MAKING CONNECTIONS FOR AFRICA: Constituencies, Movements, Interest Groups, Coalitions, and Conventional Wisdoms

(Background Paper 008)
by William Minter, Africa Policy Information Center
Washington, DC, United States
March 1997
12 pages
Type: Pamphlet
Coverage in Africa: Angola, South Africa, Africa, Nigeria
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The pamphlet says Africa's marginalization within the U.S. foreign-policy process is widely acknowledged. The pamphlet says: Proposition 1: Ancestral connection to Africa is an extremely important component for potential mobilization of individuals on African issues. • Proposition 2: US-based organizations with an institutional stake in relations with Africa are equally or more important than individuals in defining operationally the 'constituencies for Africa.' • Proposition 3: The extent to which these constituencies for Africa have a political impact depends on the number of people willing to be involved. • Proposition 4: The anti-apartheid movement, as a movement, is over. • Proposition 5: A variety of African issues may energize and involve constituencies in movement-like action on specific countries, issues (e.g., landmines), or crises. • Proposition 6: There are organized expressions of interest in Africa in virtually every institutional sector of US society, particularly the profit, nonprofit and citizen group sectors. • Proposition 7: There are significant cultural and political gaps with respect to Africa, as on other domestic and international issues, between, broadly speaking, the business sector on the one hand, and the non-profit and citizen group (movement) sectors on the other. • Proposition 8: The mobilization of ethno-racial constituencies for African issues, both from black Americans in general and country-specific immigrant groups, has great potential for influence on US policy towards Africa. • Proposition 9: The myth of Africa as unimportant in hard-headed realistic terms is fallacious even on its own terms, as well as reflecting a simplistic and outdated vision of the role of the US in the global community. • Proposition 10: The myth of one homogeneous African society takes many forms, some more nefarious and others even seemingly benevolent. • Proposition 11: The myth of 'ancient tribal hatreds' is particularly damaging to the prospects for informed international response to historically specific conflicts in particular African countries and regions. • Proposition 12: Among the most dangerous myths for Africa in the US political arena is the assumption that a minimalist state focused exclusively on creating space for trickle-down market economics is good for Africa. Contents: Constituencies and Connections • Movements • Conceptual Map of Africa-interested Constituencies • Interest Groups • Conventional Wisdoms • Endnotes
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the Africa Policy Information Center).
Collection: Ruth Brandon Papers