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Adongo Aidan Avugma

State and class in pre-colonial West Africa

Was the state instituted for mutual protection or did it arise when society became divided into classes?

Long before Marx and Engels, political thinkers and philosophers had written extensively on the concept of the state. In the 1640s, Thomas Hobbes had argued that the state was essentially a contract between the individual and the government. The alternative, called by Hobbes the state of nature, was a thoroughly unpleasant life—solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Ghana: The Ruling Class and the State

The concept of classes and class struggle in most African educational and political forums is treated as if it a were cultic secret; a taboo subject. This is not surprising. Class struggles and classes are basically about state power, a fact rightly considered as subversive and extremely dangerous by the ruling and propertied classes, and embarrassing by "objective" academics.

The poverty of education in Ghana

There is a close affinity in Ghana between post-independence politics and the pre-independence era when the political and intellectual African elite were mobilising support from the African masses to overthrow the colonial establishment. Both have been full of promises and rosy dreams of what the future ought to be like.

Elections in Ghana these days, for example, remind one of the politics of agitation by the Nkrumah's, J. B. Danquah's and the Houphuet-Boigny's in the colonial days. Equality, freedom and freedom from poverty and oppression are sonorously proclaimed these days too; and every available propaganda tool is used by parties to discredit other political parties in the bid to win the support of the voting public. But the results of these bitter campaigns have always ended in the same way.

Tribalism, colonialism and capitalism

The festering of tribalist, nationalist and racist sentiment are nurtured and sustained by the capitalist system

Within the context of neo-colonial statehood, tribalism is a colonial derivative based on matriarchal or patriarchal relations forged in the distant past and used by an ethnic group as a defensive and an offensive weapon against other groups. The position of some of those who see tribalism as the main cause of Africa's present social and economic predicament follows a familiar pattern of thinking. The colonialists, according to them, tried to make a nation-state out of a hotch-potch of antagonistic and uncivilised African peoples but failed in their pious mission. The various tribes had age-long hatred for one another and as soon as the colonial power went the natives descended into barbarism maiming and killing each other.

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