Reviews Archives - ROAPE
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Reviews

In a review of Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa: Agrarian Questions in Egypt and Tunisia, by Habib Ayeb and Ray Bush, Bettina Engels argues that the authors make a major contribution to countering the widely held notion that the peasantry is politically passive. The book also considers the vital role that family farmers played in the 2010 and 2011 uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia....

Introducing an important book series on Democratic Marxism in Africa, Vishwas Satgar explains that the project is premised on a rejection of the authoritarianism of vanguardist politics and the need to learn critical lessons from all the left projects of the 20th century. There is a rich inheritance of emancipatory Marxism in Africa, which includes Frantz Fanon, Ruth First, Samir Amin, Sam Moyo, Harold Wolpe and many others. Today, Satgar argues, the challenge is to defeat carbon capitalism accelerating the climate crisis and fomenting exclusionary nationalisms and for this there has to be a return to Marx....

Discussing the extraordinary work of the Guyanese activist and historian Walter Rodney, Chinedu Chukwudinma describes how Rodney’s work remains a priceless weapon of theory and history that restores the dignity of African people. However, this blogpost takes issue with Andy Higginbottom’s review of Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa on roape.net and argues that Rodney’s version of dependency theory presents a flawed analysis of imperialism....

In this review of Peter Cole’s comparative study of port workers in Durban and San Francisco Bay, Dockworker Power, Peter Limb assesses the combination of labour, comparative and global history framed by the political economy of containerization which makes this book timely and worthy of deep reflection. The book’s author insists on the relevance of these dockworker struggles for the present and future, how workers can change their conditions, and the world, which is why the book is useful not just to scholars but also to workers, trade unionists and social activists more broadly. ...

In this review of R.W. Johnson’s latest book on South Africa, Fighting for the Dream, David Seddon commends an analysis that criticises the ANC as having learned little or nothing from the experience of African nationalism elsewhere on the continent. Although Johnson adopts an approach that explicitly draws on the Marxist tradition, Seddon argues that the ‘top-down’ perspective he adopts does not allow him to see the ordinary people of South Africa as actors and agents in contemporary politics. ...

In this review of Congolese-born Belgian artist Baloji’s short film ‘Zombies’, Thandi Loewenson celebrates a seductive and mesmerising tour de force that stirs up the fighting spirit in a people and a continent that has resisted colonial and capitalist extinction. This powerful, haunting review is written with Baloji’s lyrics, videos and ideas which weave through the text – linked in italics....

In a review of Hakim Adi’s Pan-Africanism: A History Mpumelelo Tshabalala celebrates a seminal work on the ideology and content of Pan-Africanism, that also describes the nature and extent of its organisational capacity. Tshabalala sees in the book how ‘Black people all over the world were able − despite state-sponsored repression, erasure, opposition and political assassinations – to network and organise around a Pan-African agenda.’...

Reviewing a major new book on Uganda’s neoliberal transformation, Daniel Lumonya writes that the volume is ‘a deep and comprehensive engagement with the dynamics of development in contemporary Uganda.’ Speaking at the launch of the book in Kampala in April, Lumonya was joined by one of the editors of the book and an audience of scholars and activists from Uganda. The launch was filmed for roape.net and the footage available in the blogpost....

Remi Adekoya reviews a powerful drama based on the consequences of Rwanda’s genocide. He celebrates a series that draws attention to European-owned mining consortiums still carting away the continent’s precious resources in collusion with corrupt local elites and warlords. Adekoya writes that the drama tells a story of a continent still seen by Western powers primarily as a source of wealth by any means necessary rather than a place where flesh-and-blood human beings deserving dignity and respect reside....