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The Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) and State transformation in Liberia

Georges KIEH


The state-building project in Liberia was flawed from its inception in the 1820s. The overarching reason was that the project was grounded in the vagaries of hubris, exclusion and exploitation. Significantly, these flaws found expression in the two major phases of the state-building project: the settler (1847-1926) and peripheral capitalist (1926-present) phases. In the case of the former, the Liberian polity was dominated by the manumitted Africans (and their descendants), who were repatriated from the United States, amid major fissures in the slave-based political economy of the United States. Specifically, using the hegemony over the totality of the Liberian state, the repatriated Africans or “Americo-Liberians” or “settlers as they were variously referred to, excluded the majority members of the various indigenous African ethnic groups that they found occupying the Grain Coast, which the repatriates later named Liberia, from participating in the affairs of the state, including the denial of citizenship (until 1947).


The second phase, the peripheral capitalist one, was framed by the ascendance of class as the major determinant between the individual and the state. However, since ancestral background, the core of the settler phase of state-building had not fully run its course, it co-existed with class. In this vein, as a group, the repatriated Africans constituted the majority of the members of the local ruling class.


Significantly, the state-building project generated multidimensional crises of underdevelopment and their resulting adverse effects on the plight of the members of the subaltern classes and the members of the various African ethnic groups. These conditions were ripe for intervention by a social movement. It was against this background that the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) as organized. MOJA espoused a pan-Africanist orientation and left-wing populism as its ideological compass. Further, using a variety of strategies, including the building of mass political consciousness, MOJA sought to transform the Liberian state for the overall purpose of ending elite pathologies. Against this background, this paper seeks to address several major issues.


First, the paper will examine the travails of the Liberian state. Second, it will interrogate the domestic and global contexts in which MOJA emerge. Third, it will examine MOJA’s toolbox of struggle—ideological orientation, the nature the organization’s social base, and the strategies.  Fourth, the study will probe the “tugs and pulls” of MOJA’s efforts to transform the Liberian state. Fifth, the paper will assess MOJA’s state transformation project. Finally, the study will draw some conclusions.

Nigeria: Marxist Movements under Capitalist Hegemony


In Nigeria today, Marxists are widely seen as the most authentic champions of democracy, as well as fighters for economic freedom and women’s rights. This phenomenon is firmly rooted in the history of the country in the 1960s and 1970s, the decades when Nigerians made Marxism their own as an intellectual method and as praxis.

The Left and the labour Movement in Nigeria: 1963-1978

Baba AYE

Résumé à paraitre prochainement...

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