Contingent identity and socialist democracy in the port of Maputo

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Failures of socialist revolutions in Africa are sometimes dismissed as alien to
the history of socialism - attempts to gloss developmentalist nationalist projects in the
discourse of socialism. This paper argues that the problematic relationship between
party, state and broad-based political activism in African revolutions are not part of an incommensurate ethnicised history; they are like those that have repeatedly recurred and
been debated in the history of socialism. It looks at one particular moment in the history
of Frelimo's Mozambican revolution - the confrontation between the party and Mozambican port workers over the restructuring of work and pay in 1980. It argues that the
ways that Frelimo envisioned its options at this moment illustrated two recurring tensions in Marxist-Leninist political practice - reluctance to confront the contingency of
structure and the materiality of ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


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