Socialism in Mozambique? The 'Mozambican revolution' in critical perspective

Document Type

Journal Article


University of Western Australia


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Contemporary Arts / Centre for Security Research




Robinson, D. (2003). Socialism in Mozambique? The 'Mozambican Revolution' in Critical Perspective. Limina. A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies, 9, 131-151.


Mozambique’s achievement of independence, under the leadership of the front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), on 25 June 1975, was a pivotal moment in the country’s history. After what is often implicitly regarded as a revolution against the Portuguese colonial government, Felimo’s project of ‘scientific socialism’ and ‘popular democracy’ was welcomed and celebrated in the writings of many left-wing observers in the West. However, this study will challenge the key assumption of much of the historiography of Mozambique: that the change in government marked the beginning of Mozambique’s transformation into a socialist state. It will be argued here that despite a long struggle against a repressive regime, there was no revolution in Mozambique. Furthermore, while Frelimo had initially aligned itself with socialist ideals, the pursuit of socialism had all but ended when Frelimo declared itself to be a ‘Marxist-Leninist Vanguard Party’ at the time of its Third Congress in 1977. Frelimo’s political vision had been tempered by the realities of the country’s material conditions of underdevelopment and an unorganised, politically unenthusiastic worker population: the by products of Portuguese colonialism.

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