Samora Machel 1972

Leadership is Collective, Responsibility is Collective

Written: 1972;
First Published: 1972;
Source: Samora Machel, Mozambique Sowing the Seeds of Revolution, Mozambique, pp. 16-20;
Transcription: Liz Blasczak.

Summary of the President’s Recommendations made at a Joint Meeting with instructors and other cadres at a FRELIMO Centre for Political and Military Training, on 2 February, 1972.

1. The work of the CPPM (Center for Political and Military Training) is not to produce “killers,” but to train true revolutionary fighters, authentic FRELIMO soldiers.

What characterizes the FRELIMO soldier is his political consciousness. We train fighters whose essential task is to build a new society, and because it can only be built in a territory free from enemy occupation, the fighter has to be trained to eliminate the enemy physically.

A fighter is therefore a conscious and active agent in the transformation of society. The CPPM is the laboratory where we create this agent of change, the new man.

2. Our watchword is: production, study and combat. This watchword synthesizes our political line. Our fighter combines these three factors. Production supplies the material needs of war, political study gives us our identity, while scientific study enables us to develop production and improve our combat techniques.

The fight against the physical enemy provides us with the land where production and the renewal of society takes place and frees the population from which new fighters come from. The fight against the enemy in our own minds the capitalist ideology imposed by colonialism and the feudal ideology inherited from tradition consolidates our physical victory, lays the foundations for the new society, and makes our progress irreversible.

Our watchword must be applied in our methods of training fighters.

3. The fight against the enemy that lives in the mind is the toughest. Our whole upbringing, our tradition, our whole life until the time we joined FRELIMO makes us see and cultivate as virtues what our new society rejects as defects. The CPPM, in its way of life, demands a radical change in values, attitudes and behavior. Newly arrived comrades are introduced to a life which they have never conceived of, which they never thought possible. So it is quite a shock.

4. We must never think of men as automatons who must receive and carry out orders irrespective of whether they understand them or have assimilated them. Leaders must fight against the harmful tendency of solving political problems through administrative decisions. This tendency leads to a bureaucratic dictatorship and creates sharp contradictions with the rank and file.

Our life and our discipline can be based only on conscious and voluntary involvement. Therefore when new trainees arrive at the CPPM, the camp leadership must discuss with them and explain the life in the camp, and its basic values.

5. The trainees must be led to progressively adopt our values.

The first battle is to instill national consciousness and the importance of unity and of wiping out tribalism. Class consciousness must be made more acute and deeply felt, together with the need for close unity between peasants and workers to win power. Closely related to the battle for unity is the struggle to wipe out the spirit of individualism and to foster a collective spirit.

To steal is a selfish act, an act of disregard for the interests of one’s comrades. The thief deliberately harms his comrades in order to satisfy his personal petty interests. Stealing his comrades shirt will not solve the problem of nakedness. Fighters should be taught to return even a needle they find. Unthriftiness and waste reflects indifference towards the party’s property and very incorrect understanding of what it means. At home nobody abandons a hoe or throws away food, because when a person has to work to acquire such things, he knows their value. Everyone needs to be fully aware that everything FRELIMO possesses has been paid for with the blood of our comrades and the sweat of our friends, and that the blood and sweat are part of the object or food we acquire. At this point we must draw comrades attention to the fact that they must not go about in tatters. Indeed, this not only prevents military smartness, but the main thing is that a small hole or tear which is not repaired in time soon becomes a gaping hole, a large tear, so that the clothes may be written off. In order to help our comrades understand the necessity of this, we should, as far as possible, distribute needles and thread.

6. Releasing the masses sense of creative initiative is an essential precondition for our victory and one of the chief purposes of our struggle.

If the masses are to exercise the power the power so dearly won, they must display initiative. Colonial oppression, tradition, ignorance and superstition create a sense of passivity in man which stifles initiative.

To create a sense of initiative is also to create a sense of responsibility and to make the militant feel directly concerned by everything related to the revolution, to our life. He must feel that he is FRELIMO, that FRELIMO’s fate depends on his behavior.

7. If fighters are to be able to accomplish their task, it is essential that they understand the correct definition of who is the enemy, and can clearly distinguish friend from foe, even if the latter is concealed under the same color, language, family ties or tribal markings as their own, even if he raises the flag with us.

The struggle against tribalism, racism, false religious and family loyalty, and so on, is essential if the barrel of our gun is always to be trained on the correct target.

8. The emancipation of women is one of FRELIMO’s central tasks, which is undertaken mainly by the Women’s Detachment.

We must ensure that all militants and cadres are committed to respecting the Women’s Detachment and seeing its members as their mothers, sisters and wives. Our women comrades must assume their duties and correctly understand their mission as mothers of the revolution, as educators of the future generation which will continue the revolution. They must also learn to respect their own bodies. There is also a need to fight reactionary prejudices among both men and women about women’s abilities and their role in the revolution, in society and in the home.

9. International solidarity plays an important role in our revolution. We could not have reached the present stage of development in our struggle without the aid we receive from the progressive forces of the world.

The struggle of the peoples and workers of the whole world against the exploitation of man and to build a new society is a decisive factor in creating favorable conditions for the victory of our struggle in the present era.

The internationalist spirit is an essential characteristic of revolutionary forces; hard work is therefore required to make our militants realize who are our friends and allies at the international level, and to acquire an internationalist spirit.

10. Study combined with practice is a fundamental weapon with which to heighten our political consciousness and gain the knowledge required to mobilize nature and its laws on our behalf. It also gives us ammunition for wiping out superstition.

A program of constant political education must therefore operate at every level: cadres, instructors, leading cadres, rank and file and the Women’s Detachment.

There must be regular and frequent meetings with the units, whether by company or whole battalion. It is negative to only hold meetings when they are called by the president, the National Political Commissar or other top leaders.

Scientific and literary education is a requirement of our armed struggle, of our fight against ignorance and superstition, and of our endeavors in economic and social development.

It is inadmissible that we should have cadres, especially instructors, who are illiterate and can’t speak Portuguese.

Therefore, priority must be given to the struggle against illiteracy and lack of knowledge of Portuguese among instructors and cadres, and in the second phase the struggle must be broadened to include the Women’s Detachment and the whole camp.

Instructors and cadres who can read and write and speak Portuguese must draw up continuous and constant programs for improving scientific and literacy knowledge. Programs should include the history and geography of Mozambique, the Portuguese language, arithmetic and geometry, rudiments of physics, chemistry, and the natural sciences. Such a program should include regular lectures and discussions on new techniques and methods of production, particularly in the fields of agriculture and animal husbandry.

Acquiring good habits of hygiene, both personal and collective, is decisive to the prevention of many diseases. A soldiers basic training, therefore, should include a weekly program of hygiene classes and a basic knowledge of first aid. In the same way, but at a higher level, there should be weekly courses on hygiene and first aid for instructors and cadres.

The importance of culture must also be given due emphasis, since it expresses the characteristic features of our national identity.

There should be regular programs of songs, plays, poetry reading, and so on, with the companies, instructors and cadres.

11. Production is essential for us. Without it not only could the war not advance, but it would be impossible to ensure the people’s survival, let alone meet the growing needs of the masses.

In the final analysis, the principle contradiction lies in whether it is to be a handful of exploiters, old or new, or the masses who are to control the means of production, for greater well being in society and increased economic and social progress. Thus production in our army is a school of independence.

In our centers the practical side of production is satisfactory; what is now needed is to relate it more closely to theory, so that experiences can be exchanged, understood and internalized. Fortunately we are beginning to have an increasing number of young people recently trained in fields directly related to production. We must try to spread their scientific and theoretical knowledge among our instructors and cadres through talks and short courses. This will enable us to improve our production techniques and achieve greater diversification.

12. The chief feature of our CPPMs is the teaching of military techniques, training men to wipe out the enemy physically and this is what distinguishes them from such other FRELIMO centers as schools, hospitals, cooperatives etc.

Each group, depending on its basic knowledge and experience, should receive specific training. When training a group of fighters we must consider the tasks they will be called upon to carry out, so that their training corresponds to genuine requirements. We must get the fighters used to the real conditions of struggle. During training fighters should never abandon their weapons, packs or blankets. We need to increase the number of long marches with small rations and short rest periods. We should insist on night marches. The fighters must get used to making individual and group shelters, trenches, tunnels and underground caches.

13. Good or bad habits are acquired by units during training. If our teaching is to be worthwhile, our behavior must conform to what we say, to our political line. Leading cadres, instructors and cadres must be guiding lights of the new way of behaving. For the units, it is we who personify FRELIMO’s political line. Whatever our behavior, our unity or disunity, our discipline or indiscipline, our hardworkingness or laziness, our collective spirit or selfishness, our revolutionary dedication or corruption, this is what will be followed by the units, because it will be interpreted as the reality of FRELIMO’s line.

With the exception of the strictly military programs, political, educational and cultural programs in the CPPMs have not been as successful as was hoped due principally to lack of continuity. We begin things, then interrupt them, and they die. The usual excuse is that the person in charge of the program was busy, absent, sent on s new mission, etc.

This makes no sense and it must stop. One of the reasons why many national level cadres are appointed to the leadership of CPPM is to ensure regular and unbroken continuity of all programs. The great responsibility of the appointed cadres requires that they have sufficient flexibility and ability to pursue the program of a colleague who may for some reason be unable to continue it himself.

14. Leadership is collective and although each member of the leadership has a specific task, there are no hard and fast compartments.

The duty of every member is to be concerned with all the work, see that it is carried out and to put forward ideas and criticism. Leadership is collective and responsibility is collective.