Adam Mayer praises a new collection, Liberated Texts, which includes rediscovered books on Africa’s socialist intellectual history and political economy, looking at the startling, and frequently long ignored work of Walter Rodney, Karim Hirji, Issa Shivji, Dani Wadada Nabudere, A. M. Babu and Makhan Singh.
Nairobi remains a monument to the colonial project of discriminatory citizenship, inequality and structural violence. For decades under British colonialism demolitions of ‘illegal’ housing became the norm. Mwangi Mwaura explains that current demolitions in the city are justified under the banner of cleaning-up and building the city to attract investments.
Meriem Naïli writes about the continuing struggle for the independence of Western Sahara. Occupied by Morocco since the 1970s, in contravention of the International Court of Justice and the UN. The internationally recognised liberation movement, POLISARIO, has fought and campaigned for independence since the early 1970s. Naïli explains what is going on, and the legal efforts to secure the country’s freedom.
Across Africa projects of capitalist extraction still ensure evictions, mass expropriations of land and misery. Today the government of Tanzania wants to expand the space for luxury tourists to enjoy picturesque views of nature – a wildlife fantasy of nature supposedly untouched by humans. Laibor Kalanga Moko and Jonas Bens argue that justification for the dispossession of indigenous communities has shifted from “economic development” to “wildlife conservation”.
Nadia Sayed assesses the Black Lives Matter movement two years after mass protests erupted following the assassination of George Floyd. We share a talk she gave at Marxism festival in London in July 2022, which is based on her article for the International Socialism Journal. Defending the movement’s achievements while considering its weaknesses, Sayed argues that mobilising the power of the working class is crucial to ensuring that Black Lives Matter is not merely a moment but the beginning of a movement that delivers fundamental change.
In the first of a three-part series on mental health and activism in Kenya, Noosim Naimasiah writes about the pandemic of mental health breakdown in Kenya. She notes how activists respond increasingly to distress calls, extrajudicial executions, sexual abuse, fatal domestic violence, and suicides are interspersed by the chronic conditions of violence in the informal settlements of Nairobi. Naimasiah writes how communities once connected by values of respect, dignity and love have been left to the cold machinations of a brutal system registering only exchange value.
Heike Becker reviews a book, Creolizing Rosa Luxemburg, which speaks to a generation of anti-colonial activists, from Cape Town to Cairo, London and Berlin, who are using a new language of decoloniality, with which they claim radical humanity in struggle and theory. The heart of the book puts Rosa in conversation with thinkers of the Black radical tradition.
Gathanga Ndung’u commemorates activists whose lives were snatched away by Kenya’s brutal capitalism. Activists who launched a war against a system of impunity, a world one hundred times larger, mightier, and older than them, but, Ndung’u explains, that each of them mounted a defence to protect and defend their comrades and communities.
As the total disregard for people of African descent is shown in the context of the deadly invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Christiane Ndedi Essombe and Benjamin Maiangwa argue that the contempt and compulsive need to invalidate, belittle and dehumanize people of African descent remains unchanged in an irredeemably racist Europe. Essombe and Maiangwe ask what does this racism reveal about international human rights frameworks?
In 1963 Walter Rodney moved to London. He had received a scholarship to undertake a PhD in the UK. In the UK, Rodney confronted racism, a sectarian left and studied Marxism alongside CLR James. In the second part of his biography, A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney, Chinedu Chukwudinma explores the development of Rodney’s politics in London.
The Manzese Working Women’s Cooperative, or UWAWAMA, unites women in Tanzania seeking a cooperative alternative to the “slavery” of financial institutions. A recent meeting on International Women’s Day, was a chance for women to unite, organise, and articulate their demands. The women who participated in the day’s discussions summed up their demands for working women in a declaration. We post the English translation of the declaration and an introduction by Michaela Collord.
West Africa is in the grip of a wave of coups, popular protests and fierce geopolitical struggles. Amy Niang argues that declining western hegemony in the region goes hand to hand with intensified competition for access and control of Africa’s natural resources. Furthermore, Niang states, the Russian occupation of Ukraine compels us to look at the importance of the country’s growing presence in Africa.