African Revolutionary Writers, Part 9
Issa Shivji has been a professor at the University Dar es Salaam for four decades. He is an African revolutionary intellectual of the first rank. Shivji provides our reading text for today: “The Struggle for Democracy and Culture” (attached).
Shivji has made the anti-Imperialist case very well, reminding us, among other things, that it is we freedom-fighters who are the humanists now, and it is the Imperialists who are the barbarians (a message that is also reinforced by Kenan Malik’s short, included piece about culture).
Issa Shivji’s address on The Struggle for Democracy and Culture explicitly and correctly claims, on behalf of the national-liberation and anti-colonial struggles, that this struggle - our struggle - carries, for the time being, the banner of progress for the whole world.
For a long time past, and into the future, until such time as the struggle for socialism again becomes the principal one, the National Democratic Revolutions taken together constitute the main vehicle for human progress, bearing up and rescuing all that is noble and fine in humanity.
The bourgeoisie is a thieving class and it will steal the clothes of the revolutionaries without any hesitation if it sees the smallest, most temporary advantage in doing so. The Imperialist bourgeoisie wishes to reverse the appearance of its shameful past and of its hopeless future. It wishes to claim the moral superiority that the liberation movement has, and steal it.
Issa Shivji shows very clearly how this monstrous fraud is attempted. The constant Imperialist droning about “good governance” is the extreme of hypocrisy, coming as it does from the worst oppressors in history – the force that has taken oppression to the ends of the earth. Read Shivji. He tells it well. But also note the hypocritical machinations of our present South African anti-communists, including but not limited to, the DA. If you did not know better, you could believe from what you read that it was liberal whites who liberated South Africa from the old regime.
Let me repeat: the struggle for democracy is ours, not theirs. The struggle for freedom is ours. We are the humanists now. We, the liberationists, are the bearers of the best of human history and we have been so for many decades past. The 20th Century was the liberation century, the anti-Imperial century. That was when we overtook the others in politics, in morality, and in philosophy - but we were only starting. In the 21st Century we will finish the job.
· The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Shivji, Struggle for Democracy, 2003, with Malik, Struggle for Culture, 2002.