Ethiopian artist Solomon is An ideological buzzword dominating the diction of Ethiopia’s politics by both those defending and admonishing the ruling party, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is none other than two mystifying words: ‘revolutionary democracy.’ Unable to explain what it is for a lukewarm electorate or its foreign backers, EPRDF has confused, most ironically, its own machinery on why a mixture of revolution and democracy is needed to put a developmental model of governance in the country. If the essence and applicability of a developmental state model has generated its great deal of controversy in the political economy debate, ‘revolutionary democracy’ would have triggered an even bigger and intractable divide; only if it was understood.
Why ‘revolutionary democracy’, the third ideological sequel in three decades of TPLF/EPRDF’s life, remains perilously ambiguous appears to have grown from a lack of solid literature or any critique written about it. Making the issue more relevant is the fact that the developmental state model is now interchangeably used with ‘revolutionary democracy’ as an ‘evolution of ideologies’ in the last ten years.
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist and all that
It can be fairly said that the widespread consensus on what ‘revolutionary democracy’ entails is limited to a mild brew of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist ideology that also incorporates traits of Stalinism with unusual set of liberalism ideals such as free market and institutions, election and multi party democracy. To understand what it means as a blend of these communist and liberal ideals, it is only appropriate to see what these movements separately mean in real terms.