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close this bookThe Crisis in African Agriculture - Studies in African Political Economy (UNU, 1987, 99 pages)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1: The performance of African agriculture, 1950-1980
View the document2: Precolonial African societies
View the document3: The appropriation of peasant surplus labour
View the document4: The export-oriented system
Open this folder and view contents5: The second post-independence decade: The food crisis
View the document6: Forms of control
Open this folder and view contents7: The alternative and its prerequisites
View the documentConclusion
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Complaints of the rice-growers of San (Mali)
View the documentSelected bibliography


It is not only the African peoples who perceive the seriousness of the crisis because they are experiencing it. There are also the promoters of the system who see in it the threat to their survival.

If, for the African peoples, possible solutions emerge from class struggles internal to their societies, for the defenders of the system the first thing is to safeguard it by patching it up and adjusting it a bit here and there to make the consequences of the crisis more bearable. But this adjusting and patching run up against the constraints inherent in the system.

That is why the new and fashionable analyses, the new formulations in vogue (new international economic order, North-South dialogue), developed by experts used to this type of exercise, always end up getting nowhere because the sacrosanct law of profit is there. And it is this law that ultimately determines what is acceptable to the system.

Adjustments within the system, however they are described, cannot provide any solution to the poverty of the dominated peoples.

The fact is that the capitalist system rests on class relations and hence on relations of force. So long as the dominated peoples do not constitute a true force by their unity, they will only be listened to out of simple politeness.

As for the African peoples, they will only find salvation the day they build the Africa of the peoples. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be getting much nearer to that day.