The following is a translation by ELFNA from the monthly EPLF journal, Vanguard. Liberation. The article included here appeared in Vanguard in late 1976.
The struggle that the oppressed people of Eritrea have been and are still waging with the method of peoples’ war is essentially directed against foreign domination. Our fathers fought to destroy the colonial domination of the Turks, Egyptians,Italians and the British. The resistance we are putting up today is to smash the colonial system of expansionist Ethiopia. Our revolution unwaveringly fights to destroy imperialist exploitation and domination. We are fighting for the unity of the various nationalities and social groups, of men and women in the struggle.
Guided by a clear proletarian ideology, our revolution is waging a decisive struggle against all those who are against the unity of the masses, against progress. Our fight is also against all forms of feudal culture and reactionary bourgeois ideology. As our revolution represents the interest of the Eritrean masses, it is waging a resolute revolutionary struggle against internal reaction and opportunism of various shades.
Despite the inevitable ups and downs that the revolution has to go through and the human sacrifices that this entails, the objective conditions inside Eritrea, the surrounding region and the rest of the world, assert that the fruits of our struggle will culminate in the victory of the oppressed people of Eritrea.
At this stage, except for a few reactionaries and traitors whose interest is linked with colonialism and imperialist exploitation, the broad masses of Eritrea-both inside and outside the country-are allying themselves with the revolution and are devoting all their resources and creativity to advance the national democratic revolution to its final phase. The active participation of the masses in our revolution is not due to emotional reasons but as a result of a conscious understanding of the necessity of waging protracted people’s war to attain liberation.
Indeed, at this time, the motive forces of our revolution conscious of their responsibilities are actively participating in the National Democratic Revolution. This is also the time in which reactionary ideology and tendencies that are against progress and unity are evaporating from the midst of our society, and are being replaced by a revolutionary and scientific ideology. The dislike for and prejudice against work and workers is gradually being uprooted. The place of labour as the only respected task of human activity and the fact that those who labour are the makers of history is being ascertained. Conscious of this and in order to achieve self-sufficiency and guarantee the victory of the revolution, our fighters and people are engaged in production, in political as well as armed struggles.
Social and political relationships based on domination and favoritism are slowly being uprooted, giving way to relations based on democracy and equality.Economic relationships founded on exploitation and theft are gradually disintegrating and are being replaced by relationships based on collective work and mutual cooperation. In short, one sees a process of dissolution of the old oppressive and exploitative society and at the same time the emergency of a new and progressive one.
This achievement is the fruit of the stubborn political, economic, social, military and ideological struggles waged by our vanguard front, the democratic forces and mass organizations. These developments correspond to the level of destruction being inflicted upon the colonial expansionists and imperialist oppressors in our country. On the whole, these basic changes have been gradually translated into action in the liberated areas and have received wide acceptance from the masses in areas still under the control of the enemy forces and those forced to stay outside the country. Thus, the Eritrean people are prepared to fundamentally transform the society, and have attained great success in building the foundations for such a transformation. It becomes clear then that with the guidance of the vanguard organization and the sacrifices of the masses, our revolution will expand in width and deepen its roots.
As stated above, the colonized Eritrean people have a long history of strong resistance to foreign domination. But why has it taken so long to attain victory? On the one hand, there were and still are strong suppressive forces and intricate treachery and conspiracy machinations of colonialist and imperialist forces with local reactionary classes. On the other hand, there was an absence of an organized vanguard that could correctly mobilize and organize the masses and guide them in struggle. This was the determining factor that caused our struggle to grope in the dark. As a result of the correct and resolute internal struggle waged by the masses and democratic forces, the EPLF was formed in 1970, bringing the period of confusion to an end Today the torch lighted by the EPLF leads the masses on the road to victory.
Learning from the revolutionary experience of the masses, its own bitter struggle and that of the world revolution, the EPLF is leading the new democratic revolution. The EPLF unites all nationalities and sexes, organizes all anti-colonial, anti-imperialist classes and social forces and struggles to raise their
political consciousness. The EPLF scientifically analyzes the internal and external, the long-term and short-term enemies of the revolution and engages in struggle with well-studied strategy and tactics. Conscious of its internationalist duty, the EPLF cements its ties and works together with the basic allies of the
revolution. Without compromising its principles and employing tactics appropriate to each particular stage, it works with temporary allies of the revolution. These are the reasons why the mass of our fighters and the people of Eritrea say that the guarantee for the victory of the revolution is the consolidation
and development of the revolutionary EPLF.
DETERIORATING SITUATION IN THE ENEMY CAMP
The Eritrean people are not shaken by the glitter of the enemy’s military hardware. The oppressed people of Eritrea do not submit to the economic pressure of the colonial regime and the imperialist monopolies nor are they to be duped by any neocolonial conspiracy. The masses are determined to reach their
goal of independence and liberation by persisting in the armed struggle.Although the enemy has a temporary material superiority, its morale has been sapped, its movement disrupted and its offensive position overtaken by the revolution. The liberation forces attack the enemy at the day and hour of their
choosing, inflicting heavy losses in men and material. Large quantities of
captured weapons and materials are put at the service of the revolution, while
items difficult to transport are destroyed on the spot.
The enemy bases are falling one after another, their economic and military
structure coming under the control of the fighters and the people. By disrupting
communications between the various camps, the fighters isolate the enemy. The
usually destructive ground forces of the enemy have become a thing of the past in
the countryside, where their movement is constantly checked. Hence, the revolutionary activities of our people’s army has forced the enemy to rely only on aerial reinforcements in attempts to save besieged areas. Despite the extensive supply of arms, money and the advice it gets from the imperialists, the colonial regime, faced with the mounting waves of people’s revolution, is nothing but a
slowly dying beast.
For all practical purposes the colonial economic structure has lost its contact
with the Eritrean countryside. The people in the countryside are engaged in production with a capacity that is adequate to satisfy their needs and that of the revolution. In the cities, in opposition to the enemies’ economic pressure and oppression, the Eritrean revolution has mobilized the workers, handicraftsmen, small merchants, etc. to sabotage the economic life of the colonial system. Thus,
in most factories, production is at a standstill, import-export activities and market
exchanges have been held back. The effect of this is that Ethiopian revenues have
been drastically cut, and the subsidiaries of imperialist monopolies have closed down. The general situation is such that with the development and consolidation of the revolution, the economic resources of Eritrea have been withdrawn from the enemy and put at the disposal and control of its oppressed people. The continuation of this trend is guaranteed by the determination and self-sacrifice of
the popular masses in the armed struggle.
The petty-bourgeois, opportunist group holding the reign of power in Ethiopia believes in the philosophy of *‘Greater Ethiopia’ and Amhara supremacy. To quench its economic, strategic and political thirst and maintain the interest of imperialist monopolies, it has vowed to continue its colonial policy and war of
aggression in Eritrea. Nevertheless, the strengthened popular resistance of the Eritrean people is not only going to shatter its colonial hold in Eritrea but it is also shaking the foundation of the exploitative system within Ethiopian society. Learning from the struggle of the oppressed peoples of Eritrea, the Ethiopian
masses are rising to struggle with great energy. Despite the Junta’s attempt to employ tactics to hide its true nature, in Ethiopia and the international arena, it has long been exposed among the Ethiopian masses and all peace loving peoples of the world. Ethiopian workers, peasants and students are engaged in various forms of struggle. The problems of lack of leadership and organization are being solved. The democratic forces within the Ethiopian military have voiced their demand for a democratic peoples government in Ethiopia, and for the right of the Eritrean people to self-determination. The different subjugated nationalities in Ethiopia have resorted to revolutionary struggle to resolve the national question.
The war of aggression in Eritrea is maintained only at the expense of and costly price paid by the toiling Ethiopian masses who are faced with a worsening state of poverty and hunger. The present condition in Ethiopia is such that economic production is low, size of imported goods decreasing, business transaction stagnant, taxes levied by the fascist government are high and unemployment rampant. This is nothing other than a complete economic ruin. It is unthinkable to bring about a healthy economic life in Ethiopia without disbanding the colonial system in Eritrea and the oppressive and exploitative structure in Ethiopia.
Although U.S. and other imperialist aid to Ethiopia will continue, it will by no means save the colonial system from its final destruction. The political consciousness, moral strength, the aspiration for freedom and the preparedness for struggle and sacrifice of the Eritrean masses outweighs the enemy’s wealth,weapons and thirst for expansion. This is why in the final analysis, defeat
becomes the sure and only harvest of colonialists and imperialists.
THE REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION IN THE WORLD
The present international situation is such that it facilitates the downfall of Ethiopian colonialism and imperialist domination, and helps the consolidation of the victory of the oppressed peoples of Eritrea. Today, we see the crushing defeats of imperialist forces and their reactionary lackeys in the hands of the
revolutionary resistance of the oppressed peoples of the world. Peoples’ revolutions in Vietnam, Laso, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique have already achieved victories. Similarly, the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-reaction and anti-opportunist struggles of the oppressed peoples
of Eritrea, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Western Sahara, Djibouti, Palestine, Oman, etc. are heroically advancing toward inevitable victory.
Across the world, the proletarian struggle for socialism is in the process of fulfilling its historic mission, and the just struggle to break the shackles of neocolonialism in different parts of the world is not to be underestimated. The socialist camp is strengthening its principled alliance with the oppressed peoples
of the world and supporting their struggle against colonialism and exploitation. In
such revolutionary internal and international conditions, victory belongs to the
just struggle of the Eritrean people who are sacrificing for independence,
liberation, progress and peace.