February 2019 - ROAPE
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February 2019

In a major contribution to our debate on imperialism, James Parisot argues that the discussion has centred on a non-historical, economistic variation of historical materialism that, in reducing capitalism to the capital-wage labour relation, ends up doing injustice to the real history of imperialism and the expansion of capitalism. A full history of imperialism is also a history of capital exploiting a wide variety of racialized and gendered labour forms along a complex gradation including ‘free’ wage labourers, chattel slaves, and unpaid housework....

Vladimir Shubin celebrates the extraordinary life of an African scholar, activist and diplomat. Vasily Grigoryevich Solodovnikov, who died last year, spent decades working with African liberation movements. He worked tirelessly for the liberation of Southern Africa, and movements for colonial freedom across the continent. Shubin celebrates a legendary figure who was the first Russian citizen to be awarded the South African Order of O.R. Tambo....

Outsourcing is a key pillar of neoliberalism and it has devastated working conditions in public services and universities across the world. In Africa such practices have been part of the long-running restructuring of economies and states. Yet, the continent has also been at the cutting edge of campaigns against outsourcing. In South Africa, for example, in recent years the campaigns to decolonise higher education, end privatisation and scrap fees have also demanded and secured an end to outsourcing...

Caroline Mwatha Ochieng was a tireless campaigner against police brutality and illegal arrests in Kenya, and she was involved in documenting these cases. Through the documentation of these systematic injustices, Caroline was exposed to police harassment and threats but she never gave up and continued to fight for social justice. Earlier this month she was murdered. Campaigner and Kenya social justice activist, Gacheke Gachihi celebrates her life....

Postponed hours before the poll was due to open, Nigeria will now hold its election on 23 February, voting to elect the President, Vice President and the National Assembly. These elections will be the sixth since the end of military rule in 1999. Fabiawari Batubo and Andy Wynne argue whichever major party wins the prospects for the popular masses are not positive. ...

In this blogpost, Leo Zeilig looks at Walter Rodney’s journey from Tanzania, his return to Guyana in 1974 and then his extraordinary lectures in Hamburg in 1978. An astonishing scholar and activist, Rodney was constantly rethinking the question of working class agency and politics, and refused simplistic political statements or formulations. In Germany, Rodney asserted the central role of the working class in socialist transformation. ...

In a contribution to our debate on capitalism in Africa, Ben Radley writes that the involvement of TNC-led mining in the Congo has undermined the productivity and development of locally-led artisanal mining. Researching artisanal gold mining in South Kivu, Radley argues that real progress in the sector has been led and managed by a local Congolese capitalist class through a process of technological assimilation, capital formation and mechanisation. These processes are being eroded by international capital, backed-up by the state and police. ...

ROAPE’s Patrick Bond looks at the context for the 14-17 January nationwide protests in Zimbabwe. The protests were called by trade unions against an unprecedented fuel price hike, leading to repression, death, injuries and mass arrests reminiscent of former leader Robert Mugabe’s rule. Bond unpicks what he argues is a full-on capitalist crisis....

David Seddon examines the events leading up to the elections held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the end of December 2018. The election of the new government headed by President Felix Tshisekedi, the son of the veteran leader of the UDPS, Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in 2017, has been challenged across the country. The circumstances of the alleged ‘deal’ between the old regime and the new one, leave many asking what has really changed in the Congo....

In a blogpost on Ethiopia’s current challenges, Yohannes Woldemariam examines the hurdles facing the new leadership in the country. While the recent protest movement has determined the course of the country’s reforms, Woldemariam sees ethnic conflict, political division and violence hampering a political class that continues to have blind faith in capitalist development. ...