Tanzania's Policy on Socialism and Self-Reliance
J.K. Nyerere. (no date).
and Development. Dar-es-Salaam:
Printer. Reprinted in Freedom and Development. Oxford
Copyright retained by the President. These excerpts comment
on the policy of Ujamaa (cooperative economics or "family
established in Tanzania in 1967.
". . . It is particularly important that we should now understand the connection between freedom, development, and discipline, because our national policy of creating socialist villages throughout the rural areas depends upon it. For we have known for a very long time that development had to go on in the rural areas, and that this required co-operative activities by the people . . .
"When we tried to promote rural development in the past, we sometimes spent huge sums of money on establishing a Settlement, and supplying it with modern equipment, and social services, as well as often providing it with a management hierarchy . . . All too often, we persuaded people to go into new settlements by promising them that they could quickly grow rich there, or that Government would give them services and equipment which they could not hope to receive either in the towns or in their traditional farming places. In very few cases was any ideology involved; we thought and talked in terms of greatly increased output, and of things being provided for the settlers.
"What we were doing, in fact, was thinking of development in terms of things, and not of people . . . As a result, there have been very many cases where heavy capital investment has resulted in no increase in output where the investment has been wasted. And in most of the officially sponsored or supported schemes, the majority of people who went to settle lost their enthusiasm, and either left the scheme altogether, or failed to carry out the orders of the outsiders who were put in charge — and who were not themselves involved in the success or failure of the project.
"It is important, therefore, to realize that the policy of ujamaa Vijijini is not intended to be merely a revival of the old settlement schemes under another name. The Ujamaa village is a new conception, based on the post Arusha Declaration understanding that what we need to develop is people, not things, and that people can only develop themselves . . .
"Ujamaa villages are intended to be socialist organizations created by the people, and governed by those who live and work in them. They cannot be created from outside, nor governed from outside. No one can be forced into an Ujamaa village, and no official — at any level — can go and tell the members of an Ujamaa village what they should do together, and what they should continue to do as individual farmers . . .
"It is important that these things should be thoroughly understood. It is also important that the people should not be persuaded to start an Ujamaa village by promises of the things which will be given to them if they do so. A group of people must decide to start an Ujamaa village because they have understood that only through this method can they live and develop in dignity and freedom, receiving the full benefits of their co-operative endeavor . . .
"Unless the purpose and socialist ideology of an Ujamaa village is understood by the members from the beginning — at least to some extent it will not survive the early difficulties. For no-one can guarantee that there will not be a crop failure in the first or second year — there might be a drought or floods. And the greater self-discipline which is necessary when working in a community will only be forthcoming if the people understand what they are doing and why . . .
"The fact that people cannot be forced into Ujamaa villages, nor told how to run them, does not mean that Government and TANU have just to sit back and hope that people will be inspired to create them on their own. To get Ujamaa villages established, and to help them to succeed, education and leadership are required. These are the things which TANU [Tanzania African National Union] has to provide.
". . . The Arusha Declaration and the actions relating to public ownership which we took last week were all concerned with ensuring that we can build Socialism in our country. The nationalization and the taking of a controlling interest in many firms were a necessary part of our determination to organize our society in such a way that our efforts benefit all our people and that there is no exploitation of one man by another.
"Yet these actions do not in themselves create socialism. They are necessary to it, but as the Arusha Declaration states, they could also be the basis for fascism — in other words, for the oppressive extreme of capitalism. For the words with which I began my pamphlet Ujamaa in 1962 remain valid; socialism is an attitude of mind. The basis of socialism is a belief in the oneness of man and the common historical destiny of mankind. Its basis, in other words, is human equality.
"Acceptance of this principle is absolutely fundamental to socialism. The justification of socialism is Men; not the State, not the flag. Socialism is not for the benefit of black men, nor brown men, nor white men, nor yellow yellow men. The purpose of socialism is the service of man, regardless of color, size, shape, skill, ability or anything else. And the economic institutions of socialism, such as those we are now creating in accordance with with the Arusha Declaration, are intended to serve man in our society. Where the majority of the people in a particular society are black, then most of those who benefit from socialism there will be black. But it has nothing to do with their blackness; only with their humanity. . . .
"The Arusha Declaration talks of Men, and their beliefs. It talks of socialism and capitalism, of socialists and capitalists. It does not talk about about racial groups or nationalities. On the contrary, it says that all those who stand for the interests of the workers and peasants, anywhere in the world, are our friends. This means that we must judge the character and ability of each individual, not put each person into a pre-arranged category or race or national origin and judge them accordingly. Certainly no one can be a socialist unless he at least tries to do this. For if the actions taken under the Arusha Declaration are to mean anything to our people then we must accept this basic oneness of man. What matters now is that we should succeed in the work we have undertaken. The color or origin of the man who is working to that end does not matter in the very least. And each of us must fight, in himself, the racialist habits of thought which were part of our inheritance from colonialism.
"It is not an easy thing to overcome such habits. But we have always known that it is necessary, and that racialism is evil. We fought our independence campaign on that basis. And the equality of man is the first item in the TANU Creed. For in our constitution we say 'TANU believes (a) That all human beings are equal; (b) That every individual has a right to dignity and respect.'
"If we are to succeed in building a socialist state in this country it is essential that every citizen, and especially every TANU leader, should live up to that doctrine. Let us always remember two things. We have dedicated ourselves to build a socialist society in Tanzania. And, Socialism and Racialism are incompatible."
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