Eritrea: The Illusion of Independence-Liberation Dichotomy

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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Zekre Lebona

As soon as I was released, the French Embassy asked me to translate a booklet on the “Political Program of the United National Front of Kampuchea” that I had brought from the bush. Its contents foreshadowed the horror. Already, there was mention of the evacuation of the towns and the establishment of a state-controlled collectivism based on a reduced population. But these warnings, duly related to Paris, had fallen on deaf ears, and France stubbornly maintained its support for the Khmer Rouge.

-Francois Bizot, The Gate

 

Eritrea: the Illusion of Independence-Liberation Dichotomy

In the Eritrean cyberspace world, a heated debate has been lately going on at the two websites of Amarino.com and Awate.com concerning the attributes of the armed struggle (gedli) and its aftermath. In the opinion of writers such as Yosief Ghebrehiwet and others, the gedli, the generation that espoused gedli and its political actors were direct culprits for the totalitarian rule in contemporary Eritrea and the possible implosion of the polity constructed under them. To this assertion, other opinion makers or activists, as they call themselves, have been waging a fight defending the “justness and vision” of the armed struggle despite the dystopia that the gedli turned out to be. What started as the debate between the “gedli romanticizing” and the “gedli de-romanticizing” writers has now turned bitter, and degenerated into issues of identity, belonging and conspiracy theories not unlike the language of the PFDJ followers.

The fight for the hearts and minds of the small percentage of readers of the websites from within the Eritrean diaspora has not abated yet. In fact, a new call for “liberation” struggle has been invoked by some, who found themselves completely outraged by those who willfully make the connection between the armed struggle and the nation-state that resulted from it. Besides these few, there are also many young Eritreans in the Paltalks, who naively subscribe to the need for the “next revolution”.

They believe that the ghedli was just and an admirable cause waged by the people of Eritrea for their “land”, “culture” and other rights that were trampled by successive regimes from Ethiopia. They explain the current political and economic situation as an aberration of the nature of gedli in the hands of solely Isaias, the current leader in Eritrea. Most importantly, they believe there is no linkage between the armed struggle history and what subsequently followed it, and prescribe the launching of a “liberation” struggle, as a panacea, for the current mayhem.

None of these people, however, makes a serious attempt to either inquire or find for themselves about the gedli program that made the claim of waging a national and social revolution at the same time. For any person curious to find the footprints of the nature of the “revolution” in gedli, a brief look into some Tigrignia political words commonly used among the fighters of both fronts is adequate. The Tigrignia saying shim yemere’h, tewa’f yeber’h aptly fits the nature of the gedli etymology.

Harnet

For more than a decade after the launching of the armed struggle and the mushrooming of the armed factions from the ELF the word for a separate and independent Eritrea in Tigrignia remained only natsnet. Was this same word familiar to the peasants of highland Eritrea during the turbulent years of the 1940s? Probably not, the exception could be the few intellectuals around the Independence Bloc in the Asmera of the 1940s, for instance, the late Weldeab Weldemariam. The gedli elite that followed them were not, however, satisfied with the terminology that equates their struggle with the independence and decolonization of many nations in Asia, and particularly in Africa.

They substituted it for the word harnet (liberation), which was getting a growing currency in the Middle East, and other Third World nations. The official name Tegadelo Harnet Ertra (Eritrean Liberation Front) or Jebha did not come by accident. It was a deliberate decision. Likewise, the armed groups that were spin-off of the ELF adopted the phrase harnet for their merged organizations, which became Hizbawi Genbar Harnet Eritrea (Eritrean People’s Liberation Front). In those days, an insurgent group worth its name rarely misses the chance to package itself under the harnet (liberation) brand name. The brand name endured until the horrible thugs in Sierra Leone and Liberia appeared in the late 90s; the lure of the word has since faded. This writer had once written an article titled “Buy One Get One Free: The Ghedli’s Marketing” on this subject matter at Awate.com, which unfortunately is not accessible now. [The archive section does not retrieve old articles.]

Independence cha-cha [1]

The irony in it is that, the Eritrean fronts, that is the ELF and particularly the EPLF had espoused the same program popularly known among the progressives and left oriented organizations and nations as “National Liberation”. Disappointed with the performance of many nations after the decolonization of former European colonies in Africa, and particularly the ones in Congo-Kinshasa and Ghana, the elites from Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau adopted the program of social revolution in their independence cause. Class struggle, land distribution, women’s rights, etc., were included in their programs for decolonization from Portugal. They were possibly influenced from the Vietnamese struggle, [which experimented with it much earlier] through the networks of the Soviet Union and China.

In the same manner, the armed struggle in Eritrea, which started around the same years, adopted the same program of national liberation several years later. The adoption of the program by the fronts was accompanied by a tireless campaign of disparaging the independence of many African nations as simply nominal and flag-waving type. It was a good marketing strategy for the fronts; it obtained them the support of some of the urban elite and other progressives in the West. People now seem to have forgotten it by design or in total honesty, but a look into the Eritrean Peoples National Democratic Program, 1977 and the one that was convened ten years later clearly shows the consummation (mez’zam) of the “liberation” cause. While the EPLF program of 1977 had all the leftist stuff for the workers, peasants and women of Eritrea, the front’s program of 1987 was the same in spirit but had some things left out reflecting the growing decline of the Soviet Union and the need to appease the newly made friends from the West.

Why two Dekemhares?

In Eritrea, the fronts, which made their presence in the Eritrean countryside, adopted the strategy of a protracted struggle. The Fronts habitually dismissed the nominal independence of the scores of African countries after the decolonization and espoused the gradual liberation of first the countryside, and then encircling the towns, until the final onslaught on the stronghold of the enemy. In the process, the Fronts stated the rural folk will attain political and economic power, and the institutions needed for the post war period will already be in place. There were not many detractors to the claims made.

The political commissars constantly fed the foot soldiers with the “heaven like” differences between the then two Vietnams and the current two Koreas, the two conflict zones that mired the resources of the superpowers in the twentieth century.  In order to assure the suspicious public, the “miracles” of the political and economic models of North Vietnam and North Korea were often cited as examples to follow. Their “success” was credited to the scores of years the Vietminh and the communists group of Kim IL Sung spent fighting successive enemies. The propaganda got so suffocating to the foot soldiers that one fighter made a mockery of the lessons. In a dark humor, the fighter allegedly said, “selementay kelte Dekemhare, selementay kelte Shema-Negus.”

In light of this fact from the gedli chapters, the re-inventing of a “liberation” campaign for contemporary Eritrea is incoherent or ill advised. It simply repeats the pattern of schism and the history of calling the work of others as either sham or inauthentic not dissimilar to the annals of the gedli history. The last fifty years lesson in Eritrean history must rest in place the contention that the link between the ELF and the EPLF periods and the post-independence reality in Eritrea is solid and strong. The search for a “dichotomy” in present day Eritrea is nothing but a dead slogan not unlike a communist refuge who refuses to disavow the revolution that abysmally went wrong, a phenomenon of the last century.

The Insurgent State [2]

The worry of many diplomats and politicians in nations ravaged by war in under-developed countries is the state of a political vacuum. Syria is a good example. Thanks to “liberation” type of war, Eritrea was endowed with a nascent state ready to shoulder the complex and heavy responsibilities of a post war situation, said people such as the famous Weldeab Weldemariam, many other believers and friends of Eritrea. Without exception, all missed the cardinal issue of a free and sovereign people. The state of having simply an armed and tightly knit group was accepted for a good-governance. Notwithstanding his alleged regret later, Ato Weldeab Weledemariam’s famous quips about the “wonders” in the meda, (under the leadership of the insurgent state) was a terrible mistake. Regrettable as that may be, things have not stopped there.

We have now in our midst writers who deny the solid connection between the current stifling and repressive reality in Eritrea and the political traditions during the gedli period. The same people who were proud of the insurgent-state under the leadership of the EPLF do not hesitate to condemn and ostracize the existing government in Eritrea. Lamenting about the death of the private sector in independent Eritrea without recalling the program of the EPLF to nationalize factories and trade (both domestic and foreign) is nothing but disingenuous. Bewailing about the absence of individual freedom and public space without admitting the prominent role of the worker, peasant, women and youth communist-type mass organizations is nothing but hypocrisy. In the same vein, bemoaning about the total disregard for the rule of law and due process in the land is forgetting that the E.P.L.F included this ominous sentence in its program: “Punish severely Eritrean lackeys of Ethiopian colonialism who have committed crimes against their country and people.”

True to their words, they made hundreds of people associated in some with the Derg to disappear when they captured Asmera, while their counterparts in Ethiopia, however, were brought to trial and had visitation rights. Thus, the essence in the State of Eritrea (with the emblem of the camel) cannot be separated from nascent state during the ghedli period. In other words, both entities are one and the same. Deny it as we may, the totalitarian state did not grow in a vacuum; it was the culmination of the seamless evolution from the proto-state.

Conclusion

Amnesia has been designated by some people as a rampant disease, wreaking havoc on the Eritrean polity. None seems to be immune from it, however. The program of national liberation, endorsed by the fronts in the 70s and 80s is a notable case. In order to redress this problem, the program of the EPLF has been provided as an exhibit for those readers patient and willing enough to read, and refresh their gedli’s past. The program was widely circulated both in the “liberated” areas and in the outside world; it was not concealed from the public as of the Khmer Rouge’s in Cambodia mentioned at first page. Albeit, the EPLF had reputedly a secret party hidden from both the large majority of the fighters and the public. Regrettably, we do not know the horrors contained in the program.

References

[1] A popular song from Congo-Kinshasa.
[2] Borrowed the phrase from Christopher Clapham’s recent article on post war states in Africa.

Annex 1.

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PROGRAMME

Adopted by the First Congress of the EPLF on

January 31st, 1977

Objectives

1. ESTABLISH A PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC STATE

A.    Abolish the Ethiopian colonial administrative organs and all anti-national and undemocratic laws as well as nullify the military, economic and political treaties affecting Eritrea signed between colonial Ethiopia and other governments.
B.    Safeguard the interests of the masses of workers, peasants and other democratic forces.
C.    Set up a People’s Assembly constituted of people’s representatives democratically and freely elected from anti-feudal and anti-imperialist patriotic forces.  The People’s Assembly shall draw the constitution, promulgate laws, elect the people’s administration and ratify national economic plans and new treaties.
D.    Protect the people’s democratic rights-freedom of speech, the press, assembly, worship and peaceful demonstration; develop anti-feudal and anti-imperialist worker, peasant, women, student and youth organisations.
E.    Assure all Eritrean citizens equality before the law without distinction as to nationality, tribe, region, sex, cultural level, occupation, position, wealth, faith, etc.
F.    Severely punish Eritrean lackeys of Ethiopian colonialism who have committed crimes against the nation

2.    BUILD AN INDEPENDENT, SELF-RELIANT
AND PLANNED NATIONAL ECONOMY

AGRICULTURE

1.    Confiscate all land in the hands of the aggressor Ethiopian regime, the imperialists,
zionists and Eritrean lackeys and put it in the service of the Eritrean masses.
2.    Make big nationalized farms and extensive farms requiring modern techniques state
farms and use their produce for the benefit of the masses.
3.   Cooperative farms by creating conditions of cooperation and mutual assistance so as to    develop a modern and advanced system of agriculture and animal husbandry capable of     increasing the income and improving the lot of the peasantry.
4    Induce the peasants to adopt modern agricultural techniques, introduce them to advanced agricultural implements and provide them with advisors, experts, veterinary services, fertilizers, wells, dams, transportation, finance, etc., in order to alleviate their problems and improve their livelihood and working conditions.

5   Provide the nomads with veterinary services, livestock breeding experts, agricultural
advisors and financial assistance in order to enable them to lead settled lives, adopt
modern techniques of agriculture and animal husbandry and improve their livelihood.
6.  Provide for the peaceful and amicable settlement of land disputes and inequality among
individuals and villages in such a way to harmonize the interest of the aggrieved party
with that of the national economic interest.
7.    Advance the economic and living conditions in, and bridge the gap between, the cities and the countryside.
8.    Make pastures and forests state property, preserve wild life and forestry, and fight soil erosion.
9.    Maintain a proper balance between, agriculture and industry in the context of the planned economy.
10.    Promote an association that will organize, politicize and arm the peasants with a clear revolutionary outlook so they can fully participate in the anti-colonial and anti-feudal struggle, defend the gains of the revolution, free themselves from oppression and economic exploitation, and manage their own affairs.

B.    INDUSTRY

1.    Nationalize all industries in the hands of the imperialists, zionists, Ethiopian colonialists and their Eritrean lackeys as well as resident aliens opposed to Eritrean independence.
2.    Nationalize big industries, ports, mines, public transport, communications, power plants and other basic economic resources.
3.    Exploit marine resources, expand the production of salt and other minerals, develop the fish industry, explore oil and other minerals.
4.    Allow nationals who were not opposed to the independence of Eritrea to participate in national construction by owning small factories and workshops compatible with national development and the system of administration.
5.    Strive to develop heavy industry so as to promote light industry, advance agriculture and combat industrial dependence.

C.    FINANCE

1.    Nationalize all insurance companies and banks, so as to centralize banking operations, regulate economic activities and accelerate economic development.
2.    Establish a government-owned central national bank and issue an independent national currency.
3.    Prohibit usury in all its forms and extend credit at the lowest interest in order to eliminate the attendant exploitation of the masses.
5.    Design and implement an appropriate tariffs policy to secure the domestic market for the nation’s agricultural, industrial and handcraft products.
5.    Formulate and implement an equitable and rational taxation policy to administer and defend the country, carry out production and social functions.

D.    TRADE

1.    Construct essential land, air and sea transportation and communications to develop the nation’s trade.
2.    Handle all import and export trade.
3.    Nationalize the big trading companies and regulate the small ones.
4.    Prohibit the export of essential commodities and limit the import of luxury goods.
5.    Regulate the exchange and pricing of the various domestic products.

6.    Strictly prohibit contraband trade.
7.    Establish trade relations with all countries that respect Eritrean sovereignty irrespective of political systems.
E.    URBAN LAND AND HOUSING
1.     Make urban land state property.
2.    Nationalize all excess urban houses in order to abolish exploitation through rent and improve the livelihood of the masses.
3.    Set, taking the standard of living into account, a rational rent price in order to improve the living conditions of the masses.
4.    Compensate citizens for nationalized property in accordance with a procedure based on personal income and the condition of the national economy.
5.    Build appropriate modern houses to alleviate the shortage of housing for the masses.

3.  DEVELOP CULTURE, EDUCATION,
TECHNOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH

A.  CULTURE
1.    Obliterate the decadent culture and disgraceful social habits that Ethiopian colonialism, world imperialism and zionism have spread in order to subjugate and exploit the Eritrean people and destroy their identity.
2.   In the new educational curriculum, provide for the proper dissemination, respect and
development of the history of Eritrea and its people, the struggle against colonialism,
oppression and for national independence, the experience, sacrifices and heroism as well as
the national folklore, traditions and culture of the Eritrean people.
3.    Destroy the bad aspects of the culture and traditions of Eritrean society and develop its good and progressive content.

4.    Ensure that the Eritrean people glorify and eternally cherish the memory of the heroic martyrs of the struggle for independence who, guided by revolutionary principles, gave their lives for the salvation of their people and country.

B.    EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY

1.    Combat illiteracy to free the Eritrean people from the darkness of ignorance.
2.    Provide for universal compulsory education up to the middle school.
3.    Establish institutions of higher education in the various fields of science, arts, technology, agriculture, etc.
4.    Grant students scholarships to pursue studies in the various fields of learning.
5.    Establish schools in the various regions of Eritrea in accordance with the need.
6.    Separate education from religion.
7.    Make the state run all the schools and provide free education at all levels.
8.      Integrate education with production and put it in the service of the masses.
9.    Enable nationals, especially the students and youth, to train and develop themselves in the sciences, literature, handicrafts and technology through the formation of their own organisations.
10.    Provide favourable work conditions for experts and the skilled to enable them to utilize their skills and knowledge in the service of the masses.
11.    Engage in educational, cultural and technological exchange with other countries on the basis of mutual benefit and equality.

C     PUBLIC HEALTH

1.    Render medical services freely to the people.
2.    Eradicate contagious diseases and promote public health by building the necessary hospitals and health centres all over Eritrea.
3    . Scientifically develop traditional medicine.
4.    Establish sports and athletic facilities and popularize them among the masses.

4.    SAFEGUARD SOCIAL RIGHTS

A.   WORKERS’ RIGHTS
1.    Politicize and organize the workers, whose participation in the struggle had been hindered by the reactionary line and leaderships, and enable them, in a higher and more organized form, to play their vanguard role in the revolution.
2.    Abolish the system of labour laws and sham trade unions set up by Ethiopian colonialism and its imperialist masters to exploit and oppress Eritrean workers.
3.    Enforce an eight-hour working day and protect the right of workers to rest one day a week and twenty five days a year.
4.    Promulgate a special labour code that properly protects the rights of workers and enables them to form unions.
5.    Assure workers comfortable housing and decent living conditions.
6.    Devise a social security program to care for an assist workers who, because of illness, disability or age, are unable to work.
7.    Prohibit unjustified dismissals and undue pay-cuts.
8.    Protect the right of workers to participate in the management and administration of enterprises and industries.
9.    Struggle to eliminate unemployment and protect every citizen’s right to work.

B.    WOMEN’S RIGHTS

1.    Develop an association through which women can participate in the struggle against colonial aggression and for social transformation.
2.    Outline a broad program to free women from domestic confinement, develop their participation in social production, and raise their political, cultural and technical levels.
3.    Assure women full rights of equality with men in politics, economy and social life as well as equal pay for equal work.
4.  Promulgate progressive marriage and family laws.
5.    Protect the right of women workers to two months’ maternity leave with full pay.
6.    Protect the right of mothers and children, provide delivery, nursery and kindergarten services.
7.    Fight to eradicate prostitution.
8.    Respect the right of women not to engage in work harmful to their health.
9.    Design programs to increase the number and upgrade the quality of women leaders and public servants.

C.    FAMILIES OF MARTYRS, DISABLED FIGHTERS AND OTHERS NEEDING SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

1.    Provide necessary care and assistance to all fighters and other citizens who, in the course of the struggle against Ethiopian colonialism and for national salvation, have suffered disability in jails or in armed combat.
2.    Provide assistance and relief to the victims of Ethiopian colonial aggression, orphans, the old and the disabled as well as those harmed by natural causes.
3.    Render necessary assistance and care for the families of martyrs.

5.    ENSURE THE EQUALITY AND CONSOLIDATE THE UNITY OF NATIONALITIES

A.    Abolish the system and laws instituted by imperialism, Ethiopian colonialism and their lackeys in order to divide, oppress and exploit the Eritrean people.
B.     Rectify all errors committed by opportunists in the course of the struggle.
C.    Combat national chauvinism as well as narrow nationalism.
D.    Nurture and strengthen the unity and fraternity of Eritrean nationalities.
E.    Accord all nationalities equal rights and responsibilities in leading them toward national progress and salvation.
F.    Train cadres from all nationalities in various fields to assure common progress.
G.    Safeguard the right of all nationalities to preserve and develop their spoken or written language.
H.    Safeguard the right of all nationalities to preserve and develop their progressive culture and traditions.
I.  Forcefully oppose those who, in the pursuit of their own interests, create cliques on the
basis of nationality, tribe, region, etc., and obstruct the unity of the revolution and the
people.

6.    BUILD A STRONG PEOPLE’S ARMY

A.    Liberate the land and the people step by step through the strategy of people’s war.  Build a strong land, air and naval force capable of defending the country’s borders, territorial waters, air space and territorial integrity as well as the full independence, progress and dignity of its people in order to attain prosperity and reach the highest economic stage.  The people’s army shall be:

  • politically conscious, imbued with comradely relations, steeled through revolutionary discipline,
  • full of resoluteness, imbued with a spirit of self-sacrifice, participating in production, and
  • equipped with modern tactics, weapons and skills.

Being the defender of the interests of the workers and peasants, it serves the entire People of Eritrea irrespective of religion, nationality or sex. The basis of this army is the revolutionary force presently fighting for national independence and liberation.

B.    Establish a people’s militia to safeguard the gains of the revolution and support the People’s Army in the liberated and semi-liberated areas.
C.     Establish a progressive and advanced military academy.

7.    RESPECT FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND FAITH

A.    Safeguard every citizen’s freedom of religion and belief.
B.    Completely separate religion from the state and politics.
C.    Separate religion from education and allow no compulsory religious education.
D.    Strictly oppose all the imperialist-created new counter-revolutionary faiths, such as Jehovas’ Witness, PenteCostal, Bahai, –etc.
E .    Legally punish those who try to sow discord in the struggle and undermine the progress of the Eritrean people on the basis of religion whether in the course of the armed struggle or in a people’s democratic Eritrea.

8.    PROVIDE HUMANE TREATMENT TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND ENCOURAGE THE DESERTION OF ERITREAN SOLDIERS SERVING THE ENEMY

A.    Oppose the efforts of Ethiopian colonialism to conscript duped soldiers to serve as tools of aggression for the oppression and slaughter of the Eritrean people.
B.    Encourage Eritrean soldiers and plainclothesmen who have been duped into serving in the Ethiopian colonial army to return to the just cause and join their people in the struggle against Ethiopian aggression and welcome them to its ranks with full right of equality.
C.    Provide humane treatment and care for Ethiopian war prisoners.
D.    Severely punish the die-hard, criminal and atrocious henchmen and lackeys of Ethiopian colonialism.

9.    PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ERITREANS RESIDING ABROAD

A.    Struggle to organize Eritreans residing abroad in the already formed mass organisations so they can participate in the patriotic anti-colonial struggle.
B.    Strive to secure the rights of Eritrean refugees in the neighboring countries, win them the assistance of international organisations and work for the improvement of their living conditions.
C.    Welcome nationals who want to return to their country and participate in their people’s daily struggles and advances.
D.    Encourage the return and create the means for the rehabilitation of Eritreans forced to flee their country and land by the vicious aggression and oppression of Ethiopian colonialism.

10.   RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF FOREIGNERS RESIDING IN ERITREA

A.    Grant full rights of residence and work to aliens who have openly or covertly supported the Eritrean people’s struggle against Ethiopian colonial oppression and for national salvation and are willing to live in harmony with the legal system to be established.
B.    Mercilessly punish aliens who, as lackeys and followers of Ethiopian colonialism, imperialism and zionism, spy on or become obstacles to the Eritrean people.

11. PURSUE A FOREIGN POLICY OF PEACE AND NON-ALLIGNMENT

A.    Welcome the assistance of any country or organization which recognizes and supports the just struggle of the Eritrean people without interference in its internal affairs.

B.    Establish diplomatic relations with all countries irrespective of political and economic system on the basis of the following five principles:

  • Respect for each other’s independence, territorial integrity, and national sovereignty;
  • Mutual non-aggression;
  • Non-interference in internal affairs.
  • Equality and mutual benefit;
  • Peaceful co-existence.

C.    Establish good friendly relations with all neighbours.

D.    Expand cultural, economic and technological ties with all countries of the world compatible with national sovereignity and independence and based on equality.  Do not align with any world military bloc or allow the establishment of any foreign military bases on Eritrean soil.

E.    Support all just and revolutionary movements, as our struggle is an integral part of the international revolutionary movement in general, and the struggle of the African, Asian and Latin American peoples against colonialism, imperialism, zionism and racial discrimination in particular.

VICTORY TO THE MASSES!

E  N  D

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Annex 2.

ERITREAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION FRONT

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PROGRAMME
Adopted at the Second and Unity Congress of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front and the Eritrean Liberation Front (Central Leadership)

19 March 1987

OBJECTIVES

1. Establish A People’s Democratic State
A. Abolish the Ethiopian colonial administrative organs and all anti-national and undemocratic laws and cancel the military economic, political and cultural treaties affecting Eritrea signed between the colonial power, Ethiopia, and other governments.
B. Establish a state that safe-guards the interests of the people and does not serve those of foreign forces.
C. Constitute a people’s Assembly through a free and democratic election of people’s representatives.  The People’s Assembly shall draw the constitution, promulgate laws, formulate policies, ratify new treaties and elect popular executive and judicial organs.
D. Protect the democratic rights of freedom of speech, the press, assembly, worship and peaceful demonstration as well as the right of nationalist political parties and nationalist associations of workers, peasants, women, students, youth and professionals.
E. Assure all Eritrean nationals equality before the law without distinction as to nationality, ex, affiliation, cultural level, occupation, position, wealth, faith, etc.
Punish severely Eritrean lackeys of Ethiopian colonialism who have committed crimes against their country and people.
2.    Build an Independent, Self-Reliant and Planned National Economy
To develop the Eritrean economy there shall be private and public sectors in agriculture, industry and trade.  The basic economic resources shall be state owned.  Domestic capital investment in the private sector and foreign capital investment in the public sector shall be allowed and encouraged.

A. Agriculture

  1. Put all land in the hands of the aggressor Ethiopian regime in the service of the Eritrean people.
  2. Convert big farms requiring modern techniques into state farms and use their produce for the benefit of the people.
  3. Implement an equitable distribution of land to make the land benefit the tiller.
  4. Encourage the peasants to adopt modern agricultural techniques, introduce them to advanced agricultural implements and provide them with advisors, experts, veterinary services, fertilizers, wells, dams, transportation, finance, etc., to alleviate their problems and improve their livelihood and working conditions.
  5. Provide the nomads with livestock breeding; veterinary and agricultural education as well as advisors experts and financial assistance to enable them lead settled lives, adopt modern means of animal husbandry and agriculture and improve their livelihood.
  6. Provide for the peaceful and amicable settlement of land disputes and inequity among individuals and villages in such a way as to harmonize the interest of the aggrieved party with that of national constitution.
  7. Advance the economic and living conditions in, and bridge the gap between, the cities and the countryside.
  8. Make extensive pastures and forests public property, preserve wild life and forestry and conduct a campaign of reforestation.
  9. Maintain a proper balance between agriculture and industry in, economic planning.

B. Industry

  1. Nationalize all industries in the hands of Ethiopian colonialism, its Eritrean collaborators and foreigners hostile to Eritrean independence.
  2. Make big industries, mines, marine resources, communication, public transport and power plants state owned.
  3. Exploit marine resources, expand the production of salt and other minerals, develop the fish industry and explore available minerals.
  4. Encourage nationalist Eritreans with capital to participate in national construction by setting up factories and enterprises in the private sector.
  5. Strive to develop heavy industry so as to promote-light industry, advance agriculture and combat industrial dependence.

C. Finance

  1. Centralize banking and put all insurance companies and banks under the state to regulate economic activities and accelerate economic development.
  2. Establish a state owned central national bank and issue an independent national currency.
  3. Prohibit usury in all its forms-and extend credit at low interest to save the people from exploitation.
  4. Design and implement an appropriate tariffs Policy to protect the domestic market for the nation’s agricultural, industrial and handcraft products.
  5. Formulate and implement an equitable and rational taxation policy to provide for the administration and defence of the country, sustenance of productive activities and the extension of social services.

D. Trade

  1. Extend a network of land, air and sea communications and transport essential to develop the nation’s trade.
  2. There shall be state and private trade and the state shall regulate private trade to ensure its compatibility with national construction.
  3. Ban the export of essential consumer goods and limit the import or luxury items.
  4. Regulate the exchange and pricing of the various domestic products.
  5. Strictly prohibit controband trade.
  6. Establish trade relations with all countries irrespective of political systems.

E. Urban land and Housing

  1. Make all urban land public property with leasing allowed under state regulation.
  2. Review the incorrect nationalization of houses carried out by the Dergue.
  3. Every national will be allowed to build houses for residence and rent.
  4. Set a rational rent price that takes into account the prevailing standard of living in order to improve the people’s livelihood.
  5. Build houses as needed through modern plans to alleviate the shortage of housing and olve the problem of the people.

3.  Develop Culture, Education, Technology and Public Health

A. Culture

  1. Destroy the decadent alien cultures and disgraceful social habits spread by Ethiopian colonialism and other foreign forces to subjugate and exploit the Eritrean people and destroy their identity.
  2. Eliminate the bad aspects of the cultures and traditions of Eritrean society and develop their good and positive content.
  3. Provide, in the educational opportunity accorded the Eritrean people, for the proper awareness, respect and development of, the history of Eritrea and its people, of the struggle against colonialism, oppression and for national independence, of the sacrifices and heroism as well as of the national folklore, tradition, and culture of the Eritrean people.
  4. Ensure that the Eritrean people remain proud and always cherish the memory of the heroic martyrs of the struggle for freedom and independence who, loyal to their revolutionary ideals, gave their lives for the salvation of their people and country.

E.    Expand cultural, economic and technological ties with all countries consistent with national sovereignty and independence and based on equality, without aligning with any global military organisation or allowing the establishment of any foreign military base on Eritrean soil.

F.      Support all just and democratic movements, as our struggle is an integral part of the struggle of the world’s people’s in general, and the struggles of the African, Asian and Latin American peoples against colonialism, intervention and racism in particular.

G.      Become a member of various international and regional organizations consistent with the identity and independence of Eritrea.

Victory to the Masses!

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