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What is gimgəmā?


 

Gimgema, the Amharic word for evaluation (or self-evaluation), is a practice with provenance in the Marxist-Leninist tradition of self-criticism.  Gimgema allows for any party member, irrespective of rank, to frankly critique the performance and ideological consistency of any policy, program, or action of the party or its members.  Gimgema extends beyond a superficial examination of an error by exploring the underlying circumstances which enabled its manifestation to help guide the formulation of a plan for corrective collective action. 

Vanguard Communist parties throughout the world utilized criticism and self-criticism as a means of developing revolutionary programs and resolving intra-party contradictions. Joseph Stalin defined it as a method for “training the forces of the Party and of the working class generally in the spirit of revolutionary development.”  Ethiopian revolutionary movements also subsumed this tradition during their anti-Imperial and anti-Derg struggles. The practice was also maintained by ruling political parties during the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) era.

Gimgema Collective aims to apply this framework of evaluation toward the structural analysis of conditions in the global south, with an emphasis on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.  We aim to foster conversations that bridge the gaps between our collective understanding of political & socioeconomic challenges confronting the global poor with the ideological interests driving the western imperialist agenda.

 

“…without self-criticism there can be no proper education of the Party, the class, and the masses; and that without proper education of the Party, the class, and the masses, there can be no Bolshevism.

And the chief thing: do not substitute for mass criticism from below “critical” fireworks from above; let the working-class masses come into it and display their creative initiative in correcting our shortcomings and in improving our constructive work.”

– J.V. Stalin “Against Vulgarising the Slogan of Self-Criticism”

 

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