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National Liberation

National Liberation
(Coordinator Comment)

Here are words from two of the great national liberators of the 20th Century: Amilcar Cabral and Franz Fanon.

The voice of Amilcar Cabral, poet and revolutionary, continues to speak to revolutionaries around the world and especially in Africa. He was a leader of the national liberation movement of Guinea Bissau until assassinated by the Portuguese colonial power in 1973 on the eve of national independence. He was a prolific writer, but only one of his speeches is presently available on the Internet. His speech, National Liberation and Culture, delivered at Syracuse University in the United States in 1970, provides us an insight into the importance of national culture in the liberation struggle.

For both revolutionaries and imperialists, a full understanding of the role of national culture is essential for success: "The value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated. Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of history, by the positive or negative influence which it exerts on the evolution of relationships between man and his environment, among men or groups of men within a society, as well as among different societies. Ignorance of this fact may explain the failure of several attempts at foreign domination--as well as the failure of some international liberation movements."

Cabral concludes that the struggle for a complex and all-inclusive national culture must be an integral part of the struggle for national liberation: "In order for culture to play the important role which falls to it in the framework of the liberation movement, the movement must be able to preserve the positive cultural values of every well defined social group, of every category, and to achieve the confluence of these values in the service of the struggle, giving it a new dimension--the national dimension. Confronted with such a necessity, the liberation struggle is, above all, a struggle both for the preservation and survival of the cultural values of the people and for the harmonization and development of these values within a national framework."

Franz Fanon, who was born in Martinique and educated in France, joined the Algerian National Liberation struggle and became a leader in the struggle against racism and for national liberation.

In his speech to the Congress of Black African Writers in 1959, he shows that to achieve national liberation, revolutionaries must start to recreate the national culture that colonialism has systematically destroyed. The speech is included in his book Wretched of the Earth.

In the conclusion of Wretched of the Earth, Fanon calls for the development of a "new man" that is not based on the model of "Man" from Europe and the United States: "Let us decide not to imitate Europe; let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth. Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions ... It is a question of the Third World starting a new history of Man."

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game administrator Jun. 13 2019,18:22
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