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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Bush Path to Destruction: The Origin and Character of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF/SL)
Author:Abdullah, IbrahimISNI
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Sierra Leone
West Africa
Politics and Government
Revolutionary United Front
civil wars
political opposition
Political development
child soldiers
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43658004
Abstract:Sierra Leone's political culture lacks a radical tradition or alternative and this has paved the way for the emergence of such groups as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF/SL), the product of a rebellious youth culture in search of a viable alternative to the bankrupt All Peoples Congress (APC) regime, but without a concrete agenda. The author explores the historical and sociological processes which gave birth to the RUF, focusing on student politics in the 1970s and 1980s and the making of an informal youth opposition, the role in postcolonial politics of the so-called 'rarray boy' or 'lumpen' culture (an oppositional subculture of unemployed and unemployable young men, which easily lends itself to violence), the iconography of resistance, the connection with Ghana and Libyan involvement. The social composition of the force which invaded Kailahun District on 23 March 1991 is significant in understanding the character of the RUF and the bush path to destruction. The RUF is not only a product of lumpen culture but its membership is also lumpen. Its political action and proclaimed 'revolution' reflect the true character of its lumpen base. Its lack of a clear-cut programme, the wanton use of violence for violence's sake, and the absence of a well-articulated ideology, disqualify it as a vehicle for progressive change. Bibliogr., notes, ref. (Slightly adapted version in: The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 36, no. 2 (1998), p. 203-235.)