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Conference on the transition to socialism in Africa


[Published in Leeds African Studies Bulletin 37 (November 1982), pp. 1-2]

The University of Leeds was the venue on 7-8 May 1982 for a conference on the Transition to Socialism in Africa jointly sponsored by the Department of Politics and the African Studies Unit of the University and the Review of African Political Economy. On both days more than eighty people from a number of countries met and discussed a host of different issues.
The meeting began with a very brief introductory series of comments from Lionel Cliffe outlining the thinking behind the event and the need to re-examine and extend further the current debate about the transition to socialism in Africa. Participants then split into two groups to examine specifically some of the issues raised in the joint papers by Bush, Cliffe and Munslow; and the contributions by Hirson and Foster-Carter respectively. The rest of the proceedings then took the form of informal workshop discussions. On Friday these were of a thematic nature -The 'Non Capitalist' Road, Agrarian Questions, Labour Migration, Workers and Class Alliances, Bourgeoisie and Petty Bourgeoisie, Industrialisation and Planning. On Saturday country studies dominated, looking at Mozambique, The Horn of Africa, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola.
A very brief closing plenary session heard comments on the usefulness of the conference. It was broadly felt that the meeting had been useful in concentrating discussion on the above themes, but there was clearly a need for both further analysis of present literature and more research on country studies to clarify our understanding of socialism in Africa. It was also felt that the meeting of Africanists in this kind of setting to discuss different issues might become an annual event.
The following is a list of the papers discussed and prepared as background papers for the conference. A full set of papers will shortly be available on microfiche, price £13 + post and packing.

F. Ambursley & R. Cohen. 'The Non Capitalist Path of Development'
R. Bush & L. Cliffe. 'Labour Migration and Agrarian Strategy in the transition to Socialism in Southern Africa: Zimbabwe as a Case'
R.S. Love. 'The Whence, What and Where of Transition in Ethiopia'
O. Marleyn, D. Wield & R. Williams.'The Political and Organisational Offensive in Mozambique - its Relationship to State Agricultural Policy'
M. Mzamane. 'South Africa after Soweto: New Obstacles to Change and Mass Resistance in the 1980s'
B. Davidson. 'On Revolutionary Nationalism: The Legacy of Cabral'
B. Hirson. 'Stage 'Theory' and the Passage to Socialism in Africa?'
P. Waterman. 'Notes on Lenin and the Alliance of the Working Class and the Peasantry'
R.H. Green. 'Structural Change, Export Expansion, Self Reliance and Transition to Socialism, Tanzanian Experience'
B. Fine .'Trade Unions and the State in South Africa'
B. Munslow.'Mozambique and the Transition to Socialism 1975-82'
Jon Bennett.'Socialism and the Nationalities Questions in the Horn of Africa, with Reference to Tigray'
P. Sketchley. 'On the Transformation of the Social Relations of Production in Post-Independence Mozambican Industry'
Africa Study Group  'Recent Developments in Ghana'
R. Bush. 'The Crisis in Ghana'
C. Stoneman.'SADDC and Planning in Southern Africa'
I. Karsany.'Agricultural Development in Sudan'
K. Crehan.'The Division of Labour in an African Peasant Society - A Case Study from North Western Zambia'
A. Foster-Carter.'National Self Reliance' as a Project in Marxism'
A. Mwenda.  'Cabral and the Transition to Socialism'
R. Bush & L. Cliffe.'Theoretical Perspectives on the Prospects for Socialism in Africa'
M. Muchie. 'Technology and The Transition'

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