The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People's History
The people of the Congo, as this book shows, have suffered cruelly throughout the past century from a particularly brutal experience of colonial ru≤ and, following independence in 1960, external interference by the United States and other powers, a whole generation of patrimonial spoliation at the hands of Mobutu (the dictator installed by the West in 1965), and periodic warfare which even now continues fitfully in the East of the country. But, as this insightful political history of the Congolese democratic movement in the 20th century decisively makes clear, its people have not taken these multiple oppressions lying down. Instead, the Congolese people have struggled over the years to improve their conditions of life by trying both to establish democratic institutions at home and to free themselves from exploitation from abroad; indeed these cannot be separated one from the other.
The author of this book, Professor Nzongola-Ntalaja, is one of the country's leading intellectuals. Despite being forced into long years of exile (during which he taught political science in the United States and elsewhere), he has played a part at significant moments in his country's political struggle. His deep knowledge of personalities and events, and his understanding of the underlying class, ethnic and other factors at work, make his book a compelling, lucid, radical and utterly unromanticized account of his countrymen's struggle. In acknowledging their defeat, he sees it and the crisis of the post-colonial state as the result of the breakdown of the anti-colonial alliance between the masses and the national leadership after independence.
This book is essential reading for understanding what is happening in the Congo and the Great Lakes region. It will also stand as a milestone in how to write the modern political history of Africa.
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Abako administration Adoula AFDL African alliance allies Angola anticolonial armed army assassination August became Belgian Congo Belgium Brussels Burundi cent Central Africa chief civil colonial rule conference Congo crisis Congo River congolais Congolese country's crisis democracy movement democratic economic elections elite established ethnic European evolues exploitation external Force publique foreign genocide human rights Hutu interests January July Kabila Kasa-Vubu Katanga secession Kengo Kimbangu King Leopold's Kinshasa Kisangani Kivu Kongo Kwilu labour Laurent Kabila leaders leadership Leopold liberation Luba Lubumbashi lumpenproletariat Lumumba Lumumbist major masses military mission Mobutu Mobutu regime Mulele nationalist neocolonial officers organization party peasants petty bourgeoisie popular president prime minister province radical rebels region represented resistance revolutionary role rulers Rwanda second independence movement social soldiers South Kasai struggle territory tion transition troops Tshisekedi Tshombe Tutsi Uganda UGEC UMHK Union United urban Western workers Zaire
Page 11 - They belonged for the most part to the lumpen-proletariat, which, in all big towns form a mass strictly differentiated from the industrial proletariat, a recruiting ground for thieves and criminals of all kinds, living on the crumbs of society, people without a definite trade, vagabonds, gens sans feu et sans aveu,* with differences according to the degree of civilization of the nation to which they belong, but never renouncing their lazzaroni^ character...