Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 1, Issue 2, December 2009

Oseni Taiwo Afisi
Pages 25-40

Human Nature in Marxism-Leninism and African Socialism

Understanding the true nature of the human being is no doubt a sine qua non for developing an ideology for a desirable praxis. This paper examines the pitfalls of Marxist-Leninist scientific socialism and African socialism. It argues that a critical analysis of both ideologies reveals a lack of clear understanding of the nature of man by their proponents. An exhaustive account of the nature of man must explain self-consciousness, the urge to avoid pain, the desire for a purposeful life and for freedom from external interference, the passion for distinction, and, most importantly, the desire to acquire personal property. The paper further contends that socialism (whether scientific or African), does not allow room for the pursuit of personal ambition. This accounts for the failure in the implementation of both Marxist-Leninist socialism and African socialism. The paper avers that there is need to understand that the human being cannot simply be seen as a socio-economic or historical being; rather, consideration of the intrinsic elements which constitute the true nature of personhood is quintessential to achieving a well-ordered society.