Social Sciences and the Colonised Mind

by Prabhat Patnaik

Peoples Democracy | January 23, 2022

A CRUCIAL component of the imperialist system is the colonisation of third world minds that helps to sustain it. This colonisation is pervasive, but here we shall discuss only academic colonisation and that too relating to the social sciences.

Social sciences are of critical importance because the problems of the third world are above all social problems, and since the colonisation of third world minds has the effect of inculcating in them the belief that imperialism in the colonial era had nothing to with these problems (on the contrary, if anything, it had a beneficial impact), and that imperialism in the current era does not even exist, it incapacitates thinking in the third world on how to resolve these social problems, i.e., how to go beyond the given situation.

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Maceo’s rejection of surrender lives on in Cuba

Born on June 14, 176 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, with two greats of Cuban independence as parents, General Antonio Maceo Grajales led Mambi troops across the island from East to West battling the Spanish colonial yoke, along a trail of courage, dignity and patriotism, which continues to illuminate our sovereign country before the world

Eduardo Palomares Calderón

Granma | June 14, 2021

Antonio Maceo Plaza de la Revolución in Santiago de Cuba, the work of Alberto Lescay.

A Titan was born on June 14, 176 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, with two greats of Cuban independence as parents. General Antonio Maceo Granjales led Mambi troops across the island from East to West battling the Spanish colonial yoke, along a trail of courage, dignity and patriotism, which continues to illuminate our sovereign country before the world.

Hand in hand with his mother Mariana Grajales, along with his father Marcos Maceo and brothers, Antonio de la Caridad took the road to the scrub just two days after Céspedes launched the struggle at the Demajagua, and would only cease after 28 years of hard battle, when his 26th wound left lifeless his “bronze” body which had withstood some 800 combat actions.

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POLITICAL ECONOMY 

The Drain of Wealth

Colonialism before the First World War

Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Monthly Review | Volume 72, Issue 08 (January 2021)

British Indian Empire

British Indian Empire, “Political Map of the Indian Empire, 1893” from Constable’s Hand Atlas of India, London: Archibald Constable and Sons, 1893. Link.
The Western European powers appropriated economic surplus from their colonies, and this materially and substantially aided their own industrial transition from the eighteenth century onward, as well as the diffusion of capitalism to the regions of new European settlement. In the literature on economic growth, however, we find little awareness of the existence of such transfers, let alone their sheer scale, or the specific real and financial mechanisms through which these transfers were effected. Much research still remains to be done in this area. In the case of India, however, for well over a century there has been a rich discussion on transfers, termed the drain of wealth, initiated by two outstanding writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and R. C. Dutt.1 Here, we confine ourselves to discussing transfers only in the context of India.

With few exceptions, the literature on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century industrial transition in the core countries ignores the drain of wealth, or transfers, from the colonies.2 The mainstream interpretation posits a purely internal dynamic for the rise of capitalist industrialization, and some authors even suggest that the colonies were a burden on the metropolis, which would have been better off without them.Read More »

POEM

Cruel Britannia

by Rip Bulkeley

(adapted from the song by James Thomson and Thomas Arne)

Culture Matters | August 26, 2020

Cruel Britannia

Famine in Mysore, India, while the British Raj exported food

Now Britain fina-ally has learned ho-ow best
To li-i-i-i-ive with o-o-others on this earth,
To live, to live with others on this earth,
This epitaph, for wrongs we here confe-ess,
Shall remind us of our land’s rebirth:

Cruel Britannia,
This song shall be your grave.
No more victims seek, and no more slaves.
Cruel Britannia,
This song shall be your grave.
No more victims seek, and no more slaves!Read More »

United Nations calls for reparations to confront legacy of slavery and colonialism

People’s World | June 19, 2020

United Nations calls for reparations to confront legacy of slavery and colonialism
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council. | AP

GENEVA—Reparations should be paid and countries must confront the legacy of slavery and colonialism to better understand continuing “systematic discrimination,” according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

She was speaking at the UN session in Geneva on Wednesday in an urgent debate in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of U.S. police nearly three weeks ago. It has triggered worldwide protests under the Black Lives Matter banner demanding action over centuries of structural racism.

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The recolonisation of Latin America and the war on Venezuela

by James Petras

Pambazuka News | March 12, 2019

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R. MAZAHERI> 1491: Also stolen from American Indians? Europe’s creation of “liberté”

by Ramin Mazaheri

Enter a caption

Somehow, the conception of the modern notion of freedom is wholly associated with Western Europe, but you know who I always thought was free? Kazakhs.

I mean, what are those nomads doing up over there? Riding all around day, shooting stuff, coming home to hot, meaty meals – they are living the good life. Shepherding is the rare job where staring at the clouds counts as work.

Or Mongols. I mean, yee-haw – why they ain’t nuthin’ but Chinese cowboys, amirite? For Kazakhs, Mongols and cowboys when there’s a problem: to hell with it – let’s just move, nature will take care of itself.Read More »

Anti-slavery campaigns in Britain and their impact on the formation of the United States

by Abayomi Azikiwe

Pambazuka News | February 24, 2019

 Zong massacre of 1781 by the British slave traders

The leaders of the 18th century separatist movement from England were not motivated by a genuine desire for freedom and equality.

If the so-called American Revolution of 1776 was truly committed to breaking with monarchical and autocratic rule from the United Kingdom then why did slavery grow at a rapid rate after the achievement of independence of the former 13 colonies in North America?

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400 years (1619-2019) after the beginning of African enslavement in the British colony of Virginia

by Abayomi Azikiwe

Pambazuka News | February 24, 2019

Africans arrive in Jamestown Settlement in August 1619

Six months from now, a commemoration of the long saga of struggle against national oppression and economic exploitation will take place.

In late August of 1619, approximately 20 Africans were brought to the shore of Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, then a colony of Britain, having been captured by Portuguese colonisers in the Ndongo and Kongo kingdoms (in the vicinity of modern day Angola, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and then stolen again en route to Vera Cruz on the coast of Mexico by British traders operating a warship flying a Dutch flag for the purpose of labour exploitation.

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How Colonialism Actually Worked

by Ramachandra Guha

The Wire | December 02, 2018

How Colonialism Actually Worked

Representative image of Indian peasants

In recent years, our understanding of what the British did (or did not do) in this country has been shaped by ideologues rather than scholars. Born-again patriots produce the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Bengal famine as final and conclusive proof that colonialism damaged and deeply degraded India. Latter-day nostalgists answer by holding up the railways as Exhibit A, and the universities as Exhibit B, of how the ruler from afar elevated and educated India. Both sides assemble their arguments mostly from scraps of evidence available online; neither seeks to nuance or complicate their black or white picture with any sort of original research.Read More »