Communism in Ethiopia

Topics: Ethiopia, Derg, Addis Ababa Pages: 21 (5879 words) Published: February 20, 2013
Extended Essay on History:

Candidate Name: Gebriel Abebe Balcha

Candidate Number: 00751-018

Communism in Ethiopia 1974-1987

Research Question:

To what extent was the Ethiopian Derg Regime a communist regime?



This extended essay deals with the research question: To what extent was the Ethiopian Derg Regime a Communist Regime following Marxist-Leninist ideology? It looks at the Derg Regime and its formation during the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974. It undertakes the investigation of the influences of communism within Ethiopia attempting to explain the Derg’s rise to power and the reasons for its demise, specifically looking at the extent to which the Derg was a communist regime. The scope of this extended essay is limited to the analysis of the Marxist-Leninist concepts attempted to be implemented by the Derg in Ethiopia. The essay does also take a look at the influences to the rise of the Derg Regime and influences that made the Derg adopt Marxist-Leninist ideology. To fully analyze the Derg and its affiliation with Marxist-Leninist ideology a variety of historical books, essays and articles that details the Derg’s rise to power, the communist concepts it adopted and the concepts it failed to adopt are studied. Discussions with victims of the Derg regime help investigate the effects of these reforms on the Ethiopian public. Further discussions with an Addis Ababa University professor will provide adequate detailed information on Communism in Ethiopia and the Derg’s affiliation with Marxism-Leninism. The investigation concludes that the Derg was not a Communist Regime that followed Marxist-Leninist ideology. Despite the Derg’s implementation of land reform and nationalization of businesses, the Derg had failed to form a socialist party to take control of Ethiopia. The added lack of support for communist ideology to the end of the Derg regime and the renouncing of Marxism-Leninism by the Derg’s leader Mengistu Haile Mariam has further proven that the above statement is assumed to be valid.

Word Count: 285

Table of Contents:

Abstract ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2

Table of Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------- 3

Introduction -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5

1. The formation and rise of the Derg ------------------------------------------ 6

1.2 The influences of The Ethiopian Revolution in 1974 ---------------------- 6

1.2 The Formation of the Derg Regime ------------------------------------------- 8

2. Communism in Ethiopia ------------------------------------------------------ 10

2.1 Definition of Communism and Marxism-Leninism ----------------------- 10

2.2 influences of Ethiopian Communism ---------------------------------------- 11

3. Concepts of “Marxist-Leninist” Communism that the Derg attempted to implement ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 13

4. Conclusion ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 23

Bibliography ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 25


My parents would always tell me about how the 1970’s were a time of great change. It was a period in time where the youth of the world had had enough and began to question the society they lived and what it stood for. From the protests in the US over the Vietnam War to the counterculture movements in Europe, the youth of the world showed the power of the people. In Ethiopia, the monarchy was faced with the difficulty of keeping control over the population. However, failure to maintain the falling economy and the widespread hunger had left many Ethiopians...
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