Liberation Archives: On Neocolonialism by Rafiki Morris

On Neo-colonialism

(Excepted from  the book, “WAR: The Blood in Our Eyes” by Rafiki Morris)

The enemy, who we seek to defeat,  must be named precisely. Especially since, at this time in history, the enemy is the most sophisticated system of human exploitation that ever existed. The enemy is capitalism and imperialism. 

We are told that people don’t understand this capitalism and imperialism, that dominates their lives. But nobody knows capitalism better than those who are exploited and dehumanized by it. The people know and understand the enemy, even when they cannot call them by name. What we must do is to  expose capitalism and imperialism and examine the people’s experience with it.

Capitalism starts with CAPITAL. All capital is money, but not all money is capital. Capital is extra money or surplus money. Capital is  money that is free of obligation. Capital is money that has been taken out of general circulation and piled up in public or private hands. Capital has several forms: There is industrial capital, that is tied up in the production, reproduction and distribution of goods and services. There is finance capital, which is invested in various enterprises. 

Finance Capital sits in bank accounts of individuals, institutions, corporations and states. Finance Capital either serves all of the people by investing profits in things that improve their lives, or it is invested to make a profit for a small set of people. If the owner of capital is private, it enriches the ruling elite. If the owner of capital is social, it serves all of the people. In this respect capital is neutral.

Capital has productive capacities that is neither positive nor negative. What makes capital positive, or negative is how this creative capacity is used and who benefits from it.  Capital in Cuba serves the people of Cuba, improves their lives, and increases their ability to contribute to the development of humanity. Capital in the United States exploits the people of the Unites states and the world to make profit for the global ruling class.

Even though capital is inorganic, it lives. Capital is born of labor that adds value to the things it produces. A chair costs more than a pile of wood. Labor transforms wood into a chair and in the process adds value to it. The value of the chair is more than the cost of the labor and the wood.  The value of the chair includes a profit, which  makes it is worth more than the labor and the wood needed to produce it. The production of this extra value (profit) brings capital to life. Capital becomes a dynamic economic force that works to increase and preserve itself. Capital buys labor cheap and sets it in motion to produce more capital. When individuals or corporations own capital and use it to enrich a small elite, it is capitalist. When the People own capital and use it to improve human life, it is socialist. Capitalism is the enemy and imperialism is nothing more than global capitalism. 

Capitalist imperialism has been exploiting Africans and Africa for centuries.  Slavery and colonialism were early stages in of imperialism. The stage of imperialism we are subject to today is neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism emerged when there were no more lands to conquer. Because of resistance, slavery, and colonialism were no longer an effective way to exploit the  people.. 

Under colonialism European states  held colonies and accumulated wealth from them. The Europeans used the wealth taken from the colonies, to build industrial capacity, roads, communications networks, hospitals, schools, cities, and general culture.  Some of these same profits were used to bribe the workers of industrialized countries, develop a class of managers, technocrats, and civil servants, and built repressive agencies. Settler colonialism and slavery built the USA, Europe and their allied capitalist states.  Colonialism turned Africa, Asia and Latin America into poverty stricken clients of US imperialism.

Another form of colonialism called neo-colonialism was practiced in the Americas, in response to African resistance to slavery, and struggles for independence, sparked by the Haitian Revolution of 1804. After WWII this neo-colonialism was spread around the world as the primary strategy of imperialism. 

Under neo-colonialism every nation state, including the former colonial masters, became indebted to  Monopoly Capital and controlled by multi-national corporations. International institutions like the IMF, and World Bank, were established to control the global banking system and force everyone to adopt the US dollar as the currency of trade. Once powerful colonial masters  were transformed into neo-colonial instruments and subjects. All planetary resources, production, and distribution feeds a single global economy all nation-states are reduced to debt ridden clients. Only a handful of socialist countries stand outside the sphere of imperialist influence. These heroic state exist in a state of permanent attack by the forces of imperialism.  Neo-colonialism’s final defining characteristic is that it is not welded to any particular form. Neo-colonialism  adapts itself to every environment and seeks to dominate every facet of life. All economic, social, political, psychological, military, cultural, spiritual  and social activity are subject to neo-colonial control. 

In Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah writes, “Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after world war two when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world. Who really rules in such places as Great Britain, West Germany, Japan, Spain, Portugal, or Italy? If General de Gaulle is ‘defecting’ from U.S. monopoly control, what interpretation can be placed on his ‘experiments’ in the Sahara desert, his paratroopers in Gabon, or his trips to Cambodia and Latin America? Lurking behind such questions are the extended tentacles of the Wall Street octopus. And its suction cups and muscular strength are provided by a phenomenon dubbed ‘The Invisible Government’, arising from Wall Street’s connection with the Pentagon and various intelligence services. I quote: ‘The Invisible Government … is a loose amorphous grouping of individuals and agencies drawn from many parts of the visible government. It is not limited to the Central Intelligence Agency, although the CIA is at its heart. Nor is it confined to the nine other agencies which comprise what is known as the intelligence community: the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Army Intelligence, Navy Intelligence and Research, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ‘The Invisible Government also includes many other units and agencies, as well as individuals, that appear outwardly to be a normal part of the conventional government. It even encompasses business firms and institutions that are seemingly private.

Over the last 50 years neo-colonialism has been consolidated into a worldwide complex of governments, corporations, and super wealthy individuals backed by the most widespread worldwide military-police-intelligence complex ever know.  Neo-colonialism is the enemy that must be dismantled if Africans are to achieve genuine liberation, unification and build a socialist society. 

It is common for people to associate neo-colonialism with puppet governments made up of people who won elections at the local or national levels. These so called democratically elected administrations give the appearance of being legitimate representatives of the people while actually serving external interest of monopoly capital.  They are puppets. The people in these areas direct their discontent against the elected puppet governments, often resulting in changes of regimes, either  through elections or military takeover. These rotating regimes do not improve the people’s lives, because they do not challenge the forces of international capital that control the land and its resources. The people end up fighting puppets while leaving the puppeteers intact.

The essential character of these neo-colonies in the industrial states of Europe, the former colonies of Africa, Asia, and America, is that the people in power, do not represent the people that they govern. We see this same characteristic in global corporations and International institution such as the UN, IMF, World Bank and Walls Street, who claim to serve the world’s people. A large part of the human family have political representation that do not serve their interest. This unrelenting economic exploitation, social/racial oppression, and patriarchal privilege gives rise to international resistance and the global anti-imperialist movement. Oppression breeds resistance!

The Invisible Government, which arose after world war II is a highly developed global complex. An informed citizen will realize that the policy of their government works publicly in one direction and secretly through the Invisible Government in just the opposite direction Taxes are spent on arms, prisons, policing and miseducation by governments claiming to protect democracy, public safety and development.

A global shadow government stands behind the mighty USA. They are protected by a military-intelligence network with a massive hidden apparatus, secretly employing millions of  persons and spending trillions of dollars a year.  This apparatus directs economic/military/intelligence activity around the world, and, by persuasion or force, exploits human labor and steals material resource in service to monopoly capital.

Capitalism is imperialism and imperialism is neo-colonialism. This, more than any other single thing , is the source of human suffering. Racism, Patriarchy, Zionism, Settlerism, Poverty and class exploitation are all aspects of  the imperialist,  neo-colonial strategy. This is why neo-colonialism must be dismantled. It is the last stage of imperialism. When we defeat it the global capitalist nightmare will end, and we can construct an African world characterized by justice, peace, and prosperity.

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Profession: Muralist/Artist, Writer, Poet, Lecturer Politics: Revolutionary Pan-Africanist and cadre in the All African People's Revolutionary Party Interests: Africa, Culture, Philosophies of Liberation Studies: Advanced Revolutionary Thought Mission: One Love!