178 African Studies Review
for instance, land scarcity exacerbates gender discrimination with regard to
land ownership and use; and how indigenization and deracialization justify
an elitist land reform. Such an analysis warns us against reducing the “land
question” to one of technological innovation, or interpreting the accelerat-
ing process of urbanization as a sign of the irrelevance of land redistribu-
tion. Moyo argues that what we are witnessing is a process of semi-prole-
tarianization and constant re-peasantization in a social context in which
farming remains the main form of social reproduction.
The book concludes with a section on the composition and tactics of
African peasant organizations, a topic, Moyo suggests, that is still under-
studied. The focus here is on the “informal” movements that increasingly
use direct action methods (such as land occupations, or squatting) to gain
land or force the state to carry out land redistribution. Contrasting them
with the middle class, NGO-supported peasant organizations that mobi-
lize around single issues or projects, Moyo asks whether these land hun-
gry movements of squatters, poachers, and illegal urban settlers have the
potential to influence social reform. Moyo does not answer this question,
stressing the need for further empirical research.
Nonetheless his book is already an important step in this direction, and
should be required reading for scholars of Africa’s social movements.
Hempstead, New York
tatah Mentan. Held Together by Pins: Liberal Democracy Under Siege in
Africa. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2007. xiii+307 pp. References. Index.
Tetah Mentan’s Held Together by Pins is a critical analysis of the fluctuating
fortunes of the democratization process in Africa. The primary goal of the
book is “to produce an intellectually challenging text that at the same time
would be accessible and engaging to students, scholars and political practi-
tioners” (xii). The book presents itself, therefore, as an alternative to some