Guinean. b: 12 September 1924, Bafata, GuineaBissau, d: 20 January 1973, assassinated in Conakry, Guinea. Cat: Political theorist. Ints: Revolutionary theory; African politics. Educ: University of Lisbon, Institute of Agronomy. Infls: Guevara. Appts: 1950-4, Colonial Agricultural Service; 1956, Founder and General Secretary, Partido Africano da Independencia da Guinée Cabo Verde (PAIGC); initiated a revolutionary war in 1963, which ended in Guinean independence from Portugal.
Cabral's writings have been largely in the form of declarations, communiqués and political conferences, together with the odd radio broadcast. As revolutionary theorist as well as leader of the PAIGC, the party which sought, and succeeded, in gaining independence from Portugese colonial rule in 1973, his theoretical writings were centred largely on the development of a revolutionary strategy based on African, specifically Guinean, conditions, rather than the wholesale importation of other revolutionary experiences. Between 1952 and 1954 he elaborated a study of the social structure of Guinean tribal groups, and it was on the basis of this that he posited the distinction between peasantry as a physical rather than a revolutionary force, differences between them being a 'secondary contradiction' (the 'primary' one being Portuguese colonialism) which a sophisticated party apparatus could deal with. Of wider import, whilst accepting the central role of class struggle at certain historical stages, especially in the fight against 'rationalized imperialism' as he labelled colonialism, he examines the determining elements of class struggle, concluding that the real motive force of history is the mode of production, much more useful in the African colonialist context where, he held, for people without history, positing history as a prime revolutionary mover is a disenfranchising theory. His tackling of the contradictory role of the revolutionary bourgeoisie in the liberation struggles of underdeveloped countries, and his prioritizing of revolutionary theory over its practice (his distinction between 'armed militancy' and 'militarism', and of pan-African unity as a means rather than an end, for example) were radically different revolutionary theories to any hitherto advanced in Africa, though his emphasis on unique, local analyses was taken literally in the sense that his pronouncements, whilst echoing around 'isolated' left regimes such as the Cuban, found little reverberation in Africa itself.
Chinese, b: 1906, Xiaó County, Huoan Province, China, d: 1991, Beijing. Cat: Marxist. Ints: Aesthetics. Educ: University of Beijing and Kyushu Imperial University, Tokyo. Infls: N. Chernyshevsky. Appts: Research Fellow, Institute of Literature, University of Peking; Research Fellow, Institute of Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
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Publication information: Book title: Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers. Contributors: Stuart Brown - Editor, Diané Collinson - Editor, Robert Wilkinson - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 119.
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