Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

August Twenty-Ninth Movement

Presentation on the Angolan Civil War

First Published: In The Situation in Angola, by Changing Hands Bookstore, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

EROL Note: The following is the text of a speech delived at Changing Hands Bookstore in San Diego on February 28, 1976 at a forum on Angola.

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Recent months have seen bitter fighting in the newly independent country of Angola. The three liberation groups, MPLA, FNLA, and UNITA, have been provoked into a bloody civil war. What are the causes of this civil war in Angela? There is only one answer. The cause lies in the contention of the two superpowers for domination over this rich territory. The two superpowers by exploiting the differences between the liberation forces provoked the civil war. The Soviet leadership, through its propaganda media, identified one organization as revolutionary and denounced the others as reactionary, in a deliberate attempt to split the national liberation struggle.

This act by the Soviet social imperialists went against the Mombassa Accords of January 1975, in which all three liberation groups agreed in the spirit of national solidarity to work together in a transitional government. It also went against the Nakura agreement of June 19, 1975, in which, after a revival of fighting between the groups, they agreed to cease fire and reaffirm the spirit of the Mombassa Accords. US imperialism, because of its openly reactionary role in world affairs and because its ruling circles could not unite on policy towards Angola, had to give its support secretly through the CIA. Thus, just as the Angolan people were about to realize their independence, the two superpowers began to pump in money and arms, thus provoking the country into civil war and effectively sabotaging the national government.

The Soviet leadership has been the more aggressive of the imperialist superpowers. Waving the banner of socialism and proletarian internationalism, they began to send in an unprecedented amount of military arms and troops, which had previously been denied during the fifteen-year struggle against the Portuguese colonialists. The weapons included tanks, SAM missies, helicopters, armoured cars, and other weapons the national liberation forces do not normally carry. In addition, the social imperialists instigated the Republic of Cuba to send 10,000 combat troops into Angola, all in the name of proletarian internationalism. Cuban troops have unfortunately been used as cannon fodder for the aggressors, despite their romantic illusions of exporting the revolution.

The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, has held a consistently proletarian internationalist stand on Angola. China aided militarily and politically the anti-colonial struggle of the Angolan people. When independence was won and the three liberation groups signed their agreements, the People’s Republic of China ceased all military aid. This decision was based on the fact that it was now an internal affair of the Angolan people. They consistently pointed out that they supported all three liberation forces and stressed the need for unity of the Angolan people against all intervention in their internal affairs. Speaking at the UN General Assembly for the Chinese delegation, Chiao Kuan-Hua put forward the Chinese position: “We gave military aid to all three Angolan liberation organizations to help them fight Portuguese colonialism. Being aware of their differences, we have all along urged them to unite against the enemy. After the agreement on independence was reached between the Angolan national liberation movement and Portugal, we stopped giving new military aid to the three Angolan organizations’. Such are the facts, and facts are more eloquent than words.” (Peking Review, 1975 #40) Comrades and friends, the proletarian internationalist stand of China is the only principled position communists can take as regards the Angolan question.

Today both national liberation factions have set up their respective governments. The MPLA announced the formation of the People’s Republic of Angola, and the UNITA-FNLA announced the Democratic People’s Republic of Angola. Militarily the MPLA controls over half the country, and this fact plus diplomatic pressure from the Soviet Union influenced the OAU decision to recognize the government of the People’s Republic of Angola. In addition, a number of European countries have announced their recognition of the PRA. This development is a clear diplomatic victory for the social imperialists. What should be our attitude towards this turn of events? We believe that for us it is not a question of recognizing the PRA, for we are not holding state power. A far more important question than “recognizing the PRA” is whether the PRA will genuinely represent the interest of the masses of the Angolan people. We in ATM will analyse two factors: one, will the PRA strive for national unity, that is, a reconciliation with UNITA and FNLA? Two, will the PRA take a policy of opposing the two superpowers, in other words, a genuine anti-imperialist stand? This we believe is the correct stand to take on this development.

Angola today is a theater for superpower contention. Angola has been caught between the maneuverings of the two superpowers for domination of southern Africa. These imperialists are the source of a new world war which all peace loving people must strongly oppose. An excerpt from the speech of Chiao Kuan-Hua makes the point very clearly; “So long as imperialism and social imperialism exist, war is inevitable. The content of imperialist politics is world domination, and the continuation of this politics is imperialist war. Since both superpowers are after world domination, the contradictions between them are ’irreconcilable; one either overpowers the other, or is overpowered. The so-called “balance of power”, even if it exists, is only a transient and superficial one.” Today the capitalist system finds itself in one of the crises since the Great Depression, which has aggravated the contradiction between the superpowers and has brought about the present danger of a new world war. For us in the United States world war means fascism at home. In order to prepare for waging a world war, the ruling circles must prevent any dissension against it. The Vietnam period taught lessons to the bourgeoisie, namely, that that they will not again, allow a repeat of the mass street demonstrations that characterized the sixties and early seventies. Thus today the US Congress is presently discussing one of the most repressive bills ever introduced into Congress, the now-infamous S-1 Bill. This bill is aimed at repressing any protest that will arise in the advent of war. The question will certainly be asked, “Is war and fascism preventable?” The answer is a resounding YES! Chairman Mao has stated, “Either revolution will prevent world war, or world war will lead to revolution.”

We believe that conditions are still favorable for revolution to stem the rising tide of war and fascism. However, communist and class conscious workers must not panic as the tide rises. We must stand firm and intensify our efforts to build a new Communist Party so as to lead the struggle the working class and oppressed peoples against imperialism, the scourge of mankind. In this way we show our solidarity with the heroic Angolan people and all oppressed peoples of the world. The stand against the superpowers strengthens the hand of the peoples’ struggle.

Our tasks in relation to the Angolan question are clear: Revolutionary minded people must engage in a nationwide propaganda and agitation campaign to expose the true nature of the two superpowers, especially the Soviet social imperialists. Exposing and taking a stand against superpower intervention in Angola is the cornerstone of the proletarian internationalist stand on the Angolan civil war!