The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola

Angola Table of Contents

The earliest anticolonialist political group in Angola, founded about 1953, was the Party of the United Struggle of Africans of Angola (Partido da Luta Unida dos Africanos de Angola -- PLUA). In December 1956, the PLUA combined with other organizations in Luanda to form the MPLA, whose aim was to achieve independence for Angola by means of a united front of all African interests. After many of its leaders were arrested in March 1959, the party moved its headquarters to Conakry, Guinea. The MPLA's first leader, Mário de Andrade, an educated mestiço and a poet, gave the party a reputation for representing primarily the interests of urban intellectuals rather than the indigenous masses.

The MPLA traces its Marxist-Leninist origins to its ties with the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português--PCP). The initial MPLA manifesto called for an end to colonialism and the building of a modern society free of prejudice, a goal that could be realized only after a lengthy period of political preparation followed by a revolutionary struggle. The MPLA leadership sought a definite direction and a set of objectives for the independence struggle, in contrast with the broad nationalist approach of its greatest rival for supremacy in the struggle, the FNLA. Thus, the MPLA's program, outlined in a policy document in the 1960s, avoided a stated commitment to socialism or Marxism-Leninism, but it clearly alluded to the movement's adherence to Marxist-Leninist principles and the Nonaligned Movement. The organization's leftist orientation attracted the support of the Soviet Union and China, both of which envisioned prospects for a foothold in Africa provided by a ruling MarxistLeninist vanguard party.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress