Revolutionary lefts in
(1960s and 1970s),
a political and
to be written
Between the period of anti-colonial struggles for independence in the 1950s and the following two decades, when other struggles were pursued against neo-colonial regimes or other more direct forms of domination (Portuguese colonies, apartheid regimes, etc.), various political forces emerged in sub-Saharan Africa that can be encompassed under the term of “revolutionary left”. Carried by minority social actors but in full swing, these revolutionary lefts have left a mark on the period. On the basis of transnational references (especially Marxist), they have tried to Africanize their discourse and practices, or even to place them within the framework of African post-colonial states. Often born within student movements, they have also sought to expand and establish themselves in different categories or classes of society (working class, peasantry, youth,
women, etc.). These movements played a part not only at the political level when they protested against ‘neocolonial’ regimes or even brought a decisive contribution to the overthrow of these regimes during revolutionary moments, but also shook up the established order more broadly on cultural and social levels. Nevertheless, this history has remained untold, silenced by the official discourses and narratives, and even marginalised by the vision of a good deal of “Africanist” historians and political scientists.
While the clandestine nature of most of these movements may explain the difficulty of investigating this history, the subsequent decline of these movements and sometimes even the gradual integration of some of their leaders into the ruling political class has also contributed to maintaining silence about the militant effervescence of the 1960s and 1970s.
This conference therefore aims to unearth this largely forgotten history by bringing together researchers who have studied these political actors in different situations in sub-Saharan Africa as well as former activists of that time who will come to testify about their experience.