Legacy of Colonialism 1. A legacy of colonialism & imperialism?


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1. A legacy of colonialism & imperialism?

Slavery & imperialism were the means to achieve the           ends, of sustained world domination by a few big players in the world           economy. Without it, nation states, multinational corporations and banks           would not have the power base they enjoy now at the start of the 21st           century. Private capitalists, monarchs and feudal Lords waded through           blood to colonise country after country and loot these countries’ human           and natural resources.
The original motives for the colonial mission were plainly expressed           by Cecil Rhodes, the ‘founder’ of Rhodesia. “We must find new           lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same           time exploit the cheap slave labour that is available. The colonies           would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in           our factories”. [From “The Ecologist”, 1992]

Post-colonialist Africa, characterised by land areas previously divided           by colonial rulers into territories on a map, has since World War II           witnessed a legacy of civil wars, military-coups, and crises of disorder           and chaos. Blame for this “disorder” can be largely put at           the door of continued imperialist interference in the domestic politics           of countries, (for e.g. whereas the cold war situation saw political           destabilisation in country after country throughout the African continent,           such as in Angola, where the US financed the Unita rebels while the           Soviets funded the MPLA government, post-war interference has been just           as telling, for instance the current situation in Central Africa of           the US’ backing of Uganda and Rwandan rebel insurgency in the Democratic           Republic of the Congo owes much to the battle between US and French           multinationals for control over the region’s vast mineral wealth). Every           ruler knows that as soon as the profit margin of the transnational giants           starts to fall, an ambitious army officer or chief of some oppressed           tribe will be found to replace them. Thus they are driven to ever-greater           excesses of brutality to ensure the constant supply of profits.

The entrenchment of power relations between the bourgeoisie and the           working class/rural proletariat, has encouraged a proliferation of conflict           and tension in relation to state power and ethnic division, which in           terms of the latter, African elites have exploited and used as a means           of mobilising support for the contestation of power and resources (Ref.           “War & Conflict in Africa: A Bird’s-Eye View“,           by Kwesi Kwaa Prah, 2000). Notwithstanding all of this, the other obvious           key-part of the neocolonialism process which works in tandem with this           expansion of warlordism under the wing of multinational collusion, is           the continued exploitative economic relations between the North and           the South.

The so-called “Third World debt” (the accumulated compound           interest on non-existent capital which – in Africa – was paid to corrupt           leaders) and the continued carrot of debt-cancellation which is used           as a bargaining tool to enforce neoliberal structural adjustment policies,           has resulted in the dependence by many poorer nation economies on the           export of a narrow range of a few primary products, products which suffer           from spiralling terms-of-trade due to this very reason, which ensures           a steady supply of cheap raw materials into the western marketplace.           The North’s capitalist advancement (led by the USA) occurs at the expense           of the Neo-Colonial state, a process which is sustained by the fierce           worldwide market penetration of multinationals facilitated by the colonisation           of neoliberalism and the global free trade architecture of GATT (General           Agreement on Tariffs & Trade). With the encroachment by multinationals           into global commodity markets (500 of whom now control 1/3rd of world           trade), it is safe to say that world market prices are largely set in           the stock exchanges of the North (by 1999, 66% of developing country           exports were destined for developed country markets in the USA, Europe           and Japan). Meanwhile, financial deregulation due to the removal of           barriers-to-entry to financial speculation as enforced by the imperialism           of global institutions (eg. the International Monetary Fund & World           Bank) has occurred around the world, with the hijacking of these institutions           and the World Trade Organisation having taken place largely to serve           the interests of those countries in the North. The sophisticated use           of structural adjustment policies by the IMF and World Bank has ensured           that the neocolonial process has been both systematic and widespread.           Meanwhile, the indebted nations of the south continue to see greater           outflows of money than inflows due to the continuation of their debt-repayment           schedules largely to the multilateral banking institutions, as well           as ever-shrinking export revenues.

In short, the World Bank, IMF and the corporate negotiating mandate           as rubber-stamped through the World Trade Organisation effectively ensures           a continued flow of profits for the multinational corporations and shareholders           of related financial interests residing in the North.
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