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International Socialism, Spring 1966


Paul Coysh

New Bureaucrats


From International Socialism, No.24, Spring 1966, p.37.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


African Socialism
W.H. Friedland and C.G. Rosberg
Stanford UP/OUP, 38s.

Comprising papers on the economic, sociological and political aspects of the ‘socialist’ states of Africa this book will be of some value as a guide for budding Africanists. Quite a number of inconsistencies between the image and philosophies of the governing bureaucracies in Africa and their actual policies are sympathetically, but rightly, noted.

The desire on the part of these African governments to build nation-states on the basis of Marxist-inspired Pan-Africanism have to a great extent been held back by their economic vulnerability in the world market. The idealism of non-alignment has for all of them meant compromises with the two power blocs. Pragmatic arrangements with Western capital and a desire to halt the rise of a native bourgeoisie has, of necessity, created a unifying philosophy. The popularity of the word socialism, denoting progress, and its dovetailing with incantations about traditional communal patterns of African life have produced ‘African socialism’ – implemented differently in each country according to that country’s political and economic situation.

Contained in the book’s appendix are extracts from speeches and essays of George Padmore and five African political leaders, plus an analysis of private enterprise in Ghana, a selected bibliography and a good index. Not a book for the informed revolutionary, but recommended as a beginners’ guide and for simplicity of style.

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