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Arabica Robusta

Arabica Robusta's Public Library

  • Sobukwe was arrested in Soweto, Johannesburg, in 1960 and subsequently imprisoned for organising and leading the March 21, 1960 anti-pass march. It was a peaceful protest against an indentification card that was mandatory for Africans under the apartheid regime. The march culminated in the settler-colonial regime massacre of people at Sharpeville and Langa townships of present-day Gauteng and Western Cape respectively. While wee may probably never be able to hear Sobukwe’s voice again because the settler-colonial regime ensured he remains silent beyond his grave by banning him and destroying the audio material containing his voice, his ideas remain. We wish we could hear him talk.
  • there had to be an African democratic government
  • there had to be rapid extension of industrial development to help, among other things, alleviate pressure on the land as well as ensure full development of the human personality in a socialist context.

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  • A cursory study of Malcolm’s life quickly illustrates the reasons behind his popularity and the desire of so many to move him into their political camps. Malcolm’s well-documented journey from street hustler to world renowned spokesperson and organiser for African liberation reflects the hard work and determination that many of us can only dream about. His fearlessness in articulating the problems of white supremacy and capitalism and his unique ability to take difficult political and economic concepts and break them down for common consumption and understanding were skills that motivated millions since Malcolm first joined the Nation in the 1950s.
  • Malcolm’s final speeches are filled with invectives for Africans in the US to stop expecting freedom in the US, while Africa was subjugated because Africa’s freedom was dependent upon releasing the very same forces that keep Africans in the US oppressed. Malcolm characterised this reality with his statements that Africa “is at the centre of our liberation” and that socialism is “the system all people in the world seem to be coming around to”.
  • The writing on the wall had been provided to Malcolm by his meeting Pan-Africanists like Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. For anyone who doubts the impact these meetings had on Malcolm’s thinking all one has to do is read his own words in his autobiography. Malcolm described his meetings with Nkrumah as “the highlight of my travels” and “the highest honour of my life”. These words are true despite those meetings being ignored in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic film and in pretty much everything else portrayed about Malcolm’s life.

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  • Despite what melancholic lyrics may suggest, they exist – the men and women who want to change things. In the months leading up to the 2006 elections in Uganda, there were demonstrations outside the Central Police Station and the High Court where an opposition presidential candidate, Dr Kiiza Besigye, was first detained and then brought to trial.
  • The vendors only came back at lunchtime. As I learnt over the coming days, their commitment was striking: day after day the market vendors attended court in solidarity with Dr Besigye. By contrast, office-workers stayed at their desks. You do not win government contracts by demonstrating in the streets.
  • It is heartbreaking to watch the video footage [iv] of Sankara appealing to his fellow presidents to repudiate unfair debt agreements with IMF and other foreign creditors at the Organization of African Unity Summit in 1987. He accused them of degrading their people. He says, only half-jokingly, that if they do not support him he is going to be assassinated: “I may not make it to the next meeting.”

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  • Powered by the growing indignation against austerity and impoverishment, as well as by the hostility against the growing number of ‘strangers’, the Nazi party was able to turn its pariah status into an emblem of political purity and a desire for radical transformation of Greek politics.
  • Golden Dawn’s covert agenda has always been domination over the streets by holding pogroms. In this context, the Nazi group spread its local offices in many low-income and heavily populated neighborhoods. It was free to launch organized and planned attacks against immigrants, homosexuals and ideological opponents, as though unilaterally ‘legitimized’ to do so, to ‘keep our race pure‘.

  • these cognitive problems will only matter if one of these people gets into the White House and still finds himself unable to distinguish myth from reality. By contrast, Europe is already suffering enormous pain because the people setting economic policy prefer morality tales to economic reality.
  • The tales of hardship are endless: an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent, a youth unemployment rate of more than 50 percent, a collapsed health care system. The European Union folks may not know much economics, but they sure know how to destroy a country.
  • Interestingly, even their morality tale is at best half-true. Greece was a profligate spender, but what about punishing the reckless lenders? They were largely bailed out by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, who now hold the vast majority of Greek debt. What about punishing Goldman Sachs, which designed the swap that allowed Greece to hide its debt so it could get into the euro in the first place?

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  • The first 15 years of the twenty-first century have generally been quite positive for Latin American economies. This has been due, to a great extent, to the rising price of most exports, which in turn has produced an improvement in tax revenues that different countries have used to reduce disturbing poverty levels. Oil has regularly exceeded $120, but high prices for natural gas, copper and soybeans have also helped the economies of these countries to grow vigorously and to improve the living conditions of their people.
  • It seems, however, that the continent is capable of exporting more than just commodities. Together with the economic good times linked largely to rising exports, we are currently witnessing an unusual phenomenon from a historical perspective: Latin America is beginning to export political practices and ways of doing things.
  • This is the fertile ground from which Podemos springs. But we must add to this the political tools that Podemos is using to take advantage of the situation. This is where the adaptation of Latin American leftwing neo-populism comes in.

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  • The reality at ground level is more akin to an economic version of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in which specific kinds of negatives are dealt with by simply eliminating them from view. Thus in early January 2013, the European Central Bank announced that Greece’s economy was on the path back to growth, and Moody’s upgraded Greek debt by a point; the country’s rating is still low, but such shifts matter to investors, always desperate to find destinations for their capital. It meant that Greece was again becoming safe territory, and largely meant the buying up at very cheap prices of what had been valuable parts of the national economy. We saw a similar process in South Korea and Thailand during the so-called Asian financial crisis.[2] 


    Greece’s 30% of workers who had lost their jobs, countless broken firms and neighbourhoods were left out of the picture. This economic cleansing works, but it does so on the backs of all those who have been expelled.

  • I argue that we cannot assume that Greece, Spain, and Portugal are unique cases. We need to examine whether they are. What takes an extreme form in Greece, and to some extent in Portugal and Spain, may well also be present elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

  • This process of expulsion entails extreme conditions that begin at the edges of systems, in micro-settings. This is important, because much of this sharp shift I am seeking to capture is still invisible to the statistician. It is also often invisible to the passerby—the impoverished middle classes may still be living in their same nice houses, with their losses hidden behind neat facades. Increasingly these households have sold most of their valuables to afford payments, have started to sell their basics, including furniture, and are doubling up with grown-up children.
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