01 April 2011

African Revolutionary Writers Series Intro: The Weapon of Theory

African Revolutionary Writers, Part 0

Weapon of Theory

As an introduction to the ten-part course on African Revolutionary Writers, here is Amilcar Cabral’s “Weapon of Theory” (the download, as usual, is linked at the bottom of this message). Cabral is the most profound and most sublime of African Revolutionary writers. He is one African, but not the only one, who contributed indispensable new lessons to the universal revolutionary legacy.

At a later stage in this course we will return to Amilcar Cabral and to the great single-volume compendium of his work called “Unity and Struggle”, recently republished in South Africa.

The Weapon of Theory

The Tricontinental Conference of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America was held in Havana in January, 1966, 46 years after the Baku Conference of the Peoples of the East and seven years after the Cuban Revolution.

Forty-five more years have passed since the Tricontinental. A lot has been achieved in that time, including our South African democratic breakthrough, seventeen years ago, and the unbanning of the ANC, twenty years ago.

The full defeat of Imperialism has not yet occurred. What we can say is that from early in the 20th Century the historical agenda was set by the liberation movements, and that Imperialism represents the degeneration and the decline of bourgeois class power, and not its heyday.

The great political change in the world in the last century was the taking of sovereign independence by the formerly oppressed peoples of the former colonies, affecting the great majority of the population of the planet and opening the road of democracy for them.

This gigantic movement and huge change was achieved with the weapon of theory.

In 2011 with direct Imperialist armed aggression taking place once again on the continent of Africa, it is, however, clear that the struggle continues.

In this connection we can note that, 45 years ago, Amilcar Cabral, in the speech to the Tricontinental that has always been known by the title “Weapon of Theory”, said the following:

“It is often said that national liberation is based on the right of every people to freely control its own destiny and that the objective of this liberation is national independence. Although we do not disagree with this vague and subjective way of expressing a complex reality, we prefer to be objective, since for us the basis of national liberation, whatever the formulas adopted on the level of international law, is the inalienable right of every people to have its own history, and the objective of national liberation is to regain this right usurped by imperialism, that is to say, to free the process of development of the national productive forces.

“For this reason, in our opinion, any national liberation movement which does not take into consideration this basis and this objective may certainly struggle against imperialism, but will surely not be struggling for national liberation.

“This means that, bearing in mind the essential characteristics of the present world economy, as well as experiences already gained in the field of anti-imperialist struggle, the principal aspect of national liberation struggle is the struggle against neo-colonialism.”

Amilcar Cabral was a true vanguardist. He was both a great leader, and a great intellectual.

Please download the document via the link given here.

Please download and read the text via the following link:


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