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State and Revolution: the Work of Amilcar Cabral

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2008


Employment in the modern sector in Africa is often employment by government. Control of the state apparatus brings the ability to reward and to coerce. Private wealth is scattered in most countries, and power and status frequently stem from a place in or access to the state apparatus. Élites in Africa derive their power from control of the state, not from private property or private large-scale organisations. Yet, while public servants and civil services have been studied in Africa, there have been relatively few analyses of the state, and the relationship of state power to social classes and groups.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1977

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page 555 note 1 Stepan, Alfred, ‘Inclusionary and Exclusionary Military Responses to Radicalism: with special attention to Peru’, Workshop on Radicalism and Revolutionary Process, Research Institute on International Change, Columbia University, New York, 05 1975, p. 1.Google Scholar

page 557 note 1 Wolin, Sheldon, ‘The Politics of the Study of Revolution’, in Comparative Politics (Chicago), V, 3, 04 1973, p. 353.Google Scholar

page 557 note 2 Ibid. p. 354.

page 557 note 3 See A Dying Colonialism (Harmondsworth edn., 1970).

page 557 note 4 Lenin, of course, in State and Revolution does discuss the nature of the state, the relationship of the proletariat's seizure of power to violent revolution, the question of what replaces the smashed state machine, and the development of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army administered large areas and populations of China prior to coming to national power in 1948, and in practice as well as in theory were concerned with the operation of state structures. But while Mao Tse-tung developed ideas of the people's dictatorship and the transformation of a national bourgeoisie, he did not focus often on the state bureaucracy or on the nature of the state per se. In Volumes I—IV of Selected Works (Peking, 1961–1966) I could find the word ‘state’ under the table of contents only once. In Volume III, p. 6, there is the heading ‘Who is Sabotaging the War of Resistance and Endangering the State?’ During the 19501 and 1960s Chairman Mao began to give more attention to the organisation of the state.

page 558 note 1 To cite merely a few such theorists: Leys, Colin, Underdevelopment in Kenya: the political economy of neo-colonialism (Berkeley, 1975)Google Scholar; Frank, André Gunder and Johnson, Dale (eds.), Dependence and Development (New York, 1972)Google Scholar; Frank, André Gunder, Latin America: underdevelopment or revolution (New York, 1969)Google Scholar; Arrighi, Giovanni and Saul, John S., Essays on the Political Economy of Africa (New York, 1973)Google Scholar; and Cardoso, Fernando Henrique, ‘Dependency and Development in Latin America’, in New Left Review (London), 0708 1972, pp. 8395.Google Scholar

page 559 note 1 Cabral wrote during the struggle of Portuguese Guinea and Cabo Verde for independence, and was assassinated before the collapse of Portuguese rule in Africa. See Revolution in Guinea. Selected Texts by Cabral, Amilcar, translated and edited by Handyside, Richard (New York, 1969)Google Scholar, for discussions of particular problems at various forums, press conference remarks, and longer, more systematic and theoretical treatments of revolutionary tactics and strategy.

page 559 note 2 Ibid. p. 69.

page 559 note 3 Obviously, peasants in Kikuyu or Kalenjin areas of Kenya had a great deal of contact with the colonial régime as compared to peasants in Guinea. Where white settlement took place or plantation agriculture developed, peasants were hardly left alone.

page 560 note 1 Revolution in Guinea, p. 72.

page 560 note 2 Ibid.

page 561 note 1 Revolution in Guinea, p. 105.

page 561 note 2 Ibid. p. 158.

page 561 note 3 Ibid. p. 160.

page 561 note 4 Ibid. p. 64.

page 561 note 5 Ibid. p. 104.

page 562 note 1 See Cabral, Amilcar, ‘On the Contribution of the “Peoples” of Guiné to Agricultural Production in Guiné, in Chilcote, Ronald H. (ed.), Emerging Nationalism in Portuguese Africa. Documents (Stanford, 1972), pp. 352–5.Google Scholar

page 562 note 2 Revolution in Guinea, p. 87.

page 562 note 3 Ibid. p. 66.

page 563 note 1 Such a person was Tom Mboya, who was born into a Luo family in Kenya, but lived in the Kikuyu and Kamba areas and spoke those languages as well as Kiswahili. His early political career was in the trade union movement in the urban areas, but he also maintained rural ties. Other African leaders with multiple ethnic identities were Sékou Touré and Kwame Nkrumah. Ann Ruth Willner discusses the phenomenon of multiple identities in Charismatic Political Leadership: a theory, Research Monograph No. 32, Center of International Studies, Princeton Univessity, 05 1968.

page 563 note 2 Revolution in Guinea, p. 67.

page 563 note 3 See ‘Statutes of the PAIGC’, in Chilcote (ed.), op. cit. pp. 327–32. The programme of the party affirmed personal property rights despite a commitment to nationalise natural resources and the principal means of production.

page 563 note 4 Revolution in Guinea, p. 70.

page 564 note 1 Although not spelled out I believe that this is an accurate reading of Cabral.

page 564 note 2 Recolution in Guinea, p. 209.

page 565 note 1 See Nyerere, Julius, Freedom and Socialism/ Uhuru na Ujamaa: a selection from writings and speeches, 1965–1967 (New York, 1968).Google Scholar

page 565 note 2 Cabral made these points in an address in Havana in 1966; Revolution in Guinea, p. 110.

page 565 note 3 Fanon, , The Wretched of the Earth, p. 108Google Scholar.

page 566 note 1 Fanon, ‘Spontaneity: its strength and weakness’, ibid. pp. 110–20 passim.

page 566 note 2 Ibid. p. 129.

page 566 note 3 Ibid. p. 133.

page 566 note 4 Ibid. pp. 155–6.

page 567 note 1 ‘Algeria Unveiled’, in A Dying Colonialism, p. 33.

page 567 note 2 For a discussion of this point, see Bienen, Henry, Violence and Social Change (Chicago, 1968).Google Scholar

page 567 note 3 For a discussion of symbolic violence in Fanon, see Zolberg, Aristide, ‘A Gospel for the Damned’, in Encounter (London), 11 1966, pp. 5663.Google Scholar

page 568 note 1 When Cabral was asked in an interview to comment on Guevara's book Guerrilla Warfare, he answered: ‘In general, we have certain reservations about the systematisation of phenomena. In reality the phenomena don't always develop in practice according to the established schemes. We greatly admire the scheme established by Che Guevara essentially on the basis of the struggle of the Cuban people and other experiences, and we are convinced that a profound analysis of that scheme can have a certain application to our struggles. However, we are not completely certain that, in fact, the scheme is absolutely adaptable to our conditions.’ Revolution in Guinea, p. 141.