Ways of Life 3: Indigenous Anarchism

This is Africa

African forms of democracy and egalitarianism exists independent of, and predates, modern Western progressive social movements. It is time we revived their histories from systematic erasure, because they may hold the key to our collective future.

Editor’s note: This article is the third in a three-part series investigating different ways of organising human life on earth. The first and second articles in the series can be read here and here, respectively. Happy reading!

Indigenous Democracy

An epiphany of cosmic proportions dawned upon me during a taxi ride from Kampala International airport to the city last year.  My incidental travel companion was the Ugandan filmmaker Dilman Dila; and in his unhurried, quiet, and measured tone, this is what he said:

“Of the 53 major “nations“ in the region today known as Uganda (name arbitrarily taken from one of them, Buganda, by the British), only 10 featured any kind of hierarchical political structure. The majority of them, with population size from 1 to 3 million, lived in entirely egalitarian organizations, voluntary cooperatives, and share/gift economies, without centralized political power, high levels of inequality, or warfare.”

The filmmaker continued, “for instance,

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