Briefing from ROAPE Volume 3 Number 5
Mobutu & the Class Struggle in Zaïre
During the recent crisis over recognition of the MPLA government by OAU members, President Mobutu of Zaïre found himself leading the group of ‘reactionary’ countries which opposed the recognition of the movement led by comrade Neto. Mobutu's association with the USA goes back a very long way-at least to June 30th, 1960, when the Congo gained independence from Belgium. The chaotic aftermath of the army mutiny that closely followed after independence revealed the hybrid nature of the Congolese state. The dominant class (ie the one that ‘negotiated’ for independence), the so-called ‘evolues’ or ‘politicians’ as the masses called them, represented a group of professionals, mostly civil servants, office clerks, teachers, journalists, plus a few traders, etc., but they could hardly be called a petty bourgeoisie. Its only petty bourgeois character came from its ideological commitment to a thorough irritation of their former masters. This class was obviously too weak and too inexperienced to be relied upon as defenders of capitalist interests in the former Belgian colony. The tack, then, of the former colonisers, along with newly interested imperialists such as the United States, was to create a state which would be manned by trusted and reliable local agents. The absence of a strong dominant class in the country as a whole, posed the same problem at the time of independence as that encountered by the early colonisers: how to insure the continued existence of an administrative structure which in turn would insure the continuation of production (ie exploitation).