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ziq OP wrote

The Derg (1974-1991)

Immediatley after Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown; in September 1974, a Military Committee (known as the Derg) was established from several divisions of the Ethiopian Armed forces. General Aman Amdon was elected as spokesperson for the Derg and implemented policies for the country, which included land distribution to peasants, nationalising industries and services under public ownership and led Ethiopia into the Socialism. The Derg was credited for these policies which at first gained mass support across the country.

Initially the Derg was popular following the coup against Haile Selassie who came to power under the slogan of "Ethiopia First", "Land to the peasants" and "Democracy and Equality to all". The Derg became deeply unpopular due to ill sought out policies and mass executions, which sent a shock wave across the country. The Eritrean conflict, Somalis invasion of Ogaden and other issues surfaced. In particular, General Aman disagreed with the policy on how to deal with the Eritrean crisis, as he wanted to solve the Eritrean conflict peacefully. He was put under house arrest by the Derg and executed two months later along with other high ranking officers and civil servants. Brigadier-General Teferi Benti was then elected by the Derg to lead the country.

However, the unpopularity of the Derg deepened. Many Ethiopians joined opposition groups such as Tigray Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Party (EPRP), Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front (EPLF), Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU, lead by Prince Mengesha of Tigray, son-in-law of Haile Selassie) and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). These groups made up of many ordinary Ethiopians became the victims of the Derg; thousands of Ethiopians fled the country to neighbouring countries, Europe and North America.

An internal struggle for power took place within the Derg; then the unknown figure, Mengistu Hailemariam, eventually emerged as an undisputed and ruthless leader. He executed Brigadier-General Teferi Benti and other high ranking officers and became the leader of the Derg. Mengistu adopted a Stalinist policy and declared the "Red Terror" (mass execution) in 1977. Ethiopia entered a new phase of chaos and a state of civil war in Eritrea and Tigray. The TPLF, EPRP, EPLF, EDU and OLF opposed and engaged in armed struggle to overthrow the Derg. Mengistu gave a free hand to his political cadres to carry out his policy. Thousands of students, teachers, workers and ordinary Ethiopians who were suspected of supporting opposition groups were imprisoned without charge, tortured and executed. This happened randomly across the country and bodies were left for up to three days on the streets, in front of public building, schools, universities in order to scare others into not to supporting opposition groups. Even the parents and relatives of victims were not allowed to mourn or collect the body of the victims and bury their loved ones. The government officials were only allowed to bury all the victims in unknown mass graves during the night.

In 1977, Somalia invaded Ethiopia and occupied Ogaden and its forces advanced to Harar. Western governments' politics played into and contributed towards the Somalia and Ethiopia conflict. The USA had abandoned Ethiopia when it adopted Marxist and Leninist ideology and switched its support to Somalia. Mengistu was desperate at the time; the Soviet Union once a partner of the Somalis changed their support from Somalia to Ethiopia. Mengistu received military and logistic support from the Soviet Union and Cuba. Thousands of Cuban and Russian personnel and armed forces came to the aid of the Mengistu regime and were involved in military planning and fighting against Somalia. Later they were involved in planning and fighting against the TPLF and EPLF in the north of the country.

War broke out between the EPRP and TPLE in Eastern Tigray. The TPLE drove the EPRP out of Tigray. The TPLF also drove the EDU out of the Western part of Tigray. The TPLF popularity grew and they became a major threat to the Mengistu regime. Mengistu retaliated by putting many Tigrayans in prison without charge. Many were tortured and executed in a cold blood.

The famine in 1984/5 was not helped by the regime's politics, which contributed towards it and it was the worst in living memory. The Mengistu government imposed a restriction of movement on goods and aid to the famine affected regions. Hundreds of thousands of people died of starvation due to the Mengistu regime refused to allow aid to be transported to the regions affected by the famine, which were controlled by the rebels.

Instead, the Mengistu regime devised and implemented a policy of resettlement in the famine affected regions as a cover, to prevent people from supporting the rebels' causes. The government thought this might weaken the rebels and stop them getting the support of the people who live in the areas controlled by the rebels. The Mengistu regime carried out the resettlement programme by taking people by force from markets and their home and loading them to buses and lorries and transporting them to swampy areas ridden with malaria in the south and west of the country. As a result of the resettlement programme, many people died on their journey and on arrival because of the inadequate help from the government. Many families were separated from their loved ones and many people returned back home illegally.

The resettlement programme was a disaster; nobody volunteered to go but people were forced to resettle in unknown and inhospitable areas. The TPLF used the plight of the people and the resettlement policy to help its cause, and the TPLF popularity grew immensely. Many people chose to join the TPLF cause rather than being forced to resettle in an area they were not familiar with.

In September 1987, The Mengistu regime proclaimed Ethiopia as the Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Republic and the Derg became the Ethiopian Workers party (EWP). In the same year the Amhara opposition group the Ethiopian Revolutionary Democratic Movement (EPRDM) was formed and they became a key ally of the TPLF. Large parts of Tigray, Wollo and Gonder fell to the TPLF and EPRDM. It then became clear that the Ethiopian army was not capable of defeating the rebels and Russian and Cuban help was needed in military planning and to fight against the rebels.

The TPLF and EPRDM were victorious and took control of the whole Tigray, Wollo, and Gonder Regions and they then advanced on Addis Ababa. Meanwhile the EPLF in Eritrea took control of the major cities and began to advance to Asmara and Assab. The government army was in completely disarrayed and defeated on every battlefront.

In 1991, the TPLF and EPRDM overthrew the Mengistu regime. Mengistu and other high ranking officials fled the country and many other officials were imprisoned and still on trial accused of mass murder. The TPLF and EPRDM took control of the government under the name of Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by Meles Zenawi, the TPLF leader.

In April 1993, a referendum took place in Eritrea and the Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence. Eritrea became officially independent and separated from Ethiopia, even though many Ethiopians did not support the referendum in Eritrea.

In 1995, Ethiopia became a federation divided into 10 administrative regions based on ethnic lines. Some opposition groups did not accept the EPRDF government and still continue to fight against Meles Zenawi government.


anonym OP wrote (edited )



They are in the prime of their life, but a growing number of people in Japan have all but disappeared. They're the country's missing workers, people who have been unemployed for protracted periods of time and have given up looking for jobs. They're not even included in unemployment statistics. Japan has 1.03 million missing workers in their 40's and 50's, outnumbering the 720,000 unemployed persons in the same age group. These individuals have a similar profile: many are unmarried, and have to take care of an elderly parent, forcing them to quit regular jobs. This riveting report shows the harsh, hand-to-mouth life these people lead and tries to find solutions for this growing problem.


Bells_On_Sunday wrote

Alright, I see you just wanted clarification...Yes, I should certainly say that it's capitalists that drive down wages, and a vulnerable migrant workforce that gives them the opportunity. They are much less able to do that when faced with well-established self-organising communities of workers who have been fighting for their rights for centuries. By no means should one group of workers turn on the other, you're right in saying both groups should know the real enemy.

In many cases highly educated migrant workers with in-demand skills are the privileged ones taking advantage of globalisation -- they can choose where to go to optimise their living conditions and go somewhere else if things change. Some people certainly do well out of globalisation. But I think that's normally if they come deliberately from a stable country - there are also many such people arriving without the means to re-establish their privileged position and end up driving a taxi when they were doctors at home or whatnot, so these two groups of migrants aren't mutually exclusive.

In explaining what I was trying to say, it sounds like I have a more fixed position on it than I do. The above is the more or less traditional argument that I said I can sympathise with, one of the objections the left of the UK Labour party used to have against the EU for instance. It's not that I think we should therefore limit immigration. I also sympathise with your position that borders only divide us and workers can have solidarity wherever they come from. Either way, the current situation seems to be that the genie is out of the bottle and the right are exploiting people's fears successfully in every Western country. Sorry to be on the fence, I started by saying I'm not sure what I think and I'm still not.


Pop wrote

didn't mean to appear to put words in your mouth or to call you a reactionary (I don't know you) - not sure why you think I did since I was expressed confusion and also just having the sense of your words meaning a thing just so you could unconfuse me

deliberately small intentional communities sound good I think, but presumably you need to tackle bigger picture things in order to make that a reality

So, to clarify, you can sympathise with controlled migration because of reasons like them driving down wages, lack of housing, and later you say integration would be achieved by stuff like provided language education and neighbour-meeting?

Do they actually drive down wages? Isn't it also a function of capitalist society to create marginalised groups who are seen as 'driving down wages' - and if they did not exist, it would be some other group who would be slapped with that label? it's capitalists who drive down wages, imo, and it's not unusual for immigrants to be educated/skilled for work and overall to help a society economically at that level


Bells_On_Sunday wrote

That's a disappointing attempt to put words in my mouth - by integration I mean things like the provision of language education and opportunities to meet your neighbours. I don't have answers to geopolitical problems from the safe harbour of my armchair but that doesn't make me a xenophobic reactionary. As I said, I don't consider these probems to have simple solutions. My own anarchism is a modest thing directed towards deliberately small intentional communities that encourage other people to do the same if and when they want to, rather than sorting out the global stage in one fell swoop and certainly not at the barrel of a gun. Leaves me open to accusations of narrow minded parochialism and false consciousness, but there we are. Enjoyable discussion anyway :)


Pop wrote

Integrated, harmonious communities don't spring up overnight.

integrated, harmonious communities will only be genuinely integrated and harmonious if they are susceptible to flow and change, otherwise they're just an exclusionary and conservative gated community
borders are a global caste system, a complex global apartheid

your language is very confusing for me because I get the sense that you kinda mean assimilation when you say integration and that when you say harmonious you kinda mean homogenous


Bells_On_Sunday wrote

You're right, I'm sure it is debatable. I think that because I think it's part of a process of exploiting workers by driving down wages and removing work in arbitrary ways. The same process that led many of the migrants to up sticks in the first place. That isn't to say I think it's the migrants' fault and they should have stayed at home.

I think there are also social problems, and that some people find them hard to acknowledge. Integrated, harmonious communities don't spring up overnight. When people on the bottom rung are given a target for their frustration with their own lack of housing etc we know what tends to happen. Of course more needs to be done to help those people in the first place and to foster integration. Yes, the owner class should be paying for this, as they should be paying to alleviate the problems they cause in the countries people have to flee. But I can sympathise with those who want controlled migration (not talking about refugees) for those kinds of reasons.


Pop wrote (edited )

but it also seems undeniable that it causes big problems in host countries, especially for the poorest people there

If this is true (I think it is deniable and am not sure why you think what you think), then that is the fault of the political system, and not the refugees

resolving the problem then would not amount to preventing refugees from entering, but addressing the conditions that cause the harm (by expropriating from the rich and having adequate facilities to welcome refugees, etc)

(edited: I screwed up the typing the first time around)


Bells_On_Sunday wrote

Maybe when the person is known to be a definite malign influence in some way? I know that raises the question of who gets to decide but I don't mind notorious fascists whose only intention is to spread hate being denied entry, for example. Neither am I bothered about being denied the company of violent antisocial characters such as unreformed serial killers and other psychopaths.

These are mostly irrelevant edge cases. My question wasn't rhetorical and I don't have a fully formed opinion about it. I share the desire to do away with nation states but mainly because they would be redundant if economic conditions were equal around the globe. Shouldn't the goal then be to help improve conditions in the countries people are driven out of? Safe havens around war zones, provision of housing and employment, etc. People would generally rather stay at home if they could be safe and provide for their family. Migration is driven by globalisation, people being another form of capital to move around the world. I'm not anti-immigration by any means, in case I'm giving that impression, I welcome it. The fact is that enormous numbers of people have been uprooted and driven around the world, so they should be supported, but it also seems undeniable that it causes big problems in host countries, especially for the poorest people there. It seems to be far from a binary issue to me.


Pop wrote

I think that rights discourse is generally not our friend
(some short reading around that topic can be found here.)

Doesn't the idea of migration in today's world generally imply borders and nations?

I'm trying to understand how one would have a problem with migration if we assume that states are our enemy (and also well-off countries are what they are as a result of exploitation of the countries that are less well-off)
Assuming we're working with the current situation - what circumstances would you think might hypothetically be acceptable to prevent a person from entering a country?


Bells_On_Sunday wrote

migration as a fundamental and undeniable human right

I'd like to hear what people think about this. Does someone have the right to migrate regardless of whether they are fleeing oppression, violence, starvation? There are other ways of showing solidarity after all. If they only bear this right contingent on some other condition (eg the violence) then do they no longer have it if the cause is removed? Zizek caused controversy by saying the Left was disingenuous/virtue signalling in supporting absolutely open doors and that it leads to the stuff going on in parts of Germany right now. Is he wrong and is uncontrolled migration the medicine the West has to take? (These questions have been somewhat overtaken by events - EU buying off Turkey to shut down borders and so on, but of course it isn't really going away.)