Africa Was Socialist, Too: A Contribution to the History of Contemporary Africa

Fresque à Brazzaville, Congo, 2021 (détail). Photographie : Phidias Aka-Evy

Available online (open access):

The publication of the collective work Socialismes en Afrique / African Socialism by the Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme in May 2021 is the result of a collective international research adventure. It brings together articles dealing with socialist doctrines and their intellectual sources, but also with very concrete experiences of socialism in Africa, both in the cities and in the countryside: cooperatives, neighborhood committees, re-education camps, cultures and memories of socialisms, etc. The situation of Portuguese-speaking Africa, whose countries have all experienced socialist regimes, has been the subject of particular attention. Africa’s relations with the USSR, the popular democracies, Cuba, China, and Israel are also discussed.[1]
This article in English is an initial version of the introduction to the book, which includes bilingual chapters (French and English). Its final version is available in the published book.[2]

La parution de l’ouvrage collectif Socialismes en Afrique / African Socialism aux éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme en mai 2021 est l’aboutissement d’une aventure collective de recherche internationale. Y sont rassemblés des articles traitant des doctrines socialistes et de leurs sources intellectuelles, mais aussi d’expériences très concrètes de socialisme en Afrique, tant dans les villes que dans les campagnes : coopératives, comités de quartier, camps de rééducation, cultures et mémoires des socialismes etc. La situation de l’Afrique lusophone, parent pauvre des études africaines en France, et dont l’ensemble des pays ont justement fait l’expérience de régimes socialistes, a fait l’objet d’une attention particulière. Les rapports de l’Afrique avec l’URSS, les démocraties populaires, Cuba, la Chine, ou encore Israël sont également abordés[3].
Ce billet en anglais est une version initiale de l’introduction de l’ouvrage, qui comprend des chapitres bilingues (français et anglais). Sa version finale est disponible dans l’ouvrage publié.


Moscow 1931. Albert T. Nzula, the first black man to be Secretary of the South African Communist Party, set foot in the capital of the Soviet Union, after passing through London. He was there to undergo training at the Komintern.[4] The same year, and in the same city, the Sudanese Tiémoko Garan Kouyaté was sent by the French Communist Party to take part in the 5th World Congress of the Red International of Labour Unions.[5] Did these two African militants meet? Did they discuss the methods behind the struggle in their respective countries? Did they share the same concepts of anti-imperialist emancipation from socialism? The story remains to be written. In any event, the intersecting trajectories of these two individuals sheds light on the historical basis of Marxism in Africa, which did not await the struggles for independence to flourish. Immediately after the Russian Revolution, while Africa was still under the yoke of colonial domination (with the exception of Ethiopia), the “great glow” from the East also attracted African workers and members of the diaspora. The Senegalese communist militant Lamine Senghor, who was living in France, proclaimed that “those who are suffering colonial oppression must meet and stand beside those who are suffering imperialism in developed countries. […] We must destroy [global imperialism] and replace it with an alliance of free peoples.”[6] In the 1920s, Communist parties were established in some African countries (Egypt and South Africa), but in most colonies, where Africans had no access to political rights, socialist ideals and relationships were forced to take winding routes. Who were the actors? What vehicles existed for circulating socialist ideologies? In the shadow of internationalist organisations, how were socialist projects lived, thought and experienced in different African colonial contexts and in the period immediately following independence?

Lamine Senghor participait, ici, avec J.T.Gumde de l’ANC et autres délégués, au Congrès international contre l’oppression coloniale tenue à Bruxelles , en février 1927. Author: Député du Sénégal, Galandou Diouf. Source :

Returning Africa to the heart of the historiography of socialism

The purpose of this work is to give the African continent, as a whole and as to the diversity of its spaces and histories, the place it deserves in the world history of socialism.

The history of European socialism has attracted renewed interest in recent years, encouraged by the opening up of archives and the replacement of paradigms such as the notion of the “Eastern Bloc” and the debate on totalitarianism. Projects and publications have emphasised global[7] connected transnational perspectives, the diversity of political experiences within the “Soviet Bloc,”[8] the porous nature of the “Iron Curtain,” everyday life and social interactions[9] and gender and sexuality issues in the countries that practiced “real socialism.”[10] Above all, it is quite logical that the internationalist movement should be the subject of a global approach with an emphasis on exchanges, points of connection and circulations; over thirty years after the fall of the Wall, however, in a developing field of inquiry, histories of forms of socialism have often ignored Africa,[11] at the same time as borders were opening up between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. The inclusion of exciting research on Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American areas in this field of research bears witness to this,[12] and so one might also look at types of socialism in Africa as a new—or at least renewed—subject lying at the crossroads of historical approaches. The subject is certainly not a new one: numerous works were written while the socialist regimes were in existence, so that we can also lean on the research of a first generation of historians, anthropologists and sociologists who were contemporaries of the events, while also standing apart from them. During the 1960s, they analysed the socialist commitments of certain African leaders and the selection of socialist developmental strategies. These works, which often took care to suggest typologies that went from “African socialism” to “scientific Marxism,” permit us to understand the keen interest that the new States took in socialist ideology.[13] With the fall of the Wall, topics of democracy and transition took a hold in African studies. While specialists in Europe and the East have analysed the break-ups which occurred between 1989 and 1991 by developing the notion of post-socialism, the effects of the end of the Cold War in Africa have undoubtedly been underestimated for some time now. The Cold War was, however, accompanied by profound changes across the continent, the cultural and political effects of which are still being felt, and the notion of post-socialism also seems to be in operation in Africa.[14]

Although African socialism is not clearly established as a research field, and although it has not necessarily permeated studies on connected forms of socialism, it has been increasingly attractive in African studies for about fifteen years. Schematically, it is possible to say that it has been considered from two angles that also correspond to different historical approaches, focusing at certain times on external dynamics and at others on internal processes on the African continent. A first set of research is made up of works by historians of international relations and specialists in the former communist countries of Europe. They look at the relations and cooperation that developed between these countries and Africa, the movements they gave rise to and their feedback effects on the political imaginaries of socialist countries.[15] Thus, the Socialism Goes Global programme looks at the relations and cooperation that developed between the “Eastern Bloc” and the “Third World” after 1945.[16] These works are part of a broader historiographical trend. With the development of the “new Cold War history” and of global history, historians of international relations have begun to include Asia, Latin America and Africa in their thoughts more often.[17] On the other hand, historians of Africa only had the opportunity to encounter the question of socialism when they added the period ranging from 1950 to 1982 to their analytical perimeter.[18] In fact, a large number of movements in Africa claimed an “African,” “scientific” or “democratic” form of socialism. At the same time, many opposition movements sought inspiration in the theoretical tools constructed by Marxism—or its vulgate—which seemed to them to offer a historical theory that was favourable to the future of colonised or formerly colonised peoples. Starting from the continent, it is therefore necessary to question anew the chronologies and periodization in the history of socialism which, broadly speaking and even today, is written with reference to a European prism.[19] The question therefore arises of the origin of examples of socialism that were (re)borrowed and (re)developed above and beyond the European models. Some examples that claimed “real socialism,” such as in the USSR, China, Vietnam and Cuba also offered real or imagined ready-to-serve models. In addition to these examples, which have sometimes been imitated or adapted, there was also the invention of forms of socialism that were specific to Africa, and reflected the special features of the continent, drawing its theoretical roots from perceptions of its past. The types of socialism conceived by Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana and Amílcar Cabral in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde are the best-known examples. Contemporary African states still bear the marks of these many avatars of socialism. They have left numerous traces, and their reminiscences can also be the driver of highly contemporary versions that draw from a sometimes idealised past in an attempt to construct the future, or at least to offer new horizons of expectations.[20] These forms of nostalgia depict memories of the various forms of socialism experienced by the African continent. They can be a part of the space, in the form of monuments or urban places; they can be visible in physical or declaratory practices; or they are reactivated in the form of commemorations of events or heroic figures.

The conference entitled “Socialismes en Afrique/Socialismes Africains,”[21] which was held in Paris in 2016, and from which this volume originates, had a triple objective in opening up a dialogue with this new literature. First, it aimed to encourage comparativism, bringing together historians of Africa who were working on forms of socialism in a piecemeal fashion, and producing an inventory of current studies on the question. The opening up of national historiographies led to the appearance of homothetical situations across the continent, and enabled the identification of parallel phases of development of African socialisms. This comparativist option had a second objective: to approach African forms of socialism from a transnational angle. From this standpoint, the conference followed the example of “Étudiants et élites africaines formés dans les pays de l’ex-bloc soviétique” (ELITAF) research programme,[22] which made a broad contribution towards rendering more visible a side of the history of movements between Africa and the so-called Eastern Bloc countries. By laying the emphasis on political and academic collaborations between African countries and the former Soviet Bloc, and by retracing the biographical trajectories of the students and African elites trained in the USSR and Cuba, ELITAF lifted the veil from overlooked life trajectories,[23] and contributed to a social history of socialist flows and connections. Now that this programme has reached its conclusion, it seems to us to be of fundamental importance to continue these reflections by expanding the questions. While still taking account of these socialist relations or “friendships,” we wanted to look at them by using Africa as our starting point, and then to reverse the point of view so as to consider non-African forms of socialism as well. Over and above this desire to situate knowledge of Africa—and the world—by starting from the African continent, the main challenge for this publication has been to re-inscribe this space in the long history of transnational forms of socialism and their theorisations and political experiences. In order to achieve this, we have sought to identify African passers and thinkers on socialism, to understand the way ideas circulated within the continent and beyond (both materially and symbolically) and to explore the experiences and the ways of being, and thinking of oneself as, “socialist,” according to historical spaces and epochs. Third and final point, socialism is a privileged place from which to observe postcolonial reconfigurations. Although the history of colonisation and decolonisation has been richly reconsidered in the course of the past 20 years, and although political observers in Africa have contributed to the dynamism of historical sociology by analysing political situations since the 1990s, the years between 1960 and 1980 still constitute a period largely overlooked by historiography. This volume therefore has the ambition of adopting a perspective on African social history that may encompass the late colonial and the postcolonial periods within one single analytical lens, and bringing Africa into the world, no longer making it a continent apart, a location of every kind of peculiarity, disaster and delay.

Affiche de l’Union des Résidents de la Cité universitaire, Paris, 1970. Fonds privé Paule Fioux.

One final element that has played an essential role in renewing the historiography of African forms of socialism has been the access to unpublished sources and to the development of new historical methods. In many African countries, the archives of the socialist regimes are gradually becoming accessible and available to analysis, because the deadlines for non-disclosure have passed, political obstacles have collapsed, or because they have finally come to the attention of researchers. Writing a social history of socialism also means using oral investigations. We therefore had the pleasure of welcoming a number of important eyewitnesses to the socialist experiences in Senegal, Mali, Congo and Benin to the 2016 conference, including Roland Colin (a close collaborator of the Senegalese Mamadou Dia), Robert Dossou (a militant Marxist from Benin), Amadou Traoré (a socialist official during Modibo Keita’s regime) and Alice MBadiangana (a member of the Congolese Mouvement National de la Révolution).[24] Their statements, reactions and comments remind us of the urgency of gathering together memories of this period, but also of their fragility: this point has especially marked the conference, as the witness Amadou Traoré passed away just a few months after it. Another aspect of this renewal of sources is that the history of African socialisms is increasingly being written from archives situated outside Africa. The participation in the conference of specialists of other area studies, in particular from former communist states in Europe, proved the importance of cross-referencing diverse archival sources and of making national historiographies dialogue with each other. Finally, research on African socialisms also invites us to extend our research to iconographic materials. The contributions gathered here bear witness to the efforts made to collect and analyse a wide variety of sources, including popular and militant songs, satirical drawings, photographs, fiction films and documentaries.

Bibliothèque personnelle d’Amadou Traoré, Bamako 2014. Photographie : Aurélien Gillier.

Anticolonial struggles, trade unions, communism and social movements

The history of African socialisms and of socialisms in Africa does not start with the independence of African countries, although most of the articles in this volume have taken national construction as their starting point. That history begins much earlier, with the end of the First World War and the creation of the Communist International which made the first attempts to build ties between African militants and the communist world. Later on, these ties only multiplied, as the following example demonstrate: in 1945, the Pan-African Congress in Manchester adopted socialism as a philosophy; the African Democratic Rally created in Bamako in 1946 was related to the French Communist Party; in his preface to “Nations Nègres et Culture” published in 1954, Cheikh Anta Diop referred to Stalinism; although it was not mentioned, socialism invited itself to the Bandung Conference in 1955; at the time of the first Congress writers and artists of colour at the Sorbonne in 1956, pan-Africanism, “négritude” and Marxism came face-to-face; finally, when Ghana gained independence in 1957, its President Kwame Nkrumah claimed that he was a “Marxist-Leninist and a Christian with no religion.”[25] Although selected somewhat arbitrarily, these post-World War II examples bear witness to the vigour of an African internationalism in which socialism occupied a central position. At each of these events, a Socialist grammar was present and articulated—although not without tensions—to other ideals: anti colonialism, anti-imperialism and hopes for an “African revolution,” which would be social, cultural, economic and political.

Never merely a banal repetition of Asian or European forms of socialism, it was intensely rethought and redeveloped by African intellectuals and politicians like Léopold Sédar Senghor, Abdoulaye Ly, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba and Amilcar Cabral, to mention just a few. With the added aim of standing against the misdeeds of colonialism from an intellectual viewpoint, this opposition was provided with theoretical options, and inspiration was drawn from liberation philosophies in the Marxist tradition. Senghor identified the African socialism/Marxist socialism pairing as a way of choosing and building the former (see Section 3); however, he was no less an erudite reader of Marx and an admirer of the humanist Marx of the Manuscripts of 1844, and his readings fed his theory of “négritude”, just as much as the thoughts of Father Teilhard de Chardin, also a reader of Marx. Abdoulaye Ly, who eventually became one of Senghor’s ministers, had been the initiator and leader of a study group known as the Groupement africain de recherches économiques et politiques (GAREP), which aimed to produce a critical reading of the great texts of Marxism. A summary of the group’s work was published by Abdoulaye Ly under the title Les Masses africaines et l’actuelle condition humaine, a critique of the concept of imperialism inherited from Lenin. The fact remains, however, that most African thinkers of socialism used the tools of a transnational anti-imperialist opposition culture[26] so they could better fight for and arm their cause, the liberation of Africa. It must be noted here that these ideologues had travelled, and had generally completed their higher education abroad: Senghor in France, Nkrumah in England and the United States and Nyerere in Scotland. Equally, the leaders of the wars of liberation in Portuguese-speaking Africa had spent time in Portugal as well as, briefly, in France. Trade-unionists, such as the Congolese Aimé Matsika, were also often invited to France, the Soviet Union or the capitals of the Soviet Bloc, especially Prague. The Ethiopian group led by Berhane Meskel-Redda, which was fighting against the Haile Selassie regime, connected to the United States, was in Algiers during the 1960s. Meskel-Redda had contacts with Iranian Marxists and travelled to Palestine as a guest of the FPLP. Like the leaders of the African political parties, they became great travellers, men of the world who were open to all kinds of influences and relationships that might assist their cause. The less well-known men who inspired Marxist-Leninist projects in Dahomey under the presidency of Kérékou, or in Congo under the presidencies of Massembat-Débat and Marien Ngouabi, had forged their visions of the world in the highly pan-African and Marxist Fédération des étudiants d’Afrique noire en France (FEANF). This was the case, for example, with Pascal Lissouba and Ambroise Noumazalaye, both of whom were to serve as Prime Ministers in the revolutionary Congo.

Sekou Traoré, La Fédération des étudiants d’Afrique noire en France.

One special case is the relationship between West African ideologues and the French Communist Party. The PCF played a central role in the spread of left-wing doctrines in Francophone Africa by utilising as an intermediary the Groupes d’études communistes (GEC), which had been put in place throughout Francophone Africa between 1943 and 1951 under the aegis of Raymond Barbé. The PCF considered that because Africa lacked a powerful working class, it would have been premature to create sections there. Therefore, the GECs were open to both Europeans and Africans.[27] The relationship between the West African militants and the PCF was not always harmonious, however: the split between the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) and the Communist Party, most probably for strategic rather than ideological reasons (their proximity to the PCF fed repression, and the PCF was no longer in power as it had been at the time when the RDA was created), is well known. However, the PCF was more than lukewarm when it came to anti-colonialism, and although it was often understood to be the only possible ally—and to be a link to the Soviet Union—the more radical partisans of the liberation of Africa objected to its excessively moderate positions on the colonial issue.

As a general matter, between the two World Wars, the debate, and therefore the fabrics of socialism almost everywhere on the continent, were structured by a number of important binary questions: classes (and the class struggle) versus the people; the working class versus the peasant class (which is intimately linked to the previous one); reformism versus revolution; rich nations versus proletarian nations; violence versus peaceful means; and African socialisms versus scientific socialisms.

Particular attention also needs to be dedicated to the trade-unions, despite the fact that they were generally tamed by one-party systems following independence. Even though they only represented a more or less significant minority, depending on the context, and were often identified as the working class that was supposed to be insignificant, they played a leading role, in conjunction but not joined together with the anti-colonial parties. Their tune was one of equality between the colonised and the colonisers, at least equality in the fundamental areas of workers’ rights, social rights and the struggle for more advantageous policies for workers. Fundamentally, by exposing the contradictions of the metropolis, these struggles for equality opened up the path towards independence.[28] In the French colonial empire, trade-unions were generally sections of the main European unions, and little by little emancipated themselves. In other colonial contexts such as Sudan, Egypt and Tanzania, the unions were a very clear example of the transnational impact of this type of organisation, in that the workers fought openly for the establishment and legalisation of their own unions.[29] In numerous contexts, the unions maintained their links to the world federations such as the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU/FSM), which had ties to the Soviet Union, the Confédération internationale des syndicats libres (CISL) and the Confédération internationale des syndicats chrétiens (CISC). The Union générale des travailleurs d’Afrique noire (UGTAN) was also under communist influences. While retaining labour and social questions at the heart of its mandate, this union became involved in politics calling for a no vote in the 1958 referendum, which, as we know, meant immediate independence. An iconic case of the ties between politics and the unions is that of Guinea, where Sékou Touré, a trade-unionist of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), called for a no vote. This led to a dramatic set of circumstances which made that Guinea obtained a type of independence that isolated it to a certain extent from the rest of the continent. Sékou Touré made himself the champion of pan-Africanism that never came to be realised.

What needs to be emphasized is that the trade-union movement must be read at the light of two other ideological strands: anti-colonialism and pan-Africanism. It is through the sometimes conflicting articulation of these three terms that the destiny of the independent African countries played out.

Gravure de la révolution congolaise. Fonds privé Tall Boukambou.

“African socialisms / socialisms in Africa”

The term “African Socialisms / Socialisms in Africa” makes it possible to incorporate the continent into the major issues that accompanied the establishment of socialist political projects across the world in the 20th century and to engage with the different African responses to the challenges posed by socialism. It is also important to reconsider and question the taxonomy developed by Senghor, who distinguished “African socialism” (meaning humanist and African) and the “scientific socialism” of the second Marx (meaning materialistic and anchored in Western thought),[30] whose binary opposition leads to a risk of reductive essentialization. In the context of decolonisation, the concept of an “African socialism” became an undeniable ideological and political tool for thinkers on the continent who were inventing a future for African societies free of all imperialist ties (not only with the United States and the former colonial metropolises, but also with the Eastern Bloc). This notion was an object of open debate, however, as illustrated, for example, in the columns of the Présence Africaine journal in the 1960s.[31] Although the exchanges among the African, American and European personalities who contributed to this review reveal the vitality of socialist imaginaries at the time, we need to take a step sideways here with regard to these political categories and shed some light on the existence of an entire range of hybrids in Africa, as well as on the more or less opportunistic behaviour that was associated with international relations at the time of the Cold War. In fact, several central issues are not specifically African: for instance, the tension between avant-garde socialism and socialism of the masses. Other questions, conversely, generated debates that were specific to the continent, such as the discussion about who were the exploited classes in Africa and the relevance of the notion of “social classes.” As early as 1965, Georges Balandier was asking whether the social transformations in 20th century Africa had given rise to classes in the Marxist sense, and whether the ideological and political struggles immediately following independence were an expression of class struggle.[32] While within social sciences this dispute raised the question of the relevance of analytical categories developed from the study of Western societies, African socialists accepted or rejected the Marxist notion of class struggle, with the intention of translating and adapting Marxism to their own social realities. In this way, while Sékou Touré was stating that the concept of class had no place in Africa, Kwame Nkrumah placed it at the heart of his political thought. This debate, which was laid to rest with the decline of academic Marxism in the 1980s, is resurfacing today in the context of the social reconfigurations brought about by “globalisation.” By locating African socialist experiences within their various socio-political milieus, some of the chapters in this work revisit the question from a historical perspective, investigating the links between social groups and political projects.

At the time of independence, the shared experience of colonisation created the illusion of a form of homogeneity among African societies. Nonetheless, tensions rapidly pushed the first regimes to adopt the “socialist development option,” thus illustrating the fact that the choice of socialism was not obvious, and this in spite of the fact that figures such as Nkrumah, Senghor, Nyerere and Modibo Keïta considered that a form of socialism adapted to the African context was naturally affine to African societies, because the socio-economic organisations of rural societies predisposed them towards collectivism and mutualism. In these assumptions, we probably need to identify a response to the difficulties raised by importing the dominant communist doxa of the 1950s and 1960s. Where should African societies be located in the materialistic concept of history? On whom should the notion of a proletariat, which is broadly associated with the image of the factory worker, be transposed in a continent on which this category of workers is virtually non-existent? Is it possible to identify the “exploited class” in the African peasant farmers, as according to Fanon says in Les Damnés de la Terre,[33] they are the only revolutionary class, which is already socialist by its very nature? Answers to such dilemmas were multiple. For instance, the leaders of the liberation movements that fought against Portuguese colonialism came to terms with such questions during the armed struggle in the years between 1960 and 1970. Such struggles were often triggered by massacres of workers, as in the case of the dockers and sailors of Pidjiguiti (1959, Guinea-Bissau), or the peasants of Mueda (1960, Mozambique). To a large extent, however, 20th century African socialist experiences were led by minorities made up mainly of young people, urban dwellers, intellectuals, students, scholars and trade-unionists. Their enthusiasm and desire and frequently, too, their authoritarianism, produced nonetheless very real attempts at societal transformations. Some projects were successful, such as the literacy campaign in the Ethiopian, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambican countryside, even though carried out in contexts of violence and civil wars.

While the idea of the existence of an African socialism ‘nature’ conveyed the idea that the project enjoyed a form of historical continuity—which was merely disrupted by colonialism—the variety of socialist projects in Africa aimed at accomplishing real break-ups: attempts to break away not only from colonisation, imperialism and capitalism, but also from social and political structures, against the caste system, feudal relationships, historical multinational companies, the national and “comprador” bourgeoisie, gerontocratic and patriarchal customary powers. In this context, which internationally was that of the Cold War, African socialists made enemies internally and externally. The raptures that African socialism was intended to bring about were also presented as “modernisation” projects, usually through planning; however, these projects were often locked within national borders, despite attempts to construct an African, Third World or “Afro-Asian” unity, and they failed to improve the lives of the majority of the populations in any lasting way. Although African socialist regimes were almost always authoritarian, single parties and the repression of opposition were not their prerogative. We therefore first need to take a look at the levels of authoritarianism and repression (can Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania be likened to Mängestu Haylä-Maryam’s Ethiopia?) and the degrees of commitment on the part of the various populations. In addition, African experiences enable us to measure the ties and gaps between the nature of the political projects and the more or less authoritarian ways in which power was exercised, comparing socialist governments with each other and with other types of regime.

Monument de la place de la Révolution à Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (période sankariste). Photographie : Alexis Roy.
Fresque de la révolution à Brazzaville. Photographie : Héloïse Kirakou.

When Africa was red. Between national experiences and international solidarity. Conclusion and working plan

This volume is the result of a conference that brought together 47 participants from 16 countries, including seven African countries, over the course of three days. It discussed not only theoretical debates and socialism in Africa and its intellectual sources, but also very concrete experiences of socialism in urban centres and the countryside alike: cooperatives, district committees, re-education camps, etc. The Portuguese-speaking Africa, which is very much an overlooked area of African studies in France, was a focus of special attention because all the Portuguese-speaking countries experienced socialist regimes. Africa’s relationships with the USSR, China and Cuba, as well as with and Israel, were also discussed. In order to put this volume together, we also redesigned the volume in the interests of consistency in a fruitful dialogue with the authors, and asked for additional articles. We envisage that there will be subsequent research developments on specific aspects, such as the economic and planning development experiences, the astonishing absence of which should be underlined. Political economy, a central topic for researchers until the 1980s,[34] has been somewhat abandoned these past decades. One might also note that although the questions of women, gender and sexuality are touched on briefly in some of the articles, it is not a central theme of this book. Many worksites remain to be opened up, and we cannot but be delighted with the prospects for future research, which has already begun with another conference held in Dakar[35] in October 2017.

As of now, however, this volume presents the status of international research and an update on the state of the art on these topics. At a different level, it is also a collection of the shattered hopes and dreams of the post-colonial generations, who have collided with realpolitik and structural constraints. It also makes a contribution to the history of the Cold War, which is currently undergoing a complete renewal, by linking it from, and with, Africa. It is our hope that it also makes a contribution to the “decentering” of knowledge.

This volume echoes some of the distinctive qualities that were seen at the conference. In the first place, there is the great variety of countries, starting out from linguistic and geographical areas: French-and Arabic-speaking North Africa (Algeria and Tunisia) French- and English-speaking West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Ghana), East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopian, Somalia and Sudan), Central Africa and the great lakes (Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon and Rwanda), Southern Africa (Namibia, Zambia and Malawi) and Portuguese-speaking Africa (Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau). In this volume, the way socialism was thought about, constructed, experienced, encouraged and suffered is tackled by authors from three continents (Africa, Europe and North America). We also examine the ties between some of these countries (or oppositions in exile) and the so-called Eastern bloc, the USSR and East Germany [Laranjeiro, Gray, Chomentowsky and Burton], and also—more surprisingly—with the United States, which sent the Peace Corps, an organisation politicised by the mobilisations against the Vietnam War [Wayne], and with Israel [Schler], whose kibbutz model was the inspiration behind a variety of cooperative developments. None of the articles deal specifically with China, but it might be said that the China of Mao and Zhou Enlai is everywhere, whether as an ideological reference model or as a provider of services and training.

The articles also seek to describe the geneses of multiple socialist doctrines and the way they were produced. In Rwanda, Grégoire Kiyabanda was the inspiration behind a socio-Christian driven “democratic socialism” [Saur] that had ties to Senghorian African socialism, at least as a frame of reference. In Ghana, a group of intellectuals who wanted to give the Convention People’s Party a doctrine and its leader Kwame Nkrumah a way of thought that might crystallise memberships developed consciencism, a political philosophy that allied materialist socialism with cultural liberation in the service of full decolonisation. The articles of this volume that analyse socialist doctrines detail what has sometimes been expressed, too briefly, in terms of influence. They also show what Marxism did to Islam, and what Islam did to Marxism [Boyer], and as a more general matter what power does to socialism. It is also undoubtedly simpler to be a Marxist in opposition [Walraven, Nchare Nom, Belluci and Admassie] if one positions oneself from the standpoint of pure doctrine; however, these socialist oppositions also developed very differently, depending on the regimes that were being challenged and their international position. The book also contains an analysis of what one might call the doctrinal management of contradictions: the historical role of the proletariat/ absence of a proletariat [Ibrahim], atheism/religion [Boyer] and messianism/realism. Socialism—and its most commonly shared avatar, Marxism—is adapted, becomes a hybrid, is rejected or is transformed. It is used as a tool or a torch to be carried, as a mystique, a reference or an allegory [Walraven], as behavioural guidelines or pure rhetoric, as in the case of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (PLA), where, paradoxically, those who claim to have adopted it had no relevant prior experience of it [Mabeko-Tali]. Certainly, the concept of hybridisation is a useful one here, but only on the condition that it is provided with a broad range of content and that its subtle colour chart can be expressed. What hides behind the socialist (and/or Marxist) label can be a very long way from any known experience of socialism that may seem strangely similar to the European, Soviet or Chinese experiences: the customary dialectic of oneself and the other.

Following on from the doctrines and corpus, socialist experiences are also presented here that are sometimes more similar to ways of living, practices and implementations. The (small) populations living in urban centres, for example, were able to participate very actively in revolutionary situations [Kiriakou] in support of the socialist government, taking the centre stage, and inventing new ways of relating within an urban fabric, turning themselves into actors in the revolutionary situation in Congo Brazzaville between 1963 and 1968; and yet the relationship between cities and the countryside was also broadly rethought throughout socialist Africa between 1960 and 1970, sometimes with rural areas portrayed as redeeming and idyllic [Tiquet] or, far more violently, with the internment of stigmatised city dwellers—who were perceived as degenerates in the name of the new moral code—in re-education camps in the countryside [Machava]. The countryside was also the location of interesting experiences of cooperatives [Raison] and peasant justice [Planel]. These were sometimes legitimised by a socialist reading of pre-colonial rural societies, the “ancestral socialism,” which is a long way removed from Marxism, however, with roots that must be sought in colonial agrarianism [Roy].

Finally, this volume dedicates significant space to socialist cultures, whether in the form of propaganda [Huhn], song [Bertho] or cinema [Chomentowski and Laranjeiro]. These are cultures which, above all in the latter case, display the circulation and reappropriation of techniques and aesthetics and the fabrication and management of the affects [Gray] that accompany them. Behind the customary, and somewhat all-encompassing term “circulation” lie geopolitical power relations, negotiations, redefinitions, gifts and counter-gifts, travel and training.

This world crumbled under the weight of the attacks from structural adjustment plans and the ideological domination of neoliberalism, as well as the internal contradictions linked to the degeneration of the Stalinist model[36]—authoritarian models, the cult of leadership, socialism in a single country, etc. However, the traces and memories, and sometimes the nostalgia [Fouéré] make archaeologist of African brands of socialism even more necessary. As historians, anthropologists, or researchers on literature, there is a need to document the beliefs and hopes that these brands created and attempted to realise, their realisations, experiences, successes and failures.

Videos: Socialismes africains

Colloque organisé par le CRIMIC, l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, la FMSH, l’EHESS, l’IMAF, l’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, le CHS, l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, la Fondation Jean Jaurès, la Fondation Gabriel Peri, le CESSMA et LAM en partenariat avec RFI.

Sources :

Doctrine et corpus 1

The Coordinating Team

Françoise Blum, CNRS, Centre d’histoire sociale des mondes contemporains,

Héloïse Kiriakou, Institut des mondes africains, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Martin Mourre, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) / Institut des mondes africains

Maria-Benedita Basto, Sorbonne Université – Faculté des lettres, Crimic – Centre de recherches interdisciplinaires sur les mondes ibériques, Institut des mondes africains

Pierre Guidi, IRD, Centre Population et Développement

Céline Pauthier, Université de Nantes, Centre de recherches en histoire internationale et atlantique

Ophélie Rillon, CNRS, Institut des mondes africains

Alexis Roy, CNRS, Institut des mondes africains

Elena Vezzadini, CNRS, Institut des mondes africains

Book’s Contents

Première partie : Doctrines et corpus

  1. À l’épreuve du pouvoir

Le Rwanda de Kayibanda : un avatar démocrate-chrétien des socialismes africains
Léon Saur

Aux origines du consciencisme : l’islam et le marxisme-léninisme dans le parcours politique de Kwame Nkrumah (1945-1965)
Antoine de Boyer

Révolution marxiste sans marxistes? Les racines intellectuelles des ambiguïtés idéologiques du « socialisme scientifique » du parti-État MPLA en Angola en 1977-1990
Jean-Michel Mabeko-Tali

Les mots du socialisme pour changer Madagascar : les impasses du ministre Resampa. 1960-1971
Françoise Raison

  1. Et en marge du pouvoir : socialismes à l’épreuve de la contestation

The Vicissitudes of Socialist Doctrine in the Sawaba Movement in Niger (1954-1965)
Klaas van Walraven

Yaoundé, les partis socialistes leaders de l’opposition en Afrique : le cas du Social Democratic Front (SDF) au Cameroun
Théophile Mirabeau Nchare Nom

Sparse Notes on Kenyan Socialism (1950s-1980s): From the Legacy of Mau Mau to the Mwakenya
Stefano Bellucci

The Coming of Marxism in Ethiopia: Some Notes towards a Materialist Interpretation
Samuel Andreas Admassie, Demessie Fantahun

Conflicting Radicalisms: Marxism, Nationalism, and the Liberation Struggle in Eritrea
Uoldelul Chelati Dirar

Sudan: No Working Class Land
Abdulahi Ali Ibrahim

Socialist Opposition from the Exile: The Example of Malawi
Sebastian Pampuch

Deuxième partie : Socialismes en actes

  1. Socialisme des villes, socialismes des champs

Recompositions et devenir d’une petite institution rurale socialiste : le Shengo, tribunal populaire éthiopien
Sabine Planel

Une paysannerie prédisposée au socialisme ? Le « socialisme des ancêtres » à l’épreuve de la politique agricole de Modibo Keïta au Mali
Alexis Roy

Développement socialiste et mise au travail rural : les politiques d’investissement humain dans le Sénégal de Dia et Senghor (1958-1962)
Romain Tiquet

Reeducation Camps Mozambique
Benedito Machava

Expérimentations socialistes en ville
Héloïse Kiriakou

  1. Cultures socialistes

Imposing Culture in Post-liberation Mozambique
Arianna Huhn

Un bréviaire du socialisme en chansons (Zimbabwe 1964-1980)
Elara Bertho

Participer, fusionner, s’opposer ? Les communistes algériens et les socialismes d’État dans l’Algérie des années 1960 (1962-1971)
Malika Rahal et Pierre-Jean Le Foll-Luciani

Mémoires du socialisme Ujamaa en Tanzanie : sur les traces de la villagisation dans la région de Rufiji
Marie-Aude Fouéré

Troisième partie : Socialismes transnationaux : coopération et circulation 

Moderates, Radicals and Foreclosing the Transnational Left in Tunisia
Chris Rominger

Socialism as Entanglement. The Namibian – East German Experience, ca. 1970 to 1990
Jakob Zollmann

Socialisms between Cooperation and Competition: The Case of Relations between Tanzania and East Germany
Eric Burton

The Limits of Solidarity: The Politics of Israeli Assistance in Zambian Cooperatives, 1966-1973
Lynn Schler

YesalemGuad: The Peace Corps in Ethiopia, 1962-1976
Beatrice Wayne

Implanter le socialisme par le cinéma : l’assistance cinématographique soviétique en Afrique (années 1960)
Gabrielle Chomentowski

The Socialist Friendships of Filmmaking in the Mozambican Revolution
Ros Gray

Guinean cinema: the nation (im)possible representation
Catarina Laranjeiro

Conclusion : Frederick Cooper


[1] The “African Socialism” conference (2016) was entirely recorded in videos, available on Canal U (communication in French and English): See also the videos at the end of this post.

[2] The book has been edited by a coordinating team, which members are: Françoise Blum; Héloïse Kiriakou; Martin Mourre; Maria-Benedita Basto; Pierre Guidi; Céline Pauthier; Ophélie Rillon; Alexis Roy; Elena Vezzadini.

[3] Le colloque « Socialismes africains » (2016) a été entièrement enregistré en vidéos, disponibles sur Canal U (communication en français et en anglais) : Voir aussi les vidéos à la fin de ce billet.

[4] Robert Edgar, “Notes on the Life and Death of Albert Nzula,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, 1983, pp. 675–79:; Jean Copans, “Un spectre hante l’Afrique, le spectre du communisme d’Albert T. Nzula!” Cahiers d’études africaines, no. 226, 2017, pp. 433–44:

[5] Entry by Tiémoko Garan Kouyaté in the “Maitron Afrique” dictionary, online at:

[6] Intervention at the Congrès de la Ligue contre l’Impérialisme et pour l’Indépendance Coloniale (Brussels 1927), cited by Hakim Adi, Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919–1939, Trenton, Africa World Press, 2013, p. 212; Matt Swagler, “Did the Russian Revolution Matter for Africa? (Part I),” Review of African Political Economy, 2018:

[7] Projet EuroSoc, “European Socialism, Socialisme européen,” on European forms of socialism from 1872 to prior to 1914, run by the Region of Normandy and the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire Homme et Société ( For a decentering perspective, see the dossier coordinated by Sabine Dullin and Brigitte Studer (eds.), “Communisme transnational,” dossier spécial, Monde(s), vol. 2, no. 10, 2016: ANR Paprika, which is being finalised under the responsibility of Jean Vigreax, will also show some interesting results on the history of the Komintern.

[8] Sandrine Kott, Justine Faure (eds.), “Le bloc de l’Est en question,” special issue of Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, no. 109, vol. 1, 2011:

[9] Larissa Zakharova, “Le quotidien du communisme: pratiques et objets,” Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, vol. 68, no. 2 pp. 305–314:; Sheila Fitzpatrick, Le stalinisme au quotidien. La Russie soviétique dans les années trente, Paris, Flammarion, [1999] 2002; Anne E. Gorsuch, Youth in Revolutionary Russia: Enthusiasts, Bohemians, Delinquents, Bloomington (Indiana), Indiana University Press, 2000; Nadège Ragaru and Antonela Capelle-Pogăcean (eds.), Vie quotidienne et pouvoir sous le communisme, Paris, Karthala, 2010.

[10] Michel Christian, Alix Heiniger (eds.), “Femmes, genre et communismes,” special issue of Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, no. 126, vol. 2, 2015:; Sandrine Kott, Françoise Thébaud (eds.), “Le ’socialisme réel’ à l’épreuve du genre,” special issue of  Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, no. 41, vol. 1, 2015:; Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011, 250 p.; Lilya Kaganovsky, How the Soviet Man Was (Un)made. Cultural Fantasy and Male Subjectivity under Stalin, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008, 236 p.

[11] With some notable exceptions: Kristen Ghodsee, “Internationalisme socialiste et féminisme d’État pendant la Guerre Froide. Les relations entre Bulgarie et Zambie,” Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, no. 41, vol. 1, 2015, pp. 115–138:; Holger Weiss, “Between Moscow and the African Atlantic. The Comintern Network of Negro Workers,” Monde(s), no. 10, vol. 2, 2016, pp. 89–108:; Samantha Christiansen and Zachary A. Scarlett (eds.), The Third World in the Global 1960s, New York, Berghahn, 2012.

[12] A few examples: Hou Xiaojia, Negotiating Socialism in Rural China: Mao, Peasants, and Local Cadres in Shanxi, 1949–1953, East Asia Program, Cornell University, 2016; Li Huaiyin, Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948–2006, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009; Céline Marangé, Le communisme vietnamien, 1919–1991. Construction d’un État-nation entre Moscou et Pékin, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2012, 612 p.; “Chili 1973, un événement mondial,” special issue of Monde(s), no. 8, vol. 2, 2015:; Gerardo Leibner and James N. Green (eds.), “Reassessing the History of Latin American Communism, Latin American Perspectives”, special issue of Latin American Perspectives, vol. 35, no. 2, March 2008:; Manuel Caballero, Latin America and the Comintern, 1919–1943. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002; Dennis Laumann, “Che Guevara’s Visit to Ghana,” Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, no. 9, 2005, pp. 61–74:; Rami Ginat, Egypt’s Incomplete Revolution: Lutfi Al-Khuli and Nasser’s Socialism in the 1960s, London, Routledge, 2013.

[13] See, for example, William H. Friedland and Carl G. Rosberg Jr. (eds.), African Socialism, Stanford (CA), Stanford University Press, 1964; Barry Munslow (ed.), Africa: Problems in the Transition to Socialism, London, Zed, 1986; Carl G. Rosberg and Thomas M. Callaghy (eds.), Socialism in Sub-Saharan Africa: A New Assessment, Research Series 38, Berkeley (CA), Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1979; Crawford Young, Ideology and Development in Africa, New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 1982; Michel Cahen, Mozambique, la révolution implosée. Études sur douze années d’indépendance (1975-1987), Paris, L’Harmattan, 1987; Margaret Hall and Tom Young, Confronting Leviathan. Mozambique since Independence, London, Hurst, 1997.

[14] Anne Pitcher and Kelly M. Askew, ‟African Socialisms and Postsocialismsˮ, Africa, vol. 76, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1–14: For a case study, see Anne Pitcher, Transforming Mozambique: the Politics of Privatization, 1975–2000, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

[15] David C. Engerman, “The Second World’s Third World,” Kritika, vol. 12, no. 1, 2011, pp. 183–211:; Anne-Isabelle Richard, “The Limits of Solidarity: Europeanism, Anti-Colonialism and Socialism at the Congress of the Peoples of Europe, Asia and Africa in Puteaux, 1948,” European Review of History: Revue Européenne d’histoire, vol. 21, no. 4, July 2014, pp. 519–37:; for bilateral case studies, see, for example, Maxim Matusevich, No Easy Row for a Russian Hoe: Ideology and Pragmatism in Nigerian-Soviet Relations, 1960–1991, Trenton (NJ), Africa World Press, 2003; Sergey Mazov, A Distant Front in the Cold War: The USSR in West Africa and the Congo, 1956–1964, Stanford (CA), Stanford University Press, 2010.

[16] See, for example, James Mark and Péter Apor, ‟Socialism Goes Global: Decolonization and the Making of a New Culture of Internationalism in Socialist Hungary, 1956–1989,ˮ The Journal of Modern History, vol. 87, no. 4, December 2015, pp. 852–91: For the presentation of the research programme, see:

[17] Westad Odd Arne, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005; Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002; Chen Jian, Martin Klimke, Masha Kirasirova, Mary Nolan, Marilyn Young, Joanna Waley-Cohen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Global Sixties: Between Protest and Nation-Building, New York: Routledge, 2018:; Fred Halliday, ‟Third World Socialism: 1989 and Afterˮ, in George Lawson, Chris Armbruster, and Michael Cox (eds.), The Global 1989: Continuity and Change in World Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 112–34.

[18] For a more complete list of monographs, see the bibliographies at the end of each chapter. As an example here, see Bahru Zewde, The Quest for a Socialist Utopia: The Ethiopian Student Movement 1960–1974, Oxford, James Currey, 2014; Kelly Askew, Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2002; Priya Lal, African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania: Between the Village and the World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

[19] Following the works of Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment. Self-determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007.

[20] See the recent conference entitled “After Socialism. Forgotten Legacies, Possible Futures in Africa and Beyond,” Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, 13-14 October, 2017.

[21] “Socialismes africains / Socialismes en Afrique,” 7-9 April 2016, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/CNRS. The two first days of the conference were filmed, and are accessible online at the Canal U website:

[22] An international research programme run by the FMSH:

[23] Monique de Saint Martin, Grazia Scarfo Ghellab and Kamal Mellakh (eds.), Etudier à l’Est. Expériences de diplômés africains, Paris, Karthala, 2015; Patrice Yengo and Monique de Saint Martin, “Quelles contributions des élites « rouges » au façonnement des États post-coloniaux ?,” Cahiers des études africaines, no. 226, 2017, pp. 231–58:

[24] The round table with these eye-witnesses was led by Valérie Nivelon, a Radio France International (RFI) journalist, and was broadcast in its programme La marche du monde, “Africains et socialistes,” RFI, 30 April 2016. See the biographies of Robert Dossou, Amadou Traoré and Alice MBadiangana in “Maitron Afrique,” the biographical dictionary of African movements and oppositions, online at:

[25] Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, New York, Nelson, 1957, 302 p. (French translation in 1960, Présence africaine).

[26] See, for example, Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Cosmopolitan Patriots,” Critical Inquiry, vol. 23, no. 3, 1997, pp. 617–39:; Sebastian Conrad (ed.), Competing Visions of World Order: Global Moments and Movements 1880s–1930s, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Michaele Goebel, Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

[27] Jean Suret-Canale, Les groupes d’études communistes (GEC) en Afrique noire, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1994.

[28] Frederick Cooper, Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996; Frederick Cooper, “African Labor History,” in Jan Lucassen (ed.), Global Labour History: A State of the Art, Bern, Peter Lang, 2006, pp. 91–116; Gareth Curless, “Introduction: Trade Unions in the Global South from Imperialism to the Present Day,” Labor History, vol. 57, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–19:; Miles Larmer, “Social Movement Struggles in Africa,” Review of African Political Economy, vol. 37, no. 125, 2010, pp. 251–62:

[29] Tareq Y. Ismael and Rifa’at El-Sa’id, The Communist Movement in Egypt, 1920–1988, Syracuse (NY), Syracuse University Press, 1990; Mohammed Nuri El-Amin, “The Role of the Egyptian Communists in Introducing the Sudanese to Communism in the 1940s,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 19, no. 4, 1987, pp. 433–54:; Mohammad Nuri El-Amin, “The Impact of the Sudanese Unionists on Sudanese Communism,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 22, no. 3, 1986, pp. 418–34:; Peter Weiler, “Forming Responsible Trade Unions: The Colonial Office, Colonial Labor, and the Trades Union Congress,” Radical History Review, no. 28-30, 1984, pp. 367–92:; Paul Kelemen, “Planning for Africa: The British Labour Party’s Colonial Development Policy, 1920–1964,” Journal of Agrarian Change, vol. 7, no. 1, 2007, pp. 76–98:; Gareth Curless, “The Sudan Is ‘not yet Ready for Trade Unions’: The Railway Strikes of 1947–1948,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol.  41, no. 5, 2013, pp. 804–22:

[30] Léopold S. Senghor, Liberté 2: Nation et voie africaine du socialisme, Paris, Seuil, 1964; Pour une relecture africaine de Marx et d’Engels, Dakar-Abidjan, Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines, 1976. It should be remembered that Senghor was a great reader of Marx, but that it was from the texts of the “young Marx” that he drew his philosophical and socialist thought. El Hadj Ibrahima Diop, “Léopold Sedar Senghor et la ’déconstruction’ du marxisme,” Ethiopiques, no. 69, 2002: [indisponible].

[31] These were discussions in which African, American and European personalities took part: Raya Dunayevskaya, “‘Socialismes africains et problèmes nègres’ as seen by a ‘humanistic marxist’ militant,” Présence Africaine, no. XLVIII, 1963, pp. 49–64:; Holman Jameson, “Y a-t-il une voie africaine du socialisme?,” Présence Africaine, no. XLIX, 1964, p. 50–63:; Kwame Nkrumah, “Le ‘Consciencisme,’” Présence Africaine, no. XLIX, 1964, pp. 8–34:; Yambo, “Marx et l’étrangeté d’un socialisme africain,” Présence Africaine, no. L), 1964, pp. 20–37:; Ayi Kwei Armah, “African Socialism: Utopian or Scientific?,” Présence Africaine, no. 64, 1967, pp. 6–30:

[32] Georges Balandier, “Problématique des classes sociales en Afrique noire,” Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, vol. 38, 1965, pp. 131–142 [archive].

[33] Frantz Fanon, Les damnés de la terre, Paris, La Découverte & Syros, [1961] 2002, p. 61.

[34] Henry Bernstein and Bonnie K. Campbell (eds.), Contradictions of Accumulation in Africa: Studies in Economy and State, Beverly Hills (CA), Sage Publications, 1985, 312 p; Samir Amir, Trois expériences africaines de développement: le Mali, la Guinée et le Ghana, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1965, pp. 99–129; William I. Jones, Planning and Economic Policy: Socialist Mali and Neighbors, Washington, Three Continents Press, 1976, 422 p.; Nicholas S. Hopkins, “Socialism and Social Change in Rural Mali,” The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, 1969, pp. 457–467:

[35] “Colloque sur les socialismes africains,” 30-31 October, 2017, Université de Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop. Contributions by Pierre Guidi on Ethiopian Marxist feminists and by Emmanuelle Bouilly on Senghor’s socialist programme and women).

[36] Michel Cahen, “Le socialisme, c’est les Soviets plus l’ethnicité,” Politique africaine, no. 42, 1991, pp. 87–107 [archive].

African Socialism Coordinating Team

Françoise Blum (CNRS, Centre d'histoire sociale des mondes contemporains); Héloïse Kiriakou (Institut des mondes africains, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne); Martin Mourre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales [EHESS] – Institut des mondes africains); Maria-Benedita Basto (Sorbonne Université - Faculté des lettres, Crimic - Centre de recherches interdisciplinaires sur les mondes ibériques, Institut des mondes africains); Pierre Guidi (IRD, Centre Population et Développement); Céline Pauthier (Université de Nantes, Centre de recherches en histoire internationale et atlantique); Ophélie Rillon (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains); Alexis Roy (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains); Elena Vezzadini, (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains).

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African Socialism Coordinating Team

Françoise Blum (CNRS, Centre d'histoire sociale des mondes contemporains); Héloïse Kiriakou (Institut des mondes africains, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne); Martin Mourre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales [EHESS] – Institut des mondes africains); Maria-Benedita Basto (Sorbonne Université - Faculté des lettres, Crimic - Centre de recherches interdisciplinaires sur les mondes ibériques, Institut des mondes africains); Pierre Guidi (IRD, Centre Population et Développement); Céline Pauthier (Université de Nantes, Centre de recherches en histoire internationale et atlantique); Ophélie Rillon (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains); Alexis Roy (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains); Elena Vezzadini, (CNRS, Institut des mondes africains).

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