Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Angola: Fight For Freedom

Published: On The Line, Number 27, December 1975. 
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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For 500 years, Angola was a Portuguese colony, even though 95% of its people are African. Then, 14 years ago, the Angolan people began a struggle to get rid of Portugal and become a free and independent country.

That struggle was led by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

On November 11th, the Angolan people won their independence. Now, that independence is threatened and Angola is in the midst of a civil war between MPLA and two other groups – UNITA and FLNA.

What’s behind this civil war? Here’s what Samora Machel, the President of Mozambique, which also won independence from Portugal after a long war, says:

“For us, the problem is posed in the following way: who has led and is leading the struggle in Angola? And against whom? Who is responsible for the destruction of both human life and villages? Who shoots, who kills the people? We have analyzed the Angolan situation throughout the many years of its evolution. We have asked ourselves: who has really struggled, against colonialism? Who has really fought?

“There is no doubt that it is the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) which has directed and continues to direct the struggle in Angola. And today, just as the Portuguese colonialists are departing, when the Angolan people, who identify strongly with the MPLA, prepare to celebrate their victory, just as they are about to enjoy the fruits of their liberty, various groups guided, by imperialism try to impede the process of liberation in order to delay independence and leave the way open for foreign military intervention.

“What one must understand, what the whole of Africa must realize, is that the outcome of the revolution in Africa, is being determined right now in Angola.”

During the war against Portugal, not only did MPLA lead the armed struggle, it also set up literacy campaigns, health clinics, and collective forms of agriculture and industry in the areas it liberated from Portuguese control.

Production was carried on in collective plots called people’s plantations and centered around the villages, the basic social units for the masses of Angolan peasants. Commercial exchange was established through the institution of “people’s stores,” each of which served between 80 to 125 villagers and were set up in every liberated zone. Education was regarded not only as training but as a process of gaining self-reliance, of understanding the situation of Angola and of creating new relationships between people which would enable them to change their lives. In the midst of war, thousands of children and adults passed through MPLA schools.

What were UNITA and FNLA doing while MPLA was leading the struggle for national liberation and economic development?

Not much. In fact, published correspondence between Portuguese dictator Caetano and the head of UNITA proves that UNITA was formed by Portugal to undermine the strength of MPLA.

Nothing has changed. Now UNITA and FLNA are fighting alongside right wing Portuguese mercenaries and troops from racist Union of South Africa to defeat the MPLA. And it comes as no surprise that UNITA and FNLA are getting money, arms and training from the U.S. and the C.I.A.

It’s real clear why. Angola is a very rich country that holds the key to a large part of Africa. Gulf Oil ls making lots of money from Angola’s oil, and Texaco has just gotten hold of large offshore oil reserves.

To the people of Angola, the question is clear. They have fought long and hard for their freedom. They want to keep it. They know who led them in that struggle for liberation, and they know who is trying to bring them back under the control of the imperialist countries. That’s why the Angolan people strongly support the MPLA against the US-backed UNITA and the FLNA.