The concept of civil society and the process of nation-building in African states, R Kossler, H Melber

Tags: civil society, post-colonial state, national liberation movements, colonial boundaries, substantial basis, hegemony, social emancipation, political contention, Gramsci, political society, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, S Gramsci, the state, national character, capitalist state, Western European nation states, border lines, territory, nation-state, Western Europe, Henning Melber University of Bayreuth & Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit The Concept of Civil Society, Nationalist movements, internationalist perspective, discerning view, Edward Shils, Amilcar Cabrel, The colonial state formation, colonial state, centralized state apparatus, political processes, Africa, imagined communities, national entities, Portuguese colonial rule, liberation movement, Antonio Gramsci, national identity, institutionalised power, Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit, Amilcar Cabral, national project, national movement, independent groups
Content: DEMOCRACY 1 3 - 1 5 JULY 1994 UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND HISTORY WORKSHOP THE CONCEPT OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE PROCESS OF NATION-BUILDING IN AFRICAN STATES Reinhart Kossler & Henning Melber University of Bayreuth & Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit
The Concept of Civil Society and the Process of Nation-Building ir. African States Reinhart KoSler/Univergity of Bayreuth and Henning Melber/The Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU)
The resurgence of the term 'civil society' has been intimately linked to the developments of 1989/91. The dissident movement in Eastern Europe had put the confrontation of 'society1, i.e. politically active and independent groups, with the apparatuses of 'power' on the agenda. Thus, the seminal accords of Gdansk in 1980 were seen as articulating a new 'social contract', the parties of which were 'society' on one side and 'power', on the other. 'Social contract' has thus been conceived, not as the founding act of society, but as.a fundamental re-ordering of basic relations of power. 'Society' was seen as fundamentally opposed to institutionalised power. Its constitution by a self-conscious act meant an exemplary challenge to existing structures of dominance that denied any independent forms of debate, and above all, of organisation (cf. Keen© 1 9 8 8 ) . The treaty of Gdansk brought into focus the long-term struggle around the monopoly of the ruling party on politics, organisation and public life (Kur6n/Modelewski 1969). Thus, the constitution of 'society' was co-extensive with the struggle for the very conditions of its existence. In itself, this juxtaposition of 'society' and 'power', which has been articulated with particular clarity in Poland, may be seen as an exemplary experience. This is re-enforced whon we look at the immediate historical background leading up to the turning-point of 1980. Consecutive waves of open socio-political struggles in Poland may be seen as phases of B process of social learning. They are marked by the 'Polish October' in 1956; the student movement of 1968 and the shipyard strikes of 1971? the strikes of 1976 and finally, the formation of independent trade unions as permanent organisational nuclei in 1980/81. In the process, the experience of social confrontation had demonstrated the importance of permanent organisation surpassing ephemeral 'councils'; it had also shown the importance of (relative), autonomy from the state apparatus. This had become
particularly clear from the experience after the dissolution of the strike committees in 1971 as a response of ths change in government with the downfall of Gomulka. In 1980/81, a host of independent union organisations represented a network of organisation independent of ths state. And these groups inevitably, under the circumstances, articulated political questions besides immediate bread-and-butter issues. We shall not go into any details of the ensuing processes which have lead up to the overthrow of political monopolies in Eastern Europe. What is important here is the fact that the eventual break-up of these monopolies turned out to be coterminous with the implosion of the entire power structure, as happened successively, in 1989/91, in the then Warsaw Pact countries as well as in the former Soviet Union. We have sketched this model process in order to demonstrate that the issue of 'civil society1 addresses premises that are of cei'iUol importance for the structuring of any modern political system. Further, the extent of actual opportunity for public debate and the structure of the public sphere form instrumental preconditions for determining modes of decision making in such vital areas as development projects to be pursued - at lesst where these are conceived to rest on some measure of public consensus. In terms of this provisional clarification, a whole range of conceptions employing the term of 'civil society' would have to be rejected beforehand those that do not reflect civil society in juxtaposition to, but rather es an adjunct of the state. Other variants see 'civil society1 as co-extensive with concrete state-bounded societies, thus also eliminating the critical impulse which the concept receives, not least from recent historical experience as has. However, this does pose some problems upon closer inspection. To clarify our own position, we shall first give a somewhat more detailed critique of some of these conceptions. Certainly one the most influential of the various versions of
the identity theorem has been represented by Edward Shils. To him, 'civil society' appears largely to be the same as 'bourgeois society', geared to the institutional framework of the U.S. in particular, to 'representative institutions' and to the market as the main structuring principle. Consensus and public solidarity ere seen to restrain the tendency towards universal warfare or tyranny which for Shils are Inherent in 'public pluralism'; these features are seen, at the same time, to foster 'civil', viz., 'civilized' behaviour (see Shils 1991a, pp. 4, 9; 1991b, pp. 18sg.). In the tradition of Telcott Parsons, Shils conceives 'civil society1 as the aim of social evolution which is at the same time congruous with U.S. society. Further, the close linkage between 'civil' and 'civilized' is indicative of a Hobbesian bias which sacrifices In favour of order the tension that exists between civil society and the state, but also tensions and debate within the realm civil society. Only if we are prepared to "take into account and to theorize such tension and conflict can we hope to reach an understanding of civil society that eschews any ·cult of civil society' (Woods 1990, p. 63), while rather accentuating its critical potential. On this account. It may be called intriguing that a further representative of the identity theorem is precisely the main witness for a radical or leftist version of civil society, Antonio Gramsci. In looking at his conception of society civile in greater detail, we hope to sharpen our own notion of civil society. Gramsci moves squarely within the occidental intellectual tradition when he states that 'in actual reality civil society and the State are identified' (1980, p. 153). A recent German treatment of Gramsci follows this through in identifying society civile as an aspect of the state, while however seeing it at the same time as a complex of hegemonial structures with deep consequences even in everyday life (Kebir 1991). But the. entire position may also be reversed when societa civile is
read as 'the mediating factor between the base and secondary superstructures', i.e. the state, and thus as en 'autonomous Space'; furthermore, this is seen B S Gramsci's specific theoretical achievement over and above the position taken by Marx (Bobbio 1988, p. 93).
It is our own contention that precisely Gramsci's treatment of
the relationship between civil society and the state opens up
the path towards a better understanding of the tension which
in Gramsci is highlighted by a further pair of central
concepts, i.e, 'positional warfare' »n& 'hegemony'. At the
seme time, Gramsci's treatment of society civile is closely
linked to the importance he accords to culture. This may sound
out of place only at first sight. Gramsci relates the
·,.
problematic of 'positional warfare' directly to the existence
of socletck civile. In Russia, the absence of such a space had
enabled a quick Bolshevik victory in 1917, using the tactics
of a 'moving battle': 'In the East, the state was everything,
civil society was still only in its beginnings'; whereas in
the West, 'where social structures by themselves could turn
into well-armed trenches', 'there prevailed a balanced relationship between the state and civil society1 (1967, p.
347). For Gramsci, this kind of relationship meant, in the
first instance, not so much checks and balances setting off
against each other the power positions of state and 'society'.
Rather, Gramsci saw above all the entrenchment of bourgeois
hegemony, of multi-facetted class dominance. The point is
about the stability of the 'historical bloc' once established
(lb., p. 291). This ia meant when Gramsci continues his
analysis of civil society in the West: 'The state was a
forward trench, and behind it, there was a string of
battlements and casemates ...' From this strategic strength of
the state,and of civil society, Gramsci inferred the necessity
of taking a discerning view, of 'thorough reconnaisance on the
national character' (ib., p. 347). This is the stratsgic place
of the 'struggle for a new culture' (id. 1983, p. 103) which,
loomed so large in Gramsci's thought. And this also eerved as
a starting point for a refined notion of 'base' and 'superstructure' and, in turn, of the ambivalent potentials for action inherent in societd civile (cf. Bobbio 1988). This refers us back to the courses history took in various European societies, in France, above all, 'civil' - or 'bourgooio1 oooiety might indaed appeal: to be cuuyiuuus with the state or 'nation' (cf id. 1955, p. 51). To the east of Rhine and also in Italy, things .were more complicated. Here the bourgeoisie, even during the 19th century, saw the need to constitute itself against the state, only to be absorbed lateron into an alliance with the ancien regime. For most European countries outside Western Europe, this meant that the programme of personal end collective freedom and emancipation had to be taken up beyond the realm of 'bourgeois' society, in the first instance to be organized by social democracy. These demands were combined here with the overruling demands for social emancipation, and this may explain the disdain authors like Karl Kautsky showed for personal rights end liberties. Gramsci placed himself squarely into this tradition. R-H11 , the matching of societd clvllo and the atote is by no means unequivocal in Gramsci. On closer inspection, civil society turns out to be viewed by him as a field of contradiction and political contention, in the broad sense that 'culture1 is given pride of place, in spite of the economist bias of orthodox Marxism. This is due above all to the dual character of the state (cf. Priester 1981, p. 51). which has to be taken into account in order to understand the full meaning of the notion of 'positional warfare1. What is at stake is the mode of mediation between the general interest and particular interests under the hegemony of a class claiming to represent the 'nation'. To Gramsci, this is inconceivable as the mere fbrci.-ig of the interests of just this one dominating class: 'The fact of hegemony undoubtedly
presupposes that the interests and strivings of the groups over which hegemony will be exercised are taken account of, that a certain balance of compromises be formed, that ... the leading group makes some sacrifices of an economicocorporative kind' (1930, pp. 154sq). And Gramsci carries this further when he characterises hegemony as 'the ethic-political bond that exists between the governing and the governed1 (1975, p. 1236sq). Seen 'in this light/ hegemony presupposes some fundamental consensus which mediates between the two poles of a relation of dominance and which must find some ground in actual social reality. Of course, for Gramsci, this does not change the economic bise of hegemony. But tha balance does form a vital precondition for any stability of class rule and dominance, in other words, for the formation of a sustainable historical .bloc. In keeping with this view, Gramsci sees the division of powers as a 'consequence of the struggle between the civil society end the political society of a certain historical period' (1980, p. 186), where 'political society' clearly denotes the state, precisely in contradistinction to 'civil society'. Consequently, Gramsci sees the three powers tied, in varying degrees, to civil society whose influence is naturally greatest over Parliament and least over government - all this notwithstanding 'bourgeois' hegemony, Only on the basis of these consideration it would appeer meaningful to talk about 'organically developed "civil societies"' which manifest themselves, e.g., in 'parties and unions . . .. ir. a consumer oriented popular culture or in modernise? religions' (Kebir 1939, p. 58). Even though all this points to hegemony, still It also documents ambivalence. In the cesis of subordinate classes, this ambivalence means the concurrence of tendency towards both resistance and adapting to given circumstances, the latter by succumbing to
discipline, but also by seli'-discipline. This is to underscore
that the levels .-·'.>Ј resistance and of dominance are intimately
intertwined.
·
·· ·
When he poirv.ed to the absence of socletA civile in Russia and in other 'bae'Capitalism is unique in history by a discontinuity between class dominance anii actu.vl poj.i':ical rule. The bourgeoisie, while the domi ^ n t v:lass, does not actually rule or govern. Rather, tha st'.te apparatus with the government at the top acts as an arbiter between the various bourgeois groupings pursuing mainly their own private .-.ims; at the same time the state and government, as we oave seen in our discussion of Gramsci has :o sufegua^d some minlmel measure of societal over-all consensus. Th:'s mean.v giving at least some minimal material eonv.ent '.o the claim to represent the general interest of til citizenu {see ulso Schiel 1992).
This has deep oonst ·juenct'.s for the notion of the modern state that all exist.ng s'.ates .-re required to conform with, at least in some Minima.', way. As members of the International Community of stites, "they i'-& expev.ted to control their territory and tc represent Vhe population living in it. Inasmuch as thes>\ states res.' for the fulfilment of these minimal functions and Vor the.'.r internal legitimacy on some kind of consensus and not on brute force alone, they usually have recourse to ·tie coi-.cept o.'.' the nation, as an 'imagined
community.' ..(.* iders.in 19U5,). .Th:',s community is imagined in the
sense that it is nvver realized, .in the .sense of s face-to-face
situation, buv. nonetheless it hi 3 a measure of reality - it is
by no means siiply '.magin^ry (cf. ib., p. 15, 108n and
passim).,
.
'Community' is. 1 1 be r.aken t^rious In a Gramscian sense. The formation of a ' ratio:', not in the sense of some ethnically defined community but rather, as a collective bound together by some kind of c:mmon .-sest experience or 'tradition' and solidarity based Vhereo.'. (cf. .'enan 1993, p. 309), presupposes such communal i.selinga but also their concrete base, some kind of meter..al cormunal relations (see also Kossler/Schiel 1991;. If ·.·.ommuna. feelings which may refer back to a common hit tory, Including the experience of liberation struggle ..gainsv. colon: 31 or neo-colonial domination, are not s.ibstan Mated ,-.y tangible forms of solidarity, the ·,-.onser,sus on which \"he legitimacy of any political regime necessarily .rests &'; least in the long run will collapse or evaporate sor.ner or later.
This process has t ?en dimonstriited drexsticelly by the collapse of political monop.ly in Africa as far as its legitimacy was derived from the piomise of 'development' (cf. Goulbourne 1987; Shivji 1990). This ,.ill be detailed in the following section, while in ccnclusi'.n of t.'.is first part we should like to point out already the vital rol\>. played by existent, nascent or resux,7ent \orms t··? civii society in the processes that followed the loss of legitimacy of the old regimes. The fortunes of the naveme. ts for democracy, in Africa as well as elsewhere in the Vhird \ derived, i.a., from Gramsci' s treatments of clvi.. society: Wh.'.le undstermined and ambivalent, or ever. pron>\ to se; ve the interests of the powers that be, civil society sf. 11 den'.tes that vital space and network of potentially inc.ipenden.: organization that proves instrumental in the t'.uthenvic arrt'.culation of interests, in
the airing of conflicting perspectives of societal projects, and in the definition -3f a o er-all concept and perspective of development that comma .ds a ruiasure if consensus that is . prerequisite for political legitimacy. In midst of Algeria's lcig and .iloody fight for national liberation Frantz Fanon 1965, nsp. ch. 3) already foresaw contradictions between a ;'ationa\ 'consciousness' and.the ... _ social motives of a comple ".e 'people's mobilization'. The national movement, he predicted, viuld'in any case only end in a fragile form without content. Fir him the misery of nationalism and the weakness of a nationalist ideology was by no means the doubtful privilege of European colonisers and members of the master-race. i\is deei'. insight into forthcoming social processes and transformations, which he himself never had to witness due to his untir, sly death even before Algeria's formal independence, is ,".ot onl. underlined by the collapse of the commando economies ir. the Eastern .Vuropean countries and the consequent centrifugal tender.lies i.i terms of ever more particular sub-nationalism emergii-j. Evidence offer also the ruina of former Yugoslavia .\nd the numerous (heHow) populist nationalisms meanwhile discredited \n most of t.Se so-called Third World countries. Among the more important (althmgh no- so wi.dely acknowledged) insights offered so far into t) 3 critical d«bate on nationalism, are those of the 1 te Nicos Povlantzas. His theoretical thoughts concerning -.apita.'.ist/b.iurgeois state formation and structures are sti!» \ relevant. He shows (1990) like others such as Hobsbawm - tht t the phenomenon 'nation' grows into a new dimension tnd queAity in the csn-:ext of emerging capitalist (nation-) state.. 'Verritory', (seen as the spatial component) as well as 'tradition' ani 'history' as components of time, enter a new inte:relate-3 combination, resulting finally in the specific new type :.vЈ "invention of tradition" (Hobsbawm/Ranger 1983) and "imagined communities" (Anderson 1983). As PoulantzaB has pc.'.nted out already prior 10
to these essential new analyses, the relations between territory and tlme/tredition/history sonatitut'.i ':n& 'modern' nation. The capitalist state draws the border Lines by constituting (and defining) what is inside its boundaries namely people and nation - and consolidates thi.- inferiority {alBO by means;-of internalisation through social, norms and values, last but not least however materially in termg of a legal apparatus designed accordingly and fo.llowiTig the defined criteria). The national unity,.says Poulant2.es (1978) becomes the historicity of a territory, the territor.lali;ation of history, while the national tradition of a ti\rri:ory materialise within the nation-state (see also 'i'.avunan 1990). Nationalist movements in the 20th century are characterised by a historic situation markedly different from thi; factors constituting the emergence of nationalism and mil: ion-states in Western Europe during the late 18th and 19th cenvury. The combination of national superiority, with the perspectives of an industrial-capitalist model of development became increasingly precarious, the more the world was .'tinked towards strong, industrialised nation-states or fell dlri'.ctly under their spheres of interest and influence. Among probably the most important of the new movements of resistance against this system, provoked by old and new dependencies, were during the 20th century the eriti-colonlal ones. They reacted towards the further expansion of the direct spheres of domination especially of Western European nation states"in overseas territories. Their colonial systems explicitly denied the constitutional equality to the colonized population, in marked contrast to the formal equsiity offered to citizens within their own nation sxates. Anticolonial movements as a result emerged in direct conflict with features and phenomena of a nationalism devfeloi>ed in Western Europe. It would be erroneous, however, to equate anticolonial movements with nationalise. Quite contrary, a 11
number of anticolonial movements originally hoc a genuine internationalist perspective. This applies 1.9. for the anticolonial resistance movement in Indonesia early this century, but also for the orientation towards th«i colonial power as the common enemy in the early stages of the national liberation movements in the former Portuguese colon.! es in Africa during the 1950s. The actual turn towards nationalism often took place only after the internationalist perspective was frustrated, or met limitations, such as the orientation of the anticolonial struggle on a particularly, colon.'.aliy defined and structured territory. The colonial case normally was confronted with tt.& constellation, that the construction of a continuity in terms of state was not applicable. With very few exceptions, snticolonial movements had to orientate at those colonial boundaries, which so often have been criticised as deliberate and artificial. The constitution of post-colonial states based (at least on the African and Asian continent) essentially on the acceptance and immunity of theso border lines drawn around territorial entities during the colonial era. In Latin America, where decolonisation and state formation took place more than a century before, sometimes drastic changes in territorial boundaries took place by means of wars between the now formally independent 3tet.es. The definition of these states as 'nations', however, thereby were neither more rational then anywhere elae, nor did it offer their Inhabitants more homogeneity and solidarity aniong themselves. With very few exceptions,, therefore, tostcolonial states do not offer convincing 3vidence for an '?'·'·" ethnically determined, state-centred nationalism. Such exceptions might include specific products of colonial rule, where especially in the case of British 'indi:ect rule' precoloniel state-formation not only becama conserved, but even more so thoroughly transformed and modernised. This applies to a certain extent to Lesotho and Swaziland, leys so to Botswana in the southern African region, but certair;iy';to the 12
emirates at the Persian-Arabian Gulf or to 3ru-.ei. In these cases, 'indirect rule' included the conscious selection of ruling groups and the re-constructior of traditions to legitimise their dominance. Where anticolonial movements had a net:.oni!lit/t orientation, they had their point of reference normally ir. th;i existing colonial boundaries of a so defined territory. This also applied for such movements, which under -.he misleading claim of representing a national organisation 'jleurly articulated ethnically defined ambitions. A prominent example for such cases has been the FNLA in Angola: Its etnni<: basis were without doubts the Bakbngo. Their sefi.le1r.2nt area includes not only the North of Angola, but also the West o:: Zaire and bigger portion of Congo. But FNLA-leader Ho3Sen Roberto was not bothered at ell, to claim nevertheless tl:e leading political rule for the whole of Angola. j;th.\ic affinity, however, very much so influenced and d.*tf,rmi\ied nis strategic alliance with dictator Mobutu in neighoo.irir.g Zaire. This is one of the more prominent examples of a grcjp of a more 'tribalist' nature, which (mis)used the co.Yoni »lly determined boundaries as definition for its own ::J sld of activity as a 'nationalist' movement. Nationalist movements in colonised sec:stlss normally emerged within small circles and social groups w! o Jiad specific experiences with colonial oppression a id .lis.jrimination, but also with modernisation. Often these we:e f.tudents, who originally started to organise themee.'.vej abroad, in the colonial 'motherland', end finally "out I'.1, up a national ideology with reference to their common co/.onised home country. It is not very surprising, <;t it rhece groups of mainly intellectuals not only served ns a ?oi it of departure for the organisation of anti-colonial jartles, but also as a framework for the formation of alliances find strategic networks. These were later potential :;ecrui::ment agencies or the basis for operations to use the so.:i? i. transition towards 13
decolonisation for securing access tc ciCisive positions
within the new state apparatus, there 3;· gaining opportunities
for appropriation, (cf. Bayart 1989).
.
The post-colonial situation is more c'.ei:ending with, regard to a national ideology. Post-colonial status face the problem to relate to fixed points .of reference fc: the own existence, exceeding the more or less incidental and arbitrary drawing of border lines around certain territo.vi.nl entities. In some cases - especially ibn South East a.si», Ethiopia, Mexico or fragile lines of tradition recurring :o precolonial phenomena. Independent of their credibility, sue 1 legitimising attempts cannot remove or solve problems of a Jiversity of different local and regional, often ethnically defined identifications within the given territory of the stute. Next to the strategy, to define 'minorities' and e:.ther oppress them or compensate them by means of offering particular rights, feature therefore exercises promine-it.'y., which build an own identity and strengthen it ideologically.
Such strategies were often applied in the post-colonial era of African governments. They propagated specific 'national' Ideologies, often combined with more or less serious claims of 'socialism'. The Kenyan 'harambee', Tanzanian 'ujamaa' Zambian 'humanism' might serve as such typical examples of designing an own brand or label. Mere seriously have been the conscious and deliberate - often explicitly declared - efforts to constitute national identity in :he context of national wars of liberation - following the slogan "to be born e nation" (Swapo of Namibia 1981) in the process of a militant and military struggle. In such cas.ss, national cohesion was expected and supposed to be created within the struggle for national liberation by means of a common historic experience shared, which at the same time would overcome regional differences. A step further move concepts of national liberation struggles taking into account and acknowledging the competition between several 'national projects', possibly
14
because of different orientations in terms of 'class interests' (see esp. No Sizwe 1979). Into this category falls the admission (i.a. by such prominent activists like Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral), that with the removal of direct 'national' oppression, i.e. the unifying motive of a national liberation struggle, the internal antagonisms end contradictions shell be disclosed. The definition of nation es a peaceful community in harmony turns, out as a dangerous illusion. Also because it might well become the point of departure for new oppression, which is now directed towards the articulation of inner-social conflicts. The national perspective promises the colonised a hitherto denied acceptance as free and equal citizens within a state. An 'imagined community' of this type is by no means only fiction. Instead, it demands a more Substantial level, which realises also in material terms such expectations for participants in such a national project. This might be one of the driving forces for a number of post-colonial states, to embark so vigorously upon a strategy of 'developmentalism' (see i.a. Shivji 1990 and 1991). The driving force for such 'developmentalist' exercises and promises could often be located within the expectations of the masses directed towards national independence. This applies especially in those cases, in which sovereignty was achieved only after long, bitter and bloody struggles demanding serious sacrifices from the people. The created expectations aimed at receiving the final reward by means of the minimum of what states in other parts of the world offer to and secure for their members: security not only in the sense of protection against, physical violence exercised either by the (colonial) organs of state or individual representatives of such state power, but also security in the sense of a minimal material living condition. The inability of post-colonial states, to achieve by means of successful development strategies Economic Growth of the 15
desired and needed type of the benefit of the majority of people, has questioned their credibility: There is a lack of the substantial basis of such states as the legitimate representatives of the imagined communities. As a result, in most post-colonial states on the continent the attempts to construct and constitute a non-ethnic national identity have ended in a fundamental crisis if not even failed completely. · In spite of this it remains a fact that Bnticolonial -movementsfirst of all acted on basis of a 'national' programme. Postcolonial states also are still defined as national entities. It is therefore worthwhile to reflect and consider, for what reasons the nation even as an obvious fiction has played (and still continues to play) such a prominent role. The colonial state has not only been the opponent and enemy of the anti-colonial and nationalist movements. At the same time, it also was the direct predecessor of those states, which emerged after independence. The colonial state formation in Africa was to a high degree a "cultural project" (Young 1988). It hed to do with the transfer of administrative techniques and skills, as well as political processes, to secure the hegemony of the colonial power. As a model for both, the colonial as well as the post-colonial state, therefore, served the metropolitan state. This model, however, as was indicated above, did not meet the different social conditions of development of state and action in these countries. Essential aspects that had been fought for and were secured within the metropolitan states only during the 20th century (especially the constitutionally guaranteed participation of the general population as formally equal citizens) had in the case of the colonies been denied to the people outside of the settler communities. Such a practice of exclusive rule over decades of foreign domination resulted in a fatal historic. legacy. Not only was colonial rule oriented towards the 16
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metropolis imposing the system; even worse, its dictatorial character anfl rigid strategies of domination and oppression led towards infantilisation of the population, the creation of a subordinate culture of obeyance and the adaptation to authorities (cf. Fatton 1990). These dispositions and structures of personalities, created or at least decisively enforced during and under colonial socialisation processes, left-little room for open resistance, protest and revolt, even less for the training and experiencing of democratic behaviour. In contrast end parallel to this process of fostering the 'authoritarian character', particulariet-regional, especially ethnic-tribal identities were enhanced or even created in cases where not being already available (see i.a. Melber 1985). Amilcar Cabrel, the president of the PAIGC, assassinated in early 1973, concluded in his analytical writings that there was therefore a need to distinguish carefully between the (potentially destructive) ethnic-tribal and (potentially constructive) regional-cultural Identities, The liberation movement would have to acknowledge the contradictory state of the cultural panorama and to assess which positive values should be maintained. In the situation of the anticolonlal struggle, defined already as national, the nation became the predominantly politically determined anti-thesis to the colonial system of an ethnicparticularist apparatus of power designed and directed by a white minority. Such a nationalism is decisively based on the negation of foreign rule by the organisation of the liberation struggle, i.e. the 'national' liberation movement. Its essential slogan appeals to the one nation in contrast to manyfold particular, especially 'ethnically' oriented loyalties (the prominent slogan "one xyz, one nation" is a special case in point). The myth 'nation' is thereby challenging the colonially enforced myth 'tribe'. The fiction of a unification and homogenisation of a territory's 17
population through a nation created by means of a liberation
struggle, can rely upon the social polarisation established
through the colonial system of oppression. The political-
cultural tendency towards uniformity is therefore
...
complementary to the colonial strategy of 'divide and rule'.
The even more radical confrontation within a struggle of
liberation led militarily, increases and enforces such a
tendency.
The idealistic, voluntaristic over-emphasis of nationalism must be seen in this light also as a compensation for the . missing material reality. It represents the desperate attempt to create the substantial basis through the compensating ideological weapon of nationalism. This serves as the idealistic engine for escape. Consequently, aware of this interrelationship and linkage, we ought to define anew the dialectics of 'tribe' and 'nation' as symptoms of a material . reality and function of a political process. The anticolonial nationalist resistance turns against the 'tribalisation' of the colonized by means of demanding a 'nationalisation of the consciousness'.
Resentments created or at lease enforced by a colonial 'tribalism1, however, are not liquidated simply through the mere existence of a national movement. Neither can they just be ignored nor declared as garbage and put aside to become history of a past. Although such an approach has very often been practised within decolonising African societies, whose new rulers decided to establish strictly organised hierarchical and centralized Unitarian states. Real experiences nevertheless point into a different direction. Social conflicts of distribution after independence in many cases documented, that after the removal of the negative point of reference, i.e. the colonial regime resulting in common rejection and resistance, internal contradictions already existing but being of a secondary nature for the time of the anti-colonial struggle for liberation, emerged anew, in
16
contrast to most other leaders of national liberation movements, Amilcar Cabral had predicted such a revitalisetion already long before state power could be taken over (which unfortunately he himself was not able to witness and experience any more). Too little attention, however, has originally been paid to the fact, that those inner-social contractions basically also use on ethnic-particulerist body for their articulation. This is to a certain extent also an immediate response to the post-colonial state's power otruoturo, to use the national eaatuwe; Ct/X M6iAL6J.AJ.iiy ol least parts of a loyalty and legitimacy among the people, who have expected more in terms of material well-being and social equality. This is doomed to fail, however: If the state should achieve a minimum of legitimacy as representative of the common interest, objectively existing collective identity is as much a prerequisite as its internalisation by the individuals affected (see van Cranenburgh 1990). Particularly under the specific condition of African societies exists to a certain extent the alternative of a retreat from state in the sense of the tradition of the 'exit option' (Bayart 1989, Hyden i960 and 19B3). For a few communities this might seem to be an alternative that makes sense. The 'national project', of course, under such circumstances would be doomed to failure, however. More realistic and closer to reality is another option practised in many cases: the competition of ethnically defined (or self-declared) interest groups for the control of the centralized state apparatus. Such rivalry for access to power and wealth has often resulted in military conflicts. Prominent cases ere Liberia, Rwanda and Somalia;'" But also in Angola the military conflicts after the Collapse of the Portuguese colonial rule were basically influenced by ethnic mobilisation (in this particular case however admittedly and obviously enforced externally through the South African and US-American policy). For post-colonial states on the African continent (and more 19
generally in so-called Third World regions) the challenge lies i.e. in the situation characterised by a particular social situation of heterogeneity and a resulting need of cohesion and consensus not existing. Political-cultural factors have 8 particular relevance in such a constellation, not least for the said 'national' and 'ethnic' identities. The question remains, whether such norms and values and their internelisation, serving the interest and needs of a more homogeneous 'national project', can be imposed from the commando heights of formal state power occupied by the new elites. In most cases, such attempts have only resulted so far in the emergence of once again narrowly defined and limited relations of dominance and subordination. If there are solutions, then it seems that they have to deal in much more detail with aspects of political-cultural hegemony and the basis of social systems. References Anderson, Benedict 1985: Imagined Communities. London. Bauman, Zygmunt 1990: "Modernity end Ambivalence". Theory. Culture & Society 7, pp. 143^-169. Bayart, Jean-Francois 1989: ' L'Etat en Afrlaue. Paris. Bobblo, Norberto 1988: "Gramsei end the Concept of Civil Society." In: John Keane (ed.) 1968: Civil Society and the State. Hew European Perspectives. London/New York, pp. 7399. Fanon, Frantz 1965: The Wretched of the Earth. London. Fatton, Robert Jr. 1990: "Liberal Democracy in Africa". political science Quarterly 105, pp. 455-473. Goulbourrie, Harry 1967: - "The State, Development end the Need for Participatory Democracy in Africa". In: Peter Anyang' Nyongo, (ed.), Popular Struggles for Democracu in Africa. London/New Jersey, pp. 14-25. Gramsci, Antonio 1955: Die sudltalienische Fraoe. Berlin (GDR). Gramsci, Antonio 1967: Philosovhie der praxis, ed. Christian 20
Riechers. Frankfurt am Main. Gramsci, Antonio 1975: Ouaderni del Car cere, ed. Valentino Gerratana. 4 vols. Torino. Gramsci, Antonio 1980: The Modern Prince and other writings. New York (1957). Gramsci, Antonio 1983: Marxismus und Xultur. Hamburg. Hobsbewm, Eric 1990: Nations and Nationalism Since 1780. Programme. Mvth. Reality. Cambridge et. al. Hobsbawm, Eric/Terence Ranger (eds) 1983: The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge. Hyden, Goran 1980: Beyond Ulamaa in Tanzania. Underdevelopmerit and Uncaptured African Peasantry. London. Hyden, Goran 1983: No shortcut to Progress. African Development Management in Perspective. Berkeley/Los Angeles. Keane, John.1988: Democracy and Civil Society. London. Kebir, Sebine 1989: "Die Internationalisierung der 'Zivilgesellschaft1. Eln Versuch zur Aktualisierung Gramscis." in: Vie "Linie Luxemburq-Gramsd". Zur AlttualltBt marxistischen Denkens. Berlin/Hamburg, pp. 51-68. Kebir, Sabine 1991: Antonio Gramscis zivllaesellschaft. Allt&o - Okonomie - KuZtur - Politik. Hamburg. Kossler, Reinhart/Tilman Schiel 1991: "Verstaatlichung nationaler Befrsiungsbswegungen," Peripherie 41, S. pp. 50-70. Kur6n, Jacek/Karol Modzelewski 1969: MonopolsoziaXlsmus. Offener Brief an die Polnlsche Vereiniqte Arbelterpartei. Hamburg. Melber, Henning 1985: "Stommeskultur els Zivilisationsgut", Peripherie 18/19, pp. 143-161. No Sizws 1979: One Azania. One Nation. London. Poulantzas, Nicos X978: Staatstheorie. Hamburg. Renan, Ernest 1993: "Was ist eine Nation?" In: Michael Jeismann/Henning Ritter (eds.), GremfSlle. Vber neuen und alten Nationalismus. Leipzig, pp. 290-310 (Qu'est-ce gu'une nation, 1882). ·' Schiel, Tilman 1992: "Imperialismus als httchstes Stadium des Feudalismus". Peripherie 46. pp. 71-93.
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Shlls, Edward 1991a: "The virtue of Civil Society." Government and Opposition 26,1, pp. 3-20. Shils, Edward 1991b: "Was 1st eine Civil Society?" In: Krysztof Mlchalski (ed.), Eurppa und die civil Society. Castelgandolfo-GesprScne 1989. Stuttgart, pp. 13-51. Shivji, lEsa 1990: "The Pitfalls of the Debate on Democracy". ifda dossier 79, pp. 55-58. Shivji, Issa 1991: "The Democracy Debate in Africa: Tanzania". Review of African Political Economy 50, pp. 79-91. SWAPO of Namibia 1981: To Be Born A Nation. London. van Crenenburgh, Oda 1990: The Widening Gvre. The Tanzanian One-Par^v State and Policy Towards Rural Cooperatives. Delft. Wood, Ellen Meikein 1990: "The Uses and Abuses of 'Civil Society'." The Socialist Register 1990, pp. 60-84. Young, Crawford 1988: "The African Colonial State and its Political Legacy", in: Donald Rothchild/Naomi Chazan (eds). The Precarious Balance. State and Society in Africa. Boulder/London, pp. 25-66.
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