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ROAPE Blog

ROAPE’s blog hosts short articles to highlight developments on the continent and comment on the dynamics of protest, shifting patterns of political economy and issues of historical concern for the journal. We welcome submissions for short articles between 800 and 1,800 words.

The birth of the Working People’s Alliance in Guyana

In 1974 the Working People’s Alliance emerged as an anti-racist and anti-imperialist formation that fought for socialism from below. To start with it was not an electoral party, but a pressure group that united Pan-Africanist and Indian socialist organisations. Chinedu Chukwudinma describes how Walter Rodney’s uncompromising use of Marxist theory and practice transformed him into the foremost organiser of the Guyanese working people.

A difficult return – race, class, and politics in Rodney’s Guyana

In 1974 Walter Rodney and his family returned to Guyana. Rodney immediately faced a country divided between the Indian and African working class, and the brutal and divisive regime of Forbes Burnham. Rodney produced an impressive body of historical work which provided a Marxist explanation for the divide of the country’s working people. Chinedu Chukwudinma continues the story of Rodney’s revolutionary life.

Kenya’s struggle heroes today – the social justice movement

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.

The horrors of the global gulag archipelago

ROAPE’s Graham Harrison examines Britain's deal with Rwanda which he argues shows Western states are constructing a vast international network of refugee prisons in post-colonial countries – offshoring the wretched of the earth to a dystopian universe devoid of rights, justice, and humanity.

Socialism from above or below – Rodney’s politics and activism

Chinedu Chukwudinma describes Walter Rodney’s initial enthusiasm for Tanzanian socialism, and how he participated in projects to build an alternative to capitalism in the country. Gradually, Rodney became critical of these top-down efforts at socialist transformation and turned to the struggle of the working class from below. Chukwudinma examines the development of Rodney’s politics, and his views on Pan-Africanism.

The Mecca of African Liberation: Walter Rodney in Tanzania

Walter Rodney moved to Tanzania in 1969. As a lecturer in history at the university, he threw himself into radical, political debates in the country, as attempts were made to break from a crippling colonial past. Chinedu Chukwudinma writes how Rodney immersed himself in the politics of the country and university, and went on to write his 1972 masterpiece, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. 

Imperialism and GMOs in Kenya: A perspective from social movements

Noosim Naimasiah interviews Irene Asuwa and Cidi Otieno about food sovereignty, ecologically appropriate production, distribution and consumption, social-economic justice, and local food systems in Kenya. They also discuss the role of social movements in raising popular consciousness and defending the rights of Kenya’s popular classes.

Transitioning nowhere: Burkina Faso’s coup d’état

ROAPE’s Bettina Engels argues that the coup in January 2022 in Burkina Faso was not a surprise. Frustration and anger within the state security forces, among activists and the population in general have steadily increased since the elections in 2020. Engels argues that it remains urgent to think about how radical political-economic transformation can be truly realised.

Racist Europe – Ukraine, human rights & the wretched of the earth

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.

A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney

This year is the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Guyanese revolutionary Walter Rodney. We are serialising over nine weeks ROAPE’s Chinedu Chukwudinma’s full study of Rodney’s life A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney. In the first part of Chukwudinma’s study, he explains that Rodney was a Marxist of impressive originality, he then looks at the first years of Rodney’s life in Guyana before he moved to Jamaica to continue his studies.

Coups, insurgency, and imperialism in Africa

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.

Mapambano ya Wamasai wa Ngorongoro

Ambreena Manji anaandika kuhusu tishio la serikali ya Tanzania kuwaondoa Wamasai zaidi ya 80,000 kutoka Ngorongoro, mahali pa urithi wa dunia, nchini humo. Serikali inadai kwamba Wamasai lazima waondolewe kwenye ardhi yao kwa maslahi ya hifadhi na ekolojia ya makazi ya wanyamapori. Manji anaeleza nini hasa kinaendelea.

Rosa Luxemburg: writing against barbarism

A new book on Rosa Luxemburg aims to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to commit our words and lives to the struggle against barbarism and for socialism. The book adopts an internationalist approach with Global South contributions from Kenya to Vietnam. The editor, Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, presents the volume for roape.net.

Karl Marx’s Capital in Kiswahili

More than a decade ago, Joachim Mwami, now a retired professor of sociology at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, began translating Capital into Kiswahili, the language spoken by roughly 100 million people across East Africa. Now, as his translation is finalized for publication with support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, he sat down with Loren Balhorn to talk more about the project and the use of Marxism in a neo-colonial context.

The Debate – why economists get Africa (really) wrong

In a debate on radical political economy, economics and economists working on Africa, Franklin Obeng-Odoom and Morten Jerven look at the use of statistics, mainstream economics, power, imperialism, patriarchy, and structural inequality. Both think that mainstream economists get much wrong about Africa, but they differ considerably in their diagnosis of the problem and the way forward.