Has The Liberian 1970s Revolution come full circle?

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If asked “how’s the Revolution?” many would answer: “it failed.” That’s because there seems to have been many false starts. There were many moments when leaders claimed to be leading a revolution just to fall well short and chased away.


Abdoulaye Dukule, [email protected], Contributing Writer


People believe the revolution has failed because they tend to focus on events, rather than processes.

A revolution is a process that spans at least a generation. That would be thirty years. It’s how long it took China to finalize the Mao movement with a Cultural Revolution. It’s how long it took Vietnam and USSR to become the nations they aspired to be.

The Liberian revolution started in the 1970s, when people who could have enjoyed the fruits of the system decided to question its legitimacy and embark on a non-compromising campaign to change the governance process

As disparate as they were in their strategies, those who stood against the oligarchy were united in their number objective: change the political system.

Baccus Mattews, Amos Sawyer, Tipoteh, Zanga Liberty and others started a movement that went beyond them and that marked the beginning of the revolution. The aim of that revolution was to uproot the political system.
From that moment, many events will occur. The Samuel Doe coup was an event of that revolution. Charles Taylor’s grassroots uprising was another phase just as was the election of the first woman president. A popular uprising to chase Taylor out of power was another event.
All of these events combined to give us the democratic process that we now have.

Now, the first revolutionary agenda has come to its terms. The objectives of the 1970s was a total reversal of the power structure.

All three branches of look government as well as the majority of high offices of government are headed by people who could not have aspired to such positions without selling their souls. People who could not have aspired to any form of power a generation ago are now running the nation.
No matter how things evolve, Liberians will never return to the oligarchy it went under for more than 100 years.

However, the political revolution is meaningless if it does not have solid economic foundations. China and Vietnam developed new economies they control. During its political revolution, Liberia fails to pay attention to the economy. The aspect that Tipoteh was focusing on.

The economic revolution is the next battle, and it may be as difficult as the political one, and it will be fought in boardrooms.

As Liberians affirmed their hold on political power, they neglected the economy. Liberia’s economy is dominated in all its forms by foreign concessions, international institutions and shady merchants.

After freeing itself from the century old oligarchy, Liberia now has to embark on a new revolution, where it will take control of its resources.
If nothing seems to make sense now, it’s because the nation is in a slump. It needs a new breath to start the next revolution.

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