In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police officers in the United States and the global movement for Black lives, there has been a resounding call to re-examine the relationship between society and state, particularly its use of violence. Yet a meaningful conversation is lacking in relation to one aspect of this failing social contract – the innate structural violence of our current global economic system.
A closer look at African-American history provides us an important lead that could help us start this conversation: the life and work of the Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Born to a maid and stoneworker in 1887, Garvey grew up in an impoverished community in rural Jamaica. He first became aware of class and racial prejudice at age 14 when his white childhood friend revealed that he wasn’t allowed to see him anymore and called him a racial expletive.
He later migrated to Kingston, the island nation’s capital, where he became involved in trade unionism and political activism after witnessing the struggles of the labouring class.
Drawn to the anti-colonial thinking he encountered by joining the then National Club of Jamaica, Garvey became an autodidact by nature. His thirst for knowledge would lead him to journey across Central America and live in London from 1912 to 1914 in a quest to understand the global Black condition.
He observed parallels between the unfair treatment of African peoples and the discrimination against the Irish in the United Kingdom and devoted his life to improving the economic conditions of Black people.
In 1914, he founded the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), with the aim of fostering international unity among peoples of African origin on the premise of economic self-sufficiency.
Garvey was a pioneer who epitomized both the enterprising spirit and collective self-determination of African people across the world. The aspirations of his movement, alongside the lessons from its failures and successes, frame an important discussion around the nature of systemic outcomes.
“The Negro is perishing because he has no economic system,” he famously expressed in his 1937 collection of twenty-two philosophical lessons, which he called the “Course of African Philosophy”.
In this same work, Garvey demonstrates that he understood perfectly well the necessity of designing an economic system that serves the needs of African people globally.
Further along, he observed the consequences of systemic economic exclusion and its propensity to reproduce the preconditions that ensure the continuation of systemic deprivation – a cycle he deemed impossible to break without the removal of poverty. In Garvey’s opinion, nationalism hinged on individual advancement alone becomes fundamentally corrupt and unsustainable.
By advocating that “wealth is power, wealth is justice, wealth is real human rights”, he sought to spur community development by promoting collective decision-making and profit-sharing model that advances the interests of Black people in America and beyond.
In Garvey’s 1921 recorded UNIA speech, “Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association”, he asserted the idea that Black communities needed to develop an ideology and an economic modus operandi that would lead to their economic development.
He was not speaking of merely duplicating capitalistic ideas, but of the creation of an innovative economic “African commonwealth” where African groups could maximize their collective interests and be recognized as equals.
Political and social objectives were secondary to this entrepreneurial mission, as his philosophical works later affirmed that economic achievement is the primary determining factor of societal power dynamics.
Garvey’s teachings invoke a deep reflection – namely, in order to deconstruct the inner workings of an economic system, we ought to first determine what it aims to accomplish.
First-principles reasoning around this matter necessarily urges us to question what the primary function of an economy is, and who or what it serves? The word “economy” itself can be traced back to the Greek word oikonomos, meaning “household manager”. In other words, its etymology implies the deliberate management of available resources so that our common household (i.e., people and the planet) can not only survive, but prosper.
Economics is our value system codified as equations that determine how much value we assign one thing relative to another. Accordingly, this determines what we are incentivized to do and what we confer power to.
If an economy seeks to transform society, it is imperative that we infuse our values into it so that it accounts for our well-being. How a community, country, or region chooses to measure its economic well-being shapes how priorities are set and how resources are allocated.
We should then agree that at a bare minimum, the components that form an economy’s genetic composition ought to positively encourage human and planetary well-being.
The embedded growth obligation of our present-day market economy generates an untenable paradox: it permeates and commodifies everything by incessantly pursuing profit and constant growth. It requires marketing and advertising to spawn mass zombification in favour of never-ending debt and cyclical consumption. It exterminates economic efficiency and generates copious amounts of waste through planned obsolescence and suboptimal design.
It suppresses the efficiencies and productivity of collaboration by treating ideas and information as proprietary (i.e. intellectual property), resulting in waste through unnecessary intellectual repetition.
It preserves a general condition of scarcity and short-term gains premised entirely upon the need for real or assumed deficiency. It deliberately withholds social efficiency by poorly harnessing accelerating technological progress and automation, not for the benefit of liberating human beings from drudgery and scarcity, but rather, to drive further economic insecurity through technological unemployment and meaningless jobs.
Quite predictably, all of the above-mentioned circumstances have resulted in a noxious state of planetary imbalance that is fuelling socioeconomic inequality, poverty, exploitation, mental health issues, antisocial behaviours, habitat destruction, pollution, ecocide, and biodiversity loss, among other negative externalities.
The market system of economics is made to allocate capital to the most profitable endeavours, not the ones that are most socially beneficial. This is most evident across the innumerable social institutions, banking establishments, political groups, media organisations, scientific bodies, health authorities, military, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, etc., that have either been seized or compromised by market actors seeking asymmetric advantage.
The inefficiencies created by humans vying for positions of power in this losing game pose an existential threat. Market capitalism has outlived its evolutionary purpose and has degenerated into malignant cancer.
An economy that is not intrinsically linked to human and environmental needs, while powered by chronic debt and consumerism, is not an economy at all. If anything, it is patently anti-economic.
In Garvey’s time and today, what we have commonly understood to be the economy is, in effect, a fraudulent paradigm masquerading as an axiom of economic value. And Western civilisation has constructed and disseminated a monumental edifice of theory to assert its dominance based on this destructive model of market capitalism.
The basis of this thinking must move African economic development away from a Western-inspired exploitative ethos to an African-inspired collaborative ethos.
Followers of Garvey’s teachings must, therefore, prioritise dismantling the neoliberal political paradigm at the center of their economic organising programme for African liberation. They must strive to transcend the market’s crude and reductionist “supply, demand, and price” dynamics.
Properly embracing the tools of modern technological capacity provides a solution to better interweave, measure, and account for the humanitarian values we deem socially desirable in a new economic system.
These elements require deep cooperation in order to outcompete the very concept of the competition itself, by creating a prosocial environment where the benefits of generosity, sharing and transparency must outweigh the benefits of non-cooperation at all times – while simultaneously rendering it antifragile in order to endure any exogenous sabotaging forces on this new system.
Rethinking economic development and pan-African solidarity in new terms will require exceptional leadership and tremendous courage. Only by ending economic mismanagement can true efficiency and abundance flourish.
The people who are best positioned to transform the world’s destructive systems and structures into something more humane and secure are particularly those who have been most betrayed by the existing systems.
Those who are in the greatest danger of perpetuating old system patterns are the ones who have most profited from them.
From the perspective of historical significance, Garvey proved to be the spark that reignited African dignity through the collective endeavor. While he was never afforded the opportunity to fully realise his entrepreneurial aspirations, he provided a blueprint for developing collective entrepreneurial ventures.
His legacy is that of a pragmatic introduction to the promise of pan-African principles and courage – a legacy that must now be carried forward by young innovators across the African continent and her global diaspora.
Now more than ever, humanity needs a century driven by exemplary pan-African leadership that is not fearful of transforming societies and communities into a superorganism of cooperation. All power is weak unless united, let us not shy away from our own divine potential – for no one will save us but us.
Rwanda Police Chief Briefs 240 Officers Ahead Of S. Sudan Deployment
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, on Tuesday, March 9, briefed 240 police officers set to be deployed for peacekeeping duties under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The pre-deployment briefing of the hybrid Formed Police Unit-One (FPU-1) contingent was held at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
The contingent commanded by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Faustin Kalimba, will replaced the same number in Malakal, Upper Nile State where they will be largely charged with protection of civilians in internally displaced camps, UN personnel, security of key installations and humanitarian assistance, among others.
IGP Munyuza urged the officers to use their experience and the high level of training acquired to execute their peacekeeping mandate effectively.
He further reminded them that they will work with other peacekeepers from different countries and they will have to exercise respect of diversity.
“Learning will be continuous throughout your tour-of-duty, use your experience to build on what your predecessors achieved, cooperative with other peacekeepers in the mission area and respect the people under your protection as well as their culture,” IGP Munyuza emphasized.
He urged them to keep up the good conduct and protect the image set by previous contingents adding that ” you are representing your country, be at the best of your performance.”
“Your country and Rwanda National Police in particular, have full trust in you, resilience and sacrifice are key. Remember, your conduct and professionalism will depict the image and values of Rwandans, ensure your performance is exceptionally good and maintain the same spirit to the end of your mission,” said IGP Munyuza.
The Police Chief reminded them that Rwandan peacekeepers are defined by their professionalism, discipline, teamwork, integrity, values and alertness, and urged them to keep the momentum to “maintain and protect the image and reputation.”
He emphasized that respecting each other and their superiors in particular, discipline, hard work, teamwork, dignity and respect for diversity are strong guiding values and principles which will help them towards mission excellence.
IGP Munyuza appealed to the officers to maintain the spirit of supporting others and to engage in human security activities with the local people they are mandated to serve.
‘’Participating in human security activities is our culture as Rwandans, you should not only conduct peacekeeping duties just to maintain peace and security. It goes beyond that as our tradition to work towards the overall wellbeing of the people,” IGP Munyuza said.
As the wolrd is still faced with the pandemic of COVID-19, the Police Chief reminded them to always observe all health guidelines including wearing face masks, avoiding shaking hands, washing hands and practicing social distancing, among others.
This will be the sixth rotation of FPU-1 hybrid since the first one was deployed in South Sudan in 2015.
It is also one of the three Rwandan FPU contingents currently deployed in South Sudan.
Currently, RNP maintains over 1000 police peacekeepers in various UN missions, including six contingents serving in UNMISS and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Chinese Companies Win Tender to Construct Railway From Mwanza to Isaka
The Standard Gauge Railway from Mwanza to Isaka in neighbouring Tanzania will be constructed by two Chinese Companies that have won a lucrative tender for this job.
Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi Tanzania’s foreign minister said on Thursday during a presser on the eve of the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit to Tanzania.
The Mwanza-Isaka railway stretch will cover a distance of 341 kilometres and construction is estimated to cost TShs3 trillion will be handled by China Civil Engineering Construction (CCEC) and China Railway Construction Company (CRCC).
The Tanzanian government through the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) is constructing a 2,561Km SGR network that links Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Kigoma, Katavi and neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi Uganda and DRC.
The over Sh7 trillion project is being implemented in phases with the first round covering 202km between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, was initially scheduled to be ready by November 2020 but heavy rains disrupted construction works.
Construction of the first and the second phase is being undertaken by Turkish construction company, Yapi Markez.
The first phase will have six main stations at Dar es Salaam, Pugu, Soga, Ruvu, Ngerengere and Morogoro, with the Dar es Salaam and Morogoro stations being the largest.
The second phase which is under implementation involves 422km between Morogoro and Makutupora in Singida with the project set to be completed within 36 months at a cost of $1,924 billion.
The railway is East Africa’s fastest and will use electricity to move trains will travel at 160km per hour and transport 10,000 tonnes of freight which is equivalent to 500 cargo trucks.
Upon completion, the SGR project is expected to payback the investment value after 15 years.
In October 2020, Tanzania government signed $60 million (about Sh138 billion) contract with a South Korean firm to supply trains for the standard gauge railway (SGR).
Trump Attacks Election Integrity As Biden Nears 270 Electoral College Votes
President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat contender gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.
With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump has advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. Thursday’s moves amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.
“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.
The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years.
His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.
Electoral college magic number
Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, and has been inching closer to overtaking the president in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where votes are still being counted. It remains unclear when a national winner will be declared after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy.
On Wednesday, The U.S.set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.
Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”
“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden said. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”
Biden’s victories in the upper Midwest put him in a strong position, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 73 million votes, the most in history.
Trump’s erroneous claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.
Lawsuits and late mail-in ballots
Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.
Trump has held a small edge in Georgia, though Biden has been gaining on him as votes continue to be counted. The same is true in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s lead had slipped to about 22,000 votes — and the race is destined to get tighter.
One reason is because elections officials were not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favour after Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.
Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden’s direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.
The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.
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