Country Listing

Angola Table of Contents



The Political Bureau reported in 1988 that the MPLA-PT had more than 45,000 members. Its social composition, an important aspect of its image as a popular vanguard party, consisted of approximately 18 percent industrial workers, 18 percent peasants, 4 percent agricultural wage earners, and 60 percent described by the Political Bureau as "other classes and social strata interested in building socialism." However, the fact remained that many party members were still government employees, members of the petite bourgeoisie the MPLA had denounced so loudly in the 1970s.

The central decision-making bodies of the MPLA-PT included the Political Bureau, Central Committee, and the party congress, each headed by the president as party chairman (see fig. 12). A hierarchy of committees existed at the provincial, district, and village levels; the smallest of these, the party cell, operated in many neighborhoods and workplaces. The MPLA-PT's organizing principle was democratic centralism, which allowed participants at each level of the organization to elect representatives to the next higher level. MPLA-PT policy guaranteed open discussion at each level, but majority decisions were binding on the minority, and lower-level bodies were bound by higher-level decisions. Party hierarchies were incomplete in most areas, however, because of low literacy rates, poverty, and security problems. Many lower-level party functionaries therefore had roles in both party and government.

Data as of February 1989