The Situation in Ethiopia (Part 3)

Submitted by hadrian on Tue, 08/30/2016 - 13:16


In the first part of this series I discussed the political situation in Ethiopia. In the second part I dealt with the economic changes which are being forced onto the country. These changes are designed to reform Ethiopia into a capitalist state. This last part will deal with the international position of Ethiopia.

Diplomatic Slavery

After the end of the civil war against the Derg regime, Ethiopia was split into two countries. The largest part continued to be Ethiopia, while Eritrea split off to became Ethiopia's neighbour. Towards the end of the 20th century there was a border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia in which Eritrea supported the Oromo Liberation Front. During the current protests the Ethiopian government claims that Eritrea is funding these protests in order to destabilize Ethiopia. Whether or not this is true doesn't change anything about the legitimacy of the Oromo's struggle. Moreover, no resistance can be supported without the existence of structural problems.

The Situation in Ethiopia (Part 2)

Submitted by hadrian on Wed, 08/17/2016 - 21:36


In the first part I discussed the complex political situation in Ethiopia. Of course, this situation is intimitely connected to the economic situation. Even the best-intentioned political experiments only succeed or, usually, fail because of economic realities. Although the Ethiopian experiment would probably have failed solely on the basis of its reliance on a one-party dictatorship, the country is also undergoing enormous economic changes. The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the de facto ruling party of the country, calls itself Marxist but has cleary forgotten Marx' insight that class struggle is an important motor of history. One of the major causes of the current wave of protests, which already started in 2015, is the class struggle in Ethiopia.

Economic Changes

Ethiopia, like many countries in the region, has a predominantly agricultural economy. The most important export is coffee, followed by sesame seeds. Roughly 85% of the working population works in agriculture, 10% works in services, and only about 5% in industry. In comparison, only 4% of the Dutch working population works in agriculture (Source: Ethiopia,, the Netherlands). While the Netherlands is burdened by a heavily developed form of capitalism, which implies a very technified agriculture, Ethiopia is in a very early stage of capitalism. A country, under the right circumstances, can survive for a long time without developping a later stage of capitalism but the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has decided to try and economically grow the country. Statistics show they've been hugely succesful, but statistics are also an excellent way of covering up the daily reality that people have to live with.

The Situation in Ethiopia (Part 1)

Submitted by hadrian on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 03:24


Even the BBC has woken up to the fact that a massive wave of protest is moving through Ethiopia. This isn't completely surprising as over a hundred people have been murdered by the Ethiopian government. The problem with the coverage by the BBC is the lack of an in-depth analysis of the causes of the problem, as is common in mainstream media. They make some superficial comments on land disputes between the Amhara and Tigray. However, the situation in Ethiopia is much more complex and worth a more in-depth analysis.

Politicized Ethnicity

Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that was never truly colonized by Europe. Italy first tried this during the scramble for Africa but was defeated. Four decades later Mussolini tried again and this time, partly because of the use of mustard gas, the Ethiopians were conquered. It is said that Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia at the time, warned the world with the profetic words "it is us today. It will be you tomorrow."