Mehdi Ben Barka & the Tricontinental
In Le Monde Diplomatique
1956 was a vertiginous year: turmoil within the communist bloc, a Franco–British “expedition” in Suez. July 26, president Gamal Abdel Nasser decides to nationalize the Suez Canal and everyone predicts the collapse of Egypt; the opposite happens, along with a surge in independence struggles. The Bandung conference had already predicted in April 1955, this upsurge of national emancipation movements which will indeed occur first in Asia and Africa, then in Latin America , the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and eventually in South-Africa.
The Algerian capital had become the intellectual home for the international revolutionary contestation […]
Breaking up underdevelopment was not only a national project, it was also a concerted action against dependency to the Capitalistic system, the dominant poles of which are various but fundamentally linked to the economic and political hegemony of the United States. “Africa is the Latin America of Europe,” repeatedly said Ben Barka. Federating the Maghreb and Africa was taking an anti-imperialistic dimension. We are here far from national-developementalism which eventually transformed the left -in the context of the emerging states- into [a lifeless] technocratic elite. The Tricontinental movement was independent from the Soviet Union and Ben Barka wanted to establish an autonomous dynamic […]
In Algiers, Ben Barka launched a new publication for information, agitation and reflexion for the anti colonialist commission of the OPSAA (The Organization for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa and Asia established in Accra-Ghana in 1957), titled “la Revue Africaine.” His interest turned then towards Cuba and Latin America. He was particularly impressed by the Cuban [tremendously successful] literacy campaign, dreaming of a similar experience in his own Morocco. He decided to work in establishing a documentation and studies Center on national liberation movements and -convinced as he was by the revolutionary potential amongst third-world youth- he set up the outline for a Tricontinental University […]
American attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro, led the Cuban leader to get closer to Moscow. Followed the “Cuban Missiles” crisis and the cruel US economic blockade over the island. In 1962 Cuba was expelled from the Organization of the American States and Castro summoned “the people of the world to get moving.” That was the precise objective of the Tricontinental. In October 3th, 1965, Ben Barka declared during a media conference, preliminary to the Havana Conference that “both currents of the world revolution will be represented: that stemming from the October revolution (or Bolshevik revolution) and that from the national liberation revolution.”
The profound cause of the abduction and murder of Ben Barka can only be elucidated within this revolutionary and Tricontinental context.
To Be Continued…