Lacking a semblance of organisational, let alone ideological autonomy within the BNF the workers in the BNF are completely ‘in bad company’. Workers find themselves in the limbo of a political cul-de-sac with their hands tied at the back.
For instance, 10 years after the formation of the BNF political study groups, the main strategy for training both BNF social democrats and socialists, could not begin thanks to strong opposition from the ‘progressive’ petty-bourgeois leadership. They claimed that this would amount to a communist take over of the party. Study groups only commenced in 1975 after the overthrow of Portuguese colonialism in Angola by MPLA and Frelimo on Mozambique had created a conducive atmosphere for them. Workers and their intellectual allies are in disarray and therefore incapacitated from influencing the ideological direction of the BNF or UDC in a meaningful way.
However the founders of the BNF committed some strategic blunders in their prognostication of the revolution which might help to explain why 50 years since the formation of the BNF there is no socialist party on the horizon. For a proper prosecution of the National Democratic Revolution it was imperative to understand the role of the different classes and to determine which of those classes constituted ‘the basic force’ of the united front. From that analysis Dr Koma concludes that, ‘The working class must be regarded as the potential leader of the struggle’ but because it lacked class consciousnesses it could not lead the Front. He goes on to observe that ‘where there is some nucleus organisation, they have fallen under the influence of the pro-imperialist International Confederation of Free Trade Unions’ (IFCTU) i.e. the imperialist infiltrated IFCTU as opposed to the progressive World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) with members in all socialist countries. Having concluded that workers were not in a position to form a socialist party that would lead the mass BNF, Dr Koma then argues that ‘ the intermediate wing of the petty bourgeoisie’ have ‘some elements’ who ‘can become very revolutionary patriots who are dedicated and resolute in their opposition to foreign domination. They may partake of the ideology of the class conscious proletariat’ . As a result of this flawed analysis of the revolutionary potential of the petty-bourgeoisie Dr Koma then claims that the working class leadership of the United Front must be ceded to the ‘revolutionary petty-bourgeoisie’ on a ‘temporary’ basis. Consequently, 50 years later, BNF is still stuck in the ‘temporary’ leadership groove of the so-called ‘revolutionary’ petty bourgeoisie. The question is; was this a strategic blunder on the part of the founders of the BNF i.e. the anti-Leninist strategy of placing the working class under the leadership of the so-called ‘progressive’ petty-bourgeoisie?
Were they fooled by the vacillating tendency of the petty-bourgeoisie? Both organically linked democratic and socialist phases of the struggle, must be led by the working class organised into a socialist party. In industrialised countries the National Democratic Revolution, then called the ‘bourgeois democratic revolution’, was led by the bourgeoisie. This is not possible in the Third world because in the era of imperialism and decadent capitalism is incapable of taking society forward. Hence the democratic demands of the struggle remain only half illusory if the capitalist edifice is not smashed. Lenin warned against the dangers of the bourgeoisie in backward countries posing as communists and advised the Communist International to make temporary alliances with ‘revolutionary’ bourgeois democrats (without
In 1928 the Comintern had instructed communist parties internationally to seek alliances with liberal bourgeois parties – an anti-Leninist strategy that betrayed the struggle.Contrary to Marx’s call for a ‘continuous revolution’ Koma says, ‘we would oppose resolutely measures which seek to confuse our national democratic tasks with the tasks of a socialist revolution or which commits the national democratic front to the socialist camp’, in the same way we should ‘oppose resolutely measures which commit our country to the capitalist camp’. The question that arises is; how then can he reconcile his argument that the economy of a National Democratic state is an ‘an economy in transition’ , which is ‘basically socialist’, with his other statement that we must ‘oppose resolutely measures which seek to confuse our national democratic tasks with the tasks of a socialist revolution?’ This amounts to erecting a Chinese wall between the democratic and socialist demands of the struggle.