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  • The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising

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

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

  • Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence

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

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

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

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


    CONTENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

  • Lenin150 (Samizdat): 2nd expanded edition

    You can purchase the printed version of this book at the Lulu Bookstore.

    The pdf can be downloaded from this page.

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

    Lenin150 (Samizdat) seeks to contribute to the re-kindling of the communist attractor by engaging, in the spirit of critical solidarity, with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in the year of his 150th anniversary. Conceived out of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, the book brings together contributions from all continents, ranging in style from the academic to the lyrical. As such, these compelling, and in some cases absolutely urgent, appropriations of (the spectre of) Lenin aspire to be of considerable use-value for the struggles ahead.


    In the footsteps of Lenin: You can never have too many books about Lenin. by Sean Sheehan:Another anniversary, arising from Lenin’s year of birth, has prompted Lenin 150 (Samizdat), a collection of writings and photographs that explore the political footsteps of Lenin worth following today. The contributors are an exhilaratingly mixed set of activists and academics and they write in various styles, from the lyrical and personal to the discursive and theoretical. The book’s origins can be traced to Kyrgyzstan – home to more surviving Lenin statues than anywhere besides Belarus – but its spirit is internationalist and its laudable regard for approaching Lenin from different perspectives is even more pronounced in its second edition.  As a witty, relevant, inspirational and superbly sane collection of words and pictures, this is a book that requires two copies: one to keep and the other to present to a friend as a gift.

    Lenin 150 (Samizdat) – book review This book came as an unexpected delight. A delight because here is a volume of essays examining the relevance of Lenin today in general and, on occasion, in the specifics of the country where the writer is based. A delight because Lenin has been largely missing from the social movements which have swept the globe over the last two decades, meaning all too often after their meteoric rise and then fall, they leave little behind in way of organisation. The need for which is under constant discussion here.

    Chillin’ with Lenin: An interview with Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn: Tribune‘s Owen Hatherley interviews Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn about his edited collection ‘Lenin 150,’ and the many meanings of the Russian revolutionary in the present day.

    LENIN150 Samizdat: Original and inspirational thoughts on man who changed the world
    PUBLISHED to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and conceived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Lenin 150 (Samizdat) is an outsanding collection of essays, poems and photos. … Lively, thought-provoking and informative, its roots are in the ideas of a group of young communists living and working in Kyrgyzstan, a country which has retained many of its Soviet-era buildings, statues and monuments, with Johann Salazar’s excellent photography providing a fitting complement to the text. … This book is a fantastically eclectic mix, yet the sheer quality of most of the writing enables a breadth of vision that’s a fitting tribute to someone who not only understood the world but was able to change it as well. — Morning Star, UK

    “A fascinating and surprisingly uplifting intellectual endeavour – analytically sharp yet wide-ranging. This collection of essays and images invites readers to reflect, from a multitude of perspectives and approaches, on one of history’s central revolutionaries. More importantly, it encourages us to reflect on our own time in revolutionary ways. Its academic readership should also be inspired by its samizdat creation – there are ways to engage in intellectual conversations outside of the mainstream publication business.” – Rebecca Selberg, Lund University

    “Wide-ranging, topical and sometimes provoking interpretations of Lenin reflecting different political standpoints.” – David Lane, Emeritus Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

    “This wonderfully designed book provides an original and insightful contribution to academic discussions on Lenin, one that does justice to his legacy.” – Joe Pateman, University of Nottingham, UK

    “A compelling volume for revolutionary-minded activists who are part of the radical ferment animating waves of dissent and protest sweeping the world – but also of genuine interest to anyone seeking information and ideas about one of the great political figures of the twentieth century.”– Paul LeBlanc, Professor of History, La Roche University, Author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and October Song: Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924

    “What an exciting culmination of the recent Lenin editorial revival! This explosive mix between images of Soviet relics and thoughtful insights about Leninism brilliantly dusts off the legacy of the October Revolution leader…” – Adrien Minard, Independent Researcher

    “‘Consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it,’ Lenin wrote before the revolution. In analogy we might say, like Patti Smith once did: ‘We created it, let’s take it over!’ This book is a tribute to revolutionary thought on the one hand and pure rock ‘n’ roll on the other!”
    Ronald Matthijssen, Lifetime communist voter and actor, social justice advocate and writer in the making

    “I am not an admirer of Lenin. However, as a historian I believe that it is impossible to understand the contemporary world without a renewed effort to understand the emergence of the Soviet Union and its global legacy, including in the formation of “Western” Europe. This book pleasantly brings us memorial landscapes from Kyrgyzstan, both built and lyrical, originally articulating the latter with a diversity of scholarly and activist perspectives on the figure of Lenin. It is an important step towards a postcolonial debate on the history of the Soviet Union.”
    Tiago Castela, University of Coimbra

    “…an inspiring book, which gives a thought-provoking, prismatic picture of Lenin, both as a historic figure and an actual theoretician of change and revolution…”
    Vesa Oittinen, University of Helsinki

    “I acquired this very unusual samizdat (self-published) 150th birthday present for Lenin as soon as I heard of it, and enthusiastically endorse its second edition. Not least because it is the product of one of my favourite countries, Kyrgyzstan, with many colour photos of Stalinist representations of Lenin (and Marx) taken in 2019 in the “Switzerland of Central Asia”; 22 chapters by authors from 15 countries, 4 from the USA, but also from the global South and 3 from Kyrgyzstan; poetry from a Kyrgyz revolutionary poet; and ending with a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling ‘To Those Born After (An die Nachgeborenen).’ Vladimir Ilich would have been delighted.” —Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London

    “A great source of inspiration for those suffering from the corona dictatorships. Governments trying to freeze societies in their tracks will find revolution is around the corner.” – Kees van der Pijl, Prof of International Relations (retired), latest book, Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster

    “[The editors have] found exactly the right tone and the right team to bring Lenin into 21st century discussions. It is self-ironic, humorous, unpretentious, serious, wide-ranging, and well designed. As intended, the authors, of usually short pieces, come ‘from all continents, from people of colour, different sexual orientations and gender identities.’ Here we are almost as far away from the doxa of “Marxism-Leninism” as possible.” – Göran Therborn, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Cambridge University


    Contents

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Preface to the 2nd Edition xi

    The Politburo, About This Book xvii

    Patrick Anderson, In Search of Meaning: A Note from the Translator xxiii

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Introduction: The Kyrgyz Lenin – From Spectre to Attractor (and Back) 1

    1. Leon Trotsky, VI Lenin – On His Fiftieth Birthday11
    2. Alain Badiou, Lenin, Founder of the Modern Meaning of the Word ‘Politics’ 15
    3. Elvira Concheiro Bórquez, Lenin Does Not Mean Leninism23
    4. Michael Brie, Learning from Lenin – and Doing It Differently31
    5. Mauricio Sandoval Cordero, Lenin from Latin America – Towards a Reactivation of the Marxism of Political Organisation and Strategy39
    6. Vashna Jagarnath, Peace! Land! Bread! – We are not going to die of Coronavirus, we are going to die of hunger! 51
    7. Atilio A Boron, Notes on “Left-Wing” Communism:
      An Infantile Disorder
      61
    8. Owen Hatherley, Dead Russians on the Wall 79
    9. Marcos Del Roio, Engels and Lenin in Latin America: Yesterday and Today 87
    10. Kevin B Anderson, A Note on Lenin and the Dialectic97
    11. Roland Boer, Lenin and Non-Antagonistic Contradictions 103
    12. Georgy Mamedov, How Is Internationalism to Be Understood? A Leninist Perspective on Identity Politics111
    13. Jodi Dean, Lenin’s Desire: Reminiscences of Lenin and the Desire of the Comrade 125

    Poetic Interlude – Joomart Bokonbaev Three Communist Poems 134

    1. Ursina Lardi, Playing Lenin – A Conversation about Lenin and Theatre 143
    2. Oxana Timofeeva, What Lenin Teaches Us About Witchcraft 149
    3. Tora Lane, Lenin, the Revolution, and the Uncertainties of Communism in the Work of Platonov 163
    4. Thomas Rudhof-Seibert, Eleven Theses on Lenin in the Corona Era 171
    5. Matthieu Renault, On Revolutionary Prudence, or the Wisdom of Lenin 191
    6. Michael Neocosmos, Lenin’s ‘Turn to the Masses’ (1921-1923) 203
    7. Molaodi Wa Sekake, Lenin: A Man of Action
and a Defender of the Integrity of Revolutionary Thought 213
    8. Matthew T Huber, Electric Communism:
The Continued Importance of Energy to Revolution 225
    9. Mohira Suyarkulova, City of Lenin and the Social(ist) Life of a River 238
    10. Ronald Grigor Suny, A Whole River of Blood: Lenin and Stalin 255
    11. Wang Hui, The Revolutionary Personality and The Philosophy of Victory – Commemorating the 150th Anniversary
of Lenin’s Birth 261
    12. Darko Suvin, In the Shadows of Never-Ending Warfare: On the Use-Value of Lenin today 279
    13. Slavoj Žižek, Lenin? – Which Lenin? 291
    14. Vijay Prashad, For Comrade Lenin on His 150th Birth Anniversary 295
    15. Johann Salazar, I Believe in Yesterday – A Photographer’s Note  on Remembering an Alternative Future 303

    Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born After 313

    The Central Committee 319

    The Politburo 327

    Index329

     

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

     

     

    You can watch Brian Murphy interviews Andrés McKinley here.

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

    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.

  • 소소한 혁명

    Suggested Price: CAD $ 4.99

    소소한 혁명

    어떻게 자본주의를 넘어설 것인가라는 질문에 대한 답을, 지금 우리가 “감히” 찾아보려고 한다. 이 소책자를 통해, 자본주의를 벗어나 생태사회주의로 향하는 길을 찾는 우리의 노력이 뚜렷해지길 바란다.

    자본주의에 갇힌 우리는, 어떤 형태로든 행동 또는 비행동inaction에 관여하고 있다. 행동은, 자본주의를 직접 마주하기 보다는 자본주의가 초래하는 심각한 여러 문제를 개선하기 위한 투쟁에 참여하는 모습을 띈다. 즉, 우리의 행동은 원인이 아니라 결과에 초점을 맞추는 모순을 보인다.

    반면, 비행동은 동의를 의미하게 된다. 우리는 자본주의 경제 체계를 영속시키는 경제 활동에 문제 제기를 하거나 변화를 요구하는 행동을 하지 않음으로써 자본주의에 [암묵적으로] 동의하고 있다. 결과적으로 평범한 우리가 자본주의에 봉사하는 자본가 역할을 계속하고 있는 것이다.

    왜 자본주의 억압의 대상인 우리가 억압에 동의하는가? 그 이유가 단지 [외부의] 탄압 때문만은 아니라고, 이탈리아 파시즘 하의 감옥에서 그람시Antonio Gramci는 말했다. 즉, “헤게모니”를 장악하는 이념이 우리의 삶을 둘러싼 억압적인 환경을 설명하고 정당화하는 것이다.

    “소소한 혁명”은, 개개인의 삶 속에서, 쉽고 안전하게, 엄청 근사하지는 않지만 일상적이고 실천가능한 행동과 비행동을 얘기한다. 지금까지의 혁명사는, 혁명을 가능하게 했던 전체 민중보다는 소수의 혁명가에 주목했었지만, 자본주의에 맞서는 “우리는” 마르크스나 엥겔스가 떠올렸던 주인공들보다 훨씬 다양하고 규모가 커졌다. 자본주의를 수호하기 위해 싸우는 “그들은” 전 세계 인구의 극소수일 뿐이다.

    자본주의의 어떤 특징이 억압적이고 그래서 제거되어야 하는지, 또 반대로 어떤 사회경제구조의 특징이 억압적이지 않으며 그래서 남겨져야 하는지를 뚜렷이 설명하는 전략이 필요하다. 자본주의 이후 사회가 어떤 모습이어야 할지는 점점 명확해지고 있다. 소소한 혁명은, 자본주의의 영속과 발전에 필수적인 과정에 대한 우리의 동의를 거두는 데에서 시작하여, 수 백 만의 우리가, 여전히 적은 소수이긴 하지만, 건설적인 혹은 파괴적인 노력에 창의적으로 참여할 수 있는 방법 또한 포함한다.

    세상은 자본주의 그 이후로 이미 진행 중이다. 세계 곳곳에서 창의적인 모습의 공동체communal organization들이 생겨나 스스로 통치하고 구성원들의 생존과 안녕을 보장하기 위해 활동하고 있다.  복지 국가를 포함한 자본주의 국가를 넘어서는 것은 국가 자체를 넘어서는 결과로 이어진다. 연대 경제solidarity economy는 먼저, 소규모의 협동조합 성격을 띄는, 저렴하고 유쾌하고 편안한 주거 공간을 구성하는 방법을 모색하여, 착취적인 임대료, 빚, 세금, 보험에 대한 공동의 해결책을 제시한다. 또한 이러한 공동체는, 영양이 풍부한 먹거리를 지역에서 생산하여 유통하는 방법으로, 자본주의식 농업으로부터 독립을 꾀할 수 있다.

    창조적 파괴는, 허가를 받아 하는 대규모의 시위가 아니라 자본주의가 순조롭게 기능할 수 없게 멈추거나 둔화시키는 직접 행동으로 가능하게 된다. 우리가 투자나 세금으로 흘러가게 내버려 두는 돈의 흐름을 비자본주의적인 연대경제에 돌리는 것도 창조적 파괴의 한 방법이다.

    소소한 혁명은, 간단하고 안전하며, 자신의 삶을 조금이라도 바꾸고 싶은 의지가 있는 사람이라면 실천가능하다. 자본주의가 우리의 안녕과 행복을 파괴하는 체계라는 것을 알면서도, 부지불식간에 자본주의를 지지하고 동의하는 행동을 멈추는 즐거움을 누릴 수 있다. 놀랍게도 혁명을 위해 다치거나 죽지 않아도 되고, 심지어 큰 불편을 감수하지 않아도 된다. 우리가 해야 할 일은 단 하나. 어차피 하기 싫었던 여러 일들을 이제 정말 그만두는 것이다.

    Suggested Price: CAD $ 4.99
  • Revolución Rinky-Dink: Yendo Más Allá del Capitalismo Negando Consentimiento, y Promoviendo Construcciones Creativas y Destrucciones Creativas

    Este panfleto aborda la pregunta: ¿cómo podemos pasar de A a B, del capitalismo al poscapitalismo? La revolución de Rinky-dink involucra acciones e inacciones que son fáciles, seguras, mundanas, sin glamour y factibles dentro de la vida de cada persona.

    Howard Waitzkin presenta una intervención clara y directa para el cambio revolucionario en el sistema económico capitalista global. Cubre mucho terreno, con sofisticación, mientras mantiene la discusión en tierra. Su enfoque en las formas de facilitar un desafío al capital y construir una mayor transformación revolucionaria es crucial en esta coyuntura histórica. Esta discusión sobre construcciones creativas y destrucciones creativas es particularmente útil.

    — Brett Clark, profesor de sociología de la Universidad de Utah y autor De El Robo De La Naturaleza: Capitalismo Y Grieta Ecológica, The Robbery of Nature: Capitalism and Ecological Rift en inglés.

    El fin del capitalismo es posible. Waitzkin nos lleva un paso más allá en el proceso creativo para esta transformación. A través de ejemplos específicos de grupos organizados dentro de los Estados Unidos y en el extranjero, este trabajo constituye una guía práctica para todos. Waitzkin alienta nuestra creatividad para actos organizados y seguros además de omisiones para trascender el capitalismo.

    — Nylca J. Munoz Sosa, abogada, líder de salud pública y activista centrada en la justicia sanitaria y la descolonización en Puerto Rico.

    Suggested Price: CAD $ 4.99
  • 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.

    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

    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:

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

    Karari Njama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

  • What is to be Thought? The Dialectics of Emancipation and Africa: political theory and political practice

    Beginning from the understanding that it is imperative today to develop new concepts for the thinking of an emancipatory politics on the African continent  (Fanon), this book proposes to focus on dialectical thought as the core subjective feature of all emancipatory political experiments on the African continent in particular.  It traces a dialectical thinking to its origins in Ancient Egypt that arguably influenced Plato, and notes its opposition to the idea of representation in state politics during various historical sequences right up to the present.  Starting from the fundamental conception that all people are capable of universal thought, and that an idea of universal humanity is central to popular thought during experiences of collective emancipatory struggle, the argument traces and analyses a number of emancipatory historical political sequences and their attendant contemporary narratives.  Currently it is proposed to include

    1)    the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt (The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant – 4000 BCE) and Plato (as read by Alain Badiou);

    2)    Pre-colonial Africa and resistance to slavery: the Donsolu Kalikan (in the Manden/Mali, 1222),  the Antonian Movement (in Kongo, 1684-1706) and its continuation in the Lemba Movement, and the Haitian Revolution (undertaken by slaves from Africa),

    3)    The National Liberation Struggles of the 1960s  as thought by Fanon and Cabral, and

    4)    The mass popular struggles in South Africa during the 1980s.

    The core of the political dialectic in each case differs and creates, during a limited sequence, what can be called a subjective political singularity that always combines dialectically a particular thought of resistance emanating from its specific social location with one of universal humanity during what is a process exceptional to hegemonic social relations.

    It is further argued that whereas the political dialectic is not a given feature of African cultures as such, the latency of universalistic conceptions of humanity is identifiable within many African cultures. This means that rather than having to be invented ex nihilo, conceptions of the human universal in Africa have the potential to be (re-)activated in practice.  Ato Sekyi-Otu and Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba are discussed as major contemporary African dialectical thinkers.

    Coming to the present period, the book elaborates a theory of neo-colonial state politics through unpacking the core idea of representation and the absence of popular sovereignty.  It is argued that the neo-colonial character of the state must be understood beyond binaries but rather, following Gramsci, as structured by objective dialectical relations characterising fundamentally distinct modes of rule.  This objective dialectic is assessed, in addition to Gramsci, through a discussion of a number of well-known contemporary thinkers of the dialectic (Lenin, Mao, Dunayevskaya, CLR James, Carchedi, Anderson, etc).

    These modes of rule enable the neo-colonial state to reproduce itself and social relations in conjunction with popular responses to such rule. Differing modes of state rule are identified and the formation of distinct domains of politics corresponding to them and founded on different forms of representation are elucidated.  These domains amount to three types:

    1)    civil society (where the state rules through a relation of citizenship and the right to rights),

    2)    uncivil society (where the right to rights is inexistent and thus state violence is dominant), and

    3)    traditional society (where the state rules through custom and tradition itself the object of struggle).

    Using various cases from Africa, contradictions and struggles within each of these domains are analysed and the potential to draw on latent cultural conceptions of universality (when in existence) is discussed.
    In this manner both the dialectic of emancipation and the character of state power are thought conjointly and dialectical thinking is opposed to the idea of representation in politics as well as in social science.  The concepts and categories used are explained in a simple manner understandable by all.

    Finally and as a kind of concluding argument, it is proposed to rethink the idea of representation through a critical engagement with the political practices of what could be called the “heroic figures of liberation”.  This will be undertaken via an assessment of the politics of Toussaint Louverture and Nelson Mandela in particular regarding the “colonial question” as identified by Aimé Césaire.  

  • October 1917 Revolution: A century later

    Great revolutions make history. Conservative resistance and counter-revolutions only delay their progress. The French revolution invented modern politics and democracy, the Russian revolution paved the way for the socialist transition, while the Chinese revolution connected the emancipation of those peoples oppressed by imperialism with the path to socialism. These revolutions are great precisely because they are bearers of undertakings that are far ahead of the immediate demands of their time. beacons that illuminate the still unfinished struggles of the peoples for the realization of these goals. It is impossible to understand the contemporary world by ignoring these great revolutions. To commemorate these revolutions, says Samir Amin, one needs both to assess their ambitions (the utopia of today will be the reality of tomorrow), and to understand the reasons for their temporary setbacks. Conservative and reactionary minds refuse to do so—they wish us to believe that great revolutions have been nothing more than unfortunate accidents, that the peoples who have made them were carried away by their deceitful enthusiasm, diversions from the normal current of history. This collection of essays helps to situate the lessons of the October 1917 Russian Revolution from a perspective of 100 years.

    Samir Amin, born in Cairo in 1931, is one of the world’s greatest radical thinkers —a creative Marxist’. He is the director of Third World Forum (Forum du tiers monde), Dakar and President of the World Forum for Alternatives. He has published numerous books and papers, including The Law of Value and Historical Materialism, Eurocentrism – Modernity, Religion and Democracy: A Critique of Eurocentrism and Culturalism, Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or Ending Capitalism?‘, Global History – a View from the South and Russia and the Long Transition from Capitalism to Socialism.

    You can read this book online for free.