Friday, April 18, 2014

The Failure of Socialism in Africa

Unlike Asia or Europe, communism was never a popular movement in Africa. Only three states in Africa ever established fully Marxist-Leninist regimes based upon the Soviet model. These were Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique. Curiously enough despite the success of socialist states in Europe and Asia in breaking economic dependence upon capitalist states, those in Africa completely failed at this task. Ethiopia which went further than any other state in implementing Soviet style socialism found itself still largely dependent upon western foreign aid and the western purchase of its coffee in an international market that differed little from the colonial patterns established elsewhere in Africa. Angola's Marxist regime found itself dependent upon the capitalists running Chevron for its very survival. Despite the end of Portuguese rule Mozambique continued to rely upon the contract labor of miners sent to work in the mines of apartheid South Africa as one of its most important sources of revenue. The establishment of political regimes closely allied with the USSR in Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique did almost nothing to reduce their economic dependency upon capitalists in the US, Europe, and South Africa. Their basic trade patterns of exporting raw materials and labor to capitalist states remained. They were unable to industrialize, replace capitalist trade partners with socialist ones, or achieve any type of self sufficiency even within a larger socialist bloc. In this sense socialism was a much larger failure in Africa than it was in Europe, Asia, or Cuba where a number of states most notably the USSR did achieve these goals.

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