Article from ROAPE Volume 2 Number 4
Class Struggles in Uganda
The analysis of a class formation is only possible if situated in a concrete understanding of the historically determined process of social production. In order to understand the relations between classes - that is, between the many who labour and the few who appropriate the fruits of that labour, the specific forms of appropriation and the political and ideological means used to secure and support it, and the class antagonisms and struggles arising therefrom - we need to grasp the social formation as a single whole. Moreover, in dealing with colonial or "underdeveloped" countries, we must also have some understanding of how their whole system of production has, right from the start of the colonial era, been constituted (or restructured) to serve the ends of imperialist exploitation. It is from this standpoint that this study of class formation and class struggle in "modern" Uganda is presented, though it deals mainly with the period after 1962 when the country became formally independent. The two major high-tides of class struggle upon which the analysis is concentrated are, first, the rising antagonism and conflict between the Asian commercial bourgeoisie and the African petit-bourgeoisie seen as the focal point of the crisis of the colonial system, and, secondly, the growing fragmentation and factionalism within the African petit-bourgeoisie itself as the focal point of the crisis of the neo-colonial system in the period since independence. There is also a brief discussion of the way in which, both before and since independence, the politics of the working class have been absorbed, suppressed, and otherwise "neutralized", for the time being, by the politics of the rampant petit-bourgeoisie.