Africa's adjustment to transnational capital : the political economy of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
AbstractThis dissertation situates Africa’s macro-restructuring through the AU-NEPAD in the context of a disciplined post-colonial Africa. It challenges the claims of the AU-NEPAD as being reflective of the aspirations of Africa’s people and the appropriate African solution to Africa’s structural challenges. This study argues that the ostensible counterhegemonic discourse of AU-NEPAD vis-à-vis global capitalism merely expresses a new politics of reformism that ensures Africa integrates its national circuits of accumulation into global capitalism on the terms of transnational capital. Africa’s adjustment to transnational capital through the AU-NEPAD is not the same as national debt based conditionality adjustment. Instead, AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring is treated as a multidimensional class project to ensure a new African order is constituted in which Africa’s states and societies are further subordinated to the non-hegemonic rule of transnational capital. AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring is central to facilitating Africa’s continental passive revolution and creating the conditions for a new scramble for Africa’s natural resources, markets and states. This study explains the role of AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring as a class project of the transnational fraction of Africa’s ruling classes in three ways. First, it highlights how the shifting relations of force of a disciplined Africa spawned a conjuncture in which nationally based transnational class formation and structural change created the conditions for a continental project of Afro-neoliberal macro-restructuring. This study historicises the underpinnings of this project. It shows how a class consensus emerged around new concepts of control for the macro-restructuring of Africa. Such new concepts of ‘security and stability’, ‘liberal democracy’, ‘globalisation’ and ‘partnership’ cemented the basis for a common Afro-neoliberal consensus within the transnational fraction of Africa’s ruling classes. This consensus expressed itself concretely through the AUNEPAD and indigenised transnational neoliberalism as Afro-neoliberalism at the continental level. iv Second, this study goes inside the AU-NEPAD project to understand how Afroneoliberalism works at the level of macro-restructuring as distinct from national structural adjustment to transnational capital. It shows how macro-restructuring is a form of adjustment but grounded in situated class practices at a continental level. Such class practices are materially grounded and express the structural and direct power of the transnational fraction of Africa’s ruling class to advance AU-NEPAD macrorestructuring. Concepts, principles, discourses, policy frameworks and various tactics are expressions of these class practices. In this study the AU-NEPAD is based on five key strategic thrusts which inform class practices inside AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring: (i) the discourse of the African Renaissance and Afro-neoliberal capitalism through which pan-Africanism is appropriated; (ii) the imposition and construction of partnership on the continent; (iii) using peace and stability interventions not just to end conflict but to implant Afro-neoliberal societies and assimilate illiberal Africa; (iv) excluding and coopting mass forces and (v) fostering ‘partnership’ with the US-led transnational historical bloc. Finally, this study explains AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring as a class project by bringing into view how Afro-neoliberalism as an instrument of class rule is further defined at the intersection with and through responses from key multi-lateral and private transnational institutions within the US-led transnational historical bloc. This study shows how the UN, the IMF and World Bank, the G8 and the World Economic Forum embrace AU-NEPAD macro-restructuring and globalise a consensus about what Africa means and what its development challenges and solutions are. In this process of hegemonic engagement Africa is integrated into global capitalism through a new balance between consent and coercion and the politico-ideological integration of the Afroneoliberal historic bloc into the US-led transnational historical bloc on the terms of transnational capital.