|The Crisis in African Agriculture - Studies in African Political Economy (UNU, 1987, 99 pages)|
|7: The alternative and its prerequisites|
In order to reply to this question, we need to start from a simple observation: the incapacity of most ruling political classes to undertake a policy which would overcome the crisis and guarantee decent living conditions for all strata of the population. If such is the situation, it is not without reason. We think that it is essentially due to the level of consumption of these ruling classes and their vast expenditure which lead to a waste of national resources and the massive impoverishment of the vast majority of the population.
The policy that they have hitherto followed has not made possible national accumulation for investment to put all the nation's manpower to work. What is produced by those who work is diverted to minority interests whose national character is questionable. Only the popular strata can implement a national popular programme by putting an end to useless expenditure of dubious national interest.
In our opinion, these popular strata in most countries in Africa would include the peasantry (farmers, herders, fishermen), the working class, the intermediate classes, that is, employees, artisans, small traders, the petty bourgeoisie of officials in the administration, teaching, etc. The interests of these classes and strata are not always identical. But they can come together in the phase of constructing a national popular programme.
We believe that every possible pressure from all national and international agencies must be brought to bear for these strata to secure freedom of organization. This would be for them the first step to having real access to the structures of power. They will necessarily transform these structures since these transformations - transformations in depth - will be the condition for true and visible improvement in their own conditions of existence and, by the same token, the improvement of the conditions of existence of all strata of the population.
On the basis of their common interests, these popular strata could constitute a popular alliance bringing together their completely free autonomous organizations They are, we feel, the only ones likely to implement a national popular programme which could overcome the crisis. That naturally presupposes that they control every structure of power.