Monthly Archives: October 2012

Capitalism Antithesis:Leading Lights,the Faces.

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Marxists/Communists/Socialists/Leftists/Welfarists et al:

Karl Marx,Friedrich Engels,Vladimir Lenin,Antonio Gramsci,Paulo Freire,Karl Kautsky,Leon Trotsky,Rosa Luxemburg,Clara Zetkin,Frantz Fanon,Mao Zedong,Julius Nyerere,Thomas Sankara,Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara,Fidel Castro,Aime Cessaire,Amilcar Cabral,Oginga Odinga,Bildad Kaggia.

  The  Consciousness-raising  Quotes:

”The revolution is not an apple that falls when ripe.You  have to make it fall.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture.We revolt simply because,for a variety of reasons,we can no longer breathe.”-Frantz  Fanon.

”An ounce of action is worth a tonne of theory.”-Friedrich Engels.

”Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval.Social progress can be measured exactly by the social  position of the fair sex,the ugly ones included.”-Karl Marx

”A woman can be emancipated only when she can take part on a large social scale in production and is engaged in domestic work only to an  insignificant degree.”-Friedrich Engels.

”Washing one’s  hands off the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful,not to be neutral.”-Paulo Freire.

”The walls of the educational system must come down.Education should not be a privilege,so the children of those who have money can study.”Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

”Each generation must,out of relative obscurity,discover its mission,fulfill it or betray it.”-Frantz Fanon.

”In Tanzania, it was more than one hundred tribal units which lost their freedom;it was one nation that regained it.”-Julius Nyerere.

”Question everything.”-Karl Marx.

”Oh my body,make of me a man who always asks questons !”-Frantz Fanon.

”Every day people straighten up their  hair,why not the heart?”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”Sell a man a fish,he eats it for a day,teach a man how to fish,you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.”-Karl Marx.

”The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”I  am a pessimist because of intelligence,but an optimist because  of will.”[Pessimism of the intellect,optimism of the will]-Antonio Gramsci

”There are too many idiots in this world.And having said  it,I have the burden of  proving  it.”-Frantz Fanon.

”We spoke as if  and acted as if,given the opportunity for self-government,we would quickly create utopia.Instead injustice,even tyranny is rampant.”-Julius Nyerere.

”I  know  you are here to kill me.Shoot,coward,you are only going to kill a man.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”Last words are for those fools who believe they have not yet said enough….”-Karl Marx.

”If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

”The present over weighted government of 46 ministers and junior ministers earn between them something in the  region  of  1/4 million sterling pounds per year,enough to provide housing and food for 500 families.I n 6 months an MP receives more money than the average peasant earns in half a lifetime.”-Excerpt from ‘Not Yet Uhuru’,Oginga Odinga.

”Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practices of  freedom,the means by which men and women deal critically  and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”-Paulo Freire [Pedagogy of the Oppressed]

”Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution.The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.They have  a world to win.Working men of all countries,unite!”-Karl Marx.

”You do not have to be a Communist to see  that China has a lot to teach us in development.The fact that they have a different political system than ours has nothing to do with it.”-Julius Nyerere.

”We do not believe that the Marxist program,which embodies the continuity of the experience of the actual class struggle and real revolutions of the last one hundred and fifty years,is a definitely closed book.”-Ernest Mendel

”To be radical is to grasp things by the root.”-Karl Marx.

”The more radical the person is,the more fully he or she enters into reality so that,knowing it better,he or she can transform it.This individual is not afraid to confront,to listen,to see the world unveiled.This person is not afraid to meet  the people or to enter into a dialogue with them.This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or  of all the people,or the liberator of the oppressed but he or she does commit himself or herself,with history,to fight at their side.”-Paulo Freire [Pedagogy of the Oppressed]

”Private property has made us so stupid and one sided that an object is only ‘ours’ when we have it.”-Karl Marx.

”Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels are on the head of a pin,and you will be asked in return to never mind the angels but who controls the production of pins.”-Joan Didion
”The multitude is  always in the  wrong.”-Paulo Freire.

”Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot comprehend.”[Religion is the opium of the masses]-Karl Marx.

”The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament.”-Vladimir Lenin.

”They realize at last that change does not mean improvement.”-The Wretched of the Earth;Frantz Fanon.

”At the risk of seeming ridiculous,let me say that a true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of  love.It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds,into acts that serve  as examples,as a moving force.”- Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious.Freedom is the conscious of necessity.”-Karl Marx

”I can hear the roar of women’s silence.”-Thomas Sankara

”The country that is more developed industrially only shows,to the less developed,the image of its own future.”-Karl Marx.

”We,in Africa,have no more need of being ‘converted’ to  socialism than we have of being ‘taught’ democracy.Both are rooted in our past–in the traditional society which produced us.”-Julius Nyerere.

”I am not a liberator.Liberators do not exist.The people liberate themselves.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

”When someone strives and strains  to  prove to me that black men are as intelligent as white men,I say that intelligence has never saved anyone;and that is true,for,if  philosophy and intelligence are  invoked to proclaim the equality of men,they have also been employed to justify the extermination of men.”-Frantz Fanon [Black Skin,White Masks]

”Liberty is  precious,so precious that it must be rationed.”-Vladimir Lenin

”The writer must earn money in order to be able to live and write,but he must by no means live and write for the purposes of making money.”-Karl Marx.

”Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations?It cannot.”-Vladimir Lenin.

”From each according to his abilities,to each according to his needs.”-Karl Marx

”The colonized is  elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country’s cultural standards.”-Frantz Fanon [Black Skin,White Masks]

”I would say I was still a Marxist-which is not to be confused with being a Communist.Despite its flaws,Marxism still seems to explain the material world better than anything else.”-Alexei Sayle

”Silence is argument carried out by other means.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”The task is not just to understand the world but to change it.”-Karl Marx.

”Give me just one generation of youth,and I’ll transform the whole world.”-Vladimir Lenin.

”The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”-Karl Marx.

”Valdiva’s  actions  symbolize  man’s  indefatigable thirst to take control of a place where he can exercise total authority.That phrase,attributed to Caesar,proclaiming he would rather be first-in-command in some humble Alpine village than second-in-command in Rome,is repeated less pompously,but no less effectively,in the epic campaign that is  the  conquest of Chile.If,in the moment the conquistador was facing death at the hands of that invincible Araucanian Caupolican,he had not been overwhelmed with fury,like a hunted animal,I do not doubt that judging his life,Valdiva would have felt death was fully justified.He belonged  to that special class of men the species every so often,in whom a craving for limitless power is so extreme that any suffering to achieve it seems natural,and he had become the omnipotent ruler of a warrior nation.”-The Motorcycle Diaries;Notes on a Latin American.-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

”I am a Marxist Leninist and I will be one until the last day of my life.”-Fidel Castro.

”When asked whether or not we are Marxists,our position is the same as that of  a physicist,when asked if he is a ”Newtonian” or  of  a biologist when asked if he is a ”Pasteurian”.There are truths so evident,so much a part of the  peoples’ knowledge,that it is  now useless to debate them.One should be a  ”Marxist” with the same naturalness with which one is a ”Newtonian” in physics or a ”Pasteurian”.If new facts bring about new concepts,the latter will never take away that portion of truth possessed by those that have come before.Such is the case,for example,of  ”Einsteinian”  relativity  or of Planck’s quantum theory in relation to Newton’s discoveries.They take absolutely nothing away from the greatness of the learned Englishman.Thanks to Newton,physics was able to advance until it achieved new concepts of space.The learned Englishman was the necessary stepping-stone for that.Obviously,one can point to certain mistakes of Marx,as a thinker and as an investigator of the social doctrines and of  the capitalist system in which he lived.We,Latin America for example ,cannot agree with his interpretation of Bolivar,or with his Engels’ analysis of the Mexicans which accepted as fact certain theories of race or nationality that are unacceptable today.But the great men who discover brilliant truths live on despite their small faults and these faults serve only to show us they were human.That is to say,they were human beings who could make mistakes,even given the high level of consciousness achieved by these giants of human thought.This is why we recognize the essential truths of Marxism as part of humanity’s body of cultural and scientific knowledge.We accept it with the naturalness of something that requires no further argument.”-Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

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Nairobi’s Incursion into Somalia:A Realist’s Perspective.

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AMISOM Forces in Kismayo

One year,is how long it has been since Kenya’s military operation against the Al-Shabaab,aptly

codenamed”Operation Linda Nchi” was launched.That realism,deriving its fundamentals from

power and sovereignty best elucidates the invasion by the Kenya Defence Forces of the Al-Shabaab militia

group in Somalia,a country embedded in what was seemingly becoming unending state of anarchy,is

irrefutable,is true at least according to me.

.Proponents of The Doctrine of raison d’etat (reason of state). i.e. realists,have statism as the first basic

tenet of realism.Jackson and Sorensen reckon the state is considered to be essential for the good life of its

citizens:without  a state to guarantee the means and conditions of security and to promote welfare,human life is

bound to be perpetually pathetic.The state is therefore a protector of its territory and the populace’.So,the threat

to national security, which saw many a state providing huge budgetary allocations to the military,especially in

the 1970s,and even today is the casus belli in Kenya’s incursion into Somalia.This,corroborated by a spate of

abductions of foreign tourists from deep inside Kenyan territory by the Al Shabaab.Baldwin,notes that while

states remain sovereign,their actions and attainment of their goals are conditioned by other actors’ (states)

behavior and their expectations and perceptions about this.

For a structural realist like Waltz,the structure of the international system which is defined by anarchy and the

distribution of power across units (states) is what influences foreign policy decisions and since the state is the

principal actor in international politics,states subsequently ought to have foreign policies,in itself a self-help

measure that seeks to perpetuate their survival in the international realm (an anarchical one)Craig writes:’realists

differ in their personal views about foreign policy and military strategy,so it’s not surprising that some have

favored confrontational policies and the use of force.In general, however,realists are likely to counsel prudence

and caution,because realism emphasizes a sense of limits and the importance of being aware of one’s

adversary as well as one’s own power.’Theirs-Kenya,has been the policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs

of sovereign states,even where national security was at risk as evidenced with attacks from deadly militias from

Ethiopia(Oromo Liberation Front),South Sudan(Toposa tribesmen) and Merille warriors(Ethiopia).However, this

benign government approach might be a thing of the past because as Williams suggests,’foreign policy takes

precedence over domestic policy because it concerns issues on which the survival of the state depends’.This

depicted by the presence of the Kenya Defence Forces in Jamhuuriyadda Somaaliya-Somalia,since war in itself is a tool of foreign policy.

Chapter VIII,article 51 of the United Nations Charter of 1945,legally underpins Nairobi’s incursion into Somalia.It

states,and I paraphrase;in the present charter,nothing shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective

self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.Kenya was therefore obligated

to go after the Al-Shabaab since it is mandated to protect individuals within its territory.Moreover,security

intelligence reports had it that a planned terror attack on Kenyan soil was foiled in 2010.Structural realist

Kenneth Waltz argues that the anarchical structure of the international system,comprises functionally similar

sovereign states which face the same challenges posed by this anarchical environment and hence makes

states to have a set of common interests,in this case,security.That gives a shot in the arm of

Uganda,Tanzania,Rwanda,Burundi and Ethiopia’s support for Kenya’s incursion into Somalia.However,with

regards to relative gains as advanced by Joseph Grieco’s  modern realism,these IGAD(Intergovernmental Authority on Development) states could have as well withdrawn their support for Nairobi.

But with Al-Shabaab gone,the security of Kenya and the region at large would have been assured,the region

would  get rid of the disgrace of producing the highest number of pirates in the world,foreign terrorists,the largest

conduit for narcotics and hosting the largest refugee camp in the world-Dadaab.Apparently,Somalia has

untapped reserves of vast natural resources:uranium,iron ore,tin,gypsum,bauxite,copper,salt,natural gas and

due to its proximity to the oil-rich Gulf Arab states,it’s also believed to have substantial unexploited oil

reserves.Of Africa’s cumulative proven reserves of 600 million barrels,Somalia alone  is estimated to hold

reserves of around 4million barrels.It shouldn’t therefore be lost to us, of what comes with a stable Somalia to its

neighbors.This very fact only seeks to underscore a core assumption of neo-realists,that ‘states are rational

actors,selecting strategies to maximize benefits and minimize losses’.

The most prominent and conspicuous grounds for Nairobi’s incursion into Somalia,as per realism,is

survival.That in an anarchical environment,there can be no assurance of the state’s survival and as realists

rightfully assume that all states wish to perpetuate their survival,at the nerve-center of states’ national interests

therefore,survival ought to be the domineering factor.The promotion of national interest,just like the pursuit of

power as subscribers to The Doctrine of raison d’etat have it;is an iron law of necessity.It is against this

backdrop that Kenya sought to ‘weed out’ Al-Shabaab.

Somali’s instability had  increasingly become a  source of threat to Kenya’s economy(a GDP of $33.62billion as

at 2011),which it-Kenya,pegs its survival as a state on.A string of  foreign tourist kidnappings is what it took to

shake the multi- billion Kenyan tourism industry to the core,the third largest after the  horticultural and tea

industries respectively.This saw massive cancellations of hotel bookings by tourists and issuance of travel

advisories by major Western governments to their citizens,which needless to say not only hurt the Kenyan

economy but also dented its image internationally.Investors might have been scared off by the state of

insecurity following those kidnappings since security is the currency potential investors cherish.For Kenya,an

illicit parallel trade network worth millions of dollars thrives between Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate  and

Mogadishu.Nairobi hopes that a legitimate government stability in Somalia will help formalize this parallel

economic system.(The East African)The influx of refugees, (623,100 according to UNHCR 2012-2013 planning

figures) from Somalia continue to ”burden” Kenya in that refugees compete with host communities for  the

scarce natural resources,in effect,greatly affecting the semi-arid ecosystem.It was therefore prudent for

Kenya,driven by the need to perpetuate its existence and survive against all these thorns in the flesh of  its

economy to invade the Al-Shabaab.

The principle of action in an anarchical environment is self-help.Thus the onus is on individual states to ensure

their survival.It is with this in mind that Nairobi marshalled its troops and went after the Al-Shabaab.Written in

1625 by Hugo Grotius(the father of international law),De Jure Belli ac Pacis Libri Tres (On the Law of War and

Peace) spoke of a society of sovereign states and rooted it firmly in law.This brought with it the universal

principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign states and the respect for territorial

integrity.But this principle intended to enhance global co-existence  is suspended by realists outside domestic

politics,arguing that powerful states are able to overturn the principle of non-intervention on the grounds of

”national security”,as the U.S.A did in Iraq and continues to do in the Arabian Peninsula via drone attacks.The

existence of of moral  universal principles in geopolitics is what realists don’t buy,in fact,some would say,if need

be,that they consider it as insignificant as zebra crossings in the streets of Nairobi.Instead,they abide by the

concept of  dual morality,which effectively justifies Kenya’s disregard of Somalia’s sovereignty.As G.Stern

claims, international strife cannot be prevented by legal or moral rules. Jackson and Sorensen point out as well

that human society and morality is confined to the state and does not extend into international relations.Kenya

would not have sacrificed its national interests on the altar of universal moral principles.It is utterly unacceptable

to a realist that Kenya  suffocates its quest for security in the name of respecting other states’ sovereignty.

Power as end in itself-Morgenthau,and the view by Mearsheimer,an offensive realist,that the anarchical system

of international relations necessitates states to augment their relative power position using military

capability,and the fact that Kenya’s military  is  superior in the East and Central African region is what compels

me to argue sensationally,that Kenya could as well be after regaining its hegemonic tentacles in Eastern

Africa.Firstly by setting the pace,so to speak,on how it conducts geopolitical relations with other states in future

and secondly by annexing the fertile Juba land which had  sought to secede from Somalia, to create a buffer

zone.

In lieu of  Kenya maximizing its relative power,from a defensive realist’s point of view,Kenya’s merely seeking

that power to maximize its security.To them,security and not power maximization is what emerges top  in a

state’s list of priority.But because one state’s quest for security is another’s source of insecurity,a security

dilemma is created.In Kenya’s case it could have been inflated by the possible trickle effect emanating from the

fact that a militia group in an infamous ”failed” state was getting weapons from hijacked ships.This prompted

Kenya’s incursion  into Somalia if only to guarantee its security,in what pundits rightfully link to the global war

on terror,since Al-Shabaab itself joined Al-Qaeda in February 2012,which ‘immediately after 9/11 was depicted

as the center of a global nexus of terrorism connected to almost all terrorist groups’,Al-Qaeda being responsible

for the 1998 bomb last in Nairobi.

A comical  look at what’s still to be done in Somalia. 

 

Much still has to be done in Somalia;the Al-Shabaab still control large parts of the rural areas and clan-ism is

rife.At the end of the day,states often feel no more secure than before they embark on enhancing their own

security.This realist fact,very evident with Nairobi beefing up its homeland security amidst ”Operation Linda

Nchi”,hence anchors the invasion of the  Shabaab by the KDF on realism.
Survival:the primary objective of all states is survival;this is the supreme national interest to which all political leaders must adhere

Security dilemma:arises when military preparations of one state create an unresolvable uncertainty in the mind of another as to whether those preparations for defensive purposes only or whether they are for offensive purposes.

Dual morality: one moral standard for individual citizens living inside the state and a different standard for the state in its external relations with other states.

Statism:the idea of the state as the legitimate representative of the collective will of the populace.

Self-help:the principle of action in an anarchical system where there is no global government.

Anarchy: (in this case)no overarching central authority in international politics.

Frantz Fanon:Building a national cosciousness that doesn’t mimic European ways.

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‘The new day which is already at hand must find us firm,prudent,and resolute.We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships from the time before life began.Let us  waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry.Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man,yet murder men everywhere they find them,at the corner of every one of their own streets,in all the corners of the globe.For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience.Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration.And yet it may be said that Europe has been successful in as much as everything that she has attempted has succeeded.Europe undertook the leadership of the world with ardor,cynicism,and violence.Look at how the shadow of her palaces stretches out ever further! Every one of her movements has burst the bounds of space and thought.Europe has declined all humility and all modesty; but she has also set her face against all solicitude and all tenderness.She has only shown herself parsimonious and niggardly where men are concerned; it is only men that she has killed and devoured.So,my brothers,how is it that we do not understand that we have better things to do than to follow that same Europe? That same Europe where they were never done talking of Man,and where they never stopped proclaiming that they were only anxious for the welfare of Man: today we know with what sufferings humanity has paid for every one of their triumphs of the mind.Come,then,comrades,the European game has finally ended; we must find something different.We today can do everything,so long as we do not imitate Europe,so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe.’

( The Wretched of the Earth;Fanon 1963:311-12)