By Biko Agozino
This title was suggested by the title of an essay by CLR James on politics in the Caribbean in which he argued, following Athenian democracy, that ‘Every Cook Can Govern’. However, the institution of slavery in Athens, the fact that Athens had a war-mongering monarchy that oppressed philosophers, and the fact that women and children did not have the rights of citizenship meant that Athens was deeply flawed as a model of participatory democracy. The unfitness of Athens as a role model is particularly so for people of African descent who suffered centuries of chattel slavery, colonization and disenfranchisement, and who have also retained radically republican democratic traditions of the sort that anthropologists dubbed headless or acephalous societies. In his recent Nyerere Lecture, Wole Soyinka concluded that one such society, the Igbo is a good model for the rest of Africa.