Solidarity for A New Ethiopia as a Social Movement – By Prof. Teodros Kiros

December 4th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Across the vast stretch of human history, the oppressed have always expressed themselves in concert galvanized by a search for the good life and organized in at least two forms. (more…)

Across the vast stretch of human history, the oppressed have always expressed themselves in concert galvanized by a search for the good life and organized in at least two forms. These forms are political movements and social movements, and these two forms have two radically different organizing principles.

Political movements are led by a political party, by a single leader. Movements inspired by Marxist ideas are invariably organized by a centralized political party, and articulated by a unifying political ideology. The revolutions of the twentieth century have been typified as political movements. The Russian revolution and the Chinese revolution are classic examples of political movements.

The Derg, for example, led the Ethiopian revolution as a political movement, in which the participation of the people in concert was conspicuously absent. The Ethiopian revolution, as Messay Kebede has recently argued, was largely influenced by the student movement that thought of itself as a political movement.

Again, the participation of the people was markedly absent.

Social movements have different aims. They are not organized by a single revolutionary principle, nor are they led by a single leader. The organizing principles of social movements are profound unhappiness, existential grief, alienation, social malaise, gross violation of human rights, and in the Ethiopian case, unbearable poverty.

The masses come in record numbers encumbered and burdened by the unbearable weight of the above organizing principles.

Contemporary Ethiopia is now weighed down by gross violations of the people’s rights, the memory of its heroes, the ongoing harassments of its icons, the open wound of those who lost their precious children, the existential crises caused by unmanaged poverty, the squashing of dissent and dissidents, the hopelessness of the youth’s future and the oppressive atmosphere of everyday life.

Such are the features of contemporary Ethiopia that Solidarity for a New Ethiopia has taken as its task, and under the able hands of writers of the likes of Professor Hailemariam, Obang Mehto, and many others, the Ethiopian people have now a venue through which they can participate as the leaders of Ethiopia’s New Social movement.

A feature article will address the legitimation crises that are haunting contemporary Ethiopia in desperate need of regime change, and which can only be led by the people themselves, across Ethnic lines, beyond hate and resentment, and framed by the glue of brotherhood and sisterhood, love and faith, and hope blended with courage.

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