webGuinée
Politique, société, économie
La première décennie du régime PDG


Victor David Du Bois (1932-1983)
The independence movement in Guinea:
a study in african nationalism

Princeton University, Ph.D. Dissertation 1962
Political Science, international law and relations
University Mcrofilms, Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan 436 p.


      Table des matieres      

Abstract

France consolidated her hold on Guinea only in the late 19th century. The history of her colonial administration was one of exploitation of the colony for the benefit of the metropole. The Nazi occupation of France in the early 1940's was reflected in French West Africa by Vichy's harsh racist policies. Economic stagnation, social change, the vast propaganda for the U.N. and the independence promised Ghana and the outbreak of rebellion in Algeria all contributed to the rise and spread of nationalism after World War II. Hoping to lessen the appeal of nationalism, France made several timid attempts at colonial reform:

Because these measures were and never fully applied, nationalism increased rapidly from 1946.

The Rassemblement Africain (R.D.A.), the first all-African inter-territorial political party, was formed in 1946. Its Guinean branch, the Parti démocratique de (P.D.G.), soon came under the dynamic leadership of Sékou Touré, a vigorous labor organizer. Because it championed a strong nationalist platform, the P.D.G. soon triumphed over the stiff competition of metropolitan-affiliated and African ethnic parties.

Africans at this time did not wish to break away from France. They did want her to acknowledge their right of self-determination should they decide to opt for independence later on. There was a strong preference for a federal union with France, an arrangement to which France was unalterably opposed. In the historic referendum of 1958, Guinea was the only French colonial territory that voted for independence.

Largely as a result of championing Guinean independence, the P.D.G. became the most powerful political force in the country.

The two major opposition parties, the Socialists and (B.A.G.) were dissolved. Their respective leaders, Barry III and Barry Diawadou, joined Sekou P.D.G. and urged their followers to do likewise. Formal opposition disappeared from the Guinean political scene.

The P.D.G. set about dismantling the colonial structure and reorganizing Guinean society. All institutions, and indeed individuals, were integrated into a system of state control.

Measures were taken to break down the animosity of ethnic, territorial, and religious groups and to create a sense of Guinean nationality. A national youth organization, the Jeunesse du Rassemblement Africain (J.R.D.A.), was made an arm of the Party to mobilize the youth. Women were brought into the political process as active participants and given an important part in national affairs.

The economic course of the new republic was recharted. Trade relationships shifted from West to East. Appropriate economic agencies were organized to bring foreign trade and domestic commerce under the control of the Government. Existing agencies and commercial structures which dated from the colonial era were abolished. Through investissement humain, volunteer unpaid labor was used to construct public works projects throughout the country.
A three-year plan for economic development was inaugurated.

Guinea has not succeeded in establishing friendly relations with France. Partly this is due to General de Gaulle's early disdain of Guinea and due to President vehement attacks on France. But it is also due to France's repeated efforts to isolate Guinea economically and politically, to Guinea's near-persecution of the French within her borders, and to Guinea's abrupt withdrawal from the franc zone March 1960. One of the most consistent advocates of pan-Africanism, Guinea has formed a loose tmion with Ghana and Mali which may in time attract other African nations. In the East-West struggle, Guinea is determined to remain neutral.

Guinea has a republican form of government, but, in reality, power rests in the Party —the P.D.G. The Party is the center of Guinean life; its influence is all-pervasive. The Party has a marked structural affinity with the Marxist prototypes of the East. Its philosophical basis is the theory of democratic centralism with a strong admixture of revolutionary African nationalism. The relationship between organized labor and the P.D.G. is very close. The Party's attitude toward intellectuals is strictly disciplinarian. The Party has. abolished the traditional chieftaincies. Generally speaking, the P.D.G. has made itself one of the most effective political machines in all Africa.

Since independence, education has made important strides. The retention of French as the official language was a necessity since no African language was widely enough used to serve as an adequate instrument for communication. This has inevitably limited the “Africanization” of the educational system. Nevertheless, the Government's policy of sending increasing numbers ot Guinean students to countries other than France to receive their higher education, the training of more and more Guinean teachers, and a thorough revision of the curricula, have resulted in an orientation away from a Western, more particularly from a French, point of view. This is also effecting a basic change in the type of elite that is emerging in present-day Guinea.

Sékou Touré has created a Guinean Army under close supervision by the Party and assigned more to works of Social construction than to military tasks. Service in the Army is expected to make men from all the Guinean tribes a cohesive force in society.
Guinea has “Africanized” her government and public services with extraordinary speed and considerable success.

The P.D.G. has formulated a revolutionary philosophy aiming at African unity 1. The achievement of independence and the remarkable transformation of Guinean society in so short a period have established the validity of this philosophy in the eyes of many Africans. The Guinean example has demonstrated that it is not necessary for a colonial territory to pass through a transitional period of several years or decades before it can achieve stability as an independent country.
Still, the Party has accomplished this only by resorting to compulsion and even persecution; and it must keep its revolutionary zeal at fever pitch to assure remaining in the vanguard of African nationalist movements.

Note
1. Although Guinea's independence was won in a battle of ballots unaccompanied by war or even minor military skirmishes, President Touré always speaks of the “Guinean revolution.”

      Table des matieres      

Contact :info@webguinee.net
webGuinée, Camp Boiro Memorial, webAfriqa © 1997-2014 Afriq Access & Tierno S. Bah. All rights reserved.
Fulbright Scholar. Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. Internet Society Pioneer. Smithsonian Research Associate.