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Africa’s prosperity and human development is on Amoah’s mind as he looks, like Janus, to that

continent’s past as well as to its present political realities to evaluate its future path for development.

 

 

Book by  Lloyd D. McCarthy

 

In-Dependence from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley

 

Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations

 

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Reconstructing the Nation in Africa

The Politics of Nationalism in Ghana

Reviewed By  Lloyd D. McCarthy

 

When Kwame Nkrumah first put the national reconstruction of Ghana in a wider African framework and raised the matter of  Pan-Africanism and the  rising up of a new African identity in world affairs,[i] those  were Africa’s noblest and boldest aspirations in the dawn of the post-colonial period.[ii]  In Ghana, after independence, there was to be no further reference to Ashantis,  Dagombas,  Gas, Ewes or Fantis. [iii] The new African personality would build new nations on the continent on the basis of the people’s common history and heritage, free of prejudice, chauvinism, and ethnic antagonisms.

What went wrong? This is the question that Michael Amoah appears to be addressing in the book reviewed here.  His work makes an important contribution to the systematic study of the people of modern Ghana and their ethnographic origins with the objective of identifying the basis upon which different peoples and existing nations, disingenuously partitioned and lumped together under colonialism, within Ghana and other African states can be brought harmoniously together to build a common national identity for the post-independence  reconstruction of  Africa (3).   Amoah  makes it clear, that there is no lack of consensus  on what is the solution for the ethnonationalism  and “politics of the belly” which plagues multinational African states.  The solution entails strategies that will strengthen the solidarity of Africa, instead of its apparent disharmonies. Amoah argues that the solution includes any strategy that will bring oneness to the “homogeneity of ‘transborder’ peoples”  as opposed to superficial  “divisive and inter-‘nation’-al antagonisms and insecurities arising out of political boundary restrictions” (50).  

Africa’s prosperity and human development is on Amoah’s mind as he looks, like Janus, to that continent’s past as well as to its present political realities to evaluate its future path for development. What appears to worry Amoah is the same issue that other African scholars and western journalists seem to be grappling with, as Africa unravels its colonial legacy and struggle for reconstruction in the emerging order of world affairs.  As the vision of uhuru—political independence—and the associated ambitions and hopes anticlimaxes for millions of Africans (1), will relatively stable  multi-ethnic states such as Ghana tumble into the sort of ethnic conflicts that ravaged  Rwanda in 1994, or will they reemerge as unified nations and people in the manner once expressed by Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré,[iv] “giving birth to a new man, a man of virtue committed to collective betterment?”[v]

The political roots of  Africa’s economic disappointments and stagnation,  however, is best analyzed in other works, as Amoah has devoted his book to nationalism and the study of  the rationality and the patriotism of ethno-nationalism  in Africa’s multinational states which he argues is not wholly antithetical, in some cases, to nation building in Africa.  “Ethnonationalism comes rather naturally for most Ghanaians”, says Amoah, “and rationalistically so” and is reflected in voting patterns. It does not mean however that ethnonationalism in Ghana is contrary to patriotisms or the citizen’s sense of responsibility to the state (166).

Thus Amoah suggests that  much attention has been paid to nationalism and nation building at the macro level in research and  policy to the neglect of the microbehaviours, for example, the political rationality that can be found in ethnonationalism that informs national consciousness (4).   Hence he went on to provide a thorough and thought provoking analysis of the theories on the subject of nationalism and explains how  European “mainstream thinking” has predetermined the international criteria for nationhood, when such theorizing may not be applicable  globally and much less to Africa. He argues persuasively that scholars of modernism have incorrectly claimed that emerging nations of the 20th century were imitating the Europeans 18th century model of nation building which began during the 16th and 17th centuries (32).  “Were there no nations and nationalisms before the French Revolution in the late 18th century?”(20), asks Amoah, as he investigates the mainstream theories on nationalism. 

For example, he makes the case that, “the Ashante in Ghana were known to have been in existence as a powerful nation-state long before 1699 when trouble began to brew between them and the Dutch over the procurement of slaves, obviously over a century before the 18th century threshold” (32).  As far as having an ideology and cultural institutions as indicators of the existence of a nation and nationalism, Amoah points to  the fact that the Fanti in Ghana, which emerged prior to the 17th century, had a religious based ideology which was “strictly adhered to by their leaders in their nation-building, military, and other nationalistic efforts.” He reminds his readers that “with regards to a mass public culture or education system” as a test of nationhood, Timbuktu, a city of Old Ghana, is on record as having  one of the world’s first academic centers of higher learning. It had also reached high levels in “commercial and intellectual development” and led the way for university education (32).

In Amoah’s writings, we can hear a voice arguing from the depth of Africa’s human development despair[vi] that the grand vision and psychological capital that Africans have harnessed to fight for national independence on the Gold Coast in 1957 can be recaptured and used in reconstructing the nation in Africa (2).  This “task of reconstructing the nation” says Amoah, is necessary today in Africa because there is much more to struggle for (2). Egalitarianism in statecraft, real economic progress, and a new caliber of leadership (187-88) are now required to chip away at the clientelism, patrimonialism, and what Amoah calls the “pervasiveness of the figuration” or “the politics of the belly” that fuels the extreme (42%)  to high (25.5%) levels of ethnonationalism found in his survey of Ghana’s urbanites (162) and reflected in the attitude of the general population.  

In this thought provoking work,  Amoah finds a ray of hope in the fact that “62.9% of Ghanaians admit that tribalism works against homogenization within the state and ought to be suppressed” (120).  Simultaneously, he reminds us that tribalism is not unique to Africa, but is a pattern of  political behavior that was observed in 19th c Europe as well (119).  Who should suppress this tribalism in Ghana  and/or in Africa?  Amoah did not say.  Implicitly, the state is suggested. While Amoah in this work did not engage in a class analysis of nationalism, ethnonationalism and tribalism in Ghana, as a political theorist he ought not to have ignored the Marxist theory of the state as an organ of class rule and an organ for the suppression of one class by another.[vii]  Amoah’s findings that over 62% of Ghanaians believe that tribalism should be suppressed suggests that the majority of Ghana’s workers and peasants do not benefit from tribal or ethnic politics and patronage practiced by the ruling elites. Neither did, Amoah explains, the ruling classes among  the Fantis, Ewes, Gas, or Dagombas, in post-colonial Ghana, fuel ethnonaitonalism and tribal politics as their way of taking state power and grabbing the public’s purse to the detriment of the majority classes.

Michael Amoah’s  Reconstructing the Nation in Africa: The Politics of Nationalism in Ghana is an important work on nationalism, ethnic groups,  and the history and politics of nation building in Africa’s multinational states since independence.  As a scholar of international politics, ethnicity and nationalism, he has produced a work that convinces the reader that creating national homogeneity in Africa’s multinational states will require enormous investments in the cultural development of the population and in the creation of a new set of future leaders committed to egalitarianism in statecraft and Africa’s economic development for the benefit of Africans. The book will be of tremendous value to scholars of African history and politics, as well as for informing development policies in multinational states such as Ghana.  Students of Africana studies and international politics should also find this work to be of tremendous value although they would be advised to read it along with a book on African history in maps.

Notes

[i] Nkrumah, Kwame. I speak of freedom; a statement of African ideology. New York: Praeger, 1961, p,167.

[ii] Ungar, Sanford J. Africa: The People and Politics of an Emerging Continent. New York: Simon and  Schuster, 1985, p. 444.

[iii] Nkrumah 168

[iv] Cooper, Frederick. Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present. New Approaches to African History. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2002, p.1-19

[v] Sandbrook, Richard, and Judith Barker. The Politics of Africa's Economic Stagnation. African Society Today. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1985, p.1-3

[vi] McCarthy, Lloyd D. In-Dependence from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley: Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007, pp127-147.

[vii] Lenin, Vladimir Ilich, and Henry M. Christman. Essential works of Lenin. New York: Bantam Books., 1966, p.274.

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Works Cited

Cooper, Frederick. Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present. New Approaches to African History. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Kwamena-Poh, M. A. African History in Maps. Harlow: Longman, 1982.

Lenin, Vladimir Ilich, and Henry M. Christman. Essential works of Lenin. New York: Bantam Books, 1966.

McCarthy, Lloyd D. In-Dependence from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley: Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007.

Nkrumah, Kwame. I speak of freedom; a statement of African ideology. New York: Praeger, 1961.

Sandbrook, Richard, and Judith Barker. The Politics of Africa's Economic Stagnation. African Society Today. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Ungar, Sanford J.  Africa: The People and Politics of an Emerging Continent. New York: Simon and  Schuster, 1985.

Raleigh, NC, May 30, 2008

 

Source:  Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora. Volume 8, Number 2. Fall/Winter 2007.

 

posted 22 April 2010

 

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Cuba An African Odyssey is the previously untold story of Cuba's support for African revolutions.

Cuba: An African Odyssey is the story of the Cold War told through the prism of its least known arena: Africa. It is the untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.  It is the story of men like Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Agosthino Neto and of course Che Guevara who have become icons, mythical figures whose names are now synonymous with the word revolution. This is the story of how these men, caught between capitalism and communism, strove to create a third bloc that would assert the simple principle of national independence.  It is the story of a whole dimension of world politics during the last half of the 20th century, which has been hidden behind the facade of a simplistic understanding of superpower conflict.

Cuba: An African Odyssey will tell the inside story of only three of these Cuban escapades. We will start with the Congo where Che Guevara personally spent seven months fighting with the Pro-Lumumbist rebellion in the jungle of Eastern Congo. Then to Guinea Bissau where Amilcar Cabral used the technical support of Cuban advisors to bleed the Portuguese colonial war machine thus toppling the regime in Europe. Finally, Angola where in total 380,000 Cuban soldiers fought during the 27 years of civil war. The Cuban withdrawal from Angola was finally bartered against Namibia’s independence. With Namibia’s independence came the fall of Apartheid… the last vestige of colonialism on the African continent.

Cuba: An African Odyssey unravels episodes of the Cold War long believed to be nothing but proxy wars. From the tragicomic epic of Che Guevara in Congo to the triumph at the battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola, this film attempts to understand the world today through the saga of these internationalists who won every battle but finally lost the war.

Credits: Written, directed and narrated by Jihan El-Tahri / Edited by Gilles Bovon / Photography by Frank-Peter Lehmann

Sound Recordists: James Baker, Graciela Barrault / Produced by Tancrède Ramonet, Benoît Juster, Jihan El-Tahri

Source: Snagfilms

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In-Dependence from Bondage

Claude McKay and Michael Manley

Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations

By Lloyd D. McCarthy

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Manley and McKay: Reform and Revolution in the Politics of the African Diaspora

Review of In-Dependence from Bondage

 By Brad Duncan

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
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#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

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#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Black Consciousness Poet—Claude McKay   The Life and Times of Black Poet Claude McKay