Interviews with FC APATRIDE UTD frontman are always inspiring. However, we have decided to bring you something different this time. Instead of a standard interview, Abdelraheem Kheirawi will tell us stories hidden behind the songs of their brand new album “Third Worldism” and give us an even deeper insight into their meanings. Just as it is for songs from the album, stories are part of a coherent whole in which each story has an equally important role. Listening to this extraordinary album while reading the stories certainly introduces another new dimension.
“The transfer of value from the periphery towards the center was on the order of four hundred billion dollars in 1980. This is an invisible transfer of value since it is hidden in the very structure of world prices. This is not a question of visible transfers, be it as profits exported by foreign capital, interest on foreign debt, or capital exported by local comprador bourgeoisies. Multiplied by fifteen since 1980, these gigantic transfers express the magnitude of the pillage of the Third World made possible by globalized liberalism” . Samir Amin wrote that about ten years ago. Keep multiplying. To understand the “unequal exchange,” we have to get familiar with Marx’s labour theory of value – that the real value of each commodity is determined by the amount of human work invested in production, i.e. the average number of working hours under given technological, natural and social conditions – after which, by transforming the national prices into the international prices of production, it becomes clearer how “the favoured country gets in exchange more labour for less labour” . Even this simplified, it’s quite understandable, and “everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand” .
What else do we have to? To bear in mind the singularity of the world system. The imperialist core and the exploited periphery are not separate economies with separate laws, but each part of an international capitalist system whose various parts perform different functions. Also, that “most economic histories of the ‘world’ neglect the participation of the productive and exchange activities of extra-European countries in the European process of accumulation and development” .
Black Against Empire
Why is it that we have to? Intellectuals with a privileged class background have the option of choice. The vast majority are driven by their own class interests, but a small portion does make themselves available to us. If such a choice implies a sincere “class suicide” , it certainly demands respect. However, in the case of organic intelligence, there’s no choice, only necessity. When, in the film Boyz n the Hood, Lawrence Fishburne’s character tells the black youth that they have to study twice as hard as their peers – that’s what it’s about. If you are not prepared to learn and teach, you are useless to us. Even as cannon fodder, because “a soldier without an ideological and political training is only a potential criminal” .
“The deepening of the gap between the developing and the developed countries, based on the current unjust international economic order, which constantly reproduces inequalities in favour of the developed ones, is the basic source of dangerous international problems and conflicts”, Tito noted forty years ago . If polarization is an inherent consequence of world capitalist expansion, then the Eurocentric dogma claiming colonialism achieves homogenization is just nonsense and gibberish.
The awareness that we have been taken away from our history, in order to coerce us to follow the history of the oppressors, makes us weak buyers of culture and stronger buyers of weapons.
Belly Gun Button
Thus Cabral concludes that “a people who free themselves from foreign domination will be free culturally only if, without complexes and without underestimating the importance of positive accretions from other cultures, they return to the upward paths of their own culture, which is nourished by the living reality of its environment, and which negates both harmful influences and any kind of subjection to foreign culture. It may be seen that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture” .
And the evaluation of our struggles from the standpoint of the degree of adoption of Western cultural standards no longer appeals to us.
“The Left at home is embarrassed; they know the true situation of the natives, the merciless oppression they are submitted to; they do not condemn their revolt… But, all the same, they think to themselves, there are limits; these guerrillas should be bent on showing that they are chivalrous; that would be the best way of showing they are men. Sometimes the Left scolds them . . . ‘You’re going too far; we won’t support you anymore.’ The natives don’t give a damn about their support; for all the good it does them they might as well stuff it up their backsides”, Sartre explains .
Antagonize, militarize and get ready for the showdown. Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, South Africa, New Caledonia, Haiti…
Take ’em Out
Behind the enemy lines.
Because, “all the decisive blows are struck left handed” .
“This battle, the latest manifestation of the ongoing confrontation between the dialectic of domination and plundering on the one hand, and the dialectic of emancipation and recovery on the other, revolves around the same ultimate stakes: the control and use of the fruits of resources belonging to the countries of the Third World”, said the former Algerian President Baumedienne in his address to the UN .
When we sent a video for this song to the Western reggae websites, the same ones who have so far happily promoted us, we were ignored. Nothing unexpected, of course. There are borders that cannot be crossed without visas, whether state or cultural. Migrants like us cross both.
“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern – a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”. Lord Macaulay expressed that opinion, around two hundred years ago . Once colonized intellectuals stop interpreting and start addressing their own people, their “shadows will stroll through courts, frightening lords” .
In My Dying Time
And what do we have to tell our own people?
That “behind the cannon is the new school,” as explained by Ngugi Wa Thiongo. “Better than the cannon, it made the conquest permanent” .
But songs are not written in schools, only notes. They are written in factories, kitchens, hospitals, refugee camps, construction sites, fields, frontlines…
And “the fallen ones will not be left behind” .
For, “warriors are poets and poems and all the loveliness here in the worlds” .
Written by Abdelraheem Kheirawi
Photo by Zoran Stanić
Arranged by Nenad Pekez
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2. Karl Marx, Kapital III , „Kultura“, 1948, lat., str. 203
3. Fanon, F., Sartre, J., Mikecin, V., & Frangeš, V. (1973). Prezreni na svijetu. Zagreb: Stvarnost.
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6. Sankara, T. (1984), United Nations General Assembly Official Records, 20th Plenary Meeting, Thursday, 4 October 1984, at 10.40 a.m., New York, (A/39/PV.20), pp. 405-410
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