Published on Pambazuka News, by Amilcar Cabral, MAy 11, 2011.
In these 1965 writings, Amílcar Cabral, the Guinea-Bissau leader assassinated in 1973, discusses the responsibilities of those involved in revolution.
Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the 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.
We should recognise as a matter of conscience that there have been many faults and errors in our action whether political or military: an important number of things we should have done we have not done at the right times, or not done at all.
In various regions – and indeed everywhere in a general sense – political work among the people and among our armed forces has not been done appropriately: responsible workers have not carried or have not been able to carry through the work of mobilization, formation and political organisation defined by the party leadership. Here and there, even among responsible workers, there has been a marked tendency to let things slide…and even a certain demobilisation which has not been fought and eliminated.
On the military plane, many plans and objectives established by the Party leadership have not been achieved. With the means we have, we could do much more and better. Some responsible workers have misunderstood the functions of the army and guerilla forces, have not made good co-ordination between these two and, in certain cases, have allowed themselves to be influenced by preoccupation with the defence of our positions, ignoring the fact that, for us, attack is the best means of defence.
And with all this as a proof of insufficient political work among our armed forces, there has appeared a certain attitude of ‘militarism’ which has caused some fighters and even some leaders to forget the fact that we are armed militants and not militarists. This tendency must be urgently fought and eliminated within the army … //
… Nothing of this is incompatible with the joy of living, or with love for life and its amusements, or with confidence in the future and in our work.
Reinforce political work and propaganda within the enemy’s armed forces. Write posters, pamphlets, letters. Draw slogans on the roads. Establish cautious links with enemy personnel who want to contact us. Act audaciously and with great initiative in this way…Do everything possible to help enemy soldiers to desert. Assure them of security so as to encourage their desertion. Carry out political work among Africans who are still in enemy service, whether civilian or military. Persuade these brothers to change direction so as to serve the Party within enemy ranks or desert with arms and ammunition to our units.
We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our Party life. Every responsible member must have the courage of his responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for his work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories. (full text).