Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 25. 3rd October 1973

A Victory Against Imperialism

A Victory Against Imperialism

Last Monday, as the Portuguese Trade Mission began its money grubbing visit to New Zealand, the People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau proclaimed the country's independence from Portugal.

The liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau began 17 years ago when six people formed the African Independence Party of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC). Now the PAIGC has established its own administration, schools and hospitals in three quarters of the country.

Although they have been utterly defeated in Guinea-Bissau, and are on the defensive in Angola and Mozambique, the Portuguese colonialists refuse to grant the people the right to self-determination. As the Portuguese Prime Minister, Caetano, once put it:

"Africa is more than an area which must be exploited. Africa is for us a morally just cause and our raison d'etre as a state. Without Africa we would be a small nation; with Africa we are a big power."

The Portuguese have used napalm, defoliants, bombs and all the other modern military hardware supplied to them by NATO to smash the African people's independence struggle. But this policy of genocide has not been successful.

The PAIGC has defeated the Portuguese because it has worked among the people, defended them against repression and shown them how they could build a new society in the middle of a war. A milcar Cabral, the founder of the PAIGC who was murdered by Portuguese agents in January, once told his fellow party members:

"Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." These words are an important lesson to revolutionaries all over the world.

Like the Paris Peace Agreement, which sent the Americans packing from Vietnam, the PAIGC's declaration of independence is a great victory in the world struggle against imperialism.

Already 12 countries have recognised the Republic of Guinea-Bissau — Algeria, the People's Republic of China, Guinea, Mauritannia, Morocco, Rumania, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Upper Volta and Yugoslavia. Other countries, including the Soviet Union and the Eastern European states, arc expected to follow shortly. The PAIGC told the Auckland Apartheid Information Centre in a recent letter that 40 countries had promised to recognise Guinea-Bissau. If Mr Kirk is genuine in his statements supporting "the legitimate wishes of the people (of Portuguese Africa) to have a choice in their own affairs and shape their own future," the New Zealand Government should follow suit.

Peter Franks