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Post by sol_drethedon on Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:55 pm

We have seen that the crisis of imperialism in Uganda rose at the time of Independence, with recognition of the right of the people of Uganda to self-determination. this was in a period of intensified monopolistic competition, which manifested itself in the form of rivalry within open door neocolonial domination. As the crisis of imperialism sharpened, so did the contradiction between imperialism and the people, manifesting itself in increased exploitation of the people and their resistance to it. This fact was at the root of the crisis in the neocolony, as we noted in the last chapter. As this crisis became critical, there developed a crisis of confidence between the petty-bourgeois political leadership and the broad masses of the people, and a widening gap emerged between them

As the petty-bourgeois leadership became increasingly isolated from the people, the contradiction among the petty bourgeoisie in general came increasingly to the fore, and were put across the people as the principal contradiction, with a vie of winning their support. Imperialism too, caught in its on crisis ion the neocolony, now cashed in on these secondary contradictions among the petty bourgeoisie not only to advance their particular interests(a result of monopolistic competition), but also to create confusion among the people in order to continue its domination. It attempted to put the responsibility of the crisis on the shoulders of the petty bourgeoisie- as a crisis of the neocolony and not imperialism in general. This was calculated to enable the imperialist powers to intervene in the situation as arbitrators, as the saviors of the situation, as the old good natured carriers of the 'white man's burden'. This, as we have noted explains the crisis in the UPC, the crisis of 1966, and the events that were to emerge thereafter.

With his main enemies out of the way-Kakonge, Ibingira, Mutesa and Opolot- Obote now found himself face to face with Amin. But what of the masses of the people? Having been disorganized and left to imperialist exploitation, the peasants in the countryside and the workers in the towns looked to these contradictions within the bourgeoisie with little concern. they just went on tilling the land and working in the factories as the neocolonial state saw to it that its duty to the monopolies was carried out. As this exploitation of the people increased, the crisis broadened.

In the action taken by Obote against the UPC secretary-general there was general panic among only those who shared in the dollars.. With Ibingira out of the way they now fell in line with Obote, in search of new favors. But there was no ripple of concern among the masses. These events all happened at the state house, army barracks or cabinet rooms, while the people only heard about them on the radio, if they had one, otherwise by the 'bush telephone line'. In any case it meant very little. Many people knew nothing about these contradictions among the petty bourgeoisie, although there was a lot of talk about 'tribalism'. The exploitation of the ethnic contradictions among the the petty bourgeoisie themselves. Ibingira's ideological drive with King Mutesa that 'we do not want to be ruled by Nilotics' only made sense to themselves, because the masses in the north and in Buganda toiled under the same conditions. It mattered very little who ruled them as long as imperialism exploited them. With our 'beloved' Kabaka, who talked so much about 'loyalty due to him by his people, there wasn't much of a ripple among the masses when it came to the crunch. Even his friends in the lukiiko just disappeared in their little businesses and plots of land. they now solicited credit from the neocolonial state under Obote to 'develop the national economy'. In 1962, it should be remembered, they had declared:

"Buganda can not sell all her heritage for the purchase of Uganda's Independence. The heritage is much more important in the long run. Nor is Buganda willing to sacrifice any thing at the alter of Uganda's unity"

And again, while talking of his heroism of 1953 after his deportation and return, King Mutesa had said:

"When my people( the Baganda!) realized that i was willing to lose in defense of the rights of my country(Buganda), they turned to me despite my having turned against them in 1945 and 1949, with that faith that moved all the necessary mountains... A bond was forged between myself and the my people, when we suffered together, and it cannot now be broken."

Those were strong words and strong feelings. But King Mutesa had neither thought nor feeling for the lives of his people who continued to toil under imperialist exploitation. Unable to understand that when the people stood behind him in 1953 they did not support his sectional interests as such, but only stood behind him in unity against imperialism, in 1966 he pushed the contradiction with Obote to the fore, hoping that when he took a position against Obote 'his people' the 'Baganda' would come out to support him. Nothing of the kind happened, for Mutesa stood neither for their interest nor for that of Buganda. When the crucial moment for a showdown came in 1966, the vast majority of 'his people' - the workers and the poor peasantry said not a word! As A.D Low has observed

'Whilst the Kabaka and the lukiiko and some rural population entered upon a vehement conflict with Dr. Obote's central government, when the roll was taken the bulk of the educated Baganda elite were found acquiescing in Dr. Obote's regime while the mass of the rural population protested not at all.

Equally, when the time came for reaction to Obote's overthrow in 1971, the masses were not with him either.

The events that followed in 1969 deepened the crisis for imperialism. 1966 had not resolved any crisis. Having eliminated most opponents, Obote began to consolidate his hold on the party and the country. In 1968, at the UPC conference, he had got his contract renewed as president of the country for a period of seven years. In 1969, he began to talk the ideology to the left, now that the 'communist confusing agents' with 'foreign ideologies' were out in the cold, being hunted down by Akena's general service agents for 'subversive activities against the state'.

To be continued.

Compiled by DON DRE


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Post by sol_drethedon on Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:12 pm

From October 1969 Obote, at least in the open, embarked on what Mittelman has called 'the second phase of ideological assertion', a period in which Mittelman naively believes Obote attempted to hasten the rate of change through 'socialist construction'. For us, this period was one in which the neocolonial state further intensified the consolidation of its dictatorship by resorting to populist claptrap about 'socialism'. Having lost all the support of the masses, Obote now sought refuge in egalitarian slogans that lacked content, except the mystification of the role of imperialism in Uganda. The ideology of 'socialism' that he now advocated was no more than illusions of a petty bourgeois caught in the specific contradiction of Uganda, and which Obote believed could remove inequality in the country through a series of sloganeering documentation. The uneven development that imperialism dialectically implied was not to be removed by mere show of 'commonality', as Mazrui seems to reassure us. For Obote, according to Mazrui, the charter 'connoted the respect for commonality' for 'the average individual', and was 'a symbol of proletarian solidarity'.

To put across this new petty bourgeois ideology which brought together the interests of 'all classes' in mutual harmony, a number of documents were issued.

(a) Document 1: The common man's charter.
This document was released on 8tyh October 1969. Obote declared that the charter was being adopted 'for the realization of the rural meaning of independence' This meant that the resources of the country, material and human would be exploited would be exploited for the benefit of all the people of Uganda, 'in accordance with the principles of socialism'. To this end, a 'move to the left' strategy was put forward as 'initial steps', which would ensure that no one person or group of persons became masters of all or a section of the people of Uganda. This was an apparent reference to King Mutesa. It was further declared that 'feudalism, capitalism, vested interests, and foreign influence' were rejected both in theory and in practice! the exploitation of material and human resources 'for the benefit of a few' was also rejected. Only the unity of Uganda was permitted under the charter, in the context of the East African community, and Africa in general. While all capitalism was rejected, and while colonialism, neocolonialism and apartheid were to be fought, the charter nevertheless promised as a fundamental right the protection of private property, as we shall see later. Meanwhile it declared:

"The move to the left is the creation of a political culture and a new way of life, whereby the people as a whole-their welfare and their voice in the National Government and in the local authorities-are paramount. It is therefore anti-feudal and anti-capitalism."

Apart from the fact that feudalism was no longer a problem of Uganda , since its material basis had been destroyed by imperialism, yet an important point was being made as far as Obote was concerned, since it brought the contradiction with King Mutesa to the fore in order to detract people's attention from the crisis, and to create the illusion that imperialist exploitation and domination would would be ended under the charter as the blue print for the future. We say 'illusion' advisedly, because in case we believed that the charter meant what what it declared about 'capitalism' being 'rejected', it became clear a few paragraphs later that 'capitalism' and 'socialism' were referred to as mere 'words'

"The emergence and growth of a privileged group in our society together together with the open possibilities of the group assuming powers of the feudal elements, are not matters of theory and cannot be disregarded with a wave of the hand. Nor should the same be looked at from a doctrinaire approach. It is for this reason that in this charter we do not intend to play with words, even if those words have meanings such as 'capitalism' and 'socialism'"

It can be seen that the charter itself was 'playing with words'. But it is crucial to understand what it meant in this paragraph, as it has a telling significance for the thrust of the whole document. While the emergence of feudal elements was seriously asserted as a possibility, the reality of capitalism was waved off as mere words. Its meaning was also waved off, possibly as doctrinaire. The introduction of communism out of the blue also has significance. What is clear is the effort to push to the background the contradiction between the people and imperialism, and to bring to the fore a secondary contradiction of the possible emergence of feudalism, which historically was out of the question in Uganda. With capitalism and communism brushed aside(although they had meanings), we have a perfect equilibrium, a balancing of forces, class forces. All conflict and struggle between classes also became 'words', not to be played about with either a wave of the hand or a doctrine! Was it not Marx who said in the 1850's of the petty bourgeoisie that they had 'found' the correct equilibrium for the world?! Talking of Proudhon as the representative of the petty bourgeoisie, he referred to him as

'at once both bourgeois and man of the people. Deep down in his heart he flatters himself that he is impartial and has found the right equilibrium, which claims to be something different from mediocrity. A petty bourgeois of this type glorifies contradiction, because contradiction is the basis of his existence. He is nothing but social contradiction in action'

Obote, beaming with self-confidence, saw himself as the real equilibration between opposing forces, of the people on the one hand(man of the people) , and of imperialism on the other(bourgeois) He too saw his equilibrium as something different from mediocrity. He began to glorify the contradictions of feudalism, capitalism and communism. He then claimed to be balancing them, and that became the basis of his existence.

The Charter tried to find the roots of exploitation not in capitalism, but in 'education' and the 'mental attitudes' of persons in position of 'Authority'; new contradictions glorified. It declared:

"We are convinced that from the standpoint of our own history, not only our education system inherited from pre-independence days, but also the attitudes to modern commerce and industry and the position of the person in authority, in or outside government, are creating a gap between the well to do on one hand and the mass of the people on the other. As the years go by, this gap will become wider and wider. The move to the left strategy of this Charter aims at bridging the gap and arresting this development(Emphasis added)

It went on to say that circumstances under which 'a privileged class' could emerge were two. The first was 'our educational system', which aimed at producing citizens 'whose attitude to the uneducated and to their way of life' led them t5o think of themselves as the masters and the uneducated, the mass of the people, as the servants. Secondly, the opportunities for 'self-employment' in modern commerce and industry, and for 'gaining employment' in the government and in other sectors of the economy, 'are mainly open to the educated few'

to be continued



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