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International Socialism, Winter 1962


Julian Madison



From International Socialism, No.11, Winter 1962, p.30.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Angola in Flames
K. Madhu Panikkar
Asia Publishing House. 15s.

By now the Portuguese colonies have become bywords for the results of imperialist exploitation – a retarded economy and mass illiteracy. Mr Panikkar has analysed effectively the degradation of Angola under the present fascist regime. He shows the intense backwardness of the Portuguese economy itself and its inability to provide any substantial capital for the development of Angola, hence the close association between the Portugese Government and foreign capital. A variety of facts are given us to illustrate the impact of this situation – the colour bar, forced labour, the inadequacy of basic educational and health facilities. In the fifties the economy of Angola boomed (coffee and diamonds) only to slump in 1959 – a perfect illustration that imperialism is not concerned with economic development, but solely with temporary raw material sources.

With Salazar, as with Verwoerd, we are in the presence of capitalism gone homicidal. Salazar’s genocide has failed in Angola, so he is now seeking to ‘improve’ his brand of exploitation. Tariffs on Angolan exports to Portugal are to be abolished by 1965, and a Praetorian Guard of white settlers encouraged – but where will the capital for development be found? How long can Portugal sustain this disastrous war? Tories such as Patrick Wall plainly fear that the wind of change has become a typhoon, and would like Salazar’s regime in Angola strengthened. The success of such an attempt would raise even deeper questions – how long will European workers continue to support a regime which helps Portugal strangle Angola, how long will they fail to help the superhuman efforts of the Angolan people to overthrow tyranny?

Mr Panikkar has written an excellent short study which deserves to be widely read, even if the last chapter on India’s relationship to colonial struggles is ambiguous and weak.

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