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ISGN > Publications > GLOBALIZATION that share the wealth of the Empire with the Anglo-Saxons but

that also have significant contradictions with the First World;

THE MORIBUND EMPIRE AND AFRICAN BARBARIANS the barbarians of the “Third World”, the former colonized
By Yash Tandon - International South Group Network (ISGN) peoples of the so-called “South”; and the “Third-and-half
World” of East Europeans, who have become the new
barbarians after the collapse of the Soviet union.
If we look at these universal states, not as alien observers but
through the eyes of their own citizens, we shall find that these The second thread that runs through the paper, mostly
not only desire that these earthly commonwealths of theirs developed in its latter part, is that waiting for the Capitalist
should live for ever but actually believe that the immortality of Empire to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions
these human institutions is assured, and this sometimes in the may involve waiting for ever. Human agents, not impersonal
teeth of contemporary events which, to an observer posted at forces of the market, make history. The struggles are here and
a different standpoint in time or space, declare beyond now, and they are concrete struggles of the barbarian nations
question that this particular universal state is at that very to win their liberation from the Empire. The paper argues that
moment in its last agonies. the road ahead for Africa forks into two – one marked the neo-
liberal road that is motivated by a strategy of persuading
Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History African countries to further integrate into the global empire by
developing their export competitiveness, and by adopting the
“democratic” paradigm as laid out by the Empire. This, the
SUMMARY author argues, is the road to perpetual slavery. The second
road is motivated by a strategy of self-reliance, but it is not an
Two separate but interrelated threads run through this paper. easy road to traverse. There are many contradictions at
One is that a purely economistic analysis of the contemporary different levels of barbarian societies, should they choose to
world is not only inadequate, as a theoretical and analytical go along this route, but this is the only alternative to abiding
tool, but it is also a mask that hides the reality of the division slavery. The paper welcomes the Sirte initiative to create an
of the world between the Empire and those outside the realm, African Union, but argues that this is a task, a mission, that
the barbarians. Economism, and its offshoots such as “growth cannot be left only to the governments of Africa; it cannot be
through adjustment”, are, in fact, ideologies of the Empire accomplished without the active involvement of the ordinary
justifying the conquest of the lands and resources of the peoples of Africa.
barbarians. Those who sought to reduce the phenomenon of
the expansion of Europe from circa 1492 to our present period I Introduction: The Bankruptcy Of Economistic
of Globalization to purely economic categories have missed Explanations Of Africa's Poor Performance
out important ingredients of this expansion that go beyond the
economic to matters related to culture, religion, governance Africa has been in decline for many years, for many decades.
and, of course, the use of violence. Outside of overall GDP figures, contrived in recent years by
mainly mainstream economists[1] to show “positive growth”
The paper looks into the four segments into which the present for the sake of not appearing to be in the ranks of “Afro-
world is divided – namely, the First World of US and UK, the pessimists”, the reality on the ground is indeed worryingly
Anglo-Saxon world, that exercises its hegemony over the grave, whether one is talking about agricultural production,
Empire through its market and military power; the Second food security, de-industrialization, unemployment or the AIDS
World, the lower level Empire, consisting of Europe and Japan pandemic.
There was a time when Africa was singled out as an of them begrudgingly admitted that Malaysia under the
“exceptional” continent, especially when compared to the maverick Mahathir, who defied IMF/WB logic and managed,
apparently more prosperous Asia and Latin America, barely, to protect his country from some of the worst effects of
compared even to the Caribbean. These comparisons gave the East Asian debacle, might have been more on the right
birth to theories and theoreticians who tried to analyze the course than they were.
specificity of the African experience. Lack of export
performance, deficit financing, overvalued currencies, The truth of the matter is that these economists were hiding
parastatal profligacy, backward technology and such outward more than the failure of their “adjustment” policies in Africa.
trappings of the economy were singled out to describe Africa’s They were actually hiding the fact that the real object of their
“specificity”. With innumerable economic variables to play policies in Africa (as with the rest of the third world) was not to
around, any theory could adduce enough “empirical” evidence develop Africa but to open up Africa even further to
to “prove” its case. Mainstream economists with predilections exploitation of global capital. Were they deliberately saying
towards econometric models and regression analysis had field one thing and doing another? No, it was part of the premise of
day with Africa’s statistics, filling innumerable pages in books their ideological baggage that if Africa opened itself to foreign
and “erudite” periodicals, quoting one another and gaining capital it would be their best course to achieve economic
spurious authority in academic and professional circles. growth. What their theory missed out was the fact that, in the
absence of state intervention (such as anti-trust policies at the
None of this, however, could hide the fact that mere national level) there is an inherent tendency within capitalism
economistic explanations for Africa’s difficulties were not even to concentrate wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands
touching the top of the iceberg. Starting around 1989 (when and, by the same logic, create poverty at the other pole. Since
the World Bank produced its policy paper entitled Africa: From no redistributive or reallocative mechanism exists at the
Crisis to Sustainable Growth), the Bretton Woods institutional international level, and since there is no equivalent of anti-
economists took refuge into “non-economic” factors for help, trust bodies at the global level, these economists should not
bringing in factors like “good governance”, poor public have been surprised at the increasing polarization of wealth
administration, and corruption – areas in which they had little and poverty on the global scale. Globalization, as the UNDP=s
or no competence – to explain where their economistic Human Development Report of 1996 testifies, has created a
analyses had failed. As shown later in the paper, these were vast chasm between the north and the south. AThe gap in per
essentially ideological covers to disguise the real fact on the capita income between the industrial and developing worlds
ground that their policies were failing. Some of them took tripled, from $5,700 in 1960 to $15,400 in 1993.” [3] Africa,
refuge in the time excuse, arguing that “sufficient time” had says the Report, is the hardest hit. Twenty countries in Africa
not been allowed the implementation of Structural Adjustment have a per capita income lower today than 20 years ago. Two-
Programmes (SAPs) for these to show results, that judgments thirds of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are in Africa. A
on SAPs were premature. [2] But when star performers like food-surplus continent 20 years ago, Africa is now food-deficit.
Ghana (under IMF stabilization programmes and SAP for nearly
two decades) began to drop out of the World Bank list of In fact, what the economists were hiding was more than the
“models” for emulation, the mainstream economists had failure of their policies in Africa. They were hiding the truth
nowhere to hide. Worse still, after the currency crisis in about the fact that, like in all past ages, the contemporary
Thailand in August 1997 spread to most of the rest of East world was divided between the Empire and the Barbarians,
Asia, throwing economy and society in turmoil (from which and that the barbarians of the third world were having a rough
they have yet to recover), the mainline economists could no deal at the hands of the Empire.
longer hold these countries as models either. Ironically, many
II The Empire And The Barbarians Immortality”, a description that surely applies to our
contemporary empire, the Anglo-Saxon Empire.
Encounters between civilizations
Marxist literature, in focusing often too narrowly on the
All past history is one of encounters between civilizations. Our capitalist epoch, and in reducing all recorded history to one of
present period is no exception. Talk about “globalization” and class struggles, has often lost sight of, or diminished the
“the global village” deludes the reality that people and groups significance of, other aspects of the movement of history –
of people have different cultures and values, and encounters such as culture and the spiritual medium, for example – that
between them (positive as well as negative) is the stuff of are important ingredients of History. One African Marxist
which history is made. Keen Western observers, such as historian, in reviewing his own previous work, has now
Samuel Huntington, wary of the threat to the West from the recorded that Capitalism had its genesis not in economics but
resurgence of non-Western civilizations, are shrewder in Christian crusades.
observers of contemporary history than naïve visionaries lost
in self-created delusions about “the global village”. They The chapter attempted to trace the origins of the process
cannot read the signs of the time even when they daily see on of capitalist development as having been laid within the
their TV screens the street battles between stone-throwing Christian crusade to universalise its faith throughout the
Palestinian children and mortar-throwing Jewish soldiers.[4] world. This crusade had both spiritual and economic
objectives in its inception because the spread of
In the story of the encounters between civilizations, Christianity very much depended on the containment of
throughout global history, those in the centers of power Islam, which was seen as the main threat to the spread of
constitute the “Empire” and those outside the realm are the Christianity. This implied a struggle against Islam and the
“Barbarians”, those who are subjected to various forms of conquest of its trade routes and outposts. These historical
tributes for the further enrichment and empowerment of the roots of Western civilisation, the chapter points out, should
Empire. The British historian, Arnold Toynbee, painstakingly not be lost sight of when we analyse the economic and
recorded the history of encounters between different political one. These processes manifest themselves in a
civilizations. [5] He recorded the encounters between, among dialectical way.[6]
others, post and pre-Alexandrine Hellenic civilizations;
between the Syriac and Greek Orthodox Christendom; Contemporary Empire and Barbarians
between the West and various other civilizations including
Russia, orthodox Christendom, Hindu, Islam, Jews, Africa, and All history is a history of the “included” and the “excluded”,
indigenous Americans. In the Encylopedia of Invasions and those inside the realm and those outside. Today, Mexican
Conquests: From Ancient Times to the Present (ABC-CLIO, youth trying to scale the walls surrounding the Rio Grande are
1996), Paul K. Davis has recorded that all history of empires is the excluded, as also the Moroccans and Algerians trying to
one of invasions and conquests. enter France, and the Asian desperados risking life and limb to
surreptitiously enter Europe by boat or refrigerator trucks.[7]
Both Toynbee and Davis talk about the dehumanizing aspects The Euro-American imperial realm is in constant fear of the
of the encounters between civilizations. Most imperial barbarians knocking on their gates. More than a nuclear war,
conquests are characterized by what Toynbee called this is their biggest fear.
“Zealotism, Herodianism and Evangelism”, as well as that
special hubris of empires that, he says, creates “the Mirage of

Capitalism, as it established itself in Europe encouraged, industrial capacity to wage and win two global-scale wars
among other things, by the Protestant ethic,[8] issued forth simultaneously in any quarter of the world. US corporate and
from Christian realms of imperial Europe to conquer the rest of military power structures are mutually supportive and
the world. The capitalist empire developed by stages, and not reinforcing; one structure of power cannot exist without the
without wars, violence and conquests as well as trade, other. Hence the US tries to maintain, not always successfully
investment and improvements in science and technology. It (for reasons that we cannot go into now), a firm control over
developed from its early mercantile period (circa 1492 to the movement of arms technology as well as of corporate
1650s), to free trade imperialism with England in the lead, capital. As Alejandro Bendana says, the US Empire is neither
especially after 1760s, to capital-export led imperialism and colonial nor neo-colonial in the old sense. It permeates all
colonial conquest of Africa beginning in the 1880s, to the strata of society, and not just governments. And the US
“open door” imperialism led by the United States following the Empire shares benefits with all elite constituents wherever the
Second World War, to our own period of Globalisation, the final Empire has established its controls, and imposes sanctions
phase of the conquest of whatever is still left in the hands of against those who threaten to challenge the imperial order.
the barbarians (bio-diversity, local markets, local knowledge, [10]
etc.). [9]
US hegemony is shared vicariously as well as participatively
All this is part of the recorded history of the last 500 years. We by the United Kingdom. The British state occupies a special
come now to the contemporary, i.e. post-cold war, period. In position in the imperial order. It is neither a part of Europe nor
our own time, the world divides into roughly four segments: apart from it. On military and strategic matters it is closer to
1. The First World Empire under the Anglo-Saxon hegemony the US than to Europe. It is the only major power outside of
2. The Second Level Empire of Europe and Japan the US that comes out unquestioningly in support of US
3. The barbarians of the Third World (the so-called “south”), military action (such as in Iraq and Kosovo), indeed even more
and belligerently than the US imperial power itself.[11] The other
4. The barbarians of the Third and half World (the former two Anglo-Saxon dominated countries, Canada and Australia,
Soviet empire). also tend to support of the United States. In economic matters
Britain would want to be part of Europe but not at the cost of
The First and Second World Empires are united when it comes its “special” relationship with the US state. This relationship is
to imposing an imperial order over the barbarians, but there cemented by shared language, shared Anglo-Saxon culture, a
are also significant contradictions among them. These history of two major wars against European fascist regimes
contradictions are by-products of history and cultures, and against communism, and interlocking corporate interests.
vestiges from previous inter-imperialist rivalries for the [12] The British state is thus very much part of the First World
conquest of the world, and continuing conflicts to salvage or global imperial order.
conquer the remaining assets of the world of the barbarians.
Europe and Japan constitute the Second Order Imperial states.
Measured by almost any index one cares to mention (military They join forces with the Anglo-Saxon dominated order when it
power, market share in the global economy, consumption of comes to keeping the barbarians in place – i.e. outside the
energy, number of persons in foreign embassies, number of imperial realm, and in firm control over global economic and
daily flights, civilian or military), it is evident that the US strategic matters. They are, after all, part of the G7 group of
occupies a position of global hegemony that is unequalled in countries that regularly meet to discuss the health of the
the annals of human history. The current US military doctrine imperial realm. But the Europeans and the Japanese also have
is based on developing and sustaining the military and contradictions with the Anglo-Saxon imperial order. In
December 1991, for example, when France and Germany the US and the UK, and plays second fiddle in regional security
announced joint military structures, the US squashed the idea arrangement in East Asia and the Pacific.[13] The Japanese
with characteristic vehemence. The US and Europe have would want to link with the rest of Asia, but is afraid of the
regular turf battles over Africa and the rest of the barbarian USA. When Japan tried to distance itself from the US in 1991,
world. The US overtures to Africa with its “Africa Growth and the US smartly brought it under heel with the administration of
Opportunities Act” during 2000-01 must be seen in the context Super 301.[14] During the Asian financial crisis in August 1997
of the renewed linkage between the European Union and the – March 1998, early effort by Japan to fly the kite of regional
African, Caribbean, Pacific States (ACP countries) in the fund to bale out the distressed states was quickly brought to
Cotonou Agreement that replaced the earlier Lome the ground by the US. The US did (does) not want Japan to
Convention. The US and Europe have head on collisions in the take independent initiatives in the Asian-Pacific region.
World Trade Organization (the WTO) on a number of issues –
such as on the banana regime, the hormone-treated beef The Third World and Third and half World Barbarians
exports from the US, and the quarrel over the genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). On issues related to the Different regions of the world were integrated into the Empire
environment and climate change, the US hubris can at different times in the long movement that started from
sometimes throw the Europeans in fits of anger against the Europe circa 1492 to our own present day. From the time of
“arrogant Americans”. Columbus to that of Thatcher/Reagan, the barbarians have
been conquered, sometimes liquidated, often assimilated, but
In these matters, the British state either takes no side or tends at all times the Empire has sought to establish increasing
to lean towards the Americans. Their common corporate control over the human and natural resources in the
culture and their real politik approach to international relations hinterlands of the Empire. The expansion of the Empire has
have marked difference from the culture of the Europeans. For never been without resistance. It is this contradictory process
example, the takeover of the German company Mannesmann of integration and resistance that characterize the relations
by the British company Vodafone in 2000 was a victory of the between the Empire and the barbarians.
shareholder concept that is dominant in the Anglo-American
corporate culture over the stakeholder concept closer to the However, because of the timing and processes by which
European experience. What we are witnessing these days in different regions of the world got conquered and integrated
the global merger and acquisitions activity is the globalisation into the Capitalist system, there are differences in the manner
of the Anglo-American shareholder corporatism. Here we are in which productive forces and social relations developed
not just talking economics; we are talking about social and among the countries in the hinterlands of the Empire. These
cultural values. The social gains that the working and other differences notwithstanding, as we approach our own times of
lower classes gained in the continent of Europe over decades “globalization”, the final onslaught of Capital to conquer
of struggle are getting seriously eroded by the whatever is left in the hands of the barbarians (a kind of
Thatcher/Reagan initiated privatization and deregulation. The “mopping up operations”), the condition of the barbarians of
internal class struggles within the continent of Europe in such the so-called “third world” is becoming more and more similar.
matters is much more intense and street-wise than in the US There is the small elite that hold power in the name of the
or the UK. people, but exercise it for the Empire (for the Empire removes
from power, or isolates, those who would not come under its
The Japanese Second-level imperialism, similarly, has discipline), and vast numbers of people who look the same (in
contradictions with the Anglo-Saxon order. Japan, though a the condition of their poverty) whether they are in the slums of
global economic player, is a military midget in comparison to Rio, Nairobi or Calcutta.
This last phase in the development of Capitalism – world between the included and the excluded, those inside
Globalization – is a totalizing phase. It is the creation of a and those outside the pale of modern civilization.
single space for the free movement of capital without borders
and national encumbrances. The active agent of this process The Paraphernalia of Imperial Governance and its
is transnationalized capital in the hands of transnational paradox
corporations, whose power is extended to fill all the left-over
vacuums of the earlier periods -- backed by the military power In his A Study of History, Toynbee lists the following “imperial
of the Empire. institutions”:

The only major regions that escaped, for a while, this • Communications
onslaught of capital was that which, after the Russian • Garrisons and colonies
revolution in 1917, created a parallel, and opposing, system of • Provinces
organizing society and production, and China. After 1990, the • Capital cities
Soviet part of that world too collapsed under the weight of an • Official Languages and Scripts
unbearable arms race that deprived the Soviet economy of the • Law
resources that could have been employed for more useful • Calendars; Weights and Measures; Money
purposes, the massive propaganda of the “free world”, and, of • Standing Armies
course, internal contradictions that developed within the • Civil Services
bureaucratic class structure of the Soviet Union and its own • Citizenships
empire in Eastern Europe. [15]
A fuller paper would have gone into a description of each of
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the peoples of the these in some detail as it exercises imperial functions in the
region have become, in the words of the Russian writer, Boris Anglo-Saxon dominated contemporary world. Read through
Kagarlitsky, the “new barbarians” of our times. The shock each of the above again, and the stamp of the Anglo-Saxon
therapies administered to the economies of these countries by authority is unmistakable, with, at second layer of the imperial
“experts” from the IMF and the World Bank quickly dismantled order, the stamp of continental Europe and Japan.
whatever economic and social structures that were there from “Communications,” says Toynbee, “head the list because they
an already crumbling empire, and the societies came under are the master institution on which the universal state
the control of the speculative capitalists from the Empire, with depends for its very existence. They are the instrument not
kleptocratic indigenous capitalists, who look no different from only of its military command over its dominions but also of its
the kleptocrats of the other barbarian nations. [16] political control.” [17]

As Kagarlitsky says, barbarians cannot develop independently; But while these institutions are created to ensure an imperial
they can only imitate, plunder and destroy, and reproduce order, they are also usable by the “internal proletariats or
caricatures of the institutions of civilization, such as external proletariat of the moribund society or some alien
democracy and the rule of law. If Western Europeans and civilization”, says Toynbee.[18] Thus, in our own times, for
North Americans are the new Romans, he says, the rest of us example, the electronic-mail may have been the product of
must be the new barbarians. Along with Asians, Africans and the US military genius to ensure strategic communications,
Latin Americans, the new barbarians, too, are knocking on the but it is also used by grassroots movements and NGOs to
doors of the golden gates of the Empire that has divided the challenge the might of the Empire (as at the Seattle meeting

of the WTO in 1999), and by “computer hackers” to get into governance from the US imperial perspective, partly because
the secret vaults of corporate banks and military secrets of the its scope was too limited, and partly because GATT had weak
Pentagon. This, Toynbee says, is the “paradoxical position” of disputes settling mechanism and practically no teeth. In the
universal empires. Sic vos vobis mellificatis, apes. (Thus you 1980s the USA initiated a broad round of trade negotiations
bees make honey but not only for yourselves). “These (the Uruguay Round) that gave birth to the World Trade
imposing polities,” says Toynbee, “are the last works of Organisation (WTO) whose scope is comprehensive, and
dominant minorities in the disintegrating bodies social of perpetually expanding, and whose disputes settlement
moribund civilizations….Their conscious purpose is to preserve mechanism has powerful sanctions apparatus.
themselves… This purpose is never in the long run fulfilled…
They serve others when they fail to save themselves.” [19] Thus, finally, as we approach the present period of
Globalization, the trinity of the World Bank, the IMF and the
Instruments of Global Governance WTO complete the set of powerful instruments of global
economic governance in control of the Empire.
At the end of the Second World War, the victorious Western
powers (the Soviet Union was also victorious, but it set out to The second set of instruments of global governance created at
create its own system) created two sets of institutions. One the end of the Second World War consisted of the United
set related to economic matters. These were the IMF and the Nations and its related agencies. These represented the more
World Bank, together known as the Bretton Woods Institutions "visionary" aspects of global infrastructure, dealing with
(BWIs). Here the major debate was not between Europeans disputes settlement, health, welfare, labour, culture,
and the Anglo-Saxons, but within the camp of the latter. education, trusteeship, and other such matters. The visionary
Ultimately, and inevitably because of the changed balance of part of the UN also paid lip service to the idea of "We, the
power, the US concept prevailed.[20] Today, looking back, the people…" as against "We, the Governments …". Hnhb
neo-Keynesians regret that the more liberal approach However, when it came to matters of peace and security, the
suggested by the British, Maynard Keynes, had not won the UN system congealed power in the hands of the two Empires
day. The neo-Kenyesians are crying crocodile tears, but we (Western and Soviet) by providing them a veto over decisions
have no space here to explain why.[21] Created initially to taken in the Security Council of the UN.
help the war-torn European nations to rehabilitate their
economies and to help with short-term balance of payments Over the decades, the vision and authority of the UN has
difficulties, the BWIs have become veritable instruments of diminished and the power and control of the Bretton Woods
global control of the barbarian economies. In the name of institutions have increased. But, as Toynbee never ceased to
“structural adjustment”, and with their power over the market remind us, that which is created by the Empire is also usable
and the credit system, the BWIs have powerful control over by the “internal proletariats or external proletariat of the
the destinies of the barbarians. moribund society or some alien civilization”. And so the United
Nations has become a terrain of struggle between the
On the trade side, it was proposed in 1949 to set up moribund Empire and the sections of the global civil society,
International Trade Organisation, whose instruments were the former trying hard to keep the imperial order, and the
enshrined in the Havana Charter. The US Senate, however, did latter raising issues of justice for the barbarians.
not ratify the Charter, and only one aspect of it survived,
which constituted the third leg of the economic infrastructure, The Ideology of the Modern day Empire
called General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). Over
time, GATT became an unsatisfactory instrument of global
No empire sustains itself by means of only force. Force is used temporary, or a “market failure” and hence remediable by a
first to create a new order, as when the Europeans used force few “policy adjustments” here and there. It is never a
to conquer Africa. After the new imperial order is created, “systemic crisis”. To talk about “systemic crisis” is to draw
force is deployed when everything else fails, almost as a last attention to the reality of what Toynbee calls the “agonies” of
resort. Short of military force is the use of economic sanctions the moribund Empire. If this realization becomes part of the
(as, presently, against Zimbabwe’s barbarian Government). consciousness of the rulers, and the petty agents of the
Both force and economic sanctions can be costly, however, Empire in the barbarian states, then they would not know how
even for the Empire. Also, they provoke resistance from the to rule, they would lose faith in themselves. And if it becomes
barbarians. The most economical, and the most effective, part of the consciousness of the ruled, the barbarians, then
means of control is through the use of ideology, especially if they would wake up to the moribund character of the imperial
the barbarians can be made to swallow it as a “natural” order order, and hence to the possibility of a transformative change
of things. of the system. Once the ideology is in peril, it is not far that
the Empire too should be in peril.
The ideology of the contemporary Empire is the ideology of
the free market. Of course, nothing like that exists in reality, The third function of the free market ideology is that it
has never existed, nor will it ever. It is a pure fantasy. But that transfers blame on those that “interfere” with the market.
does not matter; it is enough that people should believe that it Never mind the fact that there was never a time when the
exists, or even that it should exist.[22] Imperial state left the market to function on its own. There has
always been state “interference” in the market ever since
What the “free market” ideology does for the Empire are three capitalism was born. As Karl Polanyi demonstrated, in a work
things. First, it masks the reality of the Empire. Engagement that is often quoted by scholars these days, the market cannot
with the ideologists of the Empire based on evidence that exist without conscious, and often violent, intervention by
shows, for example, how the G7 countries systematically plan political forces.[23] However, it has become one of the policy
and control the global economy immediately elicits the charge planks of BWI economists to argue that the crisis in Africa is
that one is engaged in “conspiracy theories.” There is no authored by its own rulers. Once the victims are blamed as
argument that enfeebles one’s case more than being told that authors of their own misery, the guilt is transferred from the
one is engaged in “conspiracy theories.” That is an argument rulers to the ruled, and the latter can be brought to
that ends all arguments. So once the existence of the empire “discipline” so that they do not make mistakes again, on pain
is denied as a fictional creation of conspiracy theorists, there of sanctions, or worse, isolation and banishment from the
is no case against it. It simply “does not exist”. Like magic, the order of “civilized” communities.
Empire simply vanishes from the imagination of not only the
rulers but also the ruled. If ever there was a profound It does not need the genius of a Karl Popper to know that the
evidence of “mind over matter”, it is this global mind-bending ideology of the free market, which he himself espoused, is, in
that has simply evaporated the material reality of the Empire. his own famous word, “unfalsifiable”. [24]

The second function that the ideology of the free market does The practical implications of all this are clear. When, for
is to mask the real causes of the periodic crises to which the example, an economy of an African state gets into crisis, a
Capitalist system is prone. Crisis, as Marx showed, is number of things follow. One, Africa’s crisis, according to free
dialectically embedded within the very system of capitalist market ideologists (especially of the World Bank and the IMF)
production and appropriation of value. But for the market has little to do with “external” factors, and if they do, these
ideologists, every crisis is either a “cyclic crisis” and therefore external factors are purely conjunctural - such as temporary,
or cyclical, fall in the price of the commodities, or natural resulting displacement of people as internal or cross-
calamities such as drought. Second, African governments are border refugees
themselves to blame for the crisis; the real causes of the crisis - Sheer violence and brutality, and crime against the more
are “internal” to the states in crisis. These used to be “wrong vulnerable sections of society, especially, women and
macro-economic policies”, but these days they are these, plus children
“bad governance”, “corruption”, etc. And, finally, the solution - Mono-economies that are hostages to the vagaries of the
lies with correcting these policies along lines suggested by the global market
“experts’’ of the World Bank and the IMF, often bitter pills of - Crippling debts owed to the IMF, the World Bank and
“adjustment” sweetened by further grants of money, and/or other agents of Western capital
technical assistance. Joseph Stiglitz, who once worked with the - Falling commodity prices, and the inability to get out of
World Bank, said that these “experts” are, from his dependence on commodities
experience, “third rate minds” from first rate American or - Corruption, profligacy, waste
European universities, peddling bankrupt economic theories.
[25] There is, of course, the more beautiful side of Africa as well.
But this comprises, on the one hand, of aspects of humanity,
III The African predicament love, culture, poetry, drama, and spirituality that are often not
shared with foreigners, and, on the other hand, tourist sights
The root of African’s predicament lies in its extreme and game lodges that are shared with the visitors from the
vulnerability to Imperial dictation. Empire. But this more beautiful reality is a small part of a
This, in turn, is a product of four factors: larger totality whose more negative aspects (AIDS, Debt,
a) The material reality of Africa; conflicts, etc.) make Africa so vulnerable to imperial dictation.
b) The psychological architecture of African leadership, or
what Frantz Fanon called, the “pitfalls of national As for the psychological architecture of African leadership,
consciousness”; what better than to quote Frantz Fanon when he described the
c) The strategic interventions of the Empire every time “pitfalls of national consciousness”, a description that not only
Africa talks about “self reliance”; and remains valid to this day but is reinforced by the experience of
d) The mainstream African academia and intellectual Africa over the last forty years.[26]
workers as the ideological agents of the Empire.
Fanon wrote:
The material reality of Africa is captured in official statistics
poured out at the rate of a couple of million pages a year by The national middle class which takes over power at the
national, regional and global bodies that employ “experts” to end of the colonial regime is an underdeveloped middle
quantify what is captured even more vividly and dramatically class. It has practically no economic power, and in any
by TV journalists and CNN reporters. The following are some case it is in no way commensurate with the bourgeoisie of
aspects of that reality: the mother country which it hopes to replace. In its willful
narcissism, the national middle class is easily convinced
- AIDS endemic and the decreasing life-span of the people that it can advantageously replace the middle class of the
of Africa mother country. But that same independence which
- War, conflicts and anarchy or near-anarchy situations in literally drives it into a corner will give rise within its ranks
some countries, and the to catastrophic reactions, and will oblige it to send out

frenzied appeals for help to the former mother country. to consciously and vigorously craft and will a future for
The university and merchant classes which make up the themselves. The first attempts that Africans made at
most enlightened section of the new state are in fact articulating a framework for their development were in the
characterized by the smallness of their number and their Lagos Plan of Action, the Final Act of Lagos, and UNECA’s
being concentrated in the capital, and the type of activities African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment
in which they are engaged: business, agriculture, and the Programs. Most African governments signed the
liberal professions. Neither financiers nor industrial documents and, to date, none of these governments has
magnates are to be found within this national middle class. publicly dissociated itself from the ideas espoused in them.
The national bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries is But the World Bank virulently attacked those documents,
not engaged in production, nor in invention, nor in and every African government that wished to have
building, nor labor; it is completely canalised into activities successful debt rescheduling or aid negotiations distanced
of the intermediary type. Its inner most vocation seems to itself from the principles in them.[29]
be to keep in the running and to be part of the racket. The
psychology of the national bourgeoisie is that of the In 1979, African governments met in Lagos, Nigeria, to
businessman, not that of a captain of industry; and it is consider the deteriorating situation in Africa. From a food self-
only too true that the greed of the settlers and the system sufficient continent, Africa, following a prolonged drought
of embargoes set up by colonialism has hardly left them between 1968 and 1973 that hit the Sahel at its worst, had
any other choice.[27] become a net food importing country. Despite two decades of
donor assistance, growth in Africa had more or less stopped,
What more does one need to say? May be only one thing and the social conditions in most countries in Africa were
more. It is that out of frustration at their inability to join the worsening. African leaders, in this context, considered that the
ranks of the bourgeoisie of the mother country, they fall back only way left to them was to pull themselves out of their
on “nationalism”. This could be a genuine sentiment against predicament through their own efforts, and that whatever
the Empire, but it could also be a means of blackmailing the assistance came from outside in the form of donor funds, must
Empire to release more “development” aid for their countries, be regarded as secondary to these efforts at self-reliance. The
or give concessions or preferential treatment, or outright leaders meeting in Lagos set the year 2000 for achieving an
charity. And this gives rise to the third aspect of the African ‘African Economic Community so as to ensure the economic,
predicament. It is this that every time Africa is in crisis and its social and cultural integration of our continent.’ A Nigerian
leadership, in desperation, talks about “self-reliance”, there is economist, Bade Onimode, summarised the main elements of
immediate intervention by the Empire to ward them off from the Lagos Plan of Action thus:[30]
that road, mischievously described by the Empire, as trying to
seek “autarchy”.[28] Once, the Empire reassures them that • Achievement of regional food self-sufficiency through
they will be assisted with money and “experts” to guide them domestic food production - not just food security that
back “to the right track”, the political leadership is back to can be achieved through volatile food aid and food
square one. The African intellectuals, Thandika Mkandawire imports;
and Charles C. Soludo have put it thus: • satisfaction of critical needs for food, safe drinking
water, clothing, housing, health care, education and
The tragedy of Africa’s policy-making and policy transport;
implementation in the last several years is the complete • elimination or alleviation of poverty; and
surrender of national policies to the ever-changing ideas of • achievement of effective regional integration through
international experts. Africans have lacked the confidence national and collective self-reliance.
Soon afterwards the World Bank came out with its famous shaking document, UNPAAERD was a mere salve to the
‘Berg Report’. [31] It presented an alternative scenario to the bleeding wounds of Africa.
Lagos Plan of Action. Africa, the Berg Report argued, need not
despair about aid from outside. More would come provided In 1989, the World Bank, with its ‘accelerated growth”
African governments were to make the necessary economic scenario in ashes, came with yet another document - Sub-
and policy adjustments. They had neglected the agricultural Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth. [34] In it,
sector in preference to industries, that must be rectified. They for the first time, the WB introduced the concept of ‘good
had provided excessive subsidies to urban dwellers, those governance’, a clear departure from its usual economistic
must go. They had excessively intervened in the economy; inclinations. After setting out for Africa what it called ‘A
they must give more free space to market forces. They had strategic agenda for the 1990s’, which basically boiled down
concentrated far too much on the internal market; they must to measures of structural adjustments, the document went on
go for export-led growth. And so on and so forth. It was this to say:
Berg Report that first laid the basis for what was to follow,
namely, the Structural Adjustment Programmes that have None of these measures will go far, nor will much external aid
been the bane of African societies since then. The remarkable be forthcoming, unless governance in Africa improves. Leaders
thing is that it was the World Bank itself that was the principal must become more accountable to their peoples.
author of the very policies that it was now criticizing. But of
self-criticism there was not one word in the Berg Report. [32] Transactions must become more transparent, and funds must
be seen to be properly administered, with audit reports made
The promised ‘accelerated development’ of Berg and company public and procurement procedures overhauled.[1]
never came. In the meantime, African governments forgot
about the Lagos Plan of Action. One by one they rushed to the The Report went on to suggest a ‘Global Coalition for Africa’
World Bank with aid bowls promising to bring about a (GCA). It would be a forum in which African leaders (not just
structural adjustment of their economies. In return for from the public sector, but also from private business, the
imposing the will of the Empire on an unwilling and long professions, the universities and other NGOs) could meet with
suffering population, they did get some capital from the donor their key partners - the bilateral and multilateral agencies and
community, but by the end of 1980s a new problem arose - major foreign NGOs - to agree on general strategies that would
the debt burden. In 1980 the debt of the sub-Saharan then provide broad guidance for the design of individual
countries constituted 21% of the GNP, by 1988 it had risen to country programmes.[2] The Report called this ‘a new
88%. In 1980, debt service ratio in relation to exports of goods international compact for Africa’.
and services was 9%, by 1988, it had risen to 25%. [33]
That was 1990. Ten years down the line, the situation, if
In 1983-85, Africa was hit by another drought, more severe anything, has worsened. The Empire has increased its grip
than the Sahelian drought of 1968-73. By 1984, twenty African over Africa by a plethora of “conditionalities” that they now
countries had become candidates for emergency food aid. And attach to their money, and these have disempowered African
so, once again in the face of crisis, African governments got governments of practically all initiative. All this is within the
together and asked the United Nations to hold a special dual framework of the Structural Adjustment Programme and
session of the General Assembly to consider Africa’s serious ‘good governance’. Under debt “relief” measures (such as the
situation. The UN obliged, and at a Special Session in 1986, it Heavily Indebted Poor Countries – HIPC), the “qualified”
adopted the UN Programme of Action for African Economic African countries have been practically recolonized with the
Recovery and Development, 1986-90 (UNPAAERD). No earth-
Empire micro-managing their economies, as in the case of make a living as best as they can, including periodic
Mozambique where the Government was forced to reduce “consultancies” with the same institutions of global
tariffs on cashew nuts imports from 20% to 14% thus bringing governance, as a means of supplementing their meager
instant ruin to the local peasant producers as well as official
processors. All this is done in the name of “adjustment”. [35]
salaries. It is no wonder that African universities are dying!
In 1994, at Marrakesh, African governments signed the
Uruguay Treaty that has now replaced GATT. Very few African Having said that it is necessary to add that they too are often
leaders had read the document, let alone analysed it, before caught up in the same kind of pitfalls as the political
signing it. In a new thrust of reasserting imperial hegemony, leadership. Frustrations of working within the framework of the
Uruguay essentially seeks to level out the playing fields of Empire, and persistent material poverty of their countries,
trade, investment and intellectual property rights in order to often drive them to expressions of nationalism and anger at
clear the way for petty nationalistic obstacles that appear to the Empire, but as soon as they are pacified with bigger
be standing in the way of the Transnationals. Whatever had salaries or other accouterments of the Imperial regime, they
hitherto checked the onslaught of the TNCs in Africa are about are back to square one.
to be cleared away, and Africa faces the grim prospect of
losing national control over the little that they had built over III Struggle Beyond Neo-Liberalism – Struggle for
the last thirty years since most of them got political Utopia
independence. [36]
It should be obvious from the above that Africa has no chance
Such, indeed, are the “pitfalls of national consciousness”. of redemption under the Capitalist Empire. So what options
does Africa have? Indeed, what options do the barbarians of
And the fourth predicament of the continent is that its the Third and the Third-and-half have in the face of increasing
mainstream academia and theoreticians are conscious or control of the Empire, paradoxically, at the very time when the
unconscious ideological agents of the Empire. With the demise Empire is itself in a paroxysm of crisis? Perhaps it is not a
of the Soviet Union and the virtual collapse of the socialist paradox after all, for it may be precisely because the Empire is
alternative, the African intellectual workers have only one internally in crisis, and in a moribund state (to use Toynbee’s
place to go to get their professional degrees and academic expression once again) that it needs to control and exploit
legitimacy – the universities of the Universal Empire, or local whatever resources remain in the lands of the barbarians.
ones linked to them. To gain legitimacy, and professional Even as the barbarians are demanding a “fair share” of the
recognition and career development, they have to place their global wealth and a levelling of the of the presently unfair
intellectual works in journals and publications authenticated playing fields, the Empire, in order for it to survive, needs to
by the “assessors” (called “peer reviewers”) of the Imperial appropriate larger and larger portion of this wealth in a highly
academia who act, often unwittingly than wittingly, as asymmetrical world that is getting increasingly asymmetrical.
ideological gateposts of the Empire. Some of these
intellectuals are then directly recruited in the institutions of Some analysts have argued from a moral standpoint, namely,
global governance (principally, the World Bank, the IMF and that it is the over-consumption and the profligate life styles of
the WTO), and others return home and try to the citizens of the Empire that is the real problem. And there
may be some merit in this argument. But a closer analysis
would indicate that the problem lies primarily not in over-

consumption but in over supply of commodities for which In a short essay it is not possible to prolong this discussion to
there is just not enough of a market in the Empire itself. Hence greater depth. And so it is necessary to raise the next
its need to capture all the market in the barbarian lands to question: Will the capitalist Empire collapse through its own
offload its excessive goods and excessive capital. In other internal contradictions?
words, the problem is overproduction of goods and capital and
not over-consumption. That is the reason that the moral Some people think that it would. Within the Marxist
argument against the Capitalist Empire has no effect on the scholarship, there is a long tradition of thinkers who have
life-styles of its citizens. They are daily bombarded with argued that the Capitalist system is dashing headlong to its
billboards and TV commercials to persuade them to consume own final denouement. In a much discussed recent work, the
more and more, or else their economies would simply collapse historian Robert Brenner has argued that competition for
for lack of markets for their excessive production. Beyond its markets is inherently destructive for capitalism and will
own markets, the Empire needs the market of the barbarians ultimately result in its collapse.
even more than the barbarians realize.
In this view, the fall in aggregate profitability that was
And it is not just market for goods. The Empire also needs responsible for the long downturn was the result … of the
channels to invest their excess capital. Much of this capital is over-capacity and over-production which resulted from
not even invested in productive activity; indeed very little of it intensified, horizontal inter-capitalist competition. The
is. Most of it, may be even 90 per cent of it, is invested in intensification of inter-capitalist competition was itself the
speculative activities – such as in foreign exchange and manifestation of the introduction of lower-cost, lover price
interest rate dealings. To use the old Marxist terminology, the goods into the world market, especially in manufacturing,
M – C – M1 is now replaced by simply M-M1 (where M denotes at the expense of already existing higher-cost, higher price
money, C denotes Commodities, and M1 denotes money with producers, their profitability and their productive capacity.
profits). In other words, present-day capitalist speculators do [37]
not even have to engage in commodity production in order to
make money. They can just make money to make more Critics of Brenner have argued that he has underplayed the
money. Eventually a big gap develops between a ballooned role of class struggle, and overplayed the forces of “horizontal
money economy that has no material basis in commodity inter-capitalist competition”, as causes of crisis within the
production. In other words, profit making in the contemporary Capitalist system; that, indeed, the declining rate of profit is as
phase of the Capitalist Empire has become substantially much a product of the struggles of the working classes to
“dematerialized”; it does not require material production. It is secure a fairer share of their labour as it is of competition
for this reason that Capitalism goes through periodic crises between the oligopolies. Critics have also argued that Brenner
that result in wiping out billions of dollars from the stock has not adequately analysed the problem from the perspective
exchange in a partial readjustment of money values to of Marx’s theory of value, and that he might be a latter day
material values. But the problem is never resolved, and within Adam Smith or a Ricardo rather than a Marxist. [38]
a few years there is yet another crisis, deeper than before.
There is now a qualitative change in how the Empire’s Whatever the merits of the debate, the inevitable demise of
ideologists see the situation. After the Asian currency crisis of capitalism is not an either/or situation. All Empires eventually
1997/98, the worried ideologists of the Empire were talking die. Capitalism will come to its denouement both as a result of
not just about “blips” in the economy, but problems with the contradictions within itself, and because of class struggle,
very “architecture” of the global financial system.

because in any case, they cannot be separated one from the global wealth as they can bargain out of the Empire. This is
other; they are part of the same process. true whether it is Mexico we are talking about, or India, or
Malaysia or Zimbabwe. There are, of course, differences
The question, however, is can we wait for the internal between one barbarian state and another, depending on
contradictions of capitalism to dissolve the Capitalist Empire? internal configuration of class forces, specificities of their
Can something be done whilst we live under the control of the history, and cultural and religious factors. Therefore, some
Empire? barbarian states may be more opposed to the Empire than
others in particular conjunctures – Arab states, for example,
E Struggles Within And Against The Neo-Liberal Empire when Palestine is brutalized by Israel, which is a bit of the
– Struggles Against Distopia Empire in their geographic midst.

Whether socialist, or any other, utopia will come is anybody’s On the other hand, the last fifty years have also shown that
guess. How near or far we are to the end of Capitalist History what the Empire means by “integration” in the global system
and to the beginning of a new one nobody knows. In the is very different from what the governing elites in the
meantime, the struggles of the barbarian peoples for liberation barbarian states mean. For the latter, it means a little more
and that of nations for self-determination will go on. The political and economic space for them to control and own their
struggle against the present Capitalist distopia will continue to “national” economies so that they, too, can prosper like their
reach higher levels of collective consciousness and action. imperial masters. But for the Empire, “integration” means
Africa’s destiny in this respect is bound with the rest of the doing away with national markets and national sovereignties.
global barbarian community, so it is necessary to deal with The Empire has no patience with petty nationalisms of
this issue at this general level first, and ask the following three barbarian elites. At the same time, the ordinary peoples in the
questions. countries of the South are also becoming impatient with their
continuing impoverishment and disempowerment. The
• One, can the barbarian states challenge the Empire? bottom-up pressure on the governing elites of the barbarian
• Two, can the barbarian workers and “civil societies” states is intensifying.
challenge the global system as well as democratize
their states? We therefore have a paradoxical situation. The Empire seeks
• Three, can the barbarian states unite in a common front to reach out to the oppressed peoples directly through the so-
against the Empire? called Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to try to
persuade them that their best course is to support the process
For reasons of brevity, and because the three questions are of liberalization and globalization -- one, because their
connected in any case, the following provides an attempt to governments are corrupt, and two, because their national
answer them in an integrated manner. What we have learnt in companies are likely to be more oppressive of the workers
the last fifty years is that on their own, that is, without than transnational corporations (the TNCs, for example, can
pressure from their own oppressed peoples, those who govern pay higher wages than local companies that often engage in
the barbarian states cannot challenge the fundamentals of the sweat labour), and more destructive of the environment than
Imperial order. Why? Because their objective role, given the the TNCs. On the other hand, the national elites of the
configuration of political and social forces nationally and barbarian states appeal to the sense of “nationalism’’ of their
globally, is to try to “integrate” their countries in the global workers and NGOs to try to persuade them that only in the
economy, and try to gain for themselves as big a share of the context of expanding national economies there is any chance
for the ordinary people to secure the protection of their life
and liberties, even if, in the short run, the conditions of work elites of “third world” states – all these debates center around
may involve sweat labour and inefficient use of the the question of who, ultimately, should be responsible for the
environment and natural resources. growth of the economies in the barbarian states, the
globalized TNCs or “national” enterprises?
At the present moment, it seems that, on balance, it is the
forces of nationalism that are winning the battle for the minds t is clear that we face a very complex situation, for the
of the ordinary people of the South. Why? Because the TNCs challenges to all concerned are fraught. Should the elites in
are not accountable to the people; they could be here today the barbarian states open up their territories to transnational
and gone tomorrow; and because they do not have the capital, in the manner, for example, that Uganda appears to
interests of the welfare of the people at heart, focused as they have done over the last decade, or should they try the more
are with making profits. Thus, for example, they must make nationalist road to development along the lines of, for
profits out of selling retroviral drugs against HIV/AIDs in South example, Malaysia? Should “civil societies” in these countries
Africa (and other countries in the South) to recover, as they welcome TNCs and support the “global compact” proposed by
say, their R&D costs, whereas for the governments of these the Secretary-General of the UN so that the TNCs can be
countries it is necessary to save lives than protect the profits monitored by the NGOs to see if they conform to labour,
of the TNCs. Similarly, for the TNCs it is important to break environmental and human rights standards? Or should they
down the tariff walls in the barbarian states and flood their seek to protect their national enterprises against competition
markets with goods on the grounds, they argue, that this is from the TNCs, and hope they would observe these standards
best for the consumers in these countries, and will get rid of whilst also providing jobs and fair wages? Should the workers
the “inefficient” enterprises that earn “rents” out of in the South welcome foreign capital and foreign TNCs
“protected” markets. But this argument, too, is not winning because they are likely to pay them higher wages than local
the minds of the people. Why? Because the removal of tariff companies, or should they continue to support “inefficient”
walls and other forms of protection kills national industry, local companies because they are likely to provide more jobs
especially if “shock therapies” advocated by “development (even if they are at lower wages) than the TNCs, and also
experts” of the World Bank and the IMF are adopted, and because they are likely to be more answerable to national
because the TNCs that take the place of dead national concerns than the TNCs? Should the “civil societies” in the
enterprises cannot make good the losses in jobs and social barbarian countries invite the Empire to take action against
security that the death of local industry entails. their dictatorial regimes in order to open space for democracy
along the lines, for example, that the opposition party in
These paradoxes are daily played out in the debates that are Zimbabwe (the Movement for Democratic Change) proposes,
raging in, especially, the World Trade Organisation (WTO). or should they seek to democratize the state without the
Debates around asymmetries of the trading system, the need interference of the Empire?
for “special and differential” treatment for the “developing”
countries and the LDCs, the argument for introducing labour The point about raising these issues is that they have to be
and environmental standards in the international trade regime faced in a concrete manner and on a daily basis. Waiting for
and a system to monitor and enforce these standards, the the socialist utopia, or waiting for the capitalist law of value
argument about the protection of intellectual property under (based on profits) to give way to a socialist, or any other, law
Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), the debate of value (based, for example, on the worth of the individual) is
on the question of whether or not to open up “government not going to get rid of these challenges. History is written by
procurement” in the countries in the South to international historians after the fact, but it is made by those involved in
competition, the argument about the “corruption” of the ruling daily struggle at the concrete level.
Conclusion: Which road ahead for Africa? Therefore, it is argued in this paper, the route for the
barbarians is to struggle against the centralizing tendencies of
As we move along the new millennium, the road ahead forks the Empire, and to develop as much of a national economy as
two ways. One road indicates the “neo-liberal route”, and is practical under circumstances of daily struggles as
those guiding Africa in that direction, both from within Africa described earlier. The debate about whether this constitutes
and from the “experts” from the Empire, argue that making “autarchy” or not is a red herring; it must not be allowed to
Africa “competitive” in the global market is its only salvation. detract the daily struggles of barbarian communities to secure
To this end, they argue, Africa must open up to global capital political and economic space outside of the control and
(not necessarily on a “fast track” but in a “phased” and dictation of the Empire. It must be recognized, at the same
“sequential” steps) so that Africa acquires the necessary time, that these struggles against the might and power of the
technology and skills to diversify their exports and to capture Empire are almost impossible to wage as fragmented national
“niche” markets in the global market place, and thus develop struggles. They can succeed only if the barbarians unite in a
their economies. common struggle. There are likely to be many contradictions
in trying to unite into a common struggle, and for many
This writer is of the view that Africa is not in a position to reasons. Some of these are given above, for example, in
compete in the global arena in the manner suggested by the quoting Fanon on the “pitfalls of national consciousness”, or
neo-liberal strategists because the dice is too loaded against differences amongst the barbarians on the question of
it. The experience of the last fifty years has shown that instead whether it is better to invite TNCs to protect labour standards
of increasing its share in the growing wealth of the world, and the environment in the barbarian economies or to pursue
Africa is getting less and less of it. And the reason for this is the national line. This paper is aimed at trying to build a
not far to seek. It has to do with the centralizing forces of consensus that handing over the control of whatever is left of
Capitalism whose inherent tendency is to concentrate wealth national resources and patrimony over to the agents of the
and power in the Empire at the cost of the welfare and Empire is not the way to go.
livelihoods of the barbarians. Even such Asian countries as
South Korea and Thailand that only yesterday were held as In conclusion, finally, a word about the Sirte initiative to
“models” of the neo-liberal strategy are today groaning under transform the Organisation of African Unity into an African
the effects of the 1997/98 crisis. It was not just a “currency Union. One must recall that every past effort by Africa to seek
crisis” as described by neo-liberal economists. The seeming the road to self-reliance has met with strong opposition from
crisis was part of the movement of centralization of capital, the Empire. On every occasion the Empire succeeded, through
and the Empire’s action to take control of the markets that using carrots and stick, to win back the political leadership of
were in the hands of the barbarians. Today, the Korean and Africa back on to the neo-liberal track. The Sirte initiative,
Thai economies are increasingly getting in the control of TNCs judging from past experience, is going to face the opposition
and transnational capital. The efforts, especially those of the of powerful forces from the Empire that has its own agents in
people of Korea, to build strong national economies since the Africa. The challenge is to stay united, this time, and not
end of the Korean war, have been negated in a matter of a crumble under pressure from the Empire. It is a challenge that
couple of years. This is a pointer, if one was needed at the governments in Africa can face only if the ordinary people are
empirical level, that the Empire cannot brook the emergence mobilized to make effective the realization of the unity of
of “national” economies amongst the barbarian communities, Africa. Governments alone cannot do it.
why? because that would be the beginning of the end of the

__________________________________ The lands of the barbarians were regarded as “terra
nullius”, and the people who lived off these lands and the
World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable resources above and below them were deemed not to
Growth, A Long Term Perspective, 1989, p. 15 possess any “property rights”. Property was as defined by
Ibid, p. 194 the Empire, and imposed on the barbarians.
[10] Alejandro Bendana, Power Lines: US Domination in the
[1] These are mainly professional economists employed by the New Global Order, 1996
Bretton Woods institutions and the Universities that serve
them. [11] It is an observed fact that when two dogs bark at a
perceived threat, the smaller one barks the louder.
[2] Collier & Gunning, 1997, p.18.
[12] See John Scott, Corporations, Classes and Capitalism,
[3] UNDP Human Development Report, 1996, p.2 Hutchinson, 1985, ch.4: “Finance Capital in America and
[4] . S. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the
Remaking of World Order, New York, Simon & Schuster, [13] See Walden Bello, People and Power in the Pacific:
1996. Struggle for the Post Cold War Order, Pluto, 1992

[5] A. Toynbee, A Study of History, 10 Volumes, Royal Institute [14] Super 301 are provisions in the US Omnibus Trade Acts
of International Affairs and Oxford University Press, 1955 that empower the US state to impose unilateral sanctions
on countries that are perceived to have committed unfair
[6] Dani W. Nabudere, “Globalzation, the African Post-colonial trade practices against US commercial interests.
State, Post-traditionalism and the New World Order in
Nabudere (ed.),Globalization and the Post-Colonial African [15] See Bettleheim,
State, AAPS Books, 2000, p. 52
[16] Boris Kagarlitsky,New realism New Barbarism: Socialist
[7] This refers to the incident in the year 2000 when 58 people Theory in the era of Globalization, Pluto, 1999.
of Chinese decent were found frozen to death in a
refrigerator truck in England. See also “The west wants the [17] Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Abridgements of
free movement of capital, but not of labour. It is illogical Volumes VII – X, OUP for RIIA, 1957, p.22
and immoral”, Special report: refugees in Britain, by Gary
Younge, The Guardian March 19, 2001 [18] Ibid, p.11

[8] See R.H.Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, [19] Ibid, p.11
Penguin, 1973
[20] See R.N. Gardner, The Sterling Dollar Diplomacy, New
[9] The colonial conquest of Africa was the quintessence of York, McGraw Hill, 1969
Europe extending its empire to conquer the barbarians
who were deemed not to be part of the “civilized world”.
[21] However, see Y. Tandon, “The Keynesian State & its [29] Thandika Mkandawire & Charles C. Soludo, African
Limitations”. Paper presented at Conference organised by Perspectives on Structural Adjustment: Our Continent, Our
the Focus on Global South, Bangkok, October 2000. Future, CODESRIA, 1999, pp. 138-9

[22] Free market ideologists, like those who work for the BWIs [30] Bade Onimode, A Future for Africa: Beyond the Politics of
and who teach an abstract subject (non-subject) called Adjustment, Earthscan, 1992, p.54
“Economics” in Western and Western-oriented universities,
may know that the free market does not exist, but they [31] World Bank, Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan
argue that it should exist. Those who know that a free Africa: An Agenda for Action, Washington, 1981
market cannot ever exist but still peddle the idea that it
should exist are deliberate agents of deception; those who [32] For what still remains the best critique of the Berg Report,
believe, as a matter of blind faith, that “one day” free see Samir Amin, “A Critique of the World Bank Report
market will come, sadly for them, they chase a pure entitled ‘Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa,’
illusion, a fantasy. Well-known and respected academics, “, Africa Development, Dakar, Volume VII (1982)
like Jagdish Bhagawati who is a good friend of the author,
fall into the second category. [33] See UNCTAD, Handbook of International Trade and
Development Statistics, 1993.
[23] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: Political and
Economic Origins of our Time, Boston: Beacon Press, 1944 [34] World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to
Sustainable Growth, A Long Term Perspective, 1989
[24] See Karl R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery,
Hutchinson. 1959 [35] See Joseph Hanlon, "Power Without Responsibility: the
World Bank and Mozambican Cashew Nuts," the Review of
[25] See Joseph Stiglitz, “What I learned at the world economic African Political Economy, # 83, March 2000
crisis”, The Insider, The New Republic, 17 April, 2000
[36] For a critique of Uruguay in relation to Africa, see: Y.
[26] As a testimony to the continuing relevance of Fanon, Tandon, “Recolonizing the Subject Peoples’” Alternatives
President Thabo Mbeki quoted Fanon at length in his 19 (1994) pp. 173-183.
speech to the NIEP Second Oliver Tambo Lecture in
Johannesburg on 11 August, 2000. [37] Robert Brenner, “The Economics of Global Turbulence”,
New Left Review, 229, 1998, pp 8-9
[27] Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, Grove Press,
Inc, 1963 [38] The entire issue of Historical Materialism, Vol 5, Winter
1999, was devoted to analyzing and critiquing Brenner,
[28] African intellectuals like Samir Amin had to take pains to such is the importance of this work in opening afresh
explain to his detractors that when he talks about issues that have remained dormant ever since the end of
“delinking” he does not mean “autarchy”. the cold war.