Skip to main content

Amílcar Cabral and the International: Race, Colonialism, Liberation

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Palgrave Handbook of International Political Theory

Part of the book series: International Political Theory ((IPoT))

  • 374 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter explores the international political thought of Amílcar Cabral. Cabral was the leader of PAIGC, the national liberation movement of Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde. He played a leading role alongside his peers and fellow militants Agostinho Neto, Mário Andrade, Eduardo Mondlane, Marcelino dos Santos and others in the liberation of the Portuguese colonies in Africa and, as such, was a key figure in the liberation of the African continent from colonial rule. From his own times to today he has been widely recognised as an anticolonial leader and thinker of considerable stature. Until relatively recently, however, his work has not been generally or widely taught in the disciplinary area of Politics and International Relations—attention to Cabral would be more the concern of African Studies or Postcolonial Studies. This chapter explores various dimensions of his thought which speak to the international. In doing so, the chapter additionally elaborates a meta-reflection on what it means today to consider the question of political thought and, especially, international political thought. In what ways is anticolonial thought a historically specific form of political thought? These broader historical and epistemological questions arise inherently from an exploration of Cabral’s international political thought, they pertain to central concerns of postcolonial theory (in other words they arise inherently from a consideration of the relationships between colonialism and knowledge), and, in particular, they resonate with contemporary energies and popular demands regarding decolonising academic minds, disciplines and institutions. The first section of the chapter provides some brief contextual and biographical discussion of Amílcar Cabral. The central body of the chapter explores his international political thought through a focus on questions of race, colonialism, and liberation. The concluding section draws together an argument about the specific character of anticolonial political thought.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 169.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Change history

  • 03 January 2024

    A correction has been published.

References

  • Almada e Santos, Aurora, and Víctor Barros. 2020. Amílcar Cabral and the Idea of Anticolonial Revolution. Lusotopie 19: 9–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Andrade, Mário Pinto de. 1951. ‘Apresentação da Poesia Negra’ Poesia Negra de Expressão Portuguesa (Caderno de Poesia), exemplar original. Fundação Mário Soares/Arquivo Mário Pinto de Andrade. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_83530.

  • ——— 1982a. Entrevista concedida a Costa Andrade sobre Agostinho Neto e a fundação do MPLA. 29 Maio. Fundação Mário Soares/Arquivo Mário Pinto de Andrade. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_84798.

  • ———. 1982b, ‘Fanon et L’ Afrique Combattante. Témoignage d'un militant angolais’. Texto original de uma comunicação de Mário Pinto de Andrade no Memorial Internacional Frantz Fanon, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Abril 1982b. Fundação Mário Soares/Arquivo Mário Pinto de Andrade. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_84826

  • ———. 1997. Mário Pinto de Andrade: Uma Entrevista Dada a Michel Laban. Lisboa: Edições João Sá da Costa.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barros, Víctor. 2021. Between Truth and Inventions: How Public Commemorations Recite the Biography of Amílcar Cabral In The Politics of Biography in Africa: Borders, Margins, and Alternative Histories of Power, ed. Anaïs Angelo, 97–117. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bogues, Anthony. 2016. Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borges, Sonia. 2019. Militant Education, Liberation Struggle, Consciousness: The PAIGC education in Guinea Bissau 1963–1978. New York: Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cabral, Amílcar. 1965. A unidade política e moral - força principal da nossa luta comum. Discurso de Amílcar Cabral, em nome da delegação do PAIGC, à II Conferência das Organizações Nacionalistas das Colónias Portuguesas (CONCP), em Dar-es-Salam (1965). Fundação Mário Soares / DAC - Documentos Amílcar Cabral - Iva Cabral. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_42736

  • ———. 1969. Revolution in Guinea: An African People's Struggle: Selected Texts. London: Stage 1.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1972. ‘A importância do papel da cultura no movimento de pré-independência ou de Libertação’, texto enviado à Reunião de Especialistas sobre as noções de raça, identidade e dignidade, UNESCO, Paris, 3 a 7 Julho 1972. Fundação Mário Soares /DAC—Documentos Amílcar Cabral. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_41192.

  • ———. 1973a. Return to the Source: Selected Speeches of Amílcar Cabral. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1973b. Connecting the Struggles: An Informal Talk with Black Americans. In Return to the Source: Selected Speeches of Amílcar Cabral. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1973c. Identity and Dignity in the Context of the National Liberation Struggle. In Return to the Source: Selected Speeches of Amílcar Cabral. London and New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1974a. Textos Políticos. Lisboa: Afrontamento.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1974b. Análise De Alguns Tipos de Resistência. Lisboa: Seara Nova.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1976. A Arma da Teoria: Unidade e Luta I. Lisboa: Seara Nova.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1977. A Prática Revolucionária: Unidade e Luta II. Lisboa: Seara Nova.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1980a. Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings. London: Heinemann Educational.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1980b. ‘National Liberation and Culture’, Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture, Syracuse University (1970). In Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings, 138–154. London: Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1980c. ‘The Weapon of Theory: Presuppositions and Objectives of National Liberation in Relation to Social Structure, Speech Delivered at the First Solidarity Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, Havana, 1966. Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings, 119–137. London: Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1988. Estudos Agrários de Amílcar Cabral. Lisboa e Bissau: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa.

    Google Scholar 

  • Castelo, Cláudia, and Miguel B. Jerónimo, eds. 2017. Casa dos Estudantes do Império: Dinâmicas Coloniais, Conexões Transnacionais. Lisboa: Edições 70.

    Google Scholar 

  • César, Filipa. 2018. Meteorisations: Reading Amílcar Cabral’s Agronomy of Liberation. Third Text 32 (2–3): 254–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chabal, Patrick. 1981. The Social and Political Thought of Amílcar Cabral: A Reassessment. Journal of Modern African Studies 19 (1): 31–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1983. Amílcar Cabral, Revolutionary Leadership and People's War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chatterjee, Partha. 1986. Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse. Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chilcote, Ronald H. 1968. The Political Thought of Amílcar Cabral. Journal of Modern African Studies 6 (3): 373–388.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1991. Amílcar Cabral’s Revolutionary Theory and Practice: A Critical Guide. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clapham, Christopher. 1970. The Context of African Political Thought. Journal of Modern African Studies 8 (1): 1–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cliffe, Lionel. 2010. Basil Davidson (1914–2010): A tribute. Review of African Political Economy 37 (126): 497–500.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davidson, Basil. 1969. The Liberation of Guiné. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Edwards, Brent Hayes. 2001. The “Autonomy” of Black Radicalism. Social Text 19 (2): 1–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • El-Malik, Shiera S., and Isaac A. Kamola, eds. 2017. Politics of African Anticolonial Archive. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fanon, Frantz. 1967. The Wretched of the Earth. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1986. Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fletcher, Bill, and Firoze Manji. 2013. Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amílcar Cabral. Dakar: CODESRIA and Daraja Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gathii, James T. 2008. A Critical Appraisal of the International Legal Tradition of Taslim Olawale Elias. Leiden Journal of International Law 21 (2): 317–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2011. Mapping African International Law. Transnational Legal Theory 2 (3): 429–441.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grosfoguel, Ramón. 2002. Colonial Difference, Geopolitics of Knowledge and Global Coloniality in the Modern/Colonial Capitalist World-System. Review 25 (3): 203–224.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2007. The Epistemic Decolonial Turn: Beyond Political-Economic Paradigms. Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 211–223.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grovogui, Siba N. 2006. Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gruffydd Jones, Branwen. 2020. Race, Culture and Liberation: African Anticolonial Thought and Practice in the Time of Decolonisation. The International History Review 42 (6): 1238–1256.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2023. Placing the West Before a Tribunal: Strategies of Critique in African Anticolonial Discourse. In Amílcar Cabral and the PAIGC’s Binational Struggle for Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, ed. Víctor Barros and Aurora Almada e Santos. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hegel, Georg W.F. 1975. Lectures on the Philosophy of World History. Introduction: Reason in History, trans. H. B. Nisbet. Introduction by Duncan Forbes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Idahosa, Pablo L. 2002. Going to the People: Amílcar Cabral's Materialist Theory and Practice of Culture and Ethnicity Lusotopie 2: 29–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krishna, Sankaran. 2001. Race, Amnesia, and the Education of International Relations. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 26 (4): 401–424.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laranjeira, Pires. 1996. Introdução: Uma casa de mensagens anti-imperiais. In Mensagem: circular dos Serviços de Cultura da Casa dos Estudantes do Império.1.o Volume, ed. Manuel Ferreira. Edições ALAC, XVII.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lopes, Rui, and Víctor. Barros. 2020. Amílcar Cabral and the Liberation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde: International, Transnational, and Global Dimensions. The International History Review 42 (6): 1230–1237.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • MAC. 1960. Manifesto do MAC (Movimento Anti-colonialista) aos povos das colónias portuguesas. Fundação Mário Soares / Arquivo Mário Pinto de Andrade. Disponível: http://hdl.handle.net/11002/fms_dc_83405

  • McCulloch, Jock. 1983. In the Twilight of Revolution: The Political Theory of Amílcar Cabral. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mignolo, Walter D. 2000. Local Histories/Global Designs: Essays on the Coloniality of Power, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2002. The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference. South Atlantic Quarterly, 101 (1): 57–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2007. Delinking: The Rhetoric of Modernity, the Logic of Coloniality and the Grammar of Decoloniality. Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 449–514.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2010. Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom. Theory, Culture & Society 26 (7–8): 159–181.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2021. The Politics of Decolonial Investigations. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mignolo, Walter D., and Arturo Escobar. 2010. Globalization and the Decolonial Option. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moutinho, Mário. 2000. O Indígena no Pensamento Colonial Português (1895–1961). Lisboa: Edições Universitárias Lusófonas.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo J. 2013. Empire, Global Coloniality and African Subjectivity. New York: Berghahn Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2019. Discourses of Decolonization/Decoloniality. Papers on Language & Literature 55 (3): 201–226.

    Google Scholar 

  • Neto, Agostinho. 1960. Introdução a um colóquio sobre Poesia Angolana. Mensagem: Boletim – Órgão Mensal da Casa dos Estudantes do Império Março-Abril, Ano III no. 5–6: 45–51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Neves, José. 2017. Ideology, science, and people in Amílcar Cabral. História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos 24 (2): 333–347.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pillay, Suren. 2021. The Problem of Colonialism: Assimilation, Difference, and Decolonial Theory in Africa. Critical Times 4 (3): 389–416.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Quijano, Aníbal. 2000. Modernidad, colonialidad y América Latina. Nepantla: Views from South 1 (3): 533–580.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rabaka, Reiland. 2016. The Weapon of Critical Theory: Amílcar Cabral, Cabralism, and Africana Critical Theory. In Resistance and Decolonization, trans. Dan Wood, 3–42. New York and London: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rabaka, Reiland. 2014. Concepts of Cabralism: Amilcar Cabral and Africana Critical Theory. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reza, Alexandra. 2016. African Anti-colonialism and the Ultramarinos of the Casa dos Estudantes do Império. Journal of Lusophone Studies 1: 37–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. 2016. Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2018. The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scott, David. 2004. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Seth, Sanjay. 2021. Beyond Reason: Postcolonial Theory and the Social Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Shilliam, Robbie, ed. 2011. International Relations and Non-Western Thought: Imperialism, Colonialism, and Investigations of Global Modernity. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2015. The Black Pacific: Anti-colonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sivanandan, A. 2010. Basil Davidson: Soldier in the People’s Army, 1914–2010. Race & Class 52 (2): 1–2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sousa, Julião S. 2020. Amílcar Cabral, the PAIGC and the Relations with China at the Time of the Sino-Soviet Split and of Anti-Colonialism. Discourses and Praxis. The International History Review 42 (6): 1274–1296.

    Google Scholar 

  • Telepneva, Natalia. 2020. ‘Code Name SEKRETÁŘ’: Amílcar Cabral, Czechoslovakia and the Role of Human Intelligence during the Cold War. The International History Review 42 (6): 1257–1273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tomás, António. 2008. O Fazedor de Utopias: Uma Biografia de Amílcar Cabral. Lisboa: Tinta-da-China. 2a ed.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2016. Cabral and the Postcolony: Postcolonial Readings of Revolutionary Hopes. Postcolonial Studies 19 (1): 22–36.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2021. Amílcar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist. London: Hurst.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolf, Eric. 1982. Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, Robert J.C. 2001. Postcolonialism: A Historical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Branwen Gruffydd Jones .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Gruffydd Jones, B. (2023). Amílcar Cabral and the International: Race, Colonialism, Liberation. In: Williams, H., Boucher, D., Sutch, P., Reidy, D., Koutsoukis, A. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of International Political Theory. International Political Theory. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-36111-1_12

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics