Only An Ethiopian Uprising can save the Ethiopian Economy By Teodros Kiros

March 17th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

A careful study of world uprisings has convinced George Katsiaficas, the leading expert on social movements, that uprisings empower people and unleash their hitherto untapped passions and energies that fuel dormant economies and revive them in extraordinary ways.

Uprisings create spaces of organized political actions during which time the people develop some distinctly political qualities of leadership. The world has recently witnessed these new qualities in the spectacularly new models of people’s resistance to dictatorships of pharonic Egypt, a polity that was oppressed for 5000 years of successive dominance under its own pharaohs, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Mamluks.

Tahrir square gave us a new model of political action on the enterprising streets of Cairo, Alexandria and many other Egyptian towns.

George Katsiaficas defended this thesis in African Ascent, hosted by Teodros Kiros, and the interview can be viewed in YouTube by March 25th, 2011.

When people’s passions, imaginations and intelligences are freed from the snares of dictatorship; when people discover their powers and abilities on the streets of democracy; when the people learn that their liberation is tied to the liberation of the nation, then they draw from the hidden fountain of their intelligence to revive the economy. The economy can be revived only if they participate, only if they disalienate themselves and becoming the living engine of the economy.

We recently learned from Egypt that new social movements of youth, women, workers and other professionals created new spaces of action for themselves.

It is uprisings, which disclosed the protestors of Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya as actional and erotic beings and not passive and alienated spectators.

So the dormant Ethiopian economy can be energized and revived by peaceful uprisings, which will take power from dictators and their cohorts and give power directly to the people themselves.

A new vibrant Ethiopian economy is the consequence of the people’s activities. The current Ethiopian economic crises, which the Prime Minister refuses to see from the invisible space of the palace, can be saved only by the people themselves if they are freed from political darkness, civil boredom, ethnic narrow-mindedness, skepticism and cultural decadence, and come out in millions to Meskel square and demand regime change.

If and when this happens they will immediately embark on the long road of national development organized by the empowering principle of Ethiopianity. We can for the first time witness what the people can do, when they are trusted and coached to work for the nation-selflessly and intelligently.

Teodros Kiros
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music

  1. Just Wondering
    | #1

    Can the writer please explain to me how the Ethiopian economy is “dormant” citing some numbers? That will help us understand his theory. Absent that, this will only sound just that – theory.

  2. Tenkir
    | #2

    The makers of history are the people themselves.
    Freedom is no change of guards.It is no switching of one ruling elite with the other like TPLF has replaced the Dergue,in our case.
    The people should remain the sovereign rulers.
    A successful political change should also bring about positive changes in the economic lives of the people.Economic equity is the cornerstone of a true political liberation.
    Much has not yet been reflected about the wonder of Tahrir and the land of the great M.Bouazzizi. Much can be learnt from the experiences of our heroic North African brothers and sisters.
    Of course things are still unfolding in these countries and as well as others such as the murky Libya and its Middle Eastern counterparts.
    We are still watching developments with bated breath.
    Yet we can begin to have insights from the successes of these uprisings as much as from their possible drawbacks as occasioned by the Machiavellian and violent reactions of the autocrats they aspire to topple.
    In that respect the news that ‘…George Katsiaficas defended this thesis in African Ascent, hosted by Teodros Kiros, and the interview can be viewed in YouTube by March 25th, 2011…’ is a very welcome news.
    I, for one, am eager to watch it hoping to learn a lot from it.
    Thanks Teodros.

  3. Samuel
    | #3


    I really admire your tenacity, these days, to simplify a very complex poltics of Ethiopia and inform your audience. I also understand your passion in presenting the now and the future. I read your article elsewhere where you were calling for a formation of new party. In that article you laid out what the new party should aspire for. Your programs way off the mark of Ethiopian poltics. In fact you were calling for the unionist parties to to come together and pulverize “these” ethnic groups in the hope of estblishing what you call a country of “Ethiopianity”. You forgot that there are many in Ethiopia far more than you think who do not subscribe to your world vision. Your ideas are not pragmatic. You cannot wish away the Oromo’s quest for equality and justice just because you wanted Amharic to remain the only national language. I can assure you that will never happen. You better come to your senses so that we can do away qith Woyane’s dictatorship that is stripping us all of our dignity. If you think that you can wage an uprising without due particpation of the larger population then you are mistaken. Look through the mirror.

  4. Sam
    | #4

    I agree with what Kiros wrote here mostly. But what I have problem with his writing as well many others is the asasumption they spoused that Ethiopian democracy is going to happen if EPDRF is pushed out of the way. I have a problem with this theory. The monopoly of power grab by EPDRF certainly could squeeze out the incentive for democracy. But to believe disloging EPDRF from power gurantrees a democracy to come is a naive way of understanding politics in general, Ethiopian politics in particular. Why this theory is unpolished? First, EPDRF is here to stay. EPDRF might lose political power and turn out to be a minority party, but to outlaw the party is unconstitutional and impractical. There are people who are the party symphatisers who believe their politics is the right one. They have the right to espouse their beliefs. Second,to believe except EPDRF everybody certainly embraces democracy is another unfounded theory. Yes, EPDRF should turn to a minority party for democracy to have a chance. Whether that chance will be materialized or not no one could be sure given the political climate in the country now. Ethiopians should not jump from one wrong theory to another years after years. Doing that is being subjected to an endless disappointment. We should better learn from past disappointments.

    | #5

    I have seen your interview a couple days ago Ato Meles. you still think that Ethiopians are under you control but when you said Ethiopians have signed five years contracts that was really funny because All Ethipians are really tired of your authority because thire is no democracy, and fake development.

  6. aha!
    | #6

    At the out set the correlation of an uprising to a vibrant economy is a far fetched correlation. Alternatively, the the Non-violent reaction to freedom as is the case in Ethiopia is to achieve political and economic freedom and liberty of the silent majority of Ethiopians who live under authocratic, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship, embracing ethnic fedralism of self-rule, separate but unequal development of artifically demarcated ethnic boundries, with a divide and rule policy in a colonialist and apartheid system of adminstration. Having empowered the individual with economic and political freedom and liberty, economic growth in the form of per capita income and GDP, results from individual ownership of property as one of the means of production along with the availability of credit, I presume.

    Futhermore, the TPLF/eprdf regime not only suffers from its ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies as DR. Negede Gbeze puts it in his 7-page article of the lack of equal distribution of power of the branches of the government, as I have alluded to in the past. Instead the power is concentrated in the TPLF Politbuerro. That is why the question lies in the constitutional framework both as the ethnic and seccessionist policies, where the sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians is included and the balance and independece of the three branches of the government to estblish a democratic society from grounds up under one nation, one flag and one official language with Mharic alphabet, genuinely Ethiopian, where the ethnic populations thrive as the animal or plant species populations thrive competing for resources available uner the natural and man-made laws other than the the illdefined boundries allotted to the major ethnic groups.

    I hope Samuel will agree to the above point of views or present his “world vision” from the point of view from the negative forces of disintegration.

  7. tewbel
    | #7

    You talk about the oromo demand for equality and Justice. Good.
    But then the Oromo have been part and parcel of the Ethiopian power elite and governance or the Amhara establishment for the past five (500) years. I don’t uncerstand from whom they are claiming these rights since they are part of the hegemony that has govern Ethiopia. Whatever bad and good happened in Ethiopia they share the blame and the praise. You cannot be one day Ethiopian the Other day Oromo and the other day a victim etc. this pure bullshit. Why not simply say we want power of our own ? instead of fantasasing over fabricated history.

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