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Essay, Jan 1965
Colin Legum

"An excellent revolutionary situation exists in Africa" was the way Chou En- lai summed up his visit to the continent earlier this year. Was this mere wishful thinking on his part? Or was it a deliberate attempt to foster revolutionary thinking? The answer to the second question should be obvious. Not so the first. Chou En-lai thinks of revolution in Mao Tse- tung's terms of "the seizure of power by armed force; the settlement of the issue by war is the central task of the highest form of revolution." If Chou En-lai was indeed talking in this sense, his appraisal of Africa's present condition is incorrect. There are a number of African states (other than just the remaining colonial territories) where the violent overthrow of government is possible; but it is highly unlikely that "seizure of power" will herald a Mao Tse-tung-type revolution. There is little reason to suppose that this is what would happen if the present rebels in the Congo were successful.

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