19 August 2013

Arusha Declaration

National Democratic Revolution, Part 8c

Arusha Declaration

So far in this series we have moved through five decades from the 1920s to the 1970s, with sufficient detail to demonstrate that in the world at large and in South Africa in particular, conscious, deliberate National Democratic Revolution was the main historical process under way in that time. In Africa, the process gathered speed from 1960.

On 25 May 1963, earlier regional initiatives, especially the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA), of which Tanzania had been a leading member, gave way for the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa Day is consequently celebrated each year towards the end of May.

The last supporting document to the Morogoro Strategy and Tactics is named after another Tanzanian town: Arusha. It is the famous (attached) 1967 “Arusha Declaration” of Julius Nyerere and the ruling TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) party of Tanganyika at the time, on Socialism and Self-Reliance. (Tanganyika and Zanzibar united in the following year as Tanzania, and TANU united with the Afro-Shirazi Party in 1977 to become the Chama cha Mapinduzi – “the party of the revolution”, CCM).

This document reflects TANU’s view of the political economy of their country and how it could be led to a better condition (i.e. a better life for all). This document is now over forty years old but at the time of the release of Nelson Mandela, for example, it was only a little over twenty years old. Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College was established in Morogoro only about a decade after the Arusha Declaration. (In those days “Arusha Declaration” was slang for “going by foot”).

The document has a peculiar understanding of socialism, which it calls both a policy, and also a belief. Nyerere’s 1962 pamphlet “Ujamaa – the Basis of African Socialism” (also attached) calls socialism “an attitude of mind”. Peasants can be as socialist as workers, according to these documents. Yet Tanzania did have an understanding that a purely peasant family was not fully socialised. They encouraged villagisation and rural party organisation according to the “tenth house” (chumba kumi) principle. The document tries to reconcile socialist aspirations with peasant facts of life.

The document is both national-democratic and developmentalist. It prefigured much of what has happened since, including in South Africa, and which is still happening. It prefigures President Zuma’s sentiments about his May, 2010 visit to Sweetwaters, for example, except that South Africans do not say that “money is not the weapon”. On the contrary, in South Africa money, translating into “delivery”, is nearly always thought to be the weapon of development.

The NDR has constantly been debated, and continues to be debated.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-texts: Arusha Declaration, 1967, Nyerere and Julius Nyerere, Ujamaa - The Basis of African Socialism, 1962.