A F R I C A ignores both the historical and the cultural specificity of African countries.”21 Conclusion As is clear from the above that the process of globalisation is not a new process, rather it is the maturing and ascendance of the capitalist mode of production over many centuries. The state is being transformed in a manner due to various processes that accompany globalisation with respect to both internal and external policies as well as in all spheres of a state’s activity. Also, the reorganisation of production and manufacturing –– and the mobility of capital –– limits the state’s capacity to extract from the capital. This curtails and diminishes the state’s capacity to divert what it has extracted from the capital for social intervention and distribution. This makes it difficult for the state to cater to the needs of the masses in an effective manner. The result is growing social pressure on the state. There may be situations where in the state may atrophy due to such intense pressure. But in most cases the state tries to constrict democratic space so as to cater to the needs of globalisation. In such an eventuality, and with a shrinking pie, many different social formations –– aggregated on the bases of ethnicity, race, class, religion, etc. –– apply different forms of pressure on the state. Such moves are invariably resisted. At some point these challenging groups will take recourse to violence and this only adds to more violence from the state. A vicious cycle of violence is started. The implications of such a trajectory are clearly obvious with many examples of such violence. Such
Q U A R T E R L Y
tragedies are unfortunately accompanied with enormous human costs and sufferings. In the context of Africa, the pre-colonial period had many forms of democratic governance. These were replaced during the colonial period with authoritarian states, whose aim was to cater to the needs of the colonial masters. Even though African states attained political independence, their economic ties with the former colonial countries remained very strong. For example, almost half of the continent’s countries became part of the Francophone zone. However, as it is clear from the experience of many of these countries, without a strong capacity to extract economic surplus for social intervention, the states were under tremendous pressure. In some extreme cases they have atrophied. Paradoxically, the success of many Asian countries meant that there was not only an alternative in terms of markets but also in terms of models and the manner in which to engage with the global system. Thus there are both opportunities and dangers that globalisation provides. It has many pitfalls, but as experience has shown there are many opportunities it has thrown up as well. There is thus a need to use these opportunities to create more favourable terms of exchange and use this surplus for social reproduction. This can be done by focusing social intervention on appropriate spheres to foster holistic development and alleviate deprivation. However, the bottom line is that African countries have to assert themselves externally while setting their own houses in order. Towards this end many of the nascent moves are but a beginning of long and difficult road towards ending violence and achieving durable democratic systems.
References 1. Montegue cites evidence of 41,500 wars during the last 5,600 years of recorded history, i.e. only 10 of the 185 generations were fortunate to enjoy uninterrupted peace. R. Paul Shaw and Yuwa Wong, ‘Genetic Seeds of Warfare: Evolution, Nationalism, Patriotism’, Boston, Unwin Hyman, 1989. p.3 2. William I. Robinson, ‘Social Theory and Globalisation: The Rise of a Transnational State, Theory and Society’, (Vol. 30) 2001, pp. 157-200. p.158 3. ibid p.160 4. ibid p.173 5. Quoted in Gil Gunderson, Review Essay: ‘Democratic Government in the Age of Globalisation? Public Organisation Review: A Global Journal’, (Vol. 3) 2003, pp. 421-429. p.21 6. Joseph E. Stiglitz, ‘Globalisation and its Discontents’, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2003, p.288 7. ibid. p. 249 8. Philip G. Cerny, ‘Globalisation and the Erosion of Democracy’, European Journal of Political Research, (Vol. 36) 1999, pp.1-26 9. ibid. p.2 10. ibid. p.10 11. ibid. p.18
12. ibid. p.21 13. Ted Gurr (ed.), ‘Violence in America: Protest, Rebellion, Reform’, New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1989 p.13 14. John Burton, ‘Conflict: Resolution and Prevention’, New York, St. Martin Press, 1990, p.4 15. Johan Galtung, ‘Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilisation’, London, Sage Publication, 1996 16. Matthew Todd Bradley, ‘“The Other’’: Precursory African Conceptions of Democracy, International Studies Review’, (Vol. 7) 2005, pp. 407-431. 17. Fortes and Evans-Pritchard quoted in ibid. p.414 18. African Union, ‘Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union’, 10 July 2002, http://www.african-union.org. 19. Kempe Ronald Hope, Sr., ‘Practitioner Perspective Toward Good Governance and Sustainable Development: The African Peer Review Mechanism Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions’, (Vol. 18, No. 2) April 2005 pp. 283-311. 20. Bradley, op cit. p.414. 21. Claude Ake quoted in ibid. p.414