In This Review

By David and Marina Ottaway
237 pp, Africana, 1981

In this superb study of African leftist regimes, the Ottaways assert unequivocally that the self-declared Marxist regimes formed since the end of Portuguese colonialism represent a new phenomenon in Africa. Through extended case studies of Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia (as well as shorter analyses of other countries), they argue convincingly that the use of Marxist ideology as a blueprint for development gives these states a steady commitment to a particular pattern of state-owned and collectivized economic institutions, as well as a firm foreign alignment with the Eastern bloc. In the authors' view, this pattern is likely to prove more durable than previous African socialist experiments; whether it will be more effective at solving economic and social problems remains to be seen.