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+2 votes
It seems to me that theory relating to decolonization has over simplified the depth and dynamic ways in which post-modern late-capitalism (a matured state of colonization) exerts control, both through the traditional repressive as well as the newer productive (biopower) forces, which includes commodifying and using traditional colonized cultures against themselves. It seems so developed actually that to even use the term 'decolonize' seems thoroughly outdated and unable to convey or effectively resist these new forms of domination.

So to the extent anarchists are concerned with decolonization or see it as important to destroying colonization and achieving anarchy, how could decolonization theory be further developed to incorporate these new developments? And how useful might it be to those from or using traditional cultures resisting and fighting colonization to perhaps see the ways in which their culture has been mangled by capital, had any authenticity sucked out and destroyed and turned it into another product to be bought and sold as an identity and how that relates to new ways one might go about attempting to decolonize.

Two definitions of decolonization are:

Wikipedia: The process of undoing colonialism.
Oxford American: Withdraw from a colony, leaving it independent.

"Undoing" seems a problematic term, as though it were possible to revert to pre-colonialist conditions.
by (580 points)
edited by
i am thinking about your question, but i do find it interesting that the two definitions you give are from opposite sides of the power equation -- ie the wikipedia definition is from the side of the colonized, vs the oxford american is from the perspective of the colonizers.
but of course, as you say, the topic is more complicated than that. still, the word seems pretty compromised.
Well, the extreme duality in definition sources wasn't intentional, but certainly is interesting. From my own perspective I am not sure how much (if at all) I should even concern myself with the more general 'decolonize' issue / question. I think I am asking this question here to try to problematize decolonization thinking and get folks who either talk to decolonize people or who are all up in decolonizing themselves to think deeper about the issue and the totality we ALL face and which is closing in and sealing off what seems like any and all 'ways out' at an alarming pace. Fuuuck biopower, yall.

1 Answer

+3 votes
The short answer is: It Doesn't. The long answer is that the term is effectively useless in any real liberatory, insurrectionary process. Reason being, and this is from some of the best thinking coming out of the 80's, is that with the collapse of effective contestation that all humanity, with a small exception, has been coopted and effectively colonized. Think about it in the US, a handful of men, women and families extracting the resources and labor of a vast land mass and a population sufficiently deluded, or sullen follows along slavishly. This dilution of the term, and the stridency of those who still think that developing countries are really very different than Detroit or Cleveland, makes it unworkable for theorists. In addition the term implies a hierarchy of oppression, with the Indian subcontinent, or wherever placed above Great Britain, Russia, etc.. Such striations do violence to the anarchist project and should be rejected, see Camatte on this point regarding the dis-integrative consciousness of the Left. Finally it ignores utterly the very real possibility of cultural (and racial) mixes and flows--a concept I openly espouse. As an example miscegenation may be the only way the US finally destroys it's lingering racism.
by (560 points)
paul, could you say more about camatte's points that you reference? or point me to a piece by him that explores what you mention here?
Sure try Capital and Community, and also the pamphlet On Organization, there is also an excellent selection of his works in This World We Must Leave. Careful with Camatte though, he is hypernegative and can ruin one's day. Take his stuff with a grain of salt or some alcohol and you'll live.