Struggling for More Than Independence: Africa in 1968

Socialism 2018

July 05, 2018

The revolutionary upsurge that swept the world fifty years ago crossed every corner of the African continent. From Egypt to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau to Congo, the late 1960s and early 1970s were a period rife with student walkouts, urban uprisings, militant workers strikes, and guerilla warfare. In the decade preceding 1968, more than thirty new African countries emerged from European colonial rule. But formal independence had not broken the lingering influence of imperial powers—even in those countries where new governments most vocally embraced ideas of African Socialism, Arab Socialism, and Third World solidarity. This talk argues that the persistence of neo-colonial domination and the shutting down of democratic rights in new African countries provoked a major wave of popular uprisings in which Marxists often played major leadership roles. These rebellions in (or around) 1968 represented both a reassertion of radical demands from earlier anti-colonial movements as well as the first mass struggles over the fate of post-colonial Africa.

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