Indian Ocean Symposium 2018 – Panel 1


– In this panel in the
remainder of this morning is socialism and socialist legacies. Of course socialism is something that is very often associated with Europe, with the Atlantic world,
with Eurasia and East Asia. But as we will see here, socialism in its multiple interpretations and local reconfigurations has also played an incredibly important role
in the Indian Ocean world, in East Africa, in the
Arab worlds, in South Asia and Southeast Asia. I couldn’t wish for a better panel than to be surrounded by
these three esteemed scholars who are over here. First we’ll have Bahru Zewde to tell a little bit more about the relationship between Ethiopia and Yemen which is a very old and very deep relationship. But it’s crucially also
that there’s this element of socialism and socialist legacies in it We’ll then hear from Radoslav Yordanov who very specifically talk to us about Somalia and perceptions of the whole of Africa and the politics of the whole of Africa from the perspective of the Cold War using some of the archival
material from the Soviet Union and other Eastern Block states. Then we’ll have Uday
Chandra who will talk to us about rural modernities
and ways of interpreting agrarian change in China, India, Tanzania from a comparative perspective. And finally, myself will talk
a bit more about political technologies of socialism
particularly the idea of land, our party and the
People’s Liberation Army and the way in which Asia
has consistently shaped African ideas and African
practices of liberation. But first and without further ado, I’ll hand the floor to
Bahru of the University of Addis Ababa to talk
about Ethiopia and Yemen. – Okay thank you Harry, and
thank you for inviting me to the part of this gathering. My presentation deals with what we call the Northwestern end of the Indian Ocean. The strait’s called
Bab-el-Mandeb which goes, if you know Arabic, what
it means is gap of tears. It’s a small, short strait
that separates Northest Africa shall I say or the whole of Africa from the Arabian Peninsula
which are the cause of so many fatalities and suffering. It’s a terrible part of the
Indian Ocean or the Red Sea. As you may have seen, I have
slightly changed the topic from the last talk to emphasize
the socialist element. So I will say a bit
about the ancient roots of this contact between
Ethiopia and Yemen, and then the modern links most
of the papers will tell you first half of the 20th
century, and then finally a bit more on the socialist
experience of the two countries particularly the South Yemen in this case. In the early days of both
Northern and South Yemen, but now the focus is mostly on South Yemen and socialist Ethiopia in the
’60s and the ’70s basically. And, then this short footnote
about the current situation. The story begins with a
large influx of South Arabian migrants in the first millennium BC. There’s a lot of controversy
about the exact impact of this, but there is not question that the roots, the impact of the traces
of those migrations are evident. I don’t know what this
is, but two of the track that came from Yemen,
South Arabia to Ethiopia were Northern Habesha and Agazi Land which have given of course the names of Abyssinia and Ge’ez Abyssinia has always
been the alternative name for Ethiopia. And, Ge’ez is the
classical name of Ethiopia a kind of typical of Latin
in the Western world. Both regions have competed in their claims for Queen of Sheba. The Ethiopians are saying that she came from Ethiopia, and the Yemnis
say she came from Yemen. For Ethiopia, it has
quite a lot of importance because it is the whole
foundation of the Ethiopian monarchy. The Ethiopian dynasty
has claimed that they are all descendants of Solomon and Sheba. And, the first issue, the
son from this illicit union if you wish, was called
Menelik I, and he’s believed to be the founder of the Solomonic dynasty which ruled Ethiopia until
the revolution in 1974. So there are traces of this
migration in architecture. I have here a sample
of one of the temples. It goes back to the beginning
of the first millennium BC which has very strong
similarities with South Arabian and Yemeni architecture as well. Irrigation, cataract irrigation, religion before the conversion of Axum,
Axum was the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia to Christianity
in the fourth century AD, they believed in a pantheon
of gods, and some of these were often Sabaean so of
course like Mahrem and so on. And language, the Sabaean
language, a lot of the langues in which Axumete kings
wrote their inscriptions. They used also Greek
because of their exposure with Greek civilization and
of course Ge’ez as well. So this is the ancient part. Now the modern links is
essentially in the 20th century particularly beginning from
the early 20th century, there was a large influx
of Yemeni migrants from both North Yemen and South Yemen who were primary occupied in petty trade. Most of us as kids actually
were very familiar, but we grow up very quickly just Arab hits most of them are owned
by Hadrami merchants. Some of them were engaged in construction in particularly the
Eastern part in Dire Dawa. They inter married. Most of the men, almost predominantly, I think you can say all
the merchants were men. So they did not bring
their wives with them. So there was a great deal of intermarriage between Yemenis and Ethiopians. In a way of course, Yemenis and Ethiopians look very much alike. I can imagine I can
easily pass for a Yemeni and vise versa. So there was a lot of intermarriage, and a very large half caste population. Probably the most famous
issue of this kind of marriage is the famous tycoon Sheikh
Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi who had a large conglomerate
business in Ethiopia, owns Sheraton Hotel which
is above stars as they say. It’s not even a five star. It’s beyond a five star. And, a big conglomerate company engaged in mining, construction, is this better, mining construction and
quite a host of activities. Unfortunately now of
course, he finds himself incarcerated with a
lot of the Arab royalty because although his father
originally came form Yemen, he was naturalized as an
Arab, and he inherited his father’s citizenship. And, he’s now actually
in this palatial prison in Ritz Riyadh or so. So this presence of the Yemenis continued until the 1960s. So there was large
scale anti Arab protests following the attacks on
Ethiopian Airlines aircraft by Arabs. You know most Palestinians
and so one, and ELF, that’s Eritrea Liberation
Front fighters supported by Syria and Iraq. But, (muttering) was Arab,
so there was large scale anti Yemeni, anti Arab
protests, and quite a number of the Yemenis had to leave the country. And of course, what followed after 1974 after the revolution, the
nationalization of most enterprise and so on were not conducive
to the kind of commercial enterprise that they were heading. So there was a reversal in their fortunes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are two sides to the story. So one I have already mentioned
in the realm of business Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi,
and another in the early 20th century was really a
Yemeni known Rabdaladaha who even became a governor
of one of the Southeastern districts, frontier districts,
a place called Jijiga in the first two decades
of the 20th century. Now we come to the current
situation beginning with ideology. Because both of them
eventually came to share particularly South Yemen and Ethiopia in the ’60s and ’70s came to
share socialist ideologies and also started taking
socialist measures. In Ethiopian case, the
ideology of Marxism, Leninism as it came to be known emerged
from the very authoritarian political tradition which does not allow any space for political even
liberal kind of political expression. And, so in the absence
of any political party, the students came to the forefront. In fact, Ethiopia produced
one of the most militant student movements ever in
the history of the student movements maybe comparable to
the Iranian student movements of the ’60s and ’70s. I have written an entire book on this. So it’s very (muttering)
for me to summarize what the students did, why
they did what they did. There are endogenous as
well as exogenous factors, endogenous being the
authoritarian tradition and also the even liberal opposition within the establishment to the monarch or at least kind of advice
to the monarch to improve situations terminating
in a coup, a palace coup by the commander of the
imperial bodyguard in 1960. This was a very important
backdrop to the militant student movement. Exogenous factors, scholarship students from other African countries who had a tradition of political engagements through trade unionism,
nationalist movement and so on, so forth who
exerted considerable influence on otherwise passive
Ethiopian student population. And of course as you all
know, the global ’60s was the era of the student
movement all over the world, the United States, in
Europe, France, and Germany in particular, anti
Vietnam demonstrations, Cuba, the example of
Cuba and so on, so forth. So Ethiopian students were
very much part of that global movement. There are some milestones. 1962, until then the palace and the campus had a very close relationship. The emperor visiting the
students in the evening, surprise visits with packages of fruits and cakes and so on. From 1961 onwards after a poem was read depicting the poverty
of the Ethiopian people, the emperor stopped coming to the campus. 1965, probably the most
important, seminal year in the history of the student movement when they came out with the
slogan land to the tiller. This was a very powerful
slogan because it meant to address the rampancy
of tenancy particularly in the Southern part of Ethiopia. There were a large number of
tenants in the Southern part of Ethiopia. And, they were saying the land
should belong to the tiller, these absentee landlords should go. 1969, as I said it was Ethiopia’s 1968. Just as 1968 was for France
and Germany and America, 1969 was a year of intense
activity against the regime beginning with demands
for equitable access to education then spiraling
almost uncontrollably to an unprecedented
denunciation of the emperor by one of the radicals which
was almost taboo in Ethiopia. The emperor was almost like a demigod, so you’re not supposed to
even say anything negative let alone denounce him in
such harsh terms as uttered. The plane hijackings, I don’t
think there are any students. Ethiopian students
actually hijacked planes. This begun in 1969, continued in 1970 and went on also into 1972. And finally, the raising
of the dreaded question of the nationalities, the
national question as they say. Because Ethiopia is a
very heterogeneous society with different ethnic groups,
something like 80 languages and so on, but there was this perception among the students that
the other nationalities were dominated by the core nationality. So they started agitating for equitable distribution of power and resources, and eventually of course,
adopted the Leninist, Stalinist formula of self determination up to and including secession. This last rider is very
important, very crucial. Not only just self
determination, not only autonomy, but also the right to secession. The student movement
graduated, shall we say, into leftist parties,
leftist organizations, and if there was one
harbinger of the Ethiopian revolution of 1974 which
did away with the dynasty which did away with the
monarchy and introduced or ushered in the socialist
era, it was the students. And, the military which
actually seized power because it was the most
organized was effectively started as a nationalist group but was baptized by the students into embracing
not only just socialism but also eventually Marxism, Leninism. In the Yemen case, I have to admit that my knowledge of
Yemen is not as reliable as my knowledge of
Ethiopia, but I have tried to do some reading. I think it had a colonial
background going back to 1839 particularly the Southern part. That was when the British occupied Aden and established their colony in that area. It got a major boost after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869
so that by the middle of the 19th century, Aden has emerged as one of the most important ports of call for major ships. So the nationalist
movement in Yemen begins in 1962 with the formation of
the National Liberation Front. And, the Southern Yemen
was really a catalyst, and of course the North
was not really affected by the colonial regime anyway. So the National Liberation
Front was established in 1962 by militants of the South Yemen which aimed at the freedom of South Yemen from the British occupation,
the unity of North and South Yemen, and also if necessary,
engaging in armed struggle against the British. There was always a tension
between the socialist and nationalist fronts,
and it was resolved only in 1969 with the ascendancy
of the leftist element. And from then on, South Yemen becomes essentially a socialist republic. So this is the background
to the series of measures that they took. We have no time to go into all this. I think essentially
there was a land reform in Ethiopia because in
particular it was a matter of life and death because
this was really the driving force of the revolution. This was the driving force
of the student movement. And, the Derg, that’s a military regime, Derg means committee
actually, so the committee of junior officers who
seized power in 1974 and deposed the monarch. One of them, the major
things that they have to do was to introduce a land
reform proclamation in 1975 which is generally regarded as probably the most revolutionary land reform nationalizing land and
limiting private ownership to 10 hectares. That means the maximum. That was a ceiling for
private ownership of land. Yemen also had a similar
land reform program. In fact, it was slightly less radical but still putting 20 hectares ceiling. Probably the difference
that I have noticed between the two is that
in the Ethiopian case, it was nationalization. So the peasants did not
really actually own the land. So they were controlled
by the Peasant Association which was really an arm of the state. Whereas, I have not found any evidence of that kind of nationalization
in South Yemen. Those who are a lot more
knowledgeable can probably tell us a bit more about that. In both cases, I think you cooperatives. Peasants were organized into cooperatives and some also state farms were introduced on a very large scale
in Ethiopia actually. A second era, of course it’s
a nationalization process, nationalization of banks,
insurance companies, and commercial enterprises. So private enterprise
more or less kind of, in Ethiopia in particular, almost vanishes from the landscape. The South Yemen or the
People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen from 1969 onwards
because it was regarded as a progressive, socialist
force began to help groups organize in Ethiopia
against the regime. There were two. There was Eritrea in the North, and there is also of
course Ethiopia itself. In Eritrea from 1961
onwards, there were two liberation fronts. The first one, the one that started the armed struggle in Eritrea was known as the Eritrean Liberation Front or ELF. The one that splintered
from it in the early 1970s and eventually became
probably the most powerful, the one that actually
seized power after 30 years of struggled was known Eritrean
Popular Liberation Front. So the South Yemen regime gave support to both organizations. It gives up all control
to an embryonic leftist organization which eventually became one of the most powerful
leftist organizations in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian
People’s Revolutionary Party. At the beginning, it was
known as the Ethiopian People’s Liberation Organization. So it actually was from Aden
that a unit of the EPLO, something like a dozen militants launched their armed struggle. In other words, they took a boat from Aden and went into Eritrea. And from Eritrea, they
were able to go to the base they had established in
Northeastern Ethiopia to launch armed struggle. Okay, I’m really going
to have to talk fast. It had also an office in Aden,
but eventually these links between the regime after
the revolution, the Derg, or the military regime
took serious measures to reverse the situation. Reverse the situation
establishing even a commission within the foreign ministry
to study mechanisms and modalities, and one
of them was of course the strengthening of
commercial links supplying this very famous herb
chat or qat which was very popular in Yemen
at very cheap prices. As a result of this, (laughing)
actually the Yemeni regime was, partly because the Derg
was seen as progressive, begun to take measures against
the ELF, against the EPLF, and also against the EPRP. One major area that I
would like to address in the time that remains
is the whole question of global realignments,
alignments and realignments. In the earlier period, Ethiopia
was very closely aligned with the United States from 1953 onwards, it had probably the strongest
links in Sub-Saharan African, the largest military supplies and so on. But, this begun to cool
off even before 1974. After 1974, the Derg became
more brutal on the one hand and decidedly socialist
and even Marxist, Leninist, then there was total
estrangement between the two. With regard to the Soviet
Union, initially there were very strong links between
Ethiopia and the Soviet Union going back to the 19th century. Don’t forget also that both of
them were Orthodox Christians so there’s a strong affinity between them. But, after 1969 with the
emergence of a regime in Somalia which was avowedly socialist, the USSR begun to shift its
alignment towards Somalia. But in 1977, you can say
was a year of realignment. This is a phrase that was
used by one of the authors of a book on Ethiopia,
the former ambassador. It was a year of realignment
in terms of Ethiopia and the US. It was a year of realignment also in terms of Ethiopia and Somalia and the USSR because the Somalian
regime because it felt that the USSR was not
sufficiently supporting it, and because was veering towards Ethiopia. There’s a very important,
memorable meeting in February 1977 in Aden where
all the socialist leaders, you know including Cuba
particularly Fidel Castro, played a very important role
in trying to bring together the socialist regimes in
the whole of North Africa and in Yemen. He even had an idea of a federation, a federation of Ethiopia,
Somalia, and South Yemen. This meeting was really
a crucial turning point because Siad Barre, the
president of Somalia was very aggressive. And, he said he was not
going not only consider confederation, but also not even to talk to the leader of the Ethiopian regime. And, he walked out. And soon after in
November 1977, he expelled the Soviets and the
Cubans who had been there. And, it’s very interesting. In fact, they did not even
go back to the Soviet Union or Cuba. They relocated almost
immediately to Ethiopia. So that was a very dramatic. So I think because of shortage of time I will just stop here and then we’ll maybe in the discussion. Of course, in the discussion,
I will say something more about the other thought. – [Harry] Thank you very much Bahru. Rudy, over to you. – Is it working? Hi. Thank you very much to the organizers for this multifaceted panel. And starting off with the keynote of this extremely
interesting, obscure world of the open era ethnography. We’ll move forward to the
even more obscure world of ars politica. Basically I’ll try, as
a diplomatic historian, to tell you a semi fascinating
story of a micro marriage between the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics and the Somali Republic
which lasted for eight years. It was a marriage of inconvenience because neither of the two
partners wanted each other. They just found each other by opportunity more than chance. I’ll focus in those eight
years that’s a micro history in itself and which was based
on as many years of research. I’ll present you in as many slides I have. So basically, the key here is number eight because although the
Soviet experience in Somali lasted eight years, interestingly
the Soviet experience with Ethiopia lasted
only five years more, 13. And, in these 21 year, Soviet
Union with a limited amount of resolve and resource it
had invested in the region, it wanted to change a lot. In this fascinating story,
semi fascinating story of flying castle and
conspiring sheikhs, I would like to show you what they did
and what they failed to do. How does this thing go? So basically, the opportunity
arose for the Soviets to build a presence in
Somalia after failing to do so with Ethiopia in the ’50s and the ’60s because obviously they sided,
Ethiopians with the States. In late ’60s with reactionary regimes according to the Soviet’s nomenclature falling like dominoes,
not connected dominoes which were following like dominoes, it all started with Aden
in 1967 which dragged their feet around the Northwestern segment of the Indian Ocean,
which as I’ll show you a few slides later, had a great potential to grow into a new Caribbean basin. In 1969 importantly and without
Soviet direct involvement because on that morning
on 21st of October, the Soviet’s ambassador
reportedly woke up surprised to the news, on the 22nd
of October obviously, woke up surprised to
the news that there was a regime change with
apparently left wing military struggle coming to the fore. That speaks to us that
Soviets were at the side, and the didn’t have the
chance, opportunity, and availability to exert great change, create the opportunity for this change. With the coming of Siad
Barre, the military leader who initiated and started
this plot which was successfully implemented in that night on the 21st of October, Soviet Union saw an opportunity which
actually grew exponentially over the last two years culminating with one of them not so
openly propagated visit of Yuri Andropov which was
very important for the Soviets because it was the first
case of a chief of the KGB visiting an African country. A visit which lasted
reportedly for over 10 days, unheard of. 1972 was important, three
years, almost three years after the October coup for
another high publicized, designed visit of Andrei
Grechko was the minister of defense. Not only was he a minister of defense, he was a martial of the Soviet Union. Those are two very important visits to a highly semiotic
society, political elite, the Soviets, which meant
we are here with you. We might not like being with
you, but we are with you. We see that the changes you implement, or you’re trying to
implement like the launches of the measures to
gather the Somali society along a newly found, so to speak, religion of scientific socialism,
we found it valid. We found it valid for the time being. This marriage of inconvenience
however was based on the present. It had to deal with the past. It had to deal with many
skeletons in the closet of the both partners. But, it was a marriage of inconvenience which didn’t see through into the future. The ad hoc solutions and
the implemented agenda was actually, for the time
being, as these solutions were being implemented. And, what I mean by that
is the Soviet help extended to the Somali regime was
exactly was the regime wanted, was exactly what Mogadishu wanted. It was not what the regions,
the periphery wanted. The periphery wanted
what the Soviets failed to produce and deliver in the ’60s. And, the ’60s was a time
when the Soviet Union tried to somehow work with the regions in building facilities. It provided Mogadishu what it needed most which was military
assistance and assistance in the security field. That was important for Siad Barre’s regime which was becoming increasingly vulnerable to peripheral, centrifugal
forces to hold its power. That was, in a way, the
contribution of the Soviet partner to its newly found African
partner to keep it in power so that the mutually beneficial
political relationship could continue. I emphasize on political because it was a political deal. It was not an economical deal. Soviet Union didn’t bring anything. Those eight years didn’t
bring anything material apart from the military
material to the table. The amount of investment
outside of the military material was paltry in comparison
to what it provided Cuba, or what it tried to provide
prior to the structural problems that struck the Soviet
Union from the mid ’70s or from the time when Brezhnev
started to consolidate his power. These two years in which was still saying. In a way, it was proportionate
to Somalia’s importance in the eyes of the Soviet Union. When they enter the
Somali realm, Soviet Union perceived it as a strategic,
I’ll use a German term which we apologize (speaking
in a foreign language) towards other or a springboard,
okay may say that way, springboard to other regions,
or to use it as a potential showcase of how it could
help regimes as such to maintain power. That’s why in just four
years, or rather two years between ’72 and ’74 around
1,600 military advisors change their residence to
Mogadishu and the outskirts which amounted to a tenth,
10% of the entire Somali military force which is
astounding taking into account that this minor military force
quadrupled in only 10 years only a decade for a country of 3,000,000, a country which was touted as the poorest in the whole of Africa which is in itself one of the poorest in the
world and which in itself had the highest incidents
of conflicts per capita in the whole world. I over simply it as you will. And in the end, what had
happened was that was very key. It was a key moment
which was very valuable to Siad Barre and his cronies, but it was very frightful for the people in Jubawali, for the people in Berbera,
and the people in the North, in the South, in the middle of the country because the Soviet
security personnel deployed to the Somali setting
met extreme resistance from the locals. First, the Somalian’s proverb, Somalis are very rich on their
proverbs, and called a nation of bards. They have this saying. I am against my brother, and
my brother against the world. In that case, we had I and
my brother against Siad and the Russians. But, not the Russians
per se but the Russians who we don’t see. But, those Russians whom they didn’t see actually they serve their own purpose. They were there to play the Cold War game. It was a game for them. The Russians extolled in great pleasure how they were uncovering agents. They were on a witch hunt
in the Mogadishu setting, and not only Mogadishu. We could extrapolate this micro history into other countries and
the Indian Ocean littoral, and if you want to be a
little more imaginative, we could find similarities
with other regions of this world we live
and continue to live in. One of this case, and
this could cut across a different theme among
this North, South relations is Americans used US aid for cover. Russians used news agencies as cover. Bulgarians, for example, I’m Bulgarian. I’m not Russian. We fronted for the Russians
in the economic field. Russians were very circumscribed
in their activities because everybody was watching them. Everybody, by everybody
I mean United States and their local allies
which the most prominent one was Israel. We were enlisted and entrusted for having a helpful listening eye to the big brother in cases of high importance
as Kagnew Station, near Kagnew Station obviously in Asmara. And, the next one, yeah this
is what I mentioned earlier is about a great suspicion
which the Soviets found in the local population. Actually you could see
that diplomats reported before each report, they
were supposed to go, from time to time, to the provinces to see whether the measurements
supposed to be taken by the regime were taking effect. And, before each such trips taking place, diplomats were reporting
their displeasure of doing so, first, because of the
conditions, very unpleasant, harsh conditions, you know
weather conditions, all sorts, but also of the animosity
of the local population against them. First, we have very rigid, in a sense, local traditions which
as homogenous ethnically Somali society was, it
was very heterogeneous in terms of its political
structures and forms of organization. That’s why I just mentioned this proverb, not for its curiosity
value, but for the value of it representing a
special organizational case within the society where
a clan based society means we are this clan here. We don’t care about what the
clan in Mogadishu says to us. We are self sufficient. This self reliancy system
were trying to be emulated actually on the national
level which couldn’t actually hold true
because the Soviets found in itself a form of revisionism much akin to Albanian and
Chinese form of self reliance and socialism. So basically, just to wrap it up. Soviet Union were well prepared to what the local government,
not what the local population wanted from them. They wanted military arms. They wanted assistance
in military facilities, but to be used against other country. Obviously, Soviet Union
held its vault face in the United Nations and
tried to portray itself as a player who abide
by international rules. At the time importantly in Ethiopia sided with United States and
had its full support until well into 1976,
but in 1974, Soviet Union couldn’t really afford risking a new Cuba for something that wasn’t that important and far away in the middle of nowhere. At the same time, what they
did was build facilities, maintained facilities
along the Berbara base which they built covertly,
reportedly from the Somalis starting 1962 initially
starting as a ship, a base, and then gradually into the early ’70s was shuffling it into a
missile handling facility. And, the missiles were handled
there were Styx missiles. In addition to that proven
by American and Dutch overhead reconnaissance will show that these missile handling
facilities were namely capable of handling ballistic
systems, ballistic systems which didn’t serve the Somali case. Didn’t serve the Somali
case attacking Ethiopia because it was a very short distance, and they didn’t need such facility. It served its own purpose. It’s own purpose of first
monitoring and guarding their own ship lines, and
more importantly regarded the American engagement and
newly found Brit and American engagement in the Diego Garcia. That’s why I’m saying
that eventually if things turned out differently, with the amount of military material
invested in this region, it could have been lethal. Much more lethal than it
was not only for Somalia and Ethiopia in itself, but
for the whole littoral region. So basically, what Siad
Barre did to distance himself from the Russians
was to invite American (muttering) mission which
was a very impressive act in itself because, that’s okay. One minute please, and I’ll wrap it up. Invited Congressmen. Siad Barre had the audacity
to invite American Congressmen to inspect the facility. This outraged the Russians obviously because they couldn’t
think of how could he just do such a thing
without consulting them. First, because they had
invested so much in the base, and secondly they realized
Siad Barre wasn’t as faithful as they initially thought. Although, they always had the reserve, and we could see this
reserve in the writing of the low to middle
level representatives. So basically, the question
here is in this micro history we can see many themes and
topics very interestingly intertwining each other. On the one hand, representing a facility for something completely different. Like I said, this flying
castle was very important like not for at least
curiosity but basically it just represented how
manipulated the locals were just because certain
purpose had to be fulfilled in a certain way taking
to account the resistance from the government. So basically, in one way,
and we could follow up in the discussion later is there was like a certain mismatch
between the global objectives of the patron and local
interests of the recipient. And, this is a story not of two worlds, this is the story of a Cold War game which was held not only across the axis Washington and Moscow, but
as we can see, it was held in many axes along North and South. Thank you. (audience clapping) – We’re going to go a bit
broad in our comparisons moving from single country
studies to a three country comparison. And, we can get into the
specifics in the Q and A about particular cases. But, I’d like to make a
broad general argument and see how that works. Okay so, let’s start with
a one minute refresher on Marxism. You know if you read
the Communist Manifesto, and if you read Marx’s
writings on India and China what is very apparent
is that he does think of Asiatic forms of production ending with the introduction of colonialism. And, he does think that
the rural in some ways is going to be faced with the railways with capital brought in
by colonialism in general. In the Leninist model or in the Trotskyite or Stalinist understanding, you also have a similar understanding
of Marxism or socialism as an advanced form of
capitalist modernity where urban workers or the proletarians control the means of
productions, the peasantry so to speak. The kulaks go to the gulag,
but those who don’t go to the gulag are to be
collectivized and eventually made into proletarians. So the idea is the city is going to eat up the countryside. That’s the broad idea that the Russians certainly inherited. They weren’t going the populist route of the late 19th century. There is of course a very interesting kind of caveat to this
that in his last few years Marx was very interested
in the village community. He was particular
interested in the writings of British administrators
working in India, anthropologists particularly
in Victorian Britain who were looking at the
Germanic and Russian and Indian village community
as a possible source of social reform. Of course, much of this
work is unfinished, and he never really, but
we do have correspondence with say the Russian populists where he is very interested in thinking
of their understanding of an alternative, non
European path to modernity. As far as the three cases
that I’m going to look at in the next 15 minutes or so,
China, India, and Tanzania, it is quite clear that
they are not following Marx and Engels or the Russians. The reason why they’re not doing that, well there are different
reasons, but what is common to all three is that the rural or villages are central to their idea of socialism, socialist transformation or
makeover after colonialism. And, their general orientation that we are an agrarian society, and
there can be no other way. It’s certainly not an
approach where cities eat up the countryside. In the Maoist case in revisionist ways, it’s directly the opposite. It’s about the countryside
encircling the cities in a very kind of clear
bottom up kind of reversal of what the Soviets had
to offer in some ways. In Nehru’s India, in some
ways, the Gandhian idea of the village in the
anti colonial movement is retained as a kind
of socioeconomic bulwark after the end of a kind of
colonial landlord nexus. And, what this means is there’s a sense that the new villages
are meant to be the sites of rural development. This is also a site of state intervention to undo some of the ills of colonialism. It’s not to convert peasants
into workers very clearly. And, you have something similar attempted but in a very specific
way in Nyerere’s Tanzania where the ujamaa schemes
the kind of villegization programs, kind to top
down kind of pan tribal, pan ethnic villages are
seen as kind of microcosms of the nation as a kind
of large family in itself. So this rural is, in some way, the site of a kind of post colonial
utopia, of socialist reform, and that’s where the
change is going to happen. It’s not just that this is a romantic idea of the village of old. This is the village of the
future that has to be made. It’s a kind of, as I said,
microcosm of the socialist modernity. Okay so, I’m calling
this rural modernities. I’m using the plural because I think there are three different paths. I don’t think they’re the same. All of them do emphasize
the rural and the village as sites of social,
political, and economic transformation. Comparatively speaking, the
urban or the industrial sector is relatively under theorized,
and that’s a deliberate attempt in the way in
which economic planning is particularly carried out
in the early post colonial decades. Okay so, one way of thinking about this is whether this is a kind of middle way between the Soviet and
the American options. It avoids American style
capital intensive agriculture. Obviously in India and China
it’s not particularly feasible where there are large population groups. That’s not an option. Thought it’s important to
remember that for Stalin it was. In some ways, collectivization was a way of bringing in machines to do large scale agriculture. That’s not the case in India and China. And, it also avoids
collectivization, proletarianization along the Soviet model despite the fact that the Soviet Union continued
in the ’50s in particular to be very deeply interested
in these countries. Okay so, there’s a question
about whether there is a kind of rural modernity
being a kind of alternative development model, but also a certain kind of alternative model
of state intervention. Okay now, what happened
from the ’60s onwards and all of these countries
continuing to the mid ’70s is that, to use a Maoist
term, contradictions started to appear in the
way the ruling ideologies were carried out. In China, we see with
the Great Leap Forward as well as with the Cultural Revolution various ways in which the
state or the revolution is eating up its own children. You have agents turning victims. You actually have bottom
up accounts now of famine, of ways in which those who did
enthusiastically participate in the revolution actually
turning into its most horrific victims. In India, the model development village doesn’t actually lead to
an alternative modernity that could be counted off as successful. It leads to an exacerbation in many ways of the problems that already existed and economic stagnation that existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And of course, ujamaa really
collapses by the mid ’70s or late ’70s partly because
of coordination failures, partly because of resistance by peasants, and partly because perhaps
this kind of state, top down model was simply impractical. So we have since the
’80s, we have to deal now with post socialism or
post socialist trajectories in all of these three countries. In China we have, do
you think that’s better? We have a party state which
directs state managed markets. And, what you have is a
situation in which the socialist state remains, I think
there’s a kind of synergy with what Harry is going
to say, the socialist state remains, the village
remains as the main site of reform and the markets
are really between the state and rural society. It’s very, very centralized
and coordinated. In India, where you had
a democratic socialism or democracy combined
with socialism, you have this balancing of business and pro poor primarily rural interests. There is a way in which
the state again intervenes in the villages as the
main site of reform, but it balances it with
pro business or pro market kinds of interventions as well. Democracy ensures there’s
this kind of delicate balance that the state
has to kind of engineer. In the Tanzanian case, what
you have is a similar kind of top down management by the socialist state where the ethnic diversity
as well as the developmental agendas are kind of manged
very carefully in order to ensure that the
applecart isn’t upturned, so to speak, on either account. Okay so, in the 21st
century, the question is are we looking at the end
of these rural modernities involving the socialist
state or are we seeing what people have called a post socialist kind of legacy or
continuation in some ways? So we’re dealing ultimately
still with primarily rural, not necessarily agricultural
because the non farm sector is growing in all of
these kinds of societies. We find that the state apparatus is more deeply embedded than
ever in rural economy and society in all three countries. We do however now see that cities are increasingly parasitic on rural labor and of course commodities,
farm and non farm commodities. We also find that villages, in some ways, if you think of migrants as
a kind of classic example, but also food crops. Villages are subsidizing
a kind of state directed or statist capitalism
that’s emerging today which obviously wasn’t
first seen in the 1950s. So what I want to suggest
here is that we have varying ideas of
postcolonial nation-building that converge around the villages as sites of socialist organization. But, as everyday micro
practices on the ground, contradicted the kind of grand ideologies of nation-building. Villages stayed vital, but
increasing they have become these subterranean reservoirs
of people and things that are increasingly
lacking in market value when the market is actually becoming the only game in town. So there, thank you. (audience clapping) – The impact in the Indian Ocean world. I’m trying to speak about
the ways in which the Asian countries, Asian ideas,
Asian political movements have shaped African ideas
and African practices of liberation And so, in many ways,
I will suggest to you, sorry, that socialism
and post socialism are perhaps most usually thought
of as political technologies. So rather than focusing so
much on economic management or economic ideas, it is political forms of organization that matter the most in today’s Africa but have
also mattered the most for the last 50 years. Now I want to start off with
the period of independence. So most African countries,
about a quarter of African countries become independent in 1960. And of course, 1960 is the
height of the Cold War. It’s a particularly difficult time to be born as an independent
state into this world. And, right at independence
there’s already this question that many Africans, particularly
leftist, pan Africanist Africans pose which is
how will we survive? How can we ensure that
there is no comeback of colonialism by the
former European powers or by other states in
the international system? African states are extremely aware, and African elites are extremely
aware that their boarders are largely arbitrary, that in many cases, independence was a bequest
by the colonial power rather than something
that had been fought for, for example like in the case of India by and Indian National
Congress for decades or even for a century. And, so this extreme
sense of vulnerability indicated here by this
quote by Kwame Nkrumah, one of the leading pan
Africanist thinkers of the time, in which he speaks about the
necessity for African unity to undo these colonial
powers to come together. As he says, African unity is
above all a political kingdom which can only be gained
by political means. Which means that it’s
therefore now that we are independent, we
allow the same conditions that existed in the colonial
days, all the resentment which overthrew colonialism
will be mobilized against us. For him, this is the central challenge. And, for people that think like Nkrumah, there must be alliances that are built. There must be connections
in Africa as well as outside Africa that
are absolutely necessary to safeguard independence. People like Nkrumah and
others would very often put up displays like this, illustrations
to their fundamental problem. These are Africa’s railroads. The striking thing
about Africa’s railroads is how extroverted they are of course, how much they are meant
to serve external purposes and external paymasters, rather
than Africans themselves. Nkrumah’s solution to this
is not gradual economic integration. It is not some kind of
pragmatism in which we give independence a try and
we see what happens. What Nkrumah says and many people like him who are united in a group of elites called the Casa Blanca group is we
must fundamentally change the way we relate to the outside world, and therefore fundamentally
change the way we think of ourselves. Now these ideas are rather unpopular amongst most African elites. Most African founding
fathers who come to power are quite keen to preserve sovereignty but believe that fundamentally
the best route to do so is to try to give it a shot to stay within the boundaries of
the country that is created and not to open Pandora’s Box by trying to redraw these boundaries
or by somehow leaping to united states of Africa
presumably headed by Nkrumah which many of them think
is a very dangerous and potentially socialist gamble. There are those African heads of states, a minority as I said,
who are pan Africanist and who continue to lobby and to advocate for a very different view of the continent even after the creation
of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 which entrenches the postcolonial status quo. And, the most important
allies that they find for this different vision of Africa, this coming together and
this redrawing of the global political economy is in Asia. There is of course
already in 1955 the famous Bandung Summit, the
famous Bandung Conference in which there is this joint call for self determination and
the freedom of all people. And, there’s even some early
precursors of the language that Nkrumah and others will use. None of us is free until
all of us are free, and this idea that
liberation is not individual, but liberation has to be collective. It has to be owned by all of
us, and if it doesn’t happen, the price has to be paid by all of us. And, so it’s at this moment
in time as these links are forged between elites
around the Indian Ocean as well as particularly in East Africa, Nkrumah is a bit of an
exception, but particularly in East Africa, there’s a whole range of intellectuals and of
leaders who are inspired by this Afro-Asian idea of solidarity, of working together,
and finding a third way in international relations. And, this point of the
third way is very important because very often in
histories of the Cold War, African and Asian states are measured, by a degree, to which they
fit or not the categories of the Cold War. And, very often Bandung is represented as some kind of rejection,
some kind of middle finger that is raised at both the Soviet Union and at Washington DC but that
has very little substance of its own. What I try to do in this
paper and my broader work is to show what that
substance is and to highlight the political imaginaries
that were produced in African and in Asia that
differed quite radically from what both Moscow and
Washington were proposing. Now the key thinker in a lot of this and one of the key practitioners
is this man over here, Julius Nyerere, the Mwalimu of Tanzania, already mentioned by Uday
in the last presentation, who was in many ways a
rather unlikely leader of this pan Africanist camp
and these pan Africanist ideas of importing Asian technologies
to strengthen the degree of sovereignty and autonomy
that Africans could enjoy. Tanzania was geopolitically
an irrelevant country. It had no huge amount of resources. It had not been particularly important under colonial times. It was not on any kind of
strategic battlefronts. It did not possess any
major ports by this time that were crucial to global trade. But, Nyrerere flipped
this logic on its head and said because Tanzania
is not a frontline state in the Cold War, because it doesn’t matter all that much to the United States and the Soviet Union
that’s exactly the reason for why we are able to
experiment in this country in ways that we cannot
experiment in other parts of the continent. Nyerere says this being
very conscious of the fact that a couple of years
after the independence of Tanganyika later Tanzania,
something takes place that is called the Congo Crisis. The Congo Crisis is the first
major geopolitical crisis of the Cold War in Sub-Sahara Africa. And crucially, it doesn’t
just pit the United States against the Soviet Union. Much more importantly, it
pits different African states against each other. There’s a camp of African
actors who see themselves as conservative, status quo oriented, who are determined to keep
out pan Africanist influences from the heart of the continent. But, there are also those
like Nyerere and Nkrumah who see in the Congo Crisis a real test of the extent to which African countries can direct their own trajectory, and the extent to which
they can protect themselves and oppose what they see
as the looming threat of neocolonialism. That is to say not Africans,
sorry, not Westerners or Russians who are
taking control of African riches and African
territories, but Africans who very willingly just
like in the slave trade act as auxiliaries, as native informants to outside powers and are
quite literally willing to sell their people over the counter. The arch symbol of this of course for them is Mobutu Sese Seko the man
who will win the Congo Crisis, will emerge as the head of
state of Zaire and Congo for 32 long years, and who will be a lifelong foe of Julius Nyerere. Now Julius Nyerere in
his battle against Mobutu and in his battle against what he sees as neocolonial reactionary
regimes that are all across Africa and
that are isolating people like himself, he finds the solution to reenergize that struggle
after defeating Congo in China. This is a photo of one of many meetings between the Mwalimu and
the Chairman Mao Tse-tung a remarkable relationship
between these two men who were very, very different
in terms of their biographies but who found a lot to
like in one another. And, the single most important thing that Nyerere took, I
would argue, from China is not so much the military
and financial assistance he got though yes her
received some of that, it was not even necessarily the ideas of agriculture modernization
or the barefoot doctors that were so prominently
features in Tanzania, but it was above all
two key political ideas that he needed for his
pan Africanist project. The first key idea is the idea
of the People’s Liberation Army, or transferred to Tanzania, the idea of the People’s Defense Force. And, the belief here is
that in Nyerere’s mind that the most dangerous
bequest of the colonial powers to African states was colonial armies. Colonial armies were almost
all ethnically or regionally stratified. And, from that sense,
Nyerere who’s trying to build a Tanzanian nation was very, very worried that this would be the supreme tool through which Europeans would continue to manipulate African politics. The reason Nyerere said why Africa sees so many coups is because of these armies and because of the way
these armies have been built by the colonial powers. Instead, what we need
is a Chinese style army, a People’s Liberation
Army that is, above all, politically conscious that
knows what it’s doing. And, so Nyerere begins to
build, after a mutiny in 1964 in Tanzania, begins to build
a People’s Defense Force in which all senior officers
are sent to university to read for development studies. One of the key people
teaching on this course is Walter Rodney, the famous intellectual on how Europe underdeveloped Africa, and there is this idea in that you give a political formation to you army officers which will make them
fundamentally different. Similarly, all army
officers become the heads of the single party, the
TANU Party of Nyerere in their respective districts. The army is seen by
Nyerere as what he calls a developmental militia. It has to be involved
in economic activity, in rural activities in order to strengthen its legitimacy in order to make sure it is in touch with the
grievances of ordinary Africans not the concerns of European elites back in Paris, London,
Brussels, or anywhere else. Now this idea of the
People’s Defense Force or the People’s Liberation
Army is not just present in Tanzania, Nyerere also
exports it around the continent. Nyerere invites liberation
fighters and liberation leaders from across Africa, the heads of states of Zimbabwe, of Namibia,
of Congo, of Uganda, of Mozambique, of South
Africa, all of them studied in Darusalam side by
side with these officers of the Tanzanian People’s
Defense Forces inculcating this idea of a liberation struggle that is politically aware,
that is politically conscious and at all times pan Africanist. Now crucially, and this is the other idea that he takes from Mao is
People’s Defense Forces have to be controlled by the party. People’s Defense Forces
are not loyal to the states or to the country, they are
first and foremost loyal to the party. This is something that remains the case in all communist countries
including in China itself. The People’s Liberation
Army is not China’s army. It is the army of the
Chinese Communist Party first and foremost. And so similarly, you
know Nyerere send key TANU party officials as political
commissars to be integrated into the army to make sure that the army if their education should falter,
and their daily experience is not enough that they
stay politically on course. Now those two key political technologies is something that Nyerere uses, as I said, to try to change how
Africa works as a whole. Nyerere is at the heart, he
forms part of a regional hub that exports revolution across
Eastern and Southern Africa in particular. And, the states fall as
if they were dominoes before Nyerere. In 1979, Zimbabwe is
liberated, in 1986 Uganda, in 1991, 1993, Ethiopia,
Eritrea, in 1994 Rawanda, and in 1997 from Nyerere’s perspective the crowning achievement
when Laurent-Desire Kabila who was a protege of
Julius Nyerere marches on Kinshasa and, after 32 years, kicks out the most hated symbol of
neocolonialism in Africa, Mobutu Sese Seko. This is supposed to be a
kind of end of history moment from the perspective
of the pan Africanists. There are now pan Africanist regimes from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. This idea of regional
polarization which has divided Africa since
independence is supposed to end. Now here we, again, finally
come to what Nyerere didn’t foresee, or what he
did foresee but didn’t see play out in practice,
it is the very comrades, the very pan Africanists who
had all this revolutionary training and all these promises
would turn on themselves. Within 15 months of
this photo being taken, this is taken right before
the liberation of Kinshasa in May 1997, within 15 months
of this incredible moment, three wars of brothers
will start to erupt. Three wars of brothers
that pit liberation regimes inspired directly or indirectly by leftist and pan Afrianist thinking
against each other. The first one is that one
between Ethiopia and Eritrea who go to war with each other in May 1998. The second one is Africa’s Great War, the war that claims more
than 5,000,000 people, the worst war in African
history and the worst war since the end of the second World War which pits this man over
here Laurent-Desire Kabila against the very people who supported him in coming to power from Uganda and Rawanda in particular. And, then finally in 1999
and 2000, Uganda and Rwanda fall out and go to war with each other. And, the tragedy, at
least from the perspective of people like Nyerere,
is that this is the end of the liberation regimes. After this date, no
more liberation regimes come to power anywhere in Africa. What was supposed to be their
highpoint actually turns out to be their lowest point
at they turn on each other in these devastating wars. Now that doesn’t mean, this
is a map of this regional polarization. Now that doesn’t meant that
socialism or these links with Asia and these Asian
idea no longer matter today. In many ways, they
continue to matter hugely but above all domestically. So whereas, in the
beginning, these Asian ideas were particularly important
for Africa’s international relations, both Africa with the world as well as African states with each other, today they mostly matter
in what I have termed illiberal state-building. The very ways in which
countries like Tanzania or Uganda, or Rwanda, or
Ethiopia, or Zimbabwe, or Eritrea go about reordering
their political economy and their very society. And, you see here that ideas
of a Chinese, a Korean, a Singaporean developmental
state led by a strong Leninist style party
organized around the principle of democratic centralism. That is to say all
discussion of meaning happens within the party. Ultimately, there is a
decision from the top, and the moment the
general secretary has made his decision, everybody
must be fiercely loyal to that decision. This remains the overall guiding principle in a place like China. It remains the overall guiding
principle in Singapore. It is still the overriding principle in all of these illiberal
state-builders in Africa. Now we see too that Asian states continue to encourage this. There is an incredible
amount of party to party cooperation, not state to
state but party to party cooperation between the
Chinese Communist Party and, for example, between
the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic
Front, or the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice in Eritrea, or the Rwandan Patriotic Front in Rwanda, or even the African National
Congress in South Africa. One of the reasons why I
think why Western actors are often so disappointed
with South Africa which is not nearly as
liberal enough as they think is because they fail to
see this very important socialist inheritance
and these continuing ties between the Chinese
Communist Party and the ANC in the last couple of decades. You see thing finally too in their ideas of modernity. These are just some
photos or illustrations from Rwanda which self styles itself as the Singapore of Africa. This idea that somehow it
can move out of its history of genocide as you can see there. From the fastest genocide
to the Singapore of Africa. This is a book written by
the former high commissioner to London of Rwanda and now the governor of its central bank. You also see some images
there of what the skyline of Kigali is supposed to look like. Not even the 21st century
but the 22nd century inspired by Asia ideas
of modernity and skyline. And very simply, I don’t
know if you can quite read the fine print there,
but Rwanda has a Rwanda Development Board entirely
modeled on both the Korean and Singaporean equivalents
which show this kind of McKinsey style bullet point approach aims to build and Asian
style developmental state under the control of the
People’s Liberation Army and of the party to usher in what it sees as a very different type of modernity, an illiberal modernity
about which it makes very little secret. It’s very clear that this
is not a liberal democracy in the making. As I hope that all of these
things suggest to you, you know the Indian
Ocean is not just a realm to be studied historically
where we go back 1,000 years to discuss globalization before globalization in which we indulge in a bizarre mixture of
denunciation and nostalgia about the British Empire,
but that it still matters incredibly today directly
to the high politics and the key stakes of political economy, and it is decisively shaped
and will continue to shape African ideas and practices of liberation. (audience clapping) But, enough of that for
now, we’ll now open it up to questions and answers. We have about 20, 25 minutes for that. So I’ll take a couple
of questions at a time ’cause I see there’s quite
a bit of an interest. And, please state who you are,
and what your question is. Please sir. (audience member muttering) – [Audience Member] I
have a question to ask with emphasis to the
Russian sort of account. (muttering) 1965, and to the last
half of things going on (muttering) So any tips on that. The other thing is about talking about Marx and the kind
of bent on the towns on the villages, but I
think that is something it was Said kind of propagated. And, I think you made
the mention that things are changing now with
the publication of books by a guy called Kevin Anderson that is Marx from the Margins. The other thing, I think
I’ll use the opportunity here on this session to kind
of prepare for my paper. Because in my paper, I’m giving
the dark side of the Moon that is Nyerere. (laughing) – Very quick questions to everybody. First of all to Rudy,
thank you very much all. You talked about clan patronage networks and traditional forms
of societal organization for resistance. I wonder in light of reading I.M. Lewis Pastoral Democracy and the segmentation whether we are in position to use clan as a universal category
under which people organize for change. Another one, people outside of the clan of Somal, how about people who
are Somalis at the periphery of clan patronage such as the Bantus as describes in Cathy Besteman’s
work on Unraveling Somalia. So this is a very quick question. Today I enjoyed the cross
cultural comparisons very much for the failure of coordination for the Tanzanian ujamaa,
Nyerere went on the record to apportion blame on foreign aid that suffocated local homegrown energies for change and independence. But, at the same time, I have a feeling that I am going to be of the same mind as Abdullah Ibrahim later on
on Nyerere especially as a pawn in Cold War politics and
his annexation of Zanzibar islands with Tanganyika
and the local responses to his illiberal state
that he helped foment. Collectivization I think
is something that runs throughout your presentations, and Bahru just two quick questions
about collectivization as imagined by Haile Mariam, by Mengistu and the manufacturing of famine
on the Oromo populations. We have our own Johar here,
I got used to putting her on the stump, so please
forgive me, wrote a beautiful essay on the Queen of Sheeba as inscribed in Yemeni and Ethiopian mythologies. So I hope she bails me out on this to talk about who claims the body of Bilkis or the Queen of Sheeba. (laughing) – Thank you Professor Robashar
for those pointed questions. Why don’t we work our way. The best notion is
traditional from the right to the extreme left. – From the right to the left, yeah. (laughing) – We’ll start with the conservative Rudy. – Very conservative. (laughing) About your comments first. First, point of interest is always. The one we look last is the
foreign ministry archive whole heartedly recommend
it, but I would suggest you a pretty considerate amount
of time and be persistent because people there play with your mind. That’s what they do. But, in the ’60s, you can
have a considerable amount of low level reporting
which is very instructive of how the situation was seen
from those representatives. Basically, the question is when you read for example the course of this reporting for a decade, you can see by triangulating if you go to other
archives in Eastern Europe where you have more
open access, you can see some of those reports
being either emulated because you can see copy
and paste literally, or some of them could be find as copies. If you find a copy of
a document that comes from the embassies let’s say in Berlin or God forbid in Bucharest, that means something has happened. And that actually follows up on this, what you cannot find in
foreign ministry in Moscow, you can find in party
archives or security service archives in Czech Republic and Warsaw. – [Audience Member] Thank you. – You’re welcome. – As for your Lewis
and Catherine Besteman, they held quite a heated
exchange about each other for the way the perceived the Somali. Because Somalia is such a small case, but in generally it provoked
such a heated amount of heated exchange among most academics. And basically, the clan topic was a taboo in modern day speaking of
the perspective of the ’60s of Mogadishu. The clan topic, even
I discovered in London in Manchester I think it
was, I spoke with a guy, and I approached him
very hot headed and said what clan are you based of? And, he said no clans. It was just foolish of me. Basically it was a topic
which could prevail amongst like minded people,
but when they are faced with people who they
don’t know, it becomes a sort of a taboo issue, a gray area. As for Bantu which you
mentioned, they were inferior, and we know the sense of
hierarchy among the Somalis is very strong in the way
of seeing where you belong. Everyone had its place. Everyone had its grazing space literally. You could get your cattle
as far as your land goes. Bantu was a different category. It had no land. It was given. I was, in the ’60s, I was trying to build especially under Russian
tutelage some sort of farming in there, but it failed
miserably because the Somalis weren’t interested in participating. Why should we do this? The mantra here is we ware
happy amongst each other. We are not happy mixing
with our superiors, and we certainly despise mixing
with those inferior to us. And, when, for example,
not only with Russians but even the Czechoslovak
envoys had similar problems going into the regions. They knew actually the situations
they were going to face was challenging, and they
were trying to find ways to be, did this work back
then, politically correct. So in a way, they didn’t
understand how it worked. The short marriage of
inconvenience was very short lived. It was short lived for a reason. – Thank you about this
question because I think there’s a lot of research
since the ’80s on late Marx. Partly also translations
becoming available some of the primary
sources becoming available. And, I think my own
sense is that he turned to the village as part
of trying to understand his own disillusionment
over 1871 in Paris. So he started reading about
the ancient Germanic village, about the Russian Mir
when the Russian populace, the Narodniki. But, he was also particularly interested, well, the first Regis Professor
of Anthropology Henry Main who was also Governor General to India who wrote Village
Communities in East and West. And, he was particularly
interested in these sorts of people, also Spencer
and so on in Britain who were thinking of some
kind of village community historical and contemporary
but also in a kind of ethnographic and anthropological way to understand what is really going on beyond what he had earlier understood as primitive communism which is something in the distant past. So to understand what is the village and in what way can it possibly
be an alternative to Paris 1871. And, one reason for this why
he was particularly interested in Henry Main in India,
village life in India is because Marx thought, two
years before the 1857 revolt in India, Marx thought
that railways are going to completely transform
India and industrialize it. Well two years after that,
a primarily rural revolt almost got rid of the British. So he was empirically
wrong on many accounts including his own investment
in terms of very Parisian specific you know kind of movement. So I think there was as much
a kind of autobiographical reason for reflecting on
his own failure to theorize. But, also I think he felt
that the Russian populace could be successful. And, Russia was very
different from Western Europe. So maybe there is the
question of a different path to modernity, right? You know I completely agree that there is a dark side to figures like Nyerere. I think it’s very clear
for Mao and Nehru as well. I don’t think. But, I think in that sense,
I would say like you know for me that the main
takeaway point from thinking about these figures is that
they’re ultimately tragic figures. There was a lot of promise
and hope that they brought in with them. The ’50s are a decade
of hope in that sense. But, by the ’60s that hope is dashed partly because of the actions
of these people themselves. – Yeah, just on that note on the question of Nyerere and foreign aid. I think one of the great
paradoxes of nation-building and certainly developmental
aspects of Nyerere was indeed that he denounced
of course extroversion in all the ways in which
different African states would take European money and thought and other forms for material resources in which case of course Tanzania itself as a share of per capita
GDP took almost more aid than almost any other
Sub-Saharan African country be it primarily from the
Scandinavian countries but nevertheless. It was the darling of Oxfam. And, so it was a great irony
when Nyerere perhaps said at certain points that it was the fault of Western NGOs, well
he was of course the one who invited them in and
allowed them to operate. So there is indeed a self serving aspect as there was to of course
to his pan Africanism. But, I think that we must be very careful with some of the more
cynical denunciations because it very often
leads to the dismissal of the political imaginary. And, then ultimately
Africans don’t actually do ideology and don’t actually do politics, all they do is neo patrimonial management. And, I think that that’s
where I’m very, very cautious and careful and would actually play up that ultimately for him ideology
was highly consequential and most of the time, not
always, but most of the time, he would act in accordance
with rightly or wrongly what he saw as those ideological precepts. Coming to Hamid’s question. I think that the demise
of the left by the left. It’s indeed a great theme. It’s a great theme of
course of the period Bahru was particularly focusing on
the late ’60s, early ’70s, Sudan, Ethiopia, the
Middle East, et cetera. It’s also a theme as I show that reemerges 25 years later when you’ve
had this first generation indeed of military regimes
and socialist regimes, and then you get the
second one of so called neo liberation movements
who say they’re going to do it so differently. They’ve learned all the
lessons of their predecessors, and then they make
exactly the same mistake, exactly the same kind of intolerance towards slightly
different interpretations. I mean the history of pan Africanism, of Leninism and the
intersection between both in the case of Africa is riddled with personal contradictions. Nyerere and Nkrumah did not have a good personal relationship. Nyerere and Mandela clashed several times when Mandela in 1962 went to see him before he was arrested
and went to Robin Island. Nkrumah didn’t get on particularly
well with the Algerians. Mandela did but then only
for a certain period of time. Perhaps that was his good
fortune that he only saw a little bit of them rather than a lot. And of course, the same story for Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Uganda and Rwanda, even Nyerere’s relationship
with all of them. At the end of his life,
he was very full of praise for Ethiopia and Eritrea in particular perhaps because he knew them least well. Of all the liberation movements, the ones in Southern African and Central Africa to which he was a lot personally
and culturally closer, he denounced. So I think indeed you’re looking here at quite a deep pathology of the left perhaps globally but
particularly in the context of Africa which meant
that for all their claims that it is actually
neocolonialism that is tearing Africa apart. What about you know leftist intransigence and leftist disagreement
that is actually the single biggest impediment to liberation. So I think you’re absolutely right. It’s a very deep seeded problem. Even to this day, it’s one that continues. – Okay, responding to Hamid’s question. I think first of all, the timeline. In the case of the Sudan,
you may say the late ’60s, but in the case of Ethiopia,
the ascendancy of the left is largely a matter of
the first off of the ’70s, and the demise starts
from the mid ’70s onwards. So I think we have to be very
clear about the timeline. Essentially, what brought
about, I think if we have to think about one factor
for the demise of the left, it’s the sectarianism, the split. I mean I lived in the student movement, and there came a time
when they exaggerated their differences to a
degree that it became almost like fundamental
differences on simple issues essentially because it
was a struggle for power. In the student movement, it was seen as a question of
federation, confederation, or something like that, but
essentially there were groups behind who were manipulating
the student movement to further their own political agenda. So the two parties were almost identical, but because of their split,
the Derg which you can call the military left managed to
play one against the other and eventually destroyed
both, first the EPRP, and then the Mason. So by 1977, both of them were finished. So the legacy of that is
ascendancy of ethnonationalist movements because these two
broad based organizations were liquidated, it opened
the ground, it opened the way for the ethnonationalist
movements like the TPLF which is now in control of Ethiopia to gain the upper hand to
eventually topple the Derg in 1991. That’s the major legacy. The Queen of Sheeba, I hope you– – [Johar] Yeah, I have a questions. – You want to ask it now? – [Johar] Yeah, sure. I anticipated my professor of course. What I was interested in
is how you see the figures or like fictional or
cultural or such significant literary figures coming to be appropriated within the socialist, leftist discourses that are emerging within this period in the ’60s and ’70s
especially as in particular with the Base Makeda. It’s been affiliated so
strongly with monarchical, Solomonic, and even as you
say in your previous work dependent, you know the Solomonic dynasty was dependent on this narrative
and on this constructed lineage that they formed,
and even in the Imamate in Yemen you know up till the early ’60s. How do you see that coming into play and being reformulated and reconstructed within the socialist landscape and within this leftist landscape? And, coming to be figures
of national importance as opposed to dynastic significance? – Okay, let me start with
the previous comment. The Queen of Sheba story, I mean as far as the stories are concerned
is a kind of mythology, but it’s a very, very strong mythology. I don’t know how it is in Yemen. I wish somebody could probably make an intervention to tell us the importance of this story on the Yemeni side. On the Ethiopian side,
there is no question on both levels, on the
dynastic level, as I said, because the dynasties ruled
Ethiopia until 1974 claimed to be descendant of Solomon and Sheba. But, also at the popular
level, you know the art, popular art, one of the
most predominant motif of popular traditional
art is the story of course because it’s so, I don’t
know whether you can call it romantic or anything anyway. For some reason, it’s a
kind of national ideology. – [Johar] But, how do you see the appropriation of this as being particularly Ethiopian or
this being particularly Yemeni coming into significance? – I don’t think at all within
the socialist experience I don’t think at all. I mean as fundamental (muttering)
they all do not accept this story of Queen of Sheba. But, that does not mean it’s going away. Even now, you go to Axum,
there are some ruins of a very magnificent palace, and they say who built this? And, they say it’s the
palace of the Queen of Sheba. Of course, there is no
definite historical evidence or archeological evidence,
but this is a strong belief. The guides, they cannot
accept anything else. Maybe somebody could tell
us about the Yemeni side. But, on the Ethiopian side,
it has a very strong popular and dynastic, but in terms of political within the socialist. – [Johar] Because similarly
on the Yemeni side, it’s very much in the popular discourse. Less so dynastic but more in terms of cultural, religious, et cetera. And increasingly, it becomes claimed as Yemeni, you know as this being Yemeni and almost nationalistic as a figure especially later on with
claim of you know Makeda being Ethiopian as
opposed to Arab or Yemeni or Southern Arabian. – We’ll continue this
very particular exchange. I just want to see if
there’s any other questions before the lunch break. Okay, we have two important questions of people who haven’t spoken yet. Said at the back and then Henry. – [Said] Yes, Said Mohammed. I have a question for Rado
and for the 1969 coup d’etat. Was there any involvement
from the former Soviet Union? Because there is a claim
in the KGB that they had been given an advance kind of information, and they quoted it as
a concord, and that one of the FSC was the key
man who they called Carol. So what do you say about
that that if Soviet do it? I have a question also for Bahru for the Said Barre, Mengistu encounter in Yemen, you just
mentioned that Said Barre work it out. But, was there any condition
that he put forward in order to discuss any kind of federalism or co-federalism? And, also when you are
discussing about the history of Ethiopia and you were mentioning Dire Dawa, Jijiga I
wonder that if you were referring in a contemporary Ethiopia that may not be like Dire Dawa and Jijiga and all of those when you
put in Ethiopia context, does that mean you’re
referring to all those similar areas also share the same history? Because when you talking about Dire Dawa and Jijiga could it
be even to call it in Ethiopia when you discusing Axum? That’s a question you should be asking. – Very good Somali question there. (laughing) – [Henry] I wanted to
sort of probe (muttering) raising the question of modernization. I have a question on the economy as well, but let me keep myself to
the idea of modernization where it’s very clear about
the political culture. But, I was wondering if
you could comment something on how some of these leaders
in maybe these parties thought about modernization
and in particular you know like presented
the idea of transforming populations and changed
the population in a way. Because even though they accepted the idea that you didn’t have a
proletariat, they still thought that people had to be,
you know something else needs to be done to them. So perhaps as a way of beginning to think about modernization in that way, obviously not so distinct
from what happened in Western Europe, but what you presented suggested some ideas of
thinking more concretely of what one thinks about
modernity and modernization. I mean the question that
I had on the economy was more in terms of looking
at Graeber’s work on debt because the foundation of
a state begins with a debt. And in this case, because
these are maybe caught between you know in the Cold
War, how does that debt work in these individual states? Like I think Harry you pointed to the some of that at least in your last comments. – All right. Okay so, those are the final two questions Zara and Lupika, and then
we’ll have to wrap it up. – [Zara] Thank you. I really enjoyed all four
of those discussions, but my question is going to be for Uday. First, as a JNU graduate,
I just want to say we’re gonna rise again. So I don’t buy all your melancholy. I wanted to ask if you could reflect a bit now that it is 25 years on, on the (speaking in a foreign language). I mean does this fall into your suitable reordering of the
imagined you know village hinter land? Because I mean I was at JNU
when it came about, right? So it was at that same time
as the neoliberal doors were being opened, they instituted this. And, also the lack of effectiveness of communist, Marxist,
socialist forces to engage deliberate, I mean
intentional, so just what are your thoughts on that? – [Harry] All right. Lupika, the last one. (Lupika muttering) – [Lupika] To what extent do
we see the shifting notions of development responsible
for the political, economic sorts of exchanges
that are happening between Asian and African context. I mean just looking at this slide here, we’re talking about
development more defined as business friendly, market oriented from say rural development. But sometimes, the ideas might be going with each other at the same time. I mean to what extent can we pin it down to the changing ideas
of development itself? – All right once again
from very conservative to very progressive. (audience laughing) – Each time, I become more
and more conservative. I’ll start getting complexes about it. No, the answer is very short. The KGB didn’t have a
hand, an involvement, in Siad’s dealing. They didn’t believe at the time. I went through documents,
of course I didn’t have access to original KGB
documents from the KGB archives. None of us have, none of us will have in the foreseeable future,
but in other participating agencies, agencies what a modern word, almost as conservative,
there was no speak of it. There were discussions of it post factum which relates to me to show
that the security agencies which were not present actually there. They were mostly citing of it report from the embassies. They didn’t have first
the faith in the clients which wasn’t a client
yet because the suspicion was on both sides. First, the relationship
between the Soviet Union and Shermarke government
wasn’t an easy one especially in the last
year when the Soviet Union and Shermarke himself
had a bit of a pickle with regards to debt repayment. How could you then entrust your men in fomenting covert action? It was too risky. It was simply too risky to endanger life. And, the first thing
in a covert action was not to endanger life. And, this is not only the American movies. It was and it had happened
that way during the time. That’s why they picked it up in Hollywood. Don’t endanger your men. And, it was too dangerous. Indeed, we can see
Somalia as an aberration, but it was a dangerous aberration. In my short talk I couldn’t
say some of the feeling of it, the open diplomatic
person on the American side. They felt Mogadishu was
the worst diplomatic post in the whole of the Eastern Africa. First, because they were
watched by the Somalis, and second they were
watched by the Soviets. No, the short answer. – I appreciate the questions
about modernization and what is now called development. But certainly, that was not the term that Mao or Nehru or any of these people would have used because
they would have seen it as a kind of neocolonial
term for various reasons because partly because
Truman’s speech in ’48 really spelt out you know Truman Doctrine and development in that particular idea of American expertise and so on. But, I think in that alternative
they were also not going in for something like the new Soviet man or the new Soviet woman. So there is no real
equivalent in that sense of that kind of citizen
building, citizen formation through schooling, through
other forms of propaganda. In fact, what I would say
is that in China, India, and Tanzania it’s important
to think of certain kinds of cultures of post colonial socialism. And, the Cultural Revolution of course is explicitly cultural in a certain way. And, we now find, I mean there’s a spate in fact in the last few years recent work on the Cultural Revolution
looking at popular participation in it. And, what is very interesting
is why these people are participating in
sometimes very marginal parts especially in South China. And, you see something
very similar in people in India being very
enthusiastic about the abolition of (speaking in a foreign
language) or landlordism. So the old landlords who
were kind of the backbone of the colonial agrarian
economy are kind of, their lands are taken away,
and in some ways given away. In both China and India
you see that the enthusiasm is not followed up by
something which kind of meets expectations. So in Indian the abolition of (speaking in a foreign language) is not met by large scale
land redistribution, land to the tiller movements. And, in some ways, the
two communist states of Kerala and West Bengal
are the only places where there is some kind
of land redistribution. But, that too in most cases, it favors a kind of rural middle class
rather than actually the people at the bottom who are truly landless. So they don’t actually
benefit from the abolition of (speaking in a foreign language). And in the Cultural Revolution, you see that in fact the people
who are also at the bottom of society, they end up
becoming migrant labor in the next generation. So it doesn’t lead to
a new Soviet man, woman kind of situation. So modernization means
you become an appendage in some way to a certain
kind of state-building rather than actually state
investing in you know creating a certain kind of citizen. And, you see even with the ujamaa is that you know ultimately it doesn’t create a national family which
is what ujamaa is supposed to ultimately mean, right? It doesn’t actually produce the kind of social solidarities
mimicking a village kinship, for example, on a national level. It actually perhaps leads
to its very opposite. One of the reasons why it falls apart is because you know people
are fighting with each other. – [Audience Member] Family feuds. – Family feuds. So I think there are
certain kinds of cultures of socialist modernization
in which I think those contradictions
which I mentioned lie, and I think that’s where
there are interesting comparisons to be made. Did I answer your question, Zara? (Zara muttering) Right, okay. All I wanted to say is
that you know the state after liberalization is
also invested in villages, but as I mentioned, it really invested in villages because both
labor and agricultural, non agricultural commodities
come out of the rural. So it’s only interested
now in instrumental sense. It doesn’t want villages to go away because if everyone moves to the city, you have very large slums
and nobody’s going to provide either the labor at
cheap rates or the food that you know 1.3 billion people need. So there is this very
strange kind of management of keeping people in the rural areas who can come now and then in some kind of circular migration. But, they have to kind of
remain betwixt and between the city and the country. But, you don’t want them
to actually you know kind of move permanently. So it’s not a unilinear direction. It’s circular with the
home base being rural. – All right, very briefly, I’ll address Lupika’s question about
the shifting notions of development. I think fundamentally at
least on the perspective of the African illiberal state-builders and the African elite
that I’m talking about, I think above all they
would describe themselves, and I think correctly
as Leninist and Maoist rather than Marxist. That is to say that there is a primacy of the political rather than
a primacy of the economic. Obviously, there is a material basis out of which everything must grow, but the kind of development,
the kind of strategies, instruments you identify follow from the political objectives. The reason why you get this, Rwanda is not neoliberal. If you take Milton
Friedman there, he would probably be abhorred, rightly
so from his perspective. There is indeed an element
of market friendliness of course on the conditions of the party. And ultimately in
Rwanda, and the same goes for Ethiopia or Eritrea or
many of the other places is essentially a People’s Liberation Army with a party that goes alongside it. And, most things happen on
the conditions set by them. I’d rather reverse the sequence
that people mostly say. Okay there’s changed in
global economic conditions and therefore countries
in Africa, or South Asia, or Latin America must
follow and have no choice but to do this. I think actually that
these experience suggest that even states at the very periphery of the international
system because many of them do not matter for global politics incidentally when a crisis
breaks out actually have found greater ability to try to
instrumentalize, channel some of those global forces
to suit their own ends. Now of course, the problem
arises when there’s a fair amount of wishful thinking, and they begin to assume
that what they see as the endpoint is already here. And, that’s exactly the
problem that people face in Rwanda or in Ethiopia or
any of these other states. Bahru. – Okay, two rather pointed questions from our Somali colleague, I presume. The encounter at Aden from
the records that I have, I mean of course this whole idea of this federation
between Ethiopia, Somali, and Yemen could have been
described as harebrained, very unrealistic. But essentially, what Castro was trying to prevent was full scale
war between Ethiopia and Somalia. The logic being that
you are both socialists, so you have to really be in solidarity rather than fighting each other. It didn’t work. According the the records,
essentially at the Aden meeting, Mengistu started to explain the situation, the changes in Ethiopia,
the revolution that has taken place and so on and so forth. But of course, immediately
after that, Siad Barre is supposed to have responded. This guy is no different
than Haile Selassie. They’re the same. And, he said let’s meet on the waterfront. That’s what the records say. So it happened. And, immediately after
that of course Castro decided that he has to
galvanize socialist support for the Mengistu regime. So that’s the record that I have. Whether Dire Dawa or
Jijiga are in Ethiopia (laughing) it depends on what
perspective you are looking. If you look at the geography,
the political geography, they are in Ethiopia. They have been in Ethiopia
since the 19th century. If you look from the Somali
Irredentist point of view, they should not be in Ethiopia. That’s why so many wars
are fought particularly the viscous war in 1977, ’78. Fortunately for the
Irredentists in Somalia, it failed. And, not only did it fail,
it led to the collapse of the Somali state as a whole, the state in which it finds itself. Whereas now of course the Somali religion has become an important component of the Ethiopian federal arrangement. So this is the situation that we are in. – [Harry] All right, well
thank you very much gentlemen.

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