The West gazes hard at the continent it is has exploited for so long. Reflecting Western discourses of Africa as that ‘dark other’, texts use epithets immersed in preconceptions of Africa’s inequality: differences of race and religion, with Western ‘civilization’ standing for, and justifying, unequal power relations of apparent antiquity. Nineteenth-century Royal Geographical Society audiences, enthusiastic supporters of Britain’s growing empire and overseas Christian missions, learned from distinguished travelers about ‘the slave trade’, ‘ju-ju’, ‘paganism and devil worship’, ‘Mecca’, ‘the import-export trade’, ‘white traders’, and ‘black middlemen’. Favorite twentieth-century discourses included ‘black nationalism’, ‘weak states’ and ‘African indebtedness’, ‘corrupt government’, ‘ruthless multi-national oil companies’, ‘environmental pollution’, and ‘poverty’. Twenty-first-century researchers write of ‘endemic violence’ coalescing around inter-state international borders or intra-state ethnic boundaries; ethnic militants fight for ‘ethnic sovereignties’, jostling to wrest from the nation-state customary rights of ownership and control over ‘our god-given’ oil, clashing with giant multi-national corporations that lease from nation-state governments—not oil-producing communities claiming customary ownership—vast blocks of swamp, desert, and sea under which lies ‘black gold’ (Ifeka 2000: 452; cf. Hertz 2001: 194ff.).
Multi-national Corporations, Non-capitalist Relations, and 'Mothers of the Community'
The End of Nation-States, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?
In the post–Cold War era, political violence associated with wars of gain is key to economic and political transformations across nation-states.1 Under the ‘Pax Americana’ multinational corporations interacting in ‘old boy’ networks of the global capitalist class control armaments, oil production, and cyberspace. Industrial and military multinationals as well as global financial institutions, are extending their decision-making structures while becoming more concentrated; 2 there is a “hyperconcentration of (unregulated) economic and military power” predominantly Euro-American (Virilio 1997: 99). Global militarization legitimized in discourses of ‘protecting freedom’ secures world oil and gas resources for Euro-American and Sinic industrial use, promotes corporate profits, and supports the post-2000 Pax Americana. The Pax’s ‘command and control’ system seeks to checkmate Muslim control of 60 percent of world crude oil supplies by destroying ‘rogue’ regimes and investing in multinational corporations exploiting oil, diamonds, coltan, and other (finite) industrial resources in non-Muslim controlled African states (Meacher 2003). Preparation for total war is economic war.
Glenn Bowman, Charles W. Brown, Gerard Corsane, Ian Fairweather, Allen Feldman, Amiria Henare, Caroline Ifeka, Bruce Kapferer, Anne Krogstad, Sandra Langley, Yngve Lithman, Staffan Löfving, Leif Manger, Heidi Moksnes, Carolyn Nordstrom, Peter Probst, K. Ravi Raman, Jakob Rigi, Eleanor Rimoldi and Christopher C. Taylor
Notes on Contributors