1965–1967. Congo [but Belgium?]: UJRC, 1965–1967. Quartos (ca. 28 × 22 cm). Publisher’s decorative staple-stitched self-wrappers; ca. 30-50 pp. per issue. Portraits and photo-illustrations throughout. Very good.
[Congolese Anti-Imperialist Rebel Journal, not in Worldcat]. A significant run (seven of twelve issues published) of a left-wing anti-imperialist Congolese rebel journal, published during the second Congolese struggle for independence (1964–1968), a series of insurrections led by former members of Patrice Lumumba’s government, such as Piere Mulele, who turned to China for support after being rejected by the Soviet Union. The journal was published by the underground organization “Congolese Revolutionary Youth Union” (UJRC), formed by a group of Congolese diaspora students, with sponsorship from the pro-Chinese faction of the splintered Belgian Communist Party. The issues are filled with reportages and photographs of the atrocities committed by Belgian mercenary armies against the insurgents and the local population. Articles also focus on socialism in Albania, Vietnam and China, as well as student activism in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Korea. Another common feature are excerpts from letters of Congolese students in remote locations like Berlin or Moscow, eager to express their support for the insurrection from abroad. As described by Pedro Monaville: “UJRC allowed a political generation of young Congolese to imagine themselves as part of a nationalist armed insurrection and embrace a leftward trajectory. L’éclair was the main vehicle for this work of imagination. It created a public that reached beyond the clandestine cells and allowed remote students to project themselves into the struggle” (“Making a “Second Vietnam” The Congolese revolution and its global connections in the 1960s” in The Routledge Handbook of the Global Sixties: Between Protest and Nation, 2018; p. 111). For authenticity’s sake, and possibly to avoid legal problems, L’éclair gave an address of the publication in Northern Katanga, but invited contributors to send communications to a P.O. box in Italy, which forwarded to Belgium, where the journal was likely published. The editor’s name, G. Mutambala, is also spurious.
Twelve issues of the journal were published between June 1965 and April 1967. The front covers contain prices of the publication for seventeen different countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, suggesting that the editorial board placed a high premium on international exposure and outreach. The first issue for 1966 is especially interesting, as it commemorates the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and celebrates him and other executed members of his government as martyrs in the anti-imperialist struggle. The cover design for this issue, a portrait of a bound and struggling Lumumba, is a reproduction of a Soviet poster He Carried Africa in His Heart done by the artist Viktor Koretsky. Another issue (4/1966) is dedicated to articles against American imperialism and the Vietnam War. In the final issue (2/1967), the pro-Chinese sympathies of the journal’s backers become most apparent, with articles about the Chinese revolution and portraits of Mao. Together the issues provide a rare glimpse of the second Congolese struggle from the point of view of internationally connected youth movements. Very rare; no copies found in KVK, OCLC.$2000. Book ID: P6456