Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Marxist look at the Congo crisis

“Revolution in the Congo” is a pamphlet by Dick Roberts published by the Young Socialist Alliance in 1965. The YSA was the youth arm of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The pamphlet consists of two articles previously published in the magazine Young Socialist. They give an overview of the Congo crisis from what I assume is the SWP's perspective.

The author supports Patrice Lumumba and the subsequent Lumumbist “Simba rebellion” against the pro-Western central government. Che Guevara was in the Congo as a military advisor to the Lumumbists, but this was unknown at the time, so Roberts naturally doesn't mention it (the SWP supports Cuba).

The second article deals extensively with the 1964 Western rescue mission of hostages in Stanleyville held by the Lumumbists. Roberts describes it as a campaign of racist terror against the African civilian population, unleashed by Western mercenaries. Other sources, of course, describe it otherwise. In an introduction, Roberts blames US president Lyndon B Johnson for the massacres and makes a connection to the escalating conflict in Vietnam.

This pamphlet was distributed by the SWP's Swedish co-thinkers still during the 1990's. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, it does give a good introduction to the SWP's line on the Congo crisis.

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