Revisiting Marx and the Thinkers of the Liberation Era

The 12th Forum of the ruling political parties of the SADC region discussed current challenges and progressive visions for political and economic development in Southern Africa.

  • Foto: FES Moçambique

Revisiting Marx and the Thinkers of the Liberation Era

The event, organised by the FRELIMO Central Party School and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation between 30th and 31th of May, discussed the recent wave of political changes in the region. Political leadership alternated in Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Also, in Mozambique and Tanzania a younger generation of politicians have come into government positions. And with them, a new promising discourse which is focussing on fighting the evils of the current economic systems and creating the conditions for social and economic justice.  

The meeting gathered over 30 party representatives and academics from Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the aim of analysing the recent changes and the relevance of the theoretical foundations of the Marxist liberation thinkers for addressing today’s challenges.

The forum agreed that the shifts undergoing in the region, create new spaces for democratic inclusion. Nonetheless, it is important to look critically at the notion of “generational change” and guarantee that also political agendas and cultures are transformed towards broader inclusion. While speaking of change, in fact, those in power often continue to belong to a small section of society, that lacks social, generational and gendered representation. To be able to represent the new working class, parties must constantly open dialogue with different social groups and especially with the younger generations. 

The audience considered the political thought of the liberation thinkers as still very relevant in this endeavour of creating a more inclusive and just society. There is a need to complete the liberation script and move beyond attaining political independence from colonial powers. The economic liberation agenda put forward by Nkrumah, Cabral and Nyerere is still far from being completed. Revisiting the liberation thinkers and reflecting on how their concepts and ideas could guide more independent economic strategies and a fairer redistribution of economic gains, remains therefore a continuous effort for the ruling parties of the region.

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