THE ARUSHA DECLARATION – 20 YEARS AFTER

Just before going to press we Beard from Professor Terence Ranger, the first editor of this Bulletin, about his visit, towards the end of December 1986, to what he described as the cheerful Christmas bustle of Arusha (with abundant supplies in the shops) to attend a four day international conference on “The Arusha Declaration”, 20 years after its publication. Professor Ranger said that he was deeply impressed by the diversity of views expressed (there were 45 papers), by the self confidence of the Tanzanian University staff, from many different departments, and the libertarian commitment of most of the papers. He wondered whether such a conference could take place in other African countries.

The conference had been opened by President Mwinyi and closed by Vice-President Wakil and attended by representatives from Britain, Scandinavia, The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, China and other countries. There was much discussion on the crisis in agriculture and most papers had agreed that this was due to internal rather than external causes. Some participants had felt that the crisis had a risen because the Arusha Declaration had not been effectively carried through; others had felt that the Declaration was a flawed document. Professor Ranger said that everybody had been critical of the use of force in villagisation and what was described as the “commandism” of the Government in relation to peasant producers. Peasants had deliberately resisted this “commandism” There was a call for greater autonomy of peasant organisations and better incentives. What had been basically wrong was weak and corrupt party management. – Editor

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