Thursday, December 15, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
From “the hopeless continent” to “Africa rising” – how The Economist made a U-turn on Africa.
In May 2000, respected magazine The Economist on its cover called Africa “the hopeless continent”. One of the articles painted a picture of a continent ravaged by war, famine and disease.
“Floods in Mozambique; threats of famine in Ethiopia (again); mass murder in Uganda; the implosion ofSierra Leone; and a string of wars across the continent. The new millennium has brought more disaster than hope to Africa. Worse, the few candles of hope are flickering weakly.”
Eleven years on, and the magazine is singing a different tune. The cover of a recent issue features an illustration of a boy flying a rainbow-coloured kite the shape of the continent, with the title “Africa rising”.
An article, headlined Africa’s hopeful economies: The sun shines bright, mentions that Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote has overtaken Oprah Winfrey as the richest black person in the world. The article goes on to describe how countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Mozambique are now among the fastest growing economies in the world and that a “genuine middle class is emerging”.
“Since The Economist regrettably labelled Africa ‘the hopeless continent’ a decade ago, a profound change has taken hold.”
While the magazine doesn’t shy away from the challenges still facing Africa, it says that the continent is likely to continue on its current growth path.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
"The Occupy Wall Street Uprising and the U.S. Labor Movement: An Interview with Steve Early, Jon Flanders, Stephanie Luce, and Jim Straub"Farooque Chowdhury and Michael D. Yates,
Occupiers should be wary of trusting union leaders who have consistently undermined, sold out, and betrayed every militant uprising or cry for more democracy in the labor movement. Most union leaders in the U.S. are wedded to the prostitution of social ideals. Every union in the United States is in thrall to the number one pimp on Wall Street, the Democratic Party. Concession and compromise to the One Percent is the M.O. of U.S. unions. Rank-and-file workers should be able to see themselves in the bloody skull of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, struck dumb by Oakland police. Every day workers make heroic sacrifices to provide a dignified life for their families. Every day union leaders shoot down workers' aspirations and incapacitate any chance workers have to shield their families from the latest act of economic terrorism.
Where is the union leader in the United States today who has the temerity to defy the capitalist oligarchy? For the most part, we don't have genuine union leaders, we have corporate servants with union titles and six-figure salaries. When U.S. corporations invested profits "Made in America" overseas, labor unions in the U.S. cut wages for new hires and blamed foreign competition. When U.S. corporations underfunded pensions, U.S. labor leaders forced retirees to make sacrifices.
The operative word for rank-and-file workers isn't competition, concession, or compromise. The operative word is Occupy.
The question is: can the labor movement or the occupy movement move its message about inequality down to the workplace, where workers confront low wages, low benefits, and little power? Can we use it organize workers where it really matters, in the workplace, to help their everyday life?
Farooque Chowdhury, associated with Bangla Monthly Review, is editor of Micro Credit, Myth Manufactured, and Selected Essays by Paul Sweezy(in Bangla), co-editor of People's Report on Bangladesh Environment(2001 and 2002-2003), and author of The Age of Crisis, and co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of a Bangla book on food crisis. Other than books in Bangla on Venezuela and on rural Bangladesh, he has translated into Bangla essays by Fidel Castro, Paul Sweezy, and many other Monthly Reviewcontributors. My Early Years by Fidel Castro; The Great Financial Crisis, Causes and Consequences by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff; andThe Vulnerable Planet, A Short Economic History of the Environment by John Bellamy Foster are three of the books translated by him. Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review and Editorial Director ofMonthly Review Press. He is the author of Why Unions Matter, 2nd Edition (2009) and editor of Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back(forthcoming), both published by Monthly Review Press. His blog is atblog.cheapmotelsandahotplate.org.