Africa continent is currently facing huge transitional moments. The colonization process never stopped after the imperial western governments that ravaged these continent, African countries are still struggling with the adoption of the western systems and ideologies of governance and politics away from their traditional forms of socio-political ands socio-economic lives. This shift has caused wars, tensions, drifts, disagreements, alienations, political instability among other untold disasters in the continent.
( David Seddon & Leo Zeiling), in his report on the protests in Africa between the working class struggle and popular protests over the last forty years argue that the form and content of class relations that developed in the period of nationalist struggle and early national development have been fundamentally restructured by the process of globalization. The nationalist struggle was fighting for freedom dictatorial forms of government. The late 1979’s saw greater wave of wide s[read popular protests and resistance around the world including Africa.
These strikes, marches, demonstrations and riots were characteristic of a wave of protests and resistance which usually involved a variety of social groups and classes. This did not always take place under a working class or trade unions banner or working class leadership such as experienced in Kenya in the early 90s while fighting for the multi-party system of governance. According to ( David Seddon & Leo Zeiling) these protests were of greater political scheming and direction and were increasingly aimed at governments and regimes and economic policies.
Governments’ failure to ensure communities welfare and safeguard material welfare and rights of the citizens led to growing demands for democracy and political change. This movement coincided with increasing deployment by major capitalist states and international agencies of a discourse of democratization and good governance as necessary for economic and social development. However, this intervention opened door for the neo colonial imperialism after promising the removal of regimes that accommodated dictators and autocrats. It was like jumping from a flying pan to boiling pot.
This new order became pronounced in the 1990s and grew through the decade and was manifest in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This provoked a third wave of protest involving greater degree of international organization while at the same time social movement with a notable ‘anti-capitalist’ politics emerged from north America countries spreading even to Africa. This period also saw the birth of an oppositional movement of a deeper and more threatening kind with the foundation of deep rooted pursuit and anger, frustrations, prepared to use violence to achieve its objectives.
These groups are parts of radical Muslims like the al-Qai’da. The relationship between the social forces representing the interest of capital and those that opposed the actual pattern of development in Africa was not given much attention in the debates that touched on the transformation of Africa. Global adjustment shifted the focus of African nations from concentrating on development to reform agendas that facilitated the foreign capital investment and easier access for these international agencies to acquire raw materials and markets.
This was done at the collaboration of some politicians but also there were cases of forced collaboration. This is evident in Zimbabwe where international aid and trade barriers had been imposed because the president/ government refusal to cooperate with the western interests. This was aided further by the weak social structures which were affected by conflicts, wars and complex political emergencies, HIV/AIDS and misguided intervention of the non governmental organizations (NGO’S).
The popular forces include the urban and rural working classes who are stripped of the control and ownership of means of production, peasant and tenant farmers, retailers and petty commodity producers who sell their labor in the informal or formal sector. Their preoccupation is survival and putting food on the table. These share a consciousness of their interdependency and common vulnerability and constitute the relative surplus population looked upon as a reserve of an army of labor.
The diversity of classes has never been the cause of political decay but is a mark of the normal condition in the context in which capitalism evolves. The cynism expressed by post-modernists towards political change goes to political activism and liberation. The post-modernist conception power no longer denotes coercion and oppression, resistance and struggle but it also becomes a fluid, pervasive yet contingent force derived from the interplay of different discourses.
For example Cameroon had a comprehensible political economy but still had chaotic plurality where no purposeful liberation and resistance. ]as the waves and protests ravaged Africa , popular classes especially in urban areas were severely affected by the adjustments but they did not suffer quietly but they struggled, resisted and protested. The World Bank at the time said that Africa did not need less government only but also a government that concentrates its efforts less on the direct interventions and more on enabling others to be productive.
The role of NGO’s in governance and poverty alleviation has been identified as critical in building of Africa, meeting the millennium development goals and the sustainable development goals. However, these non state actors backed by the United Nations and other powerful development partners; the relationship between the developing countries and the western was coined to mean partners in development. These NGOs and other right groups check on the governments’ accountability although their role has been questioned.
They represent the values and interest of the funding agencies and do not touch on the real issues that ravage the common people in Africa. Despite increased role of NGOs, there is an increase rate of poverty and no tangible development that has occurred inmost parts of Africa. The involvement of civil societies most of which borrow their values from neo-liberalization movements may have contributed more to the wave of violence experienced in the continent rather than calming such waves. References David Seddon & Leo Zeiling. “Class & Protest in Africa: New Waves. ” Review of African Political Economy. 2005.
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