Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World
African Socialism and the Fate of the World
This chapter relates Senghor’s constitutional struggle to remake France as a federal republic to its flip side: his vision of African socialism as a way to redeem European socialism and ensure that the postimperial political form he imagined would ensure social justice for Africans. It argues against scholars who, reading Senghor’s postwar initiatives from the perspective of his postcolonial presidency, dismiss his African socialism as superficial or opportunistic. In contrast, this chapter offers a close reading of his engagement with Marx’s writings as a perspective from which to criticize actually existing socialist parties and politics. Senghor focused on Marx’s dialectical method, critique of alienation, and holistic vision of human emancipation. He then conjugated this version of Marxism with African social relations, cultural production, and forms of life. He linked Marx’s humanism with Jacques Maritain’s personalism to demonstrate that Marxism and socialism are not incompatible with African religiosity and collectivist social arrangements.