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Decolonization and global matrices of power

Decolonization and global matrices of power

In my previous post, I said I would talk about power politics and (de)colonization and how my initial awe at such an incredible humanitarian feat turned into disappointment with the official ‘development industry’ after experiencing it firsthand.

So, here we are. But where do I begin?

Well, by quoting Einstein, who never said this, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Which is what we are being served under the ‘decolonization’ banner by the very hands of the colonial power masters.

How it all began

A refresher history brief on colonization-globalization-decolonization-digital colonization-surveillance capitalism nexus. It is a mouthful, I know. If you prefer, I could resort to Orwell’s concept of Big Brother for the sake of brevity and simplicity. The essence is the same.

Let us, for a moment, remove the ideas of racism, inequality, and other identity issues from the present equation, and focus on the political economy of colonialism. Because, as they say, to understand politics, you need to understand economics.

At the time, the European imperial powers, with their mercantilist economies, chiefly Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal, were seeking new raw materials and new markets for the expansion of their wealth. Trade was seen as one of the critical levers of state power. This spurred explorations, the most famous of which was commissioned by the Spanish Queen, remembered in history as the Discovery of the New World.

Fast forward for the next 400 years, and these powers continued to conquer more territories. Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, the great financial divide was firmly set in place for the generations to come. Just before the First World War erupted, most of the world was colonies.

Fast forward again, it’s the 1940s, and World War II (the real reasons for it – you should be able to guess by now) is at the gates and then over. Europe lies in ruin. The only socialist state in the world at the time, the Soviet Union, played a critical role in the defeat of Nazi Germany and had to be given a seat at the decision-making table where the New World Order was in the making.

But not so fast. The end of WWII also marks the beginning of the ideological divide between the ‘socialist’ block and the ‘capitalist’ block led by the United States, ‘us’ (US/West) and ‘them’ (the rest/South), ‘developed’ and ‘underdeveloped’, ‘human’ and ‘subhuman’.

Follow the money!

Not so much because they ‘feared the scourge’ of communism sweeping parts of Europe, as to secure their own economic and geopolitical interests, the United States came up with a brilliant Marshall Plan for reconstructing war-torn Europe. Few would care to remember that one of the results of the Plan was the Cold War. The World Bank (not its original name) was established to manage the funds, and presto, the neo-colonial project where the US was to take the reins from the hands of the soon former colonial powers Britain, France, and Spain.

Or was it the ‘Invisible Hand’? We shall find out soon enough.

While covertly helping the colonies free themselves from their existing overlords via proxies, the US was working to become the global financial and military superpower and global hegemon, in which it eventually succeeded after its chief nemesis, the USSR, died an inglorious death soon after the Cold War ended.

The rest is history. But here is the main catch. With the US and its Western allies’ financial and military hegemony, the world was now up for grabs – and literally so. Market economy and democracy were the buzzwords. Development aid was another, and after it failed to deliver was replaced with the twin god of ‘globalization’ and ‘trade’.

Except that none of these buzzwords meant what you were told to believe. If you would accept the naked truth, all of them were and still are, only the tools in the same capitalist toolbox of political-economic warfare. And so are you, dear citizen of Western democracy, along with your media, academia, and NGOs.

Now, I could go on like this ad nauseam. Instead, I will share a few informative videos that buttress these points; you can take it from there. You can disbelieve, or you can do your research and think.

Here’s a video that nicely and succinctly explains what I was too lazy to put into words. Take a look!

The naked truth is that three or four giant corporations own our world. Unless you’ve studied globalization, you have probably never heard of them, or if you have, you have not yet connected the dots. Or if you have, you would be taking to the streets somewhere in the world, demanding accountability and responsibility from your governments who have allowed this to happen.

But we don’t have government corruption in the West, do we? This is the domain of the pariah states – I’ll leave the assortment of names to your imagination.

What you have missed is what Henry Giroux calls Zombi politics and casino capitalism. You’ve been sold the big lie that ‘capitalism equals democracy.’

The biggest lie of all is that capitalism is democracy. We have no way of understanding democracy outside of the market, just as we have no way of  understanding freedom outside of market values.

Wolf of Wall Street philanthropy

So what is the connection between the big corporations and the failure of the development project? Well, by now, I would assume, you have started to connect the dots. Big corporations control the money, and the governments around the world, including the money that flows into international financial institutions and, by extension, the money that flows into international and national aid agencies.

The big corporations are the biggest philanthropies. Or that is what the media they also own, together with all the publishing houses and top universities, are telling us.

But here’s a huge but; look at the video below that explains how your most prominent philanthropists are anything but.

Do I even have to mention the scandals surrounding Clinton Foundation, Bill Gates Foundation, and such? However, these scandals are often brushed under the rug, even though in different situations, ‘witness testimonies’ would suffice to make a case if it was the other way around. Recall the false testimonies of the non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) allegedly owned by Saddam Hussein that led the US to unleash hell on Iraq.

Have we ever seen any US or British officials sit in an International Tribunal for the war crimes they committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or…? Nope. Their impunity is called ‘installing democracy.’

There’s a joke in Africa about these tribunals: “to be sent to the ICC, you need to be either an African or a Serb.”

As Anand Giridharadas says, the bottom line is that “the real change involves the loss of power,” and “the real change will only happen if the ‘winners take all’ world becomes the ‘winner take less’.”

Now, decolonize that!

And while you are at it, tell me, how will you go about wrestling that power away from the plutocrats, who not only control what you eat, wear, own, and think, but also your government, your children, and the future of humanity and our entire planet?

As Chris Hedges reminds us in Class: The Little Word the Elites Want You to Forget,

Once oligarchs seize power, Aristotle wrote, a society must either accept tyranny or choose revolution.