capitalism and Western imperialism, Insurrectionary Uprisings insists that the possibility of revolutionary nonviolence rests, in part, on decolonization and decoloniality and a thorough analysis of the deep and violent roots of racial capitalism, settler colonialism and heteropatriarchy. Fannie Lou Hamer’s testimony at the 1964 Democratic Convention underscores the inherent violence that saturates life in the U.S., while Cabral’s “Message to the People of Portugal” challenges the working class of imperial Portugal to recognize their kinship and to form alliances with the people of Guinea-Bissau. The very different strands of activist thinkers who comprise the book centre it on the experience of the global majority.

    Editor Wende Marshall reading Insurrectionary Uprisings
    Editor Wende Marshall reading Insurrectionary Uprisings!
  • 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)

  • Under-Education in Africa: From Colonialism to Neoliberalism

    Under-Education in Africa: From Colonialism to Neoliberalism is a collection of essays on diverse aspects of educational systems that were written over a period of four and a half decades, written from the point of view of an activist educator.

    With the focus on Tanzania, they cover education in the German colonial era, the days of Ujamaa socialism and the present neo-liberal times. Themes include the social function of education, the impact of external dependency on education, practical versus academic education, democracy and violence in schools, the role of computers in education, the effect of privatization on higher education, misrepresentation of educational history, good and bad teaching styles, book reading, the teaching of statistics to doctors and student activism in education.

    Two essays provide a comparative view of the situation in Tanzania and the USA. Linking the state of the educational system with society as a whole, they explore the possibility of progressive transformation on both fronts. They are based on the author’s experience as a long-term educator, his original research, relevant books, newspaper reports and discussions with colleagues and students.

    The author is a retired professor of medical statistics who has taught at colleges and universities in Tanzania and at universities in the USA and Norway.

    Table of Contents:
    – Abbreviations
    – Preface
    – Introduction
    – Education and Colonialism
    – Education and Ujamaa
    – Education and Democracy
    – Education and Dependency
    – Education and Violence
    – Education and Privatization
    – Education and Computers
    – Education and America
    – Education and Debate
    – Education and History – I
    – Education and History – II
    – Education and Reading
    – Education and Educators
    – Education and Activism – I
    – Education and Activism – II
    – Education and Liberation
    – References
    – Author Profile

    A collection of essays from an educator-activist that takes us back to one of the richest periods of African intellectual debate about knowledge and colonization, the early 1970s at the University of Dar es Salaam, with valuable lessons for today.

    Budd L Hall, PhD, Professor Emeritus, UNESCO Co-chair in Community‑Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, University of Victoria, Canada

    This is a timely, broad ranging, provocative series of essays about under-education in Africa. The author’s lived experiences, particularly in Tanzania, form a rich base for much of the critical contextual analysis. New generations of scholar-activists in Africa and elsewhere are urged to learn from history, to debate, to question and strive, with passion and hope, to attain a just, more egalitarian world.

    Shirley Walters, Professor Emerita, University of Western Cape, South Africa

    An inspiring collection of vivid stories and profound critiques of education from a committed scholar-activist who draws upon a lifetime of engaged learning, teaching, research and debate. Revealing how under-education has been spawned by global capitalism, it also inspires hope and offers strategies for educational and social change in Africa and beyond.

    Pat Saul, UDSM graduate, teacher and community activist for social change, Toronto

    A dedicated and passionate educator and scholar activist, Karim Hirji explores the connection between education and a dependent economy, and the systematic de-education of the Tanzanian and African masses during the colonial and post-colonial periods up to the present day. Broad structural analysis of underlying factors such as social and economic injustice, political accountability and neoliberal policy is combined with concrete investigation of the challenges facing students and teachers at all levels of the education system and ends on a positive note, “dare to dream.”

    Marjorie Mbilinyi, Professor of Education, University of Dar es Salaam (1968-2003), independent researcher and writer

    Karim Hirji’s erudite yet accessible collection of essays is bound to become an essential companion and a classic for all concerned with the underdevelopment of Africa and its educational doppelganger, under-education. His dialectical, fine-grained and multi-scalar analysis of educational issues traverses the period of colonialism, the first flush of independence through neo-colonialism to present day capitalist neoliberalism. It is a milestone in connecting past and present struggles through the tools of political economy. While the essays focus on Tanzania, they have continental resonance and remain globally relevant.

    The essays draw inspiration and critical lessons from many countries. Hirji’s education commentary is grounded in a dedicated praxis of over forty years. The collection reflects this breadth of experience and the depth of multifaceted struggles. It embraces many pertinent issues valuable for contemporaneous endeavours against miseducation as these relate to democracy, dependency, violence in schools, the privatisation and corporatisation of education, the uses and abuses of technology, cultural imperialism, academic dissent, publishing, reading and the qualities of an effective teacher.

    Written in a register that exudes deep honesty, wisdom, self-critical reflection and borne out of collective struggle, the essays are indispensable to confront the current obfuscations, falsifications and the dominant right wing and indeed neo-fascist assaults on meaningful education and reason. The ideas and practices of Hirji and his fellow activist scholars such as Shivji, and the much missed AM Babu and Walter Rodney remain germane today and will leave a solid legacy for future generations to build on.

    Despite these bleak, dire and precarious times, this remarkable collection is an antidote to despair. Hirji’s injunction, not to lose hope is also a clarion call to action and a firm belief that, to quote Hirji, “…the struggle is a long term one; there are bound to be ups and downs. But ultimately, Africa and its people will triumph.”

    Salim Vally, Professor and Director, Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

    “This book will be of interest to readers in search of critical perspectives on education in Tanzania and Africa more widely. It invites the policymakers, teachers and students of today to erase their ‘ideological blinders’. For fellow citizens and observers of Tanzania, it elucidates the ideology of ‘education for self-reliance’ in practice. And, as an authoritative text on under-education, it makes an important contribution to the debates on transformative education and knowledge production in Africa as a whole.” Ahmad Kipacha Senior Lecturer in the School of Business Studies and Humanities at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha.

    https://www.tzaffairs.org/2021/01/reviews-89/

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

    Edited by Íde Corley, Helen Fallon, Laurence Cox

    Recent tweet about good news of the radio documentary on Silence Would Be Treason being shortlisted for the #newyorkfestivals documentary award (Human Rights category). Congrats to @noosarowiwa et al.

    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.

    I

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

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

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

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

    You can read this book online for free.

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

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

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

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

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

    Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy
    Karim F Hirji

    CONTENTS

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

  • Oil Politics: Echoes of Ecological Wars

    The essays here contribute to developing and deepening an understanding of the ecological challenges ravaging Nigeria, Africa and our world today. They illustrate the global nature of these terrors. These essays are not meant just to enable for coffee table chatter: they are intended as calls to action, as a means of encouraging others facing similar threats to share their experiences.

    Set out in seven sections, this book of 54 essays deals with deep ecological changes taking place primarily in Nigeria but with clear linkages to changes elsewhere in the world. The essays are laid out with an undergird of concerns that characterise the author’s approach to human rights and environmental justice advocacy. The first section rightly presents broad spectrum ecological wars manifesting through disappearing trees, spreading desertification, floods, gas flaring and false climate solutions.

    You can read this book online for free.

    The second section zeroes in on the different types of violence that pervade the oil fields of the Niger Delta and draws out the divisive power of crude oil by holding up Sudan as a country divided by oil and which has created a myriad of fissures in Nigeria. The exploitation of crude oil sucks not just the crude, it also sucks the dignity of workers that must work at the most polluting fronts.

    Section three underscores the need for strict regulation of the fossil fuels sector and shows that voluntary transparency templates adopted by transnational oil companies are mere foils to fool the gullible and are exercises in futility as the profit driven corporations would do anything to ensure that their balance sheets please their top guns and shareholders. The fourth section builds up with examples of gross environmental misbehaviours that leave sorrow and blood in a diversity of communities ranging from Chile to Brazil and the United States of America.

    Section five of the book is like a wedge in between layers of ecological disasters and extractive opacity. It takes a look at the socio-political malaise of Nigeria, closing with an acerbic look at crude-propelled despotism and philanthropic tokens erected as payment for indulgence or as some sort of pollution offsets.

    The closing sections provide excellent analyses of the gaps and contortions in the regulatory regimes in Nigeria. It would be surprising if these were not met with resistance on the ground.

    These essays provide insights into the background to the horrific ecological manifestations that dot the Nigerian environment and the ecological cancers spreading in the world. They underscore the fact there are no one-issue struggles. Working in a context where analyses of ecological matters is not the norm, decades of consistent environmental activism has placed the writer in good stead to unlock the webs that promote these scandalous realities.

  • Recent Political Developments in West Africa

    A compendium focused on political developments in West Africa from 2014 to early 2015. Popular uprisings, regime collapse, armed conflicts, epidemic, and economic emergencies in various States are reviewed. The questions of sovereignty and the future of social movements are central considerations.