Africa And The BRICS Formation – OpEd

By Horace Campbell

The fourth BRICS Summit met in New Delhi, India, on 29 March 2012 under the theme, ‘BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity.’ From the press reports coming out India, we have learnt that the leaders of Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa signed two pacts to stimulate trade in their local currencies and agreed on a joint working group to set up a South-South Development Bank that will raise their economic weight globally.

The participating banks for this new international financial struggle include the Export Import Bank of India, Banco Nacional de Desenvolimento Economico e Social (BNDES) of Brazil, State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs of Russia, China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa. At the end of the meeting the five leaders issued the 50 point Delhi Declaration declaring their intention to further strengthen “our partnership for common development and take our cooperation forward on the basis of openness, solidarity, mutual understanding and trust.” [1]

In our commentary this week we reflect on the seismic changes in the global economy and the reality that Europe has suffered so much from the capitalist crisis that the major capitalist corporations are making preparations for the collapse of the Euro. [2] With each passing day there are reports in the financial press that ‘investors are taking huge sums out of eurozone bonds. [3] Where the BRIC leaders had started a formation to facilitate their expanded trading relationships, the collapse of the dollar zone and the Eurozone has accelerated so fast that the policy makers are now improvising without a clear road map as to a project of real international solidarity. To their credit, the BRICS leaders have seen concretely that there is no alternative to moving from a unipolar world to a multipolar world in the 21st Century that is based on mutual respect and an end to hierarchies. Yet, as we will argue in this extended commentary, the focus of the planning of the peoples of the South should no longer be on the basis of bargaining for better terms with western capitalist states. We will maintain that for genuine social and economic transformations to take place in these countries representing 45 per cent of the world’s population, it will be necessary to make a clean break with the ideas of ‘historic capitalism.’ [4] Whether the BRICS formation will be the embryo of a ‘new wave of independent initiatives from the South’ or based on regional hegemons will be dependent on the extent to which the forces of social justice and emancipation engage the political and ideological struggles around BRICS. A 17 point action plan focused on issues relating to finance, health, population, food security and multilateral energy cooperation within the BRIC’s framework provides spaces for a new research and policy agenda that could strengthen and consolidate the goals of a new framework for economic cooperation. In this way progressive scholars can give meaning to the call for the expansion of the channels of communication, exchanges and people-to-people contact amongst the BRICS, including in the areas of youth, education, culture, tourism and sports. [5]

The current leaders of India aspire for a BRICS and the ‘development bank’ to be an auxiliary institution of the World Bank. Inside South America, Brazil is the society that is represented as a rising major power but the African descendants and the indigenous peoples in that society are involved in a major struggle for reparative justice. Temporarily, South Africa carries the torch for Africa within BRICS but we will analyze the limitations of this present arrangement arguing that the strength of BRICS will be realized in a context when new international formations such as BRICS have the full weight of African representation from a united peoples of Africa and a Brazil that is democratized to reflect the political representation of the majority of the Brazilian population. Ultimately, for BRICS to be a real alternative it will have to have a clear strategy about expansion so that the goals of building another world based on peace and real international solidarity can be realized.

FROM REALISM TO BRICS AND UBUNTU

When the financial analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote their forecasts on the future of the BRIC economics in 2003, “Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050,” [6] it was not in their calculation that in less than ten years the capitalist system would be in deep crisis and that the societies of the European Union would be on their knees with emissaries seeking bailout from China, Brazil and even African states. At the time of the 2012 Summit the New York Times grudgingly reported that, “Last November, Mr. O’Neill predicted that the group’s combined economies, now worth almost $13 trillion, would double in the coming decade, eventually surpassing the size of the economies of both the United States and the European Union.” [7] Opportunistically, the leaders of Britain are jockeying for London to be an offshore center for trade in the Chinese currency. With the news of the collapse of the Euro spooking the bond traders in Europe, a few days ago the bank HSBC announced that it was about to sell bonds denominated in the Chinese Currency (RMB or Yuan). European capitalists from the London capital markets are no longer waiting for a neat change in the property laws inside of China which would guarantee holding large amounts of Chinese currencies and assets.

Today, the reality of a changed international system is evident and policy makers in all parts of the world are seeking to adjust to this new reality. Out of a force of habit from the past hundred years European and US policy makers seek to shape perceptions of the ‘emerging countries’ [8] and it is from their schools where there are scholars who pontificate on which society will be the hegemons in the next fifty years.

Students who start from realist theories in international relations have studied ideas of strength and power for so long that in their analysis and calculation, there can be no other possibility than a world where there is one or two military ‘superpowers.’ Whether it is Henry Kissinger who in his book, ‘On China,’ envisages the dominance of China, (as long as it takes the capitalist path) or Zbigniew Brzezinski who envisage a new alliance between China and the United States in a Group of Two (so that the present Chinese political leadership can deepen their alliance with the plutocrats of Wall Street), realism and realist doctrines echo across the globe. From the United Kingdom, British scholars and journalists pontificate on the rise of China arguing that China’s economic and political clout will only be realized when China embrace western ‘democratic’ values. [9] Robert Kaplan completes this realist tapestry by writing on the rivalry between China and the United States in the Indian Ocean. [10] From inside Chinese Universities and think tanks leading realist scholars such as Professor Yan Xuetong of Tsinghua University and Wang Yizhou, Vice Dean School of International Studies at Peking University ponder on the need for the Rise of China in order to end the dominance of United States or the U.S.-led world order.” These Chinese institutions now produce books and monographs on the Rise of China and fete scholars who write books such as that of Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. [11]

When I attended the 11th annual conference on Chinese diplomacy in Beijing last December, it was striking how much emphasis the realists were placing on the future relationship with the United States as if there were no other important regional formations. It was left to by Le Yucheng, Assistant Minister and Director Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to highlight the new importance of BRICS for Chinese foreign policy. In his keynote address “Current International Situation and China’s Foreign Affairs” le Yucheng grasped the importance of BRICS and communicated this, especially in the context of financial crisis in Europe, the revolutionary change in Egypt and the diminution of the dollar. Thus far, because of the intellectual and political retreat from Marxism and Maoism in China, the political leaders have been supporting the ideas of Confucius, “that everyone should know their place in social hierarchies.” Many of the top intellectuals within the political establishment of China who seek to trace their lineage to their proper place in the social hierarchy of China prior to 1949 do not factor in the international crisis of capitalism in their analysis of the new global order.

It is in India where the perverse idea of social hierarchy has been institutionalized in a caste system to the point where these ideas hold back the full potential of all of the peoples of India. Realist scholars in India respond to the end of the US dominance by holding on to a vision where the ideas and policies of the United States can form the basis for an alliance between the Indian ruling class and the United States to ‘balance’ the rise of China. Although touted as a ‘rising economy,’ India has been the largest recipient of World Bank loans. This alliance between the Indian governing class and the Bretton Woods Institutions ensured that in his address to the BRICS Summit, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh said that, BRICS need to “expand the capital base of the World Bank and other Multilateral Development Banks to enable these institutions to perform their appropriate role in financing infrastructure development.” [12] There is a wider intellectual canvas in India with younger scholars recognizing the need to go beyond neo-realism in international affairs. There are major political and social struggles all over India with some of these struggles militarized. Scholars such as Sreeram Chaulia have written on need for the refinement of theories relating to South-South Cooperation. In the dominant centers of International Relations theories there is great fear of theoretical frameworks that start from a radical feminist perspective.

Russia has retreated from all ideas of building an egalitarian society and is now suspended between its socialist past and its oligarchic present. Russia is already in a formation with China called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and recently carried out joint military operations with China. Russia is one of the societies which is still reeling from destructive dismantling of the planned economy. [13] while in Brazil the intellectual struggles are as intense as the political struggles for democratization for that society to break out of racial hierarchies. Russian scholars have been very active in calling for a clear role for BRIC in articulating the construction of a new international order. [14] In the emerging global order, the majority of the peoples of the South are seeking new relations beyond the reproduction on new ‘superpowers.’ [15] Inside Brazil, the majority of the peoples are struggling for a form of democratization that repairs the centuries of destruction and genocidal economics. Foremost among these peoples are those of African descent at home and abroad who are seeking to move to a new philosophical basis for international politics, one that harnesses the resources of the planet to lay the foundations for peaceful relations. It is here where the philosophy of Ubuntu holds promise in proposing a different priority from the old ideas of strength, power, military might and the ‘development of the productive forces.’

In 2011 South Africa was invited by China to its summit on the Chinese island of Hainan and South Africa became the fifth member of BRIC. When South Africa became the full member there were a number of choices before the South Africans, either reproducing realist ideas that South Africa was the strongest economy in Africa, a regional hegemon and hence logically entered the club of the ‘emerging powers’ or pushing for BRICS to engage questions of peace, health and the environment to break the preoccupation with ‘trade and development’ It was the South African struggle that popularized the ideas of Ubuntu but since the coming to power of the African National Congress (ANC), the political leaders have embraced the ideas of capitalist development while posturing as defenders of African freedom. The memory of the self-organization of the popular classes in the anti-apartheid struggle is still fresh in the minds of the people so the political leadership cannot jettison the ideas of African liberation. More importantly, it was this anti-apartheid struggle that gave birth to new forms of internationalism.

Thus, while progressive Pan Africanists hail the emergence of BRICS as a possible alternative to neo-liberal hegemony, the planet will not have shaken the shackles of oppression by opposing US financial dominance and replacing it with multilateral neo-liberal cooperation between rising capitalist states in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The progressive African point of view on the emergence of BRICS is now being demanded as more and more there are initiatives coming from BRICS such as the formation of a development bank.

REVISITING THE EVOLUTION OF BRICS AND THE BUILDING OF A FAIRER WORLD

Vladimir Shubin, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (one of the intellectual holdovers from the era of socialist solidarity) has been one of the more engaging scholars from the BRIC countries who has shed some light on the thinking behind the leaders of BRIC in their invitation to the South Africans to become a member of BRIC. In his paper “BRIC or BRICS,” Shubin, a leading authority on the relationship between Russia and the liberation movements in Africa, wrote of South Africa’s aspiration to be part of a ‘core of nonwestern powers.’ [16] Shubin’s writings are useful in so far as we are exposed to some of the thinking outside of western Europe on the evolution BRICS and the overlapping relations of the IBSA Dialogue Forum. During the height of the struggles over intellectual property rights in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the future of generic medicines, India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) had established the IBSA forum as a platform to engage in discussions for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, trade, culture, and defence among others. One of the top priorities of IBSA was for the democratization of the Security Council of the United Nations and for the end to the veto power of the five permanent members. These three states had an interest in becoming permanent members of the Security Council displacing France and Britain. Neither China nor Russia is enthusiastic about the democratization of the Security Council of the United Nations.

South Africa’s ability to exercise any real leadership within IBSA was circumscribed by the proclamation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) strategy for Africa’s economic transformation. Numerous African scholars have written extensively on how World Bank ‘development’ ideas were at the foundation of this NEPAD. [17] These critiques of NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are instructive in so far as the leaders of the BRICS formation continue to maintain that the outmoded MDG goals “remain a fundamental milestone in the development agenda.” For the past ten years NEPAD was another foreign policy instrument for South African capital. Throughout Africa imperial economists have been able to recruit African technocrats who have been as energetic as the Bretton Woods institutions in promoting ‘economic structural adjustment programmes.’ These liberalization projects have been labeled as ‘economic terrorism.’ This economic terror has taken the form of a sustained attack on the living standards of the African peoples and the clear deterioration of the quality of life that has brought into being a new political consciousness in Africa. In all parts of Africa citizens have to do with little or no access to the basic necessities of clean water, health care, decent education and housing. Neo-liberalism and structural adjustment strengthened the alliance between the African ruling classes and the imperial overlords so that IMF and World Bank fundamentalism ensured that the profitability of enterprises took pride of place before human lives.

African governments have embraced neo-liberal exploitation without the direct involvement of the international financial institutions’ such as the IMF and the World Bank. In this way, leaders in societies such as India and the majority of African states will continue to serve the interests of global capitalism. Globalization gave unprecedented mobility for the lords of finance so they were not worried about national boundaries. What was most important was that ‘development’ serves the interest of the one per cent. This would include reproducing one per centers in the BRICS societies. In the discourse of the financial barons, ‘development’ was supposed to be in the hands of experts and should exclude the skills, consciousness and capabilities of the producing classes. This kind of ‘development’ (according to the Walt Rostow model) was for the demobilization and depoliticization of the people who fought for independence.

Time was not standing still and by 2008 when the full blown capitalist crisis exploded, then there were new initiatives to create other international formations. It was just after the crash of Wall Street in 2008 when the first official multilateral conference of Brazil, Russia, India and China met in June 2009 in the Russian City of Yekaterinburg. Previously, in 2006 the foreign ministers of the four countries had met unofficially in the city of New York, followed by a meeting at diplomatic level in Yekaterinburg in May 2008. The declared objective of the first summit of BRIC was spelt out by the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who said: “The BRIC summit aims to create the conditions for the building of a fairer world order and the creation of a favourable environment for resolution of global problems. At the same time, we must not overlook our national problems and objectives, which are priorities for all of us, of course, priorities for all the respective leaders and governments” [18] One could see from the declaration that there had not been much thought given to what would constitute a ‘fairer’ world order.

The second summit of BRIC was held in Brasilia, Brazil in 2010 where the same ‘reform’ agenda echoed as the final communique. The leaders called for reforming financial institutions. It was in the context of the flurry of meetings of the G20 meeting in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea when South Africa was formally invited by the Chinese to attend the third summit of BRIC which was to be held on the Chinese Island of Hainan in April 2011. This summit took place at the height of the NATO bombing of Libya but apart from the statements of condemnation in the communique there were no strong pressures to rally the international community against the manipulation of the Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations on responsibility to protect. The Chinese and the Russians took cover from making any grand statement by arguing that South Africa had voted to support the UN resolution while the two permanent members had abstained.

The final communique from the SANYA, Hainan meeting declared,

“Leaders of the five fast-growing emerging economies vowed to support the reform and improvement in international monetary system for the establishment of a stable, reliable and broad-based international reserve currency system.

“The international financial crisis has exposed the inadequacies and deficiencies of the existing international monetary and financial system.” [19]

This declaration was being overtaken by the collapse of the old financial architecture. Before the end of 2011, the importance of BRICS as an alternative international formation was manifest by legations from the European Union travelling to China and Brazil seeking bailout for the Euro. The collapse of the European alternative to the dollar narrowed the choices before the countries of BRICS and it is this reality that should shed light on the call for BRICS to establish a development Bank at the end of the fourth summit in New Delhi.

REJECTING WAR AGAINST IRAN

The focus on financial relations and on creating new basis for economic relations overshadowed the burning international questions of the drumbeats of war in the Persian Gulf and the continued build-up of US military presence in Asia-Pacific and in Africa. We do not know if the leaders of BRICS discussed the question of the aftermath of Libya because Libya was not mentioned in the press reports. It was from Cuba in the last year where in a conference with intellectuals Fidel Castro was in a discussion where it was said that in all parts of the world those who want peace must discuss Libya. In particular, it was discussed that there should be international opposition to the killing of Africans in their own country and calling them mercenaries as is the case for the township of Tawerga. [20]

We do know that during the last year Russia attempted to reconvene the UN Security Council to discuss the killing of innocent Africans who were deemed to be ‘African’ mercenaries in an African country. Collectively, the leaders of BRICS do not support the bellicose postures toward Iran and these leaders understand the long term goals of Israel and the militaristic wing of US capital. This was manifest in a strong and forthright statement that,

“The situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one’s interest. Iran has a crucial role to play for the peaceful development and prosperity of a region of high political and economic relevance, and we look to it to play its part as a responsible member of the global community. We are concerned about the situation that is emerging around Iran’s nuclear issue. We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue between the parties concerned, including between the IAEA and Iran and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”

BRICS AND THE CALL FOR A NEW DEVELOPMENT BANK

Where the final communique of the fourth BRICS summit was short on recommendations for a clear statement on the ‘colossal failure of NATO in Libya, it was robust in the call for a new development bank. The objective of the BRICS bank will be to scale up intra-Brics trade which has been growing at the rate of 28 per cent over the last few years. We are informed in a missive from New Delhi that, “Brics sign 2 currency pacts.”

This article informed us that at US$230 billion, interBrics remains much below the potential of the five economic powerhouses. Brics has set a target of interBrics trade to be US$500 billion by 2015. For this purpose there was the directive for the setting up of a BRICS Development bank. The BRICS Delhi Declaration said that, “The bank is being envisaged to mobilise “resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brics and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.” The leaders directed their finance ministers “to examine the feasibility and viability of such an initiative, set up a joint working group for further study, and report back to us by the next summit”, said the declaration.

This move to develop a complimentary institution to supplement the existing efforts to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank contains all of the contradictions inherent in the ideation system of those who want to catch up and surpass the West. Progressive Pan Africanists yearn for the weakening of the financial hegemony of imperialist states of the Anglo-American world and are searching for levers to break the stranglehold of the Washington Consensus. In every part of Africa there is awareness that there is need for massive infrastructural investment (roads, rail, ports, Information and Telecommunications, air transport, energy and power generation, canals and water management) that will strengthen inter African trade and break the deformed patterns of extraction of resources. However, Africans will be vigilant to ensure that the ‘development’ plans of BRICS do not reproduce the five decades of ‘development’ that Africa has witnessed since independence.

The Indian Prime Minister was explicit about the kind of development that he had in mind when in his speech he argued that the BRICS development Bank will be a supplementary institution to the World Bank. Progressive grassroots movements and intellectuals in the global South have been explicit in calling for an alternative to the priorities of the World Bank. Already, the Export Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank spends more money in the developing world than the World Bank. The Financial Times reported that in 2009 China spent over US $108. Billion while the World Bank spent US $100.3 b. This shift in the source of development funds is most explicit in Africa where according to information from the Exim bank of China, in the last year China invested more than US $35b in Africa. What must change are the priorities of these investments.

Dr Sreeram Chaulia, a leading Indian scholar of International Relations gave some indication of the thinking in India that went into the proposal for a development bank. Chaulia in arguing that the World Bank and the IMF have outlived their usefulness suggested that the new Development Bank of BRICS should be patterned after the Bank of the South that has been explicit in its opposition to ‘development’ plans based on neo-liberal ideas. Chaulia argued that,

“The concept of an intergovernmental bank paralleling or opposing the World Bank and operating on different ideological and procedural bases is not novel, as there is already a ‘Bank of the South’ (Banco del Sur) in existence in Latin America. It is a monetary and lending organisation with seven member countries, including Brazil, and a modest seed capital of $20 billion. Its mere presence has carved an autonomous space. India’s motive and selling point in advancing the proposal for a Brics bank is, likewise, that the Bretton Woods institutions have historically failed to meet the developmental requirements of the Global South and that alternatives can now be erected on the shoulders of rising powers within the South, which have accumulated vast capital reserves. It would be a financial revolution if the proposed Brics bank is integrated with the Bank of the South in Latin America through the common bridge of Brazil. Brics must avoid dangling the threat of launching a new bank only to win some more representation within the World Bank and the IMF. The Brics bank must not become a mere bargaining ploy which could be shelved if more voting rights were given to the five emerging economies in western-led international financial institutions. A bank for the entire Global South should be non-negotiable, so that Least Developed Countries (LDC) keep faith in emerging powers who are growing at a much faster rate.” [21]

THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE BRICS BANK

I have quoted Chaulia extensively because I agree that the formation of BRICS must not become a bargaining ploy for Chinese and Indian leaders to better their relationship with western financial capitalists. From the experiences of NEPAD and the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), African progressives can have no confidence in the present political leaders in South Africa to promote an agenda which is for the benefit of Africans in general and not South African capitalists. It is here where it is imperative that progressive and patriotic Africans work harder for the full harmonization of economic relations within the African Union so that the future of BRICS will be anchored in an international environment where the African representation in BRICS will be on behalf of Africa as a whole.

The struggles to make the ‘investments’ of BRICS more accountable must be engaged within South Africa so that the neo-liberal priorities of the present government must be reversed. Thus, in the short run, while South Africa carries the banner of Africa within BRICS, the political leadership in South Africa must be held accountable so that the investment strategies do not replicate the destructive investments that have been championed by the South Africans with the World Bank. The financing of the coal fired plant in South Africa is but one example of the need for a wider discussion on the investment strategies of the future BRICS bank. Africa should not be a dumping ground for old technologies that are destroying the environment. France is busy seeking to align with China to sell nuclear reactors to South Africa.

In a recent book, To Cook a Continent, African scholars have been warning about the dangers and consequences of the destructive forms of extraction of resources from Africa. The proposed BRICS bank will be put on notice that Africans will be vigilant to see that Chinese, Russia, Brazilian and Indian conglomerates operate in ways that respect Africans as humans. African workers are organizing against capitalists from BRICS that seek to reproduce low wage environments with the absence of the rights of workers. Africans will not replace plunder from western capitalists by new extractive capitalists from the East and from Brazil. Importantly, African progressives will not support another financial institution that facilitate capital flight from Africa. BRICS can move decisively to ensure that it is committed to the principle of the return of stolen assets and reparations.

UBUNTU IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS – BEYOND CONFUCIAN HIERARCHIES

The African peoples have a clear sense of the need for a new Development Bank to supplant the IMF but this financial institution cannot be based on the ideas of Walt Rostow or Henry Kissinger. Samir Amin was very clear as to the new kind of social transformation that must be in tandem with this ’development.’

“Development cannot be reduced to its apparently major economic dimension- the growth of GNP and the expansion of markets(both exports and internal markets)- even when it takes into consideration the ‘social’ dimensions (degrees of inequality in the distribution of income, access to public services like education and health). ‘Development’ is an overall process that involves the definition of political objectives and how they are articulated: democratization of society and emancipation of individuals, affirmation of the power and autonomy of the nation in the world system.” [22]

This was the principle of development and social progress as it was articulated by the Bandung project. Imperialism fought to roll back this project of the autonomy of societies and nations in the world system. It was in Africa where this counter revolutionary energy was fed by white supremacy so Africans will strategize for the building of a new international system. This system cannot be based on a Confucian principle of hierarchies or an Indian caste system. In the medium term, if BRICS is to be the anchor of a new social order, it must have a strategy for a phased expansion.

Africans will support BRICS while they are fighting against oppression at home and abroad. Africans welcome the idea of linking up with the bank of the South in so far as it is in Latin America where the struggles against neo-liberalism and racism are most advanced. In Argentina the radical initiatives in relation to an assertive role of the Central bank and the nationalizing of foreign oil companies is now making headlines. The struggles of African descendants in Latin America have brought issues of racism and racial discrimination out in the open. It is in Brazil where the African descendants constitute the majority of the population where this struggle is most intense. The fight against racism in Brazil is going on at the same time when Africans are working hard to strengthen the African Union. It is the convergence of these two struggles which will influence the outcome of Dreaming with BRICS the path to 2050. In this way the future of BRICS will be linked to a multipolar world that is against all forms of oppression. This would expose the caste systems of Russia, China and India and be pushed by the same alliance that promoted Ubuntu in the African Liberation struggles.

Ubuntu emphasizes linked humanity and our intrinsic connection with a complex universe. The processes of ‘development that we have seen over the past thirty years have reinforced the forms of production and consumption that is speeding the destruction of the planet earth. Although in the communique the leaders of BRICS affirmed the concept of a ‘green economy,’ the language of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘economic growth’ point to the old forms of economic industrialization that has brought the world to a tipping point. The carrying capacity of the planet cannot sustain a mode of capitalist economic development that mimics the forms of human organization of Western Europe and North America. China and India argue that they are developing countries in fora that deals with climate change but want to continue the destructive forms of economic management. Ubuntu opens the space for us to understand how different parts of the universe fit together, with an understanding that “everything is connected to everything else.” As temporary inhabitants of the physical space on earth, we begin to appreciate the reality that the biosphere is the global ecological system integrating all living beings and their relationships, including their interaction with the elements of the cooperating systems (atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere).

We are entering the era of the bio-economy and the idea of a BRICS development bank must have as its first priority the health and safety of the planet and the health and safety of humans everywhere.

Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University.

END NOTES

[1] Fourth BRICS Summit – Delhi Declaration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India, March 29, 2012
[2] Andrea Felsted, “Companies make plans in case the euro collapses”, in Risk Management, Financial Times Special Report, April 16 2012, p.2.
[3] David Oakley, “Investors taking huge sums out of eurozone bonds”, Financial Times, April 17 2012, p.21
[4] Samir Amin discusses the challenges of ending historic capitalism in the book, Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or Ending Capitalism? Pambazuka Books, Oxford, 2011
[5] Delhi Declaration, No.49
[6] Goldman Sachs, 2001. Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050. London,
[7] Jim Yardley, “For Group of 5 Nations, Acronym Is Easy, but Common Ground Is Hard”
[8] Roberts, Cynthia. 2011. Building the New World Order BRIC by BRIC. The European Financial Review, Spring issue, pp.4-8.
[9] Jonathan Fenby, Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and where it is heading, Simon & Schuster, New York 2012. This line of argument is reproduced by Will Hutton, The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century, Little, Brown & Company, New York 2007
[10] Robert Kaplan, “South Asia’s Geography of Conflict, Council For Foreign Relations,” New York, September 2011
[11] Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, Penguin Press, 2012
[12] http://pmindia.nic.in/content_print.php?nodeid=1156&nodetype=2
[13] Kotz, David M, “Russia’s Financial Crisis: The Failure of Neoliberalism?” Z Magazine, January, 1999, 28-32., See also David Harvey, The New Imperialism, Clarendon Press Oxford, 2003
[14] Davydov, Vladimir. 2008. The Role of Brazil, Russia, India & China (BRIC) In the Construction Of the International Order. Megatrend Review, vol.5, (1), pp.85-97.
[15] Brazil As an Economic Superpower?: Understanding Brazil’s Changing Role in the Global Economy, edited by Leonardo Martinez – Diaz and Lael Brainard, Brookings Institute, Washington 2009
[16] Vladimir Shubin, “BRIC or BRICS?” Paper presented at the Nordic Institute of African Studies, 2011
[17] There have been well developed critiques of NEPAD by scholars within Africa. See J.O. Adesina,” NEPAD and the Challenge of Africa’s Development: Towards the Political Economy of a Discourse,” African Journal of International Affairs, Volume 1 No.2, 2001. See also Samir Amin, “The Millennium Development Goals: A Critique from the South,” Monthly Review, Volume 57, Issue 10, 2006
[18] See Speech by the Russian President DMITRY MEDVEDEV at the BRIC summit, June 16, 2009
[19] China Daily, BRICS leaders issue Sanya Declaration, (Xinhua), April 14, 2011
[20] Fidel Castro Talk with Intellectuals: Our Duty is to struggle.
[21] Sreeram Chaulia, “Better coordination needed among Brics nations on international political issues,” Economic Times, March 21, 2012
[22] Samir Amin, Ending the Crisis of capitalism or Ending Capitalism? Pambazuka Press, 2011, Page 131

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