ACAS Action

Uganda, the LRA, Central Africa and dangers of militarization

See our new webpage on Resources on Uganda, the LRA, and Central Africa.

ACAS released a statement and accompanying press release on March 14, 2012 expressing its deep concern that the recent campaign in the United States to pursue and arrest Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), could have dangerous unintended consequences. Expanding U.S. military operations with the Ugandan army to capture Kony could increase the militarization of the region and lead to deaths of civilians who are caught in the crossfire or become targets of retaliatory attacks by the LRA, as has occurred in the past.

Contact David Wiley(wiley@msu.edu), chair of the ACAS Task Force on Demilitarizing Africa and African Studies for more information or to participate in this work.

ACAS Task Forces

ACAS has created Task Forces to organize research and action on particular issues. In 2011-2012, there are task forces on food Sovereignty, militarization, and land grabs. Communication with the contact people to learn more or get involved.

ACAS Task Force on Demilitarizing Africa and African Studies

Contact: David Wiley wiley@msu.edu

Members: Emira Woods (emira@ips-dc.org), William Martin (wgmartin@binghamton.edu), Horace Campbell (hgcampbe@syr.edu), Jim Cason (jimcason@fcnl.org)

ACAS members are concerned by the increasing militarization of US relations with Africa, including the focus on and funding of academic work about Africa in the US and abroad.  We are cooperating to do research on the planning and engagement in Africa of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), on the African socio-political and security situations on the ground, on African perspectives on US military presence and plans, and on funding of studies of Africa by military and intelligence agencies.

Specifically, we are concerned about the enlarging Department of Defense and intelligence infrastructure focused on Africa in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Djibouti and in military and security institutions across the US; the increasing U.S. training and equipping of African militaries; the emerging focus on African dissident movements as “terrorists” as the Global War on Terror is brought to the continent; and the increasing U.S. military missions and infrastructure in Africa including a fleet of warplanes and drones.

We plan to stay in close collaboration with other organizations in the U.S, and Africa who share our concern. During the year, we have planned to:

The Africanist Positions on Military and Intelligence Funding and Service in the National Interest in African Research, Service, and Studies
Download in PDF format: http://concernedafricascholars.org/docs/US_Africanists_on_Military_and_Intelligence_Funding_Summary.pdf

ACAS Food Sovereignty Task Force

Contacts:  Carol Thompson (carol.thompson@nau.edu) and Noah Zerbe (noah.zerbe@humboldt.edu)

The ACAS Food Sovereignty Task Force is highly concerned about policies from the U.S. government, corporations and philanthropies, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (Davos) that foster high tech as the answer to African food deficits during climate change.   These powerful agencies are advancing three strategic interventions in African food systems:

1) expansion through research and marketing of seed technologies; 2) opening up of African food markets and integrating the most prosperous smallholders into the singular global market; and 3) coordination of food policies within regions of Africa.

Each one of these interventions attempts to link African food production and consumption into the global food chain, controlled by a cartel of very few corporations.  Only three grain traders/processors (Cargill, ADM, Bunge) handle over 50 percent of grain moving internationally, while four corporations control 58 percent of the global seed market (Monsanto, DuPont/Pioneer Seed, Syngenta, Groupe Limagrain). To gain profits via biotech seed breeding, corporations access unique African seed varieties – which are freely shared in public seed banks – without recognition nor benefit-sharing back to farmers who bred the parent genetic materials for centuries.

The U.S. government (Feed the Future), Gates Foundation (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – AGRA), World Bank (Global Agriculture and Food Security Program – GAFSP), and World Economic Forum (New Vision for Agriculture) all speak of food security, rather than the goal of food sovereignty, promoted by smallholder farmers across the world.  Originating from Via campesina in 1996, food sovereignty refers to “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”  (Nyéléni 2007, Forum for Food Sovereignty)

A major path toward food sovereignty is via farmers’ rights, enshrined in the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, but not recognized by any of the powerful in their programs above.  Farmers’ rights recognize the right of farmers to exchange, save, plant, and breed any seed, honoring their historic role as breeders providing current food biodiversity.   Instead, all of the above promote the privatization of genetic wealth via patenting (plant breeders’ rights).

Food sovereignty allows farmers and communities to choose their seeds and their food production systems.   Collaborating with the food movement in the U.S. as well as with farmers’ organizations in Africa, ACAS scholars work to expose attempts to destroy food sovereignty under the guise of high tech ‘solutions’ for food production and as important. We also work to share the lessons from African farmers about alternatives to fossil-fuel addicted monoculture.

During 2012, on food sovereignty issues, we plan the following:

Task Force on Land Grabs

Contact: Jeanne Koopman (jkoopman@bu.edu)

 

Archive of ACAS Activism

A small collection of ACAS political organizing materials is available on the African Activist Archive Project website. See the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars collection. Most items are about Angola, Namibia, and South Africa.