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International Socialist Review, Fall 1958


Lois Saunders

One Path?


From International Socialist Review, Vol.19 No.4, Fall 1958, p.159.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Decision in Africa
by W. Alphaeus Hunton
International Publishers, New York. 1957. 238 pp. $4.

“Why should not the United States and the Soviet Union work together in helping to build Egypt’s Aswan Dam?” asks the author.

Why not, indeed! To answer this question fully would require an exposition of the compulsions of imperialism, its antipathy to socialist change and the basic conflict between the capitalist and the Soviet economic systems.

Hunton’s pollyanna concept that cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union is “one path to a unified world of peace and progress” presupposes that the rulers of the United States, who are pouring a big part of the country’s income into war preparations, are concerned about such objectives as world peace or the welfare of the people of Africa.

It is hard to avoid a feeling of impatience with an author who, in a lengthy statistical survey, documents the predatory role of European, and more recently, American imperialism in plundering the riches of the African continent, and then concludes by proposing that these same powers should stop being predatory.

What is required, says Hunton, is “the implementation of entirely new Western aims that are in harmony with African aims.” He adds that “paramount among these must be the immediate liquidation of white settler and colonial domination and the promotion of co-operation among all nations willing and able to assist in the development of Africa for the Africans.” (The emphasis is the author’s.)

These conclusions, it should be noted, are inconsistent with the factual material that comprises the major portion of the book.

The author, who for seventeen years was a teacher at Howard University and who from 1943 to 1955 was executive secretary of the Council on African Affairs, presents a valuable record of the perfidy and greed of the exploiting companies and countries and the channels through which they exert their control. Also of interest are the countermeasures developed by the African people, including the formation of unions and the use of strikes and boycotts, in an endeavor to free themselves of the white man’s rule. Likewise informative is the expose of the self-seeking rulers of the black republic of Liberia and the accommodationist tendencies of those who now control the newly independent country of Ghana.

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