12 August 2009

African Socialism Revisited?

[CU for Thursday, 13 August 2009]

“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

Communist Manifesto, 1848

The battles of the past years have been fought, Jacob Zuma is President, and everyone is asking the question: So where to?

From the time of Eduard Bernstein and his 1899 book “Evolutionary Socialism”, and Rosa Luxemburg’s 1900 response to Bernstein, “Reform or Revolution”, the same question has been put, in one way or another.

In 1914, in each country, the reformists supported the warmongers. Lenin led the revolutionaries at that point, then led the revolutionaries of Russia in 1917, and then was the de facto leader of the Communist International from 1919 until his death in 1924.

The reformists expropriated the old struggle name of “Social Democrat” and called themselves “Socialists”. Many West European countries elected such anti-communist “Socialists” to run their bourgeois states in the service of “their” bourgeois ruling classes for varying lengths of time.

In the history of the struggle for liberation from colonialism in Africa, the question “Reform or Revolution” was again put. To sound better and to deceive the people more easily, false “Socialism” was dressed up again, but now as “African Socialism”, and was widely used as a smokescreen for neo-colonialism from the dawn of African Independence in the 1950s and 1960s.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah spoke out firmly against this false so-called African Socialism more than forty years ago. See the linked article below. Although Kwame Nkrumah and his adversary Leopold Senghor are both long gone, yet Nkrumah’s words appear to carry as much relevant meaning as they did when they were spoken in Cairo in 1967.

It remains for us now to carry the struggle forward. What kind of “socialism” will we have in South Africa? Will we have reform, or will we have revolution, or will we have both?

Click on this link:

African Socialism Revisited, Kwame Nkrumah, 1967 (2587 words)


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