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»  2016  2016-08-04 側記Contemporary Third World Thought Lecture Series III: Lyn Ossome

 

Contemporary Third World Thought Lecture Series III: Lyn Ossome

Seminar I: Legacies of violence and democratic transitions in postcolonial Africa

 

2016, 4/26 (二) 14:00-17:00

地點:新竹交通大學人文社會學院二館106

 

*本場演講題目原為第二場,但主講人將之與第一場對調)

民主政治設下一些倫理界線,落在這些界線內的國家被認為是有效地推行民主。但最近二、三十年間,在許多非洲國家推行所謂參與式或民眾政治的情況下,層出不窮的暴力顯示在非洲的民主實踐中有非常根本的缺陷,使得一些群體持續遭受到暴力。確實,在許多非洲國家的實際經驗中,都指向自由主義民主政治和暴力之間的連繫。在本場演講中,Ossome從女性主義政治經濟學的視角切入,透過耙梳對於非洲的「暴力」的討論,進一步開展與推進這個視野。

首先,從Fanon對於被殖民者的抗爭之討論中,我們看到在非洲的情況裡,非洲人民被殖民者透過各種統治技術定義為非人的、落後的,且是透過暴力的手段來強化與完成。而這樣的經驗與烙印,並沒有僅僅因為「獨立」而解除,因為這些「獨立」往往仍是受限於殖民者規定的方式,由少數菁英階級主導並掌握權力,從統治階級的特質到獨立後的政體、制度等,其實都並未擺脫殖民遺緒。也因此引向一個非常重要的問題,何謂「自由」、「解放」,應該是要讓非洲人民自身來思考、醞釀與決定,但至今的情況是,即便是在「獨立」後,自由主義民主政治仍作為唯一選項,強加於非洲人民身上,因此,為了爭取真正的解放,被殖民者必須採取相應的手段。

因應Fanon此種被視為較激進的主張,一些學者如Elias Bongmba的回應是把暴力的責任歸咎於少數領袖,並認為是因為非洲人民的民主化程度不夠才是導致暴力的原因。然而此種分析是非常去歷史的,因為這樣的看法將「民主」視為絕對真理,同時落入殖民者定義的「非洲人」(本質上就是有缺憾、內含暴力的)窠臼,並未仔細檢視到底在非洲各個地方的特定歷史脈絡下,政治轉型到底是如何完成的,過程中又出了什麼問題。

另外一派學者如Archie Mafeje則將問題往前推進,認為應該更複雜化「暴力」的角色,它應被視為象徵著一種對於現代化方案的抗爭。現代化方案下的民主、人權、多黨政治其實扼殺了非洲按照自己步調發展的可能。此外,對於往往成為衝突的焦點的「族群」(ethnicity)Mafeje也提出重要看法:族群之所以成為衝突焦點,是因為獨立後的非洲國家的構成本身所導致的,由菁英主導的統治階級將自身定義成一個族群(而非階級),使本身無害(屬於某個群體)的族群概念政治化,成為要獲得國家資源唯一的路徑,也就是人民唯有透過成為某個政治化的族群,才能獲得資源。同時,常被詬病的非洲寡頭政治也其實跟殖民遺緒脫不了關係,特別是殖民者在非洲推行的「間接統治」系統有直接關係,因為這樣的統治模式的延續,關閉了其他讓人民可以取得國家資源的可能路徑與手段。而且在這些過程中,民主制度都無法解決這些衝突矛盾。

Bruce Berman從對建置的批判切入,認為無法回應族群問題的民主制度注定將要失敗,特別是自由主義民主模型,因為它是非歷史的,它不認真處理特定脈絡下的歷史狀況,把族群視為本身就內在於某些特定群體的定義中。

Mahmood Mamdani對於暴力進一步歷史化的分析,他認為反殖民的暴力不能僅僅被視為是非理性的展現。因為,當被殖民的歷史本身就是一個暴力的過程,如何要求被殖民者在被以同樣的方式捲入現代國家的時候突然從這樣的方式之中脫離出來?他認為種族衝突其實是一種政治衝突(political conflict),因此需要政治的解決(political resolution)。也就是不能僅以標定誰是受害者,誰是加害者,或在一個對與錯、有正當性與否的階序之中解決,而是看到受害者與加害者雙方之中的人性,在正視這些的前提下,尋求政治上的解決之道。同時,他也提出自由主義式民主制度本身的去歷史性,使得它無法處理變動的政治、社會脈絡,只能將這些稱之為「貪腐」而否定之。不是檢視這個制度本身出了什麼問題,去問這樣根本不考量在地特定歷史的架構,不管它定義下的「自由」概念對於這些被強加於上的人們而言是多麼不具意義,這樣的制度與思維模式本身到底出了什麼問題。

 

Democratic politics lays out certain ethical boundaries within which the state might be considered to be functioning as an effective democracy. The fact that various forms of violence persist in the context of participatory or popular politics as observed across many African countries suggests the existence of cracks in the very foundations of democratic practice in Africa, thus continually rendering certain groups vulnerable to violence. Indeed, experience in many countries across Africa directs attention to the link between liberal democratic politics and violence, which can no longer be considered a tenuous one. In this seminar, Ossome, with the perspective based on feminist political economy, took us through the ways in which the question of violence is been addressed or addressed to within theoretical fileds, the quite distinct debates about how are we to understand this violence that persists.

First, from Fanon’s analysis in the resistance of the colonized, we saw in Africa that the African people have been defined as non-human, backward by the colonizers through various governing techniques in a violent nature and ways. Such experiences and branding die not dissolve simply because being “independent”, for the independent are largely confined by the legacy of colonization, with elite class seize the state power, and the state formation and system remain something installed from outside. Thus a very important question: what it means to be free/liberated should be decided and developed by the people themselves. However, what happened is that the liberal democratic system are still put upon African people as the sole option for their own development, therefore calls for a dialectic of struggle, and most importantly, intrinsically deriving notions of what it means to be free, to be liberated.

In response, scholars such as Elias Bongmba collapses into the afropessimist frame, laying blame on the postcolonial project, the postindependent Africa leaders, and the proliferation of violence is because Africa is not sufficiently democratized, without questioning the notion itself. Such analysis is quite a-historical, because he never made his critic into a historical critique--everything is taken as "facts", as germane, intrinsic, to the continent or colonized people, without getting behind their roots, nature of political transition.

Archie Mafeje further explores the issue of violence, that violence should be seen as something symbolic of a struggle that is part of the modernization project, and democracy, human rights, multiparty politics truncate Africa's own march. Also, ethnic conflict and ethnicity are consequences of process of state formation in post-independence Africa. Ethnicity has been removed from the broader communities. So it's basically the elite who are transitioning to a postcolonial state, but are struggling to access the state through this definition of their ethnic entries. Also, the autocracies organized themselves around the ethnic question are a legacy of the colonial regime, you cannot understand it separate from the ways in which the colonialist organized rule, particularly "indirect rule". Democracy has shown itself as incapable of resolving the problems/questions for which ethnicity steps in as an alternative.

Bruce Berman looks at these questions from the institutionalist critique, arguing that any democratic model that doesn't account for the ethnic question is doomed to fail. Especially the liberal democratic model, that it's a-historical, it is not capable, by its very definition, of taking seriously particular histories. It treats ethnicity as something that's almost intrinsic to the ways in which certain communities are to be understood.

 

Mahmood Mamdani argues that the anticolonial violence is not an irrational manifestation. Since the history of the colonized has been the one of violence, at what point are they supposed to separate themselves from that very way in which they are interpolated into the modern state? Ethnic conflicts are borne of political struggles, and they have to have a political resolution. It's not about defining who are the killers or victims, or the "truth", but we have to recognize the humanities in both of the killers and the victims, and bring them together. The a-historical liberal democracy couldn't account for the changing political, social contexts except through being termed as corrupt/ed. It never questions the system, the structure upon which these rest. The fact that this structure has no logic of the particular histories that are produced, the societies for whom that liberal notion of rights still does not make sense. In a word, what is wrong with this system and line of thinking.

 
   

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