01 September 2010

The Rise and Fall of Neo-Colonialism

Development, Part 7b

The Rise and Fall of Neo-Colonialism

Today’s main item is Chapter 8 of Colin Leys’ 1975 book “Underdevelopment in Kenya” (download linked below).

This book was researched in Kenya and published 2-3 years after Rodney’s Dar-es-Salaam-written “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, is remarkable (like Engels’ early work) for being written in the right place at the right time, by a man who was able to see what he was looking at and describe it properly.

What he saw was not only post-colonial class formation, but also the beginning of the “neo-liberal” and “Washington Consensus” policies that have cursed us ever since, but which now, at last, appear to be on their way out.

The fourth linked item is a more deliberately scholarly essay by David Moore, as compared with the newspaper article of his that we used two days ago. This is also from 2004.

The essay rehearses parts of the factual background of capitalist colonialism and reviews some of the works of then-fashionable theorists, who now, only five years later, seem curiously out-of-date in a way that Walter Rodney, for example, or Lenin, will never be.

No doubt David Moore contributed to the demise of the theories that he described and criticised, thereby doing a good service to us all.

We must now ask what theories inform the new developmentalism of post-Polokwane South Africa, if any.

Time is short at the moment. The two documents introduced above are together too much for a normal post in this series. But both are valuable and both contribute substantially to this collection of material on development. Therefore they go out together, today. Let us hope that the next time we do this series we will have time to treat them separately, and more fully.

Images: Top: Photo of the then President of the Republic of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta posing in pseudo-traditional regalia prepared by former colonialists (I, your VC, was working for that company at the time);
Middle: photo of a bronze public statue of Kenyatta wearing the same phony theatrical robes, providing a long-term image of neo-colonial mummeries for posterity.

Please download and read this item:

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