If any of us came to Cuba with doubts in our mind about the solidity, strength, maturity and vitality of the Cuban Revolution, these doubts have been removed by what we have been able to see. Our hearts are now warmed by an unshakeable certainty which gives us courage in the difficult but glorious struggle against the common enemy: no power in the world will be able to destroy this Cuban Revolution, which is creating in the countryside and in the towns not only a new life but also — and even more important — a New Man, fully conscious of his national, continental and international rights and duties. In every field of activity the Cuban people have made major progress during the last seven years, particularly in , Year of Agriculture. We believe that this constitutes a particular lesson for the national liberation movements, especially for those who want their national revolution to be a true revolution. Some people have not failed to note that a certain number of Cubans, albeit an insignificant minority, have not shared the joys and hopes of the celebrations for the seventh anniversary because they are against the Revolution.
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Today, ninety years later, let us take a moment to remember this brilliant revolutionary — the undisputed leader and architect of the struggle to liberate Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde from the yoke of Portuguese colonialism.
Cabral was surely a man of action, but he was also an important and innovative political thinker who made an outstanding contribution to anti-imperialist, socialist, pan-Africanist and revolutionary nationalist ideologies. In Guinea Bissau at the time, there was only a handful of university graduates in the whole country.
However, Cabral displayed exceptional academic ability, and this enabled him to study at the University of Lisbon, where he met people like Agostinho Neto and Eduardo Mondlane who would go on to lead the revolutionary movements in Angola and Mozambique respectively. In Portugal, his fellow African students introduced him to socialist ideology, and they spent much of their time studying, discussing and strategising: how to end colonial domination of their homelands?
How to inspire the broad masses of the people to engage in struggle? His experiences made him more determined than ever to find ways and means of working for the freedom of his country and delivering his people from the yoke of colonial bondage. Cabral knew and understood his enemy well, and every phase of the struggle was carefully planned and action meticulously organised. The first liberated zones were set up in , and these continued to expand unstoppably until independence in , by which time practically the entire country was in the hands of the revolutionary forces.
Sadly, Cabral did not live to see the final victory of the national liberation struggle, and Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde were deprived of the insightful leadership that he would doubtless have provided in the post-colonial period.
Amilcar made a special trip to Moscow to explain our needs to the Soviet authorities and to urge them to give us that precious weapon. Full independence was finally granted a year later, on 10 September Meanwhile, the revolutionary anti-colonial wars had played a major part in bringing about the economic and political crisis within Portugal itself, and had been an inspiration for the most progressive elements within the Portuguese left.
The overthrow of fascism in Portugal owes much to the heroic struggle waged by the people of Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique. At the time of his death in , months before Guinea-Bissau became independent, his influence extended well beyond the Lusophone world and Africa.
Friends and foes alike admired his political acumen and skills and saw in him a potential leader of the non-aligned movement. His writings have shown him to be a sophisticated analyst of the social, economic and political factors which have affected and continue to affect the developing world. The quotes are followed by some suggestions for further reading. Theory and practice As someone born in a country where a foreign colonial power pointedly refused to allow the vast majority of the population access to learning, Cabral had little time for anti-intellectual strands within the progressive movement.
Indeed he strongly felt that the existing anti-imperialist movements were much in need of greater ideological grounding. The ideological deficiency within the national liberation movements, not to say the total lack of ideology — reflecting as this does an ignorance of the historical reality which these movements claim to transform — makes for one of the greatest weaknesses in our struggle against imperialism, if not the greatest weakness of all.
The fact that the Republic of Guinea was next to us enabled our Party to install there, temporarily, some of our leaders, and this enabled us to create a political school to prepare political activists.
This was decisive for our struggle. In we created a political school in Conakry, under very poor conditions. Militants from the towns — party members — were the first to come to receive political instruction and to be trained in how to mobilise our people for the struggle. After comrades from the city came peasants and youths some even bringing their entire families who had been mobilised by Party members. Ten, twenty, twenty-five people would come for a period of one or two months.
Convince little by little, in particular the militants of 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 members 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. Never stop learning. Nonetheless, he was very clear about what he thought post-colonial Africa should look like.
Furthermore, he established very close links with the existing socialist camp, including the Soviet Union, Cuba, the German Democratic Republic, China and Cuba. In our present historical situation — elimination of imperialism which uses every means to perpetuate its domination over our peoples, and consolidation of socialism throughout a large part of the world — there are only two possible paths for an independent nation: to return to imperialist domination neo-colonialism, capitalism, state capitalism , or to take the way of socialism.
This is where we stand on this. Here is a particularly interesting passage on the problem of trying to create a working class mentality in a country that only had a tiny working class: We were faced with another difficult problem: we realised that we needed to have people with a mentality which could transcend the context of the national liberation struggle, and so we prepared a number of cadres from the group I have just mentioned, some from the people employed in commerce and other wage-earners, and even some peasants, so that they could acquire what you might call a working class mentality.
You may think this is absurd — in any case it is very difficult; in order for there to be a working class mentality the material conditions of the working class should exist, a working class should exist. In fact we managed to inculcate these ideas into a large number of people — the kind of ideas which there would be if there were a working class.
We trained about 1, cadres at our party school in Conakry, in fact for about two years this was about all we did outside the country. When these cadres returned to the rural areas they inculcated a certain mentality into the peasants and it is among these cadres that we have chosen the people who are now leading the struggle.
Our answer is: this is because Lenin existed, because he fulfilled his duty as a man, a revolutionary and a patriot. Lenin was and continues to be, the greatest champion of the national liberation of the peoples. A socialist camp has arisen in the world.
This has radically changed the balance of power, and this socialist camp is today showing itself fully conscious of its duties, international and historic, but not moral, since the peoples of the socialist countries have never exploited the colonised peoples. They are showing themselves conscious of their duty, and this is why I have the honour of telling you openly here that we are receiving substantial and effective aid from these countries, which is reinforcing the aid which we receive from our African brothers.
We believe that this aid is a historic obligation, because we consider that our struggle also constitutes a defence of the socialist countries. And we want to say particularly that the Soviet Union, first of all, and China, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and other socialist countries continue to aid us, which we consider very useful for the development of our armed struggle. We also want to lay special emphasis on the untiring efforts — sacrifices that we deeply appreciate — that the people of Cuba — a small country without great resources, one that is struggling against the blockade by the US and other imperialists — are making to give effective aid to our struggle.
For us, this is a constant source of encouragement, and it also contributes to cementing more and more the solidarity between our Party and the Cuban Party, between our people and the Cuban people, a people that we consider African.
And it is enough to see the historical, political, and blood ties that unite us to be able to say this. Therefore, we are very happy with the aid that the Cuban people give us, and we are sure that they will continue increasing their aid to our national liberation struggle in spite of all difficulties.
After all, the enemy has shown itself to be very capable of developing unity when it needs to: The Portuguese government has managed to guarantee for as long as necessary the assistance which it receives from the Western powers and from its racist allies in Southern Africa.
It is our duty to stress the international character of the Portuguese colonial war against Africa and the important and even decisive role played by the USA and Federal Germany in pursuing this war. Our hearts are equally with our brothers in the Congo who, in the bush of that vast and rich African country are seeking to resolve their problems in the face of imperialist aggression and of the manoeuvres of imperialism through their puppets.
Our hearts are also with our brothers in Cuba, who have shown that even when surrounded by the sea, a people is capable of taking up arms and successfully defending its fundamental interests and of deciding its own destiny. We are with the Blacks of North America, we are with them in the streets of Los Angeles, and when they are deprived of all possibility of life, we suffer with them.
We are with the refugees, the martyrised refugees of Palestine, who have been tricked and driven from their own homeland by the manoeuvres of imperialism.
We are on the side of the Palestinian refugees and we support wholeheartedly all that the sons of Palestine are doing to liberate their country, and we fully support the Arab and African countries in general in helping the Palestinian people to recover their dignity, their independence and their right to life. We are absolutely certain that the development of the struggle in the Portuguese colonies, and the victory we are winning each day over Portuguese colonialism is an effective contribution to the elimination of the vile, shameful regime of racial discrimination, of apartheid in South Africa.
And we are also certain that peoples like that of Angola, that of Mozambique and ourselves in Guinea and Cabo Verde, far from South Africa, will soon, very soon we hope, be able to play a very important role in the final elimination of that last bastion of imperialism and racism in Africa, South Africa.
We are in favour of justice, human progress, the freedom of the people. On this basis we believe that the creation of Israel, carried out by the imperialist states to maintain their domination in the Middle East, was artificial and aimed at the creation of problems in that very important region of the world. This is our position: the Jewish people have lived in different countries of the world. We lament profoundly what the Nazis did to the Jewish people, that Hitler and his lackeys destroyed almost six million during the last World War.
But we do not accept that this gives them the right to occupy a part of the Arab nation. We believe that the people of Palestine have a right to their homeland. We therefore think that all the measures taken by the Arab peoples, by the Arab nation, to recover the Palestinian Arab homeland are justified. We consider that in Vietnam not only the fate of our own people but also that of all the peoples struggling for their national independence and sovereignty is at stake.
We are in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, and we immensely admire their heroic struggle against US aggression and against the aggression of the reactionaries of the southern part of Vietnam, who are no more than the puppets of US imperialism.
You can be sure that we realize the difficulties you face, the problems you have and your feelings, your revolts, and also your hopes. We think that our fighting for Africa against colonialism and imperialism is a proof of understanding of your problem and also a contribution for the solution of your problems in this continent. Naturally the inverse is also true. All the achievements towards the solution of your problems here are real contributions to our own struggle.
And we are very encouraged in our struggle by the fact that each day more of the African people born in America become conscious of their responsibilities to the struggle in Africa. We think that all you can do here to develop your own conditions in the sense of progress, in the sense of history and in the sense of the total realization of your aspirations as human beings is a contribution for us.
It is also a contribution for you to never forget that you are Africans. We reserve the right to make our own decisions, and if by chance our choices and decisions coincide with those of others, that is not our fault. We are for the policy of non-alignment, but we consider ourselves to be deeply committed to our people and committed to every just cause in the world. We see ourselves as part of a vast front of struggle for the good of humanity.
He chose Cuba in part because he felt some cultural and ethnic affinity with the Cubans and, above all, because he respected the Cuban revolution. It was the Soviet bloc whose help was decisive.
It provided arms, educational opportunities, and other material and political support. The Soviet Union was, by far, the major source of weapons. Cuba, too, gave material help, in the form of supplies, military training in Cuba, and scholarships. This was a considerable and generous effort for a poor country. But Cuba did much more, and its role was unique. This great people, this heroic people, we all know that is the heroic people of Cuba; the Cuba of Fidel Castro; the Cuba of the Sierra Maestra, the Cuba of Moncada… Cuba sent its best sons here to help us in the technical aspects of our war, to help us wage this great struggle against Portuguese colonialism.
Our hearts are now warmed by an unshakeable certainty which gives us courage in the difficult but glorious struggle against the common enemy: no power in the world will be able to destroy this Cuban Revolution, which is creating in the countryside and in the towns not only a new life but also — and even more important — a New Man, fully conscious of his national, continental and international rights and duties… We guarantee that we, the peoples of the countries of Africa, still completely dominated by Portuguese colonialism, are prepared to send to Cuba as many men and women as may be needed to compensate for the departure of those who for reasons of class or of inability to adapt have interests or attitudes which are incompatible with the interests of the Cuban people.
Taking once again the formerly hard and tragic path of our ancestors mainly from Guinea and Angola who were taken to Cuba as slaves, we would come now as free men, as willing workers and Cuban patriots, to fulfill a productive function in this new, just and multi-racial society, and to help and defend with our own lives the victories of the Cuban people. Thus we would strengthen both all the bonds of history, blood and culture which unite our peoples with the Cuban people, and the spontaneous giving of oneself, the deep joy and infectious rhythm which make the construction of socialism in Cuba a new phenomenon for the world, a unique and, for many, unaccustomed event.
I should just like to make one last point about solidarity between the international working class movement and our national liberation struggle. There are two alternatives: either we admit that there really is a struggle against imperialism which interests everybody, or we deny it. If, as would seem from all the evidence, imperialism exists and is trying simultaneously to dominate the working class in all the advanced countries and smother the national liberation movements in all the underdeveloped countries, then there is only one enemy against whom we are fighting.
There are, of course, other secondary forms of solidarity: publishing material, sending medicine, etc; I can guarantee you that if tomorrow we make a breakthrough and you are engaged in an armed struggle against imperialism in Europe we will send you some medicine too. Neocolonialism is at work on two fronts — in Europe as well as in the underdeveloped countries. Its current framework in the underdeveloped countries is the policy of aid, and one of the essential aims of this policy is to create a false bourgeoisie to put a brake on the revolution and to enlarge the possibilities of the petty bourgeoisie as a neutraliser of the revolution; at the same time it invests capital in France, Italy, Belgium, England and so on.
This is another manifestation of the success of the western ruling classes in brainwashing workers. The European settlers are, in general, hostile to the idea of national liberation; they are the human instruments of the colonial state in our country and they therefore reject a priori any idea of national liberation there. It has to be said that the Europeans most bitterly opposed to the idea of national liberation are the workers, while we have sometimes found considerable sympathy for our struggle among certain members of the European petty bourgeoisie.
Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings of Amilcar Cabral
Ama Biney Jan 23, In this special issue on Amilcar Cabral we seek to return to the life, writings, legacy, political, social, economic and cultural insights of 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 an 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
The goal of the conflict was to attain independence for both Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde. Over the course of the conflict, as the movement captured territory from the Portuguese, Cabral became the de facto leader of a large portion of what became Guinea-Bissau. In preparation for the independence war, Cabral set up training camps in Ghana with the permission of Kwame Nkrumah [ citation needed ]. Cabral trained his lieutenants through various techniques, including mock conversations to provide them with effective communication skills to aid their efforts to mobilize Guinean tribal chiefs to support the PAIGC. Cabral realized the war effort could be sustained only if his troops could be fed and taught to live off the land alongside the larger populace.
Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings of Amilcar Cabral
Today, ninety years later, let us take a moment to remember this brilliant revolutionary — the undisputed leader and architect of the struggle to liberate Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde from the yoke of Portuguese colonialism. Cabral was surely a man of action, but he was also an important and innovative political thinker who made an outstanding contribution to anti-imperialist, socialist, pan-Africanist and revolutionary nationalist ideologies. In Guinea Bissau at the time, there was only a handful of university graduates in the whole country. However, Cabral displayed exceptional academic ability, and this enabled him to study at the University of Lisbon, where he met people like Agostinho Neto and Eduardo Mondlane who would go on to lead the revolutionary movements in Angola and Mozambique respectively.