admin-ajax
English French German Hebrew Swedish Spanish Italian Arabic Dutch

Neoliberal Repression, Cruel Violence, and Disposable Politics in Ethiopia

Sewale Belew [email protected]

Background: Outlook on Neoliberal Repressive Politics and Culture of Cruelty

Abiy Ahmed
ያለፉትን አራት ዓመታት የመራውን ግለሰብ አብይ አህመድን ብንመለከት በሕዝብና በአገር ስም የሚሰጠውንም ሆነ በብድርና በእርዳታ የሚገኘውን ገንዘብ እንደ ግል ሃብቱ ሲበትን፣ለምን እንዲህ ይሆናል ብለው የጠዬቁትን ምን አገባችሁ እያለ ሲሳደብና ሲያንጓጥጥ ማዬቱ የተለመደ ነው

Cruelty has always had a special place in dictatorial politics in which the government is often violently suppressing any opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting ethnic-led heroism and often racism in the name of waging liberal democracy. Such a regime by its nature not only embodies a discourse of hate, prejudice, and censorship, but also it initiates a practice of cruel power in order to eradicate those ideas, dissidents, and human beings considered unworthy. In history, among the main legacies of dictatorial politics, some were practiced in Hitler’s Germany, Pinochet’s Chile, Franco’s Spain, and Mussolini’s Italy. These regimes in common manifested, among others, a political mix that included confusions and trends of convincing the public by force. Some points worthy of mentioning the culture of cruelty characters include: a language of dread, fear, and contempt with wide-spread practices of suppression and the repressive power of the state in order to eliminate any unbiased concept of politics and the structural conditions and ideological possibilities for developing egalitarian civic and democratic communities.

Under a repressive regime, however usually, diverse cruelty and its transformation into extreme violence occupy the very core of everyday life.[1] As a form of extreme violence,  cruelty is structured as a tool of ethnic-domination. Usually, it is traded in fear, insecurity, corruption, forced ripeness of a hit-and-run-banditry violence, and the eventual production of sudden and unexpected “death zones’ among selected community dwellings.”[2] Under such circumstances, politics and violence floods each other, and in doing so transforms all remnants of the social conditions into a selectively punishing condition of other ethnic groups within the region so that they evict themselves in fear from the areas. Such disposable politics represents a war waged not only against democracy, but also against the social contract, public goods, and all social bonds rooted in “movements of emancipation aimed at transforming the structures of domination.”[3] The social does not disappear in this context but is simply removed from democratic values and ruthlessly subjected to the workings of capital.[4]

In relation to this view, Friedrich Hayek, highly influential Anglo-Austrian economist and neoliberal-arch theorist, argued in the early 1960s that the freedom of the individual can only be equated with the freedom of the market. [30] Freedom in this discourse reproduces the notion that social justice and ethics are irrelevant, if not dangerous to market freedoms. Freedom is removed from any notion of either social responsibility or solidarity. Collective freedom either disappears or is considered pathological or dangerous. Reduced to the radical individualism and interests of the financial elite, these earlier neoliberal notions of freedom wage war against any collective notion of political and social agency and the institutions that enable them. Related to this view is the iron-clad neoliberal view that no activity should be concerned with social and economic costs. As the one of the American apostles of neoliberalism, Milton Friedman, once stated, without remorse or irony, the call to social responsibility is tantamount to “preaching pure and unadulterated socialism [and that] the use of the cloak of social responsibility, and the nonsense spoken in its name by influential and prestigious businessmen, does clearly harm the foundations of a free society.”[5] In this context, the crisis of social responsibility is connected to both the crisis of agency and the crisis of politics.

Under neoliberalism, the marriage of human capital and unfettered corporate interests is all that matters. As Caleb Crain has noted, relying on the insights of the émigré Hungarian intellectual Karl Polanyi, neoliberalism has morphed into a form of fascism that “strips democratic politics away from human society so that ‘only economic life remains,’ a skeleton without flesh.” [6]

In the past, this type of economic trend was echoed in former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s infamous neoliberal claim that: “There is no such thing as society. There is only the individual and his family.” It is precisely this regressive individual conception of self-hood with its unchecked notion of self-interest, agency, and freedom that defines neoliberalism.[7] Social problems, horror, alienation, despair, suffering, and misery are now “individualized, and experienced as normal and inevitable.”[8] Moreover, the collapse of civic ethics, religious morals are complete in a fundamental neoliberal notion that any concern about social costs is the enemy of the market as well as its political entrepreneurs sitting and benefitting from corruption within the regime in power

Neoliberal Repression, Cruel Violence, and Disposable Politics Practiced in Ethiopia

A repressive regime not only squashes politics of any substantive meaning, it pushes it towards its own destruction, reducing it to a form of barbarity.[9] Looked at in retrospect to this particular case since 1990 recent events that happened in Ethiopia, the TPLF regime made the culture of uncertainty, hardship livelihoods and cruelty, central to its politics–a politics that threatened all aspects of societal livings. Functioning as a dis-imagination machine, this culture of cruel violence and disposable politics in Ethiopia continues to destroy civic culture, any viable sense of inclusive citizenship, and critical thought of an integrated Ethiopian nation.

Just as violence and unlawfulness events propped up during the reign of TPLF, today under the Prosperity Party (hereafter called PP) led government (which is TPLF’s successor that promotes the Woyane constitution), violence has become rampant. Consequently, the Ethiopian society is shouldering heavy burden of injustice committed by organized banditry attacks everywhere. Delight in the misery and suffering of selected ethnic groups is normalized as part of a wider war on social responsibility, critical institutions, creating the conditions necessary for the triumph of ignorance, irrationality, and the legitimation of disposable politics (or the politics of disposability). Thus far, the actual merger of violence and politics has tested the PP-regime’s the limits of democracy and social justice. Also, it pushed at the limits of the unthinkable and unimaginable witnessing of civilians’ death tolls and evictions of innocent civilians from their homesteads.

As the bar for civic tolerance and social justice disappeared, a form of regional bandits’ terror emerged in which groups were marked out for terminal exclusion, social abandonment, and in the worst case scenario, extermination. One consequence of the culture of bandits’ cruelty and that of the PP-regime’s indifferent and repressive governance is what the French Philosopher Etienne Balibar calls as: “production for elimination.” I find him worth quoting at length as follows:

In the face of the cumulative effects of different forms of extreme violence or cruelly that are displayed in what I called the “death zones” of humanity, we are led to admit that the current mode of production and reproduction has become a mode of production for elimination, a reproduction of populations that are not likely to be productively used or exploited but are always already superfluous, and therefore can be only eliminated either through “political” or “natural” means—what some Latin American sociologists provocatively call as the: poblacion chatarra, “garbage humans,” to be “thrown” away, out of the global city. If this is the case, the question arises once again: what is the rationality of that? Or do we face an absolute triumph of irrationality?[10]

In Ethiopia, violence seems deeply rooted in the PP-regime’s political culture these days. In fact, already, it appears to have been normalized. Mass killings of civilian rural dwellers daily, particularly those of the Amhara ethnic groups, are barely acknowledged; and even if they are noted, it is almost in purely personal terms, reduced to examining the personal lives of the perpetrators and victims. Larger systemic causes of violence are no longer part of the parliamentary or government analysis. Violence has become so arbitrary and thoughtless that it no longer warrants sober reflection regarding its causes or consequences. This is especially true regarding violence committed by organized OLF-Shene (OLA) and TPLF-terrorists, both symbolic and real, waged in the name of TPLF and OLF Shene that is deeply racist and authoritarian by character. Violence throughout Ethiopia has steadily gained momentum and the fertile ground along with a growing faith in force as the solution to almost any Ethiopian political problem, whether at home or abroad. Enthusiasm shown for killing by OLF-Shene (OLA) and TPLF-terrorists and their supporters hiding behind the PP-regime is an unmistakable symptom of cruelty witnessed by the Ethiopian public.

As a strategic approach, the PP-government downplays these deep problems of Ethiopia with  deafening silences on Amhara cleansing and similar ethnic-led mass killings happening on daily basis. It seldom admit mistakes, and makes decisions tampered by neoliberal Protestant Gospel’s prosperity-led religious views. This current lineage into the culture of cruelty is connected to the legacy of neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture of cruelty, and its updated version of prosperity capitalism or neoliberal repression perpetuated in religious and political spheres. What is new in the current PP’s historical moment is the visibility and normalizing of extreme violence and cruelty—a visibility of bitterness produced in social media, and the main media coverages, and in all aspects of cultural shows within the entertainment industry in major cities. Violence has become part of a staged performance and mode of political theater that pay attention to the regime’s  neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture of integration of inventive tales into the mesmerizing spectacle of violence and intense atmospheres and displays of cruelty.[11] Violence has become the final enormous doom of Ethiopia at large. This theater of cruelty and violence now functions to both consolidate power, shatter the bonds of solidarity in clandestine, and create a culture of ethnic-led extremism further on in various regions of the country.

The ghosts of TPLF’s Neoliberal Dictatorial Politics and Culture are back on duty

TPLF/EPRDF’s tragic and atrocious acts have continued even after TPLF/EPRDF has come down from governmental power. With the reappearance of repressive governmental actions, democracy turns phantom-like and dark, and the Ethiopian public is facing the plague of a hate-filled politics with its lethal and expanding politics of disposability–a politics in which some individuals and groups are regarded as non-human, treated as excess and human waste, presented as faceless, superfluous, and symbols of fear, disease,  morally habitual, and unworthy of human rights and dignity.[12] When governmental repressive attributes are isolated and removed from history, there is no analysis here of broader systemic power relations, no overlapping, or comprehensive understandings of how an emerging and growing tyranny-politics is part of a new totalizing formation that  permeates every aspect of the social order. In fact, there is no holistic mode of inquiry; that is, there is no broad-based analysis that moves beyond focusing on specialized issues, isolated and atomized problems, and individual events—such as removing the violent attack on the Amhara communities from a wider culture of violence that provides the conditions for such events to occur.

There are no comprehensive analyses that relate such violence to an indictment of corrupt gangster capitalism hiding itself behind the governmental institutions in general. What remains are isolated and disconnected expressions of oppression, unrelated social movements, and narrow modes of analysis caught in a paralyzing and limiting modes of inquiry. Such disconnected and fractured approaches avoid and often refuse to examine how the present historical moment bears the weight of history, requires a broader systemic politics, and necessitates developing the theoretical and political tools essential to resist and demolish the threat of a neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture in future.

Because of the outright disregard by the PP-regime to express sorrow for killings of innocent Amhara and other farming communities throughout the country by organized bandits, the catastrophes of the public in Ethiopia are increasingly normalized by the refusal on the part of the authorities and elites within the governmental machine, academics and the various media platforms to provide any comprehensive account for developing a critical vocabulary and analytics for understanding how major ethnic-led social problems are interrelated, how they are manifested in relations to other forms of oppression, and how they overlap and reinforce each other, and what this totalizing form of terror means for the present and future of Ethiopia as a united country.

Neoliberalism as a Phase of Corrupted Criminals, Venue for Prosperity

As openly expressed by PM Abiy Ahmed during his recent speech addressing the parliamentary session held lately few months ago, Ethiopia is faced by organized corrupted gangsters’ systemic prosperity who lavishly walk on red carpets. Such corrupt officials are said to be weeded out from government responsibilities with immediate effect. In Ethiopia, this is a period marked by a new phase of economic savagery–one that since the 1970s has embraced the ideology that all social life should be shaped by market forces, and that any political, social, or economic institution that puts a curb on corporate and private interests, unregulated markets, the amassing of personal wealth, and unchecked individual and property rights, among other issues, is the enemy of freedom. Under the current PP-regime in particular, social needs and social responsibility have been held in contempt along with the nation’s common good, and the society at large.

As a means of collective communication, Amharic that has been serving as a national common language has been hollowed out, transformed into a war on social responsibility, and censored in schools by ethnic-led activists and their media propagandists who are wedded to using violence as a way to achieve ethnic-based political goals.

In such difficult and biased outlook moments, the language of politics itself is written in the language of capital, not civic ethics, religious morals, justice, and compassion, making it easier to connect violence with the most lethal workings of capturing power. In Ethiopia, violence is now facilitated by an overabundance of manufactured ignorance, accelerated through the degradation of common language. In the age of dwindling attention spans, language succumbs to a mediated culture of proximity, tweets, and a degrading commercial culture that limits the imagination, politics, civic life, and democracy itself. In the age of rebranded neoliberal dictatorial politics in Ethiopia, political culture is no longer a critical culture. Instead, it functions to undermine those civic and critical institutions and spaces in which a common bondage and Ethiopian citizenship consciousness can be developed.

Under an emerging neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture, violence is no longer hidden behind a wall of silence. In present day Ethiopia, it is now worn like an honorary badge by ethnic-led extremists and their supporters hiding behind the PP-political mantle. Learned helplessness throughout Ethiopia has transformed itself into learned cruelty and a retreat from the discourse of compassion, care, love, and truthfulness. In a neoliberal world of dwindling social and societal interconnections, social bonds disappear.  Instead, these attributes become atomized subjects, fractured communities, the suppression of historical memory, and civic disintegration. Facing the daily life’s problems is now a solitary affair reinforced by both the ongoing terrorist bandits’ organized and sudden attacks on historical memory and its increasing degeneration.

Many people speak the language of emergency, but where is the language of integrity, sincerity, and dedication? Gone are the ability to bear down, to think beyond oneself, even in the most basic ways. Instead, the Ethiopian public is left to navigate a disabling pandemic on its own, with the most vulnerable ones left to their own meager resources. The Ethiopian public is becoming deprive of feeling or awareness of a unified country, where each person is saying, “I am afraid for my life.” The ethnic-based war on one another demands that the PP-regime doesn’t stop to ask, “Why are you afraid?” but rather that we bear our right to be heartless.

What has changed since the severe global economic crisis of 2007-2008 and now during the 2020-2022 COVID-pandemic is that neoliberalism in Ethiopia has fallen victim to a legitimation crisis. The ethnic-based and ethnic-led Ethiopian population has commonly experienced more than a crisis, it has entered into a new historical conjuncture, a period when different social, political, economic, and ideological forces come together in the Ethiopian society and give it a specific and distinctive shape. This new conjuncture is important to name and understand it in order to resist it. The PP-regime, as a rebranded form of politics, it does more than give free reign nationally to finance capital, it also unleashes generic elements of a repressive past with its legacy of racial cleansing, infected contempt (ingrained prejudice or misogyny), mass violence, and a politics of disposability. This new historical moment or conjuncture under the PP-regime represents the end of one period and the rise of the neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture. This new conceptual identity with its brutalizing ideological and economic baggage represents a new and relentless turning away from democracy, and signals that the old period of the socialistic Ethiopian state during the DERG regime. Since the coming of the TPLF (EPRDF) regime and its follower (the PP-regime), social contract, and emphasis on constitutional rights is no longer the defining politics of the Ethiopian society. In fact, it is currently the object of an ethnic-led war of power struggle to eliminate the older socialistic liberal period of Ethiopian history and politics.

Neoliberalism no longer appeals to the old economics of private wealth creation and its trickle-down benefits to either justify economic inequality or the promises of social mobility within Ethiopia. It has no solutions for mass poverty, the crisis of social services, the deterioration of the public health sector, or the staggering levels of inequality in wealth and power. Under PP, whatever economic growth that takes place is expected to benefit the financial elite. All the while, economic power translated into political power, further eroding the basic foundations of the democratic state and governance.

In essence, neoliberalism turns a blind eye to poverty and inequality and no longer offers a defense of its death-dealing ideology.[13] As Pankaj Mishra has noted, it cannot “improve material conditions and bring about measure of social and economic equality.”[14] Incapable and unwilling to defend the misery it imposes on the Ethiopian public, it now appeals to ethnic-based and ethnic-led overt racism and ultra-narrow-nationalism, claiming that the PP-led liberal democracy is responsible for the ongoing economic and political crises that amount to “an abyss of failed sociality. Instead, immersed in or become drank to the point of intoxication for power, mass-produced misery, and the bogus fantasy of unaccountability, neoliberalism updates itself, unabashedly bring into line itself with anti-democratic forces that demonize, censor, and punish ethnic groups. Therefore, dehumanization, ethnic-led racial cleansing, and repression are the new legitimating tools of this updated form of neoliberal repression that constitutes the belief that economic choice constitutes freedom.

In Ethiopia, during the PP-regime, freedom has turned ugly and has become detached from any sense of social responsibility being appropriated by the ethnic-led extremist elements competing and fighting for power. With the crisis of corruption and the rise of repressive ethnic-politics in Ethiopia, the moral, social, and ethical considerations especially among the leaders of the PP-regime authorities and their deputies have become objects of intense disdain, elevating a culture of cruelty and violence to unthinkable heights as a political tool and organizing principle of the current Ethiopian society.

At the heart of the violence sweeping throughout Ethiopia is the PP-regime’s contempt for human rights, equality, and justice. In this logic, compassion for the other disappears, the connections that tie human beings together are scorned, and the institutions that offer the possibility of a just society are eliminated. Identities and desires are now defined through a market logic that favors the Protestant Gospel’s prosperity, self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos and unchecked individualism.

Under the PP-regime’s rebranded neoliberalism, life-draining and unending competition is a central concept for defining human relations, if not freedom itself. In a society of winners and losers, the movement from hatred of the other ethnic groups to violence against the others is easily normalized. Not only is this type of neoliberalism deeply rooted in a repressive form or irrationality, it also embraces totalitarian impulses that legitimate and produce relentless acts of both mass violence and the daily violence of up-rooting communities and misery waged under the rule of corrupt gangster capitalism.

In this time of coarsening neoliberal repression in Ethiopia, violence appears without limits and intrudes on every imaginable aspect of everyday life, not just in attention-grabbing, relentless mass killings and eviction of innocent citizens. Based on its intentionally intended “confusing and convincing the public” strategic approach, the PP-regime, not only produced a massive degree of fear, insecurity, and aggression, but also it has diverted the public’s attention from the conditions that produce violence. Aligned with a permanent war culture, the PP-regime’s neoliberal repression now merges entertainment with political theater. In doing so, it widens the traditional sphere of politics in order to further expand the boundaries of its ethnic-based and ethnic-led, ultra-narrow-nationalist ideology and hatred of democracy. In present day Ethiopia, therefore, selfishness, corruption and greed now merge with a mode of bandits’ militaristic violence in which the suffering and death of those considered excess and disposable becomes a source of entertainment and pleasure—a rotten source of amusement, which obscures policies of raw contempt to humanity and human-rights. Under neoliberal repression, the politics of cruelty has become complete.

This political environment and mass production of an ethnic-based image of hate-politics has provided the ground for militarized violence by organized ethnic-led violent extremists. One distinctive feature of neoliberal repressive violence is its use of the old and new media as a form of theater that manipulates people’s feelings and emotions along with their personal fears and anxieties. As such, the PP-regime’s media have become echo-chambers that serve as a staging ground for normalizing and enabling the increasing political violence, mass killings, and the militarization of the ethnic-led terrorists within the Ethiopian society. Hence, in today’s Ethiopia, as the social sphere is shredded, politics experiences its own destruction, accompanied by the rise of ethnic- led-extremist groups and the Ethiopian public drawn into a racist and xenophobic rhetoric and actions. In such instance, violence is increasingly aligned with a politics of ethnic-led-cultural and racial purification. As the everyday violence is disconnected from critical thought, ethical sensibilities are neutralized making it easier for ethnic- led-extremist groups to appeal to the alleged joy and experience of pleasure and gratification provided by the abyss of moral nihilism, lawlessness, and the operation of local power in the service of mass aggression and mass-killings of dwellers in rural communities.

The Militarization of the Ethiopian Rural Society

Under the PP-regime, informal and formal militarization of Ethiopian society in the name of “special forces” is complete waging a peculiar form of collective madness. Rather than becoming a source of alarm, it is considered as a source of pride, as a force that has replaced not only the rise of democratic idealism, but also, it has been normalized as an organizing principle of the Ethiopian public. This is an extension of the militarization campaign applied both by the Federal government (reinforcing its defense forces) and by the competing Oromia and Tigray regions. Eventually, this weaponization culture has replaced a culture of shared democratic values. Safety is regressively associated with personal security, police force surveillance services, and unconstrained gun ownership rights by the general public. Having amassed weapons, TPLF and OLF-Shene activists and their fighters view the PP-Administration and its existing programs with contempt while celebrating ethnic-inspired regional borders and regional political power in their own respective making.

There are no protective spaces left in any of the regions. The ethnic-led terrorists that the PP-regime has fought thus far have now their well-entrenched fortifications. Within Oromia alone, over the past four decades… about 4500 murders have been committed by political OLF-extremists. These homegrown extremists now pose the greatest threats of violence to Ethiopians at large. Militarized and violent Ethiopian Individuals now present themselves as a pure distillation of ethnic-led-narrow-nationalism and bigotry.

The permanently ongoing ethnic-led skirmishes’ culture has collapsed the line between domestic terrorism and the violence produced in the name of a war against terrorists. To one’s dismay, heavy military weapons are now in the hands of the TPLF and OLF-bandits and other terrorist groups roaming in the rural areas. These domestic terrorists represent the greatest threats of violence in Ethiopia. War fever dominates the public imagination and has become heroic to these ethnically organized extremists. It is embodied not only in the language of their ultra-narrow-nationalism but also in the clandestine authoritarian nationalism embraced by the PP-leadership and its deputies.   

Conclusion

Unless the TPLF-composed constitution is reformed, by the PP-government, then, the ongoing neoliberal approach in Ethiopia expands the war machine along with its ethnic-led follow-up behavior. Obviously, it will remain following in the footsteps of the previous TPLF-regime’s behavior [የተረኛነት ባህሪ፣ (ወይንም የቀደመውን አገዛዝ ባህሪ ፈለግ በመከተል የተተገበረ፣ የተከታይነት ባህሪ)] that mentality supports the existing TPLF-constitution. In its upgraded form of neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture, the PP-regime will continue to produce new military might that threaten its foes near and far. This is an element of a war machine that ignores other national problems such as the staggering levels of poverty, homelessness, a crumbling health care system, a punishing and a collapsing food-productivity in parts of the country where extremists are challenging the government.

 

Cruelty now parades as theater in the main and social media streams matched only by policies that steal people’s time, dignity, and lives. The time has come to take neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture down, not simply through the ballot box, but through a massive collective struggle and uprising that can bring this deadly politics and the organized corruption and gangster capitalism that supports it to a halt. This call for a full-fledged attack on neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture, especially relevant at a time in which socialist ideals are being revised. Calls for a renewed recognition of the structural nature of ethnic-led racism, state violence, and staggering levels of inequality–all point to a growing socialist consciousness in Ethiopia. PP has become a laboratory for neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture, and any viable mode of resistance must begin by calling for eliminating rather than reforming it. But to do so, it is crucial for any viable resistance movement to move beyond a “fragmented opposition held together by a vague commitment to a more just, egalitarian, and sustainable world…lacking a common focus or a common basis for coordinated action.

 

The urgent question of what kind of a nation Ethiopian citizens want to live in is no longer rhetorical, it demands an urgent call to action. If this is not fulfilled, then, collective public resistance is no longer an option waiting to unfold, it is a necessity with no time to spare.

 

Essentially, in order to protect a lasting peace and prevent the public from tribal-led extremists in Ethiopia, the PM Abiy’s administration must show its willingness to change the current TPLF-established constitution. As this constitution is purely based on ethnicity, it has to be revised and reformed instantly. In particular, Article 29 and Article 39 should be removed from this constitution. This action would allow the freedom to all Ethiopian citizens indiscriminately, to live and move freely in their choice of habitation and work. If this is not the case, then it means the PM Abiy’s government will continue to carry on the same old legislated constitutional system established by the TPLF/EPRDF. If the PM Abiy government takes an immediate decision on this matter to reform it, then this contribution by the Prosperity Party will be recognized by every Ethiopian citizen who is passionate about justice, human rights, and equality to all Ethiopians.

 

Secondly, the opening point for fighting neoliberalism lies in rebuilding highly required institutional mass consciousness and a progressive multiracial movement capable of dismantling the ongoing repressive ideological and structural regimes of ethnic-led neoliberal dictatorial politics and culture.

 

Thirdly, OLF-Shene and other racist organizations have been committing atrocities against the Amhara for quite a while now. This is a very legitimate and important reason why the government should fulfill its civic duties to protect the peace and security of innocent citizens with full preparation, determination and efficiency. This is indeed a highly sought-after issue these days.

 

Therefore, now is the time for abolishing dictatorial politics and culture rather than attempt to soften its policies. The time has come for a strong anti-dictatorial politics and culture movement capable of reimagining and acting on how society should be organized along socialist democratic principles and what it means for ourselves and future generations. Ethiopia needs a massive, sustained uprising fueled by mass- collective public resistance and the strategy of direct action for fundamental social transformation. It needs a radical vision in order to give shape to a unified single nation worth for all citizens on equal footing. It needs a new militancy that draws from struggles of the past in order to forge the appropriate weapons needed to fight this neo-liberal dictatorial politics and culture heavily cursing massive eviction and mass-murders by ethnic-led extremists in Ethiopia.

 

Notes.

[1] See, for example, Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness 1933-1941(New York: Modern Library 1999); Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986),

[2] Etienne Balibar, “Outline of a Topography of Cruelty: Citizenship and Civility in the Era of Global Violence,” We, The People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 127.

[3] Ibid., Etienne Balibar, “Outline of a Topography of Cruelty: Citizenship and Civility in the Era of Global Violence,” pp. 117.

[4] Henry A. Giroux, Twilight of the Social: Resurgent Publics in the Age of Disposability (New York: Routledge, 2012).

[5] Milton Friedman, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” New York Times Magazine, [September 13, 1970] .Online: http://umich.edu/~thecore/doc/Friedman.pdf

[6] Caleb Crain, “Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?” The New Yorker, [May 14, 2018] Online: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/14/is-capitalism-a-threat-to-democracy

[7] There are numerous books and articles addressing neoliberalism, a selected few include: Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance: Against the Tyranny of the Market (New York: The New Press, 1998); Pierre Bourdieu, et al., The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society  (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999); Alain Touraine, Beyond Neoliberalism, (London: Polity Press, 2001);  David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); Henry A. Giroux, Against the Terror of Neoliberalism: Politics Beyond the Age of Greed (New York: Routledge, 2008); and Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology (Cambridge, Belknap, 2020); Noam Chomsky, The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Radical Change (New York: Penguin, 2021).

[8] Jeremy Gilbert, “What Kind of Thing Is ‘Neoliberalism’?” New Formations, (F.80/81, 2013), p. 15.

[9] Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (New York: Touchstone, 1958).

[10] Ibid., Etienne Balibar, “Outline of a Topography of Cruelty: Citizenship and Civility in the Era of Global Violence,” pp. 128.

[11] Lutz Koepnick, “Aesthetic Politics Today – Walter Benjamin and Post-Fordist Culture,” Critical Theory – Current State and Future Prospects, Edited by Peter Uwe Hohendahl & Jaimey Fisher, (New York: Berghahn Books:  January 2002), pp. 94-116

[12] Bard Evans and Henry A. Giroux, Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of the Spectacle (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2015). Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2006).

[13] Pankaj Mishra, “The Incendiary Appeal of Demagoguery in Our Time.” New York Times, (November 13, 2016) Online: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/opinion/the-incendiary-appeal-of-demagoguery-in-our-time.html

[14] Pankaj Mishra, “The New World Disorder: The western model is broken,” The Guardian (October 14, 2014). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/14/-sp-western-model-broken-pankaj-mishra.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Scroll to Top