How Europe/America underdeveloped Africa


Is a book by the late Walter Rodney. It’s one of those books that everyone should read. It’s not written, for lack of a better term, to seek sympathy but as things stood then( maybe even now). And it is in this respect that I find it quite powerful.

The liberation of the European or American workers is tied to the liberation of the black body. And the same argument has been made about feminism. The American and European worker however has been bamboozled by the capitalist who has made some luxury goods available to them at a small price or accessible loans and has therefore co-opted them in maintaining a border regime that is antithetical to their interests and liberation from a system of exploitation.

In fact, the case of the American worker is worse. They celebrate Labour Day in September! A plot by the capitalists to fight an international workers movement.

But I digress.

You must be asking how the current border regime is antithetical to the interests of the American or European worker. Your capitalists have somehow convinced you brown people are taking your jobs, creating insecurity and so the government is justified in militarizing your societies. What this does is to force other workers elsewhere, whom you should be in solidarity with, to work in less than inhumane environments. It means Amazon can be valued at a trillion dollars but have workers who can’t take health breaks. If workers can move freely, no one will take a shitty job. Capitalists everywhere will be forced to pay a decent wage or shut down. Everyone benefits.

You must be wondering what this has to do with the title of the post. Well, Rodney wrote, and I quote at length

European workers have paid a great price for the few material benefits which accrued to them as crumbs from the colonial table. The class in power controls the dissemination of information. The capitalists misinformed and miseducated workers in the metropoles to the point where they became allies in colonial exploitation. In accepting to be led like sheep, European workers were perpetuating their own enslavement to the capitalists. They ceased to seek political power and contented themselves with bargaining for small wage increases, which were usually counterbalanced by increased cost of living. They ceased to be creative and allowed bourgeois cultural decadence to overtake them all. They failed to exercise any independent judgement on the great issues of war and peace, and therefore ended up by slaughtering not only colonial peoples but also themselves.

And this my friends, is the reason why those who have been more articulate than yours truly have argued that the liberation of the world depends on the liberation of the black body, but especially of women and children wherever they are to be found.

Advertisements

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

42 thoughts on “How Europe/America underdeveloped Africa

  1. Swarn Gill says:

    Powerful stuff indeed. In the next post or two I am planning to do one on greed, and I shall be linking this post, because it contains many of the ideas I’ll be exploring in regards to exploitation by the rich.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tildeb says:

    Good luck dismantling economic/power hierarchies. They’re always present in every community… except in the solitary case it is widely believed of the post modern version of progressive society. The quoted part is chalk full of post modern terminology, ideology, and ‘class’ politics… a language in vogue today to vilify the West. We used to call it ‘Marxism’. Today we call it progressive. So let’s see how much those in Africa alter their economic fortunes and equalize the ‘colonial’ hierarchies under the economic reign of the proletariat loving Chinese. That’s what’s happening throughout Africa today. But it will be very instructive for us in a half century to begin to legitimately compare and contrast and then talk about bourgeois cultural decadence. Whatever you do, don’t look at exactly this kind of progressive economic and class that has reorganized Venezuela into a failed state. No, no, no. Focus on the right villains.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I don’t know what you are yapping about tildeb.
      I am aware Rodney was a Marxist & as such his critique of capitalism and colonialism must have followed that but to say it is Marxist doesn’t demonstrate that it is wrong or inadequate unless you are disputing the fact the Europeans killed themselves and Africans too.
      You engage in whataboutism by bringing in China. That I have not mentioned it in this post is not reason for you to think I don’t find a problem with their road and bridge initiative just as problematic. Countries like Malaysia have suspended those projects. The new Pakistani leader has said they will have to review them & many more.
      And you seem to like your own voice not to pay attention to what others are saying. No one is disputing existence of hierarchies. There has always been a person with two cows when one has a goat. The influence of the person with the cow was never so much that they could affect the running of the whole village.
      So, I think I kinda know what I am on about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb says:

        With the current ‘capitalist’ hierarchy that is supposedly so dominant and controlling, we in the West have managed to further human rights and reduce poverty, reduce infant mortality, increase longevity, create very high levels of satisfaction in many western nations, all of which is utterly ignored by exactly this kind of presentation of Marxist ‘progressive’ ideology. What I’m pointing out is that all hierarchies have important considerations (to maintain power and influence) that require social adjustments and I’ve never encountered a Marxist system that does a better job. Have you?

        By I do find more and more people quite willing to vilify the one system that has produced massive increases in human liberty and welfare while shouldering some responsibility for past injustices. I’m saying that maybe, just maybe, that capitalistic effect should count for something other than blanket ideologically-driven vilification.

        Like

    • Is your theory that the status quo is acceptable? That historical abuses are justified because potential abuses by other powers in the future may be worse? That’s a very odd position.

      Like

  3. renudepride says:

    The few concessions that have been granted to the worker classes have only been achieved when there is the imminent possibility of a revolution that threatens to overthrow the entire social and power structure. Capitalists are indeed “master manipulators” who have thus far succeeded in controlling the consumers. However, their days are seriously numbered as enlightened societies begin to detect their deception. Naked hugs!

    Like

  4. basenjibrian says:

    What enlightened societies are out there right now? The glorious theocracies of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, ISIS Boko Haram and North Korea? The grasping State capitalism of “Communist” China and its ecological devastation and corruption? The failed Marxist narco-kleptocracy of Venezuela? The blood and soil racist nationalisms of Poland and Hungary (and 17% of Swedes voted for a Nazi Party)? The corrupt party thuggery of Zimbabwe?

    I don’t see a lot of enlightened societies out there?

    tileb may be rather blunt in his phrasing. But he does make some points.

    I extend my skepticism w/r/t religion and theology to apply to “Just So” Left Wing and anarcho-primitivist fantasies.

    It is right to be suspicious of the plutocrats and their vision. At the same time, the fantasies of left wing intellectuals and political hacks (and tyrannical religious despots, which seems to be the other option chosen by human history) are drenched in human blood. Better Elon Musk or, hell, the Koch Brothers, than Nicholas Maduro or Pol Pot or Lenin or the Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Like

    • The problem with your theory, as with Tildeb’s, is the presumption there are only two options. That’s especially absurd when layered over colonial models. Why do you mention leftist failures in Venezuela and China but not leftists successes in Denmark or Finland?
      The fact is that people are still discussing left/right in simplistic tribal terms. And when that’s done, issues aren’t judged on merit.

      Like

      • basenjibrian says:

        It is not a “theory” per se. It is an observation of history. I am also echoing tileb’s point that capitalism may be bad but the claim that there are at this point in history obvious easily available and implementable alternatives is in itself suspect and has led to horrors.

        Plus, there is no one capitalism per se. I am NOT oversimplifying things. You yourself provide examples of this. Denmark and Finland are very much still modern, industrial, western capitalisms. Run by wealthy capitalist families. With the same tribalisms present in every human society (see the rise of the right in Denmark and Sweden).

        Many of the comments above made sweeping generalizations that all capitalisms are bad.

        I was myself also trying to move beyond the simple tribalistic terms. “Kill all the lawyers and bureaucrats and merchants, who are all parasites” (hinted at above) is the ethos of “Democratic Kampuchea”. And the Cultural Revolution. Which is fine in a histrionic blog discussion, but not a very useful or humane politics.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Kill all lawyers and pastors. That’s where I draw the line.
          And we must try and find alternatives. People can be paid a fair wage. It is possible. We can cut down on military spending.

          Like

          • basenjibrian says:

            So…the pastors in the inner cities who largely led the Civil Rights movement…Cecil Williams, whose Glide Memorial Church has fed the homeless for decades…all to be killed? So leftist political science professors and professional Marxists can lead us to the promised land? Or village headmen and witch doctors can enforce caste rules?

            The pro bono lawyers who serve the poor? Who sue Southern (American) States for vote suppression? Weren’t Mandela and Gandhi trained as lawyers?

            Sorry, Maka. I am going to continue to firmly disagree. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            While that was said as a jest. Most times lawyers are trying to address issues created by either lawyers or legislators.

            And generally I am not sure what to do with pastors, especially in my context.

            Like

        • I have the impression the text refers to a very specific type of capitalist – the laissez faire, social darwinist variety. This is particularly evident where socio-political policy intersects with colonialism.
          People have to be careful not to brush aside the utter horrors of colonialism, the consequences of which are still felt in much of the world today.

          Like

          • basenjibrian says:

            Fair enough. And I certainly don’t want to do that (ignore the horrors). My main point is, to date during the modern era, many of the alternatives we have tried have been arguably…worse.

            “Slave for soldiers ’til you starve
            and your head is skewered on a stake.”
            -Jello Biafra (NOT an apologist for capitalism 🙂

            Like

    • makagutu says:

      Talking of Saudi Arabia- it is financed and propped with US and British weapons. Without those it would cramble. North Korea suffers from blockades arising from the 60 year(?) war with the South. Zimbabwe is an interesting case. The EU put sanctions on Zim when the Africans who are the majority demanded land and the western press has been telling the world Zim is a failure. The same thing is now happening in South Africa and will happen in Kenya when Africans who have been landless in their own homes will demand their land. So it is not so simple. Venezuela- again a victim of partly American imperialism and bad policies of Maduro but has its beginnings in attempts to overthrow Hugo Chavez by American backed rebels and now added to the weaponization of the dollar.

      Talking of anarchist fantasies- the German government, the French and many others actively fought socialists and anarchists, jailing them even. In Africa, except for Nyerere, any left leaning politician was either killed or deposed by forces supported by the US, Britain or France.

      I think self determination is much better than to live under any form of tyranny- capitalist, socialist or theocratic.

      Like

      • basenjibrian says:

        Nothing to disagree with here at all. But you also deny the agency of these countries and their leaderships.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          Sometimes, like in the case of Saudi Arabia, these leaders benefit from such arrangements. The citizens maybe not. So we should not conflate the actions of the state to be synonymous with what the people desire.

          Like

      • basenjibrian says:

        I would also note that Venezuela certainly suffered from the corrupt bungling of its own elites. And the United States certainly has always tried to promote its interests, nefarious as they may be. But the absolute incoherence of the “Bolivarian Revolution” cannot be tied to a feeble CIA-backed attempt to re-empower those former elites. The United States is not to be blamed for magical thinking economics, armed gangs enforcing party hegemony, or the deep complicity of the Maduro administration in drug smuggling and corruption.

        I am still not convinced that a world with 7 billion people will be effectively run by village headmen, local clans, caste religious leaders, etc.

        Like

  5. Excellent, extremely informative post, my friend.

    Like

  6. basenjibrian says:

    On the other hand, I love Marcus’ comment:

    The political leaders are the last people worth saving in a nuclear war. After all, their job was to prevent nuclear wars and protect the people. Let them stay outside and watch the horizon for the inbound consequences of their failure.

    Read more: https://freethoughtblogs.com/stderr/2018/09/14/bolt-holes-for-the-failures/#ixzz5R63i1aPR

    So…I don’t want to sound too much like I am saying we live in the best of all possible worlds!

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I agree with the sentiment too.

      There was a time when I believed that if the people had an idea what governments have in store for them, they would demand tighter controls over their rulers, and would not trust them so much.

      Addresses my issue with government. Even though you insist 7 billion people cannot be ruled by village headmen, the state often does work against the people.

      Like

  7. basenjibrian says:

    “Clause”. Not “cause.” LOL.

    Like

  8. basenjibrian says:

    On the OTHER hand, because I am Legion for We are many, this was an interesting and disturbing bit of history.

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/forgiven/2018/08/09/the-pope-should-shut-the-fuck-up-about-indigenous-resistance/

    Which is a bit more supportive of Mak’s position. 🙂

    Excellent site.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Good piece, Brian. I like it.
      I, like the author, think the indigenous people are justified in burning down churches and whatever other means they chose to liberate themselves from oppression. The oppressor has created the conditions for violence.

      Like

  9. […] has done.  I’m also aware of the many negatives.  Here is just one expressed by a fellow blogger and one of the most well read people I […]

    Like

We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s