Article from ROAPE Volume 8 Number 21
Military State and Ethiopia's Path to ‘Socialism’

The Military State and Ethiopia's Path to ‘Socialism’
Vol.8 No.21 (Summer 1981), pp7-25
This paper describes the course of Ethiopia's revolution since 1974 and the problems inherent in attempting to build socialism from above, through the agency of the military. The collapse of Haile Selassie's absolutist empire followed, and encouraged a groundswell of mass demands for the amelioration of numerous class, regional and other experiences of exploitation and oppression. Although these interests were represented within the army that took power, the military state has asserted its primacy over all class forces, and its commitment to a highly centralised Ethiopia against all regional demands. Markakis shows that ‘garrison socialism’ has thus resulted in increasing coercion as attempts at independent class action are crushed, in mounting regional opposition from the peripheries of the old empire - itself often a consequence of frustrated class aspirations - and an intensification of wars against nationalist and separatist movements.