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      The 1968 years: revolutionary politics in Senegal Translated title: Les « années 68 » et le militantisme politique révolutionnaire au Sénégal



            In tune with the atmosphere of the ‘global 60s’, Senegal experienced a major political crisis in May 1968 that began with a student strike, followed by the workers in a general strike. May ‘68 in Senegal was both global and local, and these aspects are not in opposition as has sometimes been the case in political and academic debates. The article goes beyond the events themselves and attempts to shed light on a period of ‘revolutionary politics’ that was triggered by the revolt of 1968. This has scarcely been documented, but has had a real influence on contemporary Senegalese politics.


            Sensible à la conjoncture des « Global Sixties », le Sénégal a connu une crise politique majeure en mai 1968 qui a débuté par une grève étudiante, suivie par une grève générale de la part des travailleurs. « Mai 68 » au Sénégal fut un événement à la fois global et local, ce qui a conduit à des interprétations opposées dans le champ politique et dans l’univers académique. Cet article ne se focalise pas seulement sur cet événement mais s’efforce aussi de reconstituer la séquence de politisation révolutionnaire, déclenchée par la révolte de 1968. Cette histoire n’a guère été documentée alors qu’elle a exercé une influence importante sur la vie politique sénégalaise contemporaine.

            Main article text

            Introduction: revisiting the issue of 1968 in Senegal

            When looking at the various readings of the crisis of 1968 in Senegal, one sees immediately that it is not just an epistemological issue. During the events, Léopold Sédar Senghor – the country’s first president, dubbed a ‘neo-colonial valet’ by the Union démocratique des étudiants du Senegal (Democratic Union of Senegalese Students, UDES) – replied that the students in Dakar were trying to mimic the students in Paris. This assertion has been taken at face value by the French press, especially by Le Monde, which was more or less a mouthpiece for the Senegalese government during these years (Niang and Scallon-Chouinard 2016), and has sometimes been replicated in the academic literature (see for instance Gauthiez-Rieucau 1985).

            Another device used by the pro-Senghor literature has been to belittle the importance of the students and more generally what we call ‘revolutionary politics’ in 1968 (Zuccarelli 1970, 315) and to state that the urban leftists did not and could not speak in the name of the people (Cruise O’Brien 1984).

            In contrast to these views, and more than 20 years after the events, in 1992 Abdoulaye Bathily published Mai 68 à Dakar ou la révolte universitaire et la démocratie (May 1968 in Dakar: or, university revolt and democracy) (Bathily 1992).1 Bathily was a former student activist who became both an academic (an historian) and a politician – as a leader of the Ligue démocratique (Democratic League) he was elected a member of parliament and appointed minister in several governments. Bathily placed greater emphasis on the national causes of the crisis. He has also suggested that the students’ mobilisation in 1968 was an early form of the democratic wave that stormed Africa’s autocratic regimes in the early 1990s.

            Twenty years on from the publication of Bathily’s book, several historians have shed light on the events of 1968 in Dakar, with a greater focus on the part played by the trade unionists or even Catholic priests (Gueye 2017) and the circulation of activists and revolutionary ideas (Blum 2012; Hendrickson 2013). Moreover, if we do agree that the mainstream literature on 1968 is ‘eurocentric’ and neglects the African continent (Zeilig, in Bhambra and Demir 2009, 140), it is not accurate to ignore the foreign influence on the politicisation of the actors of 1968 in Senegal.

            Even if the events of 1968 in Senegal are now better documented and more linked to the global 60s (Bhambra and Demir 2009; Brown 2012), our purpose here is to go beyond the events and to reconsider 1968 within a political cycle of ‘revolutionary politics’, a point of view that contrasts with those of the various political scientists who have written about Senegal’s democratisation process but have only paid attention to the institutional aspects of this process according to their theoretical background: classic constitutionalism (Hesseling 1985); Gramsci’s passive revolution (Fatton 1986); Tocquevillian politics (Gellar 2005) etc. A major impediment here is the lack of written sources (Hendrickson 2017). This is paradoxical and frustrating, because a lot of leaflets and manifestos were published and disseminated during these years. Unfortunately, the former activists themselves have not kept archives except in very few cases. The reason that is often given is the fear of repression. It is true that in the 1960s and 70s the radical left organisations had to survive in clandestine ways, and it was a legal offence to have revolutionary propaganda in one’s possession; but this does not explain why efforts have not been made to keep the memories alive of this activism in Senegal during the 1968 years and later. In fact, this history has remained obscure for various reasons: foreign academics have ignored these events because they thought they were not significant, whereas for the Senegalese who knew that they were central events, the members of the party-state intelligentsia preferred to silence the role of the radical left because to do otherwise would have been a recognition of its importance in the process of political and democratic development. Furthermore, for those who were former activists and were still in the opposition, self-censorship, for collective or personal reasons, prevailed for many years after the events and after the legalisation in the 1980s of the clandestine left.2

            For this article I interviewed former activists, whether leaders or rank-and-file militants (see Appendix I), in contrast to the historians who have prioritised intelligence and diplomatic archives (Gueye 2017). Such methods carry certain inconveniences: the narratives are subjective, partial or even contain errors in the date of the events.3 But the data collected in these interviews have proved valuable, even irreplaceable, and the more interviews that are collected, the less the risk of being misled. Moreover, the basic aim of my research was not focused on the history of events. It was to investigate activist ‘careers’ and ‘networks’. From there, I tried to reconstruct the political history of the underground left in Senegal, which has remained a largely untold story (see Appendix II, Table 3 for information on many of the organisations in the article). It is only in recent years that the history of the radical left has started to resurface, especially that of the Parti africain de l’indépendance (African Independence Party, PAI) (Camara 2013; Niang 2014; Bianchini 2016).

            I set out by looking at the roots of revolutionary politics in Senegal before 1968. I then focus briefly on the essential features of the events: the earthquake of 1968, but also the earlier events of 1966 and the aftershocks of 1969, 1971 and 1973. Finally, and most importantly, my aim is to sketch out the untold history of the radical left in the 1970s in the immediate aftermath of 1968 in Senegal. In a nutshell, my conclusion will be that, if the radical left in Senegal was not able to overthrow Senghor’s regime through a revolutionary process, it was, at least for a decade, its principal adversary, forcing it to move from authoritarian rule to an open political system.

            Revolutionary politics in general and in Senegalese history

            Some preliminary semantic clarifications

            It may be useful to make a distinction between two terms: ‘contentious politics’ and ‘revolutionary politics’. The former refers to a large number of situations where issues of conflict, collective action and power relations are intertwined: in practice, a non-violent or a corporatist social movement is included in this concept as well as a revolution or a civil war (Tilly and Tarrow 2006). The latter term is more restrictive, and more or less included in contentious politics, but it is difficult to find a clear delimitation of what can be considered as revolutionary politics. Talking about revolutionary politics does not mean that a complete revolutionary process has effectively occurred, as is the case in some classic books on the sociology of revolution (see, for instance, Skocpol 1979). It refers to a political climate where the aim to radically change society through different means, whether legal or illegal, is relatively widespread and permeates political culture. Even if it is important for the actors engaged in the struggle, the issue of political power – in practice, the fall of the government – is not the only objective, so that, in various aspects (industrial relations, family ties, religion, arts etc.), the established order is challenged.

            Another brief and important remark: the scope of this study is not limited to the year 1968. It takes as its starting point 1966, the year when the students’ movement was able to resurface after the ban on the Union générale des étudiants de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (General Union of West African Students, UGEAO) (Bianchini 2018), and continues up to 1980 when Senghor resigned and was replaced by Abdou Diouf. However, in a more restrictive sense, the ‘street-fighting years’ lasted from 1968 up to 1973–74.

            The historical roots of ‘contentious politics’ and ‘revolutionary politics’: the debate over independence and the experience of the PAI

            It is difficult to trace the source of revolutionary politics in Senegal. If we leave aside the narratives of colonial resistance, we have to bear in mind the epic figure of Lamine Senghor (1889–1927) among other pan-Negro activists who were also in contact with the Communist international movement (Murphy 2015). However, if the figure of Lamine Senghor was rediscovered only in the 1970s by the New Left intelligentsia in Senegal, one cannot observe a direct legacy from these 1920s forerunners to the activism of the 1960s and the 1970s.

            A Western-style democracy has existed in Senegal since the end of the 19th century among the Quatre communes where métis (‘Creole’ or mixed-race) or black people were citizens under French law and the election of Blaise Diagne was a landmark event ushering in the ‘beginning of African politics’ (Wesley Johnson 1966). However, the important milestone in the history of radical politics was the creation of the Parti africain de l’indépendance (African Independence Party, PAI) in 1957. In its manifesto published in Thiès on 15 September, the PAI advocated for ‘immediate independence’ and ‘scientific socialism’. The party grew rapidly but in 1960 was banned after the ‘incidents’ that occurred in the northern city of Saint Louis when the PAI challenged the ruling party, the Union progressiste sénégalaise (Senegalese Progressive Union, UPS) in the local elections. Another party, Parti du regroupement africain (African Reunion Party, PRA), appeared on the left of the UPS in 1958. Nonetheless, in contrast to the PAI, the PRA was not banned in 1960, although its leader, Abdoulaye Ly, was sent to jail after the violently disputed elections and the riots of the Allées du Centenaire in 1963. Another crisis in this period was the conflict between the head of state, Senghor, and his prime minister, Mamadou Dia. Dia believed in a socialist development strategy based on peasant cooperatives. Accused of attempting a coup, he was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment in a remote jail in Kedougou in eastern Senegal. During the first decades of independence, the PAI operated in secret. Its leader, Majhemout Diop, spent the period in exile in Mali and then in Algeria. The party was in crisis during these years, especially after trying and failing to launch a guerrilla war in eastern Senegal (Camara 2013). These plans turned into a fiasco and there was a full-scale crackdown on the party: many PAI members or sympathisers were arrested and in many cases tortured. In 1967, a ‘correctional conference’ decided to exclude Majhemout Diop from the party. Although this was the main internal crisis for the party, it was not the only one: Babacar Niang, deputy leader of the party, was labelled ‘anti-party’ and excluded in 1963; and in 1965 a pro-Maoist tendency split from the PAI to launch the Parti communiste sénégalais (Senegalese Communist Party, PCS) (Bianchini 2016).

            The street-fighting years: 1968 and the prospect of the ‘final assault’

            The prologue of 1966, the major crisis in 1968 and the remake in 1969

            In 1966, the students left the campus to demonstrate against the coup that ousted Kwame Nkrumah from power in Ghana (Thioub 1992). In the same year, the government had compelled the PRA to merge with the UPS in exchange for three seats in the government. The trade unions also were unified within a single confederation, the Union nationale des travailleurs du Sénégal (National Union of Workers of Senegal, UNTS). As the one-party state was in existence, in all but name, the dynamic of student mobilisation and the World Festival of Black Arts urged the regime to legalise the UDES and the Union des étudiants de Dakar (Dakar Students’ Union, UED), whereas during the first years of independence, the government had silenced the radical UGEAO.

            Yet dissatisfaction was growing in the country: the price of peanuts (groundnuts), the main crop in Senegal, fell between 1966 and 1968, resulting in what is known as the malaise paysan.4 Urban workers were also complaining about the stagnation of purchasing power and began to raise their demands for higher wages.

            The students’ strike started in 1968 when the government announced a reform of the grant system that substantially reduced – by 50% – the level of grants available to the next generations of students. Since the beginning of the year, the UDES had started to campaign against government policies. Interestingly, another general claim that united the student body was the Africanisation of the University of Dakar. On 18 May, students organised a one-day warning strike. By 26 May, since the problem remained unsolved, a general strike was declared (Bathily 1992, 59–65). On 27 May, the movement gained breadth as university students had been joined during the previous days by secondary school students who went on strike in solidarity but also made their own demands. They flocked to the campus and attended the meetings on the campus that were held each day during the events. On 28 May Senghor sent a message to the students through the Council of the University: the UED and the UDES were asked to make a statement confirming that the movement was only ‘corporatist’ and that the aim of the students was not to overthrow the government (UED 1968, 12–13). The student leaders refused to make these assurances. Then, on 29 May, the police stormed the campus in Dakar. A student, Solomon Khoury, was killed, but the rumour spread that the death toll was even higher. The students who were in their rooms were violently evicted and sent to a military camp (Camp Archinard, named after a French colonial conqueror) in Ouakam, a neighbourhood of the city. There, they were organised into Senegalese university students, who remained in the camp, and non-Senegalese, who were deported to their home countries.

            When they learnt what had happened on the campus, the trade unionists decided to call a solidarity strike. The following day, when they were having a meeting at the Labour Exchange, the UNTS leaders were arrested and sent to the north of the country, to another military camp. The government had chosen this showdown with the workers, just as it had with the students. However, the situation was deteriorating rapidly: riots broke out in various areas of Dakar. The one-party state now appeared as a giant with feet of clay. The radio station and newspaper Dakar-Matin were vocal in their denunciation of this ‘subversion’ and ‘foreign plot’, and the party structures sent messages of support to the government, but in the streets, at least in Dakar, the rebellious youth were running the show. The government then had to ask the army to intervene. It is even reported that Senghor said to General Jean Alfred Diallo, the head of the army, that he could seize power (Lo 1987) – but Diallo declined the offer.5 French troops stationed in Dakar were also on the alert. Nor was the crisis over. To find a way out, the government had to free the union leaders and negotiate with them. These negotiations took place between 8 and 12 June. The agreement was signed on 13 June: among various decisions, the government agreed to increase the minimum wage by 15% and to reduce the salaries of members of parliament. After the agreement with the workers, the conflict with the students was still unresolved. Senghor was reluctant to negotiate with them and to reopen the university, with the ruling party hesitating between a more moderate approach and a hard line. In an irony of history, the former PRA leaders appeared to be among the hardliners, at least in an opinion expressed by the UDES in a leaflet written at the end of August (Ly 1992, 434–435). Nevertheless, in September the government made contact with the student leaders and an agreement was reached: the university would reopen without any exclusions, and the scholarships would be entirely paid for the academic year 1967–68; the reform of the university was also scheduled according to the principle of Africanisation as promoted by the students (Bathily 2018; Gueye 2017).

            For the students, it was only a half victory: in ‘corporatist’ terms, the scholarship system would be less generous for the next generations of students. More important, however, was the political aspect: the government had been shaken but not overthrown. The one-party state could not survive without the support of the Muslim brotherhoods,6 the army and, more or less outright, the French state. Furthermore, the idea that the PAI had failed to fulfil its role as a revolutionary party started to spread among the most radically politicised students. For the radical left, the project to overthrow the neo-colonial regime had become an immediate goal: the events of 1968 in Senegal were still in the hearts and minds of the activists, and moreover elsewhere in the world, revolution was in the air.

            The following year, the students found another opportunity to challenge the government. A student strike started in March at the Ecole nationale des cadres ruraux in Bambey. The UDES and the secondary school students’ coordination body called a strike in solidarity. Later in June some trade unions, especially the bank workers, went on strike. However, the government was much more prepared to deal with the crisis, and the strike was less successful than that of the previous year. The government decided to set up another organisation, the Confédération nationale des travailleurs du Sénégal (National Confederation of Workers of Senegal, CNTS) to replace the rebellious UNTS where former members of the PRA and members of the clandestine PAI had influence among the union cadres. The new motto was participation responsable (responsible participation) and the confederation was tightly linked to – even integrated into – the ruling party.

            In 1970, the government launched the reform of the university, following the ideas of Africanisation; but in reality it was mainly a negotiation between the French and the Senegalese state (Bailleul 1984). In 1971, students went on strike to protest against the institution of ‘part-exams’ – before the final examination at the end of the year – which they feared would have had a demobilising effect on the student body. In reaction, the government wielded a big stick: the UED and UDES were banned, and 18 student leaders were arrested and sent to serve in the army. In 1973, when the students again attempted to set up a new organisation, the Association générale des étudiants du Sénégal (General Association of Senegalese Students, AGES), the government maintained its same authoritarian attitude.

            The immediate aftermath of 1968: the birth of the New Left with the Mouvement de la jeunesse marxiste-léniniste

            In 1969, even if the mobilisation was less massive in comparison to the previous year, it was during this year that a burgeoning New Left appeared on the left flank of the PAI. The origins of this radicalisation were various: there was the ideological influence of the tiny PCS, whose leader Samba Ndiaye, a sociologist reputed to have impressive intellectual abilities, was also known to have been the youngest signatory of the PAI Manifesto in 1957, then becoming deputy president of the Fédération des étudiants d’Afrique noire (Federation of Black African Students, FEANF), before taking the leadership of the PCS. Invited in the early 1960s to China, Ndiaye had become a staunch supporter of Mao Zedong. The Cultural Revolution in China had then caught the attention and support of some of the most politicised students. There was also, in the same ideological arena, the influence of students in France, such as Landing Savané, who had contacts with Maoists groups, for example the Union des jeunesses communistes marxistes-léninistes (Union of Communist Marxist-Leninist Youth, UJCML) established by some students who had been expelled in 1966 from the Union des étudiants communistes (Union of Communist Students, UEC). There were also other ideological influences in this process of radicalisation, such as the Black Panthers, Frantz Fanon or Che Guevara. Another element to mention in this process is the existence of ‘clubs’ with evocative names like Lat Jor,7 David Diop8 or Fanon. These clubs organised recreational and cultural activities (such as theatres, film clubs, poetry readings etc.).

            We were the pioneers with our three clubs … The Fanon club at home, the Lat Dior club at O. and the David Diop club at W. And of course we put on plays, we played … I can remember when we put on The wretched of the earth. A friend ended up in Sorano, A. D., he did it … And it was in this play that he had staged, when I read The wretched of the earth, that I discovered the tragedy of Thiaroye … Thiaroye’s tragedy, because in The wretched of the earth, Fanon has used Keita Fodeba’s play Aube africaine. And Fodeba’s play Aube africaine is about Thiaroye. And I was playing myself. The only time I had ever acted was in this play by Keita Fodeba. ‘It was the dawn, fight of day and night’, etc. (Interview in July 2016 with a former cultural club leader who is now a well-known writer)

            But in the aftermath of 1968, when culture turned still more political, there were some grassroots associations or circles linked to clandestine Communist cells. It was from these circles that the clandestine cells recruited the more radical elements.9

            A generational element seems important to note in the wake of the New Left. Most of the activists that went on to form the clandestine Mouvement de la jeunesse marxiste-léniniste (Marxist-Leninist Youth Movement, MJML) at the end of the year were involved in the secondary schools’ coordinating body that used to meet at the university and became agitators during the strike of 1969, and many of these had been expelled from their schools. Besides, some student leaders were also part of this experience: Landing Savané who was back from France after being the leader of the Association des étudiants sénégalais en France (Association of Senegalese Students in France, AESF); Omar Blondin Diop,10 who as a former student at the Ecole normale supérieure had been involved in May 1968 in France, especially the Mouvement du 22 mars with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who was close to him;11 or even Jo Ouakam, who was not yet known as a painter. The MJML activity started in Dakar with several cells organised in various districts of the town and it spread later to other cities like Saint Louis, Thiès and Kaolack. Around the clandestine cells there were circles where sympathisers were invited to study canonical literature by authors such as Marx, Engels and Lenin, as well as Fanon and Cabral. The activities were not only ‘serious’ and ‘intellectual’, but activists also organised what they called bals rouges (red dances) with youngsters dancing to free jazz or African music such as Bembeya Jazz from Guinea. Most of the recruits were students, but there were also other young people from different social backgrounds.12

            The fault-lines and the split of the MJML

            Within a year, the two main figureheads of the MJML (Landing Savané and Omar Blondin Diop), who had come from France to build a revolutionary organisation in their home country, were now at odds. Omar Blondin Diop, embodying the spirit of the spontaneous ‘22 mars’ movement, returned to France, whereas his brothers and a few other comrades gathered in a group called the Incendiaires (arsonists) or the ‘Blondinists’ in reference to Omar and his brothers.13 On 15 January 1971, they set fire to the French Cultural Centre and the Ministry of Public Works. For several weeks, the Senegalese police were on the look-out for the group; linked to this, they decided to put UNTS trade unionists such as Iba Der Thiam in jail, even though he had no connection with the Incendiaires. After that, when the group decided to attack the presidential motorcade in February during the visit of the French head of state, Georges Pompidou, most of them were arrested. In jail, the activists carried on their political work and for this reason the administration decided to withdraw them from Rebeuss, the prison, where they had made contacts with ordinary prisoners. However, their transfer was not without problems for the administration, because it provoked a mutiny in the prison which is still remembered:

            They had kept us away in the ‘political’ wing, the old library. But we had access to the area where the common-law prisoners were. And that’s where we did the stuff. And it caused a lot of excitement … in the slammer! So they decided to put an end to it. And the day they decided to transfer us, they didn’t let out the detainees for their break. And it was getting worse … 

            [ … ]

            [The inmates] took control of the prison for three hours … . as a result of this attack against us! So there! … ! It was the day Senghor relieved Cissé Dia of his position as Minister of the Interior and appointed Jean Collin. (Interview in October 2014 with a former member of the Incendiaires)

            At that point, Omar Blondin Diop, now in France, decided to take action to organise the escape of members of the group. After being trained with comrades in a Palestinian camp, he flew to Mali where he made contacts in order to organise the operation, only to be arrested by the Malian police and extradited to Senegal. One year later, in 1973, on 11 May, news of his death in the prison on the island of Gorée triggered violent demonstrations and put the Senegalese state and more personally Senghor on the defensive. A White Paper was published to deny the accusations of ordering the murder of Omar Blondin Diop.

            Meanwhile, even after Omar Blondin left the MJML, a dividing line appeared between the two wings: one of these was the tendency led by Landing Savané which became known as ‘Enquête-Recherches-Organisation’ (Investigation-Research-Organisation), in reference to the report written by Mao Zedong about the peasantry in Hunan Province, which argued for the building of a revolutionary organisation step by step; the other was the tendency led by Mamadou ‘Mao’ Wane, which was more inclined to immediate action and a showdown in order to provoke a radicalisation within society. The split occurred in a meeting in 1972 held in Malika, a suburb of Dakar:

            They were asked to bring forward a motion to define the line. They prepared their motion, their line … They called it ‘Enquête-Recherche-Organisation’ [ … ]. We said, ‘No, we must give priority to the struggle and organisation, the development of the organisation through the struggle.’ And I presented a motion to which the others agreed, in which I denounced the beginning of a bureaucratisation of the movement … Because if you take a break, saying ‘We’re going into hibernation, we’re doing surveys, things like that, research and organisation … It is still a process, a process … a shift to the right of the organisation’, etc. And we went to the congress in Malika, over there at the beach. We read out our own motion and voted. They were a minority. Their motion received only four or five votes, their group only … So that’s where we thought they would submit to the majority, but then they came out, they created Xare bi [The struggle]. And it was Xare bi after that that led to AJ. (Interview in June 2017 with a former member of MJML and then MPMLS)

            The ‘spontaneist’ tendency was to become the Mouvement populaire marxiste-léniniste du Sénégal (Senegalese Marxist-Leninist People’s Movement, MPMLS). When the split occurred, they outnumbered the other group led by Landing Savané, but the next year, they went on to launch a new clandestine organisation, Réenu Réew (Nation’s Roots) which became the most proactive force among the clandestine leftist groups. They started to build their organisation and found support among their colleagues in workplaces, for instance the national statistical service where Landing Savané worked. Besides, they tried (as did the MPMLS) to make contacts and to establish the organisation among workers in factories or in public services such as the national railway company or in the countryside among the peasantry.

            From this, in 1974 the Marxist-Leninist nucleus (Réenu Réew) launched a ‘patriotic’ organisation, And Jëf (To Act Together, AJ)/Xare bi (The Struggle). It is probably because it was the most developed organisation among the radical left that the police targeted them. In 1975, several leading members of AJ, including Landing Savané, were arrested after the police seized the journal Xare bi, which was distributed in secret. Afterwards, they were sentenced to prison and remained in jail for about one year.

            Other splits and newcomers in the leftist political arena

            Within the militants of the PAI, the aftermath of 1968 had also a divisive effect. Some of the student leaders in 1968 such as Mbaye Diack or Moussa Kane and trade unionists like Babacar Sane or Mbaba Guisse started to criticise the leadership of the organisation. During a clandestine conference of the party held in Thiès in 1972, they made their voices heard, and the dispute ended with a split that gave birth in 1974 to a new organisation, the Ligue démocratique. The ideological debate, though obscure, was over the process of revolution. The dissidents expressed a leftist critique of the immobility of the leadership, but it is also said that the Ligue démocratique was the consequence of a generational phenomenon in the aftermath of 1968. Both organisations were pro-USSR, and there was competition between them and the various international organisations linked to the Eastern bloc. The splintering of the PAI was to become more dramatic still in 1976 when the exiled leader, Majhemout Diop, returned to Senegal and decided to play the ‘Senghorian game’ of limited multi-partyism, so that another PAI – ‘PAI-légal’ – came into existence on the Senegalese political scene and operated openly.14

            At the same time, other leftist groups were also burgeoning. In connection with the IVth International, the Groupe des ouvriers revolutionnaires (Revolutionary Workers’ Group, GOR) was created in 1973. The Trotskyist movement in Senegal had its origins among students and immigrant activists in France. However, if the GOR recruited members and sympathisers among students and workers in Senegal during the 1970s, they carried out more underground activities than the other groups, especially the Maoists. Nowadays, several figureheads of civil society, and even of the mainstream political scene, have been former Trotskyists. However, they have been less influential and less idiosyncratic in their conception of revolutionary politics in Senegal. They have remained more dependent on the support – and indeed the control – of their French comrades of the Ligue communiste (Communist League) and the United Secretariat of the Fourth International; above all, they have not made efforts to build a national revolutionary culture as the Maoists attempted to do. By the end of the 1970s, the Trotskyists were to split into two major groups: one remained close to the Fourth International and the French Ligue communiste, and later became the Organisation socialiste des travailleurs (Socialist Workers’ Organisation, OST); whereas in 1976 another group sided with the French Lambertists of the Organisation communiste internationaliste (International Communist Organisation, OCI) and became the Ligue communiste des travailleurs (Communist League of Workers, LCT).

            The student movement, especially the FEANF, which during the 1960s and the 1970s, was a battlefield for Marxist groups (including pro-Soviets, Maoists, Trotskyists, and even at the end of the decade Hoxhaists). During these years, dozens of youngsters left school or university and embraced activism as a full-time job following the Leninist figure of the professional revolutionary. This had different results. It developed a specific political culture among these generations with a mix of Marxism and pan-Africanism, but it also had a divisive influence on social movements and the left in general.

            The loss of momentum in revolutionary politics: the quest for alternative strategies

            The activism of the Maoists in the late 1970s

            In 1975, most of the leadership of AJ had been arrested. However, the organisation survived because it was already entrenched in the country. The arrests incited AJ to reconsider its activism (‘Mouvement de bilan critique et rectification’ – being a ‘movement of critical assessment and correction’), an idea that was developed in order to reach a more popular audience. The Maoists sent some of their ‘professional revolutionaries’ to implant underground cells in rural villages where they had made contacts; the Région du fleuve was the main political base where AJ developed this strategy. But following this orientation (known as MBCR), several grassroot organisations were also set up. One of these was the Mouvement sport-progrès (Sports and Progress Movement) led by Jo Diop, a long-time activist and well-known football coach who promoted an alternative definition of ‘sports activities’. These had also played a role in the burgeoning Associations sportives et culturelles (Sporting and Cultural Associations, ASC) where young people gathered to organise football competitions during the rainy season (navétanes) (Mbaye 2017). But the most original initiative of the Maoists was the Front culturel sénégalais (Senegalese Cultural Front) which aimed to promote national culture and national languages. A manifesto and a poetry collection15 were disseminated in 1977. According to the slogan of the Révolution nationale démocratique et populaire (National Democratic and Popular Revolution, RNDP), the Senegalese Maoists tried to develop a revolutionary version of national culture with songs in local languages (Wane 2014). They promoted forgotten anti-colonialist figures such as Lamine Senghor and Aline Sittoé Diatta. In addition, a theatre troupe formed by AJ activists was named after the latter – she was accused of inciting rebellion and had been removed from her village in January 1943 and finally disappeared after being sent to Timbuktu (Toliver-Diallo 2005). At the same time, the Jeunesse ouvrière libre (Free Working-Class Youth, JOL) was an organisation where the Maoists had some influence among younger workers. In the same vein, Maoists activists in various companies or parastatals were influential in the strikes during the late 1970s, for instance in the railways, the sugar industry and the phosphates mining company (Cissokho, in CNP 2013; Mbodje, also in CNP 2013). During these years, AJ had a strong influence over the students, especially secondary school students. The creation of the Union nationale patriotique des étudiants du Senegal (National Patriotic Union of Senegalese Students, UNAPES) in 1979 reflected this growing influence.

            Initially developed as part of a revolutionary strategy against the ‘neo-colonial’ state, the MBCR had further consequences for the emergence of a ‘civil society’.

            The MBCR – as I was saying – one of its aspects was to say, ‘Well, we have to support the populations in their problems.’ The problems at that time were drought, relief etc. etc. etc. And we came to say, ‘OK that’s good, that’s not enough.’ Instead of giving them help, you have to teach them to fish. That’s it, etc. etc. etc. So we launched this movement … And we launched the NGO coordination body that became CONGAD [Coordination des organisations non-gouvernementales d’appui au développement – Development NGO Support Group set up in 1982], which we led [ … ]. It was a story of Maoists, as they used to say, until maybe a few years ago, who started leaving AJ’s hands and then, well, falling into other hands. (Interview in January 2018 with a former member of MJML and then AJ)

            Political reconstruction of an anti-neo-colonial left and the battle for a fully fledged multi-party system

            The restricted multi-party system was strongly rejected by leftist organisations, which mostly remained outside this institutional framework. The legal PAI, with Majhemout Diop, attracted an extremely limited audience. Most of the PAI members held him responsible for the crisis of the party in the 1960s and also because of his return to Senegal in 1976 following a gentlemen’s agreement with Senghor.

            In 1976, under the magisterium of Cheikh Anta Diop, the celebrated pan-Africanist intellectual and long-standing opponent to Senghor, a new organisation was launched: the Rassemblement national démocratique (National Democratic Rally, RND). It was initially intended to gather all shades of the left. It was joined by former leaders of the PAI, including Babacar Niang. Among the Maoists activists, a large part of the ‘spontaneist’ MPMLS joined them. They had at least two common causes: the struggle for cultural decolonisation and activism directed at the rural masses. The RND was therefore involved in the attempt to build a trade union to defend their interests, which resulted in the establishment of the Syndicat des cultivateurs, maraîchers et éleveurs du Sénégal (Union of Farmers, Vegetable Growers and Breeders, RND) (RND 1999, 34–35). The social basis of the RND was restricted, by and large, to intellectuals and the petty bourgeoisie frustrated by the neo-colonial regime. In 1977, a petition signed by hundreds of Senegalese intellectuals was published in the French newspaper, Le Monde (September 16, 1977). It called for the legalisation of the RND and the promotion of an entirely free multi-party system. This claim emerged then as the battle-cry for the left and the RND was the loudest of the voices in those years. However, other Marxist parties had their own agenda. For instance, certain leaders of PAI-Sénégal launched a magazine, And Sopi, in 1979 with the former prime minister Mamadou Dia; it played a pioneering role in the emergence of an independent press after the long period of party-state censorship.

            The left-wing militants were also involved in trade unions. The most significant event was in 1976 – the revival of independent trade unionism with the Syndicat unique et démocratique des enseignants du Sénégal (Democratic Single Union of Senegalese Teachers, SUDES). Members of PAI-Sénégal and Ligue démocratique were prominent among leadership positions. The increasing success of SUDES, which brought together the majority of teachers from primary to higher education, culminated in a strike in 1980 that challenged the ‘Senghorian’ settlement. The Maoists were less inclined to develop new independent trade unions: however, they had an important rank-and-file influence and had a political stronghold, for instance, in ONCAD, the National Office for Cooperation and Development Assistance, where a major struggle occurred in 1980 when the government decided to close this parastatal.

            We can say that the ‘Senghorian regime’ was weakened by the social struggles inspired by the left in the aftermath of May 1968. During the late 1970s, the radical left had managed to redefine its strategies in order to expand the limits of the political framework that was still firmly authoritarian. During these years, the activists from 1968 had been relatively successful in waging different struggles against the regime and in organising countervailing powers. In that sense, the clandestine radical left was effectively the main opponent in comparison to the legal opposition who accepted to play Senghor’s game. In this sense also, it was the only force to drive the political system into full multi-partyism, which took place after the end of Senghor’s reign.

            Two major shortcomings remained for the post-68 left: numerous attempts were made to bridge the gap between urban educated activists and the masses, and also to unite the revolutionary forces that had emerged from the uprising in 1968, but this remained largely a work in progress. Besides, during the 1970s, revolutionary politics had steadily changed to more usual contentious politics, especially with the emphasis on the issue of legalisation of the left-wing parties and on participation in the elections. This evolution would become even more apparent when the new head of state, Abdou Diouf – who succeeded Senghor after his resignation in December 1980 – decided to move to an unrestricted multi-party system.16

            Epilogue and conclusion: the twilight hours of revolutionary politics and the memory of 1968 in Senegal

            In 1981, all the left-wing parties, representing various versions of socialism and Marxism-Leninism, were legalised, except for a pro-Albanian group called Ferñent (‘Spark’), even though the revolutionary goals of these parties were still officially maintained in their programmes or in their titles. For instance, in 1982, at its first conference, AJ was subtitled Mouvement révolutionnaire pour la démocratie nouvelle (Revolutionary Movement for New Democracy, MRDN). Even if – as was the case for AJ – a clandestine and hard-line Marxist-Leninist organisation was maintained behind the legal organisation, the institutionalised electoral game started to replace the innovative attempts to build a counter-hegemonic project. In fact, the decade was the beginning of political decline for the Senegalese revolutionary left (Bianchini 2017). On the electoral front, Abdoulaye Wade and his Parti démocratique sénégalais (Senegalese Democratic Party, PDS) were already one step ahead. In elections in 1983, the left could not match the leader of PDS. Certain Marxist parties supported Mamadou Dia’s candidature and some others Majhemout Diop’s, but without any success. Just before the elections, the RND descended into crisis and its deputy secretary Babacar Niang decided to split and to launch a new party, the Parti de la liberation du peuple (Party for the Liberation of the People, PLP). The division of the Marxist left culminated in the crisis that broke out within SUDES, when the government appointed former trade union leader Iba Der Thiam to the post of minister of education. The union split into two factions: one was led by PIT (formerly PAI-Sénégal) and the RND. This faction was ready to compromise with Iba Der Thiam, in contrast to the faction led by the Ligue démocratique (LD), which maintained an oppositional line to the government. After several months of deadlock, SUDES split into two parts. Even the student movement, which remained engaged in militant struggle, such as the long strike of 1984, experienced crippling rivalries. The three ‘national unions’ were in fact transmission belts of all left-wing organisations, including AJ, LD and PIT. In 1988, the presidential elections were highly disputed, and riots erupted when Abdou Diouf was declared the official winner. Twenty years after 1968, this was a turning point because it was Wade, a bourgeois political figure, with his motto of sopi (change) who captured the imagination of rebellious crowds. Henceforth, the new generations turned away from the legacy of 1968.

            Here lies a major paradox in contemporary Senegalese politics: whereas the struggles of the left in the aftermath of 1968 incited, not to say compelled, the Senegalese government to shift from a one-party state to a multi-party system – initially, with Senghor’s limit of four opposition parties and then unlimited under Diouf – the left did not take advantage of the new situation. In fact, in the two last decades, most of the post-68 left (or at least some of its leaders) ‘lost their soul’ and joined ideologically opposed forces, such as the neoliberal PDS with Abdoulaye Wade or the Alliance pour la République (Alliance for the Republic, APR, the current governing party), with Macky Sall.

            A more cynical version of the history of the left could be plausible (Kah 2016): that the Marxist left has been politically on the wane since the 1980s and is now scattered more by personal rivalries than by ideological cleavages. Another paradox lies in the fact that many former Marxist activists, whether Maoists or Trotskyists, are to be found in the corridors of power. They have successfully shifted from revolutionary politics to the exercise of state power. Of course, this is not peculiar to Senegal and the same pattern can be found in France or in many other countries where former activists have converted their ‘militant capital’ into the skills needed for a shrewd politician. However, what makes a difference in ‘neo-colonial’ Senegal is that the ruling class is less established (or implanted) than in many northern countries. The current divisions in the political arena are not limited to the far left but have affected all the parties, including the former ruling parties, the Parti socialiste (which replaced the former UPS in 1974) or PDS. In these conditions, intense volatility in the political scene contrasts with the reproduction of the ruling class in the well-run political machinery of northern polities.

            Nevertheless, memories of the left have resurfaced over the past decade. In 2007, the 50th anniversary of the PAI Manifesto and, the following year, the 40th anniversary of May 1968, were widely celebrated. Since then, commemorative activities have continued. By contrast, the commemorations of May 1968 in France have downplayed the socio-political dimensions of the event, especially the role of the working class, and tend to interpret events through a culturalist and individualistic version of the history (Ross 2002; Gobille 2008). In Senegal anniversaries have been an opportunity for political activists from the PAI or the New Left to gather and make their voices heard. What is at stake is the ‘transmission’ of a revolutionary experience to a younger generation in a context where politics seems to be limited to the ballot box and to leadership struggles between politicians. While the generations of the 1960s and the 1970s were highly politicised, the next generations, from the ‘sopi’ generation to the Y’en a marre (fed-up) activists, have appeared relatively depoliticised in a radical sense. These commemorative activities are also intertwined with other significant processes, including attempts to refound the left in Senegal – from the Mouvement pour les assises de la gauche (Movement for the Assemblies of the Left) in 2004 to the Confédération des forces de gauche (Confederation of Forces of the Left) in recent years (Bougouma 2013). However, this process is long and tortuous because of the historical fault-lines and above all the cleavages: on one side is a pro-government left that is now integrated in the mainstream, such as the PDS (in power from 2000 to 2012), and since 2012, the APR. On the other side are the activists who have organised commemorative activities, and who remain broadly faithful to the spirit of the 1968 years.



            A revised edition was issued for the 50th anniversary of May 1968 (Bathily 2018).


            See, for instance, Diop (2002, 65) for insightful comment on the gap in Senegalese historiography regarding the Parti africain de l’indépendance, due to a ‘political culture of clandestinity’ and a prevailing ‘law of silence’ even several decades after this period.


            The author based this article on 22 life-story interviews with former militants; and five interviews with witnesses/analysts of the 1970s and the political history of the left in Senegal (see Appendix I, Table 1 and Table 2 for information about the interviewees and further information about the paper, its aims and methodological approach). The author also visited the French diplomatic archives in Nantes and La Courneuve in France in July 2018.


            The expression of malaise paysan (peasant unrest) refers to the crisis in the groundnut economy during the late 1960s: peasants indebted to government agencies such as the Office national de coopération et d’assistance au développement (National Office for Cooperation and Development Assistance, ONCAD) refused to pay these debts and turned away from official marketing channels (Casswell 1984). Therefore, the term of ‘unrest’ here must be understood as an ‘exit option’ rather than openly voicing disagreement.


            The decisive role of the army under Jean Alfred Diallo is now clearly established, with the publication of a memo from Diallo in which he asked Senghor to accept a compromise with the trade unionists (Bathily 2018).


            Islam in Senegal is overwhelmingly organised within the Sufi brotherhoods as the Tijanis and the Murids, with a personal connection between the marabout and his disciple (talibe).


            Lat Jor was the last damel (king) of Cayor. He fought against the colonial troops of Faidherbe but was defeated and killed in 1886. Along with other figureheads such as Alboury Ndiaye, Lat Jor epitomises the anticolonial resistance from the Wolof kingdoms.


            David Diop (1927–1960) was Senegalese and was born in France in Bordeaux. He is well known for his poems (Coups de pilon, 1956) but was also a member of the Parti africain de l’indépendance (PAI) who went to Guinea in 1958 in solidarity with the new independent state established against the French commonwealth (Communauté franco-africaine).


            A detailed account of this two-tier process can be found within the novel Les sanglots de l’espoir (The sobs of hope): the political organisation is named after Fanon’s book The wretched of the earth and the name of the grassroots organisation is the Artistic, Literary and Cultural Centre of the River Region (Foyer artistique littéraire et culturel du fleuve) (Dia 1987).


            Omar Blondin Diop also took part in Jean-Luc Godard’s film La Chinoise in 1967. An exhibition in Centre Beaubourg in Paris and a documentary by Vincent Messeen have been dedicated to him (Meessen 2018).


            Daniel Cohn-Bendit organised an anti-Senghor demonstration in Germany when the Senegalese president was invited to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 1969 (Blum 2012, 173).


            During the same period, another organisation, the Mouvement démocratique de la Jeunesse du Sénégal (Democratic Movement of Senegalese Youth) was launched in March 1970 (MDJS 1970). Most of its leadership were former student activists, as was its president Abdoulaye Bathily, a PAI member who took part in the negotiations between the UDES and the Senegalese government in September 1968. The idea was to bring youth – students and workers alike – together, but the movement has not existed for a long time.


            The experience of the Incendiaires has been recounted in a leaflet ‘Lettre de Dakar’ inspired by ‘situationists’ (Libre association d’individus libres 1978), though it is not really accurate to consider the Blondinist group as situationists.


            The other members of PAI remained in hiding and their party was known as ‘PAI-Senegal’ until 1981, when it was made legal under the name of Parti de l’indépendance et du travail (Independence and Labour Party, PIT).


            Téerébtánnu taalifu xare Senegaal : Ferñent mën na taalug daay (2016 [1977]), which means ‘Collection of Senegalese struggle poems: a spark can start a prairie fire’.


            These ‘post-68’ aspects are more developed in a forthcoming article, ‘1968 au Sénégal : un héritage politique en perspective’, based on my paper presented at a workshop in Bayreuth (Bianchini 2017), whereas this article focuses on the political history of the radical left in Senegal during the decade after 1968.

            Disclosure statement

            No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

            Note on contributor

            Pascal Bianchini holds a PhD in Sociology (Paris VII, 1997). He has recently published Scolarisation, mobilité sociale et genèse d'une société de classes au Burkina Faso (2018, L’Harmattan). His research interests include educational policies but also social movements and revolutionary left organisations in Africa.


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            Appendix I. Information about interviewees.

            Table 1.
            Life-story interviews (22).
            Position as social actor in 1968Political evolution during the 1970s
            Secondary school studentMJML, MPMLS, AJ
            University student‘Démocrat’, RND
            Technical workerGOR, OST
            Secondary school studentMJML, MPMLS, RND
            University studentPAI, LD
            University studentPAI, LD
            Worker (not regular)PCS, AJ
            Secondary school studentMJML, MPMLS
            Secondary school studentMJML, ‘incendiaires’, RND
            University studentPAI, PIT
            Secondary school studentGOR
            Secondary school studentFar left in France
            Secondary school studentGOR, OST
            Primary school teacherODP, AJ
            Trade workerPAI, PIT
            Secondary school studentPCS, MJML, ‘incendiaires’
            Bank clerkPAI, PIT
            Secondary school studentGOR, LCT
            Secondary school studentMJML, AJ
            TeacherPAI, PIT
            Secondary school studentMJML, MPMLS
            Table 2.
            Other interviews (as ‘informers’ or as potential life-story interviews) (5).
            Position as social actor in 1968Political evolution during the 1970s
            Secondary school studentAJ
            Secondary school studentMaoist (not specified)
            University student?
            University studentPAI, LD
            Secondary school studentOST

            About this article

            It is important to note that this paper is a contribution that summarises a work in progress. Former activists from the various revolutionary organisations have been interviewed, but many other potential interviewees are still to be contacted (for instance, female activists)

            The aim of the study is to complete a political history of the Senegalese revolutionary years (based on at least 50 life stories).

            Essential methodological approach:

            • Semi-structured interviews (from 3–4 hours to 10–12 hours), preceded by a basic questionnaire (16 items)

            • Snowball sample constructed with criteria such as social position in 1968, political evolution during the 1970s, etc.

            Appendix II.

            Table 3.
            Information on some of the organisations mentioned in the paper (explanation of acronyms and short description).
            AbbreviationName (in French or Wolof)Translation into EnglishDescription
            AESF Association des étudiants sénégalais en France Association of Senegalese Students in FranceIt brought together most of the student body in France in the 1960s and the 1970s. Successively controlled by PAI members, then by Maoist or Trotskyite activists.
            AJ And Jëf To Act TogetherBorn in 1974 from Réenu Réew (Nation’s Roots), it has been the main Maoist organisation, under the leadership of Landing Savané. It has launched several fronts, notably the Senegalese Cultural Front at the end of the 1970s.
            GOR Groupe des ouvriers révolutionnaires Revolutionary Workers’ GroupTrotskyist organisation created in 1973 linked to the IVth International.
            LCT Ligue communiste des travailleurs Communist League of WorkersSplit from the former Trotskyist organisation and linked to the French Lambertists.
            LD Ligue démocratique Democratic LeagueSplit from the PAI in 1973. Also pro-USSR, but bringing together student activists (e.g. Mbaye Diack and Moussa Kane) and trade unionists who took part in the events in 1968–1969.
            MDJS Mouvement démocratique de la jeunesse du Sénégal Democratic Movement of Senegalese YouthYouth movement launched in March 1970. Student leadership from PAI, but not exclusively. Was an attempt to broaden the social base of the student movement.
            MJML Mouvement de la jeunesse marxiste-léniniste du Sénégal Marxist-Leninist Youth MovementCreated in summer 1969. Bringing together students from France influenced by Maoist ideas, such as Landing Savané or Omar Blondin Diop and secondary school students politicised after 1968. It split in 1971.
            MPMLS Mouvement populaire marxiste-léniniste du Sénégal Senegalese Marxist-Leninist People’s MovementThe radical wing from the split of MJML that existed for at least four years.
            ODP Organisation démocratique prolétarienne Proletarian Democratic OrganisationTiny organisation around Abdoulaye Ly (PRA leader) that merged with the Maoists from AJ in 1980.
            OST Organisation socialiste des travailleurs Socialist Workers’ OrganisationTrotskyist organisation born from the GOR created just before being legalised in 1981.
            PAI Parti africain de l’indépendance African Independence PartyLandmark organisation of the radical left in Senegal. Launched in 1957, with a manifesto calling for immediate independence and scientific socialism.
            PCS Parti communiste sénégalais Senegalese Communist PartyA first Maoist split from PAI in 1965 led by Samba Ndiaye, who influenced the politicisation of some young activists in 1968–69.
            PIT Parti de l’indépendance et du travail (PAI-Sénégal) Independence and Labour PartyKnown previously as the underground PAI-Sénégal led by Seydou Cissokho from 1967, when the leadership of Majhemout Diop (who was abroad) was replaced. It had to change its name to PIT in 1981 when it became a legal party.
            PRA Parti du regroupement africain African Reunion PartyParty created out of the split of the ruling Union progressiste sénégalaise (UPS) in 1958 over the issue of the referendum. The PRA led by Abdoulaye Ly, Amadou Mahtar M’bow and Assane Seck advocated for full independence. It remained the only opposition party up to 1966 when it merged with the UPS.
            RND Rassemblement national démocratique National Democratic RallyOpposition party created in February 1976. Its leader was the well-known intellectual Cheikh Anta Diop. However, it also attracted some activists from the clandestine Marxist left. The RND called for legalisation, but it remained illegal during the ‘limited multi-partyism’ period.
            SUDES Syndicat unique et démocratique des enseignants du Sénégal Democratic Single Union of Senegalese TeachersTeachers’ union created in 1976 in the same line of opposition as the Syndicat des enseignants du Sénégal (Teachers’ Union of Senegal, SES), which had been dissolved in 1973. It was led by Marxist left-wing activists of various tendencies. A union that became very powerful at the end of the Senghor era, it then became the site of open struggles between these different tendencies, which led to a split in 1984 between the Madior Diouf trend (RND and PIT) and the Mamadou Ndoye trend (LD).
            UDES Union démocratique des étudiants du Sénégal Democratic Union of Senegalese StudentsStudent union created in 1966 that played a vanguard role in the events of May 1968. It was dissolved in 1971.
            UED Union des étudiants de Dakar Dakar Students’ UnionThe sister organisation of UDES, with a membership broadened to include foreign students.
            UGEAO Union générale des étudiants de l’Afrique de l’Ouest General Union of West African StudentsStudent union created in 1956 that advocated for immediate independence (as did the PAI) and expressed radical views opposed to ‘neo-colonialist’ governments after independence. It was disbanded in 1964 by Senghor.
            UNAPES Union nationale patriotique des étudiants du Sénégal National Patriotic Union of Senegalese StudentsStudent union created in 1979 at the instigation of the Maoist And Jëf that brought together most of the student body for a short period.

            Author and article information

            Review of African Political Economy
            Review of African Political Economy
            June 2019
            : 46
            : 160
            : 184-203
            [ a ] Centre d’études en sciences sociales sur les mondes africains, américains et asiatiques , Paris, France
            Author notes
            [CONTACT ] Pascal Bianchini pascalbian@ 123456gmail.com
            1631150 CREA-2018-0164

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            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 45, Pages: 20

            Sociology,Economic development,Political science,Labor & Demographic economics,Political economics,Africa
            mouvements sociaux,politique,revolution,democratisation,partis de gauche,politics,Sénégal,Senegal,social movements,démocratisation,left-wing parties,révolution


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