The Fire this time By Teodros Kiros
George Katsificas, the renowned thinker on Social movements writes:
Without international connections, even the best of uprisings returns to the status quo ante. Nelson Mandela emerged from decades of prison to an awakened and free South Africa, only to implement neoliberal policies. Vietnam’s reunification after victory over the US was soon followed by their headlong rush to gain WTO membership and invite the World Bank to “assist”
In Ethiopia’s case, a Horn of Africa liberated zone uniting them with Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and others in the region could possibly break the stranglehold of militarized nation-states. In place of national elites which siphon off people’s wealth into unnecessary and wasteful state programs, activated grassroots movements could provide new structures within which
people’s needs, not elite profits, are the overriding criterion for allocating precious resources.
Indeed this time the people’s fire will not be put down. Once the uprisings begin the fire will keep on burning, until the Tyrannical system is dismantled. The people will come to the streets of Addis and beyond to the lush and green of the south in millions- motivated by anger and disciplined by vision. They will stay on the streets peacefully marching and living on the streets, along with the organizers. Youth, country dwellers, intellectuals and others will have to join on the march of freedom. Their organizers will see to it this time that the regime does not call them looters and hooligans. This is a march of revolutionary freedom propelled by a commitment to the people, that this time they are not going to be promised revolutionary democracy and be given oligarchy combined with tyranny.
We must sing with Bob Marley that we cannot full the people all the time. The fire this time wants to put an end to class privileges. This time poor people are going to be promised the good life, and we must make sure that they get it, through alliances in the people’s movement in the Horn of Africa and North Africa.
The fire this time is going to consume class privileges and Ethiopianity must attend to international class forces and build genuine democracy, the people’s democracy. Active intellectuals can direct the movement, which belongs to the people; the people alone can and must lead the movement. The movement belongs to the people, since it will originate in their passions and instinctive love of freedom and prosperity.
Central to the success of this movement is the establishment of international connections with the people of the north and the east whose lives have long been deemed by the darkness of oligarchy and tyranny.
The material conditions of the wretched of the earth must determine the content of the fire this time, the fire that will Consume the forces of tyranny and oligarchy.
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music