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Theory and action: Amilcar Cabral’s revolution

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  1. Introduction
  2. Aspects of Cabral's childhood
  3. His liberation theory
  4. His analysis of the agricultural economy
  5. The cornerstone of Cabral's revolutionary theory
  6. Elements of national liberation
  7. A significant turning point in the strategy of the PAIGC
  8. The broad idea of struggle
  9. Conclusion
  10. Works cited

Amilcar Cabral lived as both an intellectual who derived theories of political economy and as an activist dedicated to the unification of a nationalist movement in Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea Bissau). This balance between theoretician and activist in combination with his abilities as a leader to unite and inspire the rural peasantry accounted for his success in organizing the masses to fight for independence. Specifically, he applied analyses of African socialism and national liberation to Portuguese colonial practices and sought to liberate colonial subjects through an understanding of such principles, in addition to uniting them under a functional political party.
Until his assassination in January of 1973, Amilcar Cabral dedicated his life to the study of revolution. Throughout his career, particularly as the leader of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), he successfully launched a cohesive Nationalist movement against Portuguese rule and is consequently viewed as an architect of the revolution. His approach to uniting the masses was both pragmatic and meticulous: he appealed to individuals at a grass roots level ? attracting attention on an emotional and rational level ? and was consequently successful in exporting his philosophy as well as his call to action

[...] He explained that common in every form of imperial domination is the denial of history, the repression of economic self sufficiency through control of the processes of development, and the rejection of the cultural accomplishments of colonial subjects as rooted in their history.[10] By outlining his idea of political struggle so broadly, Cabral proved that national liberation could only be obtained by resisting colonialism on all fronts. Cabral contextualized national liberation by the economic and cultural forces surrounding it. He spoke of the reality of political domination. [...]


[...] Although he studied Marxism in great detail, Cabral's theory of socialist development differed from Marxist notions of class struggle and focused instead on the modes of production in rural Guinea Bissau.[7] He envisioned a nation free from exploitation where the economic backbone was the subsistence farmer. Seeing colonialism as an extension of capitalism, Cabral sought to break from the crippling effects of unwanted competition. Chilcote explained: ?Rapid industrialization would not necessarily be the course of development after independence in a society whose resources largely related to agriculture. [...]


[...] He encouraged political discourse and while his ideals are inherently socialist, he avoided specific references to Marx or Lenin and instead embraced informal, commonplace language that spoke to virtually all Guineans.[24] This lack of a rigid and concrete creed and his ability to communicate without aggression or any sense of superiority furthered his ability to unite and mobilize the masses. After successfully mobilizing troops to fight the Portuguese in a war of attrition, Cabral committed himself to the development of the political structure of the post colonial state.[25] While Cabral continued to mobilize officials within his newly created government, his soldiers won battle the Battle of Como in 1964, a momentous victory which significantly weakened Portuguese morale. [...]

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