Audio – “US-Africa Solidarity in the 21st Century: A Strategic Discussion”

Click on the issue session title to download the audio

Issue Session 1: Who Takes the Heat? Climate Justice & Preserving Our Common Resources

  • Chair: Carol Thompson (USA)
  • Panelists: Heeten Kalan (in USA, from South Africa), Will Lawrence (USA), Andrew Mushita (Zimbabwe)

Specific Questions:

  • There are growing movements in the United States to challenge fossil-fuel and agribusiness companies. However, for the most part, there is little focus on the impact of these industries on oil producing areas in Africa and or on peasant farmers who are losing control of their seed supplies. What messages can we use to expand the perspectives in these U.S.-based campaigns?
  • Industry defenders and many African governments argue that U.S. critics of these industries are ignoring the development needs of African countries. Their arguments are strengthened by the lack of visibility of Africans in these campaigns. What can be done to highlight African voices countering these arguments?

Issue Session 2: Follow the Money: Resource Flows and Tax Evasion

  1. Chair: Walter Turner (USA)
  2. Panelists: Bill Minter (USA), Liepollo Pheko (South Africa), Kristin Sundell (USA)

Specific Questions

  1. The companies involved in tax evasion, corruption, capital losses, and land grabbing are often little-known shell companies, with hidden transactions that are hard to understand and expose. In explaining these issues so that they have political impact, how can we bridge the gap between specialist researchers and the general public?
  2. Transparency and effective regulation require collaboration from governments in both rich and poor countries. How can campaigners exert pressure for action in this regard on both African and non-African governments?

Issue Session 3: Whose Rights? Whose Responsibilities? Human Rights in Africa and the USA

  • Chair: Briggs Bomba (Zimbabwe)
  • Panelists: Briggs Bomba (Zimbabwe), Gerald Lenoir (USA), Muadi Mukenge (in USA, from DRC)

Specific Questions

  • International human rights initiatives can backfire when the international role makes it easy for human rights abusers to portray them as outside interventions. How can international solidarity campaigns move away from the problematic international-national dichotomy and give primacy to local human rights groups and their allies in neighboring countries?
  • There is often competition for attention and resources among groups suffering from systematic human rights abuses. How can we build mutual respect and solidarity among diverse groups working for universal human rights?

Issue Session 4: Whose Responsibility to Protect? Violence and Human Security in Africa and the USA

  • Chair: Elizabeth Schmidt (USA)
  • Panelists: Brenda Mofya (in Ethiopia, from Zambia), Jim Cason (USA)

Specific Questions

  • In every country in the world, people need protection against violence. However, those who are entrusted with protecting people, such as military and police forces, can themselves be perpetrators of violence. How can we promote dialogue between Americans and Africans about solutions to this common issue, despite the multiple differences in context?
  • In theory, all governments should be willing and able to protect their own people. However, when extreme violations of human rights have occurred and governments fail to protect, outsiders may feel compelled to intervene. When this happens, how can the international community (including not only major powers and the UN, but also neighboring countries and African multilateral agencies) ensure that their actions promote greater security rather than make conflicts worse?

Audio is courtesy of Michael Fleshman and Richard Knight