We welcome you to the second issue of The Kenya Socialist (TKS). When launching the first issue in September 2019, we had planned for TKS to be published on a quarterly basis. However, changing situations and our limited resources have made it difficult to meet this aim. Coronavirus has taken its toll on the work at Vita Books and the Ukombozi Library, as it has in other organisations. Our decision to publish an unscheduled book at Vita Books, Corpses of Unity, added to our workload and delayed other publications, including The Kenya Socialist. In view of this situation, we have decided to publish TKS twice a year as a minimum, while retaining the wish to make it quarterly as soon as conditions allow.
The second issue is dedicated to issues of gender equality. The woman question has been discussed and debated in many forums and conferences over many years. All these efforts have not improved, at least in materially substantive terms, the condition of women. This issue of TKS carries three articles on the gender: the first one is by Kimani Waweru who interrogates the history of women’s oppression and what should be done to end it. The other two articles are by Lena Anyuolo: one is her speech at the Conference of the African Studies Association of Africa (ASSA) held in Nairobi at the United State International University (USIU) on 25th October 2019. The article links the struggle for women’s liberation with that of ending the capitalist system. She notes that the capitalist system yields a myriad of oppressions and discriminations. She also highlights the class aspect of women’s struggles which is often ignored by liberal feminists. In her second article, Anyuolo reviews the book Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain by Amrit Wilson. Anyuolo emphasises the need to document acts of women’s resistance in order to counter the dominant sexist narratives of ‘model’ women in any space. Only thus, she says, is it possible to preserve the radical history of women, which is in danger of being forgotten or revised by patriarchal state history in the neoliberal era.
Other articles in this issue include the first part of Battle of Ideologies in Kenya by Shiraz Durrani. It is a selection from his forthcoming book, Two Paths Ahead: The Ideological Struggle between Capitalism and Socialism in Kenya.1960-1990. In the article, he analyses the struggle for socialism in Kenya and the deceptive mechanism that the ruling class in Kenya has used since colonial times to portray socialism as inappropriate for the country. The second part of the article will be carried in the next issue. In his second article, Durrani analyses the role of Fitz de Souza in Kenyan politics and indicates the reason that made Kenyatta work with Fitz de Souza. He claims that the Kenyatta government needed allies from different nationalities and de Souza in his silence, fitted the bill.
In the final article, Kimani Waweru shows how capitalism cannot meet the needs of working class, arguing that the means of production under the system can only function when they have undergone a preliminary transformation into capital. He continues to argue that the means of production needs to be controlled by working class. Only then can they function for working people.
Finally, we have reproduced the review of the first issue of The Kenya Socialist carried in the Communist Review (CR) No 94, Winter 2019/2020. We would like to apologise to the Communist Review for the inadvertent omission of acknowledgement of the source of the article “Kenya Resists: Artists Challenge the Hawk in the Sky” which appeared on page 19 of the first issue of TKS and which was reproduced with the kind permission of the Communist Review from its issue No 91 Spring 2019. Users of Ukombozi Library will be pleased to note that the Library subscribes to the Communist Review as well as to the Morning Star. Both provide excellent analyses of issues that confront the world today in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. Ideas and experiences of socialism know no national boundaries and Kenyans need to learn from other experiences of socialism around the world.