This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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On Revolutionary Nationalism The LegacyofCabral
by Basil Davidson* The legacyof AmilcarCabral (1924-1973)livesin severalhistorical of achievements, each of whichhas markedthetrendand temper our times.Most obviously and directly, thoseachievements to be found are in theconsequences anticolonial of liberation Portuguese in Guineand Cape Verdethatflowed, and in moreor less largemeasurecontinue to flow,froma practiceand theory withCabral's associatedinseparably actionand thought. Otherachievements, direct no lessreal,may less but be seen in Cabral's contribution the developmentof nationalto liberation in strategy a widerand possiblyan all-African context. And others less but again,politically operative still with living a significance, have takenshape in Cabral's influence thethinking non-Africans on of concernedwith general or specificissues of socioculturalchangerevolutionary change-in theworldwe have now. What kind of a person could do all that? Cabral was a man of complexity and breadthof temperament, whose cast of mindand but charactercould and oftendid project an almost bare simplicity of purpose. This could be superficially misleading:Cabral's road to of simplicity purposehad passed in factthrough arduousstruggle an of mindand emotion;and thestrength character conviction of thathe and had won lay also in his capacityto understand innerstruggles of the different mettle in others, however himself. the Yet be they might from of in impression simplicity purposewas never of misleading itsessence. Here was an intellectual-one,indeed,ofrareand shining talent-who believed that the reaching of conclusions without the taking of or appropriate actionwas self-frustration betrayal. the same time, At
*Basil Davidson is a renowned historian journalist and whohas written extensively about Africa,in particular Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde. He is the authorofLet FreedomCome:Africa ModernHistory in (Boston: Little, Brown,1978);In the Eye of the Storm: Angola's People (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972); and Liberation Guine:Aspectsof an African of Revolution. (New York: Penguin,1969).
LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES, Issue 41, Vol. 11 No. 2, Spring1984 15-42 Perspectives ? 1984 Latin American 15
Theyare all markedbytwocharacteristics. young or old.His publishedwritings Cabral. maybe learned or from documentation. peasant or petit bourgeois. together extraordinarily practice in hisownlife. "revoluof of tionary" verbalism. five other men.thenin Portugueseto any who spoke that language.as wellas theregular "reports theprogress in the of thestruggle" which marked onwardmovement events he and a greatdeal morebesides.onwardfromJanuary1963. of Theyarerelatively copious but stillformonlya small part of all thathe discussedand thatremains available on paper.What made proposed and took and the theorythat he drew from it (which nourished actions)wereable to succeedinthe afterwards constantly his the circumstances. In besides. Theyarewell known. to and addresses thatbrought himcountless youth thelectures readers on of the throughout world. more action unshapedby theory irresponsible. of One What he wrote for "external"use and these is theirconsistency: in different style and was whathe wrote. themilitants severeand practicalrigor:Nothingwill be foundof emptyrhetoric. Cabral clandestinely the da formed PartidoAfricano Independencia Guinee Cabo Verde da for of (African Party theIndependence Guineand Cape Verde. that the of This article little is concerned with record events. him stillmore unusual was thatthe action he our time. in thatactionleadingto no embodiment effective exactly.In 1956. 1979)give (see thesubstance hisactionand thought. take but the merestoutlinemay be useful.Cabral explained himselfat everyimportant step and to every audience he to and foremost. of most hostile and forbidding circumstances: precisely.He wroteall thetime.PAIGC) with trialand error. . bombastor pretence. he had chosento face. theory-in to appropriate theory-was only the road to delusion and therefore defeat. audiences EuropeorAmericaand to visitors from from poetry his the of overseas.Therefollowed yearsofpolitical six and then. The issuesconsidered for herecan therefore therecord granted. however consumption exactly for whofollowed him. and or in in to afterwards French English. gavehima powerofleadership thatwas mostunusualinthe in of societies late-colonial and probably anyofthesocietiesof Africa.The otheris their form. Guine-Creole in considered usefulor deserving: first those who gave him leadership. Combiningrigorwithnotable expository skills. eleven experienceand effort. thatrespect. therewas Cabral's additional achievement being able to explain of himself.16 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES Cabral believedthat while theorizing without actionmustbe vain or was bound to fail: or. withtheir resolute Such beliefs.
is which byno meansat an end. precisely involving. remarkable The ideas. in of leadingideas. methods. perhaps.one of the last and mostbalefulacts of horrorof that of He regime.several of Cabral's of the conceptshavecaptured attention a wideaudience.In 1974the very heavyodds until extremely alwaysagainst for freedom Guine. periodoftransnational to article offered a contribution thatkindofestimate. thevalue ofhis someuse in attempting estimate. ifyou prefer.Some considerationof these concepts in theirpractical will then.Yet there of an evententatively. then.and conceptions thecontext hisperiodthe thatis. as he putitsuccinctly. thiswas another happened.Anotheris his conceptof nationalliberationas this "leadershipbeyond reformism" necessarily. partof thelegacyof Cabral. any revolution. in by moreover. would have done with the rest of his life. whathe and intellectual power. 1976: to change in Africa ever helped to 19-22). When had revolutionary change in Europe? Hadn't "all the books" promote revolutionary Yet even unthinkable? it declared that such a thingwas impossible. lay "at the base of the Armed Forces Movement" which in the overthrew dictatorship Portugaland enabledthecolonialwarsto be brought an end ("MFA na Guine.wresting PAIGC won completeand unconditional and independencefrom a colonial power defeatedboth militarily for twelve months later."1974. as is EVOLUTION OF PETIT BOURGEOIS LEADERSHIP Judged by a growingvolume of comment.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 17 politicaldevelopment. and moralsof the PAIGC stillmoreremarkable. another some ways successwas crowned. and attheheight hisenergy already agonizing on fruitlessly.This capitalism). was only49. reveal a furtherand still deeper integument .This and politically.and in Cabral was murdered agentsof the Portuguesedictatorship by January1973. effect thecolonial enemy. It is clear that the full of maystillbe dimensions hislegacyhave stillto be revealed.proposals.One can onlyspeculate. mustmake their which"born again" petitbourgeoisrevolutionaries realliberation to be a processof has own: Or. linkedto further yearsof anticolonialwarfare neartheend.One oftheseis thatmust"commit his conceptof a colonial petitbourgeoisleadership if suicide"initsclassconsciousness (and class interests) itis to be able to or (that is. in significant had their instrumental degree. Cape Verdeas well. on and. neocolonialist collaboralead beyonda merely reformist tionist)nationalism.see also Davidson. the late-colonialand neocolonialperiod(or.
one may fear.18 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES of dimension hislegacy Africans to to and. course.and itdoes all this. one or other is structuralism in. denying relevanceof process. (or mysterious) itsworkings.will be turning his graveonce more.as seemslikely.So the revealed by the historyof ideas. claims is thatfor understanding an ofthefunctioningsociety ofa there no the aboutitshistory.Old Marx. other peoples as well.Was thelegacyof Cabral of any . 1962)-but it scarcely appearsthattheir or sociologicalsuccessors. of to suicide"attributed Cabral is takenup and "theory petit bourgeois thanas whatit in used as a "givensymbol" a generalized debate. The modernversionof a naturalistic studyof society. wellas thesymbols debate(or is itjust thejargon?): One or otherfunctionalism out. to makeno reference "natural more law" inthesenseofEvans-Pritchard than thirty years ago.The anthropologists. and in systems canbe described terms of natural without law recourse history. intotherealities processas recorded of and and events.rather actually was or is-a strictly limited option in a strictly defined in situation. developments. The vocabulary of as mayhavechanged.one can't but observe.said their nostraculpaforturning their backson history a longtimeago-in factas longago as Evans-Pritchard's famouslecture of 1950(see Evans-Pritchard. but in place of this"naturallaw" thereseems often be smuggled another to in kindof"law" thatis no lessmandatory in to law"refers.including of some ofthosewho seekto use a Marxisttoolkit? The latter. whether notthey claimthelaurelsofpolitical of science. to Butis theclaimgreatly different amongmanyanalysts today. or class crystallizations tendencies class attitudes. Thisnew"natural usually. A sociologistwithexperience Tanzania latelywrotea perceptive of for of book called BeyondUjamaa. have ponderedon theimplications thatnotableturn-about. and class potentials to according received schemes. and was rightly thanked a freshness approachto thatconceptand debate. Butprocess. as a dynamic is factorin situation. toward such. as ithappens. still often seemsimperceptible. without caringto plungeitspristine beautyintothe bathtubofreal life:thatis. wroteEvansPritchard (1962: 19) in his MarettLecture. more needfor student ittoknow of anything any than there needfor is aphysiologistknow history anorganism to the to of are understand Both natural it. Historians sometimes thattheold reductionism thesocial can feel of anthropologists.has repeateditself the amongthepoliticalanalysts morerecent of years.
" His central point here was that Guine possessed no "national nor class in anywayconsciousofitsnatureand bourgeoisie. hewas right to If about this." working for potentials. occurred at least two publicoccasions: once duringhis of lectureon social structure-strictly Guine. Anyonewithrelevant experience who could suggest that en theAfrican class petite bourgeoisie massewas evergoingto commit withor grasping reinsofstatepower. notentirely inthehead.thenyoumayexpectthisorthatto follow.whatever faults analysis of his (and ofcourse he committed some of those)nevermade themistakeof arguing from ignorance-of attempting.and .So we come to the conclusion thatin colonialconditions is thepetty it is bourgeoisie which theinheritor state of power(though wishwe could I be wrong thisconclusion). that effectively. The factis thatCabral. "if yoursituation comparable is with ours. I suppose. by "The Weapon ofTheory.as AmilcarCabral once putit. The essential werenot singular. itsembryoof thathad learned howto manipulate statethrough urban. a possibleinstrument initiating As changethere was only thebeginnings a petite of bourgeoisie-or inclassterms.within situation Guineor in this Cape Verde.thenclearlyit would be of littleworthto discussCabral and his ideas further. sortofconvenient by missileof superior analysis. he was always carefulto argue by extension:saying."So letus recall whathe reallysaid about thepetitebourgeoisie and itsso improbable suicideas a class.well-known itstitle. to make good his case outsidethe that limitsof its own historical process.thatthiswriter Tanzania had It to not simply bothered findout whatCabral did propose. please note-given at Milan in 1964. Hyden as references on but thinks.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 19 value here?Evidently not. Goran Hyden(1980: 228) foundthat"The notionthattheAfrican petty-bourgeoisie shouldbe capable ofcommitting'classsuicide'. and the second timeduringhis addressat Havana in 1966. can onlybe.whenpresented if soft indeedbe a fruitless optimist. Cabral was not that kind of person. however. is.butpreferred to treata subtleand precisediscourseas thoughit wereanother given a AuntSallyto be overturned somehandy symbol."And thiswas withthedevelopment realities contemporary all thatHydenfound useful sayuponthesubject.and proposed no such fatuous on denouement. the its and semiprivileged positionin colonial society: Thisis theonlystratum or the capableof controlling evenutilizing instruments the our which colonial state employed against people.Themoment in nationalliberation comes.If he gave way now and then(but remarkably seldom) to the temptations intellectual of generalism.literate.is hardly compatible of Africa.must the suicide.
Theysearchedforrevolutionary intellectuals readyfor of "class suicide.was to forma "partyof struggle.exist. The fundamental objectivewas to createa bourgeoisiewhereone did not exist. to and thustheinternal contradictions breakout again [mytranslation.and thechoiceofthefewwhofollowed him. they did not findit.should be done? Go withthe current.For whatwas done by after thishandful. This is wherewe have thenub oftheprocess. at and thenresolutely tentatively first August1959. No question. individualsof the petitebourgeoisie:not many.and mostof thoseweredead or in close There remainedsome-available serviceof the colonial dictatorship. waitforbetter ButCabral's choice."and scarcelyfoundthemeither:in all the history Guine.as you see. the On at contrary. to liberatethereactionary forcesin our countries to which werethen beingstifled colonialism. of supposingthatthe petty bourgeoisie.rallying wageworkers Bissau as bestthey effort-having preparedabout a thousandmilitants cadresin their (or usage) by theend of 1962-they could beginto win supportand then ." to use thatpartyas a weapon of real and class thatalone was capable (as change. and acted as as did not. was to turnits back on the bulk of the petitebourgeoisieand to set of class that to themselves act as therevolutionary segment a working themselves such.Theylooked fortheworking of and manyoutsideGuinetoldthem) leadingthatkindofstruggle. faced with the of to manifest realities whatwas thenhappening Africa(especiallyto West Africa). will evercommitsuicidein orderto lead a revolution. toenabletheseforces by and with the international ally themselves bourgeoisie.he was even inclinedto arguethatthe wholeprocessof colonial "liberation"withinthe situationsthen at hand mightbe of reasonably seen as "an initiative theenemy": was the Theobjective theimperialist countries toprevent enlargement of of thesocialistcamp. telle quelle. in fact.20 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES thepettybourgeoisietakespower. also Cabral. then. fewerthan a dozen Africans(or mesti(os. we enteror rather return history. see What. times?Many thought and Portuguese dictatorship.in order specifically strengthen imperialist to the and the capitalistcamp [my translation. this stage in his thinking (1963-1964). see also Cabral.1969a: 58]. and let it carry historywhereverit would? Bow to the overweening mightof the so.They defined in could untilwithmore such.as it proved-a very little group. assimitados) had achieveda university degree. 1969a: 57].
holdon smallbutdecisiveareasof had movement wonfirm thefighting movement so faras thepolitical (in while territory. but the one provedas compatiblewiththe "development realities" of Vietnam as the other with those of Guinea-Bissau.and a choice of shirts 1956. 1981: 228-229]. [But]unfortunately intellectuals also in general opportunists.butthegift.. hospitalservants.In February somealmostmortal far)had survived internal lay discipline. proletarians.. not for a petit bourgeois reformism.a seat at a cafetable. in themselves. . was perfectly situation for men and women whose political formationhad no of little one. adopta . Yet theparallelis otherwise the The projectof Thanh Nien was precisely projectof Cabral thirty yearslater.we find the of thejournal ofThanh Nien(forerunner theVietMinh)discussing as bourgeoisie earlyas 1929: petite role oftherevolutionary are us the teaches that intellectuals the revolution The history the of world themselves the revolutionary for which sacrifice firstelements very are these cause . at best. By theend of 1963 earlyyears. that all the comrades"proletarianise" language. notably in elsewhere Africa.. can be said to havebeenseparated 1964 testsand trials. . To put an end to thelack of discipline . had any richclothesto abandon in the Guine of and the restscarcely and wage.was to be able to learn. each of genuine:It came. out of the given thesecases. effect. well by this was In thecase ofGuinea-Bissau project fairly established that thatemphasises the of thetime Cabral'sMilanlecture 1964.. shoes was about all theyaspiredto.1956-1964.a fact of werethereallycrucialones.but for a movement capable of developing into a revolution. and rich their clothes dontheragsofthe abandon etc. etc. is indispensable of revolutionary purely "revolutionise" themselves.itoccurred was this? How original in in Mozambique and in Angola. . Well. [They must] peasants.It had for happenedbefore. order havethesamethoughts. [inHodgkin. and to otherpeoples striving the road for ahead in timesof darkness. chauffeurs.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 21 participationamong the village masses. It was taught or. thepolitical liberated was notvery which the from military. But I thinkits originality..afterall. background. was first theparty's congress able to securestrong . A regular exact. course. to behaviour.rather international of bythebrutefacts..and faraway. The petitbourgeoisclerks.In colonial Vietnam. example.men of the people. that is.mechanics. thepartymust it In method education. become workers.
as in and then. also Cabral. members thatstratum becameawareofthenature foreign of domination and thusoftheneed to act in orderto removeit. was seenso clearly Bissau before during . Bysacrificing itself can reincarnate itself.and reaffirm revolutionary of perspectives its leadership. the ten launch the beginnings mobile warfarewith a regularguerrillafighting of the force. repeated.emphasisin originall. inevitability oursituation yet specific anotherweaknessof the national liberationmovement [Cabral.The result was all themoreassuredbecause events haveshownthattheonlysocial stratum capable bothofbecoming and consciousinthefirst place ofthereality imperialist of domination. further and clarified meaning.withthefundamental interests themassofourpeople. and leavingthequestionopen would influence for and the first wholefurther processofstruggle anticolonial liberation. Byvirtue their of of werethosewhofirst position. he returned thesametheme. 1979: 134].or of else ally themselves withthecolonialists as to defend.And here. of is handling stateapparatusinheritedfrom domination.22 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES out theprogram thatwould liberate country yearslater. one might call revolutionary. inthecondition workers of andpeasants[mytranslation.in thecolonial context. [And] this . see 1969a]..one may recall. Speakingat Milan. But would thisrevolutionary remaintrueto its segment necessarily Cabral neither Would itsclasssuicideproveirreversible? responsibility? so thought nor said so.mustlead simply a neocolonialoutcome. whiletheother sectorsretain characteristic the hesitation thisclass. and this historic responsibility assumed by the sector of the petty is bourgeoisiethat.he was speakingin a his Cuba thatcould well take his point: For what would have happened of therehad a revolutionary segment the petitebourgeoisiefailedto appear and act? he to A reformist petitebourgeoisie. Cabral could now affirm withconfidence that the revolutionary petty-bourgeoisie honest:thatis to say it remains is in identified. thenative the that in is petty-bourgeoisie. their socialposition[1979: 135. so albeitillusorily.butitwillnotlose. in to Two yearslater. Havana. spite of all the hostileconditions. To achievethisitmayhave to commit of it but suicide. November1980.
to the consciousness. even. by sociocultural no 1966. [1979: 136].completelyidentified condition of revolutionary of people. in whichit was alreadyclear that the colonial dictatorship whilethe PAIGC had become a "vanguard longerheld the initiative The politicsof liberation mass participation. thepostcolonial "suicide"was not onlyfar segment's no doubt thatthe revolutionary Formerclerks fruitful its reincarnation. learning in and or fighting working forests swamplands. of called thedevelopment revolutionary insidePortuguese Guine. JoseAraujo.but was proving (for trainedintellectuals and theirkind. which.Vasco Cabral. identity local languages.and even a handfulof highly example. of bourgeoisie segment itspetite A segment.bythistime. party"withincreasing were now at large among this people. very effort. from This was theactual processand experience eschewing privileges.Dulce Amada Duarte.Thepositivesolution. favouroftherevolution.in of framework thenational iberation Fidel Castrofittingly recently.so as to be restored lifein the capable ofcommitting with the workers. consciousness. good ground. in advanced. at Havana. withtheclassesof theworkers and to identify formulation: Then came thewell-known the falls to it in the Thismeansthatin ordertoplay completely part that must petty-bourgeoisie be nationalliberation the struggle. [1979: 136].to mention socialand moral and had onlythree) comeintothemovement sunktheir into the embrace of the village masses. revolutionary to suicideas a class.Havingthuschanged. Cabral could elaborate his argumentthat the petitebourgeoisiehad only one road if it were not to revolutionary and thatwas betray itself. deepestaspirations their This alternative-to betraythe revolutionor to commitsuicide as a in 'class-constitutesthe dilemmaof thepetty-bourgeoisie thegeneral struggle. and it was the revolutionary thathad forcedopen thegate. dependson what. livingas peasants.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 23 was there by patently 1966. repudiate temptations tostrengthen revolutionary its of to become"bourgeois"andthenaturalpretensions itsclass mentality.thatprecisely Againitwas thisdevelopment. still. formedthe process on whichCabral could stand and know that he on groupof 1956had greatly stood. Most of the petite of of in had fledintoexileor remained theservice thecolonial bourgeoisie .ithad led to a situation.The little More important still.a small one. course. and Meanwhile.it had gone farto changeits grownin numbers: nature.
two culturalconstructs pressing the of relevance. it has seemed. Some of the latter. and elsewhere) capable of fallinginto the about the natureof the world in grossestillusionsand superstitions . to shouldhave caredso greatly elaborateand argueformulations open even among those whose sympathy and supportthe to controversy to and hold?It is a useful PAIGC greatly wished secure questionbecause of ittakesone directly theworkings hismindand thewaysinwhich into he conceivedtherealities his timeand place. would accept a "junior in for partnership" thedictatorship's fruitless program a "better Guine" (Guinemelhor) and wouldconnive onlyinthemurder Cabral but not of to underPortuguese also in efforts setup a rival"movement" guidance (Frente Unida de Liberta9do. Maputo. Cabral and his comrades in the lusophone liberation a movements suffered special disadvantage. Portuguese petite bourgeoisie in thesecolonies neversucceededin emerging from thatisolationand of Even to thisday one can findclusters them(in sense of inferiority. they came from colonizedpeoplesofwhomlittle at was knownoutsidetheir frontiers.Theyhad to makegood their from shadowsofa doubleand the right be heard. The bulk of the Guine petite bourgeoisie.was still openly covertly the or on side of thecolonial regime. of of There were. Luanda. ofthedangers hasty of one maystillask whyCabral warning judgment.the provincialism peoples despisedeven by of Mostofthereformist quiescent or culture. to of the culture extremely deep provincialism: provincialism Portuguese but also. beyondthat. evenat theendofthewar.The noncolonized peoples.as another incidental this incompatible with reality.and respected.24 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES regime.French-colonized peoples. BREAKING THE "WALL OF SILENCE" morethana pitythatotherwise Againstthisrecordit seemsrather that Cabral's ideas were observersshould blandlyaffirm thoughtful if Butleaving aside. butwhose wereregarded beingstillsmaller thatwerepossible)than as capacities (if or thoseof British." faras bothwere important. One was (or stillis?)concerned with overhang colonial racism and its effects not only on colonized Africansbut also on countries.They carrieda heavier handicapthanothers. later still. sometimes nothing all.FUL). Bissau. especially in the imperialist other-whichwe willcome to in a moment-was (or stillis) concerned withthenatureof Marxistor Marxisantthinking about therolesto be So playedbyrevolutionary groupsor "proto-classes.
Theyfound set but this difficult home because of a repression intensified at thatwas greatly after about 1955. things as developed. and. also to explain. Guine. confidence.Wasn'tthis.could stillsaythat. it's different you. and Mozambique (not to on speak ofmassshootings Sao Tome in 1953).and so. Like others hispioneering in group.and deploythem. reformist all."Onlythuscould they attract understanding helpfrom outsideworld. One Africandelegate to whom we triedto explainour situation repliedin all sympathy: "Oh. by so muchof British and FrenchAfrican experience? Along the way. are now they called to live and work. probablybe seen as holdingthe key to the motivesbehindCabral's lectures abroad. as to the real abilityof the leaders of those peoples to find effective of Thiswas all themore strategies anticolonial action.Onlythus-still and the moreimportant-couldthey thosewho sought lead thembecome or to their capable of reducing provincialism. as shown by an incident duringthe second AllAfricanPeople's Conference Tunisduring1961. theyfoundthisstillmoredifficult of abroad because ofthemyths thattherepression used in defense had itself. difficult years when ignoranceof the "Portugueseposition"went in hand in hand withan equallygeneralassumption thatmerely constitutional or politicalpressures-of course witha littlecarefully fostered "trouble" now and then-would be enough to bring decolonizing after thecomforting lessontaught change. As to explaining.mastering theircondition. from middle1950son Cabral the (1969b:9) saw itas imperative breakthrough wallofsilence to "the built aroundour peoples by Portuguese colonialism.used Not withoutsuccess.after repeated massacresof in anticolonialprotesters Angola. and behindothersuch lectures his comradesfrom by . Thesepioneers aboutto learn.It may be said that all of "thewall of silence"and Cabral's earlyefforts wereaimed at piercing of newideas. their ending isolation.andthen. for No problem there-you're doing all rightwiththe Portuguese"[1969: 9-10]. explanationalso had to deal with attitudes a of different and itwas these. else. in Even a politically mindedAfrican 1961.morethananything thatmaymost sort. littleby little. wherewe had some in in difficulty being heard. often their to persistent astonished and scepticism.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 25 which.So a of greatdeal ofpatient was required to therealcondition as explanation thepeoplesinthePortuguese colonies. as Cabral recalledin 1967.fresh ensuring two-way a communication-a traffic facts.
in the tropicalAfrica). FNLA) were readyto startan insurrection it and prepared insidethecountry. delegateoftheAlgerian whohappenedto be FrantzFanon.in in suchleadership mustbe provided Europe.urgedboththeMovimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola (Popular Movementfor the Liberationof Angola. at least. Foreign actionin sympathy support and might accepttheneedforrevolutionary the Portuguesecolonies.but in those yearsit had its power. course. refused "to Theyflatly for own. thattherelevant FrontofNationalLiberation. Thus itcame about. party agreedat itsclandestine congress . That particular the in usefulcould be followedfromthe doctrinalconviction that nothing done. But such acceptancetendedto have its own and bywhatmeansthisaction strong preconceptions abouthow.FrenteNacional de Liberta9do de withouthaving Angola. One of these assumptionswas that applicantsfor aid fromthe Portuguesecolonies could not be expected to know the necessary answers. This was that the colonial revolutionmusttake its line and ethnocentrism measurefrom revolution Europe.and to of appliednecessarily thecommunist movement-necessarily. shouldbe openedand advanced. in any seriouslyrevolutionary way.in 1960.or from both at the same time.either of ignoredor persecuted them). FRELIMO.when.theyran into a second assumptionthen commonon theleft(the right.These attitudes derived from or other one of two chief assumptions. withoutworkingclass leadership.werewell advancedwiththeir plans but werestillnot readyforinsurrection. Cabral and the PAIGC.Any such prescription must seem perfectly unrealto latterday eyes."Disasters accordinglyfollowed. the peasants would rally and insurrection The wouldirresistibly widenalmostofitself. finding that Holden and his Uniao das Populacoes de Angola (UPA. later."at least withany hope of consistent success. MPLA) in Angola and the PAIGC in Guine (the Frentede Libertacaode Mocambique. course. begin. and mustbe provided withthem.The crucialdate in thiscontextseemsto have been 1957. in Mozambique.As therewas none to be foundin Africa(or. had yetto If emerge)simply begin"theirarmedstruggle.or. theywould onlyset "to aside all further delay and begin. case of Portugal'scolonies.26 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES Angola and Mozambique. whereuponFanon. MPLA inthat momentwas unable to "begin. becausethere no other or in was movement party Portugal committed to The Portuguese decolonization."and wereroundly insulted thushavingmindsof their Making theiranalysisof what could be done in Guine and Cape Verde and by what means.in Portugal. fortheirpart. threw Algerian military politicalaid behind that fruitless "movement.
on of Therewerethose in Europe or America. had time respond it.or. thefacts showedthatno such basis could be reached.when. There wereeven those-and thispersisted almostto the end.One may thinkthat Cabral would have deepenedand refined analysisin any case: It was the his man's natureto wrestlewiththe "here and now" and make it yield positive solutions.hisdirectives thecontinued for advance ofthePAIGC .for example. BoththeMilan and Havana and lectures have to be read againstthisoften difficult background. 1979:224-250). fewofthem escaped or longimprisonment. Therewerethosewhoaddedthatthenecessary vanguard evenifitwereto be autonomous itschoiceofpolicyand timing. It still remainedto argue the analysis.had infact beententatively formed).reached by these nascent liberation movements. and to African of in originality thought theorizing actionand impelling further.often then courage.Butthedual challenge from sceptics and supporters was stilla valuable incentive. such as land nationalization.'One may note in passingthat thisis what Portuguesecommunists the in withoutstanding colonies.inAngola. of could becomecapable of coherent action. and to accept that Portuguesecommunists would throw theirsupport behind newmovements parties nationalliberation or of (twoofwhichsomemonths PAIGC and MPLA-having beenfounded earlier). party. so on.who wishedto believethat the peasants to were be regarded thechief as for force revolutionary initiating change. did.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 27 branches(it territorial of thatyearto cease trying launch African to seemsthatonlyone. deathat thehandsof thedictatorship. in of and no doubt the challengewas useful. peasantswould act as to the no suchthing. rapidincorporation individual the of peasantsin rapidly expanding cooperatives. the earlyyears. in Alas.althoughmuchless In later. thebroadterrain theleft. in mustsomehowstillbe "proletarian" itscomposition. Each form provincialism-that thecolonialist of of overhang that or ofethnocentrism-led factto theneedfora sharpclarity analysis. notwithstanding every effort explanation-who made a touchstone at of revolutionary authenticity settingup other "conditions of by reliability" drawnfroma completely non-African experience.according all theevidence.Most ofhiswell-known he to to formulations and proposalsdatefrom timebefore1970whentheslowtakeoff a the of protracted guerrilla gavehimopportunities standing war for asidefrom immediate tasks. that it By 1965he had similarly composedhis PaldvrasGerais(see Cabral. ifreachedby various stretchings thetermproletarian. torture. Those werethe yearsin whichhe struck out a solid claim to Africanoriginality revolutionary of action.
considered tacticson theinternational Apartfrom with thosein He thatlabelswerea probablesourceoferror. an answer their practice: from If thatit is marxism.and in thiscontext askedhimin came..his reference reality: has to arise as the consequenceof an of Everytheory armedstruggle after. such occasions.I recallhaving liberation to further sayuntil nothing whyhe did not 1967 (whenI had not yetseen a copy of the Palcivras) His and writea fullaccountof PAIGC strategy principles? replywas to thathe had nothing add to thePalavras. but their theories..in other to sufficient of words." from "battle for socialism.. embarkedon a restatement his chieftheses. but he seldom refrained to on repeating.in itself. formsofoppression? [1971: 20].theexperience thePAIGC had become. everyone are your affair. Havinggotso far. thehumanbeingsinourcountry. every you mustmakea critical . othercircumstances might of and differently. questioners occasion. too.from and drawyourownconclusions ask Simply methis. now.. By or whatthesewerecould nowcome and see forhimself herself. be must drawn and As to hisownideology thatofthePAIGC.Although turnedout not to have read his chieftheses. this experienceconfirmed he sceneofpolitics.althoughthesehad been availablein Englishsincetheend of 1969.and potentials: explain its nature. People here [in London." or the like. Anyonewho wishedto know aims.please. thatit'snot marxism. whatwe are doingin the all our wereally liberating people. Are or preoccupiedwiththequestion:are you marxist notmarxist? you field. But perhaps therewas some reasonable ground for impatienceon that his for politicalscientists themostpart. Cabral's dislike of doctrinallabels.On top ofthat.Are Just marxist-leninist? ask me..three handily or fourexponentsof theProvisionalIrishRepublicanArmyhad just . Ifyou reallywantto advance thestruggle. you decide tell Ifyou decideit'smarxism. as it happened] are very Offeredto questionersof undoubted goodwill. applying before of asessment theexperience others of the of has of thebasic theory armedstruggle tocomefrom reality thefight [1971: 20].practicecomesfirst theory actualarmedstruggle.28 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES there was really on themainlandand in theislands. everyone But thelabels tell thatit'snot marxism. this may sound he have phrasedit In somewhatimpatient. and In case. was patient a distantlands who wantedhimto proclaima "Marxistrevolution.
underlying The of unity action and thought invariably was evenifthe"pointofprocess"at impressive. of liberated anycase be foundto originate thepractice their Thispractice two One wasthatno developedfrom principles. generally Africa elsewhere.2 in upon.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 29 to the sought destroy meeting (heldin a lecture roomat theUniversity of London) on thegrounds thatCabral was talking about Guineand not about Ulster.thecruciallegacyofthesemovements their yearsofwarfaretheparticular legacy. purposively. one movement theother. behalfof a program on . Cabral believedmostfirmly 1971 by when this particular meeting was held-that the development the of PAIGC was sufficient speak foritself. CULTURAL RESISTANCE AND UNITY OF STRATEGY Thereweremanydifferences applicationofstrategy of between that of the PAIGC and those of FRELIMO and MPLA. ofthese a worthwhile and evermore successcould be gainedwithout growing of in effective weight rural(if you wish.One could pass from liberated the zones ofone ofthesethree to movements those of the othertwo. and his graspof that languagewas stillinadequate. of organization. to whether demonstrating in the point of process then reached or the meaningand direction that it marked.intwenty years'timeorso.of AmilcarCabral-will in in zones. maywellask one in or whatwillbe thefurther of impact.there sociocultural economicneedsand possibilities? and seemedto be reasonsforthinking Whether not thatis agreed or SO.Third. of the although clarity force and of Cabral's thought werecertainly highon thelistof them.he was speakingin English. to lieat thestart new Africanmodalitiesof struggle. but the strategy itself strikingly sameinall three was the cases. understanding Evenby 1981. the of Can practice and theory theselusophoneliberation movements.Considering to that anyone timevariedfrom thesame has been trueofpostcolonialdevelopment.of peasant) initiative fighting and organizing anticolonial for was change.in our contexthere.and findin each of them-if oftenundera different the guiseor statedinsomewhat different terms-precisely samepolicies at workand with muchthesameresults. they be seen to have introduced newtrendtowardeffective a self-developDo a ment? they indicate qualitative advanceon theroad to progressive of Willthey change? appear. The reasonswhy thiswas so lie outsidetheconcerns thisarticle.The other thatthisinitiative could be evokedusefully thatis.
Theyhad longsincelosttheir traditional chiefs fact."letpeopledo itfor "it" it otherwise wouldbe done to themand could possessno culturevalue. one ofCabral's deepestmoraland political as changing convictions thatculture-changing was whatreally value its was counted. In this respect the Portuguese colonial systemand ethos had withinthe dynamicsof imperialism. possessed theirown legitimacy and Theyhad stoppedtheprocessof indigenous cultural development had interjected cultureof imperialism. leastbya Portuguese not religious whosegeneral for hierarchy wouldbe hard contempt African humanity to overstate.and seldomknewa wordof Portuguese. domination)to depersonalizethe mass of their colonial victims. hereinthePortuguese system and ethositreachedan often remarkable extreme alienation. nization (usuallyidentical with regions for earmarked white settlement).30 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES forsuch change-only by a steadyand continued of converting rural into ruralparticipation. priests.alwaysrejected." well as theircorresponding as weapon of the of indigenato(essentially. doubttheessenceofthisdisembodiment No belongsto form systematic of but every dictatorship. including the geographicallocation. promotion had to be a central testof good leadership. thattheyhad used the For the weapon of assimila(4o (essentially.largely. They continuedto worship at their woodlandshrines evenas late as the 1970s."and.In a the will or thousandways. was of thepositionand attitude ciMbunda-speaking communities their and neighborsin eastern Angola."Everykind of coercionwas foundto be legitimate. (in by . racism)to producea stratum of of "AfricanPortuguese. That. because theyhad ceased to be Africansand had becomePortuguese.as such." theGuine-Creole sloganhas cabeqa. Further. How farthisculture domination of the really destroyed culture the of colonizedpeoples naturally dependedon thecircumstances. a very and of who werein largemajority "natives" all important ways(whether law or colonial usage) themereobjects by ofexploitation. by of theorists. alienationwas (or preachedand practiced generations governors. Povo na manda na su supportor sympathy as themselves.abrasively sentimentally both).evenwith as very manyreservations. of Anyone who caresto wade through colonialliterature see as much. For a few widely scattered livingoutsidethe confinesof intensive colocommunities. and othersas a necessary"colonial mission. Hence thesecolonial populationsconsisted a of of smallminority personswho wererecognized such. of this or that people. poets. thecolonialsystem ethosseemnever havebeenmuchmorethana and to to spasmodic influence be suffered evaded as a calamitycoming or from entirely "outside.
but forwhomthe new values alienation. of the has today conqueredfor service mankind world the through action of hegemony. [Cabral. thelaunching thisnewculture. leastinitsessentials zones. new dimensionsof independent assumingentirely to valid system replaceand overcomecolonialvalues could neverbe a werein anycase to reversion thoseofthepast. own ground. and thenegative scrapcolonialculture a we or in whether ourcharacter inourenvironment.havetocreate new that but everything the also culture. thatwentbeyonda mere a meaning processcapable of a itsmodeofactionmustintroduce culture-changing fromprecolonial developmentbut.Much more of thinking most before can approachtheinner we study be required will Yet ofthesecolonizedcommunities.in any case. howto reverse trend despair?How to of the giveback to thesecommunities conviction beingable to master in Theyhad possessedthatconviction thepast. clearlydefinedor of in cut-and-dried theirlimits-therewereof coursemanydiversities We leveland stability. There were othersuch cases. of the How to makethisgood. Yet formost of thesepeoples. at the same time. and sometimesit was impossible. loss of self-confidence. of stemming A self-realization. living acceptancewas mereendurancewithout undertheheel of the system.evenifanysuchreversion On practicable.and or otherformof imposedalienationhad spreadconfusion.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 31 They ownidentity. would have to come afterthe smashingof the of in effort thebuilding a new and colonial system yearsofindependent at of But community. notalienated. townsbecamethehomeofpopulations whomthe old values had lost theirpowerto save. thecentral . senseoftheir a themiddle1920s)butretained strong on stood. basedon ourtraditions respecting 1969c]. The fulldevelopment a newcultural of liberatedpeoples.More than much more difficult. As own history. weknowenoughto be surethatone decay.ifpainfully. thecontrary: while in consists thefollowing: we resistance colonialism] [to cultural Our aspectsof our own culture.butit owndestiny? their to to to was no good trying return thepast. do notknowenoughabout thatyet. rural thesepeopleswentfartowardlosingtheir others. For nationalliberation have Cabral heldthat changeofmasters. their Theystill but werepersecuted.and oftheir aim oftheliberated was and foundations. and assimilasao(or itssimulacrum) imposeda further meant In betweenthese"categories"-never. numbers in fromruralstarvation evergreater soughtrelief multitudes for the the after 1940s.
was vitalin a deepersense. because the means of participation arisingfromthose typesof selfvitaltothe"mobilization" were organization (PAIGC parlance. but painful. itwouldbe outofplaceto repeat and himat All length. much. in thatcase for theywould be won beforethe culture-changing process had timeto reachitsstride and makesignificant gains. highly original itsforms methods. thathe said and thought thesubjectwas drawntogether on wellenoughin his Syracuselecture 1970. was one of partial. one extreme. any No suchthing wouldhavebeeninanycase possible. The truthof the liberatedzones. UNITA in Angola) and those (such as MPLA in Angola) whose the came from processesof expanding strength participation. the Few outsideobservers perceived at thetime. Short-term.32 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES democratic That self-organization. evenfewer this and outside At commentators.It was vitalto theopeningofmindsand the in of could steadily uniting willsoutofwhich. evenmorethan itwas a physical liberation from colonialoppression. by contrast.as well as in countlessconversations or "internally" "externally". Cabral arguedtheabsolutepriority thisculture-changing of process in manylecturesand addresses. that need withthe long-term combinedthe short-term need.Butalso long-term. due course. the without nothing wouldcountfor else it. in and This was thesynthesis. theywould be lost iftheywerewon quickly."Given Portuguesemilitary superiority arms and in numbers troops."andperhaps is inthissynthesis of thatone maybestmeasure powerofCabral'sconception progress. Justas surely.a newculture takeshape and growintocommandofthefuture. were those who wishedto sympathize withthe anticolonialstruggle. alwaysstubborn effort of towarda liberation mindsthat was mental moral. was whathad to be done. meaning of of participation) everlargernumbers ruralpeople. thatitwas essentially in and political.there were colonial apologists or propagandists who saw the processas beingone of coercion. of thesewarscould notbe won quickly.At another there extreme.Armed militants rural "conscripted" peopleand"punished" whoheldback. and thusto the becausethatsameparticipation of winning thewar. Thiswas also why the anticolonialwarshad to be conceivedand fought "struggles as of long duration. but could neverunderstand difference the betweenthe fake movements (such as the UniaioNacional para a IndependenciaTotal de Angola.no matter howhostile circumstances. How could it come about of thatthisarmedstruggle in factputdownthefoundations a new did of . however. Hence the"war aim" it marched with together the"peace aim. theimpossibility but it neverprevented from beingalleged.
in "thesefeatures inherent an armedliberation struggle" conductedon theprinciples thePAIGC: of the thepractice of democracy.For therealattributes theliberated zonesemerged the in at themand working them. was theachievedproductof a particular practice and experience." The "features" listedin his Syracuse I lecture-whetherin the fragment have just quoted or in other passages-were precisely thosethatpractice had provedto be fruitful. then.was able to make good theblunders that and indiscipline had begunto ruin fighting the and donethat.inConakry. of in directproductof mass participation liberatedzones. emphasisin originall. with thatCabral 1961)I do notthink (withhis leadingcolleagues. 1979: 152-153. criticism and self-criticism. one may note.of course.mostnotablyAristides Pereira)had any detailedplanfor whatwas to be doneineventually liberated zones.but were well convincedthat actualpractice mustbe their guide. its early of of outlines-was no kind of theoretical claim. determinant culture. a It maybe important insist to werenotidentified thatthesefeatures priorior by any preliminary blueprint. is shouldthusfind thearmedliberation that struggle notonlyaproductof culture also a.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 33 culture?"Consider. movement."he said in one of his most important passages. having to the identify newinitiatives neededto be made(see Davidson. Going by earlyconversations him(in London. believed they thatlife itsrichness variety in and and wouldteachthenecessary lessons. thenickoftimeas it also proved. 1960. much less a theoretical it abstraction: Most exactly. thetraining cadres of We frompeasant and labourerbackgrounds-and otherachievements. That thefurther of development "fullmaturity" thisnewculture. the courseofwinning especially and after of in critical party congress February1964which. in of so itproved.literacy of of the teaching. but of Thisis without doubtfor the people theprimerecompense theefforts sacrifices for and whichare the price of war[Cabral. Their determination a new culture-of its foundations.Giventheir principles. growing of responsibility populationsfor themanagement theirlife... 1978) that Hence Cabral's characteristic insistence (parallel.I am very Cabral neverthought thatany such processcould be guaranteed: His .They had ideas upon the subject. to Samora Machel'sin Mozambiqueand Agostinho Neto'sinAngola)that "practicecomes beforetheory. creationof schools and healthcare. was not and could notbe guaranteed-anymorethantheclass suicideofa widening numberof the petite bourgeoisieand theirreincarnation revoas clearinmymindthat lutionaries-was and is besidethepoint.
1979: 152]. Founder of the Nation. Chaliand. Rudebeck. learning new for their respect villagepeople. Kinara.g.. 1974. to whichone mustseekforthesubtle is This. thatthedeterminant fruitfully observers work.Not.Founderof the Nationality. thoroughly understood.later. of to integrate gradually intothecountry theworld. of a liberation for movement powerthatwouldbe capable ofmaintaining enlarging in and therequirements thisnewprogressive of culture. and in countless ways.then.. [and] becomefitter and toplay thedecisive roleas the principalforce theliberation of movement [Cabral.1979) in the to liberated zones of thePAIGC had notedor continued notein hisor for herown way..and enriching gripon reality. and Urdang.meanwhile.I think. and then. and other could wina districts. please note. the whoare generally illiterate have never and movedbeyondtheconfines of thevillageor region. on [ While] their side. 1969. to be awardedhis unique title. The dialecticsof processwerewhat..as each of a numberof foreign (e. one. a liberation of movement fighting power and winningit. Como.He wouldnot. drive the colonial armed forces and morethanhalfthecountry 1972.The affirmation hemadewas was a different He affirmed onlythisprocess.Thanksto a commoneffort unitedaims.thethought and behavior of leaders convergedon those of the peasant mass. theprocessthrough of the and truths development of within system potentials thenational- . that could open thewayto a truedevelopment: initially.all thiswas goingon in Cubucare. Fundadorda Nacionalidade. contactwithothercategories in shed thecomplexes whichconstrained them. break thefetters thevillageuniverse of .amongmanyother he things. wouldhavegreatly He condemned resort coup d'etatin theGuinea-Bissau November the to of 1980.and go on to from administration by drivethemfrom restofit in 1974.thatCabral. because the nationwas and is a collectivity necessarily and but founds itself. was because itwas goingon thatthemovement It strategicinitiativeby 1968.ifthenposthumously. .Quitafine. Davidson.It was because all thiswas going the was on. 1969 and 1984. was at The factsshowed. understand their situationas determining elements thestruggle .34 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES that optimism notoftheutopiankind. peasants.themassofworkers and. founder could (and does) identify itself this of theprocesswhereby collectivity and continue builditspostcolonialculture. Encapsulatedin whatCabral said to hisSyracuseaudience. have been as greatly surprised itin any by essential way.and no other. of their a shedding petitbourgeoisprejudices superiority. Tombali..inparticular.
butjust as certainly thought about it.) Immediate answers were The previous provided developments inmotion.ofpowerto controlthestate?The Leninof after whenthe themiddleof 1917might look towarda time. thecontroller thatcommittee.however.or. then. revolution. Giventhatthe PAIGC was a vanguardpartyand thatits leadershipwas both selfhow appointedand. for regional committees. howbestto of between separation powersand functions endowthe"soviets"of Guinea-Bissau-the electedcommittees selfof that in government theliberated zones-with a political identity should not become.felttheneed to formulate or. could the or strata(insofaras theseexisted)then peasantry other"proletarian" playa decisiverole?How could there an increasing be democratization ofstatepower. the throughout liberated zones. during November. Outside Africa. his because he told me so. power-should effectively What came after rule. It would have the supreme legislative power. afterCabral's murder. by then yearhad seena generalelectionby secretballot and adult suffrage. All power to the soviets became all power to the central of to committee. ThisPNA. Cabral neverformulated as I believe. and soon enough. and the planned decisionswere eightmonths taken. self-perpetuating. to he anyspecific reply thislargequestion.These in turn. everyone knows. wouldhaveits firstsession sometimeafterthe middle of 1973. At in thatpointhe was thinking institutional terms: how bestto organizea stateand party. wentwithout (It thatall thesecommittees themselves partand parcelofthe as saying saw PAIGC-"our Party"-but this affiliation needed to be something different of from beingbranches thePAIGC. soviets-the mass-electedcommitteesof local and then national outsideintervention. .and sometimes in inside-all too understandably viewoftheStalinist outcome-many mustinevitably havearguedthatLenin'sconceptofthevanguardparty lead to a party dictatorship within ever-narrowing limits. itwas decidedbyDecember. to The vanguard crucialcultural determinant.and would proclaimtheindependence a of of republic Guinea-Bissau. (This first sessionactuallytook place in September 1973. I have the best of reasonsforknowingthathe was thinking about itin thevery weeksbefore murder.at least.) of I At a deeperlevel.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 35 of liberationstruggle the PAIGC. in terms menand womenformed of determinant-the product. civilwar. at leastin thoseyears.had elected theirrepresentatives a People's National to Assembly (PNA).and greatdisasters as was something very different.a party identity.in anyrestrictive sense. party reinforcedby continuingnew intakes from the product of the thatis. believethatCabral was thinking the must continue lead. evenifthecolonial armiesstillheldpartof thecountry.
but anticapitalist.as well as the means of realizingit. the democracyof the liberatedzones and extensionof grewstronger.36 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES Yet and preparedby the struggle. control. the dialecticsof the processwould democratic vanguard masses. therewould be more. that culture. turn. these would constitute exploitationand therefore only an empty shell unless they were applied with the strength.eversince the deeplyin the liberated of 1964. or none: The decidingfactoralways was remained degreeto whichthedeterminant reallyat work. the To the degreethat the crucial determinant.in any interplay capable of retrogressions well as progress in case. (concenan antithesis lumpenpetitebourgeoisie betweena politically trated.it was perhapshis greatest luta continua.New the laws and structures would help. potential an ever-extending and end of 1972 Cabral knew that the concept of an ever-extending democraticcontrol.For a developedliberation situations ratherthan a dialectical history a seriesof disconnected is as belongs. the of democratic By resilience. of military success. and the notion that LIMITS OF NATIONALISM Whatwouldhehavedone and said aboutmany issues. couldholditsground same degreewouldthepeoplesof Guinea-Bissauand Cape Verdetruly cometo govern and ownhistory. shaping a systemthat would be targetedagainst every form of systemic antiracist. Bissau) and a politically be movement would surely amongstthem.would produce its antithesis. wererooted zones. between a as emerge.greatorsmall.Politically speaking.withunbending purpose.antichauvinist. and certainly morethan a few as years earlier. the strugglefor liberation continues. Therehad been no suchcontrolin controlwould increasingly had 1963. Fine wordsand themselves maketheir promisescould have littlevalue. He had workedforthat. in Naturally. and whereby ensure synthesis. thatindeedwas theessenceoftheprocess.The legacyofhis of territorial liberation exemplary newgains:a final workensured many . achieve. largely.in the colonial capital.whenthearmedstruggle begun:Therehad onlybeencolonial far dictatorship. builderof a new its to and maintain creative influence.This initiation after was whattheprocesshad provedit could democratic all. control. to a philosophy whichCabral had no part.Behindthescenes congress February achievement. Now therewas some.Progressively. This synthesis. ifonlytheassassinshad failedand he had livedintothetimeofcomplete to It liberation? remains territorial tempting wonder.
By November1980.in anycase.that Africanuse of was not an optional as nationalism. acquiredfresh theislands commissoes de assemblies and committeesof local government. before. bourgeois againstthepetit on them themainland payinga price. a weapon to get decolonization.His owncontinued and teaching leadership defended would have enlargedthosegains and better one may think. or for tracedby imperialism theuse of imperialism.who stood solidlyby developed. in control all of 1980was theone in whicha largeextension democratic of the Thesecamewith launching dimensions.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 37 of lack of violence(both in Guinea-Bissauand Cape Verde). remained aboutthatstruggle Yet therecould be no doubt that the legacy of Cabral. This same year of to continued make fresh Verde. manylevels. the cultural of at determinant work in the will and attitudes thousandsof party in That force Cape in a force Guinea-Bissau.3 all overthrown thatthePAIGC had stood forand striven thePAIGC couldnotbe cancelled that In factitsoon becameevident and was was out so easily. November1977)showed congress party at discussion the was and solidarity alreadyopeningin Guinea-Bissau thata gap in trust and capital. on thatdecolonization the in (as longforeseen notedearlier thisarticle) model"ofthenationthe adapting "Western British Frenchpattern. recognized thanwas clearly third (Bissau. and the next two years seemedto betweencountryside in little closingit. today largeissueforAfrica In conclusionI wishonlyto raisea single of and in thelightof Cabral's thinking of theimplications theprocess in colonial systems Guinea-Bissauand the whereby PAIGC destroyed Cabral had the of Cape Verde. to alternative the use of some other weapon. remained living militants.is high. achievedangerously had the petitbourgeoisantithesis takencommandto a pointwherea coup d'tat of themonthcould even appear. withinseveralweeksof the day of the coup by the clearlyreinforced at presenceand actionof militants. thathe had given. There was no other .The "otherside" oftheantithesis also there.Some fairly at least.This issue concerns limits nationalism.in itsearlydays. politicalstruggle PAIGC obscurea yearlaterwhenthiswas written. on higher themainland beingpaid fortheloss of Cabral was becoming acrid for.meanwhile. people. such as had neverexistedin anyform moradores. gains.provided or.theall-decisive presence.to have for.fruit the the skilland courageofmenand womenwho had undergone necessary of of influence thedeterminant-allresults the process.Much A practiceand principle. No antithesis.and the leader without afterall. statewithin frontiers of morethanan "updating" theold relationships could welllead to little of domination. loses an outstanding Alreadythereweresignsby 1977 thattheprice price. He had also seen.usually. however.
he was Fundador da If Nacionalidade.or one thatcould havetheleastprospect becoming of effective. Africa mustbegin nations. a progressive of lead. How was a revolutionary nationalism getitself to beyond limits the of the nation-state-andthis. was dialecticalin its own development. onlyan empty could finda wayto rejectthisdestiny. What forcecould thenbe set againsttheneocolonialantithesis. however blinkeredin its majority. whatcould nationalism thenpromise to an Africadividedbythefrontiers thecolonial "shareout. fully understood. its Realityenforced acceptance.of course. in He was notinsincere theleastinpaying homageto KwameNkrumah of as "thestrategist geniusin the struggle againstclassic colonialism" (Cabral.4 Therewas no other wayahead.perhaps. someofhisanswers wereavailable beforehe died.The truevocationofthesenewnations-trueinthesenseofa capacityto yielda further processof development-was to overcome thecolonial heritage moving"beyondnationalism."chopped of into pieces that often made no economic or political sense for postcolonialdevelopment and stillsubjectto a "world order"within in I which Africa remained many waysa victim? believethatCabral had no illusionsabout the incapacity nationalism.to solve the of as basic problemsof postcolonialdevelopment. and thought actionare mostsorely missed.insistent always thatthe PAIGC was concerned with he in nationalliberation." revolutionary struggle. a liberated Yes. after 1945.That was by becomingan Africaof separately independent of whattheheritage colonialism verbalism had dictated. The acceptanceof an Africaof separately independent nationsmust to wereto continue. however.1979: 115). ifdevelopment rejection that outcome. was becausethenationalism believed and this for fought was alwaysrevolutionary. was the stratumthat must lead along it. remains arenain whichhis the upon thesubject. and consign those countriesto a new colonialism. thepetite bourgeoisie. fighting working .38 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES weapon. Beyondthatanswer.could answer questionfrom this their longandvariedexperience. the The petit bourgeois antithesis? PAIGC. But reality." the Otherwise by tides of liberationwould turnback upon themselves. such. theyhad so as turnedin all those countrieswhere the petit bourgeois manifestly antithesis was in command.thanthe and road openedto and bynationalism.without theleast denying in the rights needsof as manyautonomousnationalidentities Africa's and as I diversity might require? think thatCabral wouldhavehad muchto say and thatthis. and other parties movements or likeit.As itis. Theywereembodiedin his conceptsof A and and for "unity struggle.
There. Pepel. and themselves their after 1973.The frontiers there. These hithertodivided and often mutually hostilecommunities now stood on thesame politicalground. Theystroveforthesame objectives. frontiers sacred.capable of yielding radicaladvance. What else. too does thegap between countrysideand town. Reformist nationalism continues dig itsown grave. privilege powerto ruling . Mandjak.organically. Even intelligently remedial steps toward suchas beganto appeartowardtheend ofthe 1970s(as reorganization withtheEconomic Community WestAfrican of States) are onlysteps taken"from top down": agreements the between and governments not between no peoples. as such.To thetuneofrequiems sungin solemnchorusby or of or hostsofforeign experts would-befundi one profession another. in otherdestiny movements power could now lie ahead of liberation exceptfrustration defeat? and Such questionswere neverposed in those years.More and moreclearly.developing latest)could achievethissense on and factofunity thegroundofcommoninterests objectives-in and removing colonial system itscoercions. theysaw theseobjectives terms their in of as unity a nationof peoples. the funeral are the proceeds. often on very comfortable(and comforting) salaries. is onlybecausetheneocolonial this antithesis in holds firm theanglophoneand francophone or countries in mostof them. Yet if Balante and Mandinka.and is opposed.If they remain premature today. are after could guarantee elites? and all. and had alreadygone farto unite diverse the of actionalongthe peoplesand cultures Guine.the and petitbourgeoisinheritors reignin theirown interests tryto wrest whatgainsthey from can as the "imperial partners.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 39 social gainsas itsprimary essentialtarget.and perhapsit is needless to say that they were vastly premature. however.as ithappened. so far.and.Nalu and Mandjak.only by a deepeningcrisis. persons commandareable to gettheir above theedge ofit.as a unionof communities-whatobjectivereason could exist for sealing offthis processat thefrontiers arbitrarily so drawnbyintercolonial agreement in thenineteenth century? Whyshoulda revolutionary nationalism not growin time. a lingua franca where none (and certainly not Portuguese) had existed before. this Balantehad left their forestsand gone to fightin the grasslands. had Guine-Creole become. beginning govern the and in to in owncommunities then. into an internationalism? What regionally.Further samelineswoulddeepenand strengthen unity.and as thegrave to fewer fewer and in heads deepens. and Mandinkahaddonethesameortheterritorial reverse. Pepel and Fula the (thelast." thegap between few withwealthand themanywithout so widens.increasingly.
and this.he also sawthisunity a logicaldevelopment theanticolonial as If struggle. of Whatever Cabral might nowhavesaid inthisarena. wouldhavelookedforthepractical route-forthe immediate stepsthatcould lead on to others. nationalism will now take Exactlyhow this revolutionary further of will shape and movement remain. peoplesinmany waysso different one another those from as ofGuinea-Bissau and Cape Verdecould thusfind commongroundand use it to good mutualpurpose. . of He saw thisunityas beingable to give a historical culmination all to those ties and trendsthat have existedbetweenthe two countriesbetween mainlandand theislands-since. for in a because a struggle liberation theone would not avail without in corresponding struggle the other. can only be the task and Today. smuggling not a programfor a people's development. is what was repeatedly demonstrated through yearsofarmedconflict.the frontiers What the peoples thinkupon thissubjectis shownby theirincessant acrosstheselineson themap as wellas by emigration immigration and its Evenwhilea "bourgeois Africa" their hardens smuggling enterprises.lookingahead of again.as mucha problem ofpractice has every as other forward stepin thestrategy liberation. the He as furthermore. saw it duringthe 1950s as a politicalnecessity.hewouldsurely not He haveprophecied. For if the smuggling goods and persons appears in and wickedwhen seen by governments place. multiplies frontier controls. is Even so. saw it.forbroadening routeto radicalrenewal.40 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES Yet the peoples. Then.elsewhere. a guaranteethat the most could be gottenfor each from gainsofanticolonial the country liberation. peoples in perverse find place can evidently it right enough. a people's development productof a revolutionary nationalismin the nature conceivedby in and Cabral and bythosewhohavethought acted. its frontiers. at anyrate. thesame direction.and thundersagainst the of smuggling personsand goods.theend ofthe the sixteenth He century.see matters differently. They have to their own solutions thiscarapace acceptedfrom colonialperiod.and evennatural. it appears.thenthe natureof theiranticolonial liberationwould reveal its fullerpotentialfor Africa'spostcolonial liberation: moving"beyondnationalism. For them. The unity Guinea-Bissauand Cape Verdewas one ofthosesteps. it would seem." climbing of the for for out the neocolonialgrave. indeed. course. a "peoples' Africa"worksin quite of anotherway. the remaina foreign and unwantedimposition.
I can also think not taken.I can as wellpicture rageat seeingtheinstitutions democratic notablythe national council of the PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau(of whichthe principal had long been thechairman)pushedaside and thenabolishedby militarist coup-maker certain in stepsthatwere thatCabral wouldhavetaken. and admiredNkrumah'spersonaldevelopment limitations during last yearsof exile. It was all the moreconvincing while in power in Ghana.and others. its in clandestine of 1. from and the for contempt these"newleaders"whothensaid.repeating propagandaofthe scalding had that defeated colonialregime. So much was evident. Compare this withthe development practiceand policy by EPLF. can myself thecountry. and in Paris as Uniteet lutte by Maspero.) trans. and Davidson (1984: preface).and would have acted againstotherstepsthatweretaken.New York: MonthlyReviewPress. 1969c "Resistencia cultural.New York: Monthly . 1978-1979. For some initial discussion of the background and consequences of the November 1980 coup. (M.) Chaliand. I can recall severalconversations whichhe insistedon the sincerity that because he had been well aware of Nkrumah's homage. is unknown me.London: Stage One. 1971 Our People Are Our Mountains. Dowbor (1983). see Rudebeck(1983). ZANU.have foundpublication.) The Liberationof Guine. followingthe coup. 1975. Privatesource. Amilcar in 1969a "Brief analysis of the social structure Guine.in days immediately domination. London WIP 9FG. outside from jubilationofanti-PAIGC "circles"and groupsin Lisbon and elsewhere the I easilyimagineCabral's muchelse to thesame effect. initialreleaseand acceptanceoftheturncoat from their in a whohad made himself leadingtool ofthecolonialregime itswaragainstthePAIGC.Gerard ReviewPress.ANC. Wolfers." in collected writings." Seminar paper at PAIGC conferenceof cadres (November19-24). Eritrea. the REFERENCES Cabral.in two volumes. thepeopleofGuinea-Bissau beencolonizedbythoseof of control. from many 3. in Revolution Guinea. and Struggle 1979 Unity (Also publishedin London by Heinemann. 1980.If thecircumstances thisnecessarily to this colonies. action. of in 4.Rafael Barbosa. 34 PercyStreet.(Available fromMAGIC. his Cape Verde.London: Penguin. of rabidaccusations Cape Verdean from their of statements thecoup-makers: PAIGC leader." pp. bearings Portugal's on of 2.Davidson / ON REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM 41 NOTES congress. in 1969 ArmedStruggle Africa.). 9-15 in Basil Davidson (ed. Zimbabwe. 1969b "Foreword by Amilcar Cabral. South Africa.
New York: Macmillan." B.) Southern in Africa.Stephanie 1979 FightingTwo Colonialisms:Womenin Guinea Bissau. (Also publishedas Africa in Modern History. London: Penguin. Hyden. 1962 Essays in Social Anthropology. London: Faber & Faber.. Basil 1969 The Liberation Guine. New York: Monthly Review.T. "MFA na Guine" 1974 BoletimInformativo. 1983 "The class basis . E. Davidson et al.42 LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES Davidson. Hodgkin.Sao Paulo: Brasiliense. of 1976 "The politicsofarmedstruggle. London: Penguin. (eds. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies.G." Uppsala. London: Heinemann. 1980 Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania. Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.London: Penguin. (A republication The of Liberation Guinewithadditionalchapters. in Angola.Lars 1974 Guinea-Bissau.. 1978 Let Freedom Come. Evans-Pritchard. . London: Zed.Brown. E.) 1984 No Fist is Big Enoughto Hide theSky.) of Dowbor. 1981 Vietnam: The Revolutionary Path. (June1). 1 Rudebeck. Ladislau 1983 GuineBissau: a busca da independencia econ6mica. Boston: Little. Urdang.