V-4. BRICS and Resistance in Africa: Thriving or Surviving?

Convener: Justin van der Merwe (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa); e-mail: justinv@ma2.sun.ac.za (in collaboration with the Online Colloquium Series of Stellenbosch University and the Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences)

This panel seeks to bring together scholars from a wide network covering the global South and particularly the BRICS states. It seeks to cover the well-worn thread of resistance in Africa, only now resistance is gathering renewed vigour due to the accelerated processes of accumulation by dispossession set in motion by the rise of the BRICS. This rise has led to both internal and external crises in African states eliciting responses from local and regional elites, and through the actions of “ordinary” people and groups as they seek to push-back or generate creative responses “from below”. At a micro-level, these responses span new ways of surviving in impoverished communities (group savings schemes and promoting minority interest groups) as well as civic mass mobilisation (student, environmental and political protests). At the macro level, new forms of development finance (development banks and regional initiatives) are being generated to pave the way for an alternative means of developing. These initiatives make “localized” forms of generativity possible but also serve the bigger purpose of speaking truth to power. However, despite their ostensible revolutionary basis, one should question whether these responses are actually forms of acquiescence (co-option and accommodation), as opposed to true resistance to neoliberalism.