Emerging Human Rights: The African Political Economy Context

By Mark O. C. Anikpo; George W. Shepherd Jr. | Go to book overview

link as negative. Its assumption is that reduced spending on armaments would release more funds to be spent on development projects.37 Both condemn violence from a pacifist liberal viewpoint and regard development in infrastructural terms.

Empirically, both schools have failed to justify their positions. The modernization of the Third World countries through the intervention of the arms industry in the economy, and the armed forces in politics, has not materialized. Instead, the resultant political instability has compounded the difficulties of improving the population's quality of life. The economy has also declined. Similarly, there is no evidence that resources released from cutbacks in arms spending would necessarily go into expenditure on development projects rather than to other forms of "waste" or unproductive spending.38

When a human-centered conception of development is linked to resistance against structural violence by means of revolutionary violence, then the positive impact of violence may be observed. The key lies in the impact of that means of action on self-confidence. Self-esteem is crucial for overcoming challenges. It prevents one from being subjectively overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, demoralized, or sapped of the will to succeed. Such self-confidence is incompatible with the state of acute and pervasive alienation of the South African black that is generated by apartheid. That policy is presently the major obstacle in the path of South Africa to a self- sustained creative transformation of the labor of the vast majority of its population and consequently the society's quality of life.

At the same time, a moral argument is sustainable because revolutionary violence and development are linked by the struggle for human rights without which the creative energies for development will be stunted and peace rendered ephemeral. Apartheid denies the black majority of South Africa the fundamental human rights, and it denies them easy access to employment, education, health care, and social welfare services generally. But these rights are crucial for a full moral existence of a society, and for the development process. Their realization improves the capacity of man to liberate himself from all forces that constrain his social self reproduction, self extension and the maximum release of his creative energy. A society that denies these rights to its majority has no moral claim to existence. And so the struggle continues.


NOTES
1.
SIPRI, Southern Africa: The Escalation of a Conflict ( New York: Praeger, 1976), p. 26. In 1986 the Botha regime made a belated attempt to reform

-126-

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