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 »

How Prabhat Patnaik “discovers” Marx’s alleged shortcomings in theorising colonialism

by B. Sivaraman

Frontier | January 12, 2018

Alleged omissions by Marx
In an article tilted Marx and Naoroji—The clue to the puzzle of “drain of wealth” that appeared in The Telegraph on 20 December 2017Professor Prabhat Patnaik has listed what in his opinion were major omissions by Marx in respect of colonialism [The said article of Prof Pravat Pattanaik may be seen in the “Links to News & Views”-section].

Patnaik has argued that during 1850s, when Karl Marx was working on his Das Kapital, he was also simultaneously writing columns on British Rule in India for New York Daily Tribune and for both he frequently visited the British Museum library and “despite the fact that he was researching on both themes at the same time, the impact of colonialism on the dynamics of capitalism is conspicuously absent in Capital”.Read More »

Third World Quarterly row: Why some western intellectuals are trying to debrutalise colonialism

by | September 21, 2017

Third World Quarterly row: Why some western intellectuals are trying to debrutalise colonialismThe ugliness of colonial power in India emerged at its end with the Bengal Famine and the Partition | Wikimedia Commons

Ek tarz-e-taghaful hai so vo unko mubarak;
Ek ‘arz-e-tamanna hai so ham karte-rahenge.

[There is a style of indifference to which they are welcome;
But our wishes, we will continue to list.]

— Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Dast-e-Saba, 1952

In 1950, Aimé Césaire, one of the clearest voices of the 20th century, looked back at the long history of colonialism that was coming to an end. He wanted to judge colonialism from the ashes of Nazism, an ideology that surprised the innocent in Europe but which had been fostered slowly in Europe’s colonial experience. After all, the instruments of Nazism – racial superiority as well as brutal, genocidal violence – had been cultivated in the colonial worlds of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Césaire, the effervescent poet and communist, had no problem with the encounter between cultures. The entanglements of Europe’s culture with that of Africa and Asia had forged the best of human history across the Mediterranean Sea. But colonialism was not cultural contact. It was brutality.Read More »

War and colonialism in the Central African Republic


Granma | September 06, 2017

French soldiers in the Central African Republic. Photo:

For the vast majority of media outlets Africa is a continent in chaos, a place of countless massacres, epidemics, and starvation caused by conflicts, that generate extremist groups which mercilessly loot, rape, and kidnap.

Also a place with enchanting landscapes, abundant mineral resources, and at the same time threatened by drought and desertification, for many in the West, Africa is the kingdom of tribal conflicts, smuggling, and inevitable poverty.Read More »

Canadian media misleads public about country’s role abroad

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‘Literal Colonialism’: Blackwater Founder Calls for ‘American Viceroy’ to Rule Afghanistan

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Common Dreams | June 02, 2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

Displaying what one commentator called “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” Erik Prince, founder of the private mercenary firm Blackwater, argued in The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States should deploy an “East India Company approach” in Afghanistan.

The country, he wrote, should be run by “an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion, and contracting—and report directly to the president.”

Read More »

Canada’s Complicity in Entrenching Colonialism in Africa

by Yves Engler

Dissident Voice | May 23, 2017

The recent seizure of phosphate from a Moroccan state company in South Africa and Panama is a blow to corporate Canada and a victory for national independence struggles. It should also embarrass the Canadian media.

This month courts in Port Elizabeth and Panama City okayed requests by the POLISARIO Front asking South Africa and Panama to seize two cargo ships with 100,000 tonnes of phosphate from Western Sahara, a sparsely populated territory in north-western Africa occupied by Morocco. Ruled by Spain until 1975, Moroccan troops moved in when the Spanish departed and a bloody 15-year war drove tens of thousands of Sahrawi into neighbouring Algeria, where they still live in camps.Read More »

Collapse of the Soviet block and the revival of Socialism: lessons for the strengthening of Socialism

by Bankie Forster Bankie

Pambazuka News | 02 March, 2017

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Corporate Colonialism

Frontier comment

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.25, Dec 25 – 31, 2016

Old Colonialism is ‘gone’. No, it has just reappeared with vengeance, under the banner of corporate culture. It’s still the banner of a company. But it is a ‘multi-national’ company. It’s corporate colonialism now. The way British Colonialism is plundering Africa through their multi-nationals will soon make this ‘dark contiment’ even darker. In the forties and fifties it was somewhat easy to launch national liberation against white rule and exploitation. But the case is totally different today. Black rulers have made it difficult to raise the slogan of ‘national liberation’. It’s now the question of how to raise the same slogan against corporate power. Strangely, political forces on the left look totally directionless. Nor have they managed to formulate any concrete agenda to fight corporate menace so far. Living without corporates should be the only way out. No, all are trying to adjust with corporates and live with them. Read More »