Class Struggle in Africa

Kwame Nkrumah wrote a number of books and pamphlets. Here are a few notes from his "Class Struggle in Africa" (1970):

"Many members of the African bourgeoisie are employed by foreign firms and have, therefore, a direct financial stake in the continuance of the foreign economic exploitation of Africa. Others, notably in the civil service, trading and mining firms, the armed forces, the police and in the professions, are committed to capitalism because of their background, their western education, and their shared experience and enjoyment of positions of privilege. They are mesmerised by capitalist institutions and organisations. They ape the way of life of their old colonial masters, and are determined to preserve the status and power inherited from them." (p. 12)

"While a racist social structure is not inherent in the colonial situation, it is inseparable from capitalist economic development. For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation; in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other." (p. 27)

"A distinction must be made between tribes and tribalism. The clan is the extended family, and the tribe is the extended clan with the same ethnic language within a territory. There were tribes in Africa before imperialist penetration, but no "tribalism" in the modern sense. Tribalism arose from colonialism, which exploited feudal and tribal survivals to combat the growth of national liberation movements." (p. 59)

"In the era of neocolonialism, tribalism is exploited by the bourgeois ruling classes as an instrument of power politics, and as a useful outlet for the discontent of the masses. Many of the so-called tribal conflicts in modern Africa are in reality class forces brought into conflict by the transition from colonialism to neocolonialism. Tribalism is the result, not the cause, of underdevelopment. In the majority of "tribal" conflicts, the source is the exploiting bourgeois or feudal minority in co-operation with imperialists and neocolonialists seeking to promote their joint class interests." (p. 59-60)

"The methods of neocolonialism are economic control, in the form of "aid", "loans", trade and banking; the stranglehold of indigenous economies through vast international interlocking corporations; political direction through puppet governments; social penetration through the cultivation of an indigenous bourgeoisie, the imposition of "defence" agreements, and the setting up of military and air bases; ideological expansion through the mass communication media of press, radio and television - the emphasis being on anti-Communism; the fomenting of discord between countries and tribes; and through collective imperialism" (p. 70-71)

"Great historical advance is seldom, if ever, achieved without high cost in effort and lives; and those who argue that the transition from capitalism to socialism can be accomplished without the use of force are under a delusion." (p. 80)

"Under neocolonialism a new form of violence is being used against the peoples of Africa. It takes the form of indirect political domination through indigenous bourgeoisie and puppet governments teleguided and marionetted by neocolonialists; direct economic exploitation through an extension of the operation of giant interlocking corporations; and through all manner of other insidious ways such as the control of mass communications media, and ideological penetration. In these circumstances, the need for armed struggle has arisen once more. For the liberation and unification of Africa cannot be achieved by consent, by moral precept or moral conquest. It is only through the resort to arms that Africa can rid itself once and for all of remaining vestiges of colonialism, and of imperialism and neocolonialism; and a socialist society be established in a free and united continent." (p. 87)

Nkrumah - The Struggle Continues
Theory and the Politics of Knowing

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