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The Soviet Union and its world influence Part VI

One of the multi-national organizations the EPLF tried to establish relations with was MEISON (The All Ethiopian Socialist Movement) . Meeting between the two organizations were held in 1984 and subsequently. Although there where differences in the assessment of MEISON’s role when it was a partner with the Dergue, an agreement to cooperate was reached, when MEISON affirmed recognition of the Eritrean peoples right to self determination. However, in its later publications raise a number of questions and since no steps have been taken to seek clarification, the question of what shape EPLF-MESION relation was pending.

Apart from relation with these organizations, it was important to discuss the EPLF’s attitude and views on the right to self determination, secession, unity, coalition and solidarity.

The right to self-determination is a basic right of all oppressed people-nations as well as nationalities. But it is a question that is susceptible to different interpretation. The process of the drawing of boundaries and formation of nations among the colonized people of the Third World has been explained in the introduction to this report. The origins of “Ethiopia” and the imperial ambitions of its rulers as well as subsequent developments have also been clarified. The right to self determination of the Eritrean people who were waging an anti-colonial national struggle was also beyond question.

But how was the right of nations to self-determination interpreted in Ethiopia? The right to self-determination includes the right to secession, and in principle if a people want to secede should not be used to stop them. Obviously unity must be voluntary based on equality and must serve the common interest of oppressed nationality. The demand and aspirations of the oppressed nation are necessarily diametrically opposite to those of the oppressor nation. However, there has to be a common ground in the views of vanguard organizations fighting for national libration and for democracy. It is correct to assume that secession is possible if national conflicts become irreconcilable. But given, the history of “Ethiopia” and the relation that existed among Ethiopian national and multi-national democratic organizations, the possibility of the intensification of the conflict was minimal and clear that the final solution will be unity. Therefore, the objective of all the democratic forces must be unity. The existence of chauvinist organizations with imperial dreams that are doomed to failure does not justify secession. Moreover, since the united democratic forces have the upper hand, unity as an objective and slogan was essential. These principle and beliefs underlie the EPLF’s view that voluntary unity was the best solution to the question of nationalities in Ethiopia. Of course, the EPLF did not have the right to try and implement its views, as it was not a party to the resolution of the national question in Ethiopia. Any difference of opinion that may arise on the issue between the EPLF and Ethiopian organizations was subject of dialogue and not regarded as a basis of differentiating friend from foe.      

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