Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings of Amilcar Cabral (Monthly Review Press Classic Titles) [Basil Davidson] on *FREE* shipping on. Amilcar Cabral ( – ) was a revolutionary, poet, liberation philosopher, and leader of the independence movement of Guinea Bissau. Amílcar Lopes da Costa Cabral was a Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean agricultural engineer, intellectual, poet, theoretician and.

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In this special issue on Amilcar Cabral we seek to return to the life, writings, legacy, political, social, economic and cultural insights amilacr this revolutionary figure whilst examining what he means to Africans and their struggles of today. Amilcar Cabral would be 90 years old on 12 September if his life had not been cruelly cut short by reactionary forces on 20 January He was 49 years old at the time and therefore 20 January marks forty one years since his brutal assassination.

Cabral risks becoming amlcar obscure figure to new and younger generations not only in Africa but globally who are able to reel off sportsmen and women, musicians and celebrities, rather than revolutionary internationalist figures such as Cabral. Therefore in an attempt to reinsert Cabral into the consciousness of African people and progressive peace loving citizens around the world, Pambazuka News celebrates the short life, thought and contribution of this almost forgotten figure who was not only an agronomist, guerrilla fighter, but a poet and political theoretician committed to the unity of Africa and Africans.

Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings of Amilcar Cabral

Forty-one years since the assassination of Cabral, much has changed in the ynity and much has remained the same. In returning to the writings and speeches of Cabral, we reconnect ourselves to a struggle devoted to genuine socio-economic and political transformation in Guinea Bissau which ordinary people were empowered to be subjects of history and reconstruct a new abd. Revisiting this national liberation struggle should inspire us to do the same today. His thoughts and practice can teach us something in our own specific struggles and concrete conditions of today.

However, to this, Cabral, if he were alive today, is likely to have cautioned that: Cabral, like Frantz Fanon, was clear that the characteristic failure of post-independent Africa was the absence of ideology underlying the political programmes, sstruggle and vision of political parties.

To a group of Cabrao American strugg,e inhe said: To have ideology is to know what you want in your own condition. Neither did Amilcae have pretensions to be Marxist or Leninist. When asked in by a European journalist to what extent Marxism and Leninism as an ideology had been relevant to the struuggle liberation struggle of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Cabral responded thus:. This is where we stand on this. Yet, they must learn from the experiences of others, to the extent that the experiences of others are useful to them in finding solutions to socio-economic, political and ecological unityy.

In this way, for Cabral, theory and ideology were neither static nor dogmatic but both were in ceaseless and uncompromising efforts of open-ended reflection in relation to a particular reality and specific history. At the first Tricontinental Conference in Havana inCabral said: They are — and every day they become more so — amilvar outcome of a local and national elaboration that is more or less influenced by external factors favourable or notbut essentially is formed and conditioned by the historical reality of each people, and is carried to success by right solutions to the internal contradictions which strgugle in this reality.

But our culture is filled with weakness in the face of nature. It is essential to know this… Various comrades who are sitting here have an amulet at their waist, in the belief that this will allow them to escape Portuguese bullets. But not one of you can say to me that no one of the comrades who already died cabrao our struggle had an amulet at his waist. They all had them! Cabarl is just that in our struggle we have to respect this, we have to respect this because we start out from reality.

For example, in the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone during the s many soldiers wore amulets believing that they would protect them from injury and death from opposing militias.

Similarly in some African countries albino individuals are murdered believing their body parts hold magical powers to be used in rituals. Today it is only the rapid and widescale advancement of education and science that can eradicate such pernicious ideas and practices. Moreover, Cabral did not consider African cultures as sealed from other cultural influences.


In his own words he said:. The latter is nourished by the living reality of the environment and rejects harmful influences such as any kind of subjection to foreign cultures. We see therefore, that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practise cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.

Therefore, one of the many challenges confronting African people in our current globalised world is to critically evaluate aspects of the seemingly hegemonic nature of Western culture that is positive and negative.

By internalising the harmful aspects of Western culture we continue to be unconsciously perpetuating our own oppression. That is why he states that: Cabral identifies patriarchcal attitudes embedded in the views of some male militants within the party who resist women taking up their responsibilities as a problem. To cite him at some length:.

Some comrades do their utmost to prevent women taking charge, even when there are women who have more ability to lead than they do. Unhappily some of our women comrades have not been able to maintain the respect and the necessary dignity to protect their position as persons in authority. They were not able to escape certain temptations, znd at least to shoulder certain responsibilities without complexes.

But the men comrades, some, do not want to understand that liberty for our people means that women as well must play a part, and that the strength of our Party is worth more if women join in as well to lead with the men. Many folk say that Cabral has an obsession about giving women leadership positions as well.

They can sabotage today, sabotage tomorrow, but one day it will catch up with them. Cabral also cabal those male PAIGC commissars who prefer a woman to become a mistress instead of him helping her to become a doctor, teacher cabfal soldier using the authority of the party to satisfy not only his own stomach but his lust.

Men in positions of power abuse these positions for sexual gratification and the amulcar status and ego derived from such sexual exploitation. Today this destructive monopolisation of leadership continues. Post-colonial Africa has witnessed waves of civil wars e. These wars were clearly not guided by ethical or ideological principles in the conduct nor goals of the war.

Civilians were hacked to death in many of these countries and women raped. Political leaders such as former Vice President of South Struggpe, Riek Machar, who was sacked by President Smilcar Kiir in July does not abide by the rules of the political game and has resorted to violence for political ends.

Amilcar Cabral: Unity & Struggle | Abahlali baseMjondolo

amilcad The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is a political rivalry of male egos that has been played out in many African tsruggle since independence and has tragically resorted to each side resorting to their phallic guns as cabraal means of resolution of their political ambitions to rule. Meanwhile, it is stunning to know that in a country that is just over two years newly born, two and a half billion dollars of oil money has been stolen by Striggle Sudanese officials and ministers. He was clear that certain principles were essential to political work such as: Cabral was a dialectician in that he was sensitive to the contradictory character of ane existence; he strived within himself and encouraged others to become better human beings.

Convince little by little, in particular the militants strgugle the Party, that we shall end by conquering the fear of nature, and that man is the strongest force in nature. Demand from responsible Party uniyy that they dedicate themselves seriously to study, that they interest themselves in the things and problems of our daily life and struggle in their fundamental and essential aspect, and not simply in their appearance … Learn from life, learn from our people, learn from books, learn from the experience of others.

Many of the general watchwords of Cabral reveal his deep commitment to ethics. The mistakes we make should not dishearten us, just as the victories we score should not make us forget our mistakes.

Think in order to act and act in order to be able to think better. We must as always face the present and the future with optimism, but without losing sight of realities and particularly of the special difficulties of our struggle. We must always bear in mind and carry out the watchwords of our Party: In his own cabrall. Give everyone at every level the opportunity to criticize, to give his opinion about the work and behaviour of the action of others.

Accept criticism, wherever it comes from, as a contribution to improving the work of the Party, as a demonstration of active interest in the internal life of our organisation.


The failure to destroy the colonially inherited institutions of the state is one of the principal failures of post-independent political parties, [38] but equally disastrous has been the failure to practice and nurture democratic values among multi-ethnic communities in the forging of a new and tolerant Africa.

Consequently, during the post-colonial period and currently, this lack of democratic amilar and inclusivity has given rise to many examples of ethnic cleansing, communal tensions, adn in the form of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, genocide and xenophobia in various parts of Africa.

This belief led him to wage a struggle to unify the islands of Cape Verde with mainland Guinea. His belief in unity of his country was amplified to the rest of the continent in founding the Conference of Nationalist Organisations of Portuguese territories CONCP in which incorporated Angola and Mozambique. This organisation worked for the independence of all the former Portuguese colonial territories.

His Pan-Africanist convictions are also revealed in his informal talk with over African Americans in where he connects the struggles of people of African descent to unit in Africa.

History is a very strong chain. We have to accept the limits of history but not the limits imposed by the societies where we are living.

There is a difference. We think that all you can do here is to develop your own conditions in the sense of progress, unigy the sense of history and in the sense of the total realization of your aspirations as human beings is a contribution to us. It is also a contribution for you to never forget that you are Africans. His brutal honesty is also seen in his interaction with the African Americans when he is amilczr about the role of women in the struggle for liberation.

Cabral responds by pointing out the differences in Fula society in which a woman is considered to be like a piece of xtruggle in Balante society where women are not owned and other matriarchcal societies. In short, Cabral is correct in identifying that patriarchcal ideology has also been internalised by cabrap who also resist change as many men may do and this gravely complicates overhauling the status quo of gender relations. It is the result of historical and economic conditions.

And we cannot answer racism with racism. It is not possible. He called for fraternal cooperation with the people of Portugal.

In his address to African Americans he acknowledged the support from the countries making up the Organisation of African Unity OAU as well as moral, political, and material support from the Soviet Union and China. In regards to aid, he was blunt in stating that: In the late s Cabral was uncompromising on aid and volunteers, for he said to Basil Davidson: Foreign military advisers or commanders, or any other foreign personnel, are the last thing we shall accept.

They would rob my people of their strutgle chance of achieving a historical meaning of themselves: The issues of identity and dignity that Cabral wrote about [47] are reflected uniy other struggles around the world apart from the African continent.

In Brazil and Columbia, just to give two examples among many, struggles by indigenous people to remain on their land as logging and new highways and dams are built are destroying the livelihood of indigenous people.

If he were alive today he would certainly identify with the struggle of the indigenous Awa, a group of nomadic hunter gathers who are threatened in Marahao state in Brazil struhgle by loggers encroaching on their land and the hundreds strugle African communities who have been dispossessed of their land through land deals to foreign investors by neo-colonial African governments.

As Cabral poignantly pointed out in one of his oft repeated quotes:. The revolt in Guinea Bissau that turned into a revolution led by the PAIGC in was inextricably tied to the creation of new socio-economic structures.

However, they are a small contribution to the much needed celebration and reflection on his critical relevance for Africans today. Cabral, Monthly Review Press,p Unity and Struggle, p. See the story of the female journalist from Sudan, by the name of Lubna Ahmed Hussein who was jailed by the government of Khartoum for wearing trousers inhttp: Tripp et al, Cambridge University Press,p. Phillips, 28 Septemberhttp: Skip to main content.

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