Towards a pre-history of national liberation struggle

Hallward, Peter (2018) Towards a pre-history of national liberation struggle. In: Deckard, Sharae and Varma, Rashmi, (eds.) Marxism, Postcolonial Theory, and the Future of Critique. New York : Routledge. pp. 117-140. ISBN 9781317287803


The national liberation movements of the 1950s–1970s in countries like Algeria, Cuba, Vietnam, and Angola shared a number of specific but generalisable principles, principles that are also central to Benita Parry's work. The achievement of genuine popular sovereignty remains a central and essential stage along the path to liberation. This chapter begins with a brief reminder of these principles, before moving on to consider some essential moments in the arduous history of their adoption, and finally to evoke the ongoing pertinence of their implications. If sovereign power essentially takes the form of command, Thomas Hobbes and subsequent theorists of sovereignty further explain that command itself is best understood as an exercise of political will. As an expression of a people's will, sovereignty as Jean-Jacques Rousseau understands it varies not only with this people's capacity to actually and concretely generalise their priorities and purposes.

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