Marxism, class and revolution in Africa: the legacy of the 1917 Russian Revolution

Dwyer, Peter; Zeilig, Leo

Publisher:  International Socialism
Date Written:  09/01/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22134

This article assesses the influence of 1917 on African liberation movements and explains how it influenced struggles against and beyond colonialism.



In the first ten years of independence in Africa, even leaders of states that were not explicitly Marxist expressed an allegiance to socialism and an admiration for the Soviet Union... The impact of the Russian Revolution of 1917 - and more significantly its degeneration - in shaping the strategy and tactics of the anti-colonial struggle and the formation and growth of left-wing movements in Africa was profound.

... It was assumed by many anti-colonial leaders that poverty and underdevelopment would only be reversed by the application of socialism, or more specifically the Soviet model of economic development... [Dwyer and Zeilig's] argument is that the lessons of 1917 were lost and obscured by an alternative set of ideas and strategies that fundamentally downplayed the idea that the working class, despite being relatively small numerically, could lead the revolution in a movement built with other social forces (such as peasants and students) linked to a vision for a wider international struggle for socialism.

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